Newest 100!

  • Top Five Insects I’ve Seen – #1 – The Ruby-tailed wasp (Chrysis sp. or family Chrysididae)
    As if you didn’t know it’d be a wasp! But look at it. It’s the wasp I show people to use as a crowbar to talk about wasp diversity. The first thing people who don’t know wasps say when you show them this little beauty, or any of their family, the chrysididae, is “Is that a wasp?!” The ruby-tail is a teddy-bear, it’s a disarmer, it’s a bright, bold, colourful, shiny, beautiful door-opener to get people to reconsider their opinions on an absolutely massive, and misunderstood, diverse group of insects. They’re a stark contrast to the sleek, sexy femme fatales,Continue reading “Top Five Insects I’ve Seen – #1 – The Ruby-tailed wasp (Chrysis sp. or family Chrysididae)”
  • Top Five Insects I’ve Seen – #2 – The Thick-Legged Flower Beetle (Oedemera nobilis)
    I’ma give ya some behind the scenes! Curating lists like this can be difficult. Because if I’d just picked my favourites you would have had four wasps and a beetle, each article would have been 100 words and as many images long and even fewer people would have cared. If I’d picked your favourites you would just be looking at the same bumblebees and butterflies that sap all the insect attention and nothing new would get a light shone upon it. I haven’t exactly broke new ground myself but I’ve at least tried to be varied. So instead I lookContinue reading “Top Five Insects I’ve Seen – #2 – The Thick-Legged Flower Beetle (Oedemera nobilis)”
  • Top 5 Insects I’ve Seen – #3 – The Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae)
    I hadn’t actually seen one of these until only a couple of months ago. Not their adult, flying form anyway. But when you see this beautiful vamp spread its wings it truly is something to behold. Seeing it Unfold its seemingly blood-stained black cape to reveal a bold red lining beneath. This moth is fashion goals! And they’re no slouch in the form I know them best as, their caterpillars, either. The caterpillar of the cinnabar moth is a relatively large and wonderfully tiger-striped orange-and-black tubes that feed exclusively off of ragwort. This, incidentally, is one of the reasons forContinue reading “Top 5 Insects I’ve Seen – #3 – The Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae)”
  • Top Five Insects I’ve Seen – #4 – The Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata)
    I was initially going to write a list of top five most striking UK insects but alas when I actually put grey matter to the task I realised the list would be mostly, if not exclusively, beetles. Beetles, the order coleoptera, are a huge group. Of all the species described in the world somewhere around 40% of them are beetles and there are around 400,000-500,000 species of them! Little wonder, then, that they vary from tiny barely perceptible grey things to the most beautifully coloured little living gems and jewels on our planet. The UK alone contains over 4,000 speciesContinue reading “Top Five Insects I’ve Seen – #4 – The Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata)”
  • Top Five Insects I’ve Seen – #5 – The Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva)
    The Andrena genus of bees is astounding! These are the bees you are most likely to see around May-early June before the honeybees really kick off their hives. If you’ve ever been out on a warm, sunny day in April and seen lots of bees in the air, the bulk of them will be Andrenids. They are mostly ground-nesting (or mining bees) preferring loose, sandy soils. They are also mostly solitary so do not form social groups, although they may nest close to one another. They are pretty widely distributed across temperate regions; Europe, North America, Asia etc. The tawnyContinue reading “Top Five Insects I’ve Seen – #5 – The Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva)”
  • My Top 5 Favourite UK Insects I’ve Seen: Introduction
    Happy Insect Week! If you’ve been following for a while you’ll know my history with insects, but if not here’s the story. I was, at one point, before an autistic burnout turned my dreams to ashes, an aspiring biologist. It is safe to say that biology, ecology and wildlife were my first true academic love. However I never caught the bug ‘bug’ until it came to writing my Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals articles, specifically the one on wasps – which came #1 on the list! I definitely committed the crime of ‘assumed knowledge’ when it came to wasps.Continue reading “My Top 5 Favourite UK Insects I’ve Seen: Introduction”
  • The Barred Grass Snake (Natrix helvetica)
    A look at the barred grass snake (natrix helvetica), evolution, classification of species and the human relationship with snakes.
