a spontaneously combustible baby? somehow i don’t think so

Alison Campbell Aug 26, 2013

At one point the husband had quite an interest in something known as ‘spontaneous human combustion’ (SHC) – the claim that humans can, on occasion & often with no apparent ignition agent, burst spontaneously into flame. What’s more, their bodies may sometimes be totally consumed, & yet it appears the fire doesn’t spread to the rest of the room they’re … Read More

chocolate! & just in time for easter

Alison Campbell Mar 27, 2013

For years the husband has insisted that chocolate is a health food. He’s also spun me the line that eating it is good for the rainforest, as the mature cacao trees apparently grow in mature forest. So he’ll be happy with the Herald‘s story on his sweet treat, which has the enticing title of “Sweet news: chocolate is good for … Read More


academic olympics fail to gain government support

Alison Campbell Aug 16, 2012

This is a guest post – I’m running it on behalf of my friend & colleague Dr Angela Sharples. Angela is the current chair of OlympiaNZ (the umbrella organisation for the various NZ Olympiad committees) and leads NZ International Biology Olympiad. She received the Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Award in 2011. At a time when we celebrate all things sporting … Read More


reflections on the WEB days

Alison Campbell Jun 13, 2012

We’ve just held the second day of the annual “Waikato Experience of Biology” (WEB) days – around 700 year 13 biology students, & their teachers, have come on campus over those 2 days for a program of seminars + some lab experience that supports their learning in several areas of their Biology curriculum. (There are photos on the Faculty’s … Read More

the great class-size debate

Alison Campbell Jun 11, 2012

I haven’t blogged much lately, due to a combination of factors to do with my ‘day’ job. But I’ve followed the recent heated debate around proposed changes to class size with much interest, & I did manage to pull together something for my ‘other’ blog. So I’ve reproduced that here 🙂 Here in New Zealand, the compulsory education sector has … Read More


another stunning biological image

Alison Campbell Jun 11, 2012

(And once again, I found this via PZ Myers.) Although it looks like a flower , this is an image of a limpet embryo, stained to show 4 different proteins and viewed (& photographed) using a confocal microscope. There are several other stunning images at the Node, which is an on-line community site for developmental … Read More

nz herald, what are you *thinking* – all kids are psychic?

Alison Campbell May 30, 2012

From the Herald’s website, we hear that [a]ll children are psychic and they’re tuned in to their abilities now more than ever, according to one of Australia’s top intuitives. Oh, really? And there’s more: “We’re starting to see little kids who can see spirits, who can actually validate who it is. It’s different to a child saying, ‘I’ve got … Read More


why things got bigger (rpt)

Alison Campbell Jan 27, 2012

One of my tasks at the moment it the revision/rewriting of the study guide (along with my actual lecture notes etc) for my A semester first-year biology class. As part of that I'm reviewing some of the material I give... Read More

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