Sorry to interrupt...this will only take a moment.
This site is an independent reader-supported project.
Because you have viewed at least a few articles now...
Can you give a small donation to keep us online?
We can give you e-books and audiobooks and stuff.
This site is an independent reader-supported project.
The cost of keeping it running are considerable.
If you can spare a few dollars it would help us enormously.
We can give you e-books and audiobooks and stuff.
×
×
Experimental Feature

Select 'Atmospheric Audio' from the Audio menu to add subtle background audio to certain portions of the article.

This Looks Like a Job for Vermin!

Article #287 • Written by Jason Bellows

The common rat is hideous thing to behold. Two species make up what we call the true rat: the black rat Rattus rattus, and the wharf rat Rattus norvegicus. On the whole of the Earth, the only places where rats do not find a home are the forbiddingly cold Arctic and Antarctic regions, some miscellaneous islands where they haven't gained a foothold, a wildlife preserve in New Zealand, and Alberta Canada where a concerted effort of riled Canadians will massacre rodents upon a hint that a rat may have infested the province.

Historically the rat has been labeled a pest and more-than-a-nuisance due to their capacity to carry diseases that can infect humans, and their propensity to reproduce like... well... uh... rodents. However, in this wonderfully modern time in which we live the rat is being put to task by their human overlords doing much more productive things.

One promising rat-platform is the Pouched Rat, a nocturnal native of Africa. Because they forage for food at night, they are endowed inordinate acumen in their sense of smell. Though these rats are often considered a menu item in their native sub-Saharan Africa, a fellow by the name of Bart Weetjens thought that he could find a better use for the creatures. Africa's lands have been host to a collage of armed conflicts, leaving the landscape strewn with landmines. The rats' propensity for speedy reproduction makes them plentiful enough to dare risk them in the hazardous job of sniffing out such hazards. Fortunately, these foodstuffs are apt to be trained.

An African Pouched Rat
An African Pouched Rat

In the way Pavlov trained his dogs that food comes with the bell, the rats are trained that food follows a human-made clicking sound. Once that lesson is ingrained, the rats are then exposed to a test scenario where they are confronted with a set of holes; if the rat indicates the hole that is emitting "bomb scent", the trainer clicks, and a treat is presented. In the field, the leashed varmints need to guide a handler through checking 1,000 square feet for explosive. Because a mistake could cost life and limb of both the rat and handler, the rat is given a final exam before being put in the field to perform the real work: The rat must run a mock-up minefield and identify every mine in the gamut in order to pass and be pressed into service.

Of course, there are concerns about the mine-sweeping rats. Some critics decry that animals cannot be as accurate as man-made alternatives such as a metal detector or mine-sweeping robots. The retort is that the rats are not distracted by the metal flotsam as metal detectors are, and that these poverty-stricken areas haven't the means to acquire robots. According to a report in the Washington Post, there are some people who see a mine-sweeping robot limping over a field, burning and smoldering after successfully locating several bombs, and order the test stopped because it's inhumane to the robot.

Rats' slick, agile frames are also well suited to complex searching, but usually such tasks defy their small brains. To remedy this shortcoming, researchers have tried sticking a bunch of electrodes directly into the rats' brains to enhance their skill set.

The enhanced rats were envisioned in 2001 as a means to delve into wreckage and seek out human victims or survivors. The experiment is funded by DARPA. Essentially, they insert a series of electrodes into the rat’s brain, and tie them to a remote-control that is strapped to the rat’s back. An impulse can trigger a whisker sensation, prompting the beasties to turn, and upon turning correctly and continuing on course, they receive a zap directly to the pleasure center of the brain. After a reported "five or ten minutes" of positive reinforcement, the rats are effectively trained to follow instructions from the remote control. This method of guiding the rats works quite well, though it doesn't seem to function well for the intended purpose. There are difficulties in guiding a remote-controlled rat through a maze that the controller cannot see. There are some who feel that the occupation of searching disaster areas is too dangerous to ethically employ living creatures.

Though the rat-tasks currently being pursued may not prove to be practical, there may be some future benefit to knowing how to bend the prolific vermin to our will. It might be that in the future the rat will become a contributing member of our society; perhaps consigned to menial labor like removing litter, or following cables. Or maybe bionically enhanced rodents will become our new overlords... until the wrath of Alberta falls upon them.

Article written by Jason Bellows, published on 13 August 2007. Jason is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.

Article design by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
SHARE

More Information
Related Articles


116 Comments
Meathammer
Posted 13 August 2007 at 08:09 pm

I claim this post in the name of the King.

First!


Meathammer
Posted 13 August 2007 at 08:18 pm

I thought the perfered method of sweeping for mines was with a mouse...(wink)

Damn interesting indeed. Keep up the good work.


surfjay
Posted 13 August 2007 at 08:37 pm

I don't find the little critters hideous at all. In fact, I think they're kinda cute. My daughter had a pair of pet rats and other than their obsessive washing (they're really VERY clean), I really liked them.

Accompanied by a human teammate, I think their use in mine finding is great. But the idea of implanting electrodes that control the poor little things is just way too cruel. It does bring to mind a possible method for increasing the intelligence of the behavior of some of our leaders though...


raycombs
Posted 13 August 2007 at 08:55 pm

Fourth!!!


thatonegirl
Posted 13 August 2007 at 09:13 pm

i personally enjoyed the photo of the "rat" from "The Princess Bride"


uninspired
Posted 13 August 2007 at 10:22 pm

"Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don't believe they exist."

Anyway, it's totally inhumane. They should use cuddly kittens instead!


ItsMrPants
Posted 13 August 2007 at 10:33 pm

That first picture isn't a real rat... is it?


boolean
Posted 14 August 2007 at 12:25 am

I've always wonderd, is there some sort of sound frequency that could be used to vibrate the trigger in the mines?


silentwisp
Posted 14 August 2007 at 12:36 am

I love the Princess Bride.

I also think it should be pointed out that it's inhumane that people actually planted mines in the first place.

As to a solution to the problem, I'm not sure. People are good at creating problems without clear solutions.
Especially if they involve killing other people.


S0122017
Posted 14 August 2007 at 04:27 am

Disgusting idea to mindcontrol animals into doing man's dirty work for them. And knowing DARPA they'd be much more interested in how to control human minds than rat minds, they just cant get funding for research into manipulating the human brain.

Rather, they mainly try to learn indirectly by researching animals such as rats and sharks. If you can make animals do what you want, you can humans do what you want. Not much difference there.


Dave Group
Posted 14 August 2007 at 04:43 am

How long before robots demand their own Asimov's laws, or the rats rise up in revolt a la Kotzwinkle's Doctor Rat?


Catkilller7
Posted 14 August 2007 at 04:44 am

All I can say is I'm glad I live in Alberta.


Dave Group
Posted 14 August 2007 at 04:45 am

Meathammer said: "First!"

Woooowwww. That resume of yours must be pret-ty impressive by now, eh?


Jeffrey93
Posted 14 August 2007 at 05:03 am

Again...if the Rat can provide humans with some additional benefits.....good.

The electrodes in the brain thing is pretty clever, I like the comment about using it on some of our leaders. It's a failing project with Dubya....they can get him to walk wherever they want him to...but the speech feature keeps getting all garbled and moronic things come out. Work in progress I guess.


nona
Posted 14 August 2007 at 05:08 am

I love rats. They're so clever. I saw the people next door put their rubbish up on a high concrete shelf thing to avoid the rats in their garden, then watched the rats work out a complex path involving some quite precarious balancing on bits of wood and things up to the concrete shelf - rats beat the humans again! (Should have just put their rubbish out on the day of collection like everyone else) I've also seen rats avoid rat traps and poison - the only time I've seen the rat population go down in our area was when a large ginger cat moved in for a while. I have to say, the scurrying of rats in my darkened garden never bothered me at all.


murph
Posted 14 August 2007 at 06:17 am

These mine-sniffing rats were featured on an episode of The Amazing Race last season or the season before.


Radiatidon
Posted 14 August 2007 at 06:36 am

I worked on an island in the South Pacific where we would get an influx of rats from the supply ship. Since the ship docked only twice a year, it was not much of a problem. Two factors eliminated these pests, one was a local lizard that loved these crunchy, bite-sized vermin, and the second was the harsh environment of the island. Over time the rats seemed to diminish in size, from a large-gray ship rat (about the size of a large cat) down to the size of a pet store rat. Then the local dogs would finish them off and we would be rat free until the next supply ship docked.

