Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nature is No Saint


~Henry David Thoreau

Of Note: What do cow flatulence and leaking Siberian lakes have in common? If you guessed, methane gas, you were right. Methane is produced when non-oxygen loving organisms feed on organic matter in cows, landfills or permafrost. Although cud-chewing cows have always emitted the toxic gas, the Siberian frozen lakes have only been spewing the noxious substance since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago, a rate which has been accelerating recently because of melting permafrost underneath. In Siberia, methane gas gurgles to the surface, and one scientist was stunned when she found that "some days it looked like the lake was boiling." Some researchers believe the melting permafrost and methane situation is a serious sleeper issue and a few amplify this concern by stating it could become the epicenter of climate change. On the other hand, one newspaper headline trumpeted: "Arctic Armageddon needs more science and less hype." At this point, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program reports that the balance is tipped in favor of carbon dioxide absorption, and the situation will continue to be researched, monitored and otherwise tracked. Researchers stress that reducing methane gas emissions in other areas could make a difference. That is where the cow-tax comes in. So far, this has not been a popular solution to the problem of bovine flatulence, but the day may come when the fix is taken seriously.

Today's Weather Report: It was cold all day hovering in the low 20's Fahrenheit. Very cold even with the proper attire. The sun shone and produced the illusion of warmth much to the chagrin of the local hunters, one who is joining us for dinner tonight after hunting our land all day. We are having grandma food tonight, scalloped potatoes and ham, and the dogs have not moved far from the stove in anticipation of a few handouts. The smell has saturated the house and has made it difficult to concentrate. Better go check it out.