  • Human Bias and Animal Myth in Conservation
    When I was studying biology human-animal relationships (…no giggling at the back!) was something I really wished I’d had an opportunity to learn more about. A recent paper, ‘Understanding nuanced preferences for carnivore conservation: to know them is not always to love them’ by Macdonald et al. reminded me of quite why I found our human relationship with the natural world so interesting. Humans are weird, in nature. Our notions of the world around us are not necessarily instinctive. They can be shaped and informed. We can learn them. This is hardly a ground-breaking statement, it is basic psychology. MoreContinue reading “Human Bias and Animal Myth in Conservation”
  • The Adder (Or European viper) – Vipera berus
    Oh, be still my beating heart! What a day. Adders are gorgeous snakes. Unbelievably pretty and exotic looking for what is the most northerly distributed member of the viper family. They are a short, stout snake, maximum length here in the UK is around 80cm (slow worms can be longer!) with a weight of up to around 120g. They can be easily distinguished by the zig-zag pattern, almost a series of connected diamond shapes, across their back. They also exhibit sexual dimorphism (differences in appearance between sexes) with males tending to be paler, more grey in colour with more distinctlyContinue reading “The Adder (Or European viper) – Vipera berus”
  • Théoden of Rohan On Curiosity
    “We cared little for what lay beyond the borders of our land. Songs we have that tell of these things, but we are forgetting them, teaching them only to children, as a careless custom.” We Lack Discipline look at this quote from Théoden, King of Rohan, in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and how meaningful it is for human lives, curiosity and advancement.
  • Where Have I Been? – A Catch Up
    A short explanation as to why WLD has been so sporadic the last few months with pretty photos of some March, early spring, scenery and insects.
  • Caturday Special: The Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola)
    A look at the little known, beautiful and elusive South American small cat, the Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola). Particularly a discussion on taxonomy and evidence for evolution and speciation in action.
  • John’s Place: The Incredible Story Behind Hastings Museum and Art Gallery
    An incredible tale of the family behind the building of John’s Place, once a house of the ‘Kidd’ family and now home to the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.
  • In Remembrance
    A sobre and sombre look at remembrance.
  • Top 5 Saints #1: Saint Francis of Assisi
    Widely revered, always respected, but with lessons all too seldom heeded. We look at the Patron Saint of Animals, Saint Francis of Assisi.
  • Top 5 Saints #2: Saint Michael the Archangel
    Not a true Saint, but an archangel – we look at Michael, the sword and shield of God and the judge of our souls at Judgement Day.
  • Top 5 Saints #3: Saint Julian of Norwich
    A lesser known Saint is our #3 – Saint Julian of Norwich. She was an anchoress, a woman whose religious devotion was shown through isolation to a small cell.
  • Top 5 Saints #4: Saint Sebastian
    Our #4 Saint is Saint Sebastian, a harrowing image of martyrdom when done right and an absolute beast of a man immune to pain in the depictions I prefer because they’re hilarious.
  • Top 5 Saints #5: Saint Mary
    Saint #5 is the most important woman in the Christian tradition – Mary, the mother of Christ. Why is she so important?
  • Happy All Saints’ Day!
    A quick look at All Saints’ Day and the phenomenon of Sainthood.
  • Animals as Symbols: A Lion Attacking a Stag
    Animals and Us The personification of animals in modern wildlife documentaries is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it makes their lives relatable to us, helps us empathise with the ups-and-downs of a wild living, helps us appreciate the wonderful, safe bubble we have built around ourselves and makes an otherwise niche interest very available. On the downside we have thousands, possibly millions, of people who think lions are wholly adorable when some of the stuff they get up to would make your soul shiver, that meerkats are sweet little advertising mascots when they’re closer toContinue reading “Animals as Symbols: A Lion Attacking a Stag”
  • The Patriarchal Health Crisis
    A serious look at the health crisis in men and the significant contributory factor of the masculine identity and the social expectations placed upon men by society as a whole to perform a masculine role.
  • What’s Going On At ‘We Lack Discipline’?
    It has probably not escaped the notice of any repeated readers that for the past couple of months I have not been around on social media, and have not been writing articles so much. Here’s the deal. I’m a one man band at the moment! It’s just me and for now I just don’t have the time and energy to write like I was a few months ago. I don’t want to worry anyone, I’m having a bit of a hard time of things right now and when my personal life situation ends up like that the idea of perseveringContinue reading “What’s Going On At ‘We Lack Discipline’?”
  • Redgrave and Lopham Fen, East Anglia
    A short write-up/review of my recent visit to Redgrave and Lopham fen on the border of Norfolk and Suffolk. A rare river-valley fen, it is a unique habitat and on of the UK’s very few homes to the great fen raft spider, an awesome semi-aquatic spider. It is also home to a great deal more natural beauty and biodiversity besides and so I heavily recommend a visit.