Interesting enough, we also had shark dogs, a local pack that had learned how to lure and trap sharks. They would swim out into the lagoon in a “C” pattern. One mutt would swim into the center of the “C” then start barking and splashing. This of course would lure a shark into the trap, whereas the others would swim in and attack the fish. After much to-do, canine barking and water splashing, the dogs would drag the hapless critter ashore and feast upon their catch, really a strange but unique sight to see.


S0122017
Posted 14 August 2007 at 06:56 am

Radiatidon said: "
Interesting enough, we also had shark dogs, a local pack that had learned how to lure and trap sharks. They would swim out into the lagoon in a “C” pattern. One mutt would swim into the center of the “C” then start barking and splashing. This of course would lure a shark into the trap, whereas the others would swim in and attack the fish. After much to-do, canine barking and water splashing, the dogs would drag the hapless critter ashore and feast upon their catch, really a strange but unique sight to see."

Until the sharks learn how to lure dogs by pretending to be lured by a dog :)


MacGyver
Posted 14 August 2007 at 06:59 am

Instead of using rats to help you find the mines, just do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLI43yn3U-U


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 14 August 2007 at 09:09 am

Catkilller7 said: "All I can say is I'm glad I live in Alberta."

So glad I grew up there. I didn't see a rat until very recently and it wasn't as appalling as I had imagined them growing up. More like a big mouse really. What's the big deal?

Rats could probably survive a nuclear war but I guess they just find our Alberta winters particularly inhospitable ;-P


J.K.
Posted 14 August 2007 at 09:16 am

Seriously, again meat? Grow up. I'd have thought the posters to this site to be intelligent not enough to do that. Perhaps they on the whole are as you seem to be the one doing that a lot lately.

Just once I'd love to get the first post on a site with a meaningful response just to ruin that stupid effort.

Uninspired said: "Anyway, it's totally inhumane. They should use cuddly kittens instead!"
...and my response to that is: Aren't enough cuddy kittens already killed by humans and their noctournal activities already? :)

Radia: I'd like to learn more about your shark dogs as that's quite interesting. But would they have much of a chance against sharks with frickin laser beams?


Tink
Posted 14 August 2007 at 09:57 am

MacGyver said: "Instead of using rats to help you find the mines, just do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLI43yn3U-U"

Man oh man, that is some ^#*@#* up $@%* !!! Quick way to get meat for the village, or to keep the lions well fed and at bay,though, I guess. >:/

Meathammer said: "I claim this post in the name of the King.

First!"

Rats! You must of been laying in wait for hours to catch it so close to posting, lol.

I do not understand why they have to remote control or electrode the rats. As nona said, rats are very clever and bright animals. They respond well to food incentive training. But they also have sense enough to not commit suicide, and maybe need the manipulation to over come their natural survival instincs(?).

Did anybody else think about the old book and movie "Flowers for Algernon; AKA "Charly" ?

Great article,Jason, thank you!


agooga
Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:11 am

Personally, I'm a fan of Ahmedinjad's method of forcing poor children to stomp around the mine fields. Very thorough. But I have to wonder, dis he promise them 72 virgins upon their martyrdom? Seems rather redundant.


Radiatidon
Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:25 am

J.K. said: "Radia: I'd like to learn more about your shark dogs as that's quite interesting. But would they have much of a chance against sharks with frickin laser beams?"

Just call me Don...

Well, this was a pack of somewhat friendly feral dogs. They would rip the husks off coconuts, and crack the nut with their teeth. Sometimes you would see them playing a game of Flip or Pinch. They would be barking and bouncing around a coconut crab. Each would try to flip the crustation over with their noses. The game usually ended with a loud yip and the loser crushing the crab with its jaws. One time I saw a loser with the crab’s claw clamped painfully on the dog’s ear. The arm attached to the claw still moving back-n-forth. The dog seemed somewhat oblivious as it devoured the sweet meat of the former owner. Coconut crabs are somewhat larger than a pie plate. (Hee, hee, I got to use pie in my blog...)

A mishmash of mutts of various sizes and shapes, though due to the islands limited girth, a lot of serious inbreeding. It was not uncommon to see these dogs beach at least a shark a day. Once in awhile they would beach two, though rarely since one fed the pack well enough.

It was not uncommon to see the dogs board the local commuter bus line for a ride to a different stop. The dogs claimed the two front seats as their own. If you were sitting in them, the dogs would raise their scruff, bare teeth, and growl. Move one seat back and they would yip gleefully while wagging their tails as they took over the front seats.

I never saw them attack, nor heard of them attacking anyone. Though I, as others, enjoyed a newcomer’s/visitor’s reaction when the dogs boarded the bus and demanded their seats.

So, I guess that they could possibly take on them ” sharks with frickin laser beams”.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:35 am

Tink said: "


Did anybody else think about the old book and movie "Flowers for Algernon; AKA "Charly" ?

"

Yes, I did. Get your electrodes out of my head!


mjunk
Posted 14 August 2007 at 11:03 am

Searching mine fields is all well and good, but how about searching mine shafts? Or rubble after an earthquake, tornado, or other disaster? Not that finding live land mines is not a worthwihile pursuit, but it seems that it would not be that much of a stretch to teach them how to search for live people.


Tink
Posted 14 August 2007 at 11:59 am

mjunk said: "Searching mine fields is all well and good, but how about searching mine shafts? Or rubble after an earthquake, tornado, or other disaster? Not that finding live land mines is not a worthwihile pursuit, but it seems that it would not be that much of a stretch to teach them how to search for live people."

Here's why, honey. They already do...:

http://www.stuffemal.com/misc/SanFranCthulhu/pages/NewsRatAttack.html

======

http://www.co.brown.wi.us/health/rodent_control-prevention.htm

Rats and mice have accompanied man to most of the areas of the world that he has settled. Historically, they have been responsible for more human illnesses and deaths than any other group of mammals. Helpless infants and defenseless adults (invalids, unconscious, and elderly persons) are particularly subject to attack by rats. Occasionally rat-bite wounds cause death.

========

Oregon Parents Jailed After Baby Has 200 Rat Bites
(AP) MEDFORD, Ore. A six-month-old boy was bitten by a rat up to 200 times after his parents found the rodent near a creek and it escaped from its cage, police said.
http://cbs5.com/topstories/local_story_124002632.html

======

WARNING!! This news story has a Horrific picture, NOT work or child safe!
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0721,tucker,76723,2.html/1


knutars
Posted 14 August 2007 at 12:50 pm

Another interesting use of rats is found here: http://www.erichufschmid.net/Dumb-down/Dumbed-down-Part-1.html (scroll down to the middle of the page at the pic of a rat with electrodes)


thisismyseriousside!
Posted 14 August 2007 at 01:00 pm

God Tink!!!! Thanks alot. I'm going to have nightmares for weeks. Geez. But on a more serious note, Is it really so terrible that they are "training" rats without food incentive...hmmm.


baconbits
Posted 14 August 2007 at 01:01 pm

Glad to be born, raised and still living in Alberta! And yes, we do have a Rat Patrol that's dispatched in the event of a rat sighting.

The history of the rat patrol
http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex3441?opendocument


RichVR
Posted 14 August 2007 at 01:17 pm

"The common rat is hideous thing to behold. "

Ahem. I stopped reading right there. I used to own 3 rats. Food, Dessert and Twitch. They were more intelligent than cats and more fun as well. Please don't insult poor little ratties. They don't deserve to be denigrated. Now I'll read the article.

Oh, BTW, they were named thusly because they were bought to feed my Burmese python named Buffy. Any rat that spent the night in the tank without being eaten was allowd to live. In a different room. Food and Dessert were unaffected by the ordeal. Twitch was... different... after spending several hours with Buffy. He was my favorite. I miss them all... Buffy too. She got too big for the girlfriend to handle and was given to a collector who still has her.


aic4ever
Posted 14 August 2007 at 01:31 pm

At first I thought the comment about the Washington Post article about the land mine robot being inhumane was just a cleverly constructed dig at the Washington Post, but then I saw that you provided a link.

I find it unfathomable that someone is capable of rising to the rank of Colonel in our armed forces and being emotionally disturbed by the blowing up of a chunk of metal that was created for the sole purpose of being blown up.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 14 August 2007 at 02:31 pm

baconbits said: "Glad to be born, raised and still living in Alberta! And yes, we do have a Rat Patrol that's dispatched in the event of a rat sighting.


The history of the rat patrol
http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex3441?opendocument"

Neat. Never knew about the Rat patrol. I just thought being rat-free was a bonus for our thriving in some harsh-ass winter conditions. Glad you didn't let me in on this back in the day when my eyes would freeze shut on the way to school. Told myself I was doing it for the benefits ;-P


thisismyseriousside!
Posted 14 August 2007 at 02:50 pm

RichVR said:

I used to own 3 rats. Food, Dessert and Twitch. They were more intelligent than cats and more fun as well.

