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An old argument says that full or empty bellies lead to contentment or revolt. Recent research supports that claim, showing that spikes in global food prices have coincided with the surge of social unrest and political instability seen recently in North Africa and the Middle East. (more)

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Popular Mechanics probes the former vice president about his newly green home, his new concert series and the future of ethanol.

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A new study out of Stanford University says ethanol could worsen smog problems, as the alternative fuel may produce dirtier air than gasoline. Ethanol has already been something of a mixed bag for environmentalists, who are desperate for politically viable alternative fuels but troubled by the high cost of corn-based ethanol.

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More than 6,000 Brazilians marched against George W. Bush in Sao Paulo on Thursday in a mostly peaceful demonstration. A small group incited police to fire tear gas and rubber bullets. Protesters in Colombia also clashed with police, and more demonstrations are expected as Bush tours the region.

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As part of its drive toward energy independence, Brazil has encouraged the use of cars that run on any combination of ethanol and gasoline. More than 2 million of the flex-fuel cars have now been sold in the country, accounting for 77% of the market.

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Check out this sobering video, which spells out the moral imperative we face to wean ourselves from dependence on oil. Robert Redford will be talking about this new campaign on Larry King tonight (May 17.)

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