Friday, October 25, 2019


The most enjoyable article I read in months mentions rat poop. It turns out that rats placed in "an enriched environment" have consistently far better mental development and naturally better poop than rats in a boring place. As the training of the rodents to deal with certain difficult tasks continued, "all of the rats' faeces showed increasing dehydroepiandrosterone and decreasing corticosterone".

The first hormone mentioned is a stress marker, the second helps control stress. This information comes from 'Teaching Rats To Drive Tiny Cars Helps Them Relax, Scientists Discover'.

"...the mastery of a complicated skill can reduce levels of stress"

At my apartment mate's office there are a number of Filippinas, earning good money, undeservedly, who are totally stressed out because basic computer skills are so difficult, they just can't do those things, they've never done this before, it's too hard. They have tenure, they've stopped learning.

These women irritate my apartment mate, and I should mention that as a Cantonese person with Asperger syndrome she automatically learned these tasks, just like she mastered trig and solving plumbing issues. That's just how her mind works. Which I take for granted. She hasn't perfected changing the light bulbs in the ceiling fixture, because she is a shorter person, and both my height and my arm length are greater.
But bulbs don't require brains.
Just a ladder and long arms.

This research suggests that if Filippinas were put in rodent operated vehicles (ROVs) they would become better people.
Test their poop just to be sure.

"more challenging and enriching lifestyles lead to more complex neural networks"

One could also assume that life is better (though much more complex) if you are surrounded by Cantonese people who are on the spectrum, as well as long-limbed Caucasians, but that may be an unwarranted simplification.

Key quote: "Understandably, this is a pretty complex task for a rodent to learn, requiring all manner of cognitive, motor, and visuospatial skills they wouldn’t usually employ together. Nevertheless, after some practice, they were able to successfully navigate around a narrow arena towards a tasty reward, a super sugary Froot Loop cereal. "

SOURCE: Teaching Rats - IFLS

The women with whom my apartment mate works could be a lot happier if they were "incentivized" with Froot Loops. Which I shall suggest.

"It's easy for you; you're Chinese!"


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