Two new studies looking at the beef industry show that it might be better for the environment to try white meat instead.
A study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that in the United States, it takes 28 times as much land and 11 times as much water to raise cattle for beef than it does equivalent portions of pork and poultry. A cattle farm also produces at least five times as much gas into the atmosphere. "For people, the obvious answer is: whenever possible, replace beef with something else," Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist and lead author of the study, told the Los Angeles Times. "If you really need it to be from animal sources, that's still OK.... As long as it's not beef, you have always made a significant step forward, because beef is so much more intensive than the rest."
The beef industry disagrees. "The fact is the U.S. beef industry produces beef with lower greenhouse gas emissions than any other country," Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, director of sustainability research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said in a statement. That is true, according to a second study released Monday in the journal Climatic Change: Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock in developed countries (including the U.S.) have decreased 23 percent since 1970. Globally, however, those emissions have increased 51 percent, and have more than doubled in developing countries.
This study looked at livestock in 237 countries, and estimated that beef cattle produced more than 50 percent of methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Dairy cattle came in second, with 17 percent; sheep ranked third, with 9 percent; and buffalo were in fourth place, with 7 percent. Pigs only accounted for 5 percent, and goats, 4 percent. The largest increases were in the Congo, Oman, and the Central African Republic. "More and more of the developing world is adopting the bad habits of the developed world," Ken Caldeira, ecologist and co-author of the study, told the Times. Catherine Garcia
Ah, Thanksgiving, a day for packing in as much poultry and pigskin as possible. And given the holiday's proclivity for football, NFL teams have a natural incentive to spread the good cheer on turkey day.
If you're the Washington Redskins though, you might want to stay mum on a holiday that traces its roots back to America's takeover of Native American land. The D.C. football team has been embroiled in controversy over its team name — an offensive word for Native Americans — for years. (If you're unclear as to why the name is offensive, this Daily Show segment can get you up to speed.) But rather than miss out on the holiday fun, the team's official Twitter account posted this glaringly oblivious graphic:
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) November 26, 2015
Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign has focused on his ambitious plans to, as a recent press release summarized, "create millions of jobs, raise wages, provide health care for all Americans, lower skyrocketing prescription drug prices, make college affordable, guarantee paid family leave, ensure pay equity for women and strengthen Social Security."
Some Gmail users received the Sanders press release with an automated phishing warning, cautioning readers that Sanders' campaign goals could be a scam designed to trick them into sharing personal data. The email's use of words like "prescription drugs," "guarantee," "free," and "health care" — common phrases in the spammer vocabulary — are likely what attracted the filter's attention. Bonnie Kristian
In his Thanksgiving-themed episode of The Late Show on Wednesday, host Stephen Colbert made an impassioned plea to keep politics out of Thanksgiving.
Even a "harmless gesture of goodwill" like the presidential turkey pardon "is pitting people against each other," he said, citing real poll results which found that 59 percent of Democrats approve of President Obama's turkey pardon — and just 11 percent of Republicans say the same.
This year, as usual, there are a litany of guides available for how to argue politics at the Thanksgiving table, from the DNC's passive-aggressive comebacks at YourRepublicanUncle.com to Politico Magazine's delightfully satirical ideas for being the crazy uncle.
Following the release of a video showing the fatal officer-involved shooting of a black teenager, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Chicago on Tuesday night. Some shouted "16 shots," referring to the number of bullets allegedly fired during the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. The protests continued Wednesday in Chicago's business district, The Loop, as demonstrators peacefully chanted and marched through the area.
New footage of the shooting was released Wednesday from the dashboard cameras of four additional police cars that responded to the incident, including Van Dyke's vehicle. That brings the total number of clips released to five, with footage from the three other squad cars that were at the scene during the shooting yet to be released.
The videos in question have little audio, something the Chicago Tribune notes should not be the case; while some videos include siren sounds from outside the vehicle, no sound of officers talking or any radio communication inside the vehicle can be heard. Only one of the videos shows the actual shooting of McDonald, while the others show the scene at various points. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday. Kimberly Alters
Tensions between Russia and Turkey continued to rise Thursday, with Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti reporting that the country has deployed long-range air defense missiles to its base in Syria. The missiles will be just 30 miles from the Turkish border, Fox News reports, the latest escalation in the conflict stemming from Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane Tuesday.
While the Russian navigator aboard the plane has said there was no warning before the plane was shot down, audio recordings released by Turkey on Thursday appear to indicate the plane was asked several times to change course because it was approaching Turkish airspace. Turkey has also told the United Nations that two Russian planes ignored its warnings and entered Turkish airspace. Russia, meanwhile, has insisted its plane flew only over Syria — a claim made murky by the fact that Turkey and Syria have a longstanding border dispute in the area over which the warplane was shot down, The New York Times notes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to apologize for the downed plane, but the two countries promised Wednesday they would not go to war over Tuesday's incident. Turkey had previously warned Russia in October not to enter its airspace. Kimberly Alters
Without waiting for the end of the year, the World Meteorological Organization announced Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year on record. "I would call it certain. Something game-changing massive would have to happen for it not to be a record," Deke Arndt, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's chief climate officer, told The Associated Press. 2015 saw temperatures soar worldwide as a result of a strong El Nino and man-made global warming, with the planet likely having warmed by 1 degree Celsius, an alarming climate change milestone.
Here's a look back at some of the extreme weather across the globe, from heat waves in Pakistan and India to Hurricane Patricia to droughts, floods, and fires across the United States. Jeva Lange
A U.S.-led airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in October was the result of "human error," according to findings released today. The military had accidently aimed at the hospital instead of at the intended target, a Taliban command center 450 yards away. Technical errors were also at fault.
At least 30 staff members and patients were killed in the attack, which continued even after the humanitarian organization made repeated distress calls to U.S. and Afghan officials during the strike. "U.S. forces would never intentionally [strike] a hospital," Gen. John Campbell, the top NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said. Jeva Lange