In a discovery that should have been the lead story on most networks this week, scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered an incredible chemical reaction that not only turns CO2 into ethanol but does so with few contaminants and using common materials. It could prove a critical means for combatting climate change. For those who resist new pollution curbs, this type of technology is the type of advance that should warrant bipartisan support.
I did one of my favorite hikes yesterday – the Old Rag Mountain in the blue Ridge Mountains of the Shenandoah National Park. The trail is very challenging but always spectacular as you rise to a 3300 foot summit (after a series of false summits and outcroppings). For those of us who love not just hiking but geology, Old Rag is a delight. The range was formed a billion years ago with massive granite formations. Then basaltic magma was overlaid on the granite about 400 million years ago and then a layer of greenstone formed over the granite. There was even an ocean to add to the geology. It makes for a tough but truly gorgeous hike. What always impresses me is how Old Rag always presents a different face and conditions — making no two hikes likes. This was no exception.
In my torts class, we discuss “spite fence” cases where neighbors change structures that are maliciously erected to block sunlight or views. An interesting case has arisen not far from my home in the nearby Del Rey area of Alexandria. Owner-architect Gaver Nichols has objected to garage construction that will block both light and air for Paul and Patrice Linehan’s kitchen’s window — leaving a view much like this one to enjoy. There appears to have been bad blood between the neighbors. What is particularly interesting is that Nichols designed, built and sold the Linehans’ house to them in the mid-1990s.
I will testify this morning before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on the controversy over dueling state and federal investigations involving the climate change debate. After various state attorneys general announced investigations of Exxon Company over its opposition to climate change theories (including subpoenas either to or concerning conservation public interest groups), the Committee issued its own subpoenas to the prosecutors and environmental public interest groups involved in the campaign. That has triggered a confrontation as the prosecutors and environmental groups raised constitutional objections to the House subpoenas. The full committee hearing will start at 10 am in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building.
We have previously discussed the shameful case of the men pushing over ancient hoodoos in Utah with their children and other acts of vandalism of national and state parks. Now we have another groups of destructive narcissists who are shown on YouTube celebrating their destruction of a natural feature. Various adults filmed themselves pushing over a popular sandstone rock formation known as the “Duckbill” on an Oregon beach. For the joy of destroying the beautiful formation, these people ensured that no one will be able to see it.