Ratty adopted a Tanzanian landmine sniffing rat (Ratty Jr.) and every now and then he gets an email about its progress. Here are excerpts from that email with Ratty’s reactions…
“Ratty’s Rat is nervous for its big blind test.”
R: Oh GOD!
“Congratulations! Ratty’s Rat and the other trainees just passed their first blind test.”
R: They really should have lead with this.
“This blind test, conducted at the end of the scent discrimination training, was the first true measure of our future Heroes’ capability since even the trainer did not know which tea-egg contained the TNT.”
R: *Googles “tea-egg”*
“Only the supervisor administering the test knew where the TNT was located. It is important to conduct these types of tests under blind conditions so that the trainer cannot inadvertently cue the rat as to the location of the positive sample. Rats are intelligent animals and can sometimes pick up small changes in the behavior of humans to know where the TNT sample may be present.”
R: I could NEVER be a supervisor! There’s no way I could keep it together. I’d cover my face whenever the rat got near the TNT.
“To prevent this possibility, our trainers never know which samples are positive.”
“To pass the test, every rat has to correctly identify all eight of the eight TNT samples presented and correctly ignore the 22 neutral samples. If only one of the neutral samples is indicated by a rat to be TNT, the animal could still pass the test but if even one of the TNT samples are missed, the rat would have failed.”
R: I don’t know why I thought this would be a good idea for me. This is incredibly stressful. I mean what if I hadn’t adopted this rat? Would he just be chilling on a beach in Tanzania?
Hmm, Tanzania has beaches right?
*Googles “Tanzanian beaches”*
“We’re proud Ratty’s Rat and the other rats put their nose to work and passed with flying colors. Ah, the sweet smell of success! Perhaps you would like to treat them to a graduation feast of avocados and peanuts?”
R: Would I!
Stay tuned for more updates and don’t forget to adopt your own hero rat today!