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Cow Tipping is a Myth

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the good-use-of-a-physics-degree dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 153

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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Never underestimate the power of Nandrolone... (3, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995032)


From TFA:
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.
Five normal people, perhaps...or perhaps just one college football jock, hopped up on steriods and Jagermeister...

(Before the naysayers start yammering about the misconceptions of steroid use, let me relate a personal experience of mine. Back in my college days, I watched my football jock roommate (an avowed Nandralone user) put his shoulder through the dorm room wall (concrete block), during a Jager bender. I doubt a mere cow would have had much of a chance against this guy.)

Re:Never underestimate the power of Nandrolone... (4, Informative)

itwerx (165526) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995150)

...put his shoulder through the dorm room wall (concrete block)...

A concrete block wall, (especially if it's not a filled and rebar-reinforced load-bearing wall :), is actually surprisingly weak. Concrete can be incredibly strong when subjected solely to compression forces, but has minimal tensile strength. Consider also that not only does your college roommate have a fair amount of weight, but he is likely delivering it near the center (floor to ceiling) and so has maximum leverage to his advantage as well. I can't say I've ever attempted that particular feat myself but I've done enough other "interesting" things to concrete with my bare hands that I'm not too surprised to hear a drunk jock managed to break a wall...

Re:Never underestimate the power of Nandrolone... (1)

slughead (592713) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995770)

Five normal people, perhaps...or perhaps just one college football jock, hopped up on steriods and Jagermeister...

Or a truck, as we used to do back in my high school days.

Re:Never underestimate the power of Nandrolone... (3, Funny)

Axe (11122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996057)

I wonder how many college nerds will provoke their roommates to actually try this after reading this article.

And of course you can tip a cow. This article is garbage pseudo-science. Blatant and ignorant misuse of perfectly good physics. Damn canadians.

Re:Never underestimate the power of Nandrolone... (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998539)

> And of course you can tip a cow. This article is garbage pseudo-science. Blatant and ignorant misuse of perfectly good physics. Damn canadians.

I used to work at a restaurant. A cow orker of mine was little on the tubby side, but very cute, and she certainly never had any trouble getting tipped. *rimshot*

Kneel behind it! (4, Funny)

elliotj (519297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996834)

The guys who researched this article are idiots. Anybody can tell you that it only takes two people to tip a cow: one guys sneaks up and kneels behind it before the other guy runs up and pushes it over.

Re:Never underestimate the power of Nandrolone... (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997054)

Or two nerds with an axe. Just take out the cow's legs and it'll topple right over... this isn't rocket science.

Re:Never underestimate the power of Nandrolone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998290)

That's total crap, I've been cow tipping personally on my granparents ranch. You need 3 people and a good running start. Also, a nice exit strategy is a good idea. One of the cows chased us one time and my brother's friend ended up getting tangled in the barbed wire fence. No real harm, just some scratches, but it could have been bad if the cow had hit him.

Center of mass? (5, Insightful)

The Madd Rapper (886657) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Center of mass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13995217)

yeh seriously this article is crap. good science my ass. the "science" was done by two girls in canada? yeh whatever. seriously how is this posted on slashdot. its fucking garbage

Re:Center of mass? (4, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995303)

It gets worse. Notice how the diagram assumes that the fulcrum of the cow is the opposite leg? This assumes a 100% rigid body cow. How rigid is a cow if it isn't expecting to be knocked over? If the cow's legs provided full vertical support but no angular rigity, a slight breeze would blow that parallelogram over.

In essence, they've shown the theoretical maximum force required to tip a cow.

And, of course, she doesn't try to tip any cows herself. It seems a bit irresponsible to prove that it can't be done mathematically, without checking your work yourself.

Not necessarily relevant to the findings of the article, but notice in the diagram where the center of mass is located?

Re:Center of mass? (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995486)

Er, did you read the article? They address the rigid cow issue.

Also, you appear to be without a sense of humour.

Re:Center of mass? (1)

Time_Ngler (564671) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995777)

Er, did you comprehend what you read?

<Quote>But I suspect that even if a dynamic physics model suggests cow tipping is possible, the biology ultimately gets in the way: a cow is simply not a rigid, unresponding body.</Quote>

They seem to be arguing that a non-rigid cow would make it more difficult rather than less, implying that the Doctor of Zoology, ahem, and her student didn't understand the leg swaying issue when applying their knowledge of physics.

