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Archive for May, 2014

Lincoln Day Dinner

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As high school seniors near graduation, they very often pull senior pranks. One young man in Colorado, however, was suspended from school and banned from graduation because of his prank. The incident caused no damage to the school and was pretty harmless. But, the visual of what he did angered his high school principal so much that she immediately lost it and went on a rampage. His prank? Raising the freedom representing Gadsden flag on the school’s flagpole.
The Examiner reported that on May 9th, Greg Stoneburner replaced the school’s flag with the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, one that is used by the Tea Party movement as an expression of freedom and the willingness to fight for it.
According a Facebook post by Stoneburner, he was not attempting to push any political affiliation, but was merely trying to “encourage historical and contemporary discussion about our student rights.”
Upon seeing the flag waving in the air with Old Glory, the principal of Central High School, Jodie Diers, went on a rampage yelling to take the flag down. Stoneburner was pulled out of a scholarship breakfast, along with his parents, and told that he was not welcome at Central High and that his prank was ‘a slap in the face’ to the school.
His flag was confiscated and he was not awarded his diploma until after graduation.
Stoneburner had strong words for the principal in regards to her actions and her claim that flying the Gadsden flag was ‘a slap in the face’ to the school.
The Gadsden flag has almost an identical history to the American flag, and was born from a very patriotic cause, and its suddenly a “slap in the face.” This shows the ignorance and misinformation of the people in power over our children. History like this used to be taught in schools all over the United states, and now not even most adults, let alone high school age people know what this flag stands for.
The Examiner reports that Stoneburner identifies politically as a libertarian and is a firm believer in the Constitution. He also shared concerns that he feels should trouble everyone with regards to the abuse of power and questionable teaching within the school system.
Administrators all over the US are excising power that they do not have over students and other adults. Students are being taught to obey baseless authority and to never question anything. Is that the real message we want to be sending our children, who are the future of this country?
Stoneburner’s wish is that this story will go viral so that people across America can be made aware of this the blatant abuse of power from a principal who took out her anger based on political views on a student whose views are counter to hers.

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CARBON DIOXIDE, FRIEND OR FOE?
The Industrial Engineer Rajendra Pachauri, who specializes in diesel engines, is the chairman of the UN panel on climate change, and he has issued another report warning that if we do not change our ways, we are all doomed. Soon the oceans will rise, people will starve, more sickness, more violence and all sorts of horrible occurrences. The UN feels that the climate change is caused by the increase of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Many other responsible scientists think that any changes in climate are caused by other factors and not carbon dioxide. Regardless of who is right, what is science doing about the carbon dioxide we are putting into the atmosphere? The answer is “Plenty”. Many research scientists think that carbon dioxide is not just an unwanted exhaust gas, but an economical, environmentally friendly feedstock for the chemical industry. Globally, the carbon dioxide emissions amount to about 30 billion metric tons a year. However, today, we consume 20 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in industry. We are currently making numerous needed chemicals from carbon dioxide such as crop protection products, plastics, medications, fertilizer, salicylic acid, fuels and other raw materials. However what is needed is a reduction in the cost of these products and as well as new inexpensive chemicals and products produced from carbon dioxide. Research is searching for new catalysts that will allow us to utilize all of the carbon dioxide we produce, including that already in our atmosphere. Catalysts are substances that will kick start a chemical reaction and make it more efficient and less energy dependent. It should be noted that 80% of the existing chemical processes already require catalysts. Large research programs are already underway in France, Germany, U.S., China and elsewhere. In Iceland, the company Carbon Recycling International has built a plant that is producing methanol from carbon dioxide using geothermal energy. BASF, Linde and ThyssenKrupp, in Germany, have developed a method of producing synthetic gasoline from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Japan is using a different approach and they have developed a process using all the carbon dioxide from one of their power plants for a synthetic photosynthesis process, using sunlight, water and the carbon dioxide. This technique has been successful and further development is underway. BASF has already built a plant to make 10,000 metric tons a year of succinic acid, a valuable raw material, from carbon dioxide using bacteria isolated from a cow’s stomach. So science is marching forward and in the future, we will consume all of the carbon dioxide and eventually remove all of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Mack W. Hunt
Research Scientist and Consultant

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