The State Sketch Comedy Now Available on Vimeo

[show=thestate size=large]Because I was lame as a teenager, I didn’t watch a lot of MTV. (Or is it the other way around: Was I lame as a teenager because I didn’t watch a lot of MTV? A deeper question for a deeper time.) Anyways, the point is that because I wasn’t really watching MTV during the 1990s, I missed out on The State, a memorable sketch comedy group whose 1993-1995 MTV series was a cultural touchstone for the friends I’d make as a 20-something. Because The State TV show wasn’t released on DVD until last summer, I was left catching up with the early antics of David Wain, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and others via poor-quality YouTube bootlegs. But now I’m back where I started, sort of. Last week, The State started using Vimeo to create a channel of rarities — dozens of them — from the ground-breaking sketch comedy team.

According to the nearest accessible State fan I had handy (my roommate), some of these clips, which all appear to date from the early 1990s, are simply old shorts that haven’t previously seen the light of day, while others appear to be proof-of-concept pieces for an earlier series they worked on called You Wrote It, You Watch It, hosted by a very young Jon Stewart.

In these clips, State members reenact crowd-sourced ideas for comedy, such as what it would be like to be stuck in an elevator with Gilbert Gottfried or what might happen if you used money you’d been given for voice lessons to party with friends. The format isn’t all that exciting, but the actual writing and performances are on par with the show’s later years, not to mention contemporaries like The Kids in the Hall. Read More about The State Sketch Comedy Now Available on Vimeo

Rumor Has It: Camera Still Bound for iPod Touch

At the Apple (s aapl) iPod event this past September, the iPod nano got a video upgrade, but despite rumors to the contrary, the iPod touch didn’t get a similar treatment. The Internet was ablaze with expectation thanks to the appearance of a number of iPod touch cases with camera holes built in, all positioned the same, which seemed like a fair indicator that video was coming to the touchscreen iPod.

Even after the newest touch model was released, teardowns revealed what looked like a space reserved for the camera internally. Apple seemed to be holding back for some reason, and recently reports have been made that that is indeed the case, and that a camera-wielding iPod touch will appear in Spring of 2010. Read More about Rumor Has It: Camera Still Bound for iPod Touch

Daily Sprout

Senate Panel Green Lights Climate Bill, Sans GOP: Sen. Barbara Boxer has moved the energy and climate bill out of the Environment and Public Works Committee and onto the Senate floor, despite a Republican boycott of the debate. But that doesn’t get the bill any closer to garnering 60 votes. — WSJ’s Environmental Capital
Smart, Sure — But Does it Fly?: Being smart can only get you so far. Al Gore talked on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart about the “super grid.” Not a bad idea, but Stewart says he needs “a grid that can fly and shoot lasers out of its eyes.” — VentureBeat
Should Chinese-Backed Wind Farm Get Stimulus Cash?: Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the Obama administration to block stimulus funds for a $1.5 billion Texas wind farm that would use turbines made mostly in China. American and Chinese backers were planning to request $450 million in stimulus funds. — NYT’s Green Inc.
Solar Software Set for an Upswing: Solar companies spend a lot of time talking about making solar installations simple, but they tend to focus on the hardware. The growing solar market presents some good opportunities for software startups like Vela Solaris. — Greentech Media
On the Hunt for Smart Grid Industry Leaders, Innovators: EnerNex and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are looking for more industry leaders and innovators to participate in a panel meant to support NIST’s efforts to coordinate and accelerate development of smart grid interoperability standards. — Smart Grid News

Daily Sprout

Fisker Automotive Picks EU Distributor: Plug-in hybrid car startup Fisker Automotive has picked a large distributor to sell its vehicles in Europe and is looking for similar deals in China. The European retailer will be announced tomorrow. — Reuters
Ampulse Raises $8M: Ampulse Corp., which is developing a thin-film photovoltaic technology called film-silicon tech, has raised $8 million in Series A funding, in a round led by Globespan Capital Partners and El Dorado Ventures. — PV-tech.org
Solar Power, After Sundown: A Santa Monica, Calif., company called SolarReserve has filed an application with California regulators to build a 150 MW solar farm that will store seven hours’ worth of the sun’s energy in the form of molten salt, ready for release when it’s cloudy or at night. — NYT’s Green Inc.
Republican Senators Boycott Climate Debate: Led by Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, all but one Republican skipped the start of today’s committee debate on the climate bill, demanding a more complete study on the measure’s economic costs by the Environmental Protection Agency. — Bloomberg
Morocco Unveils $9B Solar Plan: “Morocco announced on Monday a solar energy project worth $9 billion which officials said will account for 38 percent of the North African country’s installed power generation by 2020.”– Reuters

Apple Ups Ante in Climate Policy Debate, Quits Chamber of Commerce

Apple (s AAPL) wants no part in the Chamber of Commerce’s opposition to EPA regulations of greenhouse gas emissions. The company has sent a letter to the lobbying behemoth today announcing its decision to resign its membership.

