July 14th, 2010
08:41 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Larry Hagman The actor known for portraying the scheming Texas oil baron J.R. Ewing in the classic prime time soap opera “Dallas” has become a solar energy pitchman.  The Oregonian newspaper reports that Hagman, 78, has recorded commercials for SolarWorld, a German manufacturer of solar cells in Hillsboro, Oregon. The company is using a slogan that parodies Sarah Palin’s famous “Drill, baby, drill” declaration from the 2008 presidential campaign. "'Shine, baby, shine' is an inexhaustible source of energy," said Hagman, who boasts what may be the country’s largest residential solar system at his home north of Los Angeles. "When affordable oil gives out, we're in real trouble -- I mean the collapse of civilization, within 15 to 20 years," he said. Hagman told the newspaper that his push for solar energy solutions is not only about finding alternatives to fossil fuels. "We've got a work force that's looking for jobs," he said. "We've got a long line of people returning from wars."

Larry Hagman

The actor known for portraying the scheming Texas oil baron J.R. Ewing in the classic prime-time soap opera “Dallas” has become a solar energy pitchman.

The Oregonian newspaper reports that Hagman, 78, has recorded commercials for SolarWorld, a German manufacturer of solar cells in Hillsboro, Oregon. The company is using a slogan that parodies Sarah Palin’s famous “Drill, baby, drill” declaration from the 2008 presidential campaign. "'Shine, baby, shine' is an inexhaustible source of energy," said Hagman, who boasts what may be the country’s largest residential solar energy system at his home north of Los Angeles, California. "When affordable oil gives out, we're in real trouble - I mean the collapse of civilization, within 15 to 20 years," he said.

Hagman told the newspaper that his push for solar energy solutions is not only about finding alternatives to fossil fuels. "We've got a work force that's looking for jobs," he said. "We've got a long line of people returning from wars."

Oregonlive.com: Larry Hagman becomes the new face of SolarWorld

Solarworld-usa.com

Walt Parker

It appears that history is repeating itself. In 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground, dumping 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska. The Washington Post reports that Parker, the chairman of the Alaska Oil Spill Commission, says the lessons of what was then the largest oil spill in U.S. history have gone unheeded.

"It's disappointing," said Parker, 84, who led the commission, which made more than 50 recommendations for preventing another disaster such as the Deepwater Horizon blowout now polluting the Gulf of Mexico. "It's almost as though we had never written the report," he said. According to the newspaper, the commission “found that oil companies cut corners to maximize profits. Systems intended to prevent disaster failed, and no backups were in place. Regulators were too close to the oil industry and approved woefully inadequate accident response and cleanup plans.”

Washington Post: Lessons from Exxon Valdez spill have gone unheeded

CNN.com: 'Integrity' testing on Gulf well cap delayed

Colton Harris-Moore

The teenager dubbed the "barefoot bandit" is testing the adage that “crime doesn’t pay.” The 19-year-old has amassed more than 80,000 Facebook fans. In December, Time magazine dubbed him "America's most wanted teenage bandit." Also, 20th Century Fox has purchased the rights for a film based on his exploits.

Harris-Moore is scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami, Florida, on Wednesday afternoon. Taken into custody on Harbour Island in the Bahamas early Sunday, Harris-Moore was sought in a string of home and airport break-ins in various U.S. locations along with thefts of vehicles. In the Bahamas, he pleaded guilty to a charge of illegally landing a plane, paid a $300 fine, and was ordered deported, his lawyer said.

The teen had been on the run since he escaped from a juvenile halfway house in Renton, Washington, in 2008. The FBI had offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Harris-Moore is called the "barefoot bandit" because he was shoeless when he allegedly broke into houses. He also was barefoot when apprehended by police in the Bahamas.

CNN.com: 'Barefoot bandit' to appear in court

Hollman Morris Rincon

U.S. officials have denied the Colombian journalist’s application for a student visa to enter the United States on “security and related grounds.” The Harvard Crimson reports that Rincon, an independent TV news producer, is one of 25 journalists selected for a 2010-2011 Nieman Foundation fellowship at Harvard. According to the Crimson, Nieman curator Robert Niles suspects that the reason the State Department denied the visa is due to Rincon’s critical coverage of Colombia’s President Álvaro Uribe Vélez a close U.S. ally.

Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, said, “My view is that there’s something wrong with the process when one of the most distinguished, independent human rights journalists in the world can be labeled a security risk for the United States.” Shapiro added, “We [journalists] speak truth to power, and that’s what Hollman does,” Shapiro said. “That’s what our First Amendment is supposed to protect and encourage, and that’s what this country has always stood for.” The U.S. State Department declined the newspaper’s request for additional information due to “privacy considerations."

The Harvard Crimson: Colombian journalist, Nieman fellow denied visa

The Nieman Foundation

Caster Semenya

The South African world 800-meter champion is scheduled to return to professional running July 15 at the Lapeenranta Games in southeastern Finland. The International Association of Athletics Federations ruled on July 6 that Semenya, who was hampered by allegations regarding her gender, could return to her sport and compete with other women.

