“Cows point north” not the oddest science story of the week

The winner is: Growing new ear hairs that can boost hearing

“Scientists have used gene therapy on mouse embryos to grow hair cells with the potential to reduce hearing loss in adult animals”

This is breakthrough news for those of us with hairy ears and lousy hearing. Now I’ll know when people say my unkempt ears look disgusting!

However the potential development of a bovine GPS is certainly my nominee for “Study Guaranteed to Win an Ig Nobel Prize.”

Somehow, cattle seem to know how to find north and south, say researchers who studied satellite photos of thousands of cows around the world. Most cattle that were grazing or resting tended to align their bodies in a north-south direction, a team of German and Czech researchers reports in Tuesday’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And the finding held true regardless of what continent the cattle were on, according to the study led by Hynek Burda and Sabine Begall of the faculty of biology at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany.

Clearly we need to send three cattle into space and see if two of them still point north.

What with the recent advances in cattle miniaturization (NOT MAKING THIS UP), it seems quite possible that the big threat to TomTom could go Moo Moo.

Why do I think the people behind the cow study came up with the idea after a day of smoking pot and reading Gary Larson?

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Early pick in the Ig Noble Awards race: Scientists discover secret to beer foam

Writing in the prestigious British science journal Nature, an elite scientific duo say they have devised an equation to describe beer froth. The breakthrough will not only settle the vexatious lager vs. stout debate, it will also help the quest to pour a perfect pint every time.

This easily equals last year’s winner in the physics category for research into why, when you bend dry spaghetti, it often breaks into more than two pieces.

I hope this year’s awards will include a special PT Barnum citation for Eli Lilly which just got FDA approval for Reconcile, a drug that treats separation anxiety in dogs.