They called her Felicia. She cost $35.
April 4, 2019 7:33 AM   Subscribe

 
were they trying to use it to steal the universe's treasures
posted by Bwentman at 7:37 AM on April 4, 2019 [9 favorites]


This was a much happier story than I was expecting from the headline.

Spoiler: they did not attempt to accelerate the ferret.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:38 AM on April 4, 2019 [42 favorites]


They were just trying to ferret out some data that was stuck in the tube.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 7:39 AM on April 4, 2019 [19 favorites]


The NAL staff doted on Felicia, feeding her chicken, liver, fish heads, and raw hamburger—her favorite

Hell of a dote, scientists! Hell of a dote.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:39 AM on April 4, 2019 [15 favorites]


Not sure why the post title says "tried". Looks like they succeeded - repeatedly.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:42 AM on April 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


Did they consider scanning a cat?
posted by Fizz at 7:43 AM on April 4, 2019 [13 favorites]


Reg Mellor sneers at their particle-accelerator antics.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 7:50 AM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Not sure why the post title says "tried". Looks like they succeeded - repeatedly.

They never managed to get her to circumnavigate the main accelerator ring.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:51 AM on April 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


this article is incomplete

did she fit down the tube weasley?
were the shards removed stoatally?
was the metal ferritic?
was complete function restored to the accelerotter?
posted by lalochezia at 7:57 AM on April 4, 2019 [26 favorites]


Haven't read the article yet, but was this particle accelerator in Yorkshire by any chance?
posted by Wolfdog at 8:10 AM on April 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


Haven't read the article yet, but was this particle accelerator in Yorkshire by any chance?

No, but the guy who came up the idea was from there!
posted by dismas at 8:10 AM on April 4, 2019 [11 favorites]


Eek!
posted by ferret branca at 8:13 AM on April 4, 2019 [14 favorites]


A $250 million habitrail.
posted by SonInLawOfSam at 8:16 AM on April 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


Because it was there.
posted by glonous keming at 8:23 AM on April 4, 2019


If you have a better way to remodulate the shield harmonics to generate an inverted stream of tachyon particles, I'd like to hear it.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:24 AM on April 4, 2019 [26 favorites]


They never managed to get her to circumnavigate the main accelerator ring.

They ended up using a miniature pig but they didn't pet it.
posted by hat_eater at 8:28 AM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


they did not attempt to accelerate the ferret.

Well, of course not. That's how you end up with SuperFerret, or a radioactive ferret that bites someone and creates FerretPerson. In this day and age, scientists are more aware of those risks.
posted by nubs at 8:30 AM on April 4, 2019 [12 favorites]


IRL it's how you get paralysis and nerve destruction in the affected region, with a light sprinkling of seizures on top.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:37 AM on April 4, 2019


when I was a kid, my dad had a tricky bit of wiring to do on an addition to our house - it needed to pass through a weird vertical z-curve to get from point A to B, and the only access points were small holes at either end. No way to get an arm all the way through, and attempts by two people to 'meet halfway' did not fulfill their early promise. It was getting late and tempers were fraying when the poor poor cat sauntered around the corner to see what the fuss was.

No one really wants to take credit for the idea, though it seems ultimate responsibility has to rest with the person who actually tied the wire to little Buffy's tail and sent her down the hole. Maybe it was the violation of her tail, or something encountered in the interstices, or perhaps it was how lengths and lengths of wire relentlessly pursued her as she bolted desperately from one familiar hiding place to another in search of safe haven. Nothing was every very right for that cat again.

in conclusions, cats and ferrets are a land of contrasts
posted by logicpunk at 8:37 AM on April 4, 2019 [12 favorites]


Honestly, the best way to accelerate a ferret is to get it together with 3 or 4 other ferrets.

I owned a ferret for many years, and had a ferret playgroup I would go to once a week where a few owners would get their ferrets together in a ferret-proofed house and just let them go at it until they were exhausted.

Ferrets have a never-ending appetite for play, and it's hard as a human to keep up with the sort of things they want. But if you put a bunch of them together, you get ferret dancing, ferret leaping, ferret rainbowing, ferret skittering, ferret chittering, ferret in-a-ball-rolling... basically every iteration of ferret ever.

Ferrets can bite HARD but they also have very tough skin so when they play they bite a lot (a major limiter to what a human can do to entertain a ferret), and they really have energetic behavior.

Add in a bowl or five of mexican ditchweed marijuana from 20 years ago and a few beers and you have quite the evening of entertainment.

