I, too, once dated a vegetarian. We had a fairly easy truce most of the time; early on in our relationship, she insisted that we go to a farm and actually spend some time with a cow, convinced that that would ensure I would never be able to eat them again. In return, she swore, she'd never bother me about it again (unless I did something like cook spam in her kitchen).

So, off we went. We found a likely looking pasture, and sure enough, there was a likely looking cow in the middle of it. Actually, there were like forty of them. After ten minutes of making extremely amusing faces and noises, she managed to tickle the curiosity of one of the thickheaded behemoths enough that it ambled over, still chewing.

She proceeded to scratch its nose, rub its head, talk babytalk to it, etc. Your general disgusting stuff. Then she waved me over. I ambled up to the fence, leaned over, inhaled the rich smell of cowflop, and gazed at the cow.

The cow gazed back placidly, still chewing.

I looked deeep into its slit-irised eyes. Perhaps a flicker of contact...?

The cow stopped chewing, and looked at me a tad closer. It looked like she was examining my face carefully, but of course with animals that don't have stereoscopic vision it's hard to tell.

Then it spoke. I swear it. I heard the voice, and it was rich and smooth and mellifluous, precisely the kind of wise yet simple deep tone you would expect from such a large and placid creature. And as I looked into its shallow eyes (they weren't that deep) it said, in a clear voice,

"Eat me."

And to this day, I get hungry just looking at cows wandering by. I must be iron deficient or something.

the cow is of the bovine ilk
one end is moo
the other, milk

ogden nash
For reasons not entirely clear, cows have always fascinated humanity. Nobody can really point out why, but something about them is inherently cool. In India they were worshiped as gods. In America cow tipping is a national pastime. They are a central part of the video game Earthworm Jim. They are all over NYC. They are the staple of The Far Side. Wherever we turn, the cows are there.

Perhaps, however, this love of cows ingrained in the human psyche is not so unusual after all. They give us beef to eat. They give us milk to drink. They give us leather to wear. And all while keeping the world turning, they walk peacefully around their fields with a eternally blissful look.

So why is humanity obsessed with cows? Could it be that they embody all of those characters we wish we possessed. Do each of us yearn to be a productive yet happy member of society? Do each of us have an inner cow yearning to be released?

Or am I full of bull?
Humanity may be fascinated by cattle, but the reasons why are many and subtle and far from obvious. Kine more than any other beast have shaped human destiny. Consider this simple example: in Jamaica on the backroads, I saw a cow wander onto the road and block traffic for nearly an hour. And how about Mrs. O'Leary's cow and the destruction of Chicago?

But we're not just talking butterflies and bovine legend here. In ancient Indo-European times, taboos were developed against cattle-killing to preserve the supply of milk and cheese, while warriors would release a sacred cow, raping and pillaging wherever it might roam. The greatest Celtic epic, the Tain Bo Cuailnge, was about a cattle raid, and ended in the slaughter of thousands and the destruction of much of Ulster. Eurocentric, you say? African peoples such as the Massai, who bleed their herds for drink, have for years started bloody wars because the wrong cow crossed the wrong border, not to mention the holy cows of India.

Can this really be an accident? For how many has the cow bell been the knell of death? Can whimsy have been the cause of death for so many millions? Or are the cows much smarter than we thought?

Do we really love them, or do they manipulate us like so much beef? What species now spends most of its time in cages?Vegetarianism? Fuck that! More meat, I say! Make the world safe for your children again! Stop the cow hegemony!

All right, I'll add some meat to this rant: Thursday, June 9, in the year 2005: Nigerian police arrest a cow accused of killing a bus driver. Apparently, while the man was urinating (urinating, for chrisakes...talk about kicking a man when he's down), the cow came from behind and knocked him to the ground. Once down, the mad bovid trampled and gored the man to death. Like you really needed more proof...

Copy on Write. An attribute of some paging systems for implementing virtual memory. Most modern Unices use CoW when fork()ing a new process.

