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Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Monday, February 01, 2010 - 1:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A Maths book I read recently made a tangential comment which cured me of a long-standing and fairly widespread scrund. What was it?
La_sparky (La_sparky)
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Posted on Monday, February 01, 2010 - 2:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

was it a geometry book?
algebra?
calculus?

did it have to d with tangent?

do teachers believe this scrund?
students?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Monday, February 01, 2010 - 2:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

was it a geometry book?
algebra?
calculus? None of these

did it have to d with tangent? No, but a nice thought

do teachers believe this scrund?
students? Probably both, depending on what you mean. I'd need you to be more specific to give a more helpful answer. There may be a lurking FA.
Jumpingjack (Jumpingjack)
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Posted on Monday, February 01, 2010 - 4:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was it actually a scrund about Math?
Biograd (Biograd)
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Posted on Monday, February 01, 2010 - 7:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did the scrund relate to objects too small to be seen with the naked eye (cells, molecules, atoms, etc.)? other small objects?

Does the scrund relate to the history of mathematics? of a science? or anything else?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Monday, February 01, 2010 - 10:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was it actually a scrund about Math? Noish. It's tangentially related, but I wouldn't say it's about Maths as such.

Did the scrund relate to objects too small to be seen with the naked eye (cells, molecules, atoms, etc.)? other small objects? Yes. Atoms is closest.

Does the scrund relate to the history of mathematics? of a science? This is closest or anything else?
Biograd (Biograd)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 8:35 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does the scrund relate to who made a particular discovery? to when a certain object or law was first discovered? to which of two things was known first?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 8:44 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does the scrund relate to who made a particular discovery? No, with a very small ish to when a certain object or law was first discovered? No to which of two things was known first? Not this either
Biograd (Biograd)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 8:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Would the relevant science best be called chemistry? physics?

Did the relevant (to this puzzle) step(s) in the history of this science occur in the 20th century, the 19th? earlier?
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 10:04 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was it part of a word problem? And the situation depicted, exclusive of the math involved, cured you of the scrund?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 9:15 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Would the relevant science best be called chemistry? physics? This

Did the relevant (to this puzzle) step(s) in the history of this science occur in the 20th century, This the 19th? earlier?

Was it part of a word problem? And the situation depicted, exclusive of the math involved, cured you of the scrund? Sadly not. That would have made an interesting puzzle.
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 3:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is it a scrund about a person? People? History? Physics?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 3:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is it a scrund about a person? This is closest People? History? With a bit of this Physics? And quite a lot of this
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 4:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did the math problem help you understand what a certain scientist had been thinking?

Is it working out the maths of something that is not just pure math but has an application -- for example, the orbit of a planet or the speed of a brook?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 9:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did the math problem help you understand what a certain scientist had been thinking? No, and you may have a FA

Is it working out the maths of something that is not just pure math but has an application -- for example, the orbit of a planet or the speed of a brook? There's that FA again
Biograd (Biograd)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 11:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It seems people are assuming this was a math textbook. Is it in fact a different type of math book?

Did the scrund about this physicist (you have stated it mainly regarded a person in physics, right?) concern what experiments he performed? what his theory was about something? whether something is named after him? how his work related to another historical event?

Oh, and just to check, was/is this physicist a HAM?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Thursday, February 04, 2010 - 8:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It seems people are assuming this was a math textbook. Is it in fact a different type of math book? Yes!

Did the scrund about this physicist (you have stated it mainly regarded a person in physics, right?) That's right concern what experiments he performed? No what his theory was about something? Yes whether something is named after him? No, but this thing is named after him how his work related to another historical event? Yope

Oh, and just to check, was/is this physicist a HAM? Yes, he was
Biograd (Biograd)
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Posted on Saturday, February 06, 2010 - 7:29 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the relevant theory part of classical mechanics? electromagnetism? quantum mechanics? relativity?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Saturday, February 06, 2010 - 10:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the relevant theory part of classical mechanics? electromagnetism? quantum mechanics? This relativity?
Biograd (Biograd)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 - 8:08 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bohr's model for hydrogen? The Heisenberg uncertainty principle? Schrodinger's cat?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 - 8:56 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bohr's model for hydrogen? The Heisenberg uncertainty principle? Schrodinger's cat? This
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 - 9:05 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So the maths book I was reading (which is more or less irrelevant, but seemed like a handy way of making the puzzle harder) cured me of a scrund which related to Schrodinger's Cat.

