Bomb Wisconsin with dung beetles?


I saw this in LiveScience this morning and immediately thought of the Big Government solution: bomb Wisconsin with dung beetles. One size fits all, right, and make it dramatic so the politicians and bureaucrats have some pictures for their campaigns and resumes.

Beetles that root around in cow dung may be even more useful than previously thought (seriously, who else is going to eat that stuff?). New research suggests that by digging through and aerating the excrement, beetles actually reduce the amount of methane released, since the gas is formed under anaerobic, or oxygen-free, conditions. Methane is a much more potent heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide.

There are probably as many dung beetle species worldwide as there are bird species, according to a news release from the University of Helsinki. Unfortunately, populations of the animals are in decline. But overall, the study’s implications are “quite worrying,” said Eleanor Slade, a researcher at the University, in the statement. “When you combine the current increase in meat consumption around the world with the steep declines in many dung beetle species, overall emissions from cattle farming can only increase.”

The scientist in Helsinki seems quite wrought over the whole cow poo thing so now I’m wondering when we’ll see airplanes flying low over America’s Dairyland dropping dung beetle bombs on us.

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About Mike
A resident of the “30 square miles surrounded by reality,” I spend most of my time teaching economics and statistics to undergraduate students. I enjoy, naturally, economics and business, but also science (I was once an astronomical observatory assistant), politics, photography, food, travel and sports. Madison has grown quite a bit since 1978 when Governor Lee Dreyfus made that remark. According to Wikipedia, Madison is 67.3 square miles of land and 16 square miles of water. Visit http://thisgotmyattention.wordpress.com/about/ for one of my favorite views of the isthmus. Or, why not come visit us! http://visitmadison.com

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