Why Can't I See the Wind? Is It Made of Ghosts?

David Rees, who created the amazing “Get Your War On” cartoons, wants you to send eco-stumper questions to him at his blog so he can forward them to Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy.

Rees is inspired by the exchange this week between Rep. Joe Barton of Texas and the Nobel Prize winning Dr. Chu, in which Barton asked a question he obviously hoped Chu would have trouble with: “How did all the oil and gas get to Alaska?”

Chu, clearly amused, played along and tried to give an answer within the time allowed:

Barton: You’re our scientist. I have one simple question for you in the last six seconds. How did all the oil and gas get to Alaska and under the Arctic Ocean?

Chu: (laughs) This is a complicated story, but oil and gas is the result of hundreds of millions of years of geology, and in that time also the plates have moved around, and so, um, it’s the combination of where the sources of the oil and gas are–

Barton: But, but wouldn’t it obvious that at one time it was a lot warmer in Alaska and on the North Pole. It wasn’t a big pipeline that we created in Texas and shipped it up there and then put it under ground so that we can now pump it out and ship it back.

Chu: No. There are–there’s continental plates that have been drifting around throughout the geological ages–

Barton: So it just drifted up there?

Chu: That’s certainly what happened. And so it’s a result of things like that.

Incredibly, Barton came away from the exchange thinking he had bested Chu, rather than revealing that he himself is an unalloyed imbecile.  He posted video of the exchange on YouTube and posted this on Twitter:

“I seemed [sic]to have baffled the Energy Sec with basic question – Where does oil come from?”

Well, Congressman, this link breaks it down, pretty much the same way Dr. Chu explained it.

So, David Rees wants you to send him other eco-stumpers that he can forward to the Energy Secretary, although I think he should send them to Rep. Barton so he can continue to delight and amuse the nation.  Some of Rees’s own eco-stumpers:

“Why can’t I see the wind? Is it made of ghosts?”

“How did all that water get in the ocean?”

“If global warming is so real, how come I had never heard of it until people started talking about it?”

I submitted my own stumper for Rep. Barton to ask his next scientific witness: “Why is it that human feces and the shoe care product Shinola are indistinguishable from one another?”

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