Sunday, August 07, 2005

Left Behind: A Novel of the EUC's Last Days

If you've ever trapped a field mouse, you'll know they behave differently from the mice you see in pet stores. Mouse breeders routinely, casually, and effectively select for good behavior.

Larry Sandler used to tell a story about visiting famous mouse geneticist, Eva Eicher, at the Bar Harbor Labs, in Maine. Eva was showing him a special mouse she'd spent many generations breeding, that she was going to use to answer an important question. The mouse, which she was holding by the tail, twisted around and bit her. Without thinking, she instinctively smacked it against a hard surface and killed it.

Then she realized what she'd done.

The up-side, however, is that you can handle lab and pet mice easily, and not get bitten.

Sometimes you see it argued that the American character is shaped by the genetic predispositions of the folks who escaped Europe to settle here.

Our citizens trace to ancestors so hostile to crowding and tyrrany that they left their homes and cultures to come here.

This argument usually forgets to note that such migration also affected the character of the land they left behind.

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