Monday, November 14, 2005

Cow tipping-- debunked

A recent article in the Times UK claims that it's impossible for a human to tip over a cow. In this important matter, I will let the scientists speak:

Ms Boechler, now a trainee forensics analyst for the Royal Canadian Mounted Corps, concluded in her initial report that a cow standing with its legs straight would require five people to exert the required force to bowl it over.
A cow of 1.45 metres in height pushed at an angle of 23.4 degrees relative to the ground would require 2,910 Newtons of force, equivalent to 4.43 people, she wrote.
Dr Lillie, Ms Boechler’s supervisor, revised the calculations so that two people could exert the required amount of force to tip a static cow, but only if it did not react.


Persons well known to me have claimed to have tipped cows, so I am a bit at a loss to explain this. Possibly American cows have a narrower stance? Seriously, though, the impression given me--by persons who shall remain nameless-- was that the cows' legs buckled under.

A second observation from the article seems to seal the deal, though:

Another problem is that cows, unlike horses, do not sleep on their feet — they doze. Ms Boechler said that cows are easily disturbed. “I have personally heard of people trying but failing because they are either using too few people or being too loud.
“Most of these ‘athletes’ are intoxicated.”


Hat tip: Scientific American Editor's blog , now at a new url.

UPDATE: What about Kazakh cows?

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