Posts Tagged ‘Mia Cobb’

Animals for life

In October 2014 on October 7, 2014 at 8:45 am

Mia FlickrLaughingMonk

Sarah: You may remember a previous SFL365 guest post Poo for good and not evil. Written by Mia Cobb, it talked about a cool project which used dog poo as a source of energy to power lights in public places.

Today Mia is back again to tell us about one of her current passions, a podcast which explores the science of our lives with animals. Over to you Mia!

Mia: The human world is filled with animals. Pets, wildlife, farms and zoos are important to so many people. But did you ever stop and wonder why?

Why are so many of us fascinated with other species? And what impact does that have on our lives? What can we learn about ourselves from animals, and how can we make the world a better place for both human and non-human animals?

Human Animal Science is a regular podcast hosted by me with Tim Adams in which we take a scientific view of the world of human and animal interactions.

The field of human animal science — also known as Anthrozoology — is a growing multidisciplinary field of enquiry, and one that produces fascinating topics. Together, Tim and I are lifelong learners in science and we come together to share our passion for science in this unique podcast.

Since starting in 2013, we’ve spoken to a diverse group of enthusiastic scientists from all around the world to explore questions like:

How can reading to a dog help develop children’s literacy skills?

What is the incredible archaeological backstory to that chicken wishbone from your roast dinner?

Why do pet cats like boxes so much?

How do our cultural experiences influence how people think about animals?

What can we do to address the importance of human-animal relationships to improve outcomes in disaster survival?

Is that stray cat in your neighbourhood a threat, or possibly a caretaker, to biodiversity?

When we talk about a dog’s guilty look, or grumpy cat, we attribute animals with human characteristics – does it matter?

In the next couple of months the Human Animal Science crew will celebrate our first birthday. We’ll be featuring great conversations with more scientists about the importance of bees to our everyday lives, how aerial drones are aiding conservation ecologists and how observing chimpanzees in the depth of Uganda can help us learn about the emergence of human language – we hope you’ll join us!

Tune in to Human Animal Science:






[image thanks to LaughingMonk on flickr]


Poo for good and not evil

In November 2013 on November 27, 2013 at 11:25 am


Sarah: When the kids and I walk to school, it’s not rare for us to encounter dog turds along the neighbourhood streets. As I casually drop a ‘look out for the poo’ warning, immediately all three come running.

“Where’s the poo?”

“Can I see the poo?”

“Ewww, it’s all white. And long.”

You get the picture.

But all is not lost. Now we have the chance to channel that poo obsession for good instead of for maternal frustration. All will be explained in the following guest post by Mia Cobb from the Anthrozoology Research Group, and recent winner of I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! in Australia.

What happens when you combine Poo Power! (as covered by Sarah back in February) with a zone winner of I’m A Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! (that’s me) and a canine science blogger (that’s also me).

You get the Poo Power Global Challenge!

Some might say it’s a joke or April Fool’s Day material, but we’ve never been so serious!

Students and classes will be pitched against each other to see who can identify the most and largest dog waste ‘hotspots’ in their local neighbourhood in the ‘Poo Power! Global Challenge’. Participants use a GPS-enabled iPhone to download the free Poo Power! App from the App Store. Their task is to identify and map dog poo ‘hotspots’ in dog parks and public spaces from their neighbourhood from Monday 25 November 2013.

For this project I’m working closely with Duncan Chew from Poo Power!. The collected information will be uploaded onto the Global Poo Map and provides a platform for students to discuss the scientific, social and environmental issues of dog waste. The students are then encouraged to write a letter to their local Government representative of their findings and recommendations.

Here’s what Duncan had to say on the matter:

“From our research only 3% of Australians see uncollected dog waste as an environmental concern.”

“When it rains, uncollected dog poo gets washed down drains, effecting water quality and habitat for native animals, as well as making rivers and creeks unpleasant for us to visit.”

From my point of view, I see the project as a great way to utilise my prize money from winning the I’m A Scientist – Get Me Out of Here! competition, to raise awareness of new sustainable energy sources, environmental issues and responsible dog ownership, and all the while increasing student engagement in a unique citizen science activity.

The collated information has the poo-tential to identify sites for biogas-powered lights for parks as proposed by the Melbourne-based project, Poo Power!, currently in development. The methane that is released from the dog waste as it breaks down inside a ‘biogas generator’ can be used as a viable renewable energy source. Competition prizes and giveaways are up for grabs for students who participate with photo submissions received between 25th November and 9th December 2013.

After this initial competition period closes, the project will continue to run, collecting ongoing hotspot data worldwide.

Full instructions on how to participate via or available here.

For classroom applications, teachers can download the Poo Power! Study Guide. For each competing class, teachers will receive a copy of the ‘Dog Poo – The Truth At Last’ on DVD.

[image thanks to Steven Pam]

Day 224. Well? Do you?

In March 2013 on March 24, 2013 at 9:30 pm


Do you believe in dog?

Well? Do you?

I think you should. Here’s why:

Once upon a time (in July 2012, actually), canine scientists Julie Hecht and Mia Cobb met at a conference. United by a passion for science, communication and social media, they had a light bulb moment.

That moment turned into an idea – and the idea was Do You Believe in Dog (also available on Facebook).

Do You Believe in Dog is a conversational flow of back and forth posts,  in which Julie and Mia share their

“adventure as pen pals in the digital era, taking turns to blog on topics related to their own research, the work of their research groups and other random dog science themes.”

If you love dogs, have a taste for science, and enjoy the odd quote like this:

“I love that both dog urine and poo are totally appropriate topics for us to discuss in our conversations. All the other scientists are so jealous right now!”

then this blog is for you.

Join me, be a believer.

[image thanks to Katie@! on flickr]