BioBlog

Vegetarian spiders? What is the world coming to?

Alison Campbell Oct 17, 2017

Like probably everyone reading this, I have always thought that spiders are carnivorous, sucking the precious bodily fluidsA from their prey. I mean, those fangs! And I was wrong, for it seems that some spiders eat some plant material alongside their liquid meals – and some are almost fully vegetarian. A just-published paper (Painting, Nicholson, Bulbert, Norma-Rashid & LI, 2017) … Read More

Cancer, oils, and uncritical reporting

Alison Campbell Oct 11, 2017

On Sunday, the Stuff website carried a story about a particular brand of essential oils that may as well have been marked ‘advertorial’. This is because most of the article comprises positive commentary from those involved in selling the products – you have to scroll well down the screen to find a photo and brief comment from the Medical … Read More

Possum peppering – still totally implausible, seven years on

Alison Campbell Oct 09, 2017

“Kerikeri award entry turns possums into burning issue“, proclaims a headline in the Northern Advocate.  The story is about an entry in the WWF-NZ’s Conservation Awards for 2017; I hope the judges have a good grasp of science and scientific method. From the article: The entry from Kerikeri promotes a new take on an old-world biodynamic method of … Read More

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TL;DR: Antiperspirants don’t cause breast cancer

Alison Campbell Oct 07, 2017

Facebook certainly leads me to read papers that I normally wouldn’t.  For whatever reason, a post about deodorants popped up on my feed, from the Wendyl’s Green Goddess page. In the blurb for a sale of products was the following: Conventional products contain aluminium ingredients which have been linked to cancer. Do your skin and body a favour and … Read More

‘Pregnancy isn’t a death event’ – social media’s window to the dark side

Alison Campbell Oct 03, 2017

Today I was on leave and, the weather being bad, thought I’d do a bit of catching up on the news. And so it was that I found, on the Stuff FB page, an item about the (lack of) funding for cutting-edge cancer drugs. So far, so innocuous (although also somewhat sad) – until I read the comments.  For there, I … Read More

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Laptops in lectures

Alison Campbell Oct 02, 2017

I type much more quickly than I write (some would argue, also more legibly). But when I’m taking notes in meetings, I do it with a (very old-fashioned) fountain pen & notebook. The reason is that this makes me filter what I’m writing, so that only the relevant points make it onto paper.  And this is why I’m actually somewhat … Read More

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Anti-vaccination activists – deluded and dangerous

Alison Campbell Sep 14, 2017

The latest news reports indicate that the mumps outbreak in Auckland is spreading. As you might expect, the very first commenter on the FB page for that story is someone claiming that vaccines don’t cure mumps and offer a significant risk to health. (I wish Moveable Type allowed the Comic Sans font…) The only reason I bother dipping … Read More

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Wellness and ‘access bars’ – I can’t even…

Alison Campbell Sep 11, 2017

There’s a ‘Waikato Wellness Fair” just out of Hamilton next weekend. Along with the usual woo (homeopathy, reiki, & so on) comes something called ‘Access Bars’. However, these are not accessible places to have a drink – oh no! they are something far more mystical than that.  Apparently ‘Access Bars’ consist of 32 Bars of energy that run through … Read More

Supermarkets and nutritional advice

Alison Campbell Aug 17, 2017

I rather like our local supermarket. Lovely staff, generally excellent products, and close to home as well.  But I really wish the organisation would stay out of giving nutritional advice – or at least, that they do the right sort of consultation about their claims. For example, under ‘recipes’ there’s a post about ‘hyper-functional’ beverages A. These, it’s stated, … Read More