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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Where does ignorance come from?

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) posted this YouTube clip of himself asking a stupid question at a congressional hearing. How stupid? Well, just watch. And consider that Barton finds the Energy Secretary's accurate scientific response bewildering. (Listen to Barton's follow-up: How does he think oil "got to Alaska"?) The accompanying intro reads: "When Rep. Joe Barton asked the Nobel Prize winning Energy Secretary, Dr. Steven Chu, where oil comes from - he got a puzzling answer." Barton surpasses Ted Stevens and his Internet "tubes" on this one. Jon Stewart, it's all yours...

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Oh, and Rep. Barton, please read this short Scientific American article. It's only four paragraphs, but I warn you that, if you're really interested in learning the answer to your question, it may take more than six seconds of your time: "Why is oil usually found in deserts and arctic areas?":

The same plate tectonics that provides the locations and conditions for anoxic burial is also responsible for the geologic paths that these sedimentary basins subsequently take. Continental drift, subduction and collision with other continents provide the movement from swamps, river deltas and mild climates--where most organics are deposited--to the poles and deserts, where they have ended up today by coincidence. [...]

Plate tectonics is also responsible for creating the "pressure cooker" that slowly matures the organics into oil and gas. This process usually takes millions of years, giving the oil and gas deposits plenty of time to migrate around the globe on the back of plate movements.

(thanks again, Tim Lloyd!)

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