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Roundup: Smart Cars, the end of civilization, and fat-to-fuel

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(Read caption) The Smart Fortwo car.

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Salon's tech blogger, Farhad Manjoo, test drives a Smart Fortwo through the streets of San Francisco. The verdict: Not enough power and a lousy transmission, but you can't beat finding a parking spot within five minutes. And with an mpg rating of 33/41, driving it is relatively easy on the wallet, and on the climate.

Grist has an interview with novelist and social critic James Howard Kunstler. Mr. Kunstler is the author of "The Long Emergency" (2005), which predicts that oil will peak, the government will collapse, and communities will be forced to become self-sufficient. His latest book, a novel, "World Made by Hand," is set in this grim, yet more socially meaningful, future. Kunstler is also an astute critic of suburban design, as evidenced in this bleakly hilarious 2004 TED talk. I'd link to his stuff a lot more often if he didn't curse so much.

The Guardian releases a new poll showing that a slim majority of British voters believe that the environment should be a bigger government priority than the economy. Meanwhile, MSNBC reports a dramatic increase in the number of Americans who now favor oil drilling as more important than protecting the environment.

The Open Road Blog, the official blog of Toyota, is actually suggesting that you drive less, or even consider riding a bike. Another option would be to hitch a ride on one of the many flying pigs that have suddenly appeared.

Lefty writer Barbara Ehrenreich offers up a Swiftian essay in which she suggests that Americans can achieve energy independence by running their cars on liposuctioned fat. She estimates that America is literally sitting on 45 million gallons of fuel reserves.


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