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Boffins debunk cow-tipping myth

Not possible, even when drunk

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Two scientists at the University of British Columbia have rather disagreeably debunked the myth that you can - when suitably refreshed after a night on the sauce - stagger into a field and tip over a sleeping cow.

According to the Times, Margo Lillie, a doctor of zoology, and her student Tracy Boechler did a few calculations pertaining to bovine bothering and concluded that it would in fact take five sozzled pranksters to tip a cow.

More specifically, "a cow of 1.45 metres in height pushed at an angle of 23.4 degrees relative to the ground would require 2,910 Newtons of force, equivalent to 4.43 people," according to Boechler.

Dr Lillie elaborated: "The static physics of the issue say two people might be able to tip a cow. But the cow would have to be tipped quickly — the cow’s centre of mass would have to be pushed over its hoof before the cow could react."

It gets worse: "Biology also complicates the issue here because the faster the [human] muscles have to contract, the lower the force they can produce. 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," debunked Lillie.

And herein lies the problem. Cows do not in fact slumber soundly on their pins, but rather doze, Boechler said. She added: "I have personally heard of people trying but failing because they are either using too few people or being too loud," before rightly concluding: "Most of these 'athletes' are intoxicated."

So, the key to a successful cow-tipping operation is as follows: attack before you hit the pub, go mob-handed and in stealth mode. Then, clear your mind of Newtonian impediments to unhoofing your chosen target before launching a Ninja-style co-ordinated assault. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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