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Quick Hits: Household Gadgets Edition

* A new study suggests that Google's search engine is rather voracious—two Web searches use the same amount of energy as boiling water in a tea kettle. But Joe Romm fires back, arguing that those numbers are wrong, and anyway, they obscure the fact that the Internet is, on the whole, a net energy saver. (Certainly piddling around on Google is less energy-intensive than driving to the library.)

* Remember how a whole bunch of TVs are going to become obsolete come February 17th, when the country switches over to all-digital broadcasting? Apparently Obama wants to delay that transition for safety reasons—many Americans aren't prepared and could miss out on emergency broadcasts. But, as Sarah van Schagen notes, a delay would also offer an opportunity for manufacturers to institute recycling and takeback programs, so that our landfills aren't inundated with creaky old analog TV sets leaching lead and cadmium everywhere.

* The Washington Post's Kendra Marr has a terrific piece noting some of the structural obstacles facing automakers as they try to roll out new fuel-efficient models. Gas is below $2 per gallon. There isn't a lot of good plug-in infrastructure for electric cars—and utilities won't invest in infrastructure until there are lots of electric cars on the road. And different states are promoting different technologies: Hawaii's boosting the plug-in, while California's dreaming of hydrogen fuel cells.

* Earlier today, Michael Livermore defended future OIRA head Cass Sunstein's views on cost-benefit analysis, but if you're interested in a critique, check out this scathing post by Clean Air Watch's Frank O'Donnell and this one by Rena Steiznor of the Center for Progressive Reform.

--Bradford Plumer