  • My Life and Insomnia
    A look at insomnia, how it affects me, and what I think we need to do to move forward as a society less judgemental of those with sleep issues and more open to managing the more extreme treatment options that we currently are hesitant to prescribe.
  • Cats in Culture
    A look at the cultural importance of cats to humans down through the millennia, examining what, exactly, the portrayal of cats says about us rather than vice versa. Released for International Cat Day 2021.
  • We Lack Discipline Reads: The Bet – Chapter 3
    Moving on to Chapter 3 in Vivienne Tuffnell’s sublime ‘The Bet’ we see Antony Ashurst dealing with the aftermath of having lost his wife and child at home.
  • Wicked Problems: Trophy Hunting
    A look at the complex issue of trophy hunting and conservation – a very wicked problem with no easy solution.
  • Dungeness – Weird and Wonderful
    A look at Dungeness Nature Reserve, an amazing area of unparalleled biodiversity in the UK, full of moths, butterflies, bees, wasps, flies and beetles, a unique habitat and ecosystem that begs to be walked around and explored.
  • Caturday Special: The Giant Cheetah, Acinonyx pardinensis
    A look at the Giant Cheetah, Acinonyx pardinensis – it’s basically a cheetah but bigger (and possibly slower) but it allows us to learn about the role of adaptation as an evolutionary mechanism.
  • Caturday Special: The Ocelot, Leopardus pardalis
    A look at one of the most beautiful coated cats in the world, the ocelot. Small, but not too small, these medium sized cats range from the USA to Argentina, making their living mostly eating small prey and hiding from just about anything else. An adorable cat that was once overhunted for its pelt or to be sold into the pet trade. These things are so damn cute.
  • Roman History in a Nutshell: The Pyrrhic Wars – Sicily and The Battle of Beneventum, 275 BCE
    We left off after the (potential) defeat of the Romans after the Battle of Asculum and the role of Roman/Carthaginian relations in proceedings. Well those relations were about to be tested for the flimsy trans-Mediterranean partnership that it actually was. We have spoken how it seems Pyrrhus may have had eyes on Sicily. The Greek city states there were already a part of his Epirot League, effectively a collaboration of a bunch of areas of ‘Greek’ control. As mentioned there is a notion of ‘Greece’ as a unified ancient civilisation when that couldn’t have been further from the truth. MuchContinue reading “Roman History in a Nutshell: The Pyrrhic Wars – Sicily and The Battle of Beneventum, 275 BCE”
  • The Aspinall Elephant Controversy
    A look at the plan by The Aspinall Foundation to re-wild 13 captive, Kentish born elephants into ‘the wild’ in Kenya and why many scientists, conservationists and local community groups think it might not be such a good idea and is, in fact, ego-conservationism being done by someone who might have more financial interest in it than people could be led to believe.
  • We Lack Discipline Reads: The Bet – Chapter 2
    An analysis of Chapter 2 of Vivienne Tuffnell’s The Bet in which we meet the deplorable characters of Jenny and Judy and wonder why we aren’t just supposed to murder them right away. This chapter deals a lot with amoral and immoral sexual behaviours, sexual deviancy and the use of sex as a tool of power, control and as a weapon.
  • Celestial Classics: Artemis
    Another in our Celestial Classics series in which we look at aspects of astronomy, usually celestial bodies but also a NASA mission in this case, and the myths that inspired their names. Today is the turn of the Goddess Artemis, the Greek mythological goddess of the hunt, of chastity, of pregnancy and childbirth, of the wilderness, hunting and those aspects of brutality to which humans must accept their place or else be doomed to destroy the very world on which they live. She is my favourite and I won’t hear a word against her!
  • Roman History in a Nutshell: The Pyrrhic Wars – Carthage and the Battle of Asculum, 279 BCE
    A look at the middle portion of Rome’s wars with the Kingdom of Epirus under Pyrrhus. The involvement of Carthage makes the whole affair very interesting, and while Rome appears to keep losing, they do so whilst giving Pyrrhus and his forces a solid effort and taking out some key troops and generals. How long can Pyrrhus hold out fighting the Romans? What exactly will Carthaginian involvement be and where will this lead?
  • Caturday Special: The Sand Cat, Felis margarita
    The sandcat, one of the cutest and most amazing cats on the planet. This small, adorable bundle of fluff has been known to eat desert monitor lizards its own size and venomous snakes – although mostly it eats small rodents, lizards, birds and insects. They rarely drink, using their efficient kidneys to obtain moisture from their prey. They’re just unbelievable, something this cute should not be so tough but they are hard as nails and can teach us a lot about how we should adapt to our environment rather than unsustainably developing techniques and technologies that force our environment to adapt to us. Be more sandcat.
