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Charlie's Animal Research Project -- status update

Charlie Wilkes charlie_wilkes at easynews.com
Wed Aug 13 00:13:49 EST 2003

OK.  Today marked a big step forward in my plan to test Jerry's DDR.

I met up with a woman I know whose sister runs a cat shelter, and we
went there.  Sure enough, there were some stressed-out cats there,
including a poor little feral kitten bouncing around in a live trap,
beside himself with fear.  There were also many friendly cats there,
and the ugliest cat I have ever seen with a malformed face and one eye
-- but very friendly.  So, I volunteered to contribute some free labor
in exchange for the DDR test on some animals I will choose once I know
my way around.

Holly accompanied me to the cat shelter and handled herself with great
poise despite the presence of kitties everywhere.  I was so proud of
my Wits End Dog!.

Tonight I went to Radio Shack and picked up a nanny-cam, like the ones
used to capture videoclips of masturbating babysitters for my favorite
porn group, alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.voyeurism.hidden-camera.  I
don't need a one-way mirror for my purpose, and I know Radio Shack
doesn't carry them, but I enjoyed asking the clerk anyway.

My experiment design is as follows:

1.  I will observe cats under the natural stress conditions of the
shelter and identify specific behaviors indicating stress.  Repetitive
mewing and clawing at the cage are the two that come to mind, but I
haven't started observing yet.

2.  I will put the DDR in the cage with some cats who appear uneasy in
captivity and leave it off, and tape a 4-8 hour segment.  I won't be
there physically, which is why I bought the nannycam.

3.  I will turn the DDR on, and operate it according to instructions,
and will attempt to videotape as much of the first 24-48 hours as

4.  I will analyze my tape data and attempt to quantify changes in
behavior by counting incidents of behavior that I have determined to
be my stress indicators.

I'm planning to use subjects who will be in the same area for a few
days and will not interact with them.

This is ultra-simple, because I don't know anything about doing
research.  So, I'd appreciate comments from all you neuro-wizards out
there in scienceland.

Two things I do have in my corner:

1.  Plenty of idle time on my hands.

2.  A limitless supply of cheap, disposable test animals.

So, I think I'll do alright.


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