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Death By Utopia

Death By Utopia
John B. Calhoun relaxing in Universe 25 In the late 20th Century, John B. Calhoun decided to make Utopia; it started with rats. In 1947 he began to watch a colony of Norway rats, over 28 months he noticed something, in that time the population could have increased to 50,000 rats, but instead it never rose above 200. Then he noticed that the colony split into smaller groups of 12 at most. He bought the second floor of a barn, and there he made his office and lab. 2.7 metres square with 1.4m high walls. Society broke. The outside of Universe 25 The purpose of the experiment for Calhoun was to examine a pressing problem, overpopulation. After day 600, the male mice just stopped defending their territory, listless mice congregated in the centres of the Universe. The ‘beautiful ones’ withdrew themselves ever so quietly, removing themselves from the sick society. In the end the population sank, even when it was back down to a tolerable level none of the mice changed back. Further Reading

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The Behavioral Sink Cabinet and the author regret that a previous version of this article omitted its sources. To readers who are interested in learning more about Calhoun's research, we highly recommend "Escaping the Laboratory: The Rodent Experiments of John B Calhoun and Their Cultural Influence" by Edmund Ramsden and Jon Adams, LSE Department of Economic History, 2008, to which this article is indebted. How do you design a utopia? In 1972, John B.

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