Safe Optogenetics Techniques in Reducing Driving Faux Pas in Mice

(Featured Image I use the whole article credit to the new york times, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Dr. Brain, T1, and Pinky2

1 Department of Evil Plans Cranberry-Lemon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

2 Cranberry-Lemon University, unaffiliated, Pittsburgh, PA, USA 

Abstract

Optogenetics is a fast growing and exciting field in which scientists can repurpose their Christmas tree LEDs to make mice and other animals do things. There have been advances in Parkinsons, anxiety, depression, Schizophrenia, Drug abuse treatments, and even may cure blindness. Despite all of these advances into uplifting the Mus Musculus species, research has failed time and time again to produce a safe and predictable method for making mice better drivers. It’s easy to make a mouse horny or run around in a circle using electrodes or optogenetics but how can such methods be used to stop them from driving in the left lane when they’re not passing anybody on the highway? This paper presents a novel technique using optogenetics through hippocampus memory retrieval and Basal Ganglia to influence mice to commit 93% less driving faux pas to include; Driving in the left lane when you aren’t passing anybody, tailgating, stopping to turn in a left lane on a busy road, and buying those LED headlights that make you think they’re a cop for a split second and freaking everyone out.     

1. Introduction

    Optogenetics, or as the latin origins of the name suggest ‘the skillful art of controlling rodent brains with blue LEDs’ has been influencing the neuroscience field for decades now. While advances have been made in harmlessly influencing rodent brains, the field has failed time and time again to find a solution to road impoliteness, the number one killer of the modern mouse in a quarter of US states shortly behind owl attacks.

    Mandatory drivers education, insurance schemes, and PSA’s starring the famous Jerry have enforced most safety behavior [1]. While most driving safety techniques have successfully been taught to the rodent kingdom, there are very subtle behaviors that are harder to enforce. In the rodent social sciences, when behavior cannot be taught through treats and it is often taught through electrocuting particular brain circuits by scientists in white lab coats. 

    Unfortunately and tragically revealed by previous research, it is not safe to electrocute a driver’s brain while operating heavy machinery [2] or worse, influence motor control [3]. The only effective method found and presented in this paper is to subtly influence negative memories of other mice committing these driving faux pas in the hippocampus while additionally conditioning corresponding behavior and voluntary movement in the Basal Ganglia

2. Background

A thorough literature review has established that there is tremendous evidence that it is not safe to enforce behavior involving the operation of heavy machinery with electrical shocks [2] or influencing cere bellum [3] or poetically translated from Latin, the wax warfare. It may seem like hindsight bias that artificially adjusting motor control did lead to a 98% increase in rodent traffic collisions and over $182.79 in pinewood derby vehicle damage in 2018 alone! But the scientists pushing for widespread adoption were full of hubris. 

Teaching mice and other rodents to drive safely is one step, but teaching them to politely use the road with other drivers is a tall order. Mice are well known anti-social creatures who have extreme difficulty forming complex society rituals, religions and social norms [4]. The issues highlighted in [4] suggest that the lack of memories through storytelling as done in normal non-mouse society and a childhood disciplined aversion to anti-social behavior cause the majority of degenerative rodents. These issues directly inspired the solutions proposed in this paper.

Driving faux pas can be defined as impolite behavior which is not illegal but unnecessarily dumb, annoying, and marginally unsafe. This paper aims to demonstrate these pro-social optogenetics techniques on mice through four distinct driving Faux Pas. The driving faux pas’ found most egregious in the mouse community tested against the novel technique include; Driving in the left lane when you aren’t passing anybody, tailgating, stopping to turn in a left lane on a busy road, and buying those LED headlights that make you think they’re a cop for a split second and freaking everyone out. These four were found to be historically widespread in the rodent family.  

3. Methodologies

The first step in controlling mice through Optogenetics is to introduce or identify light sensitive proteins or opsins in the mice’s brain. While this is easy to do, it’s tough to find a rodent’s neurons corresponding to a complex memory such as being stuck behind a slow driver in the left lane. The methodology shown in figure 1 found to be most effective is to force each mouse to watch violent footage of drivers committing such anti-social behavior in the victim’s position and identifying the activated Opsin actuators to later manipulate. 

Figure 1: Mouse forced in a theater to watch anti-social driving behavior
Figure 1: Mouse forced in a theater to watch anti-social driving behavior (Edited Image the new york times, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

Initial research has found that these neurons primarily exist in the Hippocampus, but later found that the neurons which more adequately controlled behavior were found in the nucleus accumbens shell of the ventral basal ganglia. Step two consisted of mapping each negative feeling towards the driving behavior in the nucleus accumbens affective keyboard within the ventral basal ganglia to be later exploited by the specially designed brain controlling LED helmet. This mapping could later be applied as a configured software API for each mouse. 

Next, the mind control helmet consisting of a blue light controlled by neglected raspberry pi’s were directly installed into the mice’s brain as suggested in figure 2. The rig then emits direct light into the identified behavior controlling neuron clusters identified in the first step of the experiment. 

