Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Say What!?" Wednesday TwelveFourThirteen

Say What Wednesday: week three

Let's dive right in:

U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam — by parachute — to kill snakes
Washington Times

U.S. helicopters descended upon Guam on Sunday with cargo meant to kill, although this $8 million mission was unlike most others — 2,000 mice on cardboard parachutes were released into the forest surrounding Andersen Air Force Base as bait for brown tree snakes.
Guam’s population of brown tree snakes hovers around 2 million, with a density of 13,000 per square mile in some areas, CNBC said. However, the snakes are sensitive to Tylenol — 80 milligrams of acetaminophen can kill them. That’s where the mice come in.

The 2,000 rodents that were parachuted into the canopy were all pumped with the painkiller; when the snakes take a big enough bite, they die. Data-transmitting radios embedded within the mice help scientists gauge how well their program is working.

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Now, at first I thought, "Woah, COOL!" Then I read some of the comments which used simple math to break down the cost that even if all the mice get eaten by snakes (and not cats, to which tylenol consumption  is also fatal) and there's a 100% success rate it would still cost $4,000 per snake... and there'd still be 1.98 million snakes left on the island... maybe not the most cost effective or well thought through plan.

But it' still neat to picture the mice parachuting from helicopters... I imagine them with little mice helmets too =)

So unfortunately I ran out of time yesterday, which is why Say "What!?" Wednesday is out on Thursday this week and why I only have one news item instead of three. Sorry bout that. Christmas and its various time-consuming related activities have started taking over my life... but I'm not complaining =)

1 comment:

P!nky said...

Oh dear lil mice! the parachutes sound kinda cute!