Biology and Aikido (2, Interesting)

hummassa (157160) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996686)

To tip a living being is EASIER than tipping a statue. Living things are easily surprised and taken off-balance.
My personal experience with ruminants is: I ran over a horse once and I ran over a cow, too.
The horse: I was at 110km/h (70mph) in a 1979 GM Chevette whose brake system, unknowingly to me up till that time, was defective. I saw the horse going to the middle of the road at 150m distance, hit the brakes, and nothing! I swung the car to the left (so I could avoid hitting the horse on me), and the horse rolled (ONCE) over the right side of my car (broke the windshield and I had to repair the right A-column) and fell on his feet. Speed on impact: at least 80km/h (50mph). Horse weight: 600kg. The horse survived, with a broken rib.
The cow: I was at 110km/h (70mph) in a 1995 Fiat Tempra. It was 11pm and I was coming back from a 600km (370mi) away one-day trip. I saw the cow at less than 100m (110yd) distance, and hit the brakes, slowing down to something in the range of 50-60 km/h (30-37 mph) in the point of impact. The cow rolled TWICE over the front of the car and THRICE again in the floor behind the car (there was no escape to me because a truck was coming in the other lane). It was a big preggie cow, weighting at least 1000kg (2200lb). The cow and its offspring were dead on site. The dynamics of the cow rolling over and over suggests to me that tipping a cow is easier than it looks.
Besides, I weight 100kg and I can push a 200kg weight around. This myth is not busted, guys. :-) Hope Adam or Jamie or someone else MythBuster reads /. ...

Re:Biology and Aikido (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996855)


Your insurance company must love you... ^_^

Re:Biology and Aikido (2, Funny)

Kiaser Zohsay (20134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997022)

in a 1979 GM Chevette whose brake system, unknowingly to me up till that time, was defective.

All Chevettes had Fred Flintsone brakes. You had to push the brake pedal so hard, you might as well drag your foot on the ground to stop. Also, a roommate of mine found out the hard way that a pony keg will not fit in the hatchback without reclining the back seat. It looks like the hatch will close, until the lock latches and the window cracks.

Re:Biology and Aikido (4, Funny)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997621)

Stop buying crappy cars!
Currently taking bets 3:1 that parent dies by hitting moose in kia spectra.

Man, that's harsh :-) (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998385)

Good thing there are no moose in Brasil. And I'll take your advice, and never drive a Kia Spectra if I can avoid it.

Think about what happens when they take a step... (2, Informative)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997964)


If they start to step by raising a leg on the far side, it will make them easier to tip.

If they raise a leg on the near side and try to step away, it will make them easier to tip.

Their best (and typical) response is to raise a near leg and move it towards the tipper, broadening their base and lowering their center of gravity. That, and only that, would makle them harder to tip. But that does not mean I agree with the articles conclusions.

--MarkusQ

Re:Center of mass? (1)

undef24 (159451) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996340)

Everyone knows you get your friend to crouch on the other side of the cow and push it over him. Throws the cow way off balance!

Re:Center of mass? (1)

aztec rain god (827341) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998530)

This sort of reminds me of the folks who said it was physiologically impossible to run a 4 minute mile. . .

Re:Center of mass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13995472)

From the article:

> 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.

Apparently cow tipping is a myth, and is also theoretically possible.

Re:Center of mass? (5, Funny)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996226)

Is the center of mass really at exactly half the cow's height?

Of course! First, we assume a spherical cow...

Re:Center of mass? (1)

TritiumOxide (631773) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996934)

This reminds me of the "physics" of cubic cows explained in this song and lecture, http://www.rathergood.com/zoology [rathergood.com] .

Re:Center of mass? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13996545)

It's a bull. As you can see from the diagram, the "center of mass" is located in his balls.
(Duh)

Re:Center of mass? (1)

Paco103 (758133) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998270)

Well what do you expect? They're geeks that study the physics of tipping a cow rather than just trying it themselves. They've probably never been that close to a cow. They think the center of gravity is the udders? The legs aren't that heavy, and I've never seen a cow produce THAT much milk before a milking. As far as the only being able to push their own body weight, they're probably actually exaggerating that. Again. . . consider who is making the study? You could probably tip a cow over right in front of them and they'd look for mirrors and holograph projectors because they've done the calculations to show that what they just saw is impossible.

