BioBlog

The Immortal Life of a Hydra

Jean Balchin Feb 09, 2018

Students often get to look at hydras – tiny, fresh-water members of the group that includes sea anemones, jellyfish, corals, and the Portuguese man’o’war. All these cnidarians have a simple body-plan: two layers of true tissue with a jelly-like layer between them, a sac-like gut with a single opening that acts as both mouth and anus, and the characteristic stinging cells –  … Read More

No, we have no GM tomatoes

Alison Campbell Feb 08, 2018

No sooner have I written a post about the synergy between FB and blogging then it happens again 🙂 Again, hat-tip to Yvette d’Entremont, who posted a link to an article purporting to tell consumers how to distinguish between GM and ‘regular’ tomatoes. The writer of that article certainly wears their heart on their sleeve – just look … Read More

Does science blogging still matter? Yes. Yes, it does.

Alison Campbell Feb 07, 2018

That’s the premise of an article in Nature (Brown & Woolston, 2018), which I discovered via the excellent Debunking Denialism on Facebook (and if that’s not a good example of how various social media are interlinked, I don’t know what is). Since mine is a science blog, obviously I was interested in the Nature narrative. Brown & Woolston believe … Read More

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Dogs, Diets and the Impact of Evolution

Alison Campbell Feb 05, 2018

Yvonne d’Entremont (aka SciBabe) recently posted an article on ‘alternative’ foods and health products for pets, in her usual no-holds-barred style. It’s always good to see pseudoscience called out for what it is, and in the case of pet-focused quackery it’s a message that needs multiple repeats. Why? Because pets are dependent on us, & we have a responsibility … Read More

Raw Water? Ew!

Alison Campbell Jan 09, 2018

‘Raw water’ – the latest foolish fad to hit people’s screens, pockets, & in some instances I’d guess their toilet paper expenditure as well. I first heard of this particular litre of woo when I read an article in the New York Times with the headline: Unfiltered Fervor: the rush to get off the water grid. Apparently getting ‘off … Read More

Considering the transition between school and university

Alison Campbell Nov 23, 2017

I’m sitting in the sun waiting for the 2017 First-Year Science Educators’ Colloquium (FYSEC) to kick off- and it’s somewhat embarrassing to realise that I hadn’t done anything with some of the notes I took at last year’s event. However, much of the discussion then is still just as relevant today, and in fact many of this year’s discussions will … Read More

Blood and guts, surgeons and scientists: “the butchering art”

Alison Campbell Nov 22, 2017

The Butchering Art is medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris’s first book. And what a book! Descriptions that bring the horrors of pre-anaesthesia, pre-antisepsis surgery shudderingly into view? Very definitely. Science and history? Oh yes, lots of it, and beautifully told. And through it all, the humanity and vision of Joseph Lister and others like him, working to improve the outcomes of … Read More