  • On the Origin of a Species – The Slow Worm, Anguis fragilis
    A look at one of the world’s most interesting reptiles and one of Britains few native reptiles, the slow worm, anguis fragilis – looking at its evolutionary history, remarkable behaviours and why they’re so great.
  • Men, We Need to Talk About Violence
    A long-read about maleness, masculinity and masculinised violence. Looking at how violence disproportionately affects, and is perpetrated by, men. My discussion on the psychological, sociological and anthropological implications and potential ideas of how we can help moving forward.
  • Grown Up’s Guides: UK Fossil Hunting
    A guide by an adult for adult so they can feel more comfortable going with friends, family or their children to enjoy a day out hunting for fossils. Why? Because it’s cool and there’s a lot to see and learn about like bones and teeth and dinosaurs and ammonites and ammonoids and bivalves and crinoids and trilobites and sharks teeth and all this wonderful stuff. Just get out and do it!
  • On the Origin of a Species: The Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens
    A look at this taxonomically, physiologically, anatomically confusing but absolutely, undoubtedly cute little species, the red panda, Ailurus fulgens. Once thought related to raccoons, or the giant panda, it now stands in a family of its own proving, even to cynics like me, that taxonomy is not just useless bickering about arbitrary classifications.
  • We Lack Discipline Reads: The Bet – Chapter 1
    We Lack Discipline analyses the first chapter of Vivienne Tuffnell’s excellent novel ‘The Bet’. A hard open, with lots of natural symbolism of death, decay, pain and suffering.
  • Caturday Special: The Leopard, Panthera pardus
    With this study of the leopard we have written about every extant pantherine. There are no more big cat species of that genus left to cover. The leopard is a beautiful, generalist, opportunist species adapted for a wide variety of habitats, explaining it’s wide distribution. It is a cat also associated with the Greek God Dionysus, the God of wine.
  • My Life and Disappointment
    A look at expectation and reality in the human mind and how they can lead to disappointment with the focus being on people who have low expectations and for whom the reality is even lower. People with bad luck who are being failed because society refuses to acknowledge the reality of how life works.
  • Is That a Wasp? A Simple Wasp Identification Guide
    A short and simple guide, with lots of pictures, of how you can try and tell what’s a wasp from what isn’t. Also a simple description of how you will certainly fail!
  • Roman History in a Nutshell: The Pyrrhic Wars – The Battle of Heraclea, 280 BCE
    Covering the build up to and cause of the Pyrrhic wars. With Roman influence spreading they were bound to bump up against the greater greek world, magna graecia, sooner or later. The city of Tarentum would be the trigger and they would ask King Pyrrhus of Epirus for help – putting Rome in conflict with the Hellenic Kingdoms for the first time. The Battle of Heraclea would be the first major battle, resulting in a loss for Rome, but significant casualties for Pyrrhus.
  • #WaspFlower – Walk 1 – A Gallery
    The photographic results of my first major walk attempting to find wasps on flowers for the Big Wasp Survey. I found more than just wasps and so we have beautiful galleries of wasps, beetles, bees, flies, flowers and others!
  • Fresh as a Daisy: On Flowers
    A look at the beautiful and enigmatic angiosperms – the flowering plants. Now dominant among our plant life it is hard to believe that they are, evolutionarily speaking, quite new on the block – being only around 120 million years old with larger trees being only around 60-70 million years old! Yet they dominate our plant landscape, provide us with the bulk of our food and have changed life itself.
  • #WaspFlower – Join the Photo Challenge FOR SCIENCE!
    A short article for The Big Wasp Survey 2021 where they are looking for photographs of wasps on flowers – hashtag them on instagram or twitter with #WaspFlower (and #WaspLove, of course) to join in this wonderful citizen science project.
  • Folkestone Museum: Tiny Charm
    a look at the small museum in Folkestone’s old town hall. Showing off Folkestone maritime history, importance during world wars I and II, the romano-british history of Folkestone including finds from the villa on East Cliff and the natural history of Folkestone including the famous Cretaceous dinosaur footprints.
  • Caturday Special: The Rusty-Spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus)
    A look at potentially the world’s smallest cat, the rusty-spotted cat of India and Sri Lanka. A tiny small rodent and bird hunter that is shy, elusive and very, very cute.
