A New Year
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Happy New Year! This year I’m making a concerted effort to write more regularly – I know things slipped a bit towards the end of last year. To kick of 2019 I wrote a piece I’ve been thinking about for a while, looking at the real solutions to the sticky issue of palm oil. Read [... .. read more..
Saving Face or Saving the Planet?
Sunday, January 6, 2019
I've written before about the issues surrounding our near-limitless demand for palm oil. So you might expect I'd be applauding Iceland for promising to cut palm oil from their own-brand products from 2019 onwards. And you might think I'd be up in arms about the ban that has stopped their beautifu... .. read more..
There’s No Such Thing as Natural pt I
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
As we all know, natural automatically means good. Nothing in nature has ever hurt anyone, ever. In the first part of my series deconstructing the term 'natural', I talk genetically modified organisms and domestication, and ask what is really natural, anyway? .. read more..
Tree Shrews like it Spicy
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Virtually all mammals wisely choose to avoid eating chilli pepeprs and other foods that taste 'hot'. New research shows that Chinese tree shrews have evolved to eat large quantities of chillies in their diet by tuning down their taste buds to the chemical that makes these foods hot. .. read more..
Ticks rely on Bacterial Vitamin Supplements
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Ticks feed on the blood of vertebrates, but this diet is low in vital B vitamins. A study published earlier this year shows that ticks supplement their diet with vitamin B from mutualistic bacteria. .. read more..
Lice evolved with birds and mammals
Monday, May 28, 2018
Parasites are thought to diversify with their host species, but the theory has rarely been tested. Kevin Johnson at the University of Illinois and his colleagues sequenced the genomes of 46 species of lice that parasitise birds or mammals, and two non-parasitic bark lice, and constructed an evolu... .. read more..
Ants immunise their young
Sunday, April 29, 2018
As I’ve mentioned before, living in a large densely-packed social group, like a city or an ant colony, comes with some drawbacks – perhaps worst of which is the risk of catching a contagious diseases. Earlier this year I wrote about research showing that raider ants treat injured workers... .. read more..
The Ant Doctor Will See you Now
Sunday, March 18, 2018
I’ve spent more time than most observing ants, and I’ve come to find them ‘cute’ – something few other people understand, and that is often hard to convey. So it’s nice to find a paper that offers the opportunity to give people a glimpse into the cuteness I see... .. read more..
Biological Linguistics: What is a bug?
Monday, January 29, 2018
I’d like to talk about a very important issue, very close to my heart, and one that I think needs greater public awareness – the definition of the word ‘bug’. See, people think they can just throw the word bug around willy-nilly. Anything small, flying or irritating, is a ... .. read more..
What are the effects of yoga and meditation on the brain?
Sunday, December 31, 2017
Yoga and meditation have effects on physiology, brain chemistry, and cognitive processes; these vary depending on the exact type of practise being performed and how long a person has practised it for. Studies of brain activity confirm that meditation can achieve a state of calm, thoughtless aware... .. read more..