The scariest part of the article to me was the part about how a big fart cloud is going to kill us all. See, way down at the bottom of the ocean, where it is dark, cold, and not much fun at all, there is an entire ecosystem that gets food energy from stuff like methane gas rather than sunlight (seeing as how it is dark).
The theory is that communities of these critters, many ancient, were created by whale falls. When a whale dies, it falls to the bottom and can stink up the joint for up to century. The rotting whale carcasses (note to Dave Barry: The Rotting Whale Carcasses would be an excellent name for a band) provide oases for the critters.
So, what's the big deal? Well, according to the article:
In past warming eras, vast undersea deposits of methane ice may have melted, burping gas into the atmosphere [fart cloud] and accelerating global warming. Some scientists theorize that a methane burp precipitated or at least contributed to the Permian-Triassic extinction event approximately 251 million years ago, killing 90 percent of all marine life and 50 to 70 percent of all terrestrial life.Because of industrial whaling, we are seriously short of whales right now. No whales means no whale falls. No whale falls means no methane-eating critter colonies. No methane-eating critter colonies means giant fart cloud that kills us all.
Silent but deadly,
Stevie Joe Parker