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Rats

  1. Science

    Rats May Be off the Hook for that Whole “Spreading the Plague” Thing Thanks to New Research

    Rats have a bad reputation despite being adorable, intelligent, and proficient in the secret art of ninja. That might have something to do with the fact that rats and their fleas took the blame for the spread of the Black Plague in the 14th century, but new research may exhonorate them. Forensic scientists now say the plague infection was airborne.

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  2. Science

    Scientists Tickle Rats to Help Make Better Antidepressants

    Whether or not animals have a sense of humor has been investigated in many ways over the years, but one of the most adorable has to be in Jaak Panksepp and Jeffrey Burgdorf's experiments in tickling rats. Now, their work in adorable rodent tickle fights is helping to craft new "laughing pill" antidepressants.

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  3. Weird

    New York’s Rat Portal Map Reminds You Everything Is Disgusting

    If you live in New York City or another large metropolis, you probably spend a fair amount of time avoiding, trying to kill, or freaking out over rats. Now New York's Department Of Health And Mental Hygiene has developed an interactive map to confirm our suspicions that New York is just a big rat city some humans occasionally live in.

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  4. Weird

    This Rat Found the Ultimate Exercise Wheel, Is Also a Metaphor for Futility

    This video shows a rat attempting to run down an upward moving escalator in the San Francisco Civic Center BART station. The sad music in the background really sets the tone as one singular rodent faces insurmountable odds as it tries to get home. Or maybe it's just exercising. Either way, it's fairly hypnotic.

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  5. Science

    New Theory About Easter Island Claims Success Where Others Cry Failure

    Most people view Easter Island as a failure -- an example of the dangers of exhausting limited resources. Anthropologists Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo have written a new book, The Statues That Walked, that looks at it different. Their proposed theory states that rats, not humans, are to blame -- but also to thank.

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  6. Science

    Researchers May Have Found a Scientific Explanation For Near Death Experiences

    Many on their deathbeds, in fiction and reality, report seeing a tunnel with a bright light at its end, an experience so common it's become a cliche. While some believe the light is heaven (which makes life a giant, smelly subway station, I guess?), researchers have found new evidence that these visions may stem from electrical surges in the brain.

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  7. Science

    Brain-to-Brain Connection Established Between Humans and Rats

    Harvard researchers have devised a way to create a functioning link between the brain of a human and a lab rat that lets a thought from the human test subject cause the rat to move its own tail. The research could prove to be a major expansion to the field of brain-computer interface (BCI), translating thoughts through a computer to another brain.

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  8. Science

    First Successful Interspecies Cell Transplants Could Pave the Way for Future Pig-to-Human Transplants

    Researchers at Northwestern Medicine have successfully transplanted insulin-producing cells across species lines -- removing cells from rats and implanting them in mice -- without using drugs to prevent rejection of the foreign cells. While the transplant may seem like a small victory -- mice and rats are pretty similar, after all -- it marks a significant step forward in interspecies transplants that could one day save human lives by allowing the implantation of insulin-producing "islet" cells without necessitating the use of immunosuppressive drugs that can have dire side effects. 

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  9. Science

    Being Lazy May Not Be Your Fault, Say Scientists Who Aren’t

    Good news, couch potatoes! It may not be your fault that you don't want to get off your butt and be productive. In a display of not at all being lazy themselves, researchers at the University of Missouri have deduced that genetic traits might make some people prone to low motivation and inactivity.

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  10. Science

    To Sniff or Not to Sniff: Animals Display Social Hierarchy Through, Well, You Get the Idea

    We all know that animals have great noses -- especially bears, sharks, rats, and dogs -- and that they're far superior to our own lousy sniffers. We know this because we use man's best friend as trackers and detection dogs, because we're afraid of sharks if even a drop of blood hits the water, and because in 3rd Edition D&D most animal stat blocks include the Scent (Ex) special ability. But there's more to sniffing than just sheer olfactory might. According to a new study, the act of sniffing itself communicates the complex social status between animals.

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  11. Weird

    Iran Rolls Out Teams of Snipers to Battle Enormous Mutant Rats

    The Iranian capitol of Tehran is suffering from a pest problem we don't envy -- Rodents of Unusual Size have come to plague the city. While they're not the nearly human sized creatures native to the Fire Swamp, Iranian officials have reported that the "genetically mutated" creatures weigh in at up to 11 pounds. That's larger than some of the cats that prowl the city's streets, and big enough to warrant government backed teams of snipers whose job is to hunt down the voluminous vermin, because of course they're resistant to traditional poison. Of course they are.

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  12. Science

    Wired Telepathy: Neural Implants Let Two Rats Share One Thought

    Researchers at Duke University have successfully wired together the brains of two rats, allowing the animals to share a response to a stimulus -- hitting a switch when a light flashes, for example -- even when only one of them is actually exposed to it. And the connection isn't just for deliberate decision making --after a prolonged period of connection, rats were even able to feel and respond to researchers stroking the whiskers of the rat they are brain linked to.

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  13. Science

    Japanese Researchers Build Robotic Rat Literally Just To Terrorize Actual Lab Rats

    Life as a lab rat isn't exactly great. The digs are nice and the food is good, sure, but it's a lifetime of being poked, prodded, put through mazes, having electrodes put in uncomfortable places, and eventually probably being dissected to see what effect all those things had on your poor brain. So while we're all for suffering in the name of scientific progress, it seems a little much that researchers at Japan's Waseda University have created a robotic rat specifically designed only to terrorize their organic lab rats, inducing stress and depression that they can then study.

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  14. Science

    Bionic Whiskers Could Teach Humans A New Sense

    Have you even wondered  what life would be like if you could SEE with your BEARD? No? Us neither, until we came across a paper released recently in the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel are teaching blindfolded subjects an entirely new sense, similar to one rats and mice use to orient themselves in space with their whiskers. To bring about this new form of sensory input in humans, they're using a set of bionic whiskers made for people.

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  15. Science

    Mutant “Super-rats” Invade England, Are Immune To Standard Poisons

    Are you looking for a pretty sure sign of the coming apocalypse? We've got you covered. The British town of Gloucestershire is being overrun by mutated "super-rats" that are immune to conventional poisons, according to a new study. We're pretty sure this was also covered in Revelations somewhere, if we know our Bible. Which we certainly don't.

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