Figure 2: Optogenetic Mind Control Helmet Mechanisms
Figure 2: Optogenetic Mind Control Helmet Mechanisms (Pama E.A. Claudia, Colzato Lorenza, Hommel Bernhard, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

A surplus of raspberry pi’s were found because every single engineering student and faculty member at Cranberry Lemon appeared to have several they purchased for a DIY project they never got around to finishing. Due to the current 2021 chip shortage, this was our best option and we finally had a leg up on beating Carnegie Mellon to the first mind controlled rodent driving program.  

The mind control helmet raspberry pi then completed a circuit in the mice while driving using electrodes connected to the steering wheel and the brake-gas pedals of their pinewood derby cars. Now with the circuit complete the second and third hand raspberry pi’s could take in feedback and emit perfectly timed bursts of light directly into each rodent’s brain. 

4. Test Procedure

The only thing harder than teaching a mouse to drive with less anti-social behavior is proving that the method worked. Most mice are so untrusting of insurance companies that most disable driver monitoring systems by chewing through the wires spying on them. In order to prevent this, each mind control helmet needed to be fashionable and heavily marketed to keep them from destroying the helmets. Additionally, the limited amount of mice we were able to develop targeted cluster neuron mind control helmets severely limited our sample size. Most of the rodents did not survive the neuron cluster identification indoctrination process and refused to drive themselves, electing to ride share instead for the rest of their lives. 

Those mice resilient enough to continue driving were tested on a realistic traffic track. The track simulated situations which would tempt each mouse into committing each driving faux pas. Each test configuration was tested against a control group and an indoctrinated group of mice configured with a mind control helmet. 

4.1 Driving in the Left Lane

Using a treadmill track with a virtual horizon, each mouse drove on an endless road to simulate driving from Kansas City to Denver on an endless straight road. The experimental configuration can be seen in Figure 3. Interspersed on the track would be appropriately spaced out mouse sized big rigs and slow minivans pulling 4x4x8 inch U-hauls. The spacing of the slow cars were perfectly designed to tempt each mouse driver to continually drive in the left lane instead of passing each vehicle and merging back into the right lane like any considerate driver. The amount of time each driver spends in the left lane when they could have merged back was then evaluated.

Figure 3: Kansas City to Denver Treadmill Setup
Figure 3: Kansas City to Denver Treadmill Setup (Edited Image the new york times, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

4.2 Tailgating

Testosterone! Testosterone! Testosterone! We repeated the Kansas city experiment but added in a mouse driver in a pinewood derby Nissan with terrible acceleration forcing them to drive slowly in the left lane by perfectly inverting the LED response behavior from the first left lane driver study. Next we pumped the experimental and control group mouse full of testosterone before beginning the study and had each mouse drive in an oversized pick up truck. This configuration was found to elicit the maximum amount of tailgating in the control group. With the maximum amount of tailgating expected we determined an opportunity to show off our cool new method the most. Each mouse’s penis size was also measured as later analysis showed that inverse mouse penis size was a strong predictor for a propensity for tailgating and needed to be included in the later analysis.

4.3 Stopping to turn in the left lane on a busy road 

To determine the effectiveness for this anti-social behavior, this track was extremely difficult to construct. Each mouse was tested at 11:30 after skipping breakfast and denied food by implementing a broken vending machine at their office in a simulated cube farm where they were forced to redo monthly progress reports because the format wasn’t correct and sit through a mandatory meeting etiquette meeting run by another mouse in an authority position with a propensity for bad jokes. After fake laughing at the boss mouse’s bad jokes for an hour, the test mouse is required to turn left into a Chik-Fil-A drive through for a two inch wide Spicy chicken deluxe sandwich laced with heroin. The heroin laced spicy chicken deluxe was found to be the most addictive food to mice in [5] and chosen specifically for this experiment. 

The mouse then drives to the Chik-Fil-A where they are re-routed by detour into a busy road with a no left turning lane. As this experiment is controlled, the mouse is unrealistically the only car turning left into the Chik-Fil-A. The mouse, having been briefed through memory enforcement in the day prior with a traditional food reward maze method is given the option of turning left directly into the Chik-Fil-A or making three right turns.

4.4 Buying those LED Headlights that make you think they’re a cop for a split second

Each mouse tricked into thinking its car is totaled in the indoctrination process and is then introduced to Mustang Steve, an energetic and friendly car dealer who creates wealth through the power triangle. Each mouse then test drives two similar cars at night, each with extremely similar positives and negatives advocated by Mustang Steve.  

Between the two cars, the primary difference is traditionally soft headlights and aggressively bright blue tinted LED lights which kind of look like it comes from a cop. The bargaining process with Mustang Steve is documented to ensure fairness and each mouse is evaluated by the way they lean towards the normal pro-social car or the anti-social car with bright annoying lighting that freaks drivers out for a small amount of additional lighting. Both cars are given a low-low price with 0% APR financing and no payments for the first 6 months to elicit more immediate action because of the insanely low prices.

