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Cow Tipping is a Myth 153

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-use-of-a-physics-degree dept.
Faeton writes "It's the kind of story you hear from a friend of a friend -- how, after a long night in a rural hostelry and at a loss for entertainment in the countryside, they head out into a nearby field. There, according to the second-hand accounts, they sneak up on an unsuspecting cow and turn the poor animal hoof over udder. But now, much to the relief of dairy herds, the sport of cow-tipping has been debunked as an urban, or perhaps rural, myth by scientists at a Canadian university. "
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Cow Tipping is a Myth

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  • Center of mass? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Madd Rapper (886657) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:32PM (#13995055)
    Is the center of mass really at exactly half the cow's height? Looking at the image in the article, most of the mass is distributed above the COM. The assumption of people only being able to push their own bodyweight is unexplained as well.
  • science...? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mahou (873114) <made_up_address_NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:23AM (#13995321) Journal
    so we're supposed to just accept this as conclusive even though they didn't test their "findings", aren't physicists or mathematicians, make all kinds of assumptions, and no one else has reproduced their experiment (even thoough you can't since they didn't actually do an experiment which means they don't have real findings)? I'll believe it when the mythbusters come out with an episode about it.
  • by Darius Jedburgh (920018) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:45AM (#13995430)
    ...idiots. People who think that armed with some basic knowledge of statics think they can actually figure out what happens when you do complex things to complex objects. Cows can stand in a variety of poses allowing their center of mass to be in a variety of position with respect to their hooves and their legs will tend to buckle if pressure is applied suddenly from one side. I can see an armchair physicist maybe getting an estimate to within a factor of 2 or 3 of what force is required to tip a cow using the naive methods described, but not much better. I wonder if these are the same people who told us bees can't fly.
  • Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hairykrishna (740240) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:22PM (#13998356)
    Theory should always, where possible, be tested by experiment. Judging by my personal observations (I grew up in the country) there's a flaw in her calculations somehwere. My guess is that she has the centre of mass way too low.
  • by iamlucky13 (795185) on Friday November 11, 2005 @03:01AM (#14005672)
    You city people are funny. Cows don't sleep on their feet. Heck, they hardly ever even sleep when laying down, just get dopey, and trust me, you are not going to move a cow that's laying down.

    As for your "mere cow" theory, if you ever tried to move one you would find that they're a lot tougher than you think. First of all, they weigh 1000 pounds or more. I've seen Holstein bulls as big as 4000 pounds. That weight includes a lot of muscle. They're not as tough per weight as pigs, the most difficult animal I've ever had to wrestle into a loading chute, but a cow does not go anywhere it doesn't feel at least a minor incentive to go (hence cattle prods...). Your beefy jock friend may have been 250 pounds or so, but he's facing an animal 4 times his size or more with a lower center of gravity. I admit if a couple of tough guys snuck up on a dumb cow chewing it's cud, they could probably knock it over, but most cows don't even let people touch them.

    Anybody who did ever tip a cow over is a jerk. If a cow ends up on the wrong side, it's stomach ends up on it's lungs and they suffocate. They often can't get their legs underneath themselves to get up.

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