The Amazing Occasional Cortex is the best thing to happen to American politics. Her entertainment value trumps even Trump. I hear the senior Democrats plan to get rid of her ASAP because she’s too dim even for a career in politics. And she’s giving away the game.
She’s also quite pretty when she’s not doing the bulging eyes and catfish mouth thing. Dimmer than a five watt light bulb, even so.
I once bought a five watt (tungsten filament) light bulb when I was a student. I put it in the central light in the room I occupied. I swear the place got darker when I turned it on. The gloom level it gave was most delightful.
Occasional Cortex has rediscovered something science was bilking money for back in the 1990s. An impossible project with just enough hints of vague promise to keep the funds flowing. I wasn’t working on it but I was there.
I’ll try to keep to layman’s terms and not don the lecturer cap here. At that time I had just switched from working with ruminants to working with pigs. It was the time I developed the artificial pig gut so I could experiment without messy animals getting in the way. I still have its final incarnation, it’s in pieces in the garage. I doubt I’ll ever run it again though.
Anyway. A ruminant (cows, sheep, goats etc) has four stomachs. The last of these is a proper stomach like we non-ruminants have. Number 3 is for the lecture hall, I won’t bore you with it here. The first two are usually pretty much combined into one big fermenting bag. It doesn’t digest anything from the animal’s point of view but it digests things animals can’t digest. Namely, grass and other plant materials that would pass straight through us undigested.
They do this because the rumen, that big bag, is loaded with a massive population of bacteria and protozoa. My PhD was on the rumen protozoa, mainly Dasytricha and Isotricha, incidentally. Also, while I was doing my PhD, someone else discovered that the rumen was home to the only anaerobic filamentous fungi known at that time.
Back to the point. The thing about that rumen is that it is almost, (but not quite) totally lacking in oxygen. It is the perfect place for methane-producing bacteria to thrive and they do. Big time. You think you fart a bit of methane? Pfft. If dragons were ever real, they were cows with spark plugs in their noses.
So, in the 1990s, there was much funding available for reducing methane production by cattle. It can’t be done, of course. Mess with that microflora and you’ll show a result but when you stop meddling, it just goes back to its natural balance. Keep meddling and the cow gets sick.
The thing about ruminants is that they don’t have a single essential amino acid requirement in their diet. The bacteria and protozoa in the rumen make them all from grass and the cow digests the bacteria and protozoa later. You can, it is true, feed a cow urine-soaked newspaper and it will survive. Carbon source, nitrogen source, its rumen microbes will produce all it needs. However, it needs that microbial population in balance. If it goes out of kilter the animal can get lactic acidosis or bloat, both of which can be terminal.
I did have some fun back in those days. I had found methane-oxidising bacteria in pig guts. Yes, I was pressured in a most unfriendly way into handing those results to the cow meddlers and I put up just enough resistance to let them think I cared. Pig guts (like human guts) have way more oxygen than a rumen, relatively, but it’s still not much. Those methane oxidisers, which require oxygen, were growing incredibly slowly and having no discernible effect on the pig’s methane production. They had no chance in the rumen but it was fun to watch them try.
Later I ‘leaked’ ammonia oxidising bacteria to the same group. They are real, but again, they aren’t doing much in a low oxygen environment.
The only way to reduce the global production of methane by cows is to… kill all the cows. This is obvious and has been from the beginning. It will make no difference unless you kill all the wildebeest and deer and rhinos and antelopes and moose and reindeer and every other herbivorous animal on the planet. Oh, and you have to drain all swamps and estuarine sediment areas too. But reducing methane was never the point.
It’s incredibly silly anyway. Cows can live on grass, we cannot. Huge areas of land won’t grow anything but grass. Turn them into croplands and without many, many tons of artificial fertlisers they will grow… only grass. You grow meat animals or nothing at all on those lands.
The point was, as Occasional Cortex makes clear to even the dimmest of voters now, to stop you lot eating meat. It was to make you drain away your energies on tofu and beans. That’s going to reduce methane production? Really?
Man made climate change is a load of cobblers. We all know it, even those who promote it know it. If Al Gore really believed it he wouldn’t live in a mansion that lights up like a planetary Christmas tree. None of them really believe it. It’s just part of the plan.
The sun is entering a Maunder minimum and real science has known this was coming all along. They were scared to say anything because denying the ‘man made’ part is a career ender. Even those who tried to warn everyone always qualified it with ‘but man made global warming will continue afterwards’.
No it won’t. Most of you will be dead afterwards. Why do you think they are so keen to move people out of the future nature reserve called Africa and send them North? A Maunder minimum will kill them even faster than it will kill us. People adapted to tropical climates are not going to last long when the glaciers start to roll again.
It’s happening faster than real science expected. Sunspot activity is dropping sooner than expected. You don’t have 20 years before it hits, it’s already started. That polar vortex is just a taste. Hence the panic to move the Plan forward faster now.
So if you have been preparing for a meatless warm future, well good luck to you. I have many years of fishing skills and know how to set a rabbit snare, and how to prepare a rabbit and cure the skin for later use. Oh I haven’t done that for decades but it’s really not hard once you know. I’ve been getting ready for cold, no electricity, no mains water or sewage, and a meat based diet based on what’s likely to be left around here.
The Plan has been no secret for a very long time. This particular ‘conspiracy theory’ has been, quite literally, set in stone and put on on public display. Still, many deny it.
Many poo-poo it even now. However, most of those who scoff are avid fans of Bernie Stalinders and the Occasional Cortex and all the free stuff they promise that will be paid for by someone else. They are listening, not to the voices of reason, but to the voices of madness and disaster.
One of those voices is now telling them the links in the Plan.
I think the Democrats will get rid of her sooner rather than later. But I hope she stays for a long while.
She’s the best laugh I’ve had since the Benny Hill show.