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Why Are Dalmatians Linked to Firefighting?

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Sure, his coloring makes him look good against a red background, but it turns out that in the early days of firefighting, the Dalmatian served an important purpose.

In the 1800s, fire engines were horse-driven carriages. Unfortunately, horses and much of the other equipment found in a fire station were a prime target for thieves at that time, especially in some of the poorer urban areas (which is where the majority of fires occurred). Some firefighters tried to combat thievery by sleeping alongside their steeds, but there are times when nothing will wake a man exhausted from battling a blaze for hours on end. Eventually the solution became clear: a watchdog.

And not just any watchdog. Horses are not solitary animals. They prefer the companionship of some other animal, whether it be another horse, a dog, a goat or even a chicken. Left alone too long, they grow restless and neurotic. Dalmatians, it was discovered, more than any other breed of dog, formed an amazingly close bond with horses once they were introduced. They also became quite protective and possessive of their equine friends, so it became impossible for anyone to try to spirit away a horse under cover of the night.

After they solidly established a reputation as being ferocious (when necessary) guardians, the spotted pooches were also used by stagecoach drivers for the same purpose, and were often colloquially called “coach dogs.”

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Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
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What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at www.thinkbiotech.com. For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Do Cats Fart?
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Certain philosophical questions can invade even the most disciplined of minds. Do aliens exist? Can a soul ever be measured? Do cats fart?

While the latter may not have weighed heavily on some of history’s great brains, it’s certainly no less deserving of an answer. And in contrast to existential queries, there’s a pretty definitive response: Yes, they do. We just don’t really hear it.

According to veterinarians who have realized their job sometimes involves answering inane questions about animals passing gas, cats have all the biological hardware necessary for a fart: a gastrointestinal system and an anus. When excess air builds up as a result of gulping breaths or gut bacteria, a pungent cloud will be released from their rear ends. Smell a kitten’s butt sometime and you’ll walk away convinced that cats fart.

The discretion, or lack of audible farts, is probably due to the fact that cats don’t gulp their food like dogs do, leading to less air accumulating in their digestive tract.

So, yes, cats do fart. But they do it with the same grace and stealth they use to approach everything else. Think about that the next time you blame the dog.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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