Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Animal Magnetism - Who Knew And How Did I Find Out?

As I was browsing through blogs this afternoon, Bacchus was laying near by turning the air blue. Just about the same time I noticed an article on how cattle respond to magnetic fields from power lines and it got me to thinking about all the wonderful studies being done - like why pigs smell the way they do and how much gas is expelled by cattle - and sleeping Saint Bernards. So I read further.

Studies have shown that
cows and deer tend to align their bodies with the Earth's magnetic poles
. Why these studies have been done I have no idea. I have even less of an idea who funds them but it does keep researchers employed. It's fascinating stuff though. They've found there are no particular weather patterns that go along with this behavior other then when the sun shines they will not stand in one another's shadow. I never noticed, but then I don't frequent pastures when cows are present.

It has now been discovered that if power lines are in the area it messes up a cow's compass. Since power lines produce their own magnetic field the animals are more likely to stand in random directions according to their proximity to the lines. Here I always thought they stood with their backs to the wind!

This is all very scientific. Researchers used Google Earth satellite images in a study of 8,510 domestic cows in 308 pastures randomly located across six continents! I'm delighted Google Earth is being put to such good use. I've only used it to check out properties we've been interested in or how our house and yard looks from on high. But then I'm not a scientific researcher.

True, such study helps determine the migratory patterns of birds and other four legged critters with the same disposition like red and roe deer, whatever they are. It also could come in handy, as the reporter suggests, if you become lost in a cow pasture.

There is a more pertinent point, however. I found this information by reading, albeit on line. If our newspapers continue to disappear, who will hire and pay reporters to unearth this information? I'm probably being unnecessarily flip when it comes to the subject matter, but I'm completely serious about my last question. There is a lot of heavy duty scientific research and institutions involved in these studies and it took some heavy duty journalistic research to find it. To lose or not have access to it, no matter what your field of interest may be, is the tragedy of the decline of the newspaper industry.

1 comment:

Rinkly Rimes said...

What interesting information. Like you I'm disturbed about the possible demise of newspapers, but I suppose journalists will be needed to feed the internet.