Not Exactly Rocket Science

To tie in with this week’s Research Blogging Awards announcement, I spent an enjoyable half-hour on Monday being interviewed by Dave Munger, who organised the awards. The interview is now up on the SEED website, with a title that made me smile. In it, I talk to Dave about winning the award, why and how…

Research Blog of the Year

Image, ironically, from FailBlog Warning: this post contains sentiment. If you are cynical and/or British, you might want to avert your eyes. Alternatively, read this and then go watch some Charlie Brooker. For those of you still around, bear with me. It is really hard to write something like this without falling into an abyss…

Like it or not, the golden arches of McDonalds are one of the most easily recognised icons of the modern world. The culture they represent is one of instant gratification and saved time, of ready-made food that can be bought cheaply and eaten immediately. Many studies have looked at the effects of these foods on…

Richmond park photos

A couple of photos taken today, during a lovely spring stroll through Richmond Park Ring-necked parakeet Red deer

We like to be in control of our own lives, and some of us have an automatic rebellious streak when we’re told what to do. We’re less likely to do a task if we’re ordered to do it than if we make the choice of our own volition. It seems that this effect is so…

One night of passion and you’re filled with a lifetime full of sperm with no need to ever mate again. As sex lives go, it doesn’t sound very appealing, but it’s what many ants, bees, wasps and termites experience. The queens of these social insects mate in a single “nuptial flight” that lasts for a…

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story, Dr Henry Jekyll drinks a mysterious potion that transforms him from an upstanding citizen into the violent, murderous Edward Hyde. We might think that such an easy transformation would be confined to the pages of fiction, but a similar fate regularly befalls a common fungus called Fusarium oxysporum. A…

For most men, the thought of taking on the burden of pregnancy from their partners would seem like a nightmare, but it’s all part and parcel of seahorse life. After mating, female seahorses and pipefish lay their eggs into a special pouch in the male’s belly and he carries the developing babies to term. They…

A couple of nights ago, I discovered a blog by Canadian science journalist Colin Schultz, who is doing a series of interviews with eminent science journalists including Carl Zimmer, Nicola Jones, David Dobbs and Jay Ingram. They’re great reads and I especially liked the stark differences in the answers from Nicola Jones and Carl Zimmer,…

We all know that as we type on our keyboards or click our mice, we leave behind fingerprints that could be used to deduce our identities. But these prints aren’t the only remnants of our presence. Bacteria from our skins also linger on the things we touch and they could act as a sort of…