  • Grown Up’s Guides: Hedge-hunting for Bugs
    A short and step-by-step guide on how to enjoy a day gazing into the undergrowth and overgrowth to see the wealth of biodiversity that nature has to offer. Including many pretty pictures.
  • On the Origin of a Species: The Common or Viviparous Lizard (Zootoca vivipara)
    A short discussion on the common, or viviparous, lizard – true to its name it is quite common but I love them and got some good photos so had to write about them. They are viviparous, so they give birth to live young, which is unusual. They also have different colour morphs which seem to bestow different traits in terms of reproduction.
  • On the Origin of a Species: Tapirs (Tapiridae)
    Exploring the tapir family, how they evolved, their natural history and the four extant (currently living) and undisputed species of tapir – the Malayan tapir (Acrocodia indica or Tapirus indica), the lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris), Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and the mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque). I also explore man’s relationship with animals and why tapirs are endangered.
  • Portus Lemanis: The Forgotten Saxon Shore Fort
    A sad look at forgotten history as we discuss the significant Roman remains laying unexcavated, untouched, in private land, barely accessible to people without trespassing, at Portus Lemanis. Near modern Hythe and Lympne. At one point a significant Saxon Shore Fort and Port for the Classis Britannica, the Romano-British navy.
  • Roman History in a Nutshell – The Samnite Wars ~343 BCE – ~290 BCE
    A look at Rome’s wars with the Samnites, a central italian group mainly populating the Apenning region. These wars would lead to Rome’s first direct control of Grecian culture, via Neapolis, as well as pushing their boundaries closer to the Greek and Carthaginian superpowers.
  • Caturday Special: Homotherium
    A look at the lesser-explored but no less impressive sabre toothed cat genus Homotherium – with a wealth of evidence for a brutal, chasing hunting style, potentially pack hunting, almost certainly a social cat, Homotherium perhaps deserves a lot more care, attention and understanding than its more widely known cousin the Smilodon. Also they butchered stuff…Awesome!
  • Where Have I Been? Where am I Going?
    This is a difficult post to write. I’ve heard it a million times, that self-evident mantra of suicide being ‘the coward’s way out’ but that’s a load of shit. I’ve tried and it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life. Unlike almost any other decision there’s no undoing it, repairing, or putting it back together. Don’t worry this isn’t a suicide note. But, I think that’s people’s attitudes on quitting, too. Yet I love what I do. I don’t want to leave it behind. I had a plan, certain life-shit happened that caused a majorContinue reading “Where Have I Been? Where am I Going?”
  • Caturday Special: The Eurasian Cave Lion, Panthera spelaea
    A discussion about the European or Eurasian Cave Lion and the interwoven nature of the relationship between lions and humans since prehistory.
  • Piecaramba! Crusty, but not Old
    I’ve recently been writing about my travels and sadly for Southampton it was little more than an overnight stop for me. I met up with some family there, deposited the mother with my sister for their onward travels, had a kip in a B&B and then fucked off home. It’s a shame because a short walk into the centre showed me there was clearly more to Southampton I had not seen and it would be a joy and a pleasure to explore it further but the only significant stop I did make outside of the international food aisles of theContinue reading “Piecaramba! Crusty, but not Old”
  • Fishbourne Roman Palace: A Must See!
    If you know anything about Roman Britain which, if you’re on my website, I’m hoping you don’t know a lot, you will know that just outside Chichester, a place I looked at last time out, is a place called Fishbourne. Where’s Fishbourne? In the sea, dickhead! Fishbourne is the site of one of the most remarkable Roman spectacles in the whole of the United Kingdom, a palatial villa that would have been vast in scale, dominating the local landscape and some of the ruins of which are still visible today. I say ‘ruins’. I mean, a lot of the wallsContinue reading “Fishbourne Roman Palace: A Must See!”
  • Noviomagus Reginorum: Roman Chichester
    A look at the town of Chichester, its history, with particular focus on Noviomagus Reginorum, the old Roman town and the surprisingly key role it played in the invasion of Britain by the Romans.
  • Insects: The Savage Eden Before Your Eyes
    A discussion about how exploring the tiny world of insects, bugs, invertebrates and creepy-crawlies has completely changed my perception and opened up a whole world about which I am very ignorant and keen to know more.