What was the scrund?
Galfisk (Galfisk)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 - 5:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was your scrund: that the experiment actually was performed? That the cat actually would be both alive and dead? Some other aspect of the thought experiment itself? Something not directly pertaining to the experiment? Did you think it was a cat and not a thought experiment?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Was your scrund: that the experiment actually was performed? No That the cat actually would be both alive and dead? No, although this is relevant to the answer Some other aspect of the thought experiment itself? Noish Something not directly pertaining to the experiment? Yesish Did you think it was a cat and not a thought experiment? I knew it was a thought experiment
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 2:52 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Would you have had the same scrund if it were Schrodinger's dog, rather than cat? What about something inanimate like Schrodinger's light bulb?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 8:38 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Would you have had the same scrund if it were Schrodinger's dog, rather than cat? Yes, indeed What about something inanimate like Schrodinger's light bulb? If anything, that would have made me more likely to have the scrund
Biograd (Biograd)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 6:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the scrund about why? or when? Schrodinger invented the cat? what the implications of the thought experiment are in terms of physics?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 7:19 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the scrund about why? Yes or when? No Schrodinger invented the cat? what the implications of the thought experiment are in terms of physics? Yes, by extension.

You're nearly there. Care to guess at why I thought he came up with the cat before I $p01l?
Biograd (Biograd)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 9:19 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did you think he wanted to show that you can never be sure whether your observations are correct? in other words, even once you observed the cat, you could not tell for sure if it was alive or dead?

Or, maybe you thought it was to show how observations change the state of a system? so that even if the cat was to die, it could not actually be dead unless it was possible to observe its death? (sort of like the old one about the tree falling in the forest with nobody to hear)
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 8:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did you think he wanted to show that you can never be sure whether your observations are correct? in other words, even once you observed the cat, you could not tell for sure if it was alive or dead? No, I knew that it was intended to illustrate the collapse of quantum probabilities on observation. The question is, why would he want to do that, and why did I think he did it?

Or, maybe you thought it was to show how observations change the state of a system? so that even if the cat was to die, it could not actually be dead unless it was possible to observe its death? (sort of like the old one about the tree falling in the forest with nobody to hear) No. Strangely, I did have a scrund along these lines at one point, thanks to a rather sketchy explanation of the thought experiment, but it didn't last long.

We're just about there, but it would be good if we could clarify the precise reason I thought he came up with the cat.
Kaygee (Kaygee)
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Posted on Sunday, March 07, 2010 - 5:02 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I hope the answer doesn't require knowledge of quantum mechanics...all I know about that stuff is that Scott Bakula "leaped" around the world because of it! :D

Is there something relevant about cats?
Is there something relevant about life and death?
Is there something relevant about your beliefs or ideals?
Is there anything relevant about Jewish scientists?
Kaygee (Kaygee)
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Posted on Sunday, March 07, 2010 - 5:20 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ick...that last statement is horrible - let me add a few words.

Is there anything relevant about the Jewish scientists involved?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Sunday, March 07, 2010 - 7:16 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I hope the answer doesn't require knowledge of quantum mechanics...all I know about that stuff is that Scott Bakula "leaped" around the world because of it! :D But he did it with such style! Never fear. Having got this far, there's no scientific knowledge required at all

Is there something relevant about cats?
Is there something relevant about life and death?
Is there something relevant about your beliefs or ideals? None of these. And taking your correction to the last question:

Is there anything relevant about the Jewish scientists involved? Yope. Judaism has nothing to do with it, but particular scientists, and especially how they relate to each other, are relevant.
Kaygee (Kaygee)
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Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2010 - 2:24 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Einstein? Podolsky? Rosen? Schrodinger?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 11:39 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Einstein? Podolsky? Rosen? Schrodinger? Schrodinger's obviously relevant, in particular his relationship with a particular person and his views on his work, theories and interpretations. The others aren't directly relevant to the significant relationship, although they had a similar relationship with the same person.

