Denis in Boston
6 min readJan 25, 2021

Maybe you’ve heard this one but read along because it has lessons for today.

Little Johnny has to do a project for school and, being a little boy, he decides to torture a frog in the name of science. He acquires a notebook, a sharp pencil, a knife, a measuring tape, and a frog. He also has the rudiments of the scientific method imperfectly acquired from class.


The experiment starts innocently enough. Johnny draws a line in the sand, places the frog behind it and the loudly stamps his foot just behind the frog. Startled, the animal jumps, and Johnny measures the distance recording in his notebook, “A frog with four legs jumps four feet.”

Good enough. Let’s call this the control part of the experiment.

Johnny then gets to work. He cuts off one of the frog’s legs and repeats the process, finally writing in his notebook, “A frog with 3 legs jumps 3 feet.”

That’s rather brutal but on the scale of things, many thousands of mice (and other animals) are routinely sacrificed annually in labs around the world. So, this experiment though conducted by an admittedly junior researcher should not be judged as unnecessarily cruel though subsequent events might give us all pause.

At any rate, Johnny cuts another leg off and repeats the experiment and writes in his notebook, “A frog with 2 legs jumps 2 feet.”



Denis in Boston

Used to write a lot more about science, tech, econ, politics etc. I spend my time reading and painting with exercise for good measure. Looking for more.