This is two items, really.
• Do robotic billy goats encounter robotic bridge trolls?
Yep, this is a robotic goat. A Japanese company built it for the Edogawa Kyotei boat races in Tokyo. Apparently it’s a huge gambling event, in which, much like with horse racing bettors hold tickets that function as receipts for their bet. hold the ticket in front of the goat (as this nice man is doing) and watch the goat chew up the losing ticket. Apparently it can chew up to 500 tickets an hour, which seems kind of fast, so don’t let your fingers get too close to the crunching teeth!
• Mighty Mouse! Here he comes to save the day!
No kidding, these genetically modified mice can run 6 meters per minute for six hours. The modifications also makes them eat twice as much, live longer, breed later (at 3 years old, the equivalent of 80 in a person), and it makes them more aggressive. Here’s a video of a mighty mouse trouncing a regular mouse on the treadmill. The senior researcher on the project, Richard Hanson of Case Western Reserve, told the BBC that his team modified a gene which ended up causing the mice to overproduce an important enzyme, which in turn affects the mice’ muscles.
“The muscles of these mice have many more mitochondria,” he said. “These are the little ‘engines’ in the cell that produce energy. For some reason, the number of mitochondria are around 10 times more than we see in the muscle of their littermates.”
It’s that “for some reason” that has me worried. Super mice that live longer, are more aggressive than their neighbors and the scientists don’t completely understand how they got that way? I see a B movie plot coming to life.