Heroic Scientists Want to Clean Up Cow Farts to Save the Planet

Most of us consider farts to be little more than a mild embarrassment. But cow farts (and burps) are a scourge upon the Earth, releasing heat-trapping methane that wreaks havoc on our climate. Now, heroic scientists want to put an end to global warming-by-flatulence once and for all.

Source: Heroic Scientists Want to Clean Up Cow Farts to Save the Planet

While it is fun to talk about farts, really most of the methane comes out the front end of the cow.

My takeaway is that methane deserves more attention than it’s getting relative to the CO2 emissions we’re flipping out about, especially if it’s true that climate change may result in the release of large amounts of methane trapped underground/undersea.

If pivoting somewhat to methane relieves some of the economic pressure that CO2-focused legislation is causing, then the pivot seems like an opportunity to have our cake (cut climate change risk) and eat it too (lessen the economic hit from the CO2 focus) somewhat.

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Cows Are Deadlier Than You Ever Knew

Every year, cows kill more people than sharks. And yet nobody ever makes a horror movie about them, and there’s no Cow Week. These deadly beasts have managed to stay completely under the radar… until now. Find out just why cows are so deadly.

Source: Cows Are Deadlier Than You Ever Knew

♪ We will fight for… bovine freedom… ♫

In Vitro is Chauvinist: The Sex Ratio of IVF Babies is Skewed Towards Males

Got to admit, I thought this was about eugenics and culture.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) accounts for up to five percent of babies born in developed countries, and the technique has yielded some five million people ever since Louise Brown was born in the UK on July 25, 1978. And that’s just humans; the technology has been a huge boon in breeding farm animals. Yet there are hints that the procedure can have some unwanted effects on the resultant embryos. One such indication is a skewed sex ratio.

Source: In vitro is chauvinist: The sex ratio of IVF babies is skewed towards males

Looks like the fix is just a change in culture medium. It will take some time for this to become mainstream for human IVF. It also looks like (from the abstract) that this extra bath doesn’t harm male embryos in any way, so it won’t require genetic testing of embryos to sort out the girls (extra $$$ and mandatory freeze).

The best part is that this fix will likely increase overall success rates as those female embryos that would have failed instead thrive. Even a small % increase in success means so much to people desperately trying for a child, regardless of gender.

Yes, There is a Scientific Device That Measures the Quality of Mothers’ Milk

This isn’t about the milk that adults enjoy. It’s about the most important kind of milk, which baby mammals drink right after they are born. Like humans, cows produce a nutrient-rich milk called colostrum in the days after birth—it’s full of proteins and antibodies that are crucial for calves’ future health. But not all colostrum is made equal.

Source: Yes, there is a scientific device that measures the quality of mothers’ milk

I ❤ Calvin & Hobbes

Children Who Take Antibiotics Gain Weight Faster Than Kids Who Don’t

Kids who receive antibiotics throughout the course of their childhoods gain weight significantly faster than those who do not, according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research.

The findings, published online Oct. 21 in the International Journal of Obesity, suggest that antibiotics may have a compounding effect throughout childhood on body mass index (BMI), a measure often used to determine whether someone is at a healthy weight.

…Scientists working with penicillin learned early on that its byproducts caused weight gain in animals. This led to the modern industrial farming techniques of including small quantities of antibiotics in daily animal feed to fatten up the animals in an accelerated time frame. So a connection with weight gain does make biological sense, Schwartz says.

Source: Children Who Take Antibiotics Gain Weight Faster Than Kids Who Don’t

Cattle are given monensin sodium under the trade name Rumensin in order to prevent coccidiosis, a condition causing incomplete digestion whose source is a parasitic protozoan in the animal’s digestive tract. Antibiotic treatmment increases the animal’s muscle mass whereas this study is alleging that it simply makes humans fat.  However, rodents raised in a sterile environment and lacking in gut flora need to eat 30% more calories just to remain the same weight as their normal counterparts.

The microbiome composition is known to influence the uptake of nutrients, so it is a good hypothesis that antibiotics are influencing the composition of human gut flora, and in turn, leading to a change in nutrient absorption.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give kids antibiotics, it just means that they should prescribe probiotics for consumption after the treatment is done. If a kid has strep or an ear infection, waiting it out like you would a virus is dangerous. Pro-, and perhaps more importantly, pre-biotics should be taken during treatment.

Cattle Yard Aroma Carries Antibiotics and Antibiotic-Resistant DNA

You don’t need to see a cattle yard to identify its existence; the smell alone is usually enough. Now, though, you’re breathing in not just the aromatic compounds you likely know well—but a selection of antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant DNA, too.

A new study by researchers from Texas Tech University sought to explore the airborne transmission of antibiotics from cattle yards. During a six-month period, the team gathered air samples—both up- and down-wind—from 10 commercial cattle yards within 200 miles of Lubbock, Texas. Each of the yards was home to between 20,000 and 50,000 cattle.

Source: Cattle Yard Aroma Carries Antibiotics and Antibiotic-Resistant DNA

Is it time to breakout the map which indicates airborne radiation from Chernobyl?  Wind patterns carrying various microscopic particles is not new.  And thanks to Fukushima, we have a better understanding of the impact in water currents.  It comes to a point that you pick your battles…

Cows Are Deadlier Than You Ever Knew

Every year, cows kill more people than sharks. And yet nobody ever makes a horror movie about them, and there’s no Cow Week. These deadly beasts have managed to stay completely under the radar… until now. Find out just why cows are so deadly.

Source: Cows Are Deadlier Than You Ever Knew

It was this, or Cows with Guns

Surprising Origins of the Animals [Some of] You Eat

Just what will you be putting on your plate during this holiday season? You probably already know that centuries of selective breeding have produced the creatures we love to feast on, but you might be surprised at how weird the process has been. Here are the 10 most startling origin stories for the animals that most people eat.

Source: The 10 Most Surprising Origins of the Animals You Eat

On a similar note, I treeplanted with a person who enjoyed dogs but would never own one for sake of the domestication the animal species has undergone over centuries.  Which brings up another point – that the list in the article is predominantly North American.

GMO Cows Can Make Human Antibodies

Cows are big hulking creatures—not so great for tipping over while drunk, but great for turning into living factories that make massive quantities of antibodies. Scientists have inserted a modified human chromosome to cows that can now make human antibodies for hantavirus. Other deadly disease like Ebola and MERS could come next.

…These antibodies from these genetically modified cows, however, would be basically indistinguishable from those made in a human body after purification. Cows are much bigger and more efficient than mice, too; a single cow could make up to 1,000 doses a month. Someday, cow-men could save your life.

Source: Cows With Human Chromosomes Can Now Make Human Antibodies

I wonder about the volume that could be produced taken into consideration with the resource footprint.   Cows need more food and space.  More importantly, what if they become self-aware: