My NSERC NOI

27 07 2021

The NOI for my DG renewal is due on Monday, and so far I have this:

Yep, nothing but a therapy cat.

Last week I got back from holiday to 1000 emails, a plumbing leak and a dead dishwasher. Then Jonathan accidentally knocked a glass of water on my laptop, destroying it beyond repair, and just as I got a replacement sorted, I cut my hand on some glass. Really, really not sure I can pull this off…





Welcome to Prathipa and family!

27 07 2021

After three (3!) failed attempts to fly here directly (each time thwarted by the flight ban), Prathipa and family finally decided to tried get here indirectly: an excruciatingly slow and expensive journey via Paris and then three days in Mexico City. But it worked! Two weeks ago today they landed and were allowed in (phew), and today they finally got out of quarantine!

Below, they arrive at their new home to find flowers and cuddly Canadian animals, and the littlest one gleefully clutches “drumsticks” – a vegetable she was missing that Michelle managed to find in Waterloo:





Papers papers

30 06 2021

It’s been 30 years (wtf?) since my first ever paper, and it’s still my most cited publication (actually getting more citations over time, the more out-of-date it gets!).

But we’ve learned so much since then (though much also remains frustratingly elusive), that’s it’s simply time for an update. After mulling it over for weeks, today I just impulsively bashed out a “Tinbergen’s four whys” outline and sent it in to Animal Behaviour with crossed fingers.

Aileen also got what might be her equivalent in yesterday too: the revisions to an ambitious review of depression-like states in animals (and what it would take to drop the “-like”). After all the thinking that went into her QEs, and some fairly critical but very useful comments from a referee, we completely over-hauled it – a truly massive job that took months and months. I think it’s now become a really fantastic paper. Let’s hope the referees agree!





One of my favourite people gets a medal

30 06 2021

Excellent Day 1 of the UFAW conference was today, with surprise highlights including a nice talk applying comparative methods to stereotypic ungulates, and learning about a humane mouse trap. Jamie also got his ECR award, and the wonderful Joy Mench was awarded the UFAW medal too (nominated by Cass Tucker, and seconded by fangirl me):





Get your grubby snout off my snacks!

21 06 2021

Our “MSc congratulations!” gift to Lindsey in the New Year was a bat detector, so that she could eavedrop on her two rats (Sara and Bella) and Simon (living solo now that his fond CD-1 companion has finally passed away). And here are some vivid 22 kHz calls she recorded from the two rat girls, as they squabbled over treats! Often held to indicate “negative affect”, I think the variety suggests rather more complexity than that simple label would suggest…





And even prouder of Jamie!

21 06 2021

Known this for ages and had to keep it secret, but at last it’s out: Jamie won the 2021 UFAW Early Career award!

https://www.ufaw.org.uk/ufaw-early-career-animal-welfare-researcher-of-the-year-award/2021-award-winners

(That makes him the 3rd of my past students to win this lovely prize!)





So proud of Jacob

21 06 2021

for: one, hosting a small (bijou) Pride party with some style — and admirable social distancing — last weekend (and here he is with Michelle, who he’s been helping in the lab); two, writing excellent blogs; and at last but definitely not least – GETTING INTO VET SCHOOL!!!! Congratulations Jacob, so very well-deserved!





A double brush with fame

21 06 2021

I got to ask Yuval Harari a question, backed up by David Chalmers!

And here’s the man himself, waiting for his script to stop being upsidedown (poor thing), while superb chair Liad Mudrik makes soothing noises. (Her brains and social skills turned out to be one of the highlights of the ASSC).





In Tel Aviv tomorrow!

13 06 2021

Well obviously not really (and given recent events, maybe that’s not such a bad thing). But looked forward to having my brain stretched by the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness!





It’s a first world cat problem

13 06 2021

Too. Many. Toys.