Woody: What a mouse-brain idea!
Tuesday, December 30, 2014 3:17 pm
By LARRY WOODY
According to a recent report, scientists successfully produced mice with half-human brains, and one of the first half-witted rodents to scamper out of the lab was promptly mistaken for Vice President Joe Biden.
The mouse was riding in a limo on his way to a lavish political fund-raiser when the mistake was discovered. The misguided mouse was replaced by the real Joe Biden, who was discovered nibbling cheese and running on a hamster wheel.
Back to the mouse-brain: is this really a good idea? What if we end up with a Super Mouse that gets out of control? Then we'd have to build a Super Cat to get rid of the Super Mouse. We'd find ourselves trapped in a rodent arms race.
Of course down through history we've known some perfectly good mice. Mickey, for example, although we never completely understood his relationship with Minnie. Uncle Walt suggested it was strictly platonic and that Mickey and Minnie weren't living in mouse-sin.
Then there was crime-fighting Mighty Mouse, who flew through the air and delivered devastating upper-cuts to various villains. Boxing promoter Don King tried to arrange a world mouse-weight title fight between Mighty Mouse and Rocky the Squirrel, but the deal fell through when the mouse and the squirrel smelled a rat.
And who can forget Jerry of Tom & Jerry fame, the Lewis & Martin of cartoon critters? Unfortunately Jerry the mouse succumbed to some bad limburger and Tom the cat lived out his 9th and final life in a Old Stray Felines Home.
Back when I was an adolescent -- last week, some might claim -- every kid on the block wanted to be a Mouseketeer. I figured I was pre-ordained, seeing as how I was born with giant mouse ears.
Annette Funicello was eventually replaced by Britney Spears in the Mousketeers lineup. Annette in her sweater, replaced by Miley on her wrecking ball. And we wonder what's wrong with the country today?
Again, back to the mouse-brain program: as I understand it, the mice are given the cellular equivalent of a half-human brain. Since they have only a half-brain, does that mean they'll run down to the local convenience store and buy a lottery ticket?
Surely, even with just half of a mouse-brain left, they'll be smarter than that.
Perhaps I'm getting cynical in my dotage, but every time I read about one of these programs, I scan down to try to find the bottom line: what's it going to cost me?
I've Googled up everything I can find on the mouse-brain experiment and can find nothing about what it costs or who's paying for it. That, of course, means it's taxpayer funded.
The most in-depth article I could find is published in New Science.
It quotes a researcher with the University of Rochester Medical Center who cautions the public not to get too excited over the whole human/mouse brain thing.
He didn't say what hair-brain came up with the idea.