Re:Center of mass? (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998713)

I've looked at this for days now (since Saturday when it appeared in the Times), and the statics just don't add up. Maybe there are other factors that make tipping impossible, but taking this as an examination physics type question - the cow get's tipped.

The tipping force is assumed to be the same as the person's weight, which is given as 67kg - but kg are the SI Unit for mass not weight. So straight off we get 10 times the force from gravity @ 9.81m/s2 (ta very much Mr Newton).

The lines of action of the forces a screwy as well. The point of rotation is the cow's left feet. The weight of the cow acts downwards through the midpoint of the cow (the height of which is irrelevant) and the tipping force acts through the top of the cow.

So the question is, is:

1.45 * 67 * 9.81 > 0.31 * 2000

Working it all out and it appears that a 67kg person could easily tip a cow.

The final insult, comes from an agricultural colleague of mine, who points out that for a cow it has a mighty set of balls.

These results are purely theoretical and clear a massive experimental program must be undertaking to establish the veracity of this work.

The real truth. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13995088)

As someone from bible belt heartland america, we have a few dairy cows. And I personally have been a party to cow tipping, and it is completely possible, and 4 of us did it.

So tell me how that's impossible again?

Re:The real truth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13995336)

"Things are only impossible until they're not." -Picard

Re:The real truth. (3, Funny)

nes11 (767888) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995398)

Same here. I grew up in just about the smallest town you can imagine & have personally seen it happen.

Mine's actually quite a funny story. It was county fair time & some of the guys thought they'd be funny & tip the cows in the pen at the rodeo arena. 15-20 cows, one small pen, 2 drunk high school guys, and a crowd full of peer pressure. They did get a cow knocked over, but one guy barely made it out & the other came out with a broken foot & cracked rib. For some reason a little alcohol prevents one from realizing that cows may try to stampede when one of their brethern is attacked.

Re:The real truth. (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997238)

Oh god, you've spawned the next "Reality" series on Fox...

      "When cows attack."

Re:The real truth. (1)

twd (167101) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997927)

Um, cows are female, so it wouldn't be bretheren. Sisteren, I suppose...

Re:The real truth. (1, Interesting)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998135)

Brethren doesn't distiguish sex. It doesn't have anything to do with brother.

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=brethren [m-w.com]

Re:The real truth. (1)

Jamu (852752) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998479)

brethren n.pl. see BROTHER n.

Re:The real truth. (1)

trentfoley (226635) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995407)

I've been party to it once in Texas. Saw it happen another time in Texas. Saw it happen in Missouri.

Granted, the time when I was involved, there was a large amount of tequilla, and little square pieces of paper that had been soaked in unspeakable chemicals. Nevertheless, the two other times I saw it, I was otherwise unimpaired.

Re:The real truth. (1)

FFFish (7567) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995408)

No shit! You can tell this study was done by a bunch of city kids.

I'm not going to reveal our farm secrets, because it would ruin the fun, but I will tell y'all that proper cow-tipping involves a bit more than just giving ol' Bessie a short, sharp shove.

Ah, good times, good times.

Re:The real truth. (1)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996099)

Well, I agree, if four men simultaneously push a cow really hard, it's bound to tip over. With some luck it may even result in a spectacular cow salto.

Re:The real truth. (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998235)

We used to do it in boy scouts. The Firestone Scout Reservation in Brea, Ca used to have a dairy right next to it. Cow tipping certainly is possible, and quite a bit of fun (For the tippers, anyways).

uhm...duh!!! (4, Informative)

omibus (116064) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995101)

First off, cows sleep laying down. I lived on a dairy for 15 years and had to wake them up.

So, if the cow is standing, it is awake.

Next, a good sized dairy cow weighs in at over 1000 lbs.
Standing, feet average width apart -- you, scrawny programmer boy (or me, an almost athetic 200 lbs) aint just gonna nock the thing over. Head start or no.

But, it was a fun joke to pull on the city kids.

Re:uhm...duh!!! (3, Interesting)

DaoudaW (533025) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995269)

First off, cows sleep laying down. I lived on a dairy for 15 years and had to wake them up.
I was born and raised on a dairy farm and had my own small herd by the time I was in high school. Of course cows sleep laying down, but if you had to wake them up you were getting up too early! ;-)

So, if the cow is standing, it is awake.
Good call.

Next, a good sized dairy cow weighs in at over 1000 lbs.
Actually that would be quite a small cow like a Jersey or a Guernsey. A typical Holstein would be more in the 1500 pound range.

