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A little over two years ago, the big news was that automaker General Motors had invested in start-up cellulosic ethanol company Coskata. This week, we learned that a giant from another industry, French oil company Total, has put a lot of money (the total amount was not disclosed) into Coskata, leading a Series C prime funding round. In return, Total gets a seat on Coskata's board. Total has also invested in butanol company Gevo.

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Speaking of discussing how to spend government money with an eye to the future, the CEO of the oil company Total said that the world is not prepared for the oil demands of the next decade and needs to invest in finding and tapping into new oil reserves. Speaking to the BBC, Christophe de Margerie (pictured) said that, "If we don't move [now] there will be a problem. In two or three years it will be too late." One result of the underinvestment will be oil prices above $100 a barrel (again), he sa

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