  • We Lack Discipline Watches: Domina
    WARNING: Whilst I have attempted to be spoiler-free I promise nothing. It’s rare a TV series about Rome happens without my attention. Being a humble peasant lad we didn’t just have copies of Ovid laying around the house, or Virgil on the shelves. We didn’t sit around the hearth and read Livy’s histories to each other. We watched the fucking telly. Movies and TV shows were my first introduction to Roman history, before I began to bury my nose bridge-deep into books and texts. When I found out Sky were making a TV series about my second favourite Roman figureContinue reading “We Lack Discipline Watches: Domina”
  • Caturday Special: The Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata)
    A look at one of the world’s most elusive but beautiful cats, Asia’s marbled cat. A small cat that lives and hunts in the trees (arboreal) and has exceptionally long canine teeth for reasons we will discuss.
  • Roman History in a Nutshell – The Rest of the Med 20th Century BCE – 3rd Century BCE
    A very brief look at about 2,000 years worth of history in around 1,000 words with lots of maps! Maps are good! Find out what was going on with the Greeks, the Hellenistic world and the Carthaginians in this installment of Roman History in a Nutshell.
  • The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing
    A look at a few concepts of value, and some psychology of economics with a view to me puzzling out my own future.
  • Roman History in a Nutshell – The Gallic Wars ~390 BCE – ~284 BCE
    In all of the history of Rome, besides themselves, there was only ever one enemy that came close to the total and complete destruction of the Roman state. For all of the talk of a ‘decline and fall’ narrative in the 5th century CE I don’t buy it. The mechanics of the Roman state were such a clusterfuck of complexity that who was in charge and who wasn’t in charge in the West was ridiculous. So many of the so-called marauding goths and barbarians were actually foederati, Roman-associate armies, that to say a foreign force sacked Rome would be likeContinue reading “Roman History in a Nutshell – The Gallic Wars ~390 BCE – ~284 BCE”
  • An Update (Personal Blog)
    It began as an idea. To throw a few swear words into discussions about things usually spoken about in technical terms. I wanted to break down those technical terms into simpler explanations. Individual dialects, subject-specific languages, ‘correct’ use of words are merely a trick used to disguise a topic from a public ignorant of it. It is very useful to those ‘within’ but is a wall of impenetrability to those without. It is both clouding fog and sturdy wall. I’ve never been afraid to bash my head against those walls. I have never been afraid to be the battering ramContinue reading “An Update (Personal Blog)”
  • Roman History in a Nutshell – The Latin Wars ~7th Century BCE – ~338 BCE
    A brief look at Latium, Rome’s various alliances and conflicts with the Latins, the Latin League and the eventual adoption of all Latin cities under the Roman banner.
  • Roman History in a Nutshell – Wars with Sabines, Veii and Fidenae ~753 BCE – ~287 BCE
    A short look at the Roman conflict with the Sabines and their allies, but mainly exploring how Rome was a military nation and made, and spread, their power through militarily.
  • Caturday Special: Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)
    The fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is probably the first cat since the Pallas cat that we have covered that looks like a teddy bear. These things are so damn adorable looking. They do not have a typical feline headshape, instead they have these little tucked-back ears on a little round head that makes it look like the kind of animal you just want to hug. They’re another of Asia’s wildcats and as their name would suggest they are pretty at home around water. Wetlands, rivers, lakes and mangroves are all places this little kitty calls home with populations mainly inContinue reading “Caturday Special: Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)”
  • Roman History in a Nutshell – Wars with Etruscans Pre-753BCE to ~264 BCE
    A look at the 500 year long love-hate relationship between Roman society and their Etruscan neighbours that caused so many wars and conflicts it becomes impossible to realise how much the Etruscans influenced the Romans.
  • Roman History in a Nutshell: The Patrician Era and the Conflict of the Orders 494 BCE – 287 BCE
    An overview of the first few centuries of the Roman Republic in socio-political terms. The establishment of the Republic by the Patrician class and the political enfranchisement of the plebeian class through the conflict of the orders leading to the election of Tribunes of the Plebs and the Lex Hortensia.
  • Roman History in a Nutshell: The Kingdom 753 BCE – 509 BCE
    A look at the semi-legendary Kings of Rome, who they were and the legacy they left behind.
  • Roman History in a Nutshell: The Founding – 753 BCE and Before
    A short look at the founding of Rome and the story of Romulus and Remus and why it’s probably bullshit!
