From LSD through job hunting to hungry bears

I recently read a fascinating account by Mike Jay in Nature http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v497/n7450/full/497435a.html which celebrated the legacy of Albert Hoffmann who discovered LSD some 75 years ago. Jay describes how Hoffmann was searching for a cardiovascular stimulant and thought that LSD might do the trick. However the drug originally appeared to show little promise and so was shelved until Hoffmann recreated it on an apparent whim. Working with LSD Hoffmann noticed a feeling of dizziness and mild psychoactive effects and so decided to take what he thought would be an imperceptible 250 micrograms of the drug, before cycling home, to see if it was causing these symptoms. Jay goes on to talk about a wildly hallucinatory bike ride of a lifetime, complete with a “kaleidoscope of fantastic images”, the rest as they say, is history. Imagine writing the funding application in today’s climate! But I suppose a few free samples might help.

I’ve been thinking about open access recently with organisations like the BES (@BritishEcolSoc) making their journals open access after 12 months and I got to thinking how expensive it would be to  access  journals without institutional privileges. This led me to enquire whether the university ( http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/) might provide better facilities for alumni wishing to use electronic resources for research. It seems that the university is willing but at this moment in time the cost is prohibitive, personally I remain convinced that this is a facility that institutions should be offering to enable their alumni to remain current.

Laura Drake emails to say that The Mammal Society is holding its second student conference at Stoke on July 15, unfortunately I have a prior engagement but some tickets are still available here http://www.mammal.org.uk/student_conference.

For those who are graduating from university good luck with the job search and here is a list of UK wide vacancies in the environmental sector. http://www.environmentjob.co.uk/jobs

Finally  to  an article on declining elk numbers in Yellowstone by Middleton and coleagues : http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1762/20130870. It seems that introduced lake trout have caused a decline in native trout, the introduced species spawns on lake bottoms out of the reach of hungry grizzlys. This may have caused a cascade of effects leading to increased grizzly predation on elk calves. Just when everyone thought that the re introduced wolves were responsible for declining elk numbers.

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