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Hypothetical Quandary of the Day: Rats/mice VS roaches/bed bugs–one must go, you decide

by Eric Nuzum January 6, 2011 at 9:00 am 58 Comments

Okay, so here is a hypothetical quandary for you to ponder upon.

Let’s say that you are the head of a large science foundation. You have two proposals on your desk for funding. One would develop a technology that would rid the Washington, DC region of all rats and mice. The other proposal would develop a technology to rid the Washington, DC region of all cockroaches and bed bugs.

Times have been tough at your large science foundation–and both these proposals are wildly expensive. Therefore, you can only fund one of them.

Which do you chose? Rodents or insects?

As always, there are some complicating factors…

First, do to a number of complex side effects of both technologies, getting rid of one group might (but is not guaranteed to) increase the strength and number of the other group (in other words, get rid of the rats/mice might increase the number of cockroaches and bed bugs, and vice versa).

Secondly, doing nothing is not an option. Both populations are on the verge of an explosion and inaction won’t cut it. I know you all are accustomed to working in Washington, DC, but we ACTUALLY HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION AND DO SOMETHING (hypothetically, of course).

No hair-splitting, nuanced answers, or clever alternative solutions–one choice: rodents VS bugs. You have to chose one or the other.

What do you do? And why?

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