First a quick update on the Sherman Street Sharrow Saga. I received an email from someone in Public Works thanking me for bringing the faulty sharrows (which are between 16th and 20th on Sherman, not 16th and 18th as I previously stated) to their attention, and saying they would repaint them properly, centered 12 feet from the curb. They say that it will probably be several months before they get around to fixing them, but certainly this was a commendable response. I may throw down more tape measure advocacy in the future.

A recent report from the Lawrence Livermore Lab shows we Americans used less total energy in 2008 than we did in 2007. This could be seen as good news or just the inevitable result of an economy circling the drain. Now, check out this excellent chart which shows where all those 99.2 quadrillion BTUs came from and where they done went (click image to enlarge or download pdf):

Particularly interesting are the big smudge-colored pipes hauling major BTUs out into the alley behind the chart. The lost BTUs. The tailpipe of an inefficient nation. At some point we may want to stop lighting our cigars with rolled up hundred dollar bills. Or, simply stop lighting up so many (metaphorical) cigars -- wouldn't that be the best strategy. Or, now that we've come this far, we may just want to launch one final desperate orgy of spectacular wastefulness, and call it a day. That would seem to be the rationale behind the 'Cash for Clunkers' program and other issuances from Washington.

SEE ALSO: 5/20/09 IF EVERYBODY DOES A LITTLE ... MacKay's Sustainable Energy.