May 29, 2018

Cows do not sense the North Magnetic Pole

Filed under: Animals,Science by Orangemaster @ 9:54 pm

Around the world in the past decade, all kinds of publications apparently claim that cows, deers and dogs tend to lie down in a North-South direction, possibly affected by the North Magnetic Pole.

However, according to the first scientific studies on the sensitivity of cows for the magnetic North at the University of Wageningen, it’s not true. Although there is scientific evidence to suggest that small animals are affected by magnetism, anything that has been said about large animals has been solely based on observations, from farmer descriptions to Google Earth photographs.

Tests were done in Portugal on 34 cows fitted with a strong magnet by checking their orientation when they were resting. With or without the magnet, the cows just lie around wherever. Actually, the direction of the sun makes a difference, not the wind, which is the same result of a study done at the same time in Portugal of 659 cows on six farms.

Critics who claim that environmental factors such as wind and sun exert such a strong influence on animals that they obscure the effect of the earth’s magnetic field are welcome to repeat this experiment at night.


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August 15, 2015

Wepod, a self-driving car with ambitions

Filed under: Automobiles by Branko Collin @ 10:33 pm


The province of Gelderland will try to achieve a world first in May 2016 when it hopes to run a shuttle service on public roads using self-driven vehicles.

The vehicles are called Wepods and should drive guests of the University of Wageningen from the nearby rail station of Ede-Wageningen to the university and back. Currently however the vehicle laws of the Netherlands don’t allow self-driven cars on the road. The province hopes to convince the relevant ministries during a demonstration in October. The first Wepod, produced by Ligier in France, was delivered in June.

Rotterdam was the first city in the Netherlands allowing self-driven vehicles on its territory. The Rivium shuttle bus however does not mix with other traffic and has its own road — it operates a bit like a train without the rails.

(Link: Smart Driving; photo:

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January 17, 2013

Cry babies produce different poo than other babies

Filed under: Health by Orangemaster @ 5:00 am

Boffins from Wageningen University, together with more boffins from the Radboud University Nijmegen have recently published a study showing that cry babies produce different feces than other babies. One to two-week-old cry babies apparently have twice as many proteobacteria in their poo and much less of other types of bacteria as compared to other babies, although the study does not say why. It also says that by giving cry babies probiotics, which are found in baby food, these babies will cry much less.

(Link:, Photo of Crying baby by Chalky Lives, some rights reserved)

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July 11, 2011

Two insects die on license plate every 10 kilometres

Filed under: Automobiles,Nature,Weird by Branko Collin @ 11:02 am

An ongoing study by the University of Wageningen has registered 17,000 insects splattered on license plates so far. The researchers made use of 250 volunteer car drivers who counted the number of dead bugs on their plates during 385 trips, De Pers reports today.

Drivers sent in their reports through the website Trips that started or ended in the provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Zeeland yielded the most dead insects, whereas Gelderland turned out to have the smallest number of dead bugs.

In total 133 billion insects die on cars every month, though not just on license plates. Train locomotives are pretty much covered in them.


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October 19, 2007

Let’s watch people eat

Filed under: Food & Drink,Science by Orangemaster @ 2:26 am

“Does service with a scowl put you off at lunch? Will you eat more greens if you are surrounded by plants? Does romantic, pink lighting encourage you to linger over your fruit salad?”

a) It puts me off all the time!
b) No. What an odd thought.
c) Again, what an odd thought.

“A new research centre dubbed the “restaurant of the future” at the Dutch University of Wageningen hopes to help answer these questions and more by tracking diners with dozens of unobtrusive cameras and monitoring their eating habits. We can ask the staff to be less friendly and visible or the reverse,” he said. “The changes must be small. If you were making changes every day it would be too disruptive. People wouldn’t like it.”

Making changes everyday, like, I dunno, changing the menu?
Has anyone noticed that they have “meatball day” and “fries day” at so many corporate canteens?

Wow. Let’s watch people eat, what they don’t eat (how’s that even possible) and if service (duh!) makes a difference.

“The researchers say they watch how people walk through the restaurant, what food catches their eye, whether they always sit at the same table and how much food they throw away.”

Nothing about the actual food they’re eating, if they use their utensils properly, if they have bad habits… that would be fun.

(Link: Manorama)

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