I too owned three rats,(soon that turned into 15 rats. Still unclear as to how that happened as the pet store assured me they were all females.) I would wake in the night (when there was only 3) and all the rats would be gone. I was heartbroke the first night, until the morning came and all 3 were back. This continued no matter what cage they were in, untill Mama Rat gave birth and proceded to kill the other two adults, then ripped the throats out of any baby you touched...I didn't find her so cute and cuddley any more....She went to live some where else...too smart for me, I'm sure she knew where I slept....


Meathammer
Posted 14 August 2007 at 02:51 pm

Tink said: "Rats! You must of been laying in wait for hours to catch it so close to posting, lol."

What can I say? Right time, right place. Thanks to the massive time zone difference, they seem post the new ones while I'm at work (that is, bored at work). Besides, it's worth it just to hear everyone say, "Oh, come on! You again?!? Why don't you just grow up?" hehe


thisismyseriousside!
Posted 14 August 2007 at 02:55 pm

Hey Meat...

Was that you that I saw at toys R us on that hoppy ball thing last week? If so, keep up the good work man! Rage against the system with the rest of us that refuse to grow up.


Meathammer
Posted 14 August 2007 at 03:07 pm

thisismyseriousside! said: "Hey Meat…


Was that you that I saw at toys R us on that hoppy ball thing last week? If so, keep up the good work man! Rage against the system with the rest of us that refuse to grow up."

Why yes, yes it was.


thisismyseriousside!
Posted 14 August 2007 at 03:14 pm

I knew it!!! Meet me there on Friday, we can race...See who comes in first! LOL.


Meathammer
Posted 14 August 2007 at 03:16 pm

Pfft, no contest. *sticks tongue out in contempt*


Radiatidon
Posted 14 August 2007 at 03:51 pm

Tink said: "Rats and mice have accompanied man to most of the areas of the world that he has settled. Historically, they have been responsible for more human illnesses and deaths than any other group of mammals. Helpless infants and defenseless adults (invalids, unconscious, and elderly persons) are particularly subject to attack by rats. Occasionally rat-bite wounds cause death. "

Hey Tink, those links reminded me of some old 1970's horror flicks. Anyone remember Willard and the spin-off Ben? Shows what some TLC from a seriously disturbed kid can do to them cuddly nasty rats. Heh, heh.


Spike
Posted 14 August 2007 at 05:15 pm

Radiation,

I think I prefer The Princess Bride". Scary rats in a cuddley sort of way.


onbelay1
Posted 14 August 2007 at 06:54 pm

"Though the rat-tasks currently being pursued may not prove to be practical, there may be some future benefit to knowing how to bend the prolific vermin to our will."

It looks like rats aren't the only rodents we humans are manipulating to fight our battles. BBC News reports that England released "man- eating" honey badgers to the city of Bastra in Iraq to cause panic in the area (honey badgers are Britain's back-up since they can't send Prince Harry). The British military spokesman, though, denies this claim (naturally).
Though the honey badgers aren't exactly "man-eating", they are violent and are said to
choose to attack the groin area of humans (Britain's latest war strategy; now the so called enemies are really gonna run for their life).
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=honey+badgers+in+Iraq

"Essentially, they insert a series of electrodes into the rat’s brain, and tie them to a remote-control that is strapped to the rat’s back. An impulse can trigger a whisker sensation, prompting the beasties to turn, and upon turning correctly and continuing on course, they receive a zap directly to the pleasure center of the brain."

Upon the risk of sounding naive, how would DARPA like electrodes inserted to THEIR
brain and be electronically zapped by a remote-control? Rats might not be covered by the AWA, but that doesn't mean they are immuned to pain.


oldmancoyote
Posted 14 August 2007 at 08:24 pm

Personally, I'm all for using rats to check for mines. PETA be damned, but in my opinion, our military men and women are far more important than rats. Rats are not a species we need to worry about going extinct. Five or six breeding pairs could bring the population back in no time. I would prefer the use of convicted violent felons, unfortunately some people feel that we need to be "nice" to these people.

aic4ever said:
I find it unfathomable that someone is capable of rising to the rank of Colonel in our armed forces and being emotionally disturbed by the blowing up of a chunk of metal that was created for the sole purpose of being blown up."

I wish all high ranking military officers felt this way. "Please Mr. President, don't go to war. I've grown quite fond of these GPS guided bombs that I've been watching over. In fact, I've named this one Rover."


Bolens
Posted 14 August 2007 at 08:51 pm

Has anyone thought of using PETA members for mine sweeping? That might save some rats.


Meathammer
Posted 14 August 2007 at 09:07 pm

aic4ever said: "I find it unfathomable that someone is capable of rising to the rank of Colonel in our armed forces and being emotionally disturbed by the blowing up of a chunk of metal that was created for the sole purpose of being blown up."

On the contrary, he more than likely is more qualified to determine that than anyone else. I myself am a veteran and I spent 20 months in a warzone out of my 4 years in the Army. After reading that Washington Post article, I completely empathised with the Colonel and the robot as well. Imagine going through a deployment seeing the effects of IED's and other horible devices of war. Risking a strench of credulity, imagine seeing a fellow soldier pull themself along some dusty road using the few limbs they have left. Then, imagine being home, safe, thousands of miles away from there, supervising the testing of machines that would stop such things from happening again. Imagine seeing that robot pathetically pull it's self along just as you saw that soldier do when you were in the box. Now what would you say?

You'd be surprised what sets soldiers off. I, personally, hate the 4th of July. It's fun for kids but it's hell for me. Everywhere you look, you see and hear explosions. Perhaps thats not how most people see it, but it's what I see. I try not even to go out at all if I can help it.

**Everything I said here, I said with the sole intention of continuing the conversation and nothing more.**


Tink
Posted 14 August 2007 at 09:30 pm

thisismyseriousside! said: "... I'm going to have nightmares for weeks. Geez.

But on a more serious note, Is it really so terrible that they are "training" rats without food incentive…hmmm."

Lol,I warned ya it was awfull... now that you mention it, yeah, that's a good point!

Nicki the Heinous said: ""

Yes, I did. Get your electrodes out of my head!"

Ha-ha! No way, it took "us" months to catch ya off guard and get past that little tin foil hat of yours...; Now we were supposed to remove them earlier this summer, but your fantastic imagination and the halucinations you have are just too entertaining to the other folks here at the lab. Hee-hee. ;-}

Radiatidon said: "Hey Tink, those links reminded me of some old 1970's horror flicks. Anyone remember Willard and the spin-off Ben? Shows what some TLC from a seriously disturbed kid can do to them cuddly nasty rats. Heh, heh."

Hey Don, Oh yeah, those were great fun! I also remember FROGS!! Hysterical. Loved reading your story about the shark-eatin dogs too. That was way cool! You always have such great posts! :D

onbelay1 said: ""... Upon the risk of sounding naive, how would DARPA like electrodes inserted to THEIR
brain and be electronically zapped by a remote-control? Rats might not be covered by the AWA, but that doesn't mean they are immuned to pain."

The rats are given a charge to the "Yum-yum,Oh!That Feels Realy Good!" part of the brain. It's like an orgasmn, with out the, uh, other rat. Uh, Look here:

http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=229


the_abyss
Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:20 pm

I want a remote control rat!!!

Best prank in the world. First your victim will see the rat and hopefull scream: "Ahh its a rat!"
Then they'll see you with the remote and say: "haha very funny a remote control fake rat."
And you say: "oh no- its real!" Then watch them scream again and make ur roborodent rip their throat out.

just kidding about the last part, but all rodents are insanely vicious when they want to be, as thisismyseriousside! said. i had cannabilistic mice- two ate the other two. all that was left were their tails. Mind you, i hadn't fed them for a couple of weeks... lol

Normally i'm pro animal rights, but i think that the rats can be used as mine-detectors or whatever. we really are never going to run out, and think of all the rats that have already been mutilated in the name of science. but it was a mouse that had that ear on its back, wasn't it?


Bewildered
Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:42 pm

Meathammer: Did you race to be first when you were in the war zone?


Meathammer
Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:46 pm

Bewildered said: "Meathammer: Did you race to be first when you were in the war zone?"

Hardly.


Tink
Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:53 pm

Bolens said: "Has anyone thought of using PETA members for mine sweeping? That might save some rats."

Lol, I've always thought of myself as a member of PETA. People Eating Tasty Animals. Ha!


