Every now and again something that we do ends up in the popular press. Sometimes that is because of press releases, sometimes journalists ask for comments, and sometimes we write the pieces ourselves (such as for The Conversation). I try to keep track of as many as possible here:
Climate change and insects BBC Leeds 13th January 2019 Dr Chris Hassall (Biology) appeared on the Paul Hudson Weather Show and explained how non-stinging insects have evolved to mimic their stinging counterparts, to avoid being preyed upon themselves.
Introduction to Pint of Science in Leeds BBC Radio Leeds 15th May 2018 I was speaking at the Pint of Science event and gave a quick introduction to the topic with Dr George Holmes and (now Dr) Caroline Ward. We were both talking about conservation biology - me about urban biodiversity and them about the far more intriguing "Fantastical beasts and where to conserve them"!
Who would win in a fight between a rhino and a tiger? BBC Radio Leeds, 22nd August 2014 A fluffy little piece in the lead-up to the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley between the Leeds Rhinos and the Castleford Tigers. Apparently I’m getting a reputation for taking these things on, and it was a good opportunity to talk about nature and science on local radio.
“Citizens’ groups trying to purrrge feral-cat problem” Ottawa Citizen and Time Colonist, 15th January 2012 Some time ago, I was featured on a Skeptic North blog post about the control of feral cats using a technique called “trap-neuter-release”. It was an off-the-cuff review of some claims made about TNR by a group of conservation biologists, published in a highly respected journal, in response to an inquiry from a member of the public concerning TNR. A reporter from PostMedia then got in touch, who told me that he was writing a story about the use of TNR to control Canadian feral cat populations nationwide. Chris went back and took another look at the literature and gave his opinion. The journalist did a reasonable good job in balancing what is a fairly undecided issue.
“Healthy, parasite-free people are smarter, researchers say” Toronto 24h, 26th September 2011 “Healthy people are smarter: study” Ottawa Sun, 22nd September 2011 “Why is average IQ higher in Massachusetts than Louisiana?” Washington Post, 16th September 2011 “Why is average IQ higher in some places?” Scientific American, 6th September 2011 The original SciAm piece was written by Christopher Eppig – the lead author of the original study that showed a link between IQ and parasites. Eppig cited our study in his piece as being supportive of his previous findings (which it certainly is). Eppig and colleagues (who published the original paper on the link between IQ and parasites) published a second paper using a similar dataset of IQ scores and health data, this time limiting their analysis to the US states. They found approximately the same patterns, which is surprising given the smaller variation in IQ scores and parasites. The Ottawa Sun and Toronto 24h picked up on my paper with Tom Sherratt on the relationship between IQ and parasites. The title isn’t quite accurate, but it conveys at least part of the message of the paper. Also, this title is better than the title that appeared in print: “Nasty bugs eat away at IQ”… Toronto 24h also published a piece on the IQ paper. Again, the journalist picked up on the correlation for the title, but the content of the piece was pretty well balanced. The author detailed the range of hypotheses, the reasons for an association between IQ and race, and finally a closing remark about the importance of health care in cognitive development.