14
Jul
11

Jetlagging hamsters with boners: it works, bitches!

Drop what you’re doing, right now, and read this:

The experiments you actually get to do as a researcher are usually dull, bizarre, or all-too-often often both.  (I suspect this to be the case even in fluorine chemistry.)  The eureka moments come few and far between: most of the time you’re running an experiment because you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re doing and need to gather more data before you can even make a hypothesis.  (If you had a clear idea of what you were doing, someone would probably have already done it thirty years ago.)

Every once in a while that data-gathering involves giving hamsters Viagra and flying them around the world to see what happens to their cardiovascular systems at thirty thousand feet.  It’s a lot easier to get that past ethics review than it is actually to introduce DVT in a bunch of, I dunno, university administrators on their way to a junket conference somewhere, although perhaps less satisfying.  Then it gets quoted out of context by some shining wit browsing Wikipedia and next thing you know half the internet has the impression that “science” means “hey, let’s do pervy things to animals and see what happens”.  Ain’t so, cupcake.


3 Responses to “Jetlagging hamsters with boners: it works, bitches!”


  1. 1 Mad Rocket Scientist
    July 14, 2011 at 17:12

    I have that graphic on a T-shirt, and I get more comments on that shirt (people love it)

  2. July 14, 2011 at 22:18

    Just to be fair and reduce a hair of the wtf on things a tad, if comments at the original site what pissed me off can be believed, the study didn’t involve actually flying them around, but instead just varying the amount of light they get per day (and when) to induce jetlag. Much more cost effective and sensible, so I’m inclined to believe it, however a) thanks for the link, and b) I feel my assessment of the opinion that scientists are high all the time because omg that’s a funny study stands regardless, so carry on.

    • July 14, 2011 at 23:03

      That kind of makes it worse: I’d think that “hey, let’s fuck up a Viagraed-up hamster’s sense of time by changing its day/night cycle” would make more sense to the Eloi than “hey, let’s fly a Viagraed-up hamster around the world” as some kind of research-y thing. It turns “this is really weird out of context, but in context it kind of makes sense” into “this is the sort of thing psych folks do with rodents all the time, and in context it makes even more sense”, but with a hard-on joke.


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