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Here are a few recent stories that got away:

Toyota's president cancels plan to attend Detroit Auto Show. Maybe he was trying to emulate his U.S. counterparts who motored to D.C. a few weeks back. Add "crossing the Pacific" to that list of things the Prius can't do.

Technological innovation can have a downside? A company called Key2SafeDriving has designed a smart car key that can jam the frequency of a particular cell phone once the key has been engaged--the goal being to keep your attention on the road and not on calls. Along the way, however, developers thought it would be just swell if the key also sent data on your sloppy driving habits to your insurance company. DO NOT WANT.

Dick shoots off at the mouth. Not content merely to shoot people in the face, president of vice vice president Dick Cheney blasted Congress--mostly his Republican buddies--for failing to pass a bailout package for the Big 3. Cheney went on to say that president-elect Obama would be responsible for Detroit's future. If that ain't a Heisman-worthy hand-off, I don't know what is.

Biofuel may not be worth the hassle after all. Not only is there a new study indicating that ethanol fuel is among the least effective and least clean of renewable energy sources, but its production seems pretty dodgy, too. So, deforesting huge swaths of land to generate fuel for billions of automobiles isn't a good idea?

U.K. manufacturer Ginetta is the "little" engine that could. Sportscar outfit Ginetta is launching a new version of its G50, the G50 Z. Apparently, people really liked the original, so why not keep tinkering, right? Keep your eyes open for a fully electric version, developed through its new partnership with Zytek.

Iowa gets spicy. If you're driving through Ankeny, Iowa and you start craving your grandmother's lasagna, don't be surprised: road crews there have been covering the roads in garlic salt, which was donated by a local manufacturer. Is it lunchtime yet?

Toyota Greens Up Inside. One of the automaker's new models will likely use "ecological plastics" for around 60% of its interior. As long as the upholstery isn't chartreuse, we're totally on board.

Paris Hilton is still tacky, still wealthier than you. Yes, the heiress named Paris has taken a break from shopping for others and has put a little something for herself under the Christmas tree--and by "little something", I mean a $200,000 Bentley Continental GT. Did I mention that she had it customized in pink? Oh well, when she's finished burning through her inheritance, at least she'll be able to get a gig selling Mary Kay.

--Richard Read


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