Forty mice researchers will study...

I was scanning a piece on the latest Space-X mission to the international space station (ISS) and my eyes suddenly fixed on these words: “40 mice researchers will study,” and my mind stuck right there. It could have misinterpreted ISS as ISIS and spiraled out into an imaginary multiiverse where it turns out that Muslims have gotten around Trump’s travel harassment but taken up extraterrestrial travel to avoid airport screeners, but I got stuck instead on the mice researchers. 

“They’re teaching mice how to use Survey Monkey in space?” I wondered. “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to do that on Earth with a good landline?” It seemed preposterous to me that Elon Musk would so cavalierly squander shareholder money to send mice researchers into space and house them once they got there. What could they possibly learn up there that a few cheap domestic liberal arts graduate students couldn’t figure out by dissecting a few dozen mice researchers?

I was about to fire off a blog post on one of my left-leaning far-right wingnut self-service blogging sites to incite peace, love, and misunderstanding, when I went back and noticed that a simple punctuation misstep had stopped me short of the words that changed my perception completely.

“...a manifest that includes 40 mice researchers will study to learn about bone healing in microgravity,,,

Once I inserted a comma between “mice” and “researchers,” it was clear that researchers (presumably) would be studying the mice, who would then cease any research they might have undertaken on their own. Still, even with that understanding, I’m sure there are cheaper ways to figure how to heal a broken mouse leg without leaving the surface of the planet. Beyond that, I’m sure in some cases you wouldn’t have to be on the surface. A basement would do just fine to experiment on breaking and repairing mice bones.

You could build a microgravity chamber in your basement these days for the cost of a home podcast studio, but I’m getting off topic. I think.

I’m not sure. I’m never certain. I don’t believe. But I think.

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