Science and the media, advice for young researchers

Voice of Young Science is an initiative that aims to lay siege to the academic ‘ivory tower’, by giving young researchers the skills they need to engage with the media and public discourse. Led by the charity Sense about Science, and hosted at the uncharacteristically sunny University of Manchester, the media workshop promised a series…

The scale of problems and the scourge of false positives

I’ll admit, when I started reading Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science” I did so with the intent of poking fun at the pitfalls and pseudoscience of homeopaths and nutritionists. And whilst this has been enjoyable, the aspects of the book that I have found particularly engaging are the subtler statistical nuisances in situations such as how…

Selfish genes, ultraselfish genes and the Eurozone

Originally published: July 2015 Europe has somewhat of a history of conflict, although nowadays it’s more of a diplomatic nature rather than the insatiable marauding of a cartoonish Austrian.  Currently the titans of Europe are embroiled in the widely reported Greek economic crisis.  Put simply, Greece is tired of ‘The Man’, who is actually a…

Dating in the dark, lessons from Cavefish

Originally published: August 2015 At the start of this week, the British public were greeted by the rather morbid news that Cilla Black, hallmark of Saturday night television, had sadly passed away. Cilla was undoubtedly a colossus of primetime entertainment and in light of this, I’d like to make this week’s article a tribute to…

Monkey see, monkey do: Celebrities in the Ape order

Originally published – January 2015 Modern celebrity culture is in simplest terms, the adoration of people you’ve never met because they’re perceived as doing something better than you can currently do it.  Whilst its inclusion under the heading of topical news is debatable, modern celebrity culture has rung in the New Year with a couple…

Regional bird songs seek to explain Eurovision

Originally published – May 2015 For a few people in a lot of countries, the second half of May can mean only one thing, Eurovision; the frankly bizarre, yet entrancing, continental singing competition that comes but once a year.  Previous years have seen an Austrian bearded lady, a Finnish monster-themed metal band, and a general…