On Emissions

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Aug. 24 2005 5:31 PM

On Emissions

Bloggers discuss New York Gov. George Pataki's initiative to reduce regional power-plant emissions; they also respond to the launch of Google Talk and delight in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

On emissions: Nine states have reached "a preliminary agreement to freeze power plant emissions at their current levels and then reduce them by 10 percent by 2020."

Many bloggers are happy; others try to suss out the measure's implications. Pointing out that the states came to this decision because there was no push at the national level, liberal Through the Looking Glass asks, "They have nothing to fear from Republicans in Washington, who are known for their support of federalism. Right?" In a similar vein, Ross at the liberal It Affects You predicts: "I'm not a big fan of Pataki, but ironically it is exactly the good things he does which will doom his Republican presidential aspirations." On The Pirate's Cove, conservative Jebediah Murphy counters, "Funny how, when the Feds do not do anything, the States get off their butts and do it. Kinda makes one wonder why the States didn't do it on their own previously, huh?" And Hall of Record's Bruce Hall, who runs a small business in Michigan, asserts, "That's a very commendable effort. However, I did not see any mention of the approvals for the new nuclear power generating plants needed to achieve this goal and, by the way, the goal of the 'hydrogen' economy. Oh, wait, that's because there wasn't any."

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Google Talk: Bloggers are excited about Google Talk, Google's beta version of a free instant message/Internet phone service that launched yesterday.

"[W]e all knew it was inevitable," sighsGatherer of Information's Darniil, summing up a popular sentiment. Smash's World's Ben Guild, one of the earliest adopters, has extensive instructions about how to install the program, and an ecstatic screenshot filled with scores of communiqués from his new correspondents. Open Loops' Bert Webb, who blogs on management issues, is agnostic about the program: "It may be an uphill battle as many people, once they have adopted an IM service, are hesitant to dump what is tried and true for something new and untested, especially when they are not sure if their friends and family will switch with them … . Now, if Google came up with a cross-platform IM that would communicate with AIM, Yahoo, and MSN messengers … hmmm … now that would be interesting." Super-blogger Jason Kottke points out that Webword's John Rhodes predicted that Google would release an IM application using the Jabber protocol back in April of 2004. Earlier this week, on ZDNet, tech blogger Russell Shaw suggested that Google team up with Packet 8, a company that "has lots of VoIP experience and a reputation for quality."

Read more about Google Talk; read about the word game with the same name.

Ramen religion: In June, physics graduate Bobby Henderson sent a satirical open letter to the Kansas School Board in which he claimed that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. "I'm sure you now realize how important it is that your students are taught this alternate theory. It is absolutely imperative that they realize that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Furthermore, it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia," he wrote. Soon, adherents of a new religion, Pastafarianism, started coming out of the woodwork. According to the Lawrence Journal World, which is based in Lawrence, Kan., "In the past few weeks, hundreds of followers of the supreme Flying Spaghetti Monster have swamped state education officials with urgent e-mails."

Many bloggers are excited about the site. "Humour is definitely the best way of making political points, it's a shame I can't do it really," writesDon't Panic's Ben Hollingum, a British student. "I think my favorite was the painting from the Sistine Chapel of 'Touched by His Noodly Appendage,' writes Purpleyarrow, commenting on Lapiswitch and referring to this image.

Tech blog Boing Boing, which has had a few posts on the topic, received a letter from creationist Anne Kenny, which drew attention to a fellow creationist's $25,000 challenge "to anyone who can give any empirical evidence for evolution."

In response, Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin wrote, "We are willing to pay any individual $250,000 if they can produce empirical evidence which proves that Jesus is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster." (The site is now offering a $1 million prize.)

Read more about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Listen to Sparkletone's "What if God Wanted Pasta Sauce," a spoof of the Joan Osborne hit. And Al Dente, the blog of a believer, has a news roundup.

Today's Time Waster: Need to brush up on biblical theology? Can't get through the King James version? What better place to start than Brick Testament's punctilious The Entire Bible Illustrated with Legos? Warning: contains Lego sex and violence.

Got a question, comment, or suggestion? E-mail todaysblogs@slate.com.

Bidisha Banerjee is the San Francisco-based co-author of a forthcoming Yale Climate and Energy Institute/Centre for International Governance Innovation report on scenario planning for solar radiation management. She is collaborating on a geoengineering game and has written about geoengineering governance for Slate and the Stanford Journal of Law, Science, and Policy.

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