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.
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.
Unlike humans, plants only react to infections when they sustain specific kinds of damage. Now we know that the solution is to get them to produce special “decoy” proteins that can be damaged, in order to get the plant to spring into action.
Cheese, once primarily a way to extend the useful life of milk, is today quite a darling in the foodie world. It’s also fertile territory for adventurous eaters, from Stilton flecked with gold to Sardinian casu marzu writhing with live maggots. Some have even made cheeses with the bugs from their armpits and toes.
But you don’t have be a connoisseur to appreciate these living castles of microorganisms. Each one is a house that bacteria and fungi built, and each has its own distinctive architectural style according the tastes of its inhabitants.
The first thing to note is that giant vegetables truly are gigantic. Any amateur can grow a pumpkin bigger than himself, but today’s giant pumpkins are closer in size to a Volkswagen Beetle. “I remember back when I first started growing giants,” Stelts, who started competing in the nineteen-seventies alongside his dad, said. “Two hundred pounds was like, wow! But the lowest you’ll see at these contests today is a thousand pounds. Over a thousand means you’re serious.”
The British have traditionally excelled at giant-vegetable cultivation. They hold world records for the heaviest red cabbage, leek, cucumber, parsnip, and zucchini, as well as the longest beetroot. But the hobby is gaining popularity in the United States—the number of officially sanctioned weigh-offs has more than doubled in the past decade, going from twenty-two in 2004 to fifty-five in 2014.