Friday, January 20, 2006

Why do Cats Suck Wool?

Being a DBA is certainly interesting to say the least. And I can honestly say that one of the things I like the most about it is all the diversified topics we get to cover... esp in data modeling. I've modeled DBs for marketing, scanning, healthcare, killing chickens, restaurant inventory, political contributions, shipping drugs/medical supplies, and I'm currently working on a tax return DB.

You can't help but really pick up some interesting information on these projects. For example, not only can ckickens live a long time after you cut off their heads, large processing operations can kill over 600,000 chickens a day. Just think about how many chickens that is, and since they're only about 6 weeks old at the time, they're easy to replace quickly. I have also learned that there's an acceptable amount of rat feces in canned chili, and the rate at which hospitals give you infections due to mishandling and then charge you for the treatment is alarming.

However, probably my most bizarre encounter with a schema to date happened a few years ago. I only mention it now because I happened across my notes and thought it'd make a cool post. A friend who was in vet school at the time asked me to write him a small DB to keep track of phychological disturbances in animals. At first I was prepared to turn him down because I just didn't have the patience for that kind of nonsense, but my curiousity got the better of me.

Among the things I learned during that project were:
--Why cats suck or chew on wool.
--Why dogs chase their tails.
--Why calves cross-suckle (that's when they suck on each other's different parts instead of their mother's milky part).
--Why horses shake their heads.

I'm really curious... what are some of the more interesting projects you guys have come across in your modeling travels? And what are some of the more interesting things you've picked up along the way?


Dave said...

Dude, you can't tell us that you know why cats suck wool, and then not tell us. That's just wrong.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, some elaboration on all of those would be nice.

chopeen said...

What do you want to know about combine harvesters and tractors?

Anonymous said...

A little Google search will fix you right up.

Note that one possible treatment for wool-sucking cats is euthenasia.

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Sean McCown
I am a Contributing Editor for InfoWorld Magazine, and a frequent contributor to as well as I live with my wife and 3 kids, and have practiced and taught Kenpo for 22yrs now.
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