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  #1  
Old 05 December 2011, 09:22 PM
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Mister Ed Camel dung

Comment: Not exactly new, but I have heard this from multiple sources over
the years, and haven't been able to find any references to either confirm
or refute it. It's a supposedly-true cautionary tale about blindly
following "conventional wisdom". For instance, a friend said it was
called the "Camel Dung Phenomenon", and that he'd heard it in a management
seminar:

--------
In World War II, the official instructions for preparing seat leather for
British warplanes included rubbing camel dung into the leather at one
point. Well, camel dung was in short supply in Britain, so a man was
tasked with determining whether some other substance (for instance, horse
or cow dung) might be substituted.

He asked everyone he could think of, but the answer was always the same:
"I don't know why, but that's the way we've always done it". Finally, he
found a retired veteran of the WWI North African campaigns, who was able
to shed some light.

"Back in those days, we had to use camels because horses couldn't survive
heavy work in the harsh desert conditions. The problem was, they would
balk when we used cow leather for their harnesses -- something about the
smell upset them. We found that rubbing camel dung into the leather would
mask the smell, and the camels would be fine with it."
--------
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  #2  
Old 06 December 2011, 06:18 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Were there even any fighting in North Africa during WW1?

Perhaps it was Sopwith Camels?
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  #3  
Old 06 December 2011, 06:45 PM
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Read This!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
Were there even any fighting in North Africa during WW1?
Yes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_A...e_(World_War_I)
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  #4  
Old 06 December 2011, 10:07 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
 
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Lawrence of Arabia.

My main quibble is that surely they would not bring saddles all the way from the UK of a non-standard design (horse saddles are not the same as camel saddles); but instaed would buy locally produced camel saddles. In addition aircraft seats are not made by saddlers (in fact in most aircraft the pilot's seat was not padded as he sat on his parachute)
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  #5  
Old 07 December 2011, 11:26 AM
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Why would one ned to rub airplane seats with dung?

It's not like the camels were pulling the planes.

Also, the bit about horses not surviving desert conditions? Where do people think Arabian horses come from? Granted, they cannot travel as long in the desert as camels, but at an army camp with proper logistics? Horses shouldn't have a problem surviving.
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  #6  
Old 07 December 2011, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alarm View Post
Also, the bit about horses not surviving desert conditions? Where do people think Arabian horses come from? Granted, they cannot travel as long in the desert as camels, but at an army camp with proper logistics? Horses shouldn't have a problem surviving.
Horses need a great deal of water and British troops would likely have taken their own horses with them, not used locally bred horses. You have only to see the poor shape of some of the Caleche horses at Egyptian tourist destinations to see how quickly horses deteriorate in desert conditions. Arabian horses tend to be prized possessions and would be treated as such, but if they were subjected to the sort of treatment they'd get as British cavalry mounts*, they wouldn't last long. And conversely, if cavalry horses were treated as carefully as prized Arabians, they would have survived better.

*Cavalry mounts tended to be medium/heavy hunter types such as Cleveland Bay/Thoroughbred crosses or even quarter to half Shire (heavy draught) crosses (and later, half or full Percheron). Later on, any decent quality riding horse or light draught was at risk of being appropriated by the British Army and shipped out. Being heavier in conformation that Arabian horse, they're just not adapted to hot conditions. However they were cheaper to get (to the point of being disposable). The British requirement for heavier mounts or dual purpose riding/draught horses was how the Percheron came to be imported into Britain in large numbers after WW1 (purebred for draught, crossed to lighter horses for producing riding horses) - this was the type of horse the Army liked, not delicate-looking Arabians/Barbs!

(you can tell that I rather got into reading antiquarian livestock books while housebound recently!)
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  #7  
Old 07 December 2011, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alarm View Post
Why would one ned to rub airplane seats with dung?

It's not like the camels were pulling the planes.
From what I understand, that's the point of the story - you wouldn't need to rub airplane seats with dung - but it was done anyway because "that's the way we've always done it". It's a cautionary tale about customs that are kept after they have lost their sense.
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  #8  
Old 28 November 2012, 06:48 PM
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Icon86

Comment: I heard this "story with a moral" regarding blindly following
procedures years ago, but have never found anything to confirm or refute
it:

In WWII, the official RAF procedure for preparing leather for fighter
aircraft seats included rubbing camel dung into the leather. With
production ramped up for war, camel dung was hard to come by in England,
so a man was tasked with identifying a more readily available substitute,
such as horse or cow manure.

He asked around, but no one knew the purpose of the camel dung. The answer
was always some variant on "That's just how we've always done it".

Finally, he was introduced to an old retired veteran of the WWI North
Africa campaigns, who had the answer. "Y'see, we had to rely on camels
for pack animals in the desert, and camels are skittish creatures. The
smell of new cow leather spooked 'em, so we rubbed in camel dung to mask
the odor with something that made 'em comfortable."
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  #9  
Old 28 November 2012, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
(in fact in most aircraft the pilot's seat was not padded as he sat on his parachute)
This wouldn't have been the case in WWI as very few (if any) Allied pilots had parachutes.
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  #10  
Old 28 November 2012, 07:03 PM
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Brad from Georgia Brad from Georgia is offline
 
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Camel dung not only starred in the movie of its life...it wrote the script and directed.

Camel dung has won the Grand Prix more often than any other dung.

Camel dung discovered both the North and the South Poles...on the same day.

Came dung does not always drink beer.....
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  #11  
Old 29 November 2012, 07:21 AM
moonfall moonfall is offline
 
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This sounds an awful lot like the "cutting the turkey in half" story.
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  #12  
Old 29 November 2012, 07:23 AM
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Don't think I've heard that one.
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  #13  
Old 29 November 2012, 07:29 AM
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In 2012, Camel Dung had better stats than Miguel Cabrera and Nate Silver combined.
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  #14  
Old 29 November 2012, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
Camel dung not only starred in the movie of its life...it wrote the script and directed.

Camel dung has won the Grand Prix more often than any other dung.

Camel dung discovered both the North and the South Poles...on the same day.

Camel dung does not always drink beer.....
You sure you're not confusing Camel Dung with Chuck Norris?
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  #15  
Old 29 November 2012, 11:49 AM
fitz1980 fitz1980 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonfall View Post
This sounds an awful lot like the "cutting the turkey in half" story.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Don't think I've heard that one.
It's a story about a woman teaching her young daughter how to cook a turkey (I think I heard it as a ham, but same story) and before putting it in the pan she cuts it in half. The daughter asks "why cut it in half?" The mom says "I don't know, that's just how my Mom always did it." So the girl calls Grandma and asks her. Grandma replies by saying "when I first married your grandpa we didn't have a pan big enough to fit the whole thing in so it was just a habit I got into." Just like the OP it's a parable about doing pointless or inefficient things out of tradition without bothering to ask why.
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  #16  
Old 29 November 2012, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damian View Post
You sure you're not confusing Camel Dung with Chuck Norris?
He's doing a "Most Interesting Egesta In the World" commercial.
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  #17  
Old 29 November 2012, 01:28 PM
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Glasses

Quote:
Originally Posted by moonfall View Post
This sounds an awful lot like the "cutting the turkey in half" story.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Don't think I've heard that one.
http://www.snopes.com/weddings/newlywed/secret.asp

ETA: Spanked!
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