Stories tagged horses

Carbon Nanotubes
Carbon NanotubesCourtesy Mstroeck
Ah, the potential uses of carbon nanotubes. You could make bullet-stopping combat jackets, stronger cement, stronger and lighter sports equipment, a space elevator, or.......a cupid. A student from Brigham Young University made a teeny cupid using carbon nanotubes. Though this cupid may not impact society the way a space elevator would, it's still pretty amazing how researchers are able to create things using such tiny building blocks.

Mar
13
2009

Good advice: In any language.
Good advice: In any language.Courtesy troshy
Ahem.

Your day: Wake up, fart, lie in bed for a while, fart, get up, shower, force pie down your pie-hole, look at the calendar, realize that it is (once again) Friday the 13th, realize that nothing good will happen to you today even if you don’t get killed by a man in a hockey mask.

Wrong!!

I can’t comment on your chances of getting chopped down by a man in a hockey mask (it depends on your social circle), but the rest of your outlook on the day is, frankly, ridiculous. What about a Friday Extravagaaaaanza? Because we have one here on Science Buzz. Today! Today is Friday!

Seeing as how it is the 13th, however, this will be no Friday Cotton Candy Extravaganza, or Friday Ballroom Dancing and Butterfly Kisses Extravaganza. Nope. This Friday is all about the strained relationship between man and beast, and the dangerous head it can come to.

Millennia ago, when man first domesticated a few of the monsters wandering the wild world, a fragile alliance was formed. Whether through selective breading, or lucky natural mutations, some members of a few animal species became more amenable to a symbiotic relationship with humans. Some wolves, for instance, probably began to lose their fear of humans around 17,000 years ago (and perhaps much earlier). These wolves began to hang just a little closer to human camps, feeding on their trash and alerting the camp if any other animals approached. As the relationship grew closer, humans would provide the wolves (or dogs, eventually) with food and shelter, and the dogs would provide humans with all sorts of neat dog tricks, like hunting, pack-hauling, protection, etc.

But wolves/dogs, like all domesticated animals, occasionally resent this arrangement. They miss running around, and hanging out with their wild animal pals, and coming home drunk sometimes. Their human masters sense this, and think, “Hey! Why am I the bad guy? I didn’t make you do this. And maybe sometimes I want to run around a little too. But no, I have to stick around and feed you, and clean up your excrement.” And so the tension builds.

And it builds.

And it builds.

And it… BAM! Friday Extravaganza! Horse bites off man’s testicle! Man bite dog! Animals around the world attack each other, humans!

Let us consider the horse-on-testicle attack.

Little has been reported about the event, but here’s what we know: the biting took place in the very recent past in Indonesia. The man was unloading the horse’s cart, when, according to witnesses, the horse suddenly lunged at the man, and went straight for the crotchal region. Upon excision, the testicle was neither chewed nor swallowed. The horse, called “Budi,” simply spat the organ out onto the pavement, where it was collected by a bystander and delivered to the hospital, with the hope that it might be reattached. (My guess is that it wasn’t.)

If we look at a horse’s teeth, we’ll find that the placement of the molars takes them out of the ball-biting equation, especially when we consider the report that the organ remained relatively undamaged. Because it was a male horse, it’s possible that canine teeth were involved (male horses often have 4 or 5 canine teeth), but it’s almost certain that Budi’s incisors did the bulk of the damage. Horse incisors (their flat front teeth) are well designed for snipping and sheering vegetation, so they probably made short work of the spermatic cord and scrotum. I don’t suppose it was a tremendously clean cut, however.

The horse’s owner (who is not the man who was attacked) offered small consolation. The animal was trained, he said, but sometimes turned wild, and had bitten in the past.

In our other animal/biting news, the trial of an English dog-biter has just wrapped up. After being bitten on the hand himself, 29-year-old Philip Carter returned the favor to his cross terrier, Splodge. As was the case with the crotch-biting horse, what might have been hilarious in a cartoon ended up in a bitter, bloody mess. Bitten on the nose “in self defense,” Splodge received no medial treatment until the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrived at the scene. Carter was arrested, and only just finished his trial, where he was fined and warned that any further dog-biting would result in a prison sentence.

Aside from canine damage and potential legal ramifications, there are some important health considerations associated with dog-biting. Dogs are, of course, vectors for rabies, and I don’t think biting a rabid dog is much safer than being bitten by one. Dogs can also be infected with a variety of tick-borne disease, like Lyme disease and Rock Mountain spotted fever, although I’m uncertain if they can be passed on through a skin-breaking bite. A small host of canine fungal infections can infect humans, as well as a handful of parasites and a nasty little flesh-eating disease called Leishmaniasis.

So, if you needed any other reasons not to bite dogs, or why you should be afraid of horses…

You can now get back to your Friday the 13ths.