Weekly round-up: of overwork, deep biology, con artists and dogs in mourning

Whatever happens, learning will survive

Overwork is the curse of the Professional classes We know of Forensic Scientists, Police Officers, Teachers, Doctors and many others who have come to hate their work and leave , due to burn-out caused by overwork. Now it seems to be affecting University Academics, who should have the best time of all. Not any more, as this snippet from Nature, titled Huge Strikes at UK Universities makes clear

Thousands of academics walked out of universities in the United Kingdom this week to protest against poor pay, unmanageable workloads and cuts to their future pensions. “Before, staff were angry, now they’re like: ‘I’m done with it,’” says vascular biologist Lopa Leach. “We’re just at the end of our tether, really.” The row is likely to escalate further. On 22 February, the board that oversees the pensions scheme at the heart of the debate — the Universities Superannuation Scheme — voted to ratify proposed cuts and reject a union counterproposal.Nature | 5 min read

What is a bacterium? Classification of living systems into things like species , classes phyla and so on is one of the most powerful tools we have. Yet even some of the most profound lines, like the one between procaryotes and eucaryotes can seem a little blurred at times, as this amazing discovery Largest Bacterium ever discovered shows. Nature again

A newly discovered bacterium, Thiomargarita magnifica, challenges the definition of a microbe: its filament-like single cell is up to 2 centimetres long. T. magnifica achieves its unprecedented size by having unique cellular features: two membrane sacs. One is filled with its genetic material; the other, which is much larger, helps to keep its cellular contents pressed up against its outer cell wall so that the molecules it needs can diffuse in and out. Researchers have dubbed these sacs ‘pepins’ — inspired by the pips in fruit — and note that they blur the line between single-celled prokaryotes and eukaryotes (the group that includes humans), which pack their DNA into a nucleus.Science | 6 min read
Reference: bioRxiv preprint (not peer reviewed)

The lure of the con Everyone can fall prey to scammers. Why? This article by Meg Elkins and Robert Hoffman for the Conversation discusses why

https://theconversation.com/were-obsessed-with-shows-about-con-artists-like-inventing-anna-the-fascination-lies-in-how-easily-these-people-can-dupe-us-177535?u

Sad Dogs of Mourning A rather moving story about how our closest animal friends feel loss and grief. We have heard anecdotal evidence that cats may do this too. Nicola Davis for The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/feb/24/dogs-mourning-when-dog-in-household-dies

Well, have as good a weekend as you possibly can. Let’s hope we can all stay free

#bioology #classification #bacteria #burn-out #animals #dogs

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