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Old 09-15-2005, 04:08 PM   #1
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We lost the bubonic plague mice, but whatever....

8O 8O 8O

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9355413/

Oh my gosh.
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Old 09-15-2005, 04:32 PM   #2
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Old 09-15-2005, 05:19 PM   #3
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Old 09-15-2005, 05:39 PM   #4
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I just saw that.
The media loves to create hysteria, and really eats stuff like this up.
I hope this will put your minds at ease.

I work in a BSL-2 rodent facility similar to the kind in which those mice were kept. (My mice are not infected with any human pathogens - the BSL-2 barrier is there to protect them from common mouse pathogens that may affect my research.) Entry to BSL-2 facilities is tightly controlled and granted only to trained researchers and staff. I have to have my palm scanned and swipe a coded ID card before entering through a double set of doors. Most facilities are kept under constant video surveillence to ensure that animals are not brought in or taken out without prior authorization. Therefore, I think it highly unlikely that the mice were stolen.

Escapes are not unheard of, but in a BSL-2 facility, the mice have nowhere to go. There are no unsealed wall or floor penetrations, there are no accessible sources of food or water, all doors have bottom door-sweeps, and there are baited live-catch traps everywhere. I doubt that the mice escaped, but if they did, they will soon be recaptured.

The three missing mice, IMO, most likely died in their cages and were completely devoured by their cagemates before the researcher discovered their absence. Mice hold nothing sacred when one of their own is sick, dying, or deceased. That's why it's so difficult to assess pain, distress, or illness in lab mice - if a mouse displays such signs, it will likely be killed and eaten by its cagemates.

A paperwork error is not out of the question either. Mice in lab facilities are tracked by their cage, not individually. When I sacrifice a mouse, or find one dead, it is my responsibility as the researcher to note that on the cage card. It is quite possible that these three mice were used in an experiment last week, and the researcher simply forgot to note this on the cage card.
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Old 09-15-2005, 05:44 PM   #5
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Thanks, QTOFFER - I was waiting for your response!
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Old 09-15-2005, 05:52 PM   #6
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hmmm in that case it's kind of interesting that the story even made national news. Though oddball news stories are my favorites. Qtoffer since you're a lab guy...what kind of reassurances do you have about the "human cow." 8)
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Old 09-15-2005, 06:46 PM   #7
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I saw this story and read a couple of articles. But all the ones I read quoted the University as saying that there is no danger. One article said, that IF the mice did escape, they are already dead and the disease is NOT contagious. So where's the hysteria?

Now . . .

I work for "The Media" and I hope I can put most of your minds at ease now. We (referring to the Media) despite contrary belief, do NOT love to create hysteria. Mainly because, despite contrary belief, we are people too. We live, work, play. We have our own families, brothers, sisters, children. We pay the same gas prices as everyone else. We are victims to the same crimes, the same diseases, the same storms, even the same murderers. We are afraid of the same terrorists, the same natural disasters, the same pedifiles that live near us. Any hysteria that takes place, believe it or not, is our hysteria too.
When we decide stories we base those story ideas on a lot of things, but most importantly: is this something that our viewers will even care about. If not, then we won't do it. How do we know a majority of our viewers will care or not? Because we gauge off of how much WE care or not. Would I, a person, sitting at home watching TV, want to know about that? In the case of New Jersey . . . the LOCAL newsroom for that area said "yes". Now it becomes VERY important that they get all of the correct information, and I mean all of it. Because if we don't our viewers will not hesitate to let us know. They haven't failed us yet. But most importantly: if our job is really to inform the public, then we HAVE to do that.

98% of every national story starts off as a local one first. Meaning that a local news station comes across something that people may want to know about, so they cover it. The affiliated national station, through various methods, monitors all of those local stories in all 230 markets nation wide. In other words, MSNBC is monitoring all of the NBC stations. Fox News is monitoring all of the Fox stations and so one.
We call two minutes in TV an eternity. Mostly because so much can happen in two minutes. (Imagine if your favorite station went to black for two minutes)
Two properly written stories can fit into two minutes; sometimes three. It is the job of that show's producer to fill those two minutes with whatever he/she finds necessary. Most of the national stations, Fox, CNN, MSNBC are on the air 24/7. There are 60 mins to the hour. 24 hours to the day making for 1,440 minutes of air time. Minus an average of twelve minutes per hour for commercial time. That is a whole lot of eternitys to fill. That is how an obscure story makes national. That is even how an obscure story makes local. Sometimes it can be really hard to find thirty seconds somewhere. More often than not we give those extra thirty seconds to the Meteorologist so that he can take a little more time telling people to wear shorts and a t-shirt tomorrow.
Anyways, the root of all of those national stories is local. And what the camera doesn't show you before that, hopefully flawless, live shot is the fear, concern, panic, in us. Why? Because its more important to let everyone know what is going on and what will happen next.
I'm done. Sorry for the long post.
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Old 09-15-2005, 07:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBirdsong
We (referring to the Media) despite contrary belief, do NOT love to create hysteria. .
Okay but then what's up with those news teasers....You know they type....

"There's something deadly and it could be lurking right in YOUR backyard.." catch the news at 11.

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Old 09-15-2005, 07:33 PM   #9
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Its not meant to freak you out. It's supposed to make you think "hmmm . . . I wonder what it is that could be in my backyard? A snake? An alien? A Great White Shark? I had better watch later."

And normally we say "more at 11" not "catch".

But I see what you are asking. The teases are only meant to get people to watch, never to create fear or hysteria. Though we want to inform the public, we also want to beat the other guys. Since I'm NBC, I am all about beating ABC or CBS. So our teases are meant to encourage you to watch us instead of them.

Plus a tease THAT dramatic wouldn't be used for the mice story. Not by my station anyways. First off it wouldn't be true. The mice aren't lurking in someone's backyard. And second, the fact that the information says otherwise it would just be flat unethical.

And to be honest to you, talloulou, I feel I can safely speak for MOST of everyone in media, but there are a couple of reporters, photographers, editors, producers who actually DO hope for something bad to happen. Those people are just sad and make the rest of us look bad.
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Old 09-15-2005, 07:36 PM   #10
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In other news . . .

Now I know why QTOFFER has a mouse as his avatar.
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