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Cheap microscope undermines Groucho Marx quip

September 18, 2011

One of my favorite Groucho Marx one-liners … well, actually it’s a two-liner … is

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

I’m not certain why anyone would want to read inside of a dog, but this article title from MIT’s Technology Review caught my eye: “Fingertip Microscope Can Peek Inside a Moving Animal.”

It seems that a team working on a neuroscience project at Stanford University has developed a tiny and inexpensive fluorescent microscope. The microscopes are mounted on the heads of rodents and other lab animals to examine the activities of brain cells as they go about their activities. I saw nothing in the article about reading inside of a dog, but I’m sure that feature is forthcoming.

The low price of this device was made possible by the falling price of miniature electronic components driven by the popularity of consumer electronics devices such as cell phones.

See, the millions of cell phone photos of young drunken bar and night club denizens festooning Facebook are serving a useful scientific purpose. I wonder if they’d be willing to have microscopes mounted on their heads while they party?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2011 1:45 pm

    Ha! That is one of my favorite quotes. Although it is a bit strange…Not counting my family members and friends…
    My two best friends would definitely be books and my dog! So I guess all in all, it’s true! At least for me.

  2. September 18, 2011 4:39 pm

    I really love Groucho Marx quotes. Another of my favorites regarding books is β€œI find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

  3. September 27, 2011 1:44 pm

    “Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho.”

    • September 27, 2011 2:00 pm

      I’m too lazy to google it at the moment, but I think it was Daniel Cohn-Bendit who uttered that phrase, during the Left Bank student revolts in the late 60s.
      There are some advantages to being an old guy πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting!

      • September 28, 2011 2:28 am

        Haha, your welcome. It was during Paris 68, I’m not sure who said it first though.

      • September 28, 2011 2:30 am

        PS. Google says Jean-Luc Godard, but it is a fickle beast, and not always trustworthy.

      • September 28, 2011 5:38 pm

        There’s a much better chance that Google is correct than that I am. I’m relying on an on-the-spot memory from 42 years ago. My memory is to the point that I often get my own wife’s name wrong πŸ™‚

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