Woody: Doomed by cow flatulence

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Flatulence from a herd of dairy cows is blamed for a recent explosion that blew the roof off a barn in central Germany.

Authorities said a spark from static electricity caused the pent-up methane gas to explode, sending the roof flying. One cow suffered slight burns and several others felt light-headed and had to lie down awhile.

When the fire was extinguished and the dust settled, one waggish bovine looked around and quipped: "Did I do that?"I know it sounds amusing -- a bunch of cows turning their barn into a frat house -- but trust me, cow gas is not  just a lot of bull.

Scientists warn that flatulence is one of the main causes of Global Warming. They fear that the planet, instead of ending with a bang, could go out like a giant whoopie cushion.

Frankly, I've never spent enough time around cows to form an opinion about their bodily functions, other than to know that I wouldn't want to spend much time with one in a crowded elevator.

So I have to take the word of a scientist who says methane has a greater warming effect than CO2, and has a longer lifetime in the atmosphere.

He says the gas is responsible for one-fifth of global warming since 1750.

Where does flatulence-produced methane come from? Between 55 and 70 percent comes from such critters as cows, sheep and goats. The rest comes from Joe Biden.

No, seriously, ruminates such as deer, cows, sheep, goats have an extra stomach in which food is stored. They can burp it up (stop me if you're eating), re-chew and re-swallow it later at their leisure -- say, while they're at the movies or doing their taxes.

It's where the term "chewing the cud" comes from.

The process produces inordinately large amounts of methane, which explains why cows are seldom invited to state dinners at the White House.

If you're planning a barbecue-and-beans cookout, it's OK to invite a few horses and pigs, but stay away from the cows, sheep and goats -- they're liable to blow up the barnyard.

Obviously "The Cow Did It" thesis impacts the Global Warming theory in terms of blaming man for melting the planet. Even if we park our cars, stop heating our homes, and never grill out again, we may still be doomed by an Angus Armageddon.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't stop a cow from, well, you know.

It could inspire a new Global Warming bumper sticker: "Save the Planet -- Burp a Cow."

A herd of 200 cows produces more greenhouse gas in a year than a family jalopy produces in 3,000 miles of driving, or one regular session of the U.S. Senate.

These fascinating flatulence finding are reported by the same U.K. news agency that broke the exploding cow-gas story. It has stayed on top of developments while others ignored it.

Is the rest of the media, well, cowed? Where's Dan Rather when we need him -- one gas-bag reporting on another?
The U.K. news outlet has done some excellent reporting on the timely topic of cow flatulence. I think I smell a Pulitzer. (Among other things.)

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Larry Woody
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