Stanford researchers are using virtual reality gear to allow volunteers to experience what it feels like to be a cow. They're curious about whether the experience of temporarily "becoming" a cow will reduce people's desire to eat cows. If the video below doesn't work, the article is here.
Ballydrum Celsius Betty recently won the Northern Ireland "Long Life Cow Award" -- for the fourth time. When I first saw this, I assumed it meant she was an extremely old cow, and I thought it was odd there was an annual cow longevity contest. But no, it seems that the Long Life Cow Award is more like a lifetime achievement award for cows, given to cows who consistently produce a large amount of high-quality milk.
Ballydrum Celsius Betty is only 15 yrs old, which isn't even particularly old for a cow, since cows often reach the age of 20. Apparently the oldest cow on record is Big Bertha, who lived to be 49. After her death she was stuffed and is now on display somewhere in Beaufort, County Kerry.
The "remote nondescript village" of Uttarakshi in India is taking a leap into the modern age. The villagers are helping to finance the construction of "an ultra modern hi tech distillation plant of 8000 litres capacity." What they'll be distilling is cow urine.
distilled purified cow urine is being sold in the market at Rs.40 per 100 milli litre with the brand name of Divya Godhan Ark prescribed for indications like general debility, obesity, abdominal diseases, skin diseases, diabetes, cough and asthma. It is recommended in doses of 10 to 20 ml based on the indication and as prescribed by the physician.
If all goes well, the Uttarakshi plant can be expanded to up production to 10,000 litres of the liquid gold daily.
Scientists at the University of Aberdeen are hoping to use selective breeding to breed burpless cows. Or, at least, cows that burp less often than average. This is possible because apparently there's natural variation in the frequency with which cows burp. Some burp all the time, and others not so much. So if you keep selecting the less burpy ones, eventually you'll produce a herd of burp-free bovines.
This is desirable — so much so that the EU is willing to put up €7.7 million in funding for the research — because it's the cow's belches that contain the atmosphere-warming methane. So the plan is that burpless cows will help save us from the spectre of global warming.
Although modern science has been able to send a man to the moon, it has not been able to make cows poop on command. An effort to solve this shortcoming is described in a recent issue of Applied Animal Behaviour Science.
The thing is, it would be really nice, for the purpose of general hygiene, if farmers could convince cows to stop pooping wherever they felt like it. So researchers devised a series of tests to see if prompts such as walking through a footbath, or being exposed to blasts of air or water, could stimulate bovine defecation. No such luck. The researchers concluded, "None of our tests reliably stimulated defecation, which seemed to occur most when cows were exposed to novelty."
Your challenge is to guess whether this product is real or imaginary. The answer is below in extended.
Product Description: CowCows (aka VACHEMENT VACHE). Created by designer Cyprien Côté.
Completely 'fed up' with seeing cows unsuccessfully wipe flies from their eyes, [Côté] came up with an ear extender that could be used by the cow to fully remove any pest that was bothering them. They were made out of a super-soft material and cost about fifty cents (Canadian) per set.
We've been warning about the threat posed by cows for quite a while here on WU (see here, here, and here), and recent news confirms the danger they pose. A 68-year-old woman was walking her dog in a field in rural England, when she was attacked and trampled by cows. Her dog survived. And just a few months ago, a 46-year-old hiker in England was similarly attacked and trampled by cows. Has the uprising of the cows begun? [ibtimes.co.uk]
The linked article includes some tips on what to do should you find yourself facing a field of potentially hostile cows:
The latest in weird cow news: a sensor implanted in some Swiss cows can detect when the cows are in heat. It sends a text message to the farmer when the cow is in the mood, who can then arrange to have a bull brought in to mate. Apparently this is all necessary because cows are in the mood far less often nowadays (the cow version of 'not tonight, I've got a headache') because of the stress of farmers constantly milking them. [cbs local]
I was aware that during the late 1930s the Nazis used all kinds of flimsy pretexts to shut down Jewish businesses in Germany — claiming, for instance, that the businesses had violated various obscure regulations that no one had ever heard of before. But until I came across the news clipping below (NY Post, Jan 13, 1936), I hadn't realized that this effort included decrees to prevent the "race defilement" of cows, by forbidding Jewish-owned cows from mating with "Aryan" bulls. I assume that once the cows were acquired by 'Aryan' farmers, their Jewish origin was quickly forgotten. [Jewish News Archive]
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.