Back in 1958, high-school sophomore Diana McGee chose as her biology project an experiment "to make a hamster an alcoholic, then to cure it of the disease." She named the hamster "Alchy". The hamster consumed about a pint of bourbon a month and reportedly "seems to love it." Unfortunately, the news report never followed up on whether McGee was able to cure her hamster of his habit. Nor did it reveal what grade McGee got for her project.
Source: The Salina Journal (Salina, Kansas).
Update: I actually spoke too soon about the lack of a follow-up. Another search revealed that the Salina Journal did report on Apr 25, 1958 that Alchy eventually refused to drink any more of the bourbon-water mixture, leading the paper to comment that "the animal has more sense than some people."
Kate Smith was a rat trained to raise a small American flag. It was trained by Kelly Buckwalter of Santa Barbara High School as "an experiment in operant conditioning" for her chemistry and psychology classes.
Where Fahrenheit and Celsius meet, -41 degrees, is the temperature folks were enduring on the second day of the new year in northern Ontario, Canada. One person decided to amuse themselves with the weather by shooting boiling water out of a super soaker into the frigid air. The effect is rather cool.
Over in Guam, researchers are dropping dead mice out of helicopters. The idea is that the mice, which have been doped up with acetaminophen, will land in trees and be eaten by snakes. The snakes will then die, because acetaminophen is poisonous to them. It's an experiment to see if this method will work at reducing the snake population, which is growing out of control. The video shows some of the mice falling from the skies. [NPR]
Shown is Robert E. Lewis, a physicist at the Armour Research Foundation, circa 1950, who's experimenting with his "sitz" meter, a device designed to measure chair comfort. Weight sensors on the pads of the chair would turn on corresponding lights on the panels on the wall, showing how the person in the chair (Judy Blumenthal, who looks thrilled to be participating in the experiment) was distributing their weight. Lewis was trying to scientifically design a more comfortable chair.
Stanford researchers are using virtual reality gear to allow volunteers to experience what it feels like to be a cow. They're curious about whether the experience of temporarily "becoming" a cow will reduce people's desire to eat cows. If the video below doesn't work, the article is here.
Head transplants , according to Italian surgeon Dr. Sergio Canavero, are possible. Not in the future, but right now he claims. It has been attempted on animals in the past but total paralysis was an insurmountable problem. The doctor says spinal cord repair is possible today. The proceedure is estimated to require 100 surgeons 36 hours at the cost of 8.5 million British pounds. I doubt NHS or Obamacare will ever cover it though.
If you haven't seen "The Blob", you need to watch that classic sci-fi horror film. For the uninitiated, watch this magic putty absorb magnets. It's not the same as "The Blob" oozing into the movie theatre through the air vents, but who could predict you could have this in your own home?