Eventually all the ferrets seek out their beds, and that's when it's done. Man, I sort of miss those days. I don't think our girl cat would mix well with a ferret, but our boy cat would.

(Playful cats and ferrets can frequently be friends and find their different habits to be useful for their own individual entertainment.)
posted by hippybear at 8:38 AM on April 4, 2019 [26 favorites]


What a good girl.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:54 AM on April 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


How do you clean a particle accelerator? Buy Felicia!
posted by Chuffy at 8:55 AM on April 4, 2019 [23 favorites]


A ferret decays via the dook interaction into a stoat/antistoat pair and a slinky with 2/3 charge.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:58 AM on April 4, 2019 [17 favorites]


Did they consider scanning a cat?

Ferret-Scan.com is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their ferrets wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:58 AM on April 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


See also: bears in ejector seats. (Less happy ending.)
posted by cstross at 9:11 AM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


ferret poop in a tube would stop a proton, too.

guys

guys

came up with a new euphemism for constipation
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:16 AM on April 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


See also: bears in ejector seats. (Less happy ending.)

Both bears apparently survived their supersonic ejections, though I doubt they were very happy about the process even with the free drugs.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:16 AM on April 4, 2019


I've had to do something like this (run a cord to pull signal wires, chemical feed tubing, compressed air lines, hydraulic hose...) any number of times. A decent shop vac and a ping-pong ball (or whatever very light ball of appropriate size) will pull fishing line, which then can pull parachute cord, on up to whatever size pulling rope (personal preference was 9mm static rappelling rope) or cleaning wad you need to run.
posted by notsnot at 9:24 AM on April 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


Both bears apparently survived their supersonic ejections, though I doubt they were very happy about the process even with the free drugs.

It seems not (from a comment):
By all accounts, bears are quick learners and having done one test, they refused the onset of treats prior to the next with substantial resistance. By substantial, I mean they had to sedate the bears to near unconsciousness, rendering the biometric data useless! This increased the budget for bear acquisition to intolerable levels, thus ending the short “bears in the air” period of the B-58 program.
posted by figurant at 9:32 AM on April 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


It seems not (from a comment):

Worse than that, if the later comment is accurate.
According to the government white paper on the subject all bears were destroyed shortly on return to base. All but the last three bears suffered serious internal injuries and multiple broken bones. 'Several hundred' bears were acquired for this purpose, all of which were destroyed 'in or after the testing process, by the testing process or by gun shot to the heart to preserve cranial damage from impacts'.
posted by zamboni at 10:33 AM on April 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


According to this white paper, 'several hundred' is incorrect. It's a little ambiguous, but the numbers are probably eight bears and a chimp.
posted by zamboni at 10:41 AM on April 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


The NAL staff doted on Felicia, feeding her chicken, liver, fish heads, and raw hamburger—her favorite. Some employees even took Felicia to their home for the night when the mink farm she generally bunked at had no room for her.
There's a lot of material in two sentences.

How do you properly reconsile a PO for fish heads? (Business-related meals?) Do Ferrets normally eat raw hamburger? What does it mean for a nearby mink farm to have no rooms available? Too many visiting minks? There's a mink farm near Fermilab? The mink farm has a day-rental policy?
posted by eotvos at 10:44 AM on April 4, 2019 [9 favorites]


IRL it's how you get paralysis and nerve destruction in the affected region, with a light sprinkling of seizures on top.

IRL particle accelerators are run under vacuum - don't want your protons running into stray nitrogen molecules - so asphyxiation would be an issue before any of those.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:46 AM on April 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


The guy this actually happened to was fixing some kinda internal doodad when safety dinguses broke and he got his melon blasted by the whatchahoozie-particle beam.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:10 AM on April 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also who says 'raw hamburger'? Isn't that just ground beef? Or do they mean an entire uncooked hamburger patty?
posted by iamnotangry at 11:28 AM on April 4, 2019


a raw hamburger is one like you get at mcdonalds, in its natural state, before you take it back home and deepfry it
posted by Greg Nog at 12:07 PM on April 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


Awww.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:39 PM on April 4, 2019


It was Anatoli Bugorski who got a particle accelerator in the face.

He's still alive, age 75.
posted by porpoise at 12:56 PM on April 4, 2019


Also who says 'raw hamburger'? Isn't that just ground beef?

Google Books ngram viewer: 'raw hamburger' vs. 'raw ground beef'

It's very small scale stuff, but Google Books seems to give the win to 'raw hamburger'.

