Have you ever heard of the Grasshopper mouse? It lives in the deserts of North America, lives on a meat diet, and hunts scorpions. Unlike other animals, it is immune to scorpion venom and actually turns it into a pain killer. Oh, and this little rodent bad ass also howls at the moon, giving it the nickname of werewolf mouse.
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I spent the last few days fighting off a mouse infestation in our RV. So far I've trapped and tossed six of the furry little bastards out on their asses. As I began the search for where they were getting into our rig, yesterday, I got to wondering how much space they can actually squeeze through.
According to this video, I'm doomed. Read the rest
South Georgia Island (population 20), due east off the tip of South America, had no rodents until 18th-century sailing ships accidentally introduced them. After seven years of work, the island is now rodent-free, allowing native birds to recover. Read the rest
Shawn Woods was able to catch seven mice in one night with a large bowl and some food-grade oil. Read the rest
Woodworker Matthias Wandel has mice in his workshop, and he wanted to see how small a hole mice could crawl through. But after setting up his ingenious little test, a challenger appears: the wily shrew! Read the rest
I suffer from mild RSI: a warning to stop, but one that goes away when I do stop. The trigger is using a mouse for extended periods. The alternatives for general everyday computer use aren't great for my work habits, which center on precise pointing and clicking, so I'm in the bad habit of mousing until the ache begins, stopping, then picking it right back up later. I'd never tried a vertical mouse in the past because my malfunction is mild, the ergonomic improvements aren't clear, and they tend to be expensive. But the OJA Wireless Vertical Ergonomic mouse is only $6.99 on Amazon, so I decided to give it an impulse-buy shot.
I imagined it would be an absolutely terrible mouse, but expected that I could at least use it long enough to see if the enormous vertical wedge shape of it would be good for my hand. As it happened, this thing is probably good enough to keep, with only a couple of slightly annoying issues holding me back.
From the design, it appears to be a knockoff of something by Logitech, with dark gray satin plastic, chrome trim on the mousewheel, and large dimensions all around. It's wireless (a provided USB dongle fits inside the mouse for storage) and charges via USB cable. There two thumb buttons in addition to the usual left, right and wheel buttons. There's a DPI switch and an a power toggle underneath. The photos on the Amazon page depict it with FCC and CE symbols that are not in fact present on the device. Read the rest
The Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse set was just twelve dollars and fifty cents!
It's sometimes $16.99 or even a bit more, but that's still pretty damned cheap.
I expected it to be about as bad as the Amazon Basics Keyboard, which is the same price, but wired, and you don't get a mouse. You know those nasty squidgy roll-up rubber portable keyboards? Imagine one of those in a rigid plastic case, and you have the Amazon Basics Keyboard.
This, though, is a perfectly decent full-size rubber-dome keyboard, as good as most of the tat in, say, a Best Buy or Staples. The special keys worked, including a calculator key that actually brings up the system calculator. Fucking witchcraft! Read the rest
While THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, seems to cause memory and learning impairment in young mice, surprising new research suggests that it actually reverses cognitive decline in elderly mice. From Scientific American:
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Researchers led by Andreas Zimmer of the University of Bonn in Germany gave low doses of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, marijuana’s main active ingredient, to young, mature and aged mice. As expected, young mice treated with THC performed slightly worse on behavioral tests of memory and learning. For example, after THC young mice took longer to learn where a safe platform was hidden in a water maze, and they had a harder time recognizing another mouse to which they had previously been exposed. Without the drug, mature and aged mice performed worse on the tests than young ones did. But after receiving THC the elderly animals’ performances improved to the point that they resembled those of young, untreated mice. “The effects were very robust, very profound,” Zimmer says...
When the researchers examined the brains of the treated, elderly mice for an explanation, they noticed neurons in the hippocampus—a brain area critical for learning and memory—had sprouted more synaptic spines, the points of contact for communication between neurons. Even more striking, the gene expression pattern in the hippocampi of THC-treated aged mice was radically different from that of untreated elderly mice. “That is something we absolutely did not expect: the old animals [that received] THC looked most similar to the young, untreated control mice,” Zimmer says.
The findings raise the intriguing possibility THC and other “cannabinoids” might act as anti-aging molecules in the brain.
Chris Notap likes to make humane mousetraps. He's a recreational trapper, I guess. This is the fifth one in his series of homemade traps.