Standing, feet average width apart -- you, scrawny programmer boy (or me, an almost athetic 200 lbs) aint just gonna nock the thing over. Head start or no.
Of course not. The whole idea of dispelling the myth scientifically is one of the more ridiculous things I've ever heard of. It's a total joke and always has been.

Now just to confuse all you city slickers, there is a technique called "throwing" which is commonly used on farms and which is used in the rodeo event of bulldogging. Essentially the idea is to twist the head at the same time as you throw the animal off balance with your hip. I've personally thrown calves up to about 900 pounds, but in my experience it takes two men with a rope to throw a full-sized cow.

Re:uhm...duh!!! (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995415)

and you didn't end the post with "yeee-haw!"

[preface: I live in the city, have my entire life] I personally wouldn't try to tip a cow for one reason only. They're fucking heavy and could trample me if pissed off.

That's like trying to tickle a lion or something.

Anyone stupid enough to try and tip something that ways 8 times their weight needs some help.

Tom

Re:uhm...duh!!! (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996475)

I suppose you're going to try and tell me that the reason I never found any snipes in all my Boy Scout snipe-hunts was because they don't exist?

And what about the famous "Left Handed smoke shifter" we always forgot to bring to our camp outings?

Actually, there was one trip where we seen some green newbies down to the Rangers office to get one. An hour later he came back with one, freaked everyone out. But these Rangers went along with it in perfect form. They didn't have one at the time, they were all loaned out already, but they told them they could make one up for the kids if they were willing to wait a bit.

Mostly hanger wire and coffee cans, but they made a good effort at it and convince the kids it was what they needed to bring back to camp.

Re:uhm...duh!!! (1)

Anonymous Cow herd (2036) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998220)

Don't forget dehydrated water and blueberry peelers.

Re:uhm...duh!!! (1)

ZWarrior (194861) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998546)

Having not been raissed on a dairy farm, but living in Nebraska where we raise corn AND cattle, I can say that this is NOT a myth. I actually live in the largest city in NE, but it's a stones throw to dairy farms and feed lots from here. My house is less than a mile from a dairy farm that was owned by a friends friend when I was younger.

needless to say, we did torture them there bovines, and they will tip over when proper mass and force are applied. You have to do it quick because when they figure out they are going to be "tipped" they move. We had the advantage that the cattle knew us so weren't all that skittish, but still.

I do have to say that the "mooo-thump" sound can be rather humourous, especially when it's accompanied by large amounts of alcohol. ;)

They doze off while standing as well. (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996572)

If you have really lived on a dairy for 15 years I would have a hard time believing you did not know this.

And knocking over a 1000 pound mass that is resting on a relativly narrow base with a high center of mass is actually pretty simple for someone who is 200 lbs, if they get a small dashing start for the first frew feet (which you need anyway to be fast enough to get the cow before it awakes).

NOOO000ooooooo! (3, Funny)

Trikenstein (571493) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995104)

My whole belief system is undone.

Re:NOOO000ooooooo! (4, Funny)

thenetbox (809459) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995168)

No! Worry not, brother. It is clearly only a theory. Someone put a warning sticker on this article.

Re:NOOO000ooooooo! (1)

Trikenstein (571493) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996071)

Thank God. Because Cow Tipping is clearly the linchpin for quantum physics.

Re:NOOO000ooooooo! (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995993)

Do not worry, my son. Join the Church of Patrik. I'll make up the details later, but most of it involves sending half your paycheck to me, to save your soul or something.

Geography is also a factor (4, Funny)

shockbeton (669384) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995106)

Geography is also an important factor to consider. For example: If the animal in question to be tipped is located in Kansas, the calculation must also include the force exerted by an Intelligent Tipper.

Re:Geography is also a factor (1)

Muhammar (659468) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995286)

Swiss cows are easier - if you know that:

1) uphill push does not work
2) slope > 80 degrees = messy result
3) weed in the feed makes them ROFL

Re:Geography is also a factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13995347)

A significant upside of doing science in Kansas:

It's true, such calculations must take into consideration the action of an Intellegent Supernatural Agent, but they do not have to account for the REaction of said agent.

Re:Geography is also a factor (1)

stuuf (587464) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995964)

Does the use of a noodly appendage make the cow easier to tip?

