Oh no, I have this : (

28 10 2016

These days I struggle to follow conversations in noisy places, and it’s got so bad that I went and had my ears tested earlier this year. Seems I have flawless, perfect hearing under these test conditions. But as the audiologist pointed out, ‘age-related processing problems’ are still common, and they don’t test for these as there’s nothing that can help them.


Well there is actually, says new research written up in Science Daily: you just have to ask people to Speak. More. Slowly. And. Clearly.


PTSD: possibly adaptive?

28 10 2016

After the BBC programme earlier this week, I emailed Paul Andrews to ask if PTSD might be adaptive (despite being horrible).

Glad I asked! His reply:

“Here is an interesting paper that suggests it could be.


It is also helpful to have this paper too.


Mink in the Arboretum

28 10 2016

screenshot-2016-10-28-12-17-14A mink has made itself (I think ‘himself’) at home in the University’s Arboretum.

Last seen gulping down a frog, here he is in some lovely photos.


Best ways to handle mice

26 10 2016

Nice vid from the Hurst lab, based on a few useful and innovative papers they’ve produced in the last few years.


Day 1 of the “mink enrichment survey”

25 10 2016



Lauren Dawson, my new post-doc (who did an MSc with me a few years ago), piloted our new “mink enrichment survey” today, visiting the first of what we hope will be dozens of farms across Canada.

We have a year’s money from OMAFRA to find out what farmers feel does and does not work well, since they are now having to supply enrichments in what’s essentially and giant nationwide experiment. Here is one Pastel male cradling his golfball, on the farm she visited today.

Vegan chocolate cupcake:

25 10 2016

: wicked in so many ways (and hand-made by Emma).


PTSD in the World Wars

25 10 2016

The BBC’s just produced a moving documentary on the experiences of soldiers with PTSD in WWI and II. Despite having an illness whose biology is at least a little understood now, some were denounced as cowwards, some even (and I did not know this) even executed.  I keep wondering if PTSD is an adaptive response to trauma shown by wild animals who narrowly miss being predated.


Good seminars

23 10 2016

It’s been a month of good seminars here and locally: new prof Anita Tucker on how indigenous North Americans view animals; UBC ecologtony-sinclairy giant Tony Sinclair (below right) on conservation successes and failures in East Africa (with buffalo migration pictures so amazing I thought they’d been CGI’ed, and a proposal for ‘rewilding’ to create pre-Anthropocene ecological communities); Bobbi Low from MSU on why modern well-educated bobbi-something-msuwomen have fewer babies (left), as part of whole day of human evolution talks here organised by Pat Barclay; and ,at McMaster, UCLA’s Joan Silk on whether we share altruism with our closest relatives, chimps (answer? No – chimps are just really mean, not inclined to share even when — as in the experiment below —  it costs them nothing).




“Maintaining Scientific Integrity in a Climate of Perverse Incentives”

23 10 2016

New paper, spotted on “Shit Academics Say” when I was laughing at the great pumpkin.

Seems like a must-read, esp. as my group is discussing “The natural selection of bad science” this week too!

Transferring misery via smelly bedding

23 10 2016

New work on the social transmission between mice of pain/nociception (not read the paper itself so not sure quite what they measured), through just odour alone….out last week! Plus lots of links to science media coverage here.