Via the Filthy Smoker at DK's place and Leg-iron over at his place it turns out that rats fed a diet of dried pellets tasting faintly of wood chipping for one hour a day preferred a diet of fattening foods rich in all sorts of energy, vitamins and minerals which to an animal that has survived and thrived as a scavenger for thousands of year is a godsend.
They've both highlighted some very good points; I've another on the subject of addiction an it comes back from something I read years ago on the subject of addiction.
Some time ago while reading an essay by Theodore Dalrymple (I forget which) I came across an interesting experiment termed Rat Park; in essence the study appeared to show that addiction observed in rats was actually a product of their environment rather than the pharmacological addictiveness of drugs like morphine; given free choice, in this case putting them in ideal conditions to live, feed and breed and have access to pure water and water laced with morphine there was no discernable discremination towards taking morphine. Even introducing rats who had been fed morphine and stressed in cages reverted to no discrimination when put in the park.
Think about this for a second; up to the 1940's and beyond the vast majority of heroin users were fully functioning; they worked, were taxed and didn't break the law (opium was legal in dem days). Fast forward to 2010 and the stresses of welfare-induced poverty have les to thousands simple seeking an escape to the drudgery of modern, crappy life in socialist Britain**.
Back to convenience food - they've posited that it has addictive qualities; if so there is a simple way to confirm this in a more practicle way and also investigate the model for addiction altogether.
Simply take measurements of the body weight and biochemistry of newborn urban street rats compared to their adults by trapping them in their environment and compare the results against their controlled experiment results; this would reveal whether the availability of convenience food actually has a verifiable effect, or whether, like the morphine-fed rats introduced to rat park they quickly found a happy medium. The prevalence of convenience food detritus on the streets is more than an ample food supply and the data set from all those rats more than sufficient.
But then, what are the chances that they'd do something like that though? That would require the "scientist" to not have an agenda*** and only he interested in his hypothesis.
*= am I the only one out there who thinks this was the kind of experiment done by marketing departments? Listen to the following moniker and decide:
nine out of ten rats prefer...
...and it sounds considerably less impressive no?
**= of course collectivist blame the crushing poverty on a whole host of things from Maggie to the Bory's to those filthy industrialists/capitalists/corporations etc., whilst ignoring the fact that whilst poverty is less of an issue now than it was 40 years ago, and almost non-existent when compared to 100 years ago when poverty meant you starved, rather than meant you had to buy own-label; that's why they need the term "relative poverty", which if you think about it is self-defeating as it can never be destroyed by increasing anyones wealth- fact is the only way you can reduce relative poverty is to make everyone poorer.
***= this is probably the most subtle but destructive problem with the scientific process today and almost certainly due to politicisation; scientists go in with a hypothesis which, proven or disproven, led to the advancement of science overall - the most exciting words in science not being "eureka!" ("I have found it!" in Greek kind of) but "that's funny..."
With the kid glove treatment of children by educators and the pathological inability to tell them they are wrong/have failed/are failing, coupled with the vested interest in many wrong theories being right, a la climategate, it is easier and more profitable to have an agenda to be backed up, rather than a theory to be disproven.