To clone a new process, the OS must arrange for it to see an exact copy of the current memory space. Some pages (like "text", the executable program code) are read only, so can be shared between both tines of the fork. Pages holding writable data must appear the same to both tines, but are not shared (writing on one tine does not change the other tine's memory). The easy way out is to copy all pages of writable data in the child process.

Unfortunately, this is very wasteful both of (virtual) memory and of CPU time. Typically, a large proportion of memory remains unchanged in both processes, so there is no need to copy it. In particular, in the fork() then exec*() paradigm (used to run a new program) the child process writes almost nothing before clearing all its virtual memory space with the new program. So copying is inherently wasteful.

A better solution is to share all pages, but to mark writable pages as unwritable but copy on write. When (IF) either tine tries to write to such a page, the OS is notified (it's unwritable) with a page fault. The OS can then make a fresh writable (unshared) copy of the page and map it into the writing process' address space instead of the faulting page. (Depending on how many other processes share the original page, that too may become unshared writable).

Time spent fork()ing the new process is still linear in the size of the process' memory space, but with a much smaller constant multiplier: instead of copying each page, it only needs to be marked copy on write (and, typically, a reference count set). Generally, the results are highly beneficial.

KANJI: GYUU ushi (cow, bull)

ASCII Art Representation:

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Character Etymology:

From a stylized pictograph of a cow's head with horns. Scholarly opinion is diveded as to whether or not the lower of the two horizontal strokes depicts the ears or the crown of the head.

A Listing of All On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi Readings:

on-yomi: GYUU
kun-yomi: ushi gi-

Nanori Readings:

Nanori: uji go

English Definitions:

  1. GO, GYUU: beef, cow.
  2. ushi: cattle, cow, bull, ox.

Character Index Numbers:

New Nelson: 3532
Henshall: 97

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

牛耳 (gyuuji): ox ears.
牛肉 (gyuuniku): beef.
牛乳 (gyuunyuu): milk.
牛鍋 (gyuunabe): a popular Japanese beef and vetable dish, sukiyaki.


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In reference to fugitive247's factoid,

"It's possible to lead a cow upstairs...but not downstairs."

It should be noted that this factoid has been tragically demonstrated at Brown University.

Approximately 125 years ago, it was common practice for the president of the University (and I think other faculty), to use the Main Green for livestock grazing. Some students decided the grazing cows made Brown look like a dairy and, as a prank, lead one of them up the stairs to the top floor of Hope College, one of the older dormitories. After attempts by the authorities to get the cow to walk back down failed, they attempted to lower the cow via a harness. Partway through the operation, however, the cow panicked and fell to the ground, resulting in injuries which the cow didn't recover from. Shortly thereafter, in 1880, the pasturing of animals on the Green ended, even though the President still had the right.

In 1995, however, the wife of the then-President, Vartan Gregorian, presented her husband with a dozen sheep munching on the Green outside University Hall, along with a shepherd's crook for his 61st birthday.

There's no record if the food quality temporarily improved as a result of this mishap. Why couldn't they have just tipped them instead?

Cow (kou), n. [See Cowl a hood.]

A chimney cap; a cowl


© Webster 1913.

Cow, n.; pl. Cows (kouz); old pl. Kine (kn). [OE. cu, cou, AS. c; akin to D. koe, G. kuh, OHG. kuo, Icel. kr, Dan. & Sw. ko, L. bos ox, cow, Gr. . Skr. g. &root;223. Cf. Beef, Bovine, Bucolic, Butter, Nylghau.]


The mature female of bovine animals.


The female of certain large mammals, as whales, seals, etc.


© Webster 1913.

Cow, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Cowed (koud);; p. pr. & vb. n. Cowing.] [Cf. Icel. kuga, Sw. kufva to check, subdue, Dan. kue. Cf. Cuff, v. t.]

To depress with fear; to daunt the spirits or courage of; to overawe.

To vanquish a people already cowed. Shak.

THe French king was cowed. J. R. Green.


© Webster 1913.

Cow, n. [Prob. from same root as cow, v.t.] Mining

A wedge, or brake, to check the motion of a machine or car; a chock.



© Webster 1913.

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