Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Funny Papers: Overly Expressive Lab Mouse

Scientists are people too, and they have a sense of humor. We don't claim to be a research humor blog (that's what Annals of Improbable Research is for.) However, sometimes we come across something that is so hilarious it has to be shared.

In this case, it's a silly figure in a medical research paper. I doubt the legality of posting an image from someone else's protected academic work, so here's the source (Figure 2) and a short description of what's happening in the figure:

  • The first image in the chain is a newly infected lab mouse with a darling smile on its little face.
  • Endotoxins produce IL-12, TNF and IFN-gamma in the mouse, contributing to shock. The mouse's smile has been reverted; it is now unhappy at its predicament.
  • The toxic shock leads to weight loss. Here, weight loss is manifested as someone copy-pasting an image of the sad mouse and shrinking it a bit.
  • The poor mouse dies. The authors have helpfully put 'x's in the eyes and put the mouse's little feet up to communicate to the reader that the mouse is, indeed, dead.
A shout-out to C.A. Biron and R.T. Gazzinelli for demonstrating that, while mathematicians have the best jokes, experimental biologists have us completely beat on black humor!

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