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more rat experiments and book publishing thoughts

updated sat 26 apr 03


David Hendley on thu 24 apr 03

We had lots of fun with lab rats in psychology class. I'm sorry, but it's
been more than 30 years ago, so I can't remember the details of the
"orgasm" experiments. But, Don is correct that we used the
"Stereotaxic Atlas of the Rat Brain" to know where to insert the electrodes.
After sedation (the rat, not the student), the skull was tightly gripped in
a vise, the spot marked, and the holes drilled.
I imagine human brain surgery today uses a similar procedure.

We did another experiment that involved drilling in the brain, and then
shooting a big current to a specific spot on the brain to fry it. If
was done properly, these rats could not stop eating. They would end
up double or triple their original weight in a few weeks.
Now there's an experiment with a lot of potential value: a way for people
to become morbidly obese.
By the end of my physiological psychology studies, I viewed most of
what we were doing as needless animal torture.

"Learning" class was much more fun, where we got to teach the lab rats
tricks. I taught one to stand on his hind legs and play a toy piano.
No real tune, just a series of at least 8 notes.
A classmate and I trained our rats to play soccer against each other.
This involved a ping pong ball and a 3-foot long shallow cardboard
box. It was really tough to get the players to learn the difference
between their own goal and the opposing player's goal

As for my comments about the "500" books, I have no problem with
people liking them and wanting to have their pictures published in them.
However, the usual and normal way a book is published is that the
authors or contributors are paid for their work, the publisher prints
and sells the book, and also makes money.
Heck, Hillary Clinton got 6 or 7 million dollars from a publisher before
she had written a word.
In the case of these books, though, the "editorial content", the substance
of a book, is acquired totally free. The publisher keeps 100% of the
profits of the sales of the book. Not a good, or fair, deal, in my opinion.
The quality of the images, or the overall look of the books is irrelevant.
In fact, if the quality of the photos is outstanding, that is all the more
reason why the good work should be monetarily rewarded.
For comparison, Ceramics Monthly pays $25 for each photo published,
not a great amount, but at least an acknowledgement that there would
be no publication without "editorial content".

Of course, you will always be told that giving away your work is "good
publicity", be it giving pictures to a publisher, or the actual work to
a charity auction. Let each artist decide for herself. The fun and ego
boost of being considered worthy of publication may well be worth
more than any dollar amount.
Artists are also asked to pay "jury fees" for the privilege of having
a juror look at their slides, to see if they are good enough to pay a fee to
be in an art fair. Again, to each his own, but I say baloney to that, and
will not pay a fee to see if I am "good enough" to pay another fee.

David Hendley
Maydelle, Texas