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One word, young Ben Braddock: Ethanol.

So it's not at whisper-in-the-Graduate's-ear level yet, but ethanol frenzy earned the requisite New York Times trend story. And yes, there are some pretty big Valley names involved.

Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun and a former Kleiner Perkins VC, is in on the game. (And his SUV photo op screams, "Ethanol fuel justifies driving this behemoth!") So is honorary Valley mogul Bill Gates. And Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin checked out an ethanol factory when they visited those crazy Orkut-lovers in Brazil.

Which means it has to succeed. Techie investments in transportation always do. Ethanol! They'll build cities around it!

On the Ethanol Bandwagon, Big Names and Big Risks [NY Times]
Brazil has head start on ethanol production [CMI Brasil]