HINT: The "other person" was another notable scientist associated with Quantum Mechanics.
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 12:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Heisenberg?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Heisenberg? Not him. Probably the most famous one that hasn't been mentioned.
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Posted on Friday, March 12, 2010 - 9:32 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Niels Bohr?
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Max Planck? John von Neumann? Wolfgang Pauli? Paul Dirac? Louis de Broglie? Murray Gell-Mann? Richard Feynman? Hans Bethe? Julian Schwinger? Max Born? John Wheeler? Others too numerous to mention?

Higgledy piggledy
Herr Doktor Schrodinger
Looked at his cat, and thus
Killed it stone dead.
"Well", he concluded with
Insensitivity,
"I guess that leaves it with
Eight lives instead."
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 11:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Niels Bohr? That's the one!

Max Planck? John von Neumann? Wolfgang Pauli? Paul Dirac? Louis de Broglie? Murray Gell-Mann? Richard Feynman? Hans Bethe? Julian Schwinger? Max Born? John Wheeler? Others too numerous to mention? So none of these. But I loved the rhyme.

So I had a scrund about why Schrodinger came up with his cat, and the real reason was something to do with his relationship with Niels Bohr. So why did he come up with the cat, and why did I think he did?
Galfisk (Galfisk)
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Posted on Monday, March 22, 2010 - 11:10 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did you think it had to do with Niels Bohr? Or someone else? Did you think it was for the general public?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Monday, March 22, 2010 - 1:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did you think it had to do with Niels Bohr? Definitely not Or someone else? Quite the reverse Did you think it was for the general public? Pretty much.

HINT: What was Schrodinger's understanding of Quantum Mechanics? How did it tally with his "Cat" thought experiment?
Galfisk (Galfisk)
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Posted on Friday, March 26, 2010 - 1:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did you think he was explaining how wavefunction collapse worked? When in reality he was arguing that quantum superposition was not real (or not a good interpretation)?
(Pardon me if I've used wrong terminology, my understanding of quantum physics is in a superposition of being good and bad=)
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Saturday, March 27, 2010 - 7:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did you think he was explaining how wavefunction collapse worked? Yes When in reality he was arguing that quantum superposition was not real (or not a good interpretation)? That's it!
(Pardon me if I've used wrong terminology, my understanding of quantum physics is in a superposition of being good and bad=)

****SPOILER****

While I was reading Ian Stewart's excellent book Does God Play Dice?, he tangentially mentioned Schrodinger's Cat, and for the first time since I came across the concept about 20 years ago, I realised that Schrodinger didn't actually consider it a useful explanation of how Quantum Mechanics worked, as I'd thought, and in fact designed it specifically to ridicule the "Copenhagen Interpretation" championed by Niels Bohr, by taking that interpretation to its logical (and ridiculous) conclusion.

The idea that the cat is simultaneously alive and dead is not his way of explaining the weirdness of QM, but his way of exposing the craziness of a particular interpretation.

Thanks for playing, and for having the patience to stick with it once it got onto my precise belief about his motivation.
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 4:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Too funny, since it's now the classic example used to explain to students how QM works.
Biograd (Biograd)
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Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 3:38 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh, I had that scrund too--though it does make the idea sound better. I always thought it sounded like an awful thought experiment. Surely the act of observing would not change the state of such a complex macroscopic system--even if it is true that it could change the state of an electron or an atom, and even if a cat could be sealed from transmitting any information to the outside world without dying (due to receiving no thermal energy). Now it makes sense, considering that he *intended* it to sound implausible.
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Posted on Monday, May 03, 2010 - 7:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wow, I had that scrund as well! And I've also thought it a bit cruel. Why can't it be a mouse, and the contraption be designed to give or not give it a piece of cheese? Why does something have to die(ish)? ;)

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