Weird science: 'This Is Improbable' chronicles the world's strange experiments
That was done by seven scientists in Australia in a part of the country where raising sheep is one of the main industries.
When they shear those sheep, they bring thousands of sheep in a very short period of time into one giant building. The sheep do not always want to move where they're asked to, and the shearing involves big equipment that can be very dangerous.
The people who run the industry are always looking for ways to make the sheep move more quickly. It has to do with a lot of money and the potential for injuries. They brought these scientists in, and they found that if you design your floors differently, things will go better. One of the main conclusions is that it's easier to drag the sheep downhill instead of up.
Q: Shocking! What did the researchers say when you contacted them?
A: That was the first time it occurred to them that what they'd done seemed funny. They'd been brought in by an industry to solve a problem, and they've done that.
Q: A lot of strange research has to do with farming. What's up with the cows and the cat?
There was a study done in the 1940s somewhere in the Midwest by some professors who studied dairy cows. They were trying to figure out exactly why sometimes cows give a lot of milk easily and sometimes it seems to get stuck in there.
They tried to see what happens when a cow is startled, to see if the milk would come out. They came up with a technique of startling a cow: they'd put a cat on the cow's back and blow up paper bags, popping one every 10 seconds.