"Hey, you two sheepboys� stop that jibber-jabbin'!"

Seth Stevenson at Slate.com: The Last Days of Dada - The talking sheep who love Skittles, and other wacky ads that just don't work. By Seth Stevenson

But what on earth do these sheepboys hope to convey? That the Skittles brand is edgy? That it's unpredictable and wild? If so, the whole effort seems futile when so many other ads reach for the same zany vibe. No distinct identity waits at the end of this well-trodden path. The bottom line: If everyone's freaky, no one is.
Maybe Skittles wasn't trying to leverage zany make-believe -- but rather absurd reality? Maybe Skittles knows that a form of sheepboys already exist for medical research? Paul Elias, AP Biotechnology writer:
On a farm about six miles outside this gambling town, Jason Chamberlain looks over a flock of about 50 smelly sheep, many of them possessing partially human livers, hearts, brains and other organs.

The University of Nevada-Reno researcher talks matter-of-factly about his plans to euthanize one of the pregnant sheep in a nearby lab. He can't wait to examine the effects of the human cells he had injected into the fetus' brain about two months ago.

"It's mice on a large scale," Chamberlain says with a shrug.

As strange as his work may sound, it falls firmly within the new ethics guidelines the influential National Academies issued this past week for stem cell research.

In fact, the Academies' report endorses research that co-mingles human and animal tissue as vital to ensuring that experimental drugs and new tissue replacement therapies are safe for people.

This article also notes, without comment, the same upside-down ethical guidelines I wrote about previously in entry "Play it stupid, man-mouse, and we might just let you live." Consider:
Stanford law professor Hank Greely, who chaired the ethics committee [which endorsed a proposal to create mice with brains nearly completely made of human brain cells], said the board was satisfied that the size and shape of the mouse brain would prevent the human cells from creating any traits of humanity. Just in case, Greely said, the committee recommended closely monitoring the mice's behavior and immediately killing any that display human-like behavior.
Am I crazy to suggest that the mice displaying the more human-like behavior should be entitled to more humane treatment?

(See also: the risk that chimeras could provide a mezzanine for animal viruses to adapt to human cells, discussed at "I'm not easily squicked, but...")

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