In 1900, the average dairy cow in America produced 424 gallons of milk each year. By 2000, that figure had more than quadrupled, to 2,116 gallons. We explore the incredible science that transformed the American cow into a milk machine—but we also uncover the disturbing history of prejudice and animal cruelty that accompanied it. Along the way, we’ll introduce you to the insane logic of the Lifetime Cheese Merit algorithm and the surreal bull trials of the 1920s. This is the untold story behind that most wholesome and quotidian of beverages: milk. Prepare to be horrified and amazed in equal measure.
You're Drinking the Wrong Kind of Milk: "The A1/A2 debate has raged for years in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe, but it is still virtually unheard of across the pond. That could soon change..." [more inside]
This year's winners of the Ig Nobel prizes are a bumper crop of wild and crazy SCIENCE!, featuring sword-swallowing, knuckle-cracking, benefits of cow-naming, pregnant women NOT tipping over, a household use for giant panda poop (take that, Packham), diamonds made from tequila, a brassiere that can be used as TWO gas masks, "Ireland's Worst Driver", Icelandic banks, Zimbabwean currency, and a 'Peace Prize' earned by hitting people over the heads with beer bottles (and comparing the effects of empty vs. full bottles) (related inquiry)
Birds that rap and cows with accents. The big picture is urban adaptation, which is pretty cool. (...and the egg wins.)
The end of mad cow disease? Scientists announce a filter that can remove the prions that cause vCJD - blocking the spread of the disease, at least via blood transfusions.
Surrogate clone mother Bessie, an Iowa farm cow, is pregnant. But she's not having a cow. Inside her uterus is an endangered species called an Asian gaur, a heavily muscled, humpbacked, ox-like animal native to the bamboo jungles of India and Burma. The embryonic gaur, Noah, due to be born next month, was cloned from a single skin cell taken from a dead gaur, researchers report in a paper in the latest issue of the journal Cloning, to be released this week. It is the first endangered species ever to be cloned, and the first cloned animal to gestate in the womb of another species. Is this a new era in wildlife conservation? (Already, the Massachusetts scientists who created Noah are laying plans to clone endangered giant pandas.) Or are we bringing on Jurassic Park?