Today’s Links: August 10, 2012


“Californians recently have been learning about $54 million that was unspent by the Department of Parks and Recreation, and about $37 billion in ‘special funds’ throughout state government that is spent without oversight. But perhaps the biggest state bureaucracy that goes unaccountable is the California Air Resources Board, headed by Chairwoman Mary Nichols. Its yearly operating budget is $860 million. But even that figure pales in comparison with the immense powers it is assuming on Jan. 1, when it begins implementing a ‘cap and trade’ scheme in which greenhouse-gas emissions supposedly will be controlled by capping the total amount allowed in the state, but allowing high-pollution companies to buy extra capacity, in the form of ‘permits,’ from lower-polluting companies.”

ALEXIS MADRIGAL: “Finally, Someone Read the Terms of Service So You Don’t Have To
“I’ve yet to find anyone who reads the terms-of-service contracts that we “agree” to on the various websites of the world. But now, a group of technologists, lawyers, and interested parties have created TOS;DR, a project to create peer-reviewed summaries of all those documents you will never actually read. Launched in June, it’s a kind of brilliant and already-useful tool for some of the more heavily trafficked sites on the web.”

GABRIEL HORWITZ and DAVID KENDALL: “Tough Love: Democrats Must Cut Entitlements
“It’s time for Democrats, as parents of entitlement programs, to put them on a diet. And soon — because time is not on our side. Entitlements are set to go on a decades-long growth spurt starting this year, as baby boomers start retiring. At the same time, the Budget Control Act passed by Congress will further shrink investments. How much? Today, there is a $1 trillion gulf between spending on major entitlement programs and the money we devote to public investments. In 2022, the gap is expected to be $2.6 trillion.”


INTERNET – Federal Lawyer Crows After Imposing $22.5 Million Government Fine on Company
“The lawyer, Megan Gray, who just started working for the FTC, was so pleased to beat back Google that she sent an email to friends and colleagues to brag about her performance.”

ENERGY – California starts review of new AES Huntington Beach power plant
“California energy regulators started reviewing U.S. power company AES Corp’s proposed 939-megawatt (MW) addition to the Huntington Beach power plant in Orange County.”

INNOVATION – Indestructible Robot Inchworm Crawls Using Creepy Artificial Muscles
“Instead of focusing their immense talents on designing adorable robot puppies, or cuddly cyborg kittens, researchers at MIT have created an artificial earthworm that contracts and expands its body using nickel-titanium muscles that allow it to unsettlingly crawl its way along.”