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Elephants and Donkeys ... and Cows

September 26th, 2008 (07:57 pm)

current mood: weird

The presidential debate is tonight. And I'm feeling so much more optimist about this election than I have in months. Unfortunately, what's got me feeling better is the rotten economy, which can only help Obama. And it's not just the rotten economy, but the way McCain has responded to the rotten economy by falling completely apart. Has anyone else noticed how incoherent he's been lately? I really, really hope he gets trounced tonight.

In other news, I took my little boy on a road trip today to a dairy farm in Pennsylvania. It's called Hope Acres and it's a robotic dairy farm. There's this big climate-controlled barn full of cows, and the whole place is run by the cows themselves and some very sophisticated technology. A person puts food out for the cows every day. Besides that, there are almost no workers needed. The cows are even trained to milk themselves! No kidding. When a cow feels the need to be milked, she strolls over to the milking area, waits for her turn if someone else is using the equipment, and then steps into the milking booth, where she activates the robot and gets milked. Each cow wears a necklace that carries a unique electronic signal, and the robot is smart enough to identify the cow and not allow her to be milked if it's been less than four hours since the last time.

The cows have the run of the barn; they are not confined in little stalls. They sleep on waterbeds. And they can even get a robotic massage anytime they want, just by nudging the device.

I'm no dairy expert, but this was a weird and wonderful place! The cows sure seem to be thriving. Apparently it's much healthier for them to be milked when they want to be, rather than just twice a day like on most dairy farms.

My son's favorite part was the free ice cream we got after the tour. While in the barn, he was most interested in the robot that glides through the barn on a regular basis, scooping up the manure. What is it about 6-year-old boys and their obsession with poop?