Bewildered
Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:58 pm

Scientists have performed plenty of experiments on humans by inserting electrodes into the brain, they are currently testing an implantable chip on the surface of the brain, rather than deeply insterted electrodes.

http://news.ufl.edu/2007/07/24/brain-chip/
Electro vestibular stimulation can be easily used to control a walking human and make them turn left or right with simple surface mount electrodes behind the ears. Implants on the pleasure centres of the brain will be around soon enough for all to enjoy, the technology is available today and has been tested for many years. It's only a matter of time before we'll be able to get implants on the black market - sex and drugs sell very well, so being able to recieve immense pleasure at the push of a button is a sure fire money maker... It's when electrodes are inserted in your brain against your will, and you are forced to be a bomb detector that it becomes a little scary!


tarteauxpommes
Posted 15 August 2007 at 07:26 am

Radiatidon, you seem to be one of the most interesting people I have ever met. Well, sort of met.

Hmmmm...rats as mineseekers...fascinating concept. I wonder who came up with that idea?


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 15 August 2007 at 07:28 am

thisismyseriousside! said: "I too owned three rats,(soon that turned into 15 rats. Still unclear as to how that happened as the pet store assured me they were all females.) I would wake in the night (when there was only 3) and all the rats would be gone. I was heartbroke the first night, until the morning came and all 3 were back. This continued no matter what cage they were in, untill Mama Rat gave birth and proceded to kill the other two adults, then ripped the throats out of any baby you touched…I didn't find her so cute and cuddley any more….She went to live some where else…too smart for me, I'm sure she knew where I slept…."

I had a similar thing happen with gerbils. We had two and were assured that they were both female until one day one of them was digging in their nest and kicked something weird out of the hole. It was the same size and shape as a solid pink Gummi bear. They had five little babies in there! Stupid pet stores don't know anything.


thisismyseriousside!
Posted 15 August 2007 at 08:10 am

Nicki the Heinous said: "I had a similar thing happen with gerbils. We had two and were assured that they were both female until one day one of them was digging in their nest and kicked something weird out of the hole. It was the same size and shape as a solid pink Gummi bear. They had five little babies in there! Stupid pet stores don't know anything."

*bobble head action* SHyah! Glad I'm not the only one feeling all, "Oh no Mister Bill!" ...My kids were tramatized for weeks. Stupid Pet Store...

tarteauxpommes said: Hmmmm…rats as mineseekers…fascinating concept. I wonder who came up with that idea?"

Stupid Pet Stores? Seriously, win-win situation. Sell remote control rats that seek mines, they may not be trained "just right" thus sealing the fact that more will need to be bought to replace them. And just think...every kid in the free world is going to be all, "Mommy, can I PLEEEEASE have one"...It sounds like a conspiracy to me...It could happen. ;P


Radiatidon
Posted 15 August 2007 at 08:29 am

Tink said: "Hey Don, Oh yeah, those were great fun! I also remember FROGS!! Hysterical. Loved reading your story about the shark-eatin dogs too. That was way cool! You always have such great posts! :D "

tarteauxpommes said: "Radiatidon, you seem to be one of the most interesting people I have ever met. Well, sort of met."

Aw gosh, *Blush*thanks guys. To be fair, there are some very interesting people who contribute to the comments here. I just happened to have worn out my sneakers in some strange and exotic locations. Had some close calls to boot. :')


Mez
Posted 15 August 2007 at 09:59 am

Meathammer said: "I thought the perfered method of sweeping for mines was with a mouse…(wink)"

Awesome :D


aic4ever
Posted 15 August 2007 at 10:04 am

Meathammer said: "On the contrary, he more than likely is more qualified to determine that than anyone else. I myself am a veteran and I spent 20 months in a warzone out of my 4 years in the Army. After reading that Washington Post article, I completely empathised with the Colonel and the robot as well. Imagine going through a deployment seeing the effects of IED's and other horible devices of war. Risking a strench of credulity, imagine seeing a fellow soldier pull themself along some dusty road using the few limbs they have left. Then, imagine being home, safe, thousands of miles away from there, supervising the testing of machines that would stop such things from happening again. Imagine seeing that robot pathetically pull it's self along just as you saw that soldier do when you were in the box. Now what would you say?


You'd be surprised what sets soldiers off. I, personally, hate the 4th of July. It's fun for kids but it's hell for me. Everywhere you look, you see and hear explosions. Perhaps thats not how most people see it, but it's what I see. I try not even to go out at all if I can help it.

**Everything I said here, I said with the sole intention of continuing the conversation and nothing more.**"

I suppose I can't imagine that. It would seem to me, however, that one should be able to ditatch himself from what is human and what is not human. The robot in that case was not humanoid, rather seems to have been described as looking something like a centipede, or as the article says, "a stick insect." Perhaps the final scene of the robot dragging itself along did trigger some memory, who knows? They don't continue on about the particulars of the colonel's emotional response. To call the purposeful distruction of a robot made to look like an insect and made for the purpose of being destroyed, "inhumane" is riduculous to me. There was never anything human about the machine in the first place for any actions against it to be classified as inhumane.

Maybe we can make up a new word like "inrobote" or something.

To another point, I wonder how the expense and risk of inplanting electrodes into a rat's brain makes any sense. If you're going to go through the time and money to perfect an addition to what by definition is obviously first characterized as disposable, why not just make an all out robot for it? I would assume the rats would need to be mounted with some tiny camera in order to be navigated through rubble or whatnot. By the time you've spent that much you could have built something to do the same thing that truly is disposable, or better still, possibly reusable, and at the same time you wouldn't be doing anything that might be considered morally reprehensible.

Well, unless you're an army colonel at least...


Hayley
Posted 15 August 2007 at 10:04 am

Hmm...it seems like it wouldn't be that inhumane, if the rats were spot on...I doubt the landmines would explode from the force of a rat, or else they would have exploded when dirt was thrown on them when they were first buried, no?


aic4ever
Posted 15 August 2007 at 10:08 am

Hayley said: "Hmm…it seems like it wouldn't be that inhumane, if the rats were spot on…I doubt the landmines would explode from the force of a rat, or else they would have exploded when dirt was thrown on them when they were first buried, no?"

I think the gist of it is that the rats are used to sniff them out...the training description seems to indicated that they do something when they smell the bomb scent, and are rewarded for properly identifying it. I don't think they're being used to actually go blow up the mines, just as a disposable resource if they happen to blow up in the process.


Hayley
Posted 15 August 2007 at 10:16 am

Also, has anyone ever read the book Rats? By Robert Sullivan? He stayed in an alley in NYC for a few months, watching them live. It's actually a fairly interesting book about the habits and history of rats in NYC, and it makes you think a bit about human life, and how we interact with them. I'd suggest it as a good read.


Kao_Valin
Posted 15 August 2007 at 10:56 am

I would imagine remote rats would have better lives as minesweepers than as regular rats. I mean think about it. They just have to turn in the right direction and they get a zap of pleasure. I cant imagine most rats getting that many zaps in their life heh. Of course it is a double edged sword. Potential to blow up any second, for a pleasure zap every other second :).


Meathammer
Posted 15 August 2007 at 04:00 pm

aic4ever said: "I suppose I can't imagine that. It would seem to me, however, ...(Comment #57)...Well, unless you're an army colonel at least…"

Not to split hairs, but I looked up the definition of of inhumane (as if that's not splitting hairs). Since I don't have a copy of Webster's laying around, I went to Wiktionary.org. They define it as "Savage, brutal, not humane". Think of the phrase "Inhumane treatment of animals". Taking the word inhumane at face value, that phrase would seem like a contradiction. "In-", meaning not and "Humane" meaning of humans or of human sensibilities. I'm no trying to give an English lesson here, but I think you're taking the word Inhumane at face value and not considering it's deeper meanings.

Is it humane to tear the wings off of flys? Is it humane to rip the legs off of ants one by one? Is it humane to step on every bug that you see, simply because you can? Are these acceptable behaviors by human standards? Why not? They're just bugs. Is it ok to be cruel to another living thing as long as it's not human? Not in my book. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some kind of bug hippie, but if they don't bother me, I don't bother them. My point is that just because it's not against humans doesn't mean it's not disturbing or wrong.

Now as far as the robots being designed SPECIFICALLY to be blown up, true that is a bit silly to stop the tests. But that doesn't mean it's not disturbing to watch. That doesn't mean it's not savage and brutal. Unfortunately, humans seem quite adept at making wars which in their very nature are savage and brutal. It would seem the only thing that is truly inhumane is peace.

By the way, good job on "Inrobote". (In - Row - Boat) haha


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 15 August 2007 at 04:31 pm

Do I get anything for being "last"? Or at least exceedingly late?

