Mason group runs ‘red herrings’ workshop

28 02 2015

Last week Maria, Mike and Heather led a Behaviour Group workshop on ‘red herrings‘, to share and consolidate what we have learnt from Nigel‘s Thinking from A-Z book and the online ‘fallacy files‘.

I couldn’t make it, but it sounded like it went really well. Here is Heather kicking things off on the day.



We started with some basics about arguments (premises, conclusions, and why not every argument-like statement really is an argument), and then covered ‘Straw men’, ‘Guilt by association’ (including our old friend ‘the Hitler card’), the ‘Bandwagon fallacy’, and the various ‘Genetic fallacies’ (ad homimen arguments, poisoning the well, and appeals to misleading authority). It ended with group-work: Heather set everyone some arguments – real and fallacious – to classify, which was apparently really fun.


Paleontologists: Dinosaurs were killed by someone they trusted

28 02 2015

Another classic research piece from The Onion.

Chucking out samples

28 02 2015

Though our natural instinct is to hoard, and this can be really useful, sometimes it’s cathartic to admit that some samples or data are never going to get looked at and they should just GO!  Old videos, DVDs, and samples sitting there like looming piles of undone homework…  chucking them away can definitely lighten the spirit.


So throwing dozens of meticulously, carefully packed labelled boxes of mink faeces into a dumpster last week (Thanks Mike! Thanks Maria! Sorry Dana!) was strangely fun.


Congratulations to Jonathan!

28 02 2015

Yay, Jonathan got the CBS job!

(OK not exactly in my lab, but we are writing our very first paper together)

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The girl who gets gifts from birds

28 02 2015

Totally great story.

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Fish tricked by “Ebbinghaus Illusion”

15 02 2015

Click here for whole story.

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Emotions and decision-making

15 02 2015

Pretty good radio show, with philosopher A.C. Grayling interviewing neuroscientist (and friend of Ian McEwan) Ray Dolan.

The ageing stuff is disturbing (gotta get me some L-dopa), the shock experiments heartening. Apparently one reason people behaved much more nicely here that in the infamous Milgram Experiment was that everyone got to experience the shock themselves, so had doubts as to how nasty it was.


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