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by Aaron Spiewak

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Yankee Pot Roast

Literary Bughouse
Wednesday, February 1, 2006   |    Fiction

Real Lab Notes

by Julie Vick
A major survey of U.S. researchers has found that unethical practices are more common and widespread in science than previously believed. The study found that 33% of scientists admit to engaging in at least one of 10 behaviors considered unethical by university officials, such as “cooking” research data, changing results, or ignoring rules designed to protect human volunteers.

The Wall Street Journal

Drinking gin rickeys will cure cancer.

Day 1
Buy 20 mice with tumors at science supply store, return to lab. Mix pitcher of gin rickeys and feed 10 mice one shot, and remaining 10 mice two shots to see if greater quantity will cure cancer faster.

Day 2
All 20 mice dead. Pretend that didn’t happen. Return to supply store and buy 40 new mice. Give 10 mice ½ shot of rickey mix and 10 mice ½ shot of straight gin (in case they are reacting poorly to club soda). Keep remaining 20 mice as control group/backup.

Day 3
Two mice from each group die—replace with two mice from sober group and pretend they were there from the start. Keep feeding gin.

Day 14
Switch to top-shelf gin for mice and self. Makes lonely lab life more bearable and probably will cure cancer faster. Remember to not mention upgrade in final report for fussy people concerned with “consistency” in experiments.

Day 24
Gin not making any difference. Serendipitously sent bottle of ouzo from friend “studying” effects of excessive amounts of time spent in sun of Greek Isles. After few sips of black-licorice beverage, decide it is new magical elixir. In the dead of night, release all surviving drunk mice into archenemy’s lab.

Notes to self
Remove all mention of gin and initial 40 mice from lab notes. Take out glass recycling. Turn in only non-itemized receipts for “supplies” to funding group.

Day 25
Start with top-shelf ouzo and give half of mice ouzo and soda incase it’s the mixer that will really make the difference. Joke with the other mice about whether they’d like it neat or on the rocks. When their response is unclear, hand the drinks out at random before pulling out personal beaker from the freezer for own frosty dose.

Day 45
Still no effect on tumors and a few more mice casualties, but decide to see if mice can run in straight lines, drive mini cars, or dance to kickin’ club beats in current condition. Disappointingly, find that drunk mice can do very little to entertain researcher in white coat. Most seem to want to sleep. Some may not be breathing.

Day 65
Tired of waiting and don’t like the taste of vodka. Take seven drunk mice for a ride to “farm in the country.” Return to science supply store wearing disguise and buy seven healthy mice and return to lab and add to original mix. Pretend healthy mice have been cured of tumors and call up The Today Show; wait for major awards to roll in.

Final result
Ouzo has been known to cure tumors in some lab mice. List of possible side effects forthcoming.

Final note to self
Subject real lab notes to Bunsen burner and replace with more ethically appropriate results before submitting. Meet other scientist pals at bar for celebratory drink.