I think the little critters are adorable. Now mind you I am a born and raised product of the Indiana cornfields (though a self-processed city girl these days) so rodents were not uncommon. We had some cats that like to eat the, which by the way whoever said there were some rats as big as a "large cat" my most recent feline friends both weighed in at about 18 pounds a piece. That's be a pretty damn big rat, don't you think? In fact I have yet to see a "country cat" that's full grown that weighs anything under 13 pounds. Of course Indiana is one of the most obese places in the world, maybe the felines are affected by that as well.

At any rate, I think sending them into mines is cool. Robots are expensive and just one more way Dubya and Co can stick it to the tax payers for the $2 billion dollar a WEEK war we are in (I just read that yesterday but I can't remember what newspaper published it, it was online).

Tink, I'm not trying to start a separate argument here, but rats and cockroaches and mosquitoes alike will always be around, spreading illness. How many people die rat bite/attack related deaths each year versus those who have died from a gunshot wound?? It's not the rats I worry about. Not even guns really, more or less just the idiots who carry them. I'd rather have a couple rats in my place than live next to the gang banger down the street.

I really want a shark dog. And I'll put a frickin laser on his head!


Meathammer
Posted 15 August 2007 at 04:38 pm

EVERYTHINGZEN said: "Do I get anything for being "last"? Or at least exceedingly late?"

WHY YES!!! You have won a vintage kleenex that was actually used Mr. Bellows himself!!!

Ooooooo, vintage...


Meathammer
Posted 15 August 2007 at 04:49 pm

To be honest, it wasn't used by Alan Bellows or even Jason Bellows. The Mr. Bellows in question is my neighbor that lives down the street, Aurthur Bellows. He's a plumber. He likes monster truck rallys and watching Cops.

Oh, and it isn't an actual kleenex, but a generic brand. Umm. It's still vintage though! Come on...Vintage...


Thag
Posted 15 August 2007 at 04:53 pm

Meathammer, I with you on the fireworks... Tailgaters really get me going also. Curiously another thing is rats! We were infested and tried everything to rid the area of them, sticks, fire, chemicals etc. Then during the night they would sneak in whilst we slept and run across our prone bodies playing some sort of rodent game of chicken. Had one jump right on my face. Nothing will make you shriek like a schoolgirl like a rat on your face. Now as long as I don't see one, I get a decent laugh out of it, with the way they taunted us, fled and giggled in the corners, it seems that rodents truly have a sense of humor and adventure.


onbelay1
Posted 15 August 2007 at 07:11 pm

uninspired said: "Anyway, it's totally inhumane. They should use cuddly kittens instead!"

Cuddly kittens have worked for the CIA... or rather NOT worked, check this out:
http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=636\


Bewildered
Posted 15 August 2007 at 09:36 pm

Question... Do you think after a few successive generations, the trait to sniff out bombs would become genetically encoded into these rats' offspring? If that was so, then future generations wouldn't have to be trained at all. Free, purpose built, genetically selected, bomb sniffers... Although they may become exctinct, given the nature of their trait...


the_abyss
Posted 15 August 2007 at 10:35 pm

Bewildered said: "Question… Do you think after a few successive generations, the trait to sniff out bombs would become genetically encoded into these rats' offspring? If that was so, then future generations wouldn't have to be trained at all. Free, purpose built, genetically selected, bomb sniffers… Although they may become exctinct, given the nature of their trait…"

Possibly. But they learn the skill, they don't change their DNA. It's an aquired characteristic for the rats, so they may not pass it on. However, if the scientists only breed from the rats who can sniff out the bombs, then (un)natural selection will play its course, and then you will be more likely to have more smart rats, because only those who have the mental ability to do the job will have offspring. They probably would still have to be trained, although less if they're brainier rats overall.

As people have said before, they're unlikely to ever become extinct, because we'll probably never run out of rats and the process can be started all over again if all the rats used die.


the_abyss
Posted 15 August 2007 at 10:39 pm

Actually, just thought that if the selective breeding of smart rats continues, then the rats might start to get so smart that they question their mission and wreak havoc on all humanity... i think a sci-fi movie's coming on...


Jeffrey93
Posted 16 August 2007 at 04:10 am

J.K. said: "Seriously, again meat? Grow up. I'd have thought the posters to this site to be intelligent not enough to do that. Perhaps they on the whole are as you seem to be the one doing that a lot lately.


Just once I'd love to get the first post on a site with a meaningful response just to ruin that stupid effort.

I won't claim to be a "long term member" of this site....but as long as I have been here the "First!" comment/post has been a sort of tradition. Why do you have such a problem with it? I think it's neat, a half-decent comment to go along with it would be nice....I just figure the person that usually gets "First!" never read the article but skipped right to posting a comment about it, therefore securing their position as "First!".

RichVR said: ""The common rat is hideous thing to behold. "

Ahem. I stopped reading right there. I used to own 3 rats. Food, Dessert and Twitch. They were more intelligent than cats and more fun as well. "

More intelligent than cats? More fun than cats? What isn't? I think the bowel movement I just finished was smarter than cats, it was definitely more fun. If rats are so smart....does that make Hamsters ultra-intelligent?
Either way, whatever animal is abundant and trainable enough to find land mines (maybe even set off a few themselves) are good animals in my books. They help humans....so good on them!


Kao_Valin
Posted 16 August 2007 at 07:22 am

I dont think recognising what gives you pleasure makes you smart. Remember these rats are hardwired into controlers to train them into doing what the technicians want. We are more or less influencing a controler with a controler in order to get access to cheaply manufactured tools.

I doubt we will kill off the entire species of rats. Doesn't seem like we could when we wanted to. Pests are pests for a reason, cause they are hard to kill and keep killed. Just when you think you got them all, oh look there are five more.


Tink
Posted 16 August 2007 at 08:36 am

EVERYTHINGZEN said: " Tink, I'm not trying to start a separate argument here...I really want a shark dog. And I'll put a frickin laser on his head!"

No offence taken at all my dear,I agree w/ you 100% and as to the shark-dog,yeah!...too rich! LOL

the_abyss said: "I want a remote control rat!
... your victim will see the rat and hopefull scream: its a rat!"...make ur roborodent rip their throat out.... the rats that have already been mutilated in the name of science. but it was a mouse that had that ear on its back, wasn't it?"

Here's a coupla links you may like, the first is a special nod to our Canadian commentors, the second for you science buffs... ;-)

http://gprime.net/video.php/wheresyourpetbeaver

http://www.kidzworld.com/article/1219-mouse-wears-human-ear

Jeffrey93 said: "...Food, Dessert and Twitch. They were more intelligent than cats and more fun as well....More intelligent than cats? More fun than cats? What isn't? !"

Though I am a "dog person", I have been witness to the higher intelegence of cats. For instance, have you ever tried hitching 12 cats to a sled and got them to pull it through the snow?
Also, cats and dogs drink from the tolite. Now a dog will see you sitting there and think "Wow! My human can drink with his butt!" A cat knows EXACTLY what you are doing and will go pee in your salad as retaliation. Ha!


J.K.
Posted 16 August 2007 at 12:04 pm

J93 my issue is just that it is just as much stupid as it is a waste of space. Like you said, would be nicer with some form of comment on the piece (whatever the site) that has some relevance instead of lowering it to the level of an 'I did it first so HA' pissing contest. It's just boring and tiring really, nothing larger than that.

I shall check that nsfw post link up about 1/2 way from here when I get home as that's got me curious. Now to just track me down a dog that will reserve me the front row seat wherever and can tear up things they normally shouldn't be able to...awesome security.


HiEv
Posted 16 August 2007 at 01:53 pm

agooga said: "Personally, I'm a fan of Ahmedinjad's method of forcing poor children to stomp around the mine fields. Very thorough. But I have to wonder, dis he promise them 72 virgins upon their martyrdom? Seems rather redundant."

Actually, the children weren't forced to do that, for the most part they volunteered to clear the minefields by rolling around them wrapped in blankets (not for protection, but to simplify burial.) It was part of the Basiji started by Khomeini in 1979 to make up for a lack of troops. Parents were told that their children were martyrs against the infidel enemy and the children were given little plastic keys (imported from Taiwan) that they were told would open the gates to paradise if they were killed. Never underestimate the power of religious brainwashing to make people believe and do really stupid things.

Anyways, it would be fair to say that the Basij culture has had more influence on Ahmadinejad than the other way around, and Ahmadinejad did not start this practice, he is merely one of many in his country that support it.


HiEv
Posted 16 August 2007 at 02:08 pm

ItsMrPants said: "That first picture isn't a real rat… is it?"

Oh, and no, that's not a real rat. That's a "R.O.U.S." or "Rodent of Unusual Size" from the movie "The Princess Bride," which was done using a man in a giant rat costume.


