I am Neuroscience PhD, a humanist, skeptic, feminist, avid reader, science enthusiast, woolly-liberal über-nerd, and, as of October 2015, father to the Lykketroll.

I moved from England to Norway in January 2012 and live in Lørenskog with my wife, the Lykketroll, and our two aging rescue cats, Socrates and Schrödinger. 

I am on paternity leave from the 4th of July to the 18th of November. 

The job I am on leave from is as an  Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. My background is in child neurodevelopment (my PhD looked into the relationship between fatty acids like omega-3 and cognitive development in young children) but I now work on a hodge-podge of things roughly within the field of Universal Design of ICT 50% of the time, the other 50% of my time I am Head of the 'General' Studies (Allmenn in Norwegian) Unit, which is comprised of around 24 academics within a range of fields, including mathematics, physics, Norwegian, and technology and leadership.

In between working and doing the usual dad things,  I like hiking and running in the beautiful Norwegian outdoors, cooking and playing video games. 

If I believed in souls I would say that mine was born in Norway. 

I plan to sleep when I'm dead.

Strange 'people'-foods our cats like to eat

We've had our cats, Socrates (top) and Schrödinger (bottom), for about five and a half wonderful and occasionally quite trying years. They're a sibling pair of rescue cats we adopted from a cat sanctuary as a way to fill the gaping paternal hole that was threatening to engulf my whole life.

They are both very different in their looks and personalities: Socrates is a trusting, docile lump who loves being picked up but hates laps, whilst Schrödinger is as mad as a microwave full of penguins, takes time to warm to people but can sit in laps and on chests for hours. What unites them both is that they love to eat weird things.

Pica is the name given to the condition where cats eat non-food items, a behaviour sometimes seen as a sign of being weaned too early or a symptom of dietary deficiency or disease. Schrödinger developed Pica, when he was only a few months old. We took him to the vets after we spotted him occasionally licking the sand in his litter tray and he was diagnosed with idiopathic anemia. Although he made a full recovery, I'm convinced that he hasn't been right since and it's that experience that has made him a little special and has him occasional haring around the flat chasing his own farts whilst his brother looks on, puzzled.

Neither Schrödinger or Socrates have pica now, though. The list I've been making over the last couple of year is of all the 'people'-food they like to eat.

Schrödinger loves eating peas and broccoli, salty crisps and drinking the milk left at the bottom of a bowl of muesli (the key