Hey! (5, Funny)

dacarr (562277) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995132)

I always tip my cows 15%, you insensitive clods!

Re:Hey! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13995461)

The sex was that good, huh?

oh, man... (1)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995225)

now what are cheeseheads gonna do for fun?

on behlf of cows everywhere... (1)

Mad_Rain (674268) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995235)

I believe I speak for all the cows when I say, "Mooo?"

BS (3, Funny)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995236)

This story is total BS! A friend of my cousin's friends sister TOTALLY did this last summer after they got hammered at this party and it was AWESOME the cow was like "WTF?!" and they were all like "HAHA!" and then they ran off 'cause the farmer was coming! Seriously you can ask anybody!

Real Ultimate Power! (1)

kyouteki (835576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995313)

But then it was a Ninja cow and it totally flipped out and killed people! And it's because cows are cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.

Re:BS (1)

markild (862998) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996127)

That cow going "WTF" was obviously a huge nerd.

Re:BS (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996559)

Where do you think we get beef jerky from?

In soviet russia... (0, Offtopic)

Captain BooBoo (614996) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995275)

COW TIP YOU!!! I have only HERD the stories but those that told it were good friends and their parents.

Re:In soviet russia... (2, Funny)

Oxygen99 (634999) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998688)

In Soviet Russia Cows tip you? Yeah. Sure. Pull the udder one...

science...? (3, Insightful)

Mahou (873114) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995321)

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.

not a myth (3, Informative)

PC9001 (736572) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995368)

Obviously these scientists haven't done very thorough field research. I'm from a small rural town of 1600 people, and I've witnessed cow tippings.

Re:not a myth (1)

cnlohfin3109 (758597) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996718)

I grew up on a dairy farm near a small rural town of 500... I cant even tip calves unless I pick them up or try to tackle them, they instinctively lean agianst and try to push back/resist(from the day they are born). One of the tricks with cattle is to push them slightly instead of tring to pull them cause its damn near impossible sometimes. Since they dont sleep standing up its pretty hard to sneak up on them... only way its possible is to take a very tame cow, have one person on one side and two on other, when the one pushs cow have other two on other side shove it hard. only the show cows are tame enough to let 3 people get around it so close like that. testimonials are the weakest form of a proof, leave it for holistic medicines and diet pills.

damn (4, Funny)

Pierre (6251) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995381)

Growing up in the rural midwest....

Cow tipping, as we implimented it, was not myth - it was a prank.

We would convince a unsuspecting victim that we were going cow tipping - drive to a field far from town and send in unsuspecting victim to dodge the land mines that cows leave to protect themselves and then drive away leaving the victim walk miles back to town in the dark with their cow dung covered shoes.

I wonder if we could get Jack Malvern to go for a ride so that we could 'disprove' is article? buhuhhahahahahaa

Re:damn (1)

sgar (859603) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998742)

In other rural areas we did something similar, except it was called "Snipe hunting". You'd take some schmuck out into the middle of a field, or the woods late at night, to hunt for "snipes". Have them bring some random stuff like a pillow case, toothpaste, or whatever seems strange at the time. Get them out there, tell them to be real quiet, and then yell "Look there's one, GET IT". While they're distracted looking for the "snipe" run like hell the other way leaving them in the middle of nowhere with a pillow case, some tooth paste, and a squirt gun. Always made for some fun times :)

Just goes to show that even smart people can be... (4, Insightful)

Darius Jedburgh (920018) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Strike a pose... (1)

bitingduck (810730) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995617)

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

Yeah, the best time to get them is when they're doing "tree" pose and are just balanced over one leg, or "standing bow" when they're on one leg and are hanging most of their mass way out front.

Re:Just goes to show that even smart people can be (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996614)

Cows can stand in a variety of poses

I really love the choice of words there. I've got a mental image now of a cow doing an exciting combat stance. Ginyuu Toku-Sentai: Ushi! Attakku!

Re:Just goes to show that even smart people can be (1)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996617)

Yeah, 'cause, physics, you know, that has NEVER been good for anything, ever......

Re:Just goes to show that even smart people can be (1)

Darius Jedburgh (920018) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997907)

You probably know the old joke with the line "First, we approximate the Cow as a sphere of radius r...". There are two parts to being a physicist - knowing the theory and knowing how to apply it. There are times when it's fine to make an approximation like that nd there are times when it's not. But if you know the theory and can't figure out how to apply it then you're as good as useless when it comes to solving real world problems.

