My expertise in Proboscidean cardiology…

20 08 2019

… is not quite as great as they think (the shame, the shame):

Screenshot 2019-08-20 17.28.24

Extra blocking factor

9 08 2019

A miscommunication this week led to half our judgment bias mice getting trained on the wrong stimuli for 3 days (apparently they were visibly confused).


Luckily A & A caught it in time, and the mice have bounced back on track once re-exposed to their original training stimuli. But looking ahead to the stats, whether or not they were affected by this, um, screw up, definitely has to be added to the models now.


My first webinar

16 07 2019

Screenshot 2019-07-16 14.56.48I just gave my first ever webinar: one of a continuing education series organised with immense professionalism by Nicole Duffee and Ashlee Vaughn at AALAS. 58 facilities enrolled to see it, so they estimate that meant an audience of 580 (and yet more still will watch the recording)!

Just before starting, I couldn’t help laughing at my crazy-set up. Mission Control included a pile of notes (printed out because I couldn’t use ‘presenter view’) with pre-folded corners for maximum pick-up ease, to be moved one by one to the cushion for minimum rustling; not one but two post-its over the camera to prevent any accidental viewings (since I was distinctly unkempt); another post-it on the stand saying “LOCK HIM IN THE GARAGE!” (referring to Luke, who’s prone to fits of intense meowing [when he wants his bum slapped in the corridor: long story]); the headphones cord sellotaped on to make sure it didn’t slip out; tea; water; and emergency cheeses to the left (though what I thought I could actually do with these is really very unclear).


Anyway, all went well and I am now *exhausted*, ready to lie on a chaise longue while someone feeds me peeled grapes (though peeled BabyBels will do).

Email of the week

12 07 2019

From Maria, as we discuss whether farmed mink take enrichments into their nestboxes because they naturally hoard their prey:

Screenshot 2019-07-11 22.05.52


You really want to know what I think about this?

9 07 2019

Screenshot 2019-07-09 12.02.59

Only in Guelph

5 07 2019

The OAC students’ group held a BBQ yesterday that caused some puzzling controversy earlier this week.

Their initial poster claiming it was a “pig roast” (below), was intensely disliked by a group who support the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. Having raised funds for the vet school to buy a scanner for the eponymous sanctuary pig “Esther”, this group was “appalled the University of Guelph would allow the Ontario Agriculture College’s Graduate Student Council to hold a violent and speciesist Pig Roast”. But they did not argue that killing animals was wrong, nor that pig farming is riddled with welfare issues (unlike Esther’s “dads” who themselves present this case rather clearly). Instead the petition organiser said “It just seems disrespectful”.

Screenshot 2019-07-05 09.23.51

OAC then apologised by changing the poster, and by saying “Although it says pig roast, there’s actually not going to be a pig being roasted, just to clarify. Essentially what it is, is it’s a barbecue. And there will be pork and vegetarian options.” (So hamburgers and sausages will be available, but although these come from farmed animals, that fact is now rather more disguised?)

Then — even more bizarrely — the petition organisers declared this to be a “Victory”. And on the day itself, no animal rights activists showed up, despite fears that they would. Maybe they were busy trying to work out what the hell just happened?!





What we won’t be implanting into our mice

20 06 2019

Was excited to get a parcel from DSI last week: Sylvia had requested a sample of their smallest mouse-recommended transmitter capable of detecting EEGs (as we’re still interested in sleep, this time to test ideas about depression). And here is is.


It’s the size of the last joint of my little finger … and would be like implanting something the size of a banana into me. Elke and I recoiled at the same problem a few years ago, and it’s clearly still as bad now. So: so not happening.