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Ways to Better Spend $4 Billion Per Year in Oil Subsidies

Here are three ways we could better our Big Oil subsidies. Except these ideas would actually ease pain at the pump and save Americans money.

For the last three years, President Obama has proposed eliminating $4 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to oil companies in his budget. Every year, Congress has ignored the proposal.

Last week, the idea got a bit more traction, as the big five oil companies all announced massive first quarter profits (while gasoline hovers around $4 per gallon), and even some Republican leaders are paying the idea of cutting subsidies some lip service. Of course, most members of Congress receive so much funding from the oil companies that they'll make comments like Sarah Palin's: that $4 billion is a "drop in the bucket" and not worth eliminating.

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Feast Your Eyes: The Concrete Corn Field of Dublin, Ohio

On the landscaped lawns of a corporate office park in Ohio, 109 human-sized concrete ears of corn memorialize the region's lost agricultural heritage.


On the landscaped lawns of a corporate office park in Dublin, Ohio, sit 109 human-sized concrete ears of corn. Artist Malcolm Cochran installed the piece in 1994, as a way to memorialize the region's lost agricultural heritage and the farmland that has been swallowed up by suburban development.

The piece is also a tribute to agricultural researcher Sam Frantz, who used the site as a test plot for his corn hybridization experiments between 1935 and 1963. Cochran chose a double-cross hybrid called Corn Belt Dent for his polyurethane corn molds.

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New Jalapeño Bred Specifically to Hold More Cheese

New Mexico's Chile Institute has hybridized a bell pepper and a regular jalapeño in order to create a bigger popper.


Scientists at New Mexico State University's nonprofit Chile Pepper Institute recently announced that they had successfully bred a brand new, medium spicy, extra large jalapeño, specially optimized for "increased cheese payload."

The Institute's Director, Paul Bosland (who, incidentally, is credited by the Guinness Book of Records with the discovery of the world's hottest chile, the Bhut Jolokia, in 2005) explained that the new jalapeño is named NuMex Jalmundo, which is "a contraction of jalapeño and the Spanish word for world (mundo), implying that it is as big as the world."

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Charging Ahead

A new lithium battery-powered automobile promises up to 300 miles on a single charge. The cars, produced by Hybrid Technologies, will sell for around $35,000. Too much? Toyota has just started advertising the Yaris, which delivers 40 mpg as tested and sells for around $12,000..

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Hybrid Frenzy

Hybrids used to be the domain of starry-eyed idealists and kooky environmentalists. But, as gas prices rise and as car manufacturers throw their weight behind producing hybrids, the clean cars are becoming more popular, so much so that 57% of Americans will consider buying one next time they buy a car...

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