November 23rd, 2005


Of mice, men and silly T-shirt slogans

Scientists found the gene that regulates fear in mice and created mice that are not afraid.

Had a conversation with a friend about this the other day, or this and its application in people. I find that thought a little scary. Fearless mice? Not really a big deal. Fearless people? Hmm. Does this mean that suddenly everyone would drive like 17 year old boys?* That I would actually follow through with my desire to hit that person who's being annoying in a meeting? That crossing the road in front of that bus is nothing to be afraid of?

I'm thinking of Darwin's law here. You know the one where the stupid ones (read: not geared for survival and inclined to engage in stupidly risky behaviour) tend not to live long enough to breed? Well, if scientists removed the fear gene, surely we'd end up with a whole lot more candidates for the Darwin awards. And some would survive, and they'd likely be less stupid (or more fearful). So in a few generations, we'd be back to where we were.

But then, maybe they can use this technique to reduce anxiety. Which begs the question, why are we anxious? Anxiety isn't the same thing as fear. Watching TV shows about the countless ways in which terrorists could infiltrate our society, reading the media about how the government just cut the medical budget by $50billion while giving themselves a payrise, working 60 hours a week because it's expected even though you're only getting paid for 40, these things cause anxiety. How about paying for your kids 'free' education then giving them reading lessons at home because the method they use in school isn't working for them? Would removing the fear gene lessen anxiety? Or would it give us more to be anxious about? I'm pretty sure it would reduce the population pretty quickly. Considering that a lot of today's stresses can be correlated with the number of people our society now has to support, maybe, in a roundabout way, it might reduce anxiety.

The scientists might be on to something.

Meanwhile, seen in a shop window this morning: a men's T-Shirt bearing the slogan, "This is a holiday, not a honeymoon." WTF? I don't get it. Well.. I sort of do, but my brain won't let me believe that the assumptions behind that slogan are actually what I think they are. So, so many... *head explodes*

* Yes I know that's a stereotype. It's quicker than saying "Drive like young, inexperienced drivers who've never had an accident and have spent their lives playing NFS and want to push the boundaries in every way possible, in a car that they've spent their entire year's wages (or their parents') on souping up the motor of but haven't spent anything on the brakes or suspension." Still a stereotype, huh? Ah well. How about "Drive like me when I was 17?"

Fun things to do at home

I dragged out my shearing toolbox last night and cleaned/sorted everything. It's in amazingly good condition considering it hasn't been touched for a couple of years, which I attribute to not washing the sheep-grease off before putting it away. I made a list of things to buy at Wrightsons. Yes, I know it's sad that one of my favourite shops sells tractor parts, dog food and fencing staples.

I need:

4 combs
10 cutters
A handpiece screwdriver/doofer tool (don't know where that went)
Scrubbing brush
Comb pouch would not be a silly idea.
Oil bottle

Also on the list are:

Drench gun
Vaccination gun
Blade shears
Secateurs for hoof trimming

Then I'm sorted, with the exception of portable yards. I expect I'll have to buy these, or start haunting farm auctions and talking to anyone I know who has a PhD in welding.

Doop de doo, any of these things would make damn fine Christmas presents. Yes.