  • Roman History in a Nutshell: Introduction
    I am not an historian. In fact I never particularly liked history as a topic. I do find a lot of people develop more of an interest the older they get and the more they become some part of it. I’ve got a videogame collection I am fairly certain in a couple of generations youngsters will think is a damn museum! That said a visit to the Eternal City was enough to make me realise that there have been times, events, societies, people, technologies, sports, ideas, literature, paintings, sculptures and foods that have had huge impacts on who we areContinue reading “Roman History in a Nutshell: Introduction”
  • Belated Caturday Special: Hybrids
    We look at the phenomenon of hybrids with specific focus on hybrid cats. We look at some domestic hybrid species, as well as big cats like the liger and the tigon.
  • We Lack Discipline Reads: ‘The Bet’ by Vivienne Tuffnell
    Disclaimer: I consider myself a friend of the author. I did pay for the book. However my personal relationship with the author could potentially colour my interpretation and opinion of the book.That said I make every effort to be objective and generally don’t like what I don’t like and am honest about it. I believe I genuinely like the text and my like is not informed by my friendship with the author. Content Warning: Sexual and emotional abuse, sexual assault, abuse of children, discussions about masculinity and male social roles. The notion of the beautiful boy, a gorgeous young manContinue reading “We Lack Discipline Reads: ‘The Bet’ by Vivienne Tuffnell”
  • Not Politics: The Marketing of a Washing Machine
    In an article definitely not about politics we give a basic introduction to the business concept of marketing, including developing a mission, an indentity, a strategy and then utilising advertising and public relations to maximise your competitive advantage. It’s not politics!
  • Charlemagne: The Patron of Curious Idiots™
    A look at the life of the first Holy Roman Emperor, the King of the Franks and the King of Lombardy – Charlemagne aka Karl the Great aka Karl der Grosse. We look at his life, his accomplishments and how he exemplified the Curious Idiot’s pledge!
  • Red vs. Grey: Squirrels at War?
    We explore the battle in the UK between the previously widely distributed, native red squirrel (sciurus vulgaris) and the imported invader the grey squirrel (sciurus carolinensis) looking at why the grey could be harmful to the UKs ecosystems and habitats, how they managed to reduce populations of red squirrels and what we could possibly do to remedy the situation. We include discussion on the pine marten (martes martes) a natural squirrel predator, as well as effective woodland management and ensuring all development is led by a core premise to not only not harm, but to improve, UK habitats and ecosystems to promote native wildlife biodiversity.
  • Caturday Special: Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx)
    A very swift look at the Eurasian lynx, it’s diet, habitat and ranges and my support for their reintroduction to the UK.
  • The Wasp Tragedy: How Can We Help?
    A short article about the value of wasps, how you can discourage their supposed ‘nuisance’ behaviours and how you can help encourage them, other invertebrates and pollinators, and the species that interact with them, in your daily life.
  • Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals: Final Thoughts
    A short summary of the work I did on learning about, and writing about the top ten hated species who really don’t deserve to be. I reflect on my thoughts and feelings of what I’ve learned about different species, how I felt about it, what it has given me moving forward and give a little personal perspective. It’s been a genuine project! I can’t even say I put this much effort in when I was an undergrad. And I am changed because of it.
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 1 – Wasps
    It’s about wasps!
  • Caturday Special: The Cougar (Puma concolor)
    We look at the cougar, or puma, or mountain lion – it’s a cat of many names mainly caused by its wide distribution. It is a big cat, but it is more closely related to small cats, it is absolutely beautiful, it loves the mountains and it rarely attacks people. We also discuss the hybridisation with texan cougar of the Florida Panther, in order to save that sub-population from inbreeding problems.
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 2 – The Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)
    The brown rat (rattus norvegicus) is a beautiful, cute and highly successful creature that has not only become a companion of humans across the world but helps us dispose of our rubbish by eating it, helps maintain our sewers by keeping them clean and clear for their own purposes and has sacrificed uncountable members of its species to further our scientific curiosity. Yet they are universally hated as a disease-spreading pest, a destroyer of crops, a horrid and beastly home invader and – it’s bollocks. It’s mostly lies, unfounded myth. This is my rat redemption. It’s time we change the way we think about rats and learn to live alongside them. If for nothing else than the noble sacrifices they have become in our medical services industry.
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 3 – The European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
    Or your native ‘nuisance’ gull species. Where I come from it is mostly the herring gull (Larus argentatus), possibly also the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis). In the US they have the American herring gull (Larus smithsonianus). In Australia, the silver gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae). There are lots of gull species and almost every inhabited area has its species that have found a way to exploit how crappy humans are. I am lucky enough that I live in a coastal town. In fact I live right by the harbour in possibly the luckiest piece of social housing you could ever possibly findContinue reading “Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 3 – The European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)”
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 4 – Vultures
    A lengthy essay about the vulture, what it means to us, its historical reputation and the omens and portents it used to bring, it’s modern reputation and what it means to us now. I also look at the conservation and ecological crises of the Indian vulture crisis and the California condor and discuss how the scientific community came together to make a huge difference in terms of discovery and helping numbers.
