Those Dirty Rats Aren’t so Dirty After All

I’ve always been a big proponent of thinking expansively and in broader, more disconnected ways. A lot of people would call this thinking outside the box. But I tend to think of it as simply allowing more options into your set of alternatives. My biggest intellectual assets have been breadth of understanding, not depth. My biggest intellectual inspirations are books like “Connections”, “Guns, Germs, and Steel”, and “The Ghost Map”. These books all very clearly show that the greatest innovations come from individuals with keen minds and wide, interdisciplinary skills. In other words, the best inventions come from people who know a little bit about a lot of things, not those who know a lot about one or two things.

Here’s a great example – clearing mine fields. Most people think about solving this problem using very expensive equipment and, most expensive of all, human beings (expensive, most notably, in terms of lives lost). When those solutions aren’t practical, some countries use trained dogs (which are very expensive to acquire, train, and keep happy). Poorer countries will simply unleash a flock of sheep in a mine field and hope that gets the job done, but in a third world country, a flock of sheep is worth a fortune.

Enter the broad-thinker. Why not train ubiquitous and much-hated rats, who have a great sense of smell, to sniff out mines? Turns out, it works incredibly well:



Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.