Figure 4: Optogenetic Influenced Mouse cutting a deal with Mustang Steve
Figure 4: Optogenetic Influenced Mouse cutting a deal with Mustang Steve (Edited Image the new york times, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

5. Results

Nearly overwhelmingly, the blue LED-control helmets powered by used raspberry Pi’s were a huge success. Experts agree this paper should be given awards for making the mouse driven roads safe and amicable again. Please nominate us, this is maybe even Nobel prize winning work! We’re not just seeking international validation so we can increase the ranking of Cranberry-Lemon’s neuroscience program,  we deserve this. Our department has come a long way since we ‘allegedly’ killed all of those antelopes [6]. Results from each experiment are shown in Table 1.

Control Group %Anti-social Experimental Group  %Anti-social
Left Lane Driving87%55%
Tailgating *Inverted Penis Size Adjusted*99.99999%95%
Inconvenient Left Turn95%40.0005%
LED Light purchasing80%5.4206969696%
Table 1: Optogenetics anti-social driving results

The left lane driving and left turn was a statistically significant success. Unfortunately and inconclusively, not much progress was seen in the tailgating experiment. The LED light mind control experiment definitively validates anything in this paper. 80% Anti-Social behavior to 5.4206969696% is a huge success and basically means we’re a cutting edge neuroscience department with a safety record that would never allow another accidental antelope death, even if we would get screwed by the Philadelphia Zoo, despite what the investigation reported [7]. 

6. Discussion

Addressing the glaring numbers, the Tailgating experiment was rigged from the beginning. In the experimental setup, the truck chosen for each mouse was too massive in size. Sociologists everywhere have been investigating this phenomenon for years. In [8], [9], and not surprisingly [10], driving huge trucks has an enormously negative anti-social effect regardless of any other social predictor in mice or any other species studied so far. The inclusion of the huge truck in the experimental configuration was optimistic and did not fully consider the full impact of driving a massive honkin’ truck that takes up the entire lane and has longhorns on the front and truck nuts on the back. 

Speaking of segues, the remaining techniques were successful enough to alert many libertarian critiques to the field of Neuroscience. Study after study [11][12] suggests that there’s nothing scarier in the yellow lib-right community than requiring the control of drivers on the road to wear a helmet equipped with Optogenetic based mind control. Most scholars believe that the implementation of light based mind control to prevent antisocial behavior is too controversial in American politics to ever become required law and anti-constitutional even in mice. 

China however has been considering such techniques on East Asian mice communities in a trial round based on one email we received. This has caused animal rights watch dogs to be worried. The human mind is much more complicated than mice and transitioning from mice to humans would not only be unethical but dozens of years away, so you are currently safe but your children may not be.

7. Conclusion

Luckily for the rodent sized motorways of the world, this anti-anti-social behavior technique is mostly proven and could prevent hundreds of dollars of damage a year once implemented across mice communities. The applications of Optogenetics are rapidly growing and someday it might be weird to ever see a lab mouse or rat without a blue light glowing from its head. 

References

  1. Barbera, Joseph and Hanna, William, 1952 Silly Cartoon Methodology for Decreasing Rodent Road Accidents :: Journal of Cartoonology
  2. Kiets, F. 2004 Safety Lessons from the Great Electrode Directed Rodent Forklift Experiment  :: Journal of Rodent-Constructionolologies
  3. Cohen, J. 2008 Causes of the Great Rodent Turnpike Disaster of 2007 :: Rodent Biway Studies (US Department of Transporation funded)
  4. Pope Benedict XVI 2009 Challenges in Developing Jesuit Ministries in International Rodent Communities :: Annals of Interspecies Evangilism
  5. Bovine, A. 2014 Advantages of Chicken Inspired Motivation Techniques in Mice :: Journal of Eating More Chicken
  6. Brain, T. Pinky Teaching Antelopes to Play Competitive Rugby :: Cranberry Lemon Interspecies Neuropsych Journal
  7. Brain, T. Pinky Safety Lessons from Teaching Antelopes to Play Competitive Rugby :: Cranberry Lemon Interspecies Neuropsych Journal
  8. Duckbert, H. 2016 Why Big Truck Drivers are the Worst, A Literature Review :: Journal of Road Etiquette 
  9. Duckbert, H. 2017 Why Big Truck Drivers are the Worst II More evidence for why my Cousin Sucks :: Journal of Road Etiquette
  10. Duckbert, H. 2018 Why Big Truck Drivers are the Worst III, I can’t Believe they Park this Way :: Journal of Road Etiquette
  11. National Libertarian Convention Transcript on Drivers Licenses
  12. Friedum, Muh  2017 YOU CANT TAKE MY FREEDOM I DONT CARE WHO PAYS FOR THE ROADS :: Journal of Libertarian Ideology 

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Published by B McGraw

B McGraw has lived a long and successful professional life as a software developer and researcher. After completing his BS in spaghetti coding at the department of the dark arts at Cranberry Lemon in 2005 he wasted no time in getting a masters in debugging by print statement in 2008 and obtaining his PhD with research in screwing up repos on Github in 2014. That's when he could finally get paid. In 2018 B McGraw finally made the big step of defaulting on his student loans and began advancing his career by adding his name on other people's research papers after finding one grammatical mistake in the Peer Review process.

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