Harvard University unleashes plague of rats

On Monday, the Boston Herald reported that Brighton, an area near Harvard University, is suffering from a huge rat problem. According to residents, the school's "big dig" -- a huge building construction project -- has unleashed a flood of "giant" rodents that have taken over the neighborhood, raiding trash cans, frightening residents, and inspiring dark talk of lawsuits.

Rats are, of course, a somewhat variable problem. In New York, where I live, they are a way of life: they populate the subways, hang out in trash areas, and -- at least according to some reliable witnesses -- completely take over certain public parks at night. Although my wife and I have become somewhat inured to their presence, the first glimpse can still provoke a "flight or fight" reaction.