Reading, reading, typing, reading, reading, typing, reading…

I’m well into my literature review now. Lots of reading. Some typing. More reading. As such, I’m doing everything I can to avoid actually doing my literature review.

One of the things I’ll be doing, as part of the project, is setting up a microbiology lab. It’s kinda weird and Awesome (capital ‘A’ is required) that I get to set up what will effectively be my own lab. I want a lab in my own house in the way that my wife wants a library. Continue reading

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Dammit, Jim…

Actually, I can’t finish that line, yet. But, give me three and a half years, and I should be able to.
dr-mccoy

It’s Thursday.
Last Saturday, I packed my clothes, some flat-packed shelving units, and my computer into my little car, and moved from sunny Livingston to windy Thurso. Upon arrival I met my friendly Dutch housemate, unpacked the car, then went and treated my self to one of the nicest fish suppers I’ve had in a while.
On Sunday, I finished unpacking and rearranging furniture, went out and bought a picture frame, and I realised how much I miss my wife at night.
On Monday, I started my PhD. And it’s Awesome!
It’s so Awesome, it deserves it’s very own capital ‘A’. Continue reading

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Poster Science – Letham Moss

Having recently recieved my (1st class!) passing grade for my honours project, I now feel confident enough to share it with the world. Below is the poster I prepared to summarise some of the data and conclusions I made during the project.

I’ve always liked making data look visually pleasing and accessible, while still maintaining the level of scientific detail required to draw valuable conclusions. I think I did a pretty good job.

Continue reading

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Ready, Set?

I think I’ve found a badger set!

On my drive through to uni this morning we passed a dead badger at the side of the road. Always a bummer to see, but for once the sight actually spurred me into action. Upon arriving at uni I notified Scottish Badgers about the morbid mustelid, then spent the next hour or so learning about how to actually recognise a badger’s set (I also did some work on my honours project, too).

Once home, I dropped off the missus then went for a wander in the woods. After only a few minutes wandering I noticed this trail through the grass. The trail led to this:

It's definately a hole in the ground. Good start!

Initial approach to the set.

At this point I congratulated myself on finding a hole in the ground, which is a good start when looking for an underground lair. Carefully picking my way around the site, I got a better view of the entrance. Continue reading

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How To Kill A Giant Panda

The giant panda has long been the poster child for the ‘suicidal species’; spend any time working in panda conservation with the public and you will be asked, usually once a month, why they behave as though they want to become extinct. While the mere idea of a species intent on its own extinction is abhorrent to any scientist, the fact is that pandas have been dying, quite successfully, for a very long time indeed. Continue reading

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The Black & White Truth About Giant Pandas

Actually, given that this is ‘just a blog post’, I’m not going to go and dig out the sources and reference all the points I’m about to make. Therefore, to call this the absolute, 100% accurate truth about giant pandas is perhaps over selling. However, my hope is that this will provide a counter point to the many misconceptions and myths that have built up about these bears over the past decades. I’m going to attempt to address the most common misconceptions, some not so common misconceptions and, since it’s my blog, I’m going to include my own thoughts and opinions on giant panda conservation. Continue reading

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New Developments of Bob

The newest member of our household, Bob the spider (Tegenaria spp. – or Eratigenia atrica apparently. Still reading up on this recent change) seems to have settled in quite happily. This is evidenced largely by the fact that an egg sac has appeared in her home (I’m pretty sure that’s what it is – gimmie a break, it’s my first spider). I expected this to happen, but I’m still unsure on the time scale of the life cycle – mainly hatching time. I’m looking into it as we speak.

Bob's Eggs 3

Much as I love Bob, and by extension her offspring, I’m not too keen on hundreds of the little buggers running about.

UPDATE: I forget the details, but Bob eventually became a happy mother of about 100 or so little spiderlettes. We released most of them into the close, so that the other appartments could reape the benefits of helpful arachnid companions.

More pics of Bob below. Continue reading

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