Feeds

Boffins finger reason for non-aligned cows

Power lines disrupt bovines' north-south grazing tendency

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The scientists who brought the world proof that, in keeping with ancient lore, cows really do graze along a north-south axis, have found the reason they sometimes fail to display their natural animal magnetism.

To recap, as we reported back in August last year, Sabine Begall and colleagues at the University of Duisburg-Essen examined 8,510 Google Earth images encompassing 308 pastures and plains worldwide, plus "deer bed" impressions in snow created by around 3,000 deer in over 225 locations in the Czech Republic.

The team reported that "whether grazing or resting, these animals face either magnetic north or south". Since the direction of the wind and sun "varied widely where the images were taken", the boffins concluded the beasts were reacting to the planet's magnetic influence.

However, it ain't always so, and here's why: The team now says it's proved that bovines' close proximity to overhead power lines - which emit a "mild electromagnetic field", as Wired puts it - is enough to disrupt their compass needle tendencies.

The researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences*: "These findings constitute evidence for magnetic sensation in large mammals as well as evidence of an overt behavioral reaction to weak [extreme low-frequency magnetic fields] in vertebrates."

Interestingly, this insight backs our own El Reg research into ruminant alignment. Avid followers of our in-depth cow coverage will recall that this hack last year observed around 20 local cows which were directionally all over the place. However, I can now confirm that the field in which they were grazing is indeed traversed by overhead powers lines. ®

Bootnote

*Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields disrupt magnetic alignment of ruminants. By Hynek Burda, Sabine Begall, Jaroslav Cerveny, Julia Neef, and Pavel Nemec. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 106, No. 11, March 16, 2009.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.