Meathammer
Posted 16 August 2007 at 03:36 pm

J.K. said: "J93 my issue is just that it is just as much stupid as it is a waste of space. Like you said, would be nicer with some form of comment on the piece (whatever the site) that has some relevance instead of lowering it to the level of an 'I did it first so HA' pissing contest. It's just boring and tiring really, nothing larger than that."

Marco Polo did it. Vasco De Gama did it. Christopher Columbus did it. Neil Armstrong did it.

While, I understand that it's not nearly as monumental as what they did, it's the same mentality. People have been saying "First!" since people existed. I really don't understand why you have such a problem with this. Click on any random DI article and 50% of the time the #1 comment will be "First". And besides, it's five frea-king letters! Is it really that much of a waste of space? I didn't know there was a shortage of space on this website. It's not a "pissing contest" as you called it. I was the first to get to the article, so I but it in the comments. That simple.

Man, you need to lighten up. There are plenty of highly intelligent posts on these articles, but every now and then you get some moron posting some ridiculously thoughtless, pointless idea. This doesn't happen much, but it happens. As opposed to you using your posts to criticize these people, you post about how dumb you think what I am doing is...my FIVE letters. Your posts about "First!" are the real waste of space. Think about it. Five letters. You're getting your panties in a bunch about FIVE letters. You write these tirades about how dumb you think it is and how if you were admin and yadda yadda yadda, over FIVE letters. Ummm, doesn't that seem like a disproportionate response?

I tell you what. You want to save space? Ok. If you want to save space, stop posting about "First!". For as long as I have been coming to this website people have been posting that. If I didn't, someone else probably would. I am unaffected by your comments and slander. I am going to make it a conscious effort from now on to be the first one to post on the new article simply to annoy you. My hope is that you will stop complaining about things that can’t be changed.

So you can find me at comment #1 on the new DI article next week, and the week after, and the week after, and the week after………


onbelay1
Posted 16 August 2007 at 04:37 pm

Meathammer said: "Marco Polo did it. Vasco De Gama did it. Christopher Columbus did it. Neil Armstrong did it.


While, I understand that it's not nearly as monumental as what they did, it's the same mentality. People have been saying "First!" since people existed. I really don't understand why you have such a problem with this. Click on any random DI article and 50% of the time the #1 comment will be "First". And besides, it's five frea-king letters! Is it really that much of a waste of space? I didn't know there was a shortage of space on this website. It's not a "pissing contest" as you called it. I was the first to get to the article, so I but it in the comments. That simple.

Man, you need to lighten up. There are plenty of highly intelligent posts on these articles, but every now and then you get some moron posting some ridiculously thoughtless, pointless idea. This doesn't happen much, but it happens. As opposed to you using your posts to criticize these people, you post about how dumb you think what I am doing is…my FIVE letters. Your posts about "First!" are the real waste of space. Think about it. Five letters. You're getting your panties in a bunch about FIVE letters. You write these tirades about how dumb you think it is and how if you were admin and yadda yadda yadda, over FIVE letters. Ummm, doesn't that seem like a disproportionate response?

I tell you what. You want to save space? Ok. If you want to save space, stop posting about "First!". For as long as I have been coming to this website people have been posting that. If I didn't, someone else probably would. I am unaffected by your comments and slander. I am going to make it a conscious effort from now on to be the first one to post on the new article simply to annoy you. My hope is that you will stop complaining about things that can’t be changed.

So you can find me at comment #1 on the new DI article next week, and the week after, and the week after, and the week after………"

bravo, well said... except I will be the next "First" king.
and J.K., for your sake, I will add a few more five letter words.


Meathammer
Posted 16 August 2007 at 04:49 pm

onbelay1 said: "bravo, well said… except I will be the next "First" king.

and J.K., for your sake, I will add a few more five letter words."

Oh.........it's on.


krystallos
Posted 16 August 2007 at 06:33 pm

Speaking of DARPA and modified rats, in case anyone is curious that other picture there is from an EXCELLENT 1982 animated movie by Don Bluth named The Secret of Nimh. It is about a colony of genetically modified super-intelligent rats who escape from a testing facility (National Institute of Mental Health... aka Nihm). Just seeing the picture has me wanting to see it again.

I would highly suggest it to everyone.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084649/


Tesseract
Posted 17 August 2007 at 02:41 am

the_abyss said: "Possibly. But they learn the skill, they don't change their DNA. It's an aquired characteristic for the rats, so they may not pass it on. "

There is a school of thought around inherited knowledge, which if I remember right claims we do inherit learnings from our predecessors, or rather it's easier for subsequant generations to learn what they knew. For example the basic physics we teach kids now would have been highly advanced years ago.

I don't really agree with the theory though, I think it's probably more to do with the communication of theories progressing as they are better understood. For example the first time you try to explain a complex task to someone it will take time and they will have to come back to confirm things. After you have explained to the hundredth person, or thousandth, you should be much better at communicating the task and they at understaning what is required.

So then the question would be whether rats can communicate complex ideas (by complex meaning anything more than just emotion/ sensations). I am sure there have been studies on this, and I'm pretty sure rats ranked highly on the intelligence stakes, but no idea for communication.


kwiksand
Posted 17 August 2007 at 05:25 am

Meathammer said: "Marco Polo did it. Vasco De Gama did it. Christopher Columbus did it. Neil Armstrong did it.

SNIP>>>

So you can find me at comment #1 on the new DI article next week, and the week after, and the week after, and the week after………"

Listen to yourself!!! Idiot. You trolls are all the same.


Kao_Valin
Posted 17 August 2007 at 07:12 am

This article needed a picture of splinter heh. I saw that cartoon (secret of nihm). The title always weirded me out heh. I need to watch it again cause I havent seen it in years.

I heard about that big eared rat a long time ago. I thought I remember them saying it was genetically coded to grow on it. I must have been mistaken. That or it was another article. Of all experiements we have done on rodents, it is nice to see one that doesnt require the death of the rodent at the end of the experiment. Not that I cry if one is killed for research, just that it is the more ethical path if the choice is there.

BTW, the whole argument about "first" on either side of it is a waste of space. Up to and including the post "first" itself.


thisismyseriousside!
Posted 17 August 2007 at 07:30 am

kwiksand said: "Listen to yourself!!! Idiot. You trolls are all the same."

*Newbie takes the floor* I think the "troll babble" is funny. When I read my first article here on DI, I read every post, too. I was provoked to think deeply, and laugh heartily. Is it so terrible to stop and watch the monkeys at the zoo (just an example), when you are actually there to see the exhibit on man eating honey badgers? Who hasn't (even if only on the inside) laughed at the monkeys when they throw monkey poop at each other? Maybe the fact I have two teenage boys screws my view on this, but monkeys are funny.
Radiation: Unanimous vote at my house! We're gettin' us a Shark Dog! As always sir, very interesting story. You need your own page that you can just tell your adventures on, I would find that very DI indeed.


Radiatidon
Posted 17 August 2007 at 08:25 am

thisismyseriousside! said: "We're gettin' us a Shark Dog! As always sir, very interesting story. You need your own page that you can just tell your adventures on, I would find that very DI indeed."

Blush Thanks, maybe I will consider that. Though most of my adventures had comical overtures, such as Abbott & Costello. Like the time I tripped over a Bengal Tiger as I was walking backwards. He was taking a nap and Mr. Tourist here was too involved in taking pictures of the pretty flowers. Luck was with me that day (as in many other days), because the beast must have already eaten. All he did was grumble at me, show a bit of ivory, and pop me with a swish of his tail. Needless to say, I hasten toot-sweet back to the main camp as fast as my spaghetti noodle legs could carry me. Never turning my back to the big fellow, even when I lost sight of him because of the foliage.


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 17 August 2007 at 08:31 am

Kwik, dear, calm down...ever hear the expression "choose your battles wisely"? You and Meathammer have wasted a tremendous amount of energy arguing about how one should post upon being the first poster. I assure you Kwik, no one cares as much as you seem to. Maybe you should put some of that energy towards reading other enlightening articles versus yelling about "First!" it's a much more productive means to spend that extra energy.

Rats and cats alike are smart. My sister has a cat that knocks on doors when he wants out (literally sticks his paw next the the bottom of the door and knocks), I always thought that was funny. He can also jump vertically higher than any cat I have ever seen(not that jumping has anything to do with intelligence it's just cool), and he will do so to eat flies. Catches them right in his mouth, they never have a problem with flies in the house because of that cat.

AND a cat can catch a rat, mouse, squirrel and rabbit and eat them. My cat does, at least he used to when he was a bit younger. Smart cat :) Not quite as smart were the critters he was eating...


thisismyseriousside!
Posted 17 August 2007 at 08:42 am

"And tune in next week for more exciting adventures of: Radiation Don and his Laser Wearing Shark Dog, Fred." lol.

