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Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday links

Scary-Ass Cow Science: Scientist Draws Eyes on Cow Butts to Protect Them from Lions.

How far would you go for science? Would you shove jellyfish tentacles under your arms?

These Guys Just Built the World’s Largest Nerf Gun.

Bad taxidermy.

Exactly How Much Of His Ear Did Vincent Van Gogh Slice Off?

Testing Mobility in Medieval Armor. Related: a gallery of Medieval Suits of Armor.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include a history of trial by combat, a letter from Kurt Vonnegut in 1988 to the Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088, Bastille Day, the library that the U.S.-Canada border runs through, and how to cook a pig in the ground.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Scary-Ass Cow Science: Scientist Draws Eyes on Cow Butts to Protect Them from Lions

Africa lions
“It’s a simple idea that looks really wacky,” Jordan admits. “But it does have a sound basis in animal behavior theory.”

The question is whether lions can be fooled by this same trick. Jordan suspects that they can, especially since lions tend to stalk their prey, and only pounce when an unsuspecting antelope or cow lets down its guard. “Lions are supreme ambush predators—they rely on stealth,” Jordan says in the video. “When seen, they lose this element of surprise and abandon their hunt.” In theory, farmers could protect their cattle by, you guessed it, painting eyes on the cows’ butts so that even when their backs are turned, they appear to be staring at the lions.

With their butts.

At least one small-scale study has already shown promising results. 
Dr Jordan’s idea of painting eyes onto cattle rumps came about after two lionesses were killed near the village in Botswana where he was based. While watching a lion hunt an impala, he noticed something interesting: “Lions are ambush hunters, so they creep up on their prey, get close and jump on them unseen. But in this case, the impala noticed the lion. And when the lion realized it had been spotted, it gave up on the hunt,” he says.
In nature, being ‘seen’ can deter predation. For example, patterns resembling eyes on butterfly wings are known to deter birds. In India, woodcutters in the forest have long worn masks on the back of their heads to ward-off man-eating tigers.
Jordan’s idea was to “hijack this mechanism” of psychological trickery. Last year, he collaborated with the BPCT and a local farmer to trial the innovative strategy, which he’s dubbed “iCow”.

-via Daily Mail, more here.

Thursday links

Happy Bastille Day: Here's the classic Jonah Goldberg article on the subject.

Man Spends $51,000 On Supercomputer That Only Plays Tetris.

From Kurt Vonnegut in 1988, a letter to the Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088.

A Brief History of Trial by Combat.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include Nikola Tesla's birthday, an archive of 3,000 vintage cookbooks. why the Star Trek and Star Wars universes turned out so differently, ancient Minoan culture illustrated with scantily-clad Barbies dolls.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Map - how the average American sees the world

Pretty accurate, really.
Click here to embiggen

Video: molten aluminum vs. bullets

Potential Darwin Award (wiki) candidate:

From the youtube comments:
“Contrary to popular belief, grenades are actually very safe if they don’t have a hand throwing them. They require the hand to increase their velocity in order to prime the explosives enough for full combustion.”
Lots more at Darwin Awards, h/t IMAO.