December 28th, 2007

Who let the cat out?

The headline in the San Jose Mercury News helpfully explains:

Wall of tiger's S.F. Zoo pen too short

Well, no shit. I think we've figured that out by now. In terms of stating the obvious, I'd say that ranks up there with the Cold-War-era CIA report that found the Soviet economy "in need of reform".

The Chron is a little more to-the-point: "Tiger grotto wall shorter than thought, may have contributed to escape and fatal attack."

Anyway, the tiger tragedy at the San Francisco Zoo came to the attention of The Belmont Club. Richard "Wretchard the Cat" Fernandez gives us two posts on the subject:

"Tigers rarely climb trees."

While the capabilities of the average tiger may be known, what is the chance of some unfortunate encountering the exceptional tiger -- the Michael Jordan of the tiger world? Tigers rarely climb trees, eh?

... Although cats are different from humans, it doesn't necessarily mean they don't learn in their own way. However they do it, they are sometimes capable of things they couldn't do before.

... Engineers know that design specifications can only incorporate what we know about the range and complexity of forces to which our devices will be subjected. And they work well enough. Until a rogue wave, or an unprecedented earthquake or a rare harmonic motion sweeps them away and demonstrates that perhaps something has been forgotten.

More here.