Why machines... (2, Funny)

Ummu (830131) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995537)

were invented. Who does crap manually?

Article summary.. (1)

John Biggabooty (591838) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995554)

Stories about cow tipping are bull!

call the discovery channel (1)

philmack (796529) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995574)

I'd like to see the Mythbusters crew try this one out... though it's a little cruel to the cow whether it works or not

Re:call the discovery channel (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995650)

I must admit I'm unsure as to the aftereffects of a cow tipping, but would not some form of padding reduce the cruelty?

Granted, I do know that the only natural position cows lay down in is on their bellies, not their sides... Not sure how a cow would get back up after a tipping. Of course if it were mythbusters, they could rig a crane to help the cow up. Combined with the padding the cow might end up nothing more than annoyed.

Re:call the discovery channel (1)

phoenix.bam! (642635) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996410)

Or just use a fake cow...

Re:call the discovery channel (2, Funny)

Kiaser Zohsay (20134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996936)

Or just use a fake cow...

... but it would be the coolest, most hi-tech fake cow ever, with a steel skeleton and a polyurathane body filled with half a ton of ballistics gell.

Re:call the discovery channel (1)

Cerberus7 (66071) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997093)

F$#%in-A, brother...F$#%in-A...

Umm, bullshit (4, Funny)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995641)

Cows standing asleep (they sleep both standing and on the ground.) can be tipped, I've seen it done on my grandmothers farm, but the cow was on a mound.

Its tipping, not pushing. They article shows what it would take to *push* a cow over..

But whats really funny is when dogs bite the tail of a cow and the cow spins lifting the dog up in the air, thats funny.

Its only funny because its true.

Re:Umm, bullshit (1)

cnlohfin3109 (758597) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996740)

Find a recording of such a instance... then ill believe it.

While the math may be right, it's wrong... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13995676)

Cow tipping is possible. How do I know? Do I know some guy that saw some guy do it? Nope. I've done it. The article focuses on simply applying the force to the top of the cow. That doesn't work. Everybody in my county knows that. For those interested (I'm not really sure why you would be, but then again I probably don't want to know...), you have to push/pull the cow's legs while pushing on the top. A popular "trick" around here is to tie the cow's hooves together (a sort of looseish hog-tie) before tipping, pull on the rope... the cow is down and it cant kick properly, so it wont get back up without a whole lot of help, and because it's kicking, you can't get close enough to cut the rope for a while... Yes, I'll admit it (just this once); I'm from the one of the hickest towns in the country...

I bet I can tip a cow... (1)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 8 years ago | (#13995920)

... using only one person and a length of rope, simply bind the bovine's legs with your back agains the beast pull the rope from under your legs while using your back to gain leverage.

of course it's a myth. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13996083)

Of course there's no need for tipping. Cow vagina is big enough to accept whole human penis length. Tipping (putting just the penis head in) is applicable only to small animals.

Cow Tippers Anonymous (4, Funny)

Geek_Cop (930002) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996184)

Um, I have cow tipped, with my friends on my high school football team. I do not recall ever tipping over a cow, because we were too busy getting chased and pinned against the fences. Perhaps watching a 5'7 250 pound lineman get lifted by the crotch by a pissed heifer can be considered Cow Tipping? It was all fun and games until the skinny guy pissed on the electric fence. It isn't about tipping the cows over, it is about the comraderie and the lifelong experiences..and the risk of possible incapacitating lifelong spinal injuries...those are the things that make cow tipping an experience that no bible thumper should be without.

Cows ID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13996384)

Cows where not Designed to be tip. This more science than that article.

And bumblebees cannot fly either (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996553)

This is crap. I *personally* have witnessed a cow tipping. It is not that difficult. When the cow is asleep, it is not consciously adjusting for it's balence, if you run at it and give it a hard shove, it falls over pretty easily. I have seen it myself.

For those who don't get the subject, I suggest http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040911/matht rek.asp [sciencenews.org]

Typical innumeracy you'd expect from a zoologist. (2, Interesting)

gedhrel (241953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996697)

Rather overaccurate numbers for the number of people you'd need (4.43), the calculations state things with a level of accuracy that indicates the calculator is the usual seminumerate soft scientist. I bet they quote the level of sodium they get in "half an average grapefruit" to three significant figures too.

