The need for specificity in safety laws

When Kevin and I visited Tunisia many years ago, we cracked up at the many motorbike riders with helmets balanced precariously on top of their turbans.  Apparently Tunisia had a helmet law and actually enforced it, although I don’t think balancing the helmet on the turban really gets at the spirit of the law.

Here’s another example from Iran, where the riders decided to protect the goat’s head instead of their own.

This was from a recent tweet from @_youhadonejob.  Some of my favorite comments are:

a. Meals on Wheels!

b. They are clearly protecting the brains in this outfit with a helmet.

c. Double date

Kevin further wonders what the relationship between the two goats are and why only one of them got a helmet. The second goat really got the raw end of the deal.

I personally would love to see the interaction between the two guys and the traffic cop pulling them over for not using a helmet. Would they point to the goat as evidence that they were in compliance?

Sheep go to Heaven, Goats don’t go to Harare*

Perhaps the story about Cecil the lion being gunned down by an American dentist has focused attention on Zimbabwe again, but of all the questions I’d like to ask Mugabe though about his economically disastrous and politically lethal policies, this wasn’t one of them:

Why Did Robert Mugabe Ban Goats From A City Where There Are No Goats?

NPR asks why Mugabe has turned against goats, arguing in an “anti-goat manifesto” that “We do not want … the sort of mayhem in other countries where you see goats in the city center.”  I didn’t realize that goats creating mayhem was a real problem in “other countries.”  It appears to be a non-problem in Harare, where there are almost no goats to be seen. According to the article, 98% of all Zim goats live in agricultural areas.  Voila!  Problem solved!

The article goes on to ask why Mugabe would focus on goats when there is 80% unemployment in the country. To ask the question is to answer it.  He doesn’t seem to be able to do anything to actually help the economy, so if he wants to be able to tout a successful public policy, it’s best to choose a problem that doesn’t exist in the first place.

Speaking of goats….

NPR has another story about the proliferation of goats at the Congressional Cemetery in DC.  The president of the cemetery (wow, that’s a weird job title) has hired about 30 goats at the price of $9,000 a month. [perhaps Zimbabwe and the DC cemetery could work out a deal given the going rates for goat rentals in the US??]  The ruminants are a big hit, bringing thousands of people to the cemetery to interact with them.  I understand using the goats to clear and fertilize the land, but the president also says that the goats are wonderful because “a lot of families with kids are coming in to the cemetery and often seeing a goat for the first time.” Hmm, is that a good thing?  It’s not like getting kids to a museum or something. Goats as a gateway ruminant to appreciating cemeteries.

*n.b. The title of this post is homage to one of my favorite songs by Cake: “Sheep go to Heaven, Goats Go to Hell

p.s. In case you haven’t gotten enough goat news today, here is an article about “A Man Trying to Live Life As a Goat.”  It’s definitely worth clicking on just for the photos, but here is a quick and amazing description: “He commissioned prosthetics for his arms and legs so that he could walk, as comfortably as possible, on all fours. He considered constructing an artificial rumen that would digest grass for him to consume, using actual gut bacteria found in goats. He consulted with a behavioural expert on goats, and even watched as a goat was dissected, to learn more about the animal he wanted to be.”  Wow, not sure what to say to that.

Crowdsourcing your goat herding

Tired of chasing those pesky goats around? keeping an eye on them 24/7?  You could learn something from these enterprising Somali goat “herders” who simply spray paint their mobile numbers on the side of their goats and let them roam wild.  Of all the ways that I thought mobile technology may bring about economic development, crowdsourcing goat herding wasn’t one of them.

I wonder how well it actually works–it shows an amazing amount of trust that someone would call to return your goat rather than make a tasty stew that evening.  But as Abe Lincoln once tweeted to his 37 million followers, reciprocity is what makes the world go around.

Here are some photos:

goats1

goats2

Thanks to  for the original post and to @GRIMACHU for one of the funniest responses.  He tweeted that they could double as business cards…”I’ll leave you my goat.”