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From: JMFS19A#NoSpam.prodigy.com (Nancy Carson)

Q: What did one lab rat say to the other?
A: "I've got my scientist so well trained that every time I push the
buzzer, he brings me a snack.

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The Cameron Column #41

In an extraordinary new scientific study which answers the question,
"are we giving scientists too much money to investigate this kind of
stuff?" researchers have determined that providing rats the equivalent
of six cups of coffee enables them (the rats) to be one percent more

Several questions immediately leap to mind.  First, what, exactly, makes
a rat more "productive?"  The mice my son had (until he left the door to
the cage open, and then the cat had them) "produced" only tiny black
pellets.  Did scientists count these pellets and find there were
slightly more of them after six cups of coffee?  If so, they may have
inadvertently discovered a job for which my brother-in-law is
qualified.  As long as counting pellets doesn't involve (a) showing up
for work on time or (b) showing up for work, I can see him rising to the
top of his profession.

Second, what is the "equivalent" of six cups of coffee?  Maybe the
scientists stuck the little rat paws into an electric outlet.  In that
case, heck YES there were more black pellets, probably left there by
rats awaiting their turn at the socket.  Do the People for the Ethical
Treatment of Rodents We Would Otherwise Exterminate know about this?
I'm picturing rats sitting around with tiny cups and saucers, reading
the equivalent of the morning newspaper, watching the equivalent of the
Today show, getting ready for the equivalent of the morning rush hour so
they can get to their little rat offices and start producing one percent
more pellets.  The scientists studying this must feel they are doing the
equivalent of contributing to society.

Finally, if I drink the equivalent of 600 cups of coffee, does this mean
I will be 100% more productive, thus able to stay home and do nothing
while my more productive self goes off to work?  How the heck can I be
more productive if I am in the bathroom all day unloading 600 cups of
coffee?  If Al Gore drank 600 cups of coffee, would he change

I have a suggestion:  maybe next time the scientists should drink the
coffee themselves, and then they could come up with a better idea for
something to study.  Like, if you gave my brother-in-law the equivalent
of six cups of coffee, would he find a job?

Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 1997

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From: brett#NoSpam.hpsrbkc.hp.com (Brett K. Carver)

Here's something I wrote after reading one too many of this type of story.


AP--The federal government today released the findings of a four year study
that linked living in cages to increased potential of developing cancer in
laboratory rats.

The study, which cost an estimated $17 Million, was started in 1983 when
all the rats in a laboratory test control group contracted cancer.

Spokesperson John Smith explained: "We were running a test on the possible
link between excess popcorn intake and increased incidence of colon cancer.
The test group consisted of twenty rats who were force fed three quarts
(roughly one and a half times their body weight) of popcorn daily, a
perfectly reasonable amount. The control group consisted of twenty rats who
lived in cages carefully shielded from all known carcinogens. To our
surprise, all twenty control rats developed cancer within six months."

Mr. Smith went on to say: "We had always had some trouble with control rats
contracting cancer. But as long as more of the rats in the test group than
the control group got cancer, we were able to feel pretty good about
condemning whatever we were testing at the time."

Mr Smith was then questioned about the possibility of test results being
invalid if any of the control rats developed cancer. He responded: "Yeah,
we had an scientist at the lab ask that once. We had to let him go though
when we found out he was a member of the Audubon Society; you know,
conflict of interest. He was a real trouble maker, always asking questions
like: 'Wouldn't eating that much popcorn give anyone cancer?' We just
didn't need that kind of a negative influence. The last thing you want in a
research lab is someone asking a lot of fool questions."

When asked if these results would change any previous findings Mr. Smith
replied: "Why yes. This could blow our whole gig. I mean, if it's been the
cages all along, this could mean that things like asbestos, smoking, even
radiation are perfectly harmless!"

Mr Smith continued: "This could change everything! We may be forced to
recall all our previous findings at a cost of millions of dollars. This
says nothing of the possible lawsuits from individuals who contracted
cancer while spending time in prison, or zoo workers forced to spend
extended periods inside the animal's cages."

When asked why the study cost seventeen million dollars, Mr Smith
responded: "Oh, you know how it goes; a little here, a little there.
Besides, do you have any idea how expensive it is to provide food and
living conditions for rats that doesn't expose them to any of the things we
have determined to cause cancer? In fact right now we're in the middle of a
two year study that may link breathing with lung cancer. You think the cost
is bad now, just wait till we are forced to prevent the control rats from
breathing so as not to invalidate the results by having more of the control
rats get cancer than test rats."

When asked if John Smith was his real name, the spokesperson replied: "Huh,
what? You talking to me?"

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From: Aliquotes i.v (journal) (rogerb#NoSpam.microsoft.com)
                              BOOK REVIEW COLUMN

                      After the experiments are over:
                       101 uses for transgenic mice

New from the "Book of the Mouse Club" is this volume describing the uses of
of a transgenic mouse colony when the experiment is no longer in progress.
This has often been a problem in the world of developmental biology, where
resources are limited and the animal rights community is always observing
in the distance. Why waste this valuable commodity when there are so many
interesting uses which do not necessarily involve science.

Some of the chapters in this book include:

*Why you should never bet on the shivere mice.
*Do you serve a white wine or red with the kabobs?
*Opening a Home Shopping Network of cat toys.
*Testing those unlabelled vials in the medicine cabinet.
*ES cell omelettes, and other recipes.

"No development lab should be without this hand reference volume"
   - Myc E Mouse

"This books ranks with the classics, `Gone with the grant' and `The
post-doc of Venice'"   - M.T. Wallat

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From: "alohacyberian" <keith.martin#NoSpam.att.net>
It has been discovered that research causes cancer in laboratory rats.

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Special Category: How many scientists does it take to screw in a lightbulb
September 4
From: "Bryce Tugwell" <btugwell#NoSpam.janegoodall.org>

Q: How many lab mice does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two. 

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From: "Rinaldo Zucca" <rz#NoSpam.cms.tuwien.ac.at>
A biologist is only a lab rat's way of making another lab rat.  

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