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Most of tonight's show was preempted by severe weather coverage, but we did get a chance to touch on a few items of normal content for you:
- We taught Brian Dean what Rickrolling is. Then we discussed how some people -- like Rick Astley, for instance -- look nothing like the image you'd conjure up in your mind. Astley, for instance, was a skinny, red-headed dude who sounded like a guy twice his size. Brian Gongol, similarly, has long been accused of sounding much older than he looks.
- Once again, we're backing the idea of inducement prizes for energy research. Right now, the momentum is favorable for bold solutions to energy matters -- $4 a gallon gas is still in our collective consciousness, and we haven't yet gotten comfortable with what seem like astronomical price increases for energy. But at some point or another, we'll just get complacent again -- just like we did when the energy crisis of the 1970s cooled off -- and then we'll just end up in a much deeper hole than we're already in. Inducement prizes are the way to go because they're extremely efficient (tax dollars get spent only for proven results), and because they can be used to focus attention on big leaps forward. Most of the energy-policy matters we're hearing politicians discuss are small-potatoes stuff: Where should we drill for oil? Should we increase Federal engine-efficiency standards by a couple of miles per gallon? Should the Federal government switch to hybrid cars? What we really need right now are big, bold, game-changing moves. Make the goal significant enough and the prize big enough, and we might be able to ease the pain of energy prices efficiently and quickly. This small-potatoes nonsense just ends up getting bogged down by lobbyists and pressure groups.
- Here's another reason why we ought to be pushing for prizes: The Federal government has proven itself painfully bad at predicting the future of energy matters. Brian Gongol reported on a Wise Guys show almost exactly a year ago today that the Department of Energy was predicting that gas prices would remain level through 2009. As we've all seen (and as Brian predicted at the time), that forecast was way off the mark. And as Brian noted back in April, current prices may be a little overheated, but they're pretty close to a long-term trend that suggests we'll never see sub-$2.50-a-gallon gas again.