British Threat Levels

29 05 2017


Science on the radio

29 05 2017

There were two good things on the news this week, on….

… why is childbirth is painful…

Screenshot 2017-05-28 21.21.39


…. Instagram, Facebook and mental health:

And then a pretty lame piece on CBC about the inner lives of trees. Yes plants are amazing, but this interviewer was just gullible.

Surreal research need of the week

29 05 2017

We suddenly had to check the Cheerios our new mice get in their health checks (to make them line up neatly in a row for Michelle to look over).


We had just realised we’d be in trouble if cinnamon was an ingredient: Aimee needs cinnamon to be a novel flavour in a social learning task in a few weeks.  Luckily they turned out to be cheapo no-name “cereal loops”, with no cinnamon at all (and yet still  those mice just love them).

Quote of the week

29 05 2017

“JMP is good for beginners”Andrea, who’s been learning Stata. (I use JMP!)

Mink farm protests this weekend

29 05 2017

This weekend saw anti-fur protests in Ontario, at various farms and the auction house. Luckily no apparent news since the below, so I’m hoping that means no mink releases.

Screenshot 2017-05-28 20.47.40

Maria’s leaving dos

25 05 2017

There’ve been a series of leaving dos for Maria these last weeks. First, for her very last Behaviour Group meeIMG_4558ting in Guelph, she brought in yummy Basque quiches from Eric the Baker, so that’s the picture to the left (with Alex’s postdoc Nienke van Staaveren in the background, waiting to give a research talk on tail-biting).


Then she set off to Michigan to work on her last project there, and towards the end Steve Bursian and his wife, farm manager Angelo, and other MSU staff gave  her a send-off BBQ and ceremonial presentation of the “House 10” sign (the building in which she’s run nearly all of her experiments since the very start of her PhD in 2006, cunningly disguised as one housing turkeys). Andrea is front left, there to help collect maternal care data, and husband Andy is front right.


And then on Saturday, during her last couple of days back in Ontario (she flew to the UK on Monday), we had a party for her here. Despite the sadness of her leaving (I found myself yesterday wondering if she fancied lunch on Saturday, then realised *sob * she isn’t here!), it was really fun evening with delicious food contributed by everyone in the group. Right to left: Gary (Hazlewood), Aimee, Emma, new student Michelle, Lauren, Kirk (Rankin), Andrea, Vadim, Misha, Maria herself (holding one of her presents from us), Andy and me.

M's party May 20th 2017

Walter leaves Brighton

25 05 2017

Very behind with posts, but last month Walter went home from Spain (a parting shot from him of Brighton below), have managed to test an impressive 32 subjects at the University of Sussex (due to staying longer than planned, me and Dora kicking in some extra money, but him still being poorer than planned overall as the whole thing started so very late). 32 subjects is a terrific N though, so next steps to look forward to: finding out whether the “affect manipulation” (music) altered emotional states in the way that alcohol does? And if yes, did that alter subjects’ tendencies to guess they had been given alcohol rather than a placebo?