Of Rats and Men : The Last Mans War

If she could reduce the rat population by even half, they claimed, the crops that would be saved could feed millions of people. Mayer was moved by the idea of finding a solution to rat overpopulation that was neither lethal nor toxic. Since its invention, rat poison has been our primary method of curbing rat populations, but it is dangerous. In the US alone, more than 12, children per year, most of whom live below the poverty line, are accidentally poisoned by pesticide meant for rats.

The collateral damage inflicted by rat poison also extends to the environment , leaching into the soil and poisoning house pets, farm animals, and wildlife that feed on rats. Worst of all, rat poison is not very effective at eliminating large infestations. As long as there is still a food source, colonies bounce back, and, especially in Europe, rats have grown resistant to the toxins. Persuaded by the research, and by her wife, fellow biologist Cheryl Dyer, Mayer decided to devote her career to developing a new, smarter way to control the rat population.

In , they founded SenesTech. Then you have dominance. F or Dyer and Mayer, the immediate problem was obvious: In New York City , for example, they have fresh bagels, pizza, melted ice cream and fried chicken in unending supply. To succeed, Dyer and Mayer had to make the compound not just edible but delicious. After a series of tests, they quickly settled on a liquid, rather than solid, formulation.

Where Mayer is tall and voluble, Dyer is short and broad-shouldered, quiet and succinct. She seems most comfortable behind the scenes, if only because it is easier to get away with wearing Hawaiian-print shirts and no shoes. She was also tasked with the greater challenge of adapting Mouseopause to work on rats, which are much hardier than mice. While VCD caused the eggs in mouse ovaries to degenerate rapidly, female rats were far less susceptible. Hoping for a compound effect, Dyer added a second active ingredient: The results were better, but still not good enough.

Eventually, out of a mix of curiosity and desperation, she fed it to both males and females. The result was dramatic. It turns out that the triptolide destroyed sperm — the males became sterile almost immediately after ingesting the formula. This was a total surprise: ContraPest, the finished product, is viscous and sweet. Electric pink and opaque, it tastes like nine packets of saccharine blended into two tablespoons of kitchen oil. Many cities devote manpower and money to keeping the rats under control, but New York, which is more or less the rat capital of the western world, is the epicentre of anti-rat efforts.

When the MTA officials contacted Mayer, she recalled, they were worried that the formula would not work on New York rats, which have the reputation of being bigger, tougher, and smarter than any other city rat in the world. Norway rats, the species infesting New York, are not in fact the largest rat type.

They asked Mayer whether they should send a few New York rats on a plane to Arizona so that SenesTech could experiment with them before coming to New York. Would New York rats prefer ContraPest to water or pizza? They planted bait boxes filled with feed stations of ContraPest and then stood nearby, counting the rats that came in and out with clickers in order to track how many rats were taking the bait.

For six months, they baited and counted, washing their suits at the end of each day in bleach. The two young women went home to Arizona with good news: The test confirmed the highest hopes of the company — there was an alternative to poison that would work, even in New York City, and they had found it. W hen humans and animals come together, there are choices. Mayer believes that if you understand the ecology of the animal and you understand your own ecology, then you and the animal will be able to coexist peacefully.

After centuries of misperception and squeamishness, we finally have a good grasp of rat ecology. Now the problem may be our reluctance to look too carefully at ourselves. Getting rid of them means correcting ourselves first. SenesTech is not alone in its attempts to devise a more sustainable, responsible method of ending the rat problem.

Man v rat: could the long war soon be over? – podcast

Its work is heir to an existing method: This April, there were maybe attendees wedged into wooden theatre seats in a downtown auditorium, holding weak coffee and spongy muffins. Corrigan is a thinnish, pale man, bald except for a low, wispy crown framing his ears. He spends his nights on the streets or in basement corners studying rats. Once, he lay in an alley with peanut butter spread around him all night so he could get good photographs. Yes, they were urinating on me.

The Man Who fought a War without a Weapon

In grad school, you do crazy things. He pointed at a slide behind him and read aloud. We protect the food they eat. We protect their health, comfort and safety. This is our job. They gnaw on wires. To me, this is the shot heard round the world. In theory, this solution is simple. It does not involve radar or guns.

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It is the obvious answer, the one that has been sitting under our noses for centuries: The problem is that people, as a rule, prefer the quick fix. Setting out poison is easier; the ultrasonic machine looks cool. The sensible, labour-intensive option meets with resistance. Often, when Corrigan is called out to consult with a property owner, the owner rejects his advice, simply because following it would require too much thought, effort or expense.

And sometimes, even those who are willing to try his methods do not have the resources. The poorest neighbourhoods are too overwhelmed with other social or economic problems to file complaints — or, worse, they accept rat infestation as one of the conditions of living in poverty. Corrigan confirmed that rats, especially in cities, affect the poor more than the rich, because effective pest control services are expensive.

