Baby dreams

29 01 2019

As this year’s OGS deadline approaches, Misha is working away on a manuscript that Lindsey is an author on. But he’s trying to meet another deadline too: the arrival of his and Gwen’s baby, due a few days ago now so it really all could start any second. This has prompted some vivid dreams: I dreamt Misha brought a baby to our next lab meeting, Gwen dreamt the baby was a kitten, and Misha dreamt it was a big black shaggy dog. Hopefully we’ll know the sex (and species?) very very soon.

Referee comment of the week

22 01 2019

Not to me but to a colleague. She wonders, as she makes her revisions, how much grammar is too much?

“try and remove excessive grammar”.

Update on some retired mice

22 01 2019

From one of our mouse adopters (and it sounds like these four old ladies hit the jackpot):

I adopted 4 female mice from your department back in October, and I just wanted to let you know they’re doing really well!! All 4 of them are still getting along well. I clean and rearrange their cage every week and they love it, their current favourite place to sleep is this slipper. I give them salmon cat treats, which they demand they get every time the cats get theirs.



22 01 2019

I learned a new word this week, and it made me disproportionately happy:

Image result for lalochezia

Apparently this phenomenon works by making you more aggressive (since being aggressive in other ways can induce the same effect). Fascinating stuff.

The win-win diet… or is it?

22 01 2019

A Lancet-sponsored group launched new diet recommendations this week, aimed at tackling the twin scourges of obesity-related health problems and agricultural environmental damage. It got a tonne of media coverage, and is ambitious and persuasive stuff (attracting outrage from the beef industry).

But what does it mean for animal welfare? Taking a 3Rs perspective (which I  think is really useful), replacing animal protein with plant-based food is good if it means reducing the number of farmed animals (because this means fewer net welfare problems). But it might not achieve this if the switch from non-recommended red meat (typically from large animals like cows) triggers the production of more individual chickens for white meat.  Worse: it’s likely that, compared to cows, a smaller proportion of chickens are farmed humanely, which means that such a shift would not be a refinement.  I wish someone would do a proper welfare audit of these recommendations and feed that  (pun intended) into the mix. (Or maybe I should just be very brave and become vegan).

Email of the week

16 01 2019

Once again it’s a toss up. This, from a friend who’s trying to actually NOT to burn bridges at work by admitting to a job interview elsewhere?

screenshot 2019-01-15 21.31.25

(I diagnose subconscious pyromania).

Or this?

screenshot 2019-01-15 21.35.09

(Michelle and I are trying to persuade a colleague who’s taken on our fish [and congrats to her too BTW on finishing a splendid experiment, on which more tomorrow] to also enrich them too. He’s reluctant, so we’re offering enrichment as a potential fix if their reproduction wanes. But this email might just have scared him).

And congratulations to Sam

16 01 2019

… who endured cold, mud and more to collect tonnes of data from 272 mink exposed to different enrichment regimes. He wrapped up data collection in November, collated and checked the data in December, and now has to analyse them, all the while keeping his fingers crossed there’s something there.

screenshot 2019-01-15 21.21.55