In 200 years, when giant rats are steering our city buses, driving our Ubers, and starring in Fast & Furious spinoffs (Fast & Furryious?), we'll look back on the courageous work of researchers at the University of Richmond in Virginia for singlehandedly creating them. This future sounds dystopian, but is actually pretty rad and everyone is cool with it -- even the rats.
This all began when researchers wanted to understand how the learning and mastering of new skills affect mental conditions. If you wanted to learn how to make a perfect chocolate chip cookie, you'd probably make a few batches of trash cookies before you landed on a spectacular batch that makes you so happy it could be detected by brain scientists using brain sciencing equipment. Rats don't quite have the dexterity to make cookies so good that they become smug little assholes about it, but apparently they can drive cars just fine.
Granted, they're driving tiny rudimentary electric cars made of plastic food containers, but they were able to figure out the steering mechanisms well enough to maneuver them toward their ultimate prize: Froot Loops. Scientists placed the cereal at different parts of a driving arena and let the rats loose to figure out how to attain sugary nirvana all on their own.
The results, which were measured using the hormone levels in the rats' poop, found that rats who go on mind-clearing cruises down the highway while thumping a vaporwave YouTube mix were way more chill than rats who don't have a hot set of wheels to pick up rat babes. They were also way more chill than bougie rats who were chauffeured around in remote-control cars. It's way too early to make any definitive predictions on what this implies for humans, but it most definitely means that in the future, there will be a class of people who are miserable in their fancy self-driving cars while the rest of us plebes are happy as hell puttering around in our crappy manually operated boxes.
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