Apple’s departure makes is just the latest company trying to distance itself from chamber’s stance on climate policy — several utilities including California’s PG&E (s PCG) have said they will let their membership lapse at the end of this year and Nike has stepped down from the chamber’s board. But in a move that shows the high stakes of the climate policy debate for corporations, Apple has taken a bolder step and made its resignation from the chamber “effective immediately.”
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Daily Sprout

Missteps in GM’s 230 Campaign: General Motors’ buzzy 230 MPG marketing campaign for the Chevy Volt “was flawed because it was ill-timed, targeted a group that is not likely to be the core Volt buyer and — most of all — didn’t offer enough clues to engage people.” — Ad Age
Focus on Elon Musk: In a profile of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Tad Friend says the startup’s 500 employees “have faith” in Musk’s abilities as an engineer and an entrepreneur, but some “worry about his aptitude” for selling cars. — The New Yorker
Health Care: A Prelude to Climate Bill Debate: “Following on the heels of the so-far successful anti-health-care backlash, advocates and opponents on the climate bill are funneling cash into groups designed to rally at town halls and to ‘educate’ voters.'” — WSJ’s Environmental Capital
Figuring Out Cleantech Financing: “There are signs that entrepreneurs and investors in the green-tech field are getting a better grip on how to finance their ideas. The key is to pull money from different sources at different stages.” — CNET’s Green Tech
Uptick Expected for Smart Grid, Energy Storage Investments: “Industry experts and company executives are expecting the appetite for investments in green technologies…to see a significant pickup as early as this fall, with continued improvement through 2010.” — Reuters

Daily Sprout

EPA Hearts Algae: Encouraged by recent interest in algae fuels by heavy hitters like ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical, the EPA is reportedly planning to count algae as an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard now in the works. — WSJ’s Environmental Capital
India Set to Unveil First Solar Target: Draft documents show India will pledge as early as September to boost solar power ouptut to 20 GW by 2020 (from near zero today) as it firms up its $19 billion, 30-year national plan to fight climate change. — Reuters
Mitsubishi to Build Wind Equipment in North America: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to open a 105 billion yen ($105 million) wind-power generator assembly plant in the U.S. or Canada early next year. — Bloomberg
Senate Vote on Climate Bill Unlikely Before November: “Since the Senate will try to do health care first and since tortoise-like Senate floor debates…it is all but impossible to imagine the Senate vote on a climate bill before November.” Delays could mean a better climate bill, if Obama and Congress develop a coherent strategy. — Climate Progress
Chance for Chinese Automakers: A new survey finds 15 percent of new car buyers in the U.S. would consider purchasing their next vehicle from automakers based in China, where car companies like BYD Auto are racing to produce electric vehicles. — Press Release

Daily Sprout

EEStor: Will It or Won’t it?: There are some indications that startup EEStor is making progress toward its goal of selling an energy storage device “capable of propelling a reasonably-sized automobile down a freeway for a couple hundred miles before needing a recharge,” and plenty of reasons to be skeptical. Will EEStor’s technology revolutionize motor transportation? Will it even work? — The Oil Drum

Mazda to Use Toyota’s Hybrid Tech?: Mazda’s Tribute SUV hybrid (available only in California) uses hybrid technology from Ford. But “now that Ford has a much smaller percentage stake in the automaker…the Hiroshima-based automaker is rumored to be looking for potential partners,” and Toyota is at the top of the list. — AutoblogGreen

Rate Protections in the Climate Bill: Two paragraphs tucked into the climate bill just days before it passed the House give large manufacturers what consumer groups see as a safeguard against higher electric bills. Now there’s a fight in the Senate to get the same protection extended to residential customers.Greenwire via NYT

Mercedes Plans for Tesla-esque Sports Car: Daimler AG’s (s DAI) Mercedes-Benz today confirmed plans to create an electric car based on the $250,000 SLS AMG for a 2015 launch. — Worldcarfans via Business Insider’s Green Sheet

Buzz Aldrin on Mars Missions: The second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, wants “human outposts on Mars” to serve as labs for studying climate change. Too bad humans’ role as the “primary cause of recent, rapid terrestrial climate change” takes the meat out of his argument. — Climate Progress

Senate Climate Bill Wars Begin: What to Expect in the Next Round

For climate legislation, clearing the House last month by a slim seven-vote margin marked a major step toward passage of the first comprehensive regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. But as we wrote after the vote, it was only the beginning — with a series of hurdles and open questions remaining. This week, the Senate begins in earnest the slog to produce its own version of the legislation with a set of hearings that will help shape key, controversial issues in the draft — including the role of agriculture in offsetting carbon emissions and producing alternative fuels, how to control emissions while competing in a global economy, and how to manage international trade.

To kick things off, lawmakers on the Committee on Environment & Public Works heard testimony Tuesday from the Obama administration’s energy, environment and agriculture chiefs in a general hearing on legislative tools for “moving America toward a clean energy economy and reducing global warming pollution.” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in her opening testimony, “I know there are a variety of proposals pending in the Senate that have the same goals,” namely: decreasing reliance on oil imports, creating jobs in “emerging clean energy technologies,” and reducing pollution. But at this point, lawmakers are finding plenty to disagree about.
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Amazon Motivates Savvis Into Offering a Compute Cloud

[qi:051] Savvis (s SVVS), long a provider of co-location and dedicated hosting services, today unveiled a new cloud compute offering aimed at large corporations. Unlike Amazon (s AMZN), whose array of services are focused on the broader market, Savvis will start off with an on-demand computing service called Savvis Cloud Compute.

This new offer is based on a legacy Savvis product called Virtual Intelligent Hosting, which was built on Hewlett Packard (s HWP) servers, VMWare (s VMWR) software and 3Par (s TPAR) storage. Savvis has re-tweaked that offering by developing a portal to access the compute services and marring them to management tools, also developed by the company. The portal is called the Savvis Station Portal.

The service will come in two flavors. One will be a dedicated offering for the exclusive use of a corporation, and the other will be a multi-tenant service much like Amazon’s EC2. Bryan Doerr, chief technology officer of St. Louis, Mo., based Savvis, doesn’t see the company as an Amazon competitor. The pricing model is quite different from Amazon, and the service isn’t quite as granular. Read More about Amazon Motivates Savvis Into Offering a Compute Cloud