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SHFT Sampler 11-12-10

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Weekly links: Pimped-out bikes, phone book sculptures, and a renewed push for offshore drilling in the Arctic.

Freewheelers is a series of video portraits of tricked-out bikes and the people who ride them – from self-build fixies and coveted vintage steeds to bikes as art or manifestations of style. Two bipartisan senators have proposed a sensible idea that most people are going to hate. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) wrote to President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal......read more

SHFT Sampler 12-3-10

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Weekly links: Obama nixes offshore plans, mercury turns birds gay, and more.

Adorbs alert! Discovery assembled an "awwww"-inspiring slide show of endangered baby animals. Are fixies over? We have no idea, but this bamboo joint from Germany's Arndt Menke-Zumbragel tells us no. Lance Armstrong is down too. The world's most famous cyclist called it a "killer wooden bike" on his Twitter. Can't disagree. Check out those rear forks! ......read more

Deep Water Drilling Set to Resume

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Federal announcement ends offshore drilling moratorium.

Oil and gas exploration has been suspended in the Gulf since May, one month after the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the worst offshore oil spill in American history. In a few weeks, drilling and exploration will resume. The Obama administration will allow 13 companies to resume their work on 16 different offshore projects that had already been approved and were in......read more

Faulty Design Caused BP Disaster, Says Official Report

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Every blowout preventer may have the same problem. Gulp.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster was caused by a faulty design of the blowout preventer and a piece of trapped pipe, says an official report published by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of the Interior. According to the 551-page report, "The primary cause of failure was identified as the blind shear rams failing to fully close and seal due to a portion of drill pipe trapped......read more

At the Energy Crossroads

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President Obama's original energy plan was thrown off the rails. Can his new strategy survive?

Nothing ever works out as planned. Just ask President Obama, who came into office equipped with an ambitious energy plan that addressed climate change and American dependence on foreign (read: Mideast) oil. Within two short years, a massive financial meltdown, an unprecedented offshore oil spill, and a GOP-controlled Congress has demolished that strategy, sending the administration back to the......read more

House Votes to Expand Offshore Drilling

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Is the risk worth the payoff?

With consumers feeling the pinch of rising gas prices at the pump, the House voted last week to expedite oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia. The bill was passed by a 266 to 149 vote, largely along party lines. Memories are indeed short. The Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 people and spewed about 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico,......read more

GOP Offshore Drilling Bill Rejected by Senate

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Dems block measure to to speed up oil leases off the U.S. coast

The Republican effort to expand offshore drilling in country has been turned down by the U.S. Senate. The bill would have opened up more areas to drilling and forced regulators to speed up their decisions on lease permits. The vote was 57 against and 42 for -- 18 short of the 60 "Yes" votes required to move it to the Senate floor. Democrats voted resoundingly against the bill, saying it would ......read more

The Clash's Paul Simonon Arrested for Oil Rig Occupation

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Rock star went undercover with Greenpeace to protest Arctic drilling

Greenpeace has revealed that veteran rock bassist (The Clash, Gorillaz) Paul Simonon was among the activists arrested in June for occupying an Arctic oil rig. Simonon had joined the Greenpeace crew anonymously, working as an assistant cook. The oil rig, operated by Cairn Energy, one of Europe's largest oil and gas companies, was boarded on June 3 by the Greenpeacers, who demanded that the......read more

Why Drilling in the Arctic is a Bad Idea

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The argument against pushing for fossil fuel extremes in Alaska

The Arctic Ocean is one of the wildest, most extreme places on earth. When you put the most technologically advanced, best equipped offshore drilling rig up against it, the rig loses. The grounding of a Shell Oil drilling rig in Alaska earlier this year proves it. That's the central tenet of a Natural Resources Defense Council statement, quoted by Andy Revkin at Dot Earth, arguing against any......read more

Feds to Fund Offshore Wind Farms

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Obama administration commits $50.5 million to offshore wind R&D.

Pursuant to the U.S. President's stated goal of generating 80% of all electricity from renewable sources, the Obama administration announced this week a game plan for wind energy development off the Eastern seaboard. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar paired up Monday to announce federal funding for offshore wind farms to the tune of $50.5 million over......read more

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