Personally, I call them unsteamed hams.
posted by zamboni at 1:01 PM on April 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


Particle accelerators are cool. My wife and I have a tradition to lift our feet up off the car floor whenever we drive over the highway 280 bridge across the Stanford Linear Accelerator....because we don’t want to disturb any important science (or I guess now the Ferrets) underneath!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:25 PM on April 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


I thought that they used what they learned here to build the LHC.
posted by sysinfo at 1:52 PM on April 4, 2019


By all accounts, bears are quick learners and having done one test, they refused the onset of treats prior to the next with substantial resistance. By substantial, I mean they had to sedate the bears to near unconsciousness, rendering the biometric data useless!

Unethical research practices are a clue that the researchers are just as sloppy as they are evil.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:34 PM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


That is right up the road from where I live and grew up. This was front page new in the local paper.
posted by hwestiii at 4:04 PM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also who says 'raw hamburger'? Isn't that just ground beef?
Adding to the derail, we just call it "mince" or "[meatname] mince" this side of the pond.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:23 PM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh, but we don't mince ferrets, in case of any confusion I've caused.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:24 PM on April 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


I like the bit detailing the difficulty in tracking down what happened to Felicia post mortem:
The Village Crier noted, “It is planned that Felicia’s body will be stuffed and mounted to be displayed permanently as a symbol of early NAL development.”

But if Felicia was taxidermied, there’s no record of it. “I’ve never found any evidence that that happened, and nobody remembers that ever happening,” says Higgins, who tried to track down people who worked with Felicia or might have more information about her fate after death. She had no luck. Many have since died.
Did they check to see if any of them had been stuffed and mounted to be displayed, etc.?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:45 PM on April 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


Oh and also, while we speak of ferrets: when I was younger my little brothers had a pet ferret named Sammy. Sammy’s introduction to me was, “Ricochet, ricochet, look! We got a ferret! It doesn’t bi— YOOOWWW!”

Unfortunately the ferret arrived just around the time their social development began propelling them toward cars and computers and young women. Sammy placed a distant fourth in their hierarchy of interests, and soon it fell to me to be the primary caretaker: I felt sorry for wee Sammy, but I had a full-time job, I had no particular affection for ferrets, and Sammy was an ornery critter at the best of times. Sammy spent much of his time in his cage, neurotically grooming himself. I took him out to run around as often as feasible, but Sammy’s neuroses soon entered a feedback loop. Sammy would not be touched and would tear viciously at the flesh of anyone who tried to do so; the trips out of the cage became excuses to elaborately befoul the floor, and Sammy would soon retreat unbidden to the cage to continue with the mad self-grooming.

Eventually Sammy perished of a tumour of some sort but by the end, he was looking far from handsome. The grooming meant that save for a little ruff around his nose, he was entirely bald.

Ferrets are not the loveliest of creatures in the first place, and I think it safe to say that what beauty they do have is largely in their fur. Take that away and a ferret’s appearance is pretty much... scrotal. With claws. It is... not a great look.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:06 PM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Did they check to see if any of them had been stuffed and mounted to be displayed, etc.?
That would make it simple to determine both their momentum and position.

Aww, poor Sammy. The baldness, aggression, over-grooming, befouling, & tumor could maybe all have been the same thing though.
posted by sysinfo at 10:03 PM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Adding to the derail, we just call it "mince" or "[meatname] mince" this side of the pond.

And yet, mincemeat pies don't contain any meat. WTF?
posted by hippybear at 8:53 AM on April 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


And yet, mincemeat pies don't contain any meat. WTF?

Medieval recipes mixed the sweet and the savory, so meat plus dried fruits plus spices was party food. The meat was dropped around the Victorian era.
posted by carrioncomfort at 9:16 AM on April 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


That sweetbread is all meat and mincemeat is all fruit has always confused me. Sorry, what were we talking about? Right. Ferrets.
posted by eotvos at 9:30 AM on April 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


Ferrets are totally awesome. They are latrine animals so you can train them to use a litterbox and if you ferret-proof your house they can just roam around and they will retreat to their own space (or will sleep in your bed like my ferret did). They aren't dogs, and they aren't cats, and it's easier to own a ferret if you know other ferret owners, but owning two ferrets is like owning the cube of ferret so it's not like cats or dogs. If you're interested in owning a ferret, I suggest you look into it, because they're a lot of fun. They're also not low maintenance. So... look into it and maybe get one, or not.
posted by hippybear at 9:39 AM on April 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


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