But he pointed out that no one totally escapes the rat problem, no matter how rich. Cities such as New York make evident a universal truth. Your rats are my rats. Improving society is a collective project, but as Corrigan attests, it happens because individual people make it their business to incite change. Mayer and Dyer, too, see this as their mission.

Tunnel Rats () - IMDb

O n a Tuesday night in August, Mayer and Dyer held a celebration in their backyard for staff and investors. Immediately, more than calls and emails came in with order requests. Mayer and Dyer live in a one-level wood cabin a few miles north of downtown Flagstaff, in a wooded area near a field of wildflowers. For the occasion, they had cleared the back patio, where Mayer does her morning meditation and yoga, and filled it with deck furniture and folding tables.

The sun was coming down the San Francisco Peaks. While most biotech startups are funded by investment bankers and venture capitalists, Mayer chose to pursue funding from grant-giving bodies and a horde of private donors, all of whom made small investments, and each of whom Mayer knows by name. It was a pure accident of networking that so many of them turned out to be firemen, but she is thrilled with the situation. Once one of them invested, they all wanted in.

They were boisterous and loving, hugging each other, teasing each other, shouting old stories to roars of laughter, and clinking glasses. About half the room seemed to be wearing Hawaiian patterned shirts. When the time came for Mayer to give a speech, she demurred for a moment before standing.

Her toast turned briefly into an anecdote about flattening mouse skeletons in lasagna tins.

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There was considerable work left to do: Since then, the company has registered in 11 US states, and begun registration in the EU. The manufacturing team was hurrying to make enough ContraPest to accommodate the requests coming in. Dyer was working hard on adaptations that would make the formula work in a variety of different environments, and planning variations for different species. Mayer was preparing for a torrent of meetings. While ContraPest has been effective in every test SenesTech has run so far, there is a lot still to learn about how rats in different parts of the world will respond to it in the wild.

Later the story switches to Tania Chernova on a barge in the th division. Her ship gets blown out of the water and she is forced to swim to shore with Fedya, a young recruit, and Yuri, an older soldier. They are forced to crawl through sewers for a long time underneath the fighting in Stalingrad. Yuri collapses from exhaustion and they are forced to leave him behind to die. Just as Tania and Fedya collapse from lack of oxygen they find a manhole and are able to crawl out of the sewers.

They make it to the main Russian force and Tania decides to join the school run by Zaitsev. The snipers take a three-day course focused on tactics, shooting skills, and techniques. On the final day they go on their own mission. One night Zaitsev comes and asks a couple members to come with him and blow up an officer's barracks with him.

They are almost caught but successfully blow it to pieces. The Germans decide that it would great to silence the Russian "hero" Zaitsev that has made many appearances in the Russian papers. Thorvald makes no attempt to hide his presence in Stalingrad. He shoots recklessly at whoever comes within his sights. After a few days Zaitsev decides to confront the hidden super-sniper and end the "mini war. They both know the other is there, but they do not know where. Thorvald has dug a small hole under a piece of metal so he can relax and can sit in complete darkness away from the sun.

It also muffles his rifle shot when he shoots.

And challenged the city’s race and wealth divide in the process

On the third day Zaitsev brings Danilov along who helps search for Thorvald. He thinks he spots him and jumps up, and Thorvald puts a bullet through his chest. He works all night setting up fake posts and his shooting spot for the coming morning. The next day Thorvald immediately notices differences near the Russian trenches. Thorvald decides to shoot at the sniper in the decoy and then at Zaitsev.

He pulls the trigger, and thinks he hit the other sniper. He sees it, waits, then pulls the trigger. Thorvald was never able to fire his second shot. On one last mission, Zaitsev, Tania and some others are sneaking towards a German base when Tania steps on a mine.

Man v rat: could the long war soon be over?

Zaitsev carries her back to a hospital and they are forced to remove a kidney and she loses a lot of blood. Zaitsev never leaves her side. Nikki is wandering about the German camps, talking with soldiers and thinking about the war. Their resources were being depleted and some men had resorted to cannibalism. He sums it up with one good thought:.

In the 1960s, One Man Took Washington D.C.’s Rat Problem Into His Own Hands, Literally

Look down at duty, with a broken back now, hissing weakly up at me from the floor. I see everything revealed. Like the men singing on the radio, a chorus of liars. It must be an insane lie! Growing up he learned from his grandfather how to trap, hunt, and stalk animals in the taiga. Zaitsev volunteered to be transferred to the front lines when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. His first claim to fame was during some of the first encounters, when he shot down an enemy officer and two soldiers at meters.

He was awarded the Medal of Valor and given a sniper rifle.