Thursday, March 03, 2005

What's Up With That? #14: Your tax kroner at work

At last: positive proof that ours is not the most insanely spendthrift government on the planet.

The government of Norway funded a study at the University of Oslo to determine whether lobsters experience pain when boiled.


Lobsters are giant bugs that live in water. Bugs, I say. Arthropods. Multilegged crawly things. That we cook and eat what are essentially humongous aquatic insects is far creepier, and infinitely more worthy of study, than the issue of whether the giant bugs are capable of the higher-level nervous system function necessary to process pain, and whether on this basis the critters might object to our practice.

The answer, by the way, was "no."

Glad that's settled.

Still, I smell a scam here. (Or maybe that's just the lobsters.) How many lobsters do you suppose the scientists at the University of Oslo had to boil in the service of their research? And surely, once the creatures were boiled, it would have been wasteful — perhaps even disrespectful — to simply throw the remains away, wouldn't it?

Pass the drawn butter and lemon, there, Olaf.

I am currently writing a grant request to the Norwegian government, seeking funds to study whether human consumption of freshly harvested coconut causes pain to coconut palm trees. I anticipate the research for this project will require me to travel to, and spend inordinately lengthy amounts of time in, tropical and subtropical locales wherein coconut palms thrive. I'm compiling a list of destinations for the finance minister's review.

Wish me luck.


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