Thank you once again for sharing.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 17 August 2007 at 11:31 am

Radiatidon said: "Blush Thanks, maybe I will consider that. Though most of my adventures had comical overtures, such as Abbott & Costello. Like the time I tripped over a Bengal Tiger as I was walking backwards. He was taking a nap and Mr. Tourist here was too involved in taking pictures of the pretty flowers. Luck was with me that day (as in many other days), because the beast must have already eaten. All he did was grumble at me, show a bit of ivory, and pop me with a swish of his tail. Needless to say, I hasten toot-sweet back to the main camp as fast as my spaghetti noodle legs could carry me. Never turning my back to the big fellow, even when I lost sight of him because of the foliage."

Ha ha. That's good. He could have just been a finicky eater. I wouldn't blink an eye if a cabbage roll tripped over me. A Pie, however, wouldn't be so lucky ;-).

wise Don, could you please let me in on how to use Italics/Bold on this site?


agooga
Posted 17 August 2007 at 12:14 pm

HiEv said: "Actually, the children weren't forced to do that, for the most part they volunteered to clear the minefields by rolling around them wrapped in blankets (not for protection, but to simplify burial.) It was part of the Basiji started by Khomeini in 1979 to make up for a lack of troops. Parents were told that their children were martyrs against the infidel enemy and the children were given little plastic keys (imported from Taiwan) that they were told would open the gates to paradise if they were killed. Never underestimate the power of religious brainwashing to make people believe and do really stupid things.

Anyways, it would be fair to say that the Basij culture has had more influence on Ahmadinejad than the other way around, and Ahmadinejad did not start this practice, he is merely one of many in his country that support it."

Well, I guess that makes it all better, then.


Radiatidon
Posted 17 August 2007 at 01:16 pm

Nicki the Heinous said: "wise Don, could you please let me in on how to use Italics/Bold on this site?"

You use html coding.

For instance to make a word or sentence Bold Type less than symbol (usually on the comma key – the left pointing arrowhead), next type STRONG then type the greater than symbol (usually on the period key – the right pointing arrowhead) now type your word or sentence you wish to have Bold. Now type less than symbol, next type the left leaning slash (if you look at the address bar of your web browser see the http:// that’s http – colon – right slash – right slash for example. The left slash tells the computer to shut off the bold now) next type STRONG then type the greater than symbol (usually on the period key – the right pointing arrowhead). Note: Be sure you do not use a space on either side of the word strong!

For italics use the letter I instead of the word strong.
For a strike-thru use the word strike instead of the word strong.

There are others, but these are the most commonly used. Hope this helps.

The Don.


Tink
Posted 17 August 2007 at 01:41 pm

THATis so cool! Don! Thanks!

Jeffery93, here is a clip for you squirrel people :)

http://www.zippyvideos.com/2752951341802026/geico_-_squirrel_commercial/


Meathammer
Posted 17 August 2007 at 03:22 pm

thisismyseriousside! said: ...when you are actually there to see the exhibit on man eating honey badgers? Who hasn't..."

.....

OH! Man-eating Honey Badgers. I thought you meant some dude that eats badgers for a second. All clear now.

@Radiation
Thanks for that. I'm sure that will come in handy in the phutr future.


Meathammer
Posted 17 August 2007 at 03:24 pm

Meathammer said: "…..@Radiation...."

Corection: Radiatidon


Meathammer
Posted 17 August 2007 at 03:34 pm

kwiksand said: "Listen to yourself!!! Idiot. You trolls are all the same."

No facts, no sources, no references. Why, you don't even make an arguement. You simply say you think I'm a troll. There is no intellectual content in that statement whatsoever. Expand this idea and get back to me. Otherwise, I think by definition, that makes you the troll.

F-

I'm very dissappointed in you.


Bewildered
Posted 19 August 2007 at 06:13 pm

Since most of us live in a comfortable society where we don't need to compete to mate or eat, I think the natural urge to compete has been turned against us. The smart people in the world have encouraged people who aren't as smart to compete with each other over trivial things. This uses up their energy and effectively divides and conquers them. They can then be more easily taken advantage of and used to do the hard work in society while their focus is directed elsewhere, competing with others. The joy you get from beating someone at the trivial game is akin to the nice electric shock the rat recieves. The rat feels like it's being rewarded, but to what end? To the first posters out there, sit for a minute and think about what compels you to strive for such a trivial victory, are there other things in your life that you might be missing?


Meathammer
Posted 19 August 2007 at 07:27 pm

@ Bewildered

Ok, this is getting out of hand. Now it's time to explain some things that I would think are painfully obvious about this whole "First" line of posts. For the moment, I will ignore the fact that you're are slyly calling me an idiot, comparing me to a rat and suggesting that my life consists solely of being the first poster on the new DI articles. *Clears Throat*

Who cares? That's it. That's my point. Honestly, who cares? Posting "First" is nothing new. The practice of posting "first" will out-live us all even to rival cockroaches and twinkies. If you must know (and I don't believe I have to explain all this), my job affords me lots and lots of time to goof off and about the time they're posting the new article, I'm showing up to work. Most of my posts about being first are grossly exagerated. While I understand sarcasm isn't very easily expressed over the internet, I would think people could read between the lines.

The one and only reason I have continued this ridiculous line of comments is because I am trying to show how trifeling and petty your objections truly are. As I have said before: IT'S FIVE FREA-KING LETTERS! Is your skin so thin that that offends your sensibilities? Is your ego in such a need of a stroking that you need to criticize something that petty? Or maybe you're trying to set yourself apart from the rest. Maybe you're aspiring to the ranks of the intellectual elite. Maybe YOU feel the urge to compete. Whatever the case, I don't care.

So tell me, do you really care that much about people posting "First"? Are you that sensitive? This whole series of posts is pointless. Get over it.

*Notice that I made my point in this comment without insulting you, your intellegence or comparing you to vermin. How's that for taking the high ground, ya jerk.


J.K.
Posted 19 August 2007 at 08:09 pm

Bewildered: Well said, very well said.

Oh and trying to equate first to those greats is a joke. Also come to think of it I believe our friend Armstrong didn't hell FIRST like some haha, it was more like 'one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.' Not HA! FIRST! Suck it Aldrin! :)

I don't have a HUGE thing I need to get over. I just was expressing how lame the concept is and has no value at all other than a pissing contest to see who is first, and that is all it is. Instead of contributing a well thought out response to the article to get the ball rolling, some turd blossom comes in with FIRST. It's truly pointless. Trying to level FIRST to stepping on the moon, finding the 'new world' or anything else is just petty and lame. I'm sure you'll have some lame cracky comeback about how I should 'relax' and so on like you've just done there in the post above to someone else now which well proves the point.


Bewildered
Posted 19 August 2007 at 08:13 pm

Haha - well worded Meathammer, although i wasn't attacking you directly, i was directing my message at the whole group of first posters and trying to make the comment relevant to the article at the same time. I'm happy for you to post your 5 letters if that makes you happy, i can simply scroll down and avoid them (comment withheld about being able to count to 5 *grins*) I just can't see the point, it's a comment section on an internet website where people add their two bits worth and maybe have some questions answered. The pointlessness of it is what i can't understand, but that's my problem i guess. Happy posting, when i get a spare minute i'll write a script to get first post every time. That'll settle the debate once and for all, you can fight over second.


tednugentkicksass
Posted 19 August 2007 at 08:51 pm

Hey everybody posting about posting first--- shut up. Who cares. It's really starting to piss me off. Go get laid, get drunk, get high, get whatever... just forget about it. It doesn't matter. It has never mattered. It will never matter. You may feel you are expressing yourselves intelligently, but you are, in fact, expressing your views in the manner of 6 year olds. Intelligent 6 year olds, but six year olds nonetheless.
I don't want to make any enemies here, I like you all, but this is just ridiculous.


Meathammer
Posted 19 August 2007 at 09:08 pm

(God this is getting boring)
@ J.K.

If I were to get philosophical, I could say that in a big enough timeline, everything is a "pissing contest".....but I wouldn't do that. Ok J.K., I'll agree, it's a pissing contest. So what? That ball will get rolling, I promise. I promise you a veritable banquet of intellectual conversation and debate. But I've seen first posters since I started coming to this site. To be honest, I thought they were kind of stupid when I first saw them. Then, one day, the clouds parted and I came upon a postless article. The words "No Comments Posted At This Time" seemed to glitter and jump off the screen like a neon sign. Hesitantly, I pressed "F". A jolt of excitement shot down my spine. I quickly pressed "I-R-S-T". It's almost as if I could sense someone else on the other side of the world beating me to the virgin canvas that was the new DI article's comments. Quickly I tried to post it. Preview?!? Drats! Curses and Drats!! With a flurry of mouse clicks, the page refreshed itself and scrolled down as fast as my mouse could. And there, shining in the sun, was Comment #1. "Meathammer says: FIRST". I smoked a cigarette.

