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Little-known fact: Judge Wapner was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service in World War II.
With all the attention (much of it long overdue) being paid to energy issues, perhaps the short-lived Captain Power television show and action figure lineup will make a comeback.
The band The Gorillaz, which only sort-of exists at all (all their videos are animated, and their live appearances are holographic), will be putting on an opera in Charleston, South Carolina, over the next couple of weeks. Whether it will turn out to be anything like R. Kelly's completely ludicrous "Trapped in the Closet" (which he billed as a hip-hopera) is still up to question.
The new plan to charge passengers for every checked bag on American Airlines isn't just going to be a nuisance. It's also probably going to make travel a little less safe. People are going to end up carrying more luggage with them, which will in turn increase the burden on security checkpoints and likely result in more mistakes.
The folks behind the One Laptop Per Child campaign say they're going to get rid of the keyboard in their next generation of computers, which they say will reduce the cost and improve the computer's reliability.
Google says it's speeding up Gmail access by cutting out redundant code and chopping out needless queries to its servers. It's hard to say whether there's been any obvious effect, but it's interesting to see that Google is finally acknowledging the inevitable: It is now so large that it has to take actual physical limitations into consideration with its products and services, even though they're dealing with bits and bytes.
On that subject, we talked a little about Google.org, the semi-philanthropic arm of Google. There's a separate Google Foundation, which is a tax-exempt charity. Google.org, on the other hand, is taxed like a business, and it's investing heavily in energy research. That's why Brian stands by his previous assertion that Google's motivations are hardly altruistic. The company needs three major inputs to make money: Computers, smart people to program and run those computers, and electricity to keep everything going. Computers keep getting better, faster, and cheaper all the time, so those costs are going down. Employees' salaries really can't be cut very easily, so those costs will continue to be largely out of Google's control. But the cost of energy is certainly going up, and Google wants to keep a lid on that cost however it can.
And good luck to them, too. By no means is this a criticism of Google for taking credit for its actions. If they can find ways to save on energy costs, or to produce more of it cheaply, then we all benefit.
We got onto the subject of the economic stimulus checks that everyone's been receiving lately. It should be noted that most people are probably going to use those checks to pay down debt, which is a perfectly good thing to do. And it's certainly what politicians expect many people to do, since that's exactly how taxpayers behaved with the last "stimulus" checks. But if you don't need to pay down debt, it would be very wise to put some of that "stimulus" money to work with something that will save energy in the home. Here's a short list of ideas, many of which could be bought with a single $600 stimulus check:
- Light-blocking blinds, window shades, and curtains
- High-efficiency lighting
- Heat pumps
- Storm doors
- Extra insulation for the attic
- Whole-house fans
- Heat pumps and high-efficiency HVAC units
- High-efficiency water heaters
- Programmable thermostats
Keywords in this show: airlines • airline security • American Airlines • Captain Power • economic-stimulus packages • efficiency • energy • Gmail • Google • Google Foundation • Google.org • Gorillaz • holograms • input costs • luggage • laptops • One Laptop Per Child • opera • philanthropy • security • Wapner, Judge Joseph