30 04 2019

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 7.29.41 PMJust heard a great BBC documentary on the power of fear, covering, amongst other things, the crippling effects of predator cues on song sparrow reproduction (cool work from up the road at Western), and the strange genetic quirks (somewhat like the pain-free woman) that can lead a few rare people to have no fear at all. Click here to listen!

Amnesty for vulture accused of spying

19 04 2019

Heart-warming story (in the end) from war-torn Yemen:



Oakland’s new outfit

19 04 2019

He doesn’t seem entirely certain about his new outfit, but hey, I love it: one of several gifts Andrea and I gleefully bought Oakland from the ever-wonderful Nippaz with Attitude.


Oh ha bloody ha

16 04 2019

From the ever-funny Doug Wey (I did laugh honest Doug, but with some strange sort of crying mixed in).


Stereotypies in space?

16 04 2019

And here is the paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-40789-y  (N.B. It’s not entirely clear to me how the mice can be said to be expressing a “full range of species-typical behaviors”, when they’re living in a wire mesh box. By “full” the authors must mean “limited” I guess)

One degree of separation from Jane Goodall

15 04 2019

My amazing friend Sarah got to meet Jane Goodall on Friday, thanks to a friend of hers who’d worked at one of the chimp sanctuaries; so while some of us finished our supper before the lecture (which turned out to be strangely in support of OVC Pet Trust rather than anything conservation-related), Sarah got to hang out with this icon. (P.S. Incidentally, apparently the whole ‘six degrees of separation’ idea — that that’s what separates us from everyone — may be a myth).




Ten simple rules towards healthier research labs

15 04 2019

Fantastic, humane and very sensible paper in one of the PLoS journals this week:



Spotted on ‘Shit Academics Say’ this week.

15 04 2019

56940357_1762521397180633_5924418273956331520_nGenius! (I would get this printed on a T shirt if it wouldn’t look strange on a pair of boobs.)

Birthday group meeting rolls round again!

15 04 2019


I swear these are recurring faster and faster… Thanks to my lovely, lovely group for a fun lunch and (AGAIN!) inspired presents (this time The Hidden Life of Trees, and Allowed to Grow Old [no not about me, about elderly farm animals living in sanctuaries]). Left to right are Andrea (finally back from California!), Misha, Michelle, Lindsey, Aimee, Emma (not a student any more, but she can’t keep away), me and Sam. Then we went back to the department for an hour of “speciesism“: a thought provoking discussion, just for us, skillfully led by Melisa Choubak from UoG’s Centre for Cross Cultural Research


Becca Frank’s visit

10 04 2019

Dr. Becca Franks came to give the last CSAW seminar of the semester a couple of weeks ago (the series which started with Megan LaFollette, and later included Cass Tucker and Charlotte Winder). It was a really fun visit. First off we drove into the countrybecca_franksside to meet Rich Moccia at the Alma Aquaculture Station; then, with just enough time for her to warm up, she gave her seminar: a unusual combination of scholarly insights into the welfare importance of positive affect, and compelling videos of fish doing what really does seem to be play.

In the evening my lab took her out to Baker Street for a drink (Gwen and Misha bringing their baby, making this Oakland’s first pub outing), followed by vegan food at Cadence. The next day Michelle and Matt Cornish showed her round Hagen Aqualab; and then we met for a quick coffee, and it was back to New York for Becca! I hoping her and Michelle get more time together in Norway for the ISAE.