Whoosh: the ‘fish tube’!

20 08 2019

A little later than The Entire World (as ever), I’ve just just caught up with the ‘fish tube’ that propels salmon over dams … so inspiring much silliness on the web.


UN urges us to change what we eat

10 08 2019


Hard to ignore this as fires burn in the arctic …

Marital stress predicts “terrible twos”?

8 08 2019

An interesting new paper got a lot of publicity today: a couple’s  perinatal relationship problems predict emotional issues in the infant two years later. Cambridge’s press release is here, while the NYT has a nice write-up here.

More evidence of terrible food waste

3 08 2019

Two new national reports are available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/managing-reducing-waste/food-loss-waste.html:

They seem to suggest that 25-33% animal-based food products are wasted (and avoidably so) … which arguably means that 25-33% of farm animal welfare problems are not offset by any real benefit to us (if you’re a utilitarian): a problem just like that that we have already seen for fish. 

Yes I’m back to applying the Three Rs to eating again, I just can’t help it. And Reduction surely has to include reducing this terrible waste …

Good Nature article on the Porsolt Test

18 07 2019

Great article on another suspect test the biomed community (especially in the university system) is wedded to far more than it deserves: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02133-2?utm_source=fbk_nnc&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=naturenews&sf215949787=1&fbclid=IwAR1u4bq-8vN9DYId9JVNJwAKRpcMb-_Y2K7t22HevdwlyKNhHuf3ervuMwM

We use it ourselves, because it’s quick, a convention, and seems less unpleasant for the mice than the “tail suspension test” (which we’ve decided we won’t do). But believe it? Not really sure, our main concern being one they didn’t list here: that chubby mice are really, really buoyant, and, well, floaty….

Thanks to Andrea for the great find.

Bold and vague language wins men more grants

15 07 2019

A disturbing new study shows that women can lose out in grant competitions even when sexism and implicit bias are ruled out by blinding, because we use more “narrow” language. I’d love to read the paper (if I could cope with the crushing feeling this stuff always gives me), since I don’t quite get why “brain” is a narrow word and “bacteria” a broad one). But even without doing this, the findings resonate. As Nature puts it, pulling no punches, “men are more likely to boast”. So should women just start acting more like men? I really think it should be the other way around. Good coverage here and here



The Time Guide to Happiness

4 07 2019

I’m not totally getting the marigold-blocked binoculars (really not the same as rose-tinted spectacles), but the Time Guide to Happiness is a good read.

Screenshot 2019-07-04 10.32.53