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Aggie virtual reality

I’m too old and “untechnized” to understand what “virtual reality” is. All I know from what I read is that “VR” is “fake life” in the extreme. Folks say VR can be more exciting than real life — or more relaxing than real life.

Well, for what it’s worth, I read last week about a farmer in Turkey (the country, not the bird) who claims to have induced a couple of his milk cows to produce more milk by fitting them with “customized bovinized” VR goggles. He keeps the cows indoors in a barn, but he claims the VR goggles give his cows the illusion of being outside. Essentially, the farmer has purchased virtual reality headsets to make his cooped-up cows think they’re outside in a meadow.

He claims the high-tech headgear makes his cows happier. This, in turn, means they produce more milk. He says the move is already paying off. He’s put the headsets to two of his cows and noted that milk production went up from 22 liters to 27 liters a day.



The farmer claims the cows’ “virtual vision of watching a calm, serene, verdant green pasture gives them an emotional boost.” Thus, they are less stressed and produce more milk.

The innovative farmer has previously used classical music to try and soothe his cattle. But he says he’s been so impressed with the headsets, he plans to buy 10 more.



The headsets were developed with veterinarians and first tested on a farm in Moscow. Russian farmers worked with developers, vets and consultants at a farm near Moscow to beam the cattle a simulation of a summer field.

***

Now, I have my doubts about using VR to increase farm animal efficiency. But, if it’s true, then how long before we see crowded cattle in feedyards with VR headsets making them think they are knee-deep in Flint Hills native grasses, or confined hogs with VR headsets thinking they are outdoors rooting in a thick stand of tasty alfalfa, and chickens in hen houses or cages wearing tiny VR goggles to make them think they are happily scratching around in a free-range setting? That would really upset PETA.

Or what about urban pet dogs, cooped up in high-rise apartments, wearing VR goggles to think they are enjoying a romp at a dog park? Or, pet cats wearing VR goggles to make-believe they are outdoors catching song birds and mice?

Heck, I might even wear VR goggles when I have to go to a big urban center to make myself believe I’m still at home in the Flint Hills.

***

Along the same unusual vein, I read that a 109-year-old lady in Italy attributes her longevity to eating Big Mac hamburgers almost every day.

I like that kind of a real world successful dietary example as compared to all the anti-red meat research done in high-powered labs — or selling “fake meat.”

***

A third unusual item is for sure a true one. I’ve a very good friend in Maine, who has a son and daughter-in-law in Texas, who have a very profitable sideline bizness. They raise rare hypoallergenic cats. That means the cats don’t shed hair or dandruff that so many folks are allergic to.

The cats are in high demand by cat lovers, and apparently, the supply is so meager, that the kittens sell for well over $2,000 and there is a waiting list.

I don’t have much use for cats in general, but I think I could learn to appreciate them as long as I was the seller, not the buyer.

***

Friends, I’m embarking on a project that sounds simple, but, in reality, is complex. What I’m getting started is an oral, audio-visual history of my life. I’m going to do it: (1) Because I’d give a pretty penny to be able to listen to my parents and grandparents tell me about their lives, and I want generations of my family members to have the opportunity that I missed out on, and (2) Because the technology is readily available and affordable to make such an oral history.

It’s pretty simple: All I have to do is talk and I’m pretty good it. Right?

Wrong! The complexity of the project is realizing that I’m alive, but the recording of my life will probably be most appreciated after I’m on the wrong side of the sod. It can be viewed and heard by my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids — now — and perhaps, hopefully, beyond.

So, where do I start? What do I include? What do I exclude?

Well, I’ve taken the first tentative steps. I bought a voice-activated camcorder from a big box store. I’ve made a list of where all I’ve lived in my nearly 79 years of life. I’m making lists of all the jobs I’ve had, etc.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only place to start is to set down and start talking. I’m sure the project will be “rough” in the beginning — unorganized, discombobulated, fragmented, and incomplete. But the other side of that coin is that all the words and video of family history that I get digitized are words that are preserved for posterity. This project most likely will take a while. I’ll keep you readers posted as to how it goes.

***

Folks, I have resolved “to give up drinking alcohol for the month of January.” Whoops, edit needed: “I give up. Drinking alcohol for the month of January.”

Have a good ‘un.

Milo Yield

Doldrums

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Just an early reminder that the summer solostice has passed and winter’s on its way again. So, don’t forget where you stashed your longjohns.



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