Measuring Cow Farts in the Name of Science

The Cow Is a Climate Bomb

Whether cattle are reared organically or with conventional farming methods, the end effect is bad for the environment, according to a new German consumer report. The agricultural lobby, however, is preventing politicians from tackling this massive source of greenhouse gas emissions.

I don’t really know what to think about this. I mean, I know the meat industry is bad, what with the beef hormones and the inhumane treatment and all that. And I understand the point about how the meat/agricultural industry contributes heavily to greenhouse gases. I get it. If you choose to be vegetarian for these reasons alone, I respect that.

The thing is, there is an accompanying picture to the article showing a cow with an inflatable plastic bag or tank strapped to its bag, which I assume is full of cow farts. Which, I can only further assume, means that there is some sort of hose or tube shoved up the poor cow’s ass. Now, assuming this is true, and hey, I’m not a climate expert doing research in the field, there had to be a period of trial and error developing the best functioning apparatus for catching cow farts but not the cow shit. I know, I’m over thinking this. The “installing” and maintenance of this “Furzempfänger“, if you will, is most probably a job that falls to the lowest of research assistants.

Research assistant job interview:
Scientist: So, what do you hope to accomplish in your research?
Candidate: I wanna help solve today’s problems for future generations to come.
Scientist: Do you like cows? *wink*
Candidate: Um, sure.
Scientist: Good, good.

Another thing, I think if this was discussed on CNN or the Nightly News with Brian Williams, they would probably say the word “flatulence” or “methane gas emissions” instead of what we all know what they are talking about: cow farts. I heard a discussion of this story on Deutschland Radio yesterday on the drive to work. This is a serious newscast, not your wacky morning zoo type of program. They used the word “Kuhfurze” and discussed how the volume of cow farts had to be measured and analyzed. Each time they said this, there was a very faint but noticeable quiver in the reporter’s composure. He wanted to laugh, but he held it together. Gut gemacht, Junge!

Oh No You Didn’t!

Apparently, German elected officials can be huge dicks when traveling to America.

The German consul in San Francisco has reportedly assailed a group of visiting parliamentarians for their bad behaviour, including one who even allegedly demanded “a negro” to push another wheelchair-bound MP.

You stay classy German politician. What? There’s more?

Beside apparently wanting the official trip to leave plenty of free time for sightseeing and shopping, the MPs cancelled a meeting with US officials in the Californian capital Sacramento at the last minute because they felt they had better things to do. Der Spiegel reported that the consulate was forced to lie to the Americans to save face.

God forbid you take an official trip on the taxpayer’s dime Zehncentstück and have to do a little bit of work.

Feeling The Pinch

Home energy costs hit Germans in pocketbook

The average 2.1-person German household spent €267 ($392) in July on energy, according to government estimates. The average German household paid €221 per month in 2006 and €172 per month in 2002 for the same usage.

That sounds about right. No more disposable income. I just put gas in my car and paid 61,41 EUR for 41,52 Liter of regular gas. With today’s exchange rate that is about $8.21 per gallon. Damn.

Here is a very interesting interview with Andrew J. Bacevich (Seriously, watch this!). They mention President Jimmy Carter’s “Malaise Speech” from 1977.

It’s a very powerful speech, I think, because President Carter says in that speech, oil, our dependence on oil, poses a looming threat to the country. If we act now, we may be able to fix this problem. If we don’t act now, we’re headed down a path in which not only will we become increasingly dependent upon foreign oil, but we will have opted for a false model of freedom. A freedom of materialism, a freedom of self-indulgence, a freedom of collective recklessness. And what the President was saying at the time was, we need to think about what we mean by freedom. We need to choose a definition of freedom which is anchored in truth, and the way to manifest that choice, is by addressing our energy problem.

He had a profound understanding of the dilemma facing the country in the post Vietnam period. And of course, he was completely hooted, derided, disregarded.

Wow, America had the chance to stand up and set an example, but they uh, well, just didn’t.

Until the energy crisis is solved, or we are all dead, whichever comes first, almost every conflict in the world is going to be about oil. That and water.

A Complicated Man

I was just listening to some Isaac Hayes yesterday and thinking what a musical genius he is, or rather, was. Then I just read that he died today. Hayes was first brought to my attention by my high school music teacher, Mr. Oliver. I always read about Hayes in anthologies about music from the 60a and 70s. Sure, he was known for the Theme from Shaft, but my all-time favorite is and always will be Walk On By.

The Big Picture

When you are looking at an online news source and there are pictures relating to the story or event, they are usually small and few in number. In most cases the photographer that covered the story took quite a few great shots but only a few were chosen. The rest will probably just end up in an archive and remain unseen by most people. The Boston Globe has an often updated new feature called The Big Picture that showcases photography pertaining to current events. Check out the cool photos from today’s opening ceremony at the Olympics in China, the solar eclipse a few days ago or the Large Hadron Collider. Cool stuff.

Birthday, Awesome

So last week was my birthday. Like every year, M got me an awesome present. (Seriously, I’m so lucky. She is so awesome when it comes to giving gifts. It’s rubbed off on me because I don’t want to look like a schlub in comparison, so I try to best her which of course makes her want to best me, which is not hard because she is so awesome. See how it works?)

This year she took me to TreeTrek in Bad Bevensen. Now, if you remember, I have been to Bad Bevensen before. It doesn’t exactly bring back happy memories, but that’s where the fun is if you want to go climb around in the woods, zipping around from tree to tree.

Click for more photos.
I think I’m going to incorporate a zip line into my stage act, thus allowing me to fly over the audience during my bitchin’ guitar solos. It’s been done before, but in Hamburg?