The point I'm making is that it's fun. I know it sounds stupid, but it is. The whole point is being able to say "neener, neener". Pissing contest? Sure.

I have been vilified in this forum, so I absolutely expect someone to call me things like "Turd Blossom" and the like. But come on man, read some of my non-first, mostly serious comments. I'm not nearly as stupid as some of you would make me out to be. Trolls don't post the things that I do. Trolls are only there to pointlessly annoy the crap out of people. I have a point to my annoyance. What I'm saying is, yeah, saying first is stupid, but so is putting this much effort into proving it. Everybody knows it's stupid, that's the point. It is for me anyway. It's not the best of reasons, but it works for me.

Look, I'm not trying to one-up you or anything. I think we've beaten this horse into mush. You think it's stupid, I think it's funny. We are at an impasse. Let's stop the name calling and drop this whole thing completely. It's getting boring actually. Seriously, I'm not trying to one-up you. Besides, the new article is up and I didn't get #1. Now smile. I did however write a limerick about it though.

@ Bewildered

Oh, sorry. I thought you were after me, force of habit atm.

Bewildered said: "...Happy posting, when i get a spare minute I’ll write a script to get first post every time. That'll settle the debate once and for all, you can fight over second."

You...you can't do that! That's cheating and cheaters never prosper and eat pumpkins apparently.


Bewildered
Posted 19 August 2007 at 10:13 pm

Haha, just as long as i don't have to eat pumpkin pie, which is another of this sites favourite comment subjects... Floj? are you about? hehe. DI article Jason, a healthy set of comments attributed to your fine work ;-) One hundred and first comment...


Tink
Posted 20 August 2007 at 12:11 pm

Meathammer Said:"...To be honest, I thought they were kind of stupid when I first saw them. Then, one day, the clouds parted and I came upon a postless article. The words "No Comments Posted At This Time" seemed to glitter and jump off the screen like a neon sign. Hesitantly, I pressed "F". A jolt of excitement shot down my spine. I quickly pressed "I-R-S-T". It's almost as if I could sense someone else on the other side of the world beating me to the virgin canvas that was the new DI article's comments. Quickly I tried to post it. Preview?!? Drats! Curses and Drats!! With a flurry of mouse clicks, the page refreshed itself and scrolled down as fast as my mouse could. And there, shining in the sun, was Comment #1. "Meathammer says: FIRST". I smoked a cigarette.

I've posted First a coupla times here too. The best reason I could use as an excuse is summed up precisley by MeatHammer here. Lighten up y'all; this is almost a "tradition " here at DI!. No harm, no foul. I don't think that Mr. Alan nor Jason, have ever made comments that they are annoyed by it, so why,why should it bother you all?
I suspect it sprouted from the fact that Alan often posts new articles in the wee hours, so anyone on-line at say 3:00 AM will have first peek at the new posting. Thus it is a way to note to other midnight readers that they are not alone out there in the ether of the graveyard shift.
Ha! Now, lets be nice to each other and talk Rats!
:-)
XXOO


oldmancoyote
Posted 20 August 2007 at 05:25 pm

Speaking of rats, I've recently discovered that the family dog has a great ability to catch those little suckers. Actually, the ones I've seen him with are quite sizeable. First time was amusing to see a big dog with a large rat bluging from his mouth. Kinda looked like one of those little High School plastic footballs. With a tail.


gommm
Posted 20 August 2007 at 06:50 pm

@Radiatidon:
What was the name of the island? If ever I have a chance, I would love to go and see this.....


Radiatidon
Posted 21 August 2007 at 06:59 am

gommm said: "@Radiatidon:
What was the name of the island? If ever I have a chance, I would love to go and see this….."

The island is called Roi-namur. It is located in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshal Island group in the South Pacific. Unfortunately the Shark Dogs were eliminated when some visiting Brass were using the bus to grab some lunch. They were not amused when the Shark Dogs boarded and demanded their seats. Before the end of the week, the dogs were dead.

This is a military testing range, and either you are working there, or get an invite. Some really unique and wondrous things there though.


J.K.
Posted 21 August 2007 at 11:43 am

Oh I'd have been done awhile ago if it wasn't for the repeated dragging out of the 2x4 to smack that equine corpse yet once again.

It was nice to see in the new news story a genuine comment there on top, refreshing even if it was short as it had a point.


HiEv
Posted 23 August 2007 at 07:40 am

Tesseract said: "There is a school of thought around inherited knowledge, which if I remember right claims we do inherit learnings from our predecessors, or rather it's easier for subsequant generations to learn what they knew. For example the basic physics we teach kids now would have been highly advanced years ago."

I believe what you're thinking of is the Baldwin effect (nothing to do with the Baldwin brothers, I assure you.) If so, then your example isn't really an example of what it says. The Baldwin effect basically says that if there is a learnable skill that will improve the ability of individuals in a species to survive and/or procreate and genetic traits exist or appear in the species that make it easier for some members of that species to learn that skill faster/better than others of the species, then over time natural selection will probably make the species more and more able to learn that skill. Over great amounts of time the ability to learn that skill may even evolve into an instinct.

It should be needless to say, but as with just about all changes due to evolution, this is not something that happens in a generation or two, as in your above example.


HiEv
Posted 26 August 2007 at 09:02 am

agooga said: "Well, I guess that makes it all better, then."

That wasn't what I was saying, or even implying. I'm just trying to set the record straight.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 27 August 2007 at 02:55 pm

Radiatidon said: "

There are others, but these are the most commonly used. Hope this helps.

The Don."

Thank you!


orc_jr
Posted 06 September 2007 at 09:04 pm

Meathammer said: "On the contrary, he more than likely is more qualified to determine that than anyone else. I myself am a veteran and I spent 20 months in a warzone out of my 4 years in the Army. After reading that Washington Post article, I completely empathised with the Colonel and the robot as well. Imagine going through a deployment seeing the effects of IED's and other horible devices of war. Risking a strench of credulity, imagine seeing a fellow soldier pull themself along some dusty road using the few limbs they have left. Then, imagine being home, safe, thousands of miles away from there, supervising the testing of machines that would stop such things from happening again. Imagine seeing that robot pathetically pull it's self along just as you saw that soldier do when you were in the box. Now what would you say?"

To call the act of destroying a robot built expressly for the purpose of detonating landmines "inhumane" is idiotic. Whatever unfortunate flashbacks from which this nameless Colonel may suffer do not in fact qualify him to change that.


Orbean
Posted 29 September 2007 at 11:06 pm

Hopefully someone teaches a rat to cook up some tasty French cuisine soon . . .


Anthropositor
Posted 29 March 2008 at 02:46 pm

To all those constantly engaged in the childish game of First, second, fourteenth, ad nauseum, it is not just five letters. It is not clever. It is an ongoing waste of time. It fills the comments section on all of these different essays with idle minded litter that most certainly reduces the readership of an otherwise unusually worthy blog.

It is simply exhausting, and an incredible waste of time to wade through it and other similarly ill thought out nonsense. That doesn't mean that genuine wit and humor and whimsy are out of place, but most of us can tell the difference between a wit and a half wit. Idiocy combined with more idiocy NEVER produces intelligence.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 04 March 2009 at 07:48 am

thisismyseriousside! said: "God Tink!!!! Thanks alot. I'm going to have nightmares for weeks. Geez. But on a more serious note, Is it really so terrible that they are "training" rats without food incentive…hmmm."

Actually I think given the choice, the rats would probably choose the electrodes over food as an incentive...


ChiefOf10
Posted 10 September 2010 at 07:46 pm

I stumbled across this article http://www.news.com.au/technology/darpa-working-to-develop-helmets-for-us-army-that-control-soldiers-brains/story-e6frfro0-1225918179501? in an online news website –found it kinda scary especially because I remembered reading the above article…


Frank
Posted 18 February 2013 at 01:01 am

When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble.

~~~~~The Buddha~~~~


Dakota
Posted 09 January 2015 at 09:15 am

This is god awfully inhumane... I understand the whole bomb sniffing and training them that way, but inserting things into their brain to control there movements?! What the hell is wrong with people..


END OF COMMENTS
Add Your Comment

Note: Your email address will not be published, shared, spammed, or otherwise mishandled. Anonymous comments are more likely to be held for moderation. You can optionally register or login.

You may use basic formatting HTML such as <i>, <b>, and <blockquote>.