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 5- The Plateau Pika (Ochotona curzoniae) and the European Mole (Talpa europaea)
    A lengthy article talking about the similarities in treatment between the European mole (Tapa europaea) and the Plateau Pika (Ochotona curzoniae). They are both a species vital to earth and soil health that benefit and enrich their environments that are considered a pest and a nuisance and are often killed for little or no reason. We explore the animals themselves, their lives and habitats, how our opinions of them were formed and similarities to our behaviours with other species too, like prairie dogs and badgers. We also focus on the ability of humans to form opinions, ideas or myths about animals and also how they can change over time. In the case of these species, changing for the negative, but it also means the reverse is true.
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 6- The Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascarensis)
    Nearly half-way through this list and I want to come clean. This started as a conversation about my love for certain ‘undesirables’ – They’re coming up later, but if I asked you to guess the top few hated but misunderstood animals they’d be on your mind. What I didn’t expect was for my research to start me on a multi-disciplinary path of its own, promote such strong feelings and reactions in me, and find entire communities of people dedicated to the redemption of some of these species (shout-out to #WaspLove). This started as a bit of a piss-take and hasContinue reading “Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 6- The Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascarensis)”
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 7- The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
    A defence of the fox in a PR war that the anti-fox lobby is definitely losing. The UK’s largest predator, a beautiful canid, the red fox, Vulpes vulpes, is a shining example of adaptive success. They are wonderful animals, a true blessing to see in our countryside and our urban environments, a great control of over-abundant rabbits and a consumer of our waste food saving us untold amounts of money on waste disposal. The fox still has a reputation, mainly due to a lobby determined to see it held up as a villain to justify their own bloodsport. Fox hunting is an abhorrent and unjustifiable practice that should be totally banned.
  • ‘Just a Misunderstanding’ – Why do We Hate Some Animals?
    A short exploration of the socio-cultural side of why we seem to hate some animals, using jellyfish, mosquitoes, spiders and wasps as examples.
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals: 8 – Wolf (Canis lupus)
    It started out as a rehabilitation piece on wolves and ended up with me being a full blown wolf fantatic and begging for their reintroduction to the UK. Wolves are a fascinating species with an undeserved reputation for cruelty and violence. A smart, shy and social group of species, with a remarkable story written in their genome of migrations, troubles, bottlenecks and redistributions. I have developed a new-found love and respect for them in writing this article and, if you are wolf sceptic, I hope it will give you some new perspective, too.
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 9 – The Pigeon (Columba livia)
    Considered a pest, often called ‘rats with wings’ and purged, poisoned, destroyed, shot, nests broken, removed and starved we have performed untold acts of cruelty on them. But do pigeons really deserve to be treated like that? They are successful because we taught them how to be, and give them an environment rich in all they need to exploit it and be successful. In my opinion pigeons are beautiful birds that deserve a lot more love and respect, and it is only their numerousness and their proximity that make them taken for granted.
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals: 10 – Bats (Order Chiroptera)
    Bats! The order Chiroptera. Our mammalian cousins of-the-night, often considered a scary animal, associated with death, dark, withcraft and misfortune but are they really spooky? I argue no. They are a remarkably diverse order of species and even the spookiest of the bunch, the vampire bat, is a suprisingly conscientious and sharing species. So bats, some people may hate them but I think they’re just misunderstood.
  • Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals: Introduction
    A short introduction to our Most Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals Top Ten! Why are some animals hated? What lingering cultural superstitions cause us to wrongfully malign certain species? We intend to explore that in this list. This article mainly deals with what won’t be on the list! Including snakes, spiders, jellyfish and, specifically, the spotted hyena.
  • We Lack Discipline: 1st Quarter Review
    A personal, quick catch up detailing what’s happening with the site, what the future might hold and thanking people for their support.
  • Sh*t and Chips – Is British Food Really Bad?
    An op-ed on the reputation of British food and why it is undeserved. British food is not bad, it is a culinary traditional rooted in humble, traditional peasant fare, that when done wrong can be little more than stodgy fuel but executed correctly is some of the most marvellous, comforting food made with some of the finest ingredients in all the world.
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