However, the model assumes the cow is static, whilst later giving the lie to this. A single person can tip a cow (I've done it, I'm 5'7" and weigh little and had about a 50% hit rate - hey, there was little to do where I grew up). The cow _does_ react to a shove - the process is more like cow tripping than cow tipping, but they most certainly do go over.

Ignorant City-Folk (1)

paulywog (114255) | more than 8 years ago | (#13996953)

Obviously her model is flawed somewhere.
--Former Wyoming Country Boy

Conclusions from the comments. (3, Funny)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997314)

1) Cows are tippable
2) The model is inadequate
3) Weak oversight of the model and lack of experimental data made for wrong publication
4) There's a lot of seasoned rednecks on Slashdot
5) Nobody cares about the cows, you insensitive clods!

Re:Conclusions from the comments. (1)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998221)

5) Nobody cares about the cows, you insensitive clods!

It's hard to care about the cow's feelings when most would sooner eat the cow than listen to it whine about how the grass is greener in the Johnson pasture.

"Ya do'n wanna go cow tippin'? Why fer Bubba-Joe?"

"Because, my good chum, I wouldn't want to hurt this bovine creature's emotional and mental state before I peel off its epidermal layer, butcher its flesh, and serve it to McCustomers."

Beware of any scientist ... (2, Interesting)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997380)



Beware of any scientist who determines if a cow can be tipped by developing complex models, rather than going out and trying to tip a cow.

That being said, this article is par for the course in contemporary "journalism." Very poorly written. There is no telling where the inaccuracy of the "journalist" stops and the absurdity of the claims made by the "scientist" begin. At the very least, the article itself concedes that two people may be able to tip a cow, but says the whole thing is a myth in the title. Which brings me to my second fair warning ... beware of journalists who contradict themselves several times in the same article (or these days, just beware of journalists, I suppose.) Another way to say it is this: believe none of what you hear, half of what you read, and only about 90% of what you see.

Re:Beware of any scientist ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13997590)

My insincere apologies to all rednecks out there, but I can't believe I just wasted ten minutes of my life reading and article and comments on whether cow tipping is possible. Seriously, people. Don't you have anything better to do than topple bovines?

Re:Beware of any scientist ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998116)

Titles in news stories are often chosen by the editor, not the person writing the article.

Bullshit #2 (1)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998242)

If the cow is stood on wet/slippy ground (often the case in my experience) a cow can be tipped with the combined might of one finger.. or even just a strong wind or loud noise.. like a nearby cow farting which creates both conditions.. ;)

Even in better ground conditions you could push very hard on one side which causes the cow to lean/push back and then suddenly remove the force and watch the unfortunate creature flip itself.. just get out of the way or you will be remembered as the guy killed when a cow fell on him.

Yes life on the farm is quite dull sometimes..

Any kid from the country already knew this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998302)

"Cow tipping" is like "snipe hunting", or any other form of wild goose chase. It's just a story invented to confuse the newcomer.


You get some stupid urban kid out from the city; tell him an elaborate tale about how cows topple like dominos when "tipped", send him out to an empty pasture at night, and leave him stranded there, while you all drive back home and wait for him to clue in and walk home again. Then you laugh at him.


If you really don't like him, you send him in field with the angry bull with the sharp horns.


It's a self-reinforcing joke, and has been for decades. The fact that someone felt it was necessary to "debunk" this is as ridiculous as it is sad. City folk just don't get it, do they?
--

AC

Nonsense (2, Insightful)

hairykrishna (740240) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Not a Myth.... (1)

xneubien (628441) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998572)

We have done it. Anyone who lives in a rural area with lots of cow farms has either been a part of or knows people who have been Cow Tippin'. The results of this study just go to prove ONLY that it isnt easy to tip cows. For every 1 cow we actually tipped...you get about 6 or 7 that you just end up ticking off. What you need to Tip a cow: 1) 3+ fairly strong big guys..(200+lbs each) 2) Sneak into a cowfield without waking or alarming any cows. 3) Find one that is sleeping pretty soundly. 4) Get about 3 feet from it. 5) All at once, charge the cow and hit it in the neck, shoulder, and hip. This will give you a good solid surface on which to exert the most force. 6) Now run as FAST as you can and get out of the pin... you will have a really ticked off cow charging around.. hopefully it will be startled enough to not see which way you ran. 7) Watch out for cow patties...they are VERY slippery if fresh. If all went well, you have successfully defied science and tipped a cow.
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