October 18th, 2017


Recurring Themes (Cow Edition)

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published August 9, 2016

Recurring Themes (Cow Edition)

For years, India has been concerned about the gas-release problem posed by its nearly 300 million cows (and 200 million more gas-intensive animals), but researchers in Kerala state revealed a promising breeding answer in May: dwarf cows (about one-fourth the size, producing somewhat less milk but one-seventh the manure and one-10th the methane). (Pound for pound, methane traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide.) (Bonus: The New York Times Style Book apparently now accepts the word "farting" in formal copy -- while reporting that "belching" is the far more serious methane problem.) [New York Times, 5-5-2016]

In the early years of News of the Weird, urban readers learned of the custom of various Western locales' charity cow-patty "bingo" games in which cows are fed and turned loose on a field of wagered-upon squares. (In fact, in 1997 Canada's Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission temporarily banned the game while it investigated whether it could be "fixed" by training the cow to favor certain relief spots.) The event lives on, but a charity fundraiser in Great Falls, Montana, in May was halted when the cow jumped over a fence and had to be chased down. Rather than await the now-nervous (or perhaps constipated) cow, the contest winner was selected by random draw. [KTVQ-TV (Billings), 5-19-2016]