Since we discussed the decline in American education this morning, it is only appropriate to discuss a brain drain of a different kind in Texas. The University of Texas at Austin has reported that 100 brains have gone missing from its collection.
The brains were preserved in jars of formaldehyde. They are believed to have been stolen. If they are seeking the usual suspects, we have one obvious choice beyond the our run-of-the-mill Dairy Queen brain bandit :
It is not known if “Abbey Normal” was one of the brains but a close match was the brain of clock tower sniper Charles Whitman, who killed 16 people and wounded 32 others on the University of Texas at Austin campus on August 1, 1966.
The Austin State Hospital loaned the brains to the university about 28 years ago under a “temporary possession” agreement. Due to a lack of space, some of the brains were moved to the basement of the university’s Animal Resources Center. It is not clear what penalties exist under such an agreement given the length of time and the curious task of putting a valuation on the brains, though Whitman’s brain might be more valuable on the brain market, if one exists. However, one interesting twist is that the university’s agreement with the hospital required the school to remove any data identifying the person from whom the brain came. Thus, Whitman’s brain was not marked, but they confirmed it has gone missing with the rest of the collected grey matter.