Pants on fire 

Joining the ranks of Denise Rich, Lynne Cheney, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and George W. Bush, Energy Secretary Spence Abraham was credited with a recent “Whopper of the Week” by the online mag Slate. “Some experts calculate the demands of the Internet already consume some 8-13 percent of electricity. If demand grows at just the same pace during the last decade, we’ll need 1,900 new plants by 2020 — or more than 90 every year — just to keep pace,” Abraham told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. His source: a study by the coal industry-backed Greening Earth Society. (Gotta love that name!)

But a Lawrence Berkeley National Lab study calculates “electricity used for all office, telecommunications, and network equipment (including the electricity to manufacture the equipment) is about 3 percent of total electricity use in the U.S.” A mere difference of opinion? Not for Slate, which reserves the Whopper prize for “an unambiguous lie” met by “an unambiguous refutation.” (The full discussion is at

W. Kim Heron, MT's managing editor, contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or

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