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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: There's Cow in Your Smog
1 May 2012 5:06 pm
While people typically blame Southern California's smog on automobiles, a new study suggests that cows may be just as responsible, if not more so. A large fraction of the region's smog, especially the particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, is ammonium nitrate. Those particles form in the atmosphere when ammonia, which is generated by cars with certain types of catalytic converters and by bacteria that consume cattle waste, reacts with nitrogen oxides that are produced in large quantities in automobile emissions. Data gathered during low-altitude flights in and around the Los Angeles basin in May 2010 suggest that the region's 9.9 million autos generate about 62 metric tons of ammonia each day. However, ammonia emissions from dairy farms in the eastern portion of the basin—home to about 298,000 cattle—range between 33 and 176 metric tons per day, researchers report in Geophysical Research Letters. Ammonia emissions from the dairy farms are concentrated, boosting atmospheric levels of the gas to more than 100 times background levels, so efforts to curb the farms' emissions (perhaps by feeding the animals different diets) might reduce smog more than those targeting cars.
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