Bonkers, but strangely interesting

30 01 2017



More truth

30 01 2017



27 01 2017


Death of an amazing woman

13 01 2017

Journalist Clare Hollingworth dies, aged 105.32-clare-hollingworth

Laterality in mother-infant interactions

13 01 2017

A cool paper came out in new journal Nature Ecology & Evolution this week. Just as human mothers tend to hold their babies to their left, in order to monitor them with their left visual fields, so too altricial infants and older juveniles across a range of species — unlike babies, able to position themselves with respect to their mothers — like to have their mums to the left. These preferences are not entirely compatible, as you can imagine, but at least in some species (e.g. horses), in stressful situations the mother wins out and positions her infant back over to her left hand side.

A nice write-up of the piece is in New Scientist here. And a story on apes cradling their babies to the left was actually one of the first articles I ever wrote for New Scientist, a looooong time ago. I free-lanced for them sometimes as a student: it paid handsomely, and came with robust training from the brilliant Marcus Chown, the then sector editor (“This opening line is SOOOO boring!” being typical feedback).

Immune system links stress with stroke-risk

13 01 2017

screenshot-2017-01-12-21-04-33A paper in the Lancet this week suggests a new mechanism mediating the link between psychological stress and increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Here’s some coverage in the Telegraph, and the press release in Eurekalert.

Congratulations to Carole!

12 01 2017

I am weeks late with this, but congratulations to Carole! She’s won a lectureship at the University of Plymouth (home of colleagues Sarah Collins and Mike Thom, who are great … but is Plymouth really in the “top 2% in the world”??. Not being snobby – I’m from a somewhat obscure university myself. Hmmm seems like Plymouth’s ranked 553 in the top 1000, and Guelph- *nyeah nyeah-nyeah nyeah* – is no. 386. Guess there must be 25,000 other unis not even in the top 1000…).

Anyway, wild tangent aside, they have a thriving behaviour and welfare programme, and are also close enough to Bristol that Carole can keep up some collaborations there too. She starts in April. Fabulous achievement!