The 19-year-old track star was sidelined for 11 months because she was forced to undergo gender tests when questions over whether she was a man or a woman arose after her stunning 800-meter victory at the world championships in August 2009. During the Berlin, Germany, championships, where she won the gold in her first major event, Semenya’s muscular build, outstanding times and the widespread speculation about her gender sparked the IAAF to order the tests.

CNN.com: Commentary: My life as a 'Mighty Hermaphrodite'

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. George

    You'll know when oil is no longer available when women can't get any cosmetics to wear.

    July 14, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. George

    Oil is in short supply when they truly try reclaiming the oil from the Exxon Valdiz spill washed onto Alaskan shores and the BP mess on the gulf shores of Louisiana, Missippi, Alabama, And Floorida.

    July 14, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. George

    Mmmmmm – isn't oil required in the making of solar cells? I guess they had better make a hellava lot of solar cells before oil runs out.

    July 14, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      We have an endless supply of plastic we can recycle to accmplish that.

      July 14, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Brenda Morrisey

    I love Larry Hagman... I'd buy anything from him! And he's right, solar (and wind) are the way to go and it will put our people to work now... leaving OUR money here in the U.S.A.

    July 14, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      I believe they said SolarWorld, a German manufacturer of solar cells in Hillsboro, Oregon. Doesn't that mean the profits go to GERMANY while only the workers wages may stay in the USA?

      July 14, 2010 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. George

    Everyone must be sleeping in this morning or they think this topic is extremely boring as to not offer responses.

    July 14, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. DC Joe

    if you have millions of dollars like Larry solar can be a fun hobby. For the rest of us it is not yet cost effective and we must live with oil. I do wish Larry and his five livers the best.

    July 14, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Chooch0253

    Hagman is correct. If we can wean ourselves off fossil fuels, as a nation we not only begin to clean up our invironment, but create jobs. In addition, a vast majority of the problems associated with the "peaceful" Islamic extremist, will dry up completely. Without funding, they would have no ability to harm anyone. Currently we as a nation are financing the Muslim extremist organizations. We buy oil from various Persian Gulf countries, all of which funnel funds to extremist organizations. If the U.S. wants to stop Islamic terrorists, you have to make sure they don't funds. End of story.

    July 14, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      You don't know your history very well – the Islamic extremist do not rely on oil for their funding – they get their funding from the sle of opium and its derivitives.

      July 14, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      No doubt about it, our foreign oil dependence is absolutely a national security threat. And depending on your perspective, Middle Eastern oil imports could very well be funding terrorist organizations, and has in the past. Yes, opium and drugs fund terrorists too, but so does middle eastern oil. You may think that Saudi Arabia is cordial with us, but its nothing but a smokescreen in order to maintain a business relationship with the United States.

      July 14, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. John

    The only problem with his statements about oil, is that oil isn't really used for electricity generation. It great that he's promoting solar, especially because he can afford to. His statements about oil being in short supply within the next few decades is dead-on, but it won't have that drastic of an impact on electricity generation. Oh well, good for him I guess.

    July 14, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff

    Hey, wait a minute! Patrick Duffy was the Dallas star promoting solar energy back in the day. He should be doing this commercial too. That would be awesome.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. Charles

    Using SolarWorld's calculator on their website and taking into consideration the available rebates in my state, it would cost $14,700 but save me $266.58 annually. So my break even is 55.14 YEARS! Uh....no. I'll turn off lights and unplug unused appliances for now. When it makes sense financially, I'll reconsider.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Garry

    I like the idea of solar energy too, but the reality is that most of us don't have the 700K to install the system he did. I understand he got back 320K in tax rebates, but that still leaves 380K for the system. Spread out over a 25 year life expectancy of the solar panels, thats 15200.00 per year. Coal is the primary fuel source for producing electricity and saving oil will only meet transportation needs if we all drive electric cars. We need to continue to strive for more conservation, and solar panels.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Byron

    This is actually old , now re-hashed news. thanks Cnn for the breaking news

    July 14, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. TS

    People here in the US listen too closely to US scientists. Russia knows, as well as BP that once you get below the shelf, there is endless oil supply under extreme pressure. Also the oil is naturally generated from the earth, not what US scientists explain as coming from dinosaurs. Let's see, high pressure, below shelf, endless supply. Sounds like the well at Deepwater. I work among the oil industry. I know.

    July 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      It would seem, TS, that science (i.e. education) is something you are at odds with. Fossil fuel (one source of energy) comes from dead organisms which may include dead dinosaurs and plants. I would doubt modern scientists say that oil only comes "from dinosaurs". "Oil is naturally generated from the earth"? Again, since you don't believe in science, I would assume if someone asked you for scientific proof of this theory of yours, you couldn't or wouldn't provide it. People or sheep like you listen too closely to oil execs who are only looking out for their jobs.

      July 15, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Leo King

    solar cells these days are not yet very efficient in generating electricity;-"

    October 6, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. Fire Grate 

    amorphous type solar cells are the cheapest option that we cant get if we want solar power.~-

    October 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
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