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Another of my best and easiest homemade humane mouse traps! The 5th in a series! Easy to build, easy to bait, easy to release and best of all, it's humane and there's no springs or levers to wind up or load! The mouse or vole cannot escape or chew his way out of this mouse trap. Mice are not harmed in any way during capture. As a matter of fact, the mouse or vole remains very calm since there is no snapping latches to scare him! Mice can be released calmly and easily without fear of getting bitten even by the most "fearful of mice" person!! Simple operation makes this diy homemade vole mouse trap fun and easy to build and adjust for easy trapping and best of all easy release. Just use a dab of peanut butter to bait the trap. It's the best do it yourself homemade humane live release vole mouse trap you'll find! A few common items is all you'll need. I'll be building a humane squirrel trap next so you can capture and release squirrels easily too so subscribe and don't miss my upcoming "diy humane squirrel trap". Thanks for watching. I also have a "diy humane rat trap" coming soon too!
The Arizona bark scorpion is the deadliest scorpion in the continental United States. But the Southern grasshopper mouse happily munches on the scorpions. How? The scorpion's venom actually triggers the mouse to numb itself to pain.
From KQED Science:
The scorpion venom contains neurotoxins that target sodium and potassium ion channels, proteins embedded within the surface of the nerve and muscle cells that play an important role in regulating the sensation of pain. Activating these channels sends signals down the nerves to the brain. That’s what causes the excruciating pain that human victims have described as the feeling like getting jabbed with a hot needle. Others compare the pain to an electric shock. But the grasshopper mouse has an entirely different reaction when stung.
Within the mouse, a special protein in one of the sodium ion channels binds to the scorpion’s neurotoxin. Once bound, the neurotoxin is unable to activate the sodium ion channel and send the pain signal. Instead it has the entirely opposite effect. It shuts down the channel, keeping it from sending any signals, which has a numbing effect for the mouse.
"Stinging Scorpion vs. Pain-Defying Mouse"
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Researchers partially restored hearing in deaf mice with a certain kind of genetic hearing loss by inserting working copies of the mutated genes. Eventually the technique could lead to gene therapy for certain causes of human deafness. Read the rest
Here's a crazy fact: Thanks to soda and the sneaky added sugars in store-bought foods, 25% of Americans consume a diet that is 25% sugar. In fact, all it takes to hit that is three cans of soda on top of an otherwise sugar-free diet. What does eating like that mean for your health in the long term? Scientists are still trying to figure that out. Scicurious breaks down a recent study in mice that successfully demonstrates both why our sugar intake has health experts concerned AND why we don't yet know exactly what we're doing to ourselves. Read the rest
This week, scientists cloned a mouse from cells found in a drop of mouse blood. That's different from other cloned mice, whose creation relied on more invasive sampling from the liver, bone marrow, and lymph nodes (read: the original animal was euthanized). Cloning mice is valuable for scientific research — it's handy to have your subjects be as alike one another as possible. Now, scientists have a way to do that without having to kill the original mouse. Read the rest
"When Yi Rao of Peking University in Beijing, China, and his colleagues genetically engineered female mice so that they could no longer make or respond to serotonin, it appeared to affect their sexuality. Although they would still mate with males if no other females were present, given the choice, the rodents preferred sniffing and mounting females." [New Scientist] Read the rest
An inquest found mice responsible for burns found on a dead 55-year-old woman in England, but was unable to determine the exact cause of death. Though the rodents nibbled through cabling and started a fire, Linda Wyatt suffered no smoke inhalation and may therefore have already succumbed to other ailments. [Court News UK] Read the rest
A study at MIT involving mice fed a diet of vanilla yogurt with probiotics yielded interesting and unanticipated results:
First, the scientists noticed that the yogurt-eating mice were incredibly shiny. Using both traditional histology techniques and cosmetic rating scales, the researchers showed that these animals had 10 times the active follicle density of other mice, resulting in luxuriantly silky fur.
Then the researchers spotted something particular about the males: they projected their testes outward, which endowed them with a certain “mouse swagger,” Erdman says. On measuring the males, they found that the testicles of the yogurt consumers were about 5 percent heavier than those of mice fed typical diets alone and around 15 percent heavier than those of junk-eating males.
More in SciAm. The fact that these manly-mouse-man results were achieved from girly-vanilla-yogurt is not lost on me.
But I want to know is, how exactly does one go about weighing the mice's testicles? Your thoughts in the comments. (via Ed Yong) Read the rest