“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Operation: Flatulence Arresting Recovery Tanks begins in earnest

Study Cow. In the interest of science, I reccommend the recovery tanks be called, "Flatulence Arresting Recovery Tanks" (FART).

Cow Backpacks Trap Methane Gas

( --
In an attempt to understand the extent of cow flatulence on global warming, scientists in Argentina are strapping plastic bags to the backs of cows to capture their emissions.

Argentina has more than 55 million cows, making it a leading producer of beef. In the study, the scientists were surprised to discover that a standard 550-kg cow produces between 800 to 1,000 liters of emissions, including methane, each day.

Further, methane - which is also released from landfills, coal mines and leaking gas pipes - is 23 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

"When we got the first results, we were surprised," said Guillermo Berra, a researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology in Argentina. "Thirty percent of Argentina´s (total greenhouse) emissions could be generated by cattle."

In their study, the researchers attached balloon-like plastic packs to the backs of at least 10 cows. A tube running to the animals´ stomachs collected the gas inside the backpacks, which were then hung from the roof of the corral for analysis.

The Argentine researchers say that the slow digestive system of the cows causes them to produce these large amounts of methane. Now, the scientists are performing trials of new diets designed to improve the cows´ digestion and reduce global warming. By feeding cows clover and alfalfa instead of grain, "you can reduce methane emissions by 25 percent," according to Silvia Valtorta of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations.

via: Reuters


  1. I can't believe this will enhance milk production.

  2. Whit usually handles the environmental issues.

  3. Ah, heck, they're way behind the times. U of I was studying cow farts years ago. I remember laughing about it with the guy working on it. Real gas passers. There's got to be money in those cow farts, somehow.

  4. Around here We Know OUr Shit

    Richard Bowman
    Program Director, Global Livestock Producers Program
    Appropriate Technology International
    Washington, D.C. and Moscow, Idaho

    Hal Westberg
    Professor, Environmental Engineering
    Washington State University
    Pullman, WA

  5. Here's hoping Whit has a post ready in the morning, or someone attacks someone between now and dawn.

  6. We may end up with mandated alfalfa feeding. Enforced by the FART inspectors.

  7. This topic stinks, that's for sure.

  8. I'll bump it down before Doug sees it.

  9. I got to laugh. For awhile at the University Barns they had some big cows with port type windows in the sides. You could look right in, and see the stomachs and stuff. It was a great hit with the kids in town.

  10. If Doug get's on it, we'll never smell the end of it.

  11. Now when he wakes up he will only smell the roses.

  12. We always mange to run the woman off in this place and it soon shows their absence.

  13. Good night Bob. Put the dog out before you leave.

  14. Good night to you, deuce. I hope the ladies come back.

  15. Big Tuna Whatever climate change there is, it's helping the tuna, down Sam's way. Must be the methane.

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