What Can We Do About Cow-Caused Climate Change?
Because it's not all our fault: Almost a quarter of US methane emissions come from livestock in the form of burps and farts. Now, a study is looking into ways to reduce that output via selective breeding.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
University of Aberdeen professor John Wallace is leading a project, Ruminomics, with the goal (as stated on its Web site) of "[c]onnecting the animal genome, gastrointestinal microbiomes and nutrition to improve digestion efficiency and the environmental impacts of ruminant livestock production." In other words, Wallace is trying to find out why some breeds of cattle emit more methane (in the form of burps and farts) more than others regardless of their diet. He believes the answer is located in the genome, and plans to test 1,400 cows between now and 2015.
What's the Big Idea?
Almost a quarter of methane emissions produced yearly in the US come from livestock, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Methane is an especially potent greenhouse gas, and can impact climate change even more strongly than carbon dioxide. Some companies have been tweaking the animals' diets in an attempt to reduce their output. In the US, some farmers use a special antibiotic (banned in Europe) that reduces gas by about 15 percent. A program like Ruminomics could give farmers and companies enough useful information so they can breed and select animals who produce less methane.
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How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
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