Lab Rats for Light Bulbs

4 Oct

Sure, I could have picked a cute little rat. There are plenty of them. But these wrinkles and red eyes were just irresistible. Look at that nekkid pink back. Like an old man's buttocks.

Hey, I’m feeling bolder and slightly more enlightened.  It must be Tuesday.

Happy Lollipop Tuesday folks.

I seem to have some fresh faces (where do you all keep coming from!?) so allow me to direct you to the top of the page where there’s a link labeled “What’s Lollipop Tuesday?”  That should help soothe your pounding cerebrum.  In the meantime, I will regale everyone else with my venture into a white, unmarked van.

Okay, it wasn’t really a van, and it certainly wasn’t unmarked, but I’ve always felt just as creepy about it nonetheless.

You see, there’s this Research-Mobile thing that is sometimes parked in random places around the city that has Carnegie Mellon University splattered all over the sides of it.  It’s a lot like an RV but instead of a family, it’s carrying students.  And instead of a home inside, there’s a sort of research lab.  And instead of traversing the country it really just goes somewhere, squats, and returns to the University.   So I guess it isn’t really anything like an RV except that it looks like one.  It has none of the traditionally assumed properties and thus cannot be defined by the Robin Williams movie title.

I’m just full of all sorts of falsehoods today.

Anyway I never knew any of those things because I’m a big ol’ chicken.   Once in a while I would see the mobile parked around town and I’d wonder what it was all about but I never had the nerve to approach it.  To be frank, it scared the bejeezus out of me.  You can’t see in side, you don’t know what will happen to you once you get in there, and you have no idea what the people will be like who are undoubtedly in their participating in something or other.

It sounded like torture, to be honest.

But let’s get real here: I have twelve Lollipop Tuesdays to go until I can be done forever.  So when a stranger asked me this weekend if I’d hop on her research RV and get experimented on, I was totally up for it.

As it turns out, the research-mobile wasn’t so scary.  I would still argue that windows might help it not seem so creepy.  And there’s a certain sense of claustrophobia that takes over about halfway through the testing, but aside from that it wasn’t too bad.  They happened to be doing a research on light bulbs.  They were attempting to assess how educated the typical consumer is on light bulb choices and the impact of certain bulbs on the environment.  They factored in price, color, lumens, wattage… I know more about light bulb terminology right now than I ever wanted to.  We answered some questions on the computer, we stared at some light bulbs, and we went back out into the great wide open.

And as a fun bonus, we were all reimbursed with light bulbs.  Not lame light bulbs, but super awesome, coily, long-lasting daylight-recreating light bulbs.  

When I was wrapping up the computer testing portion inside I was given a big blank box of text and asked if I had any feedback for their study.  I began to type away, thinking nothing of leaving a few thoughts behind about the process.  A few moments later, one of the dudes running the gig came over and made a comment about how I “had a lot of feedback”.   I thought that would be a good thing seeing as how these folks are probably going into research for the rest of their lives and might want to consider a few fine details of their setup.  But then I looked at the screen and saw a huge block of text and realized that helpful or not, I sure was writing a lot.  Just like the dude said.

It appears writing a post a day has its side effects.


7 Responses to “Lab Rats for Light Bulbs”

  1. egills October 4, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    About the only thing I know about light bulbs is they’re always blowing at the same time


  2. Jules October 4, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    You know what the nerd really meant by a lot of feedback? He was probably thinking… man, she’s going to make me read that huge block of text? You can’t be serious. I hope I can make sense out of it.


  3. pegoleg October 4, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    As regards your photo: Eww. Yuck. Theatrical shiver of revulsion.


    • Wazeau October 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

      egads someone get those rats some fur coats.


  4. rebeccasretreat October 4, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    I’ve voted you for the Versatile Blogger Award!


  5. Samantha October 4, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Fail on that guy. I wish people would have given me that much detail when I was doing my research project last year. 😦 He needs to shut up and deal with it. 😛

    On the other hand, I would have never thought of studying lightbulbs. O_o


  6. Ro October 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Oh. My. Good. Lord. Honestly, I totally ignored your entire post once I realized it wasn’t about rats (I was truly afraid for a moment that the post was going to involve testing on rats. I would have cried). I’m obsessed. The ones in the picture look just like my little Buffi Binx! Except Buffi has black eyes, not red. I’ve got all kinds of happy, giddy feelings right now- like most people get when they see puppies. So. Freaking. Cute. (The periods are for emphasis, if you weren’t quite sure.)


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