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Quick Hits: Barbara Boxer Rules Our Universe Edition

* Haha, no seriously, she does. Today, Boxer, who heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced a set of principles for future climate legislation and signaled that she'd get a bill drafted this year. Joe Romm parses her phrasing and takes her to mean that she'll heave a bill out of committee before the Copenhagen climate talks in December, not get a bill actually passed through the Senate.

* Then again, if Boxer's so verdant, Streetsblog's Matthew Roth wonders why she's teaming up with eco-foe James Inhofe to add as much as $50 billion in highway spending to the stimulus package. Look, I'm all for patching up our existing pothole-ridden highways (that could even help save fuel), but if we're serious about this whole global warming business, we ought to think carefully about how to redesign our transportation networks rather than just shoveling out funds to promote auto dependency.

* This isn't promising: The big nuclear-reactor project in Finland has been bogged down by delays and cost overruns, raising questions about just how easy it'll be to ramp up nuclear power. Similarly, Mariah Blake has a long piece in The Washington Monthly exploring whether nuclear power will prove too pricey to play anything more than a supporting role in the quest for carbon-free power.

* This, though, is somewhat more promising: "The UK’s National Grid says up to half of the country’s homes could be heated using biogas made from waste." Trouble is, to reach that point, you'd have to convert all of Britain's waste—all of its sewage, all of its manure, all of its farm waste, food waste, wood waste… So maybe we'll just say 15 percent of all homes? Even so, not bad.

* In Denver, a group of volunteers tested out new accelerometers that provided them with constant feedback about how much mileage their cars were getting at every point. The result? "Over seven months, the 400 drivers cut their tailgating, hard braking and speeding—and improved their gas mileage by 10 percent."

* Kate Galbraith tracks an eco-trend I can rally around: State governments, schools, and perhaps even the post office are shifting to four-day workweeks to save on energy.

* At the Michigan Messenger, Eartha Jane Melzer rummages through the stimulus package and discovers money for a few Army Corps of Engineers projects in Michigan that may irk environmentalists, who fear that projects like dredging up the Saginaw River could kick up dioxins.

* One small step for man; one giant step for quantum teleportation. The article notes that human teleportation is likely impossible but I'll still hold out hope.

* Every news outlet on the planet has noted that Google is adding reams of ocean data to Google Earth, which will soon allow viewers to plunge underwater and mosey around on the (virtual) sea floor. It's a daunting technical task, but on the upside it could eventually help aid conservation efforts (not to mention it just looks cool).

--Bradford Plumer