Friday, January 12, 2007

A turning point in the climate change controversy?

Am I naive to think that this is a significant development?

Update: As of now, it doesn't seem to have had much effect on Exxon Mobil's stock price. (The gain for Exxon today appears to have been caused by a jump in the price of crude - see here.)

More on the oil front: Lord Browne, who was the first major oil CEO to break ranks on the greenhouse emissions issue and strove to create a "green" image for his company, is stepping down earlier than expected. This Wall Street Journal article implies that his departure was caused by dissatisfaction over BP's poor safety record over the past several years, not over his environmental stance. The sidebar on his successor, Tony Hayward, now head of BP's exploration and production, doesn't give any indication of his environmental views. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely he would try to reverse BP's course, especially in light of Exxon's action.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Was someone trying to tell me something?

(Click on image to enlarge.)

An offer that should not be misunderestimated.

Henry Blodget in today's Slate.

Possibly the greatest legislative speech ever made.

Every time I despair of the mess in Albany (and right now I'm skeptical of Spitzer's ability to make good on his promised reforms, at least so long as Joe Bruno and Shelly Silver keep their leadership posts in the Senate and Assembly, respectively), I can cheer myself up a bit by thinking of Texas. Kevin, a Canadian expat in Tokyo, put a link in his blog, The Woodshed, here, to a story about a Texas legislator who wants to allow blind people to hunt game with rifles. Stories like this bring to my mind an aritcle Molly Ivins wrote for The Atlantic back in the 1970s, titled "Inside the Austin Fun House", which described some of the wackier goings-on in the Texas "Lege". Included in the piece was the text, in full, of a speech on the floor of the Texas Senate in support of a bill to increase the tax on liquor by ten cents a bottle. It went approximately as follows:

Gentlemens, I wants you to imagine yourselves goin' to the store to buy yourselves a bottle. And on your way to the store, this little child comes up to you, and he says, "Mister, can you buy me a lollipop?" And you says, "Naw, son, I cain't buy you no lollipop." And you goes into the store and buys your bottle, and you pays your extra ten cents tax. Ain't nobody yet ever paid what it's really worth. And you says to yourself, "If I can afford an extra ten cents for this bottle of liquor, I can afford to buy that little child a lollipop." So, gentlemens, I asks for your vote on this bill, for the sake of the children of Texas.

All in all, an elegant rejoinder to Amity Shlaes' screed against Pigovian taxes, don't you think?

Monday, January 08, 2007

College football Wow! Gators win by palindromic score.

Florida 41, Ohio State 14. Eat crow, all you play-it-safe pundits, all you believers in Big Ten supremacy, all you worshippers of Tra-DI-shon. I could name names, but you know who you are. (Confession time: I almost joined you, but I hedged.)

Addendum: Last night's gratifying outcome got me to wondering - how many palindromic football scores are possible? Here's my list (for an obvious reason, I've limited my universe to four-digit scores):

21-12, 31-13, 32-23, 41-14, 42-24, 43-34, 51-15, 52-25, 53-35, 54-45, 61-16, 62-26, 63-36, 64-46, 65-56, 71-17, 72-27, 73-37, 74-47, 75-57, 76-67, 81-18, 82-28, 83-38, 84-48, 85-58, 86-68, 87-78, 91-19, 92-29, 93-39, 94-49, 95-59, 96-69, 97-79, 98-89

Anything past 62-26 seems extremely unlikely (63-36, 71-17 and 81-18 seem barely plausible). I did some quick Google research to try to find the highest total score in a college football game ever, but came up blank. Does anyone know?

Update: Hipparchia (be sure to follow that link and check out the lemming trampoline jump; also note that she calls SAB one of her favorite blogs - Smooch!) reminds me of something that was in the back of my mind, i.e. that Georgia Tech was once involved in a very high scoring game. She found a link that confirms my vague recollection (too vague to put in my post above) that the Yellow Jackets beat Cumberland 222-0 on October 7, 1916; that is, when my mother, whose 90th birthday we celebrated last year, was a five day old infant. I'm reasonably confident that's the highest total score ever in a college football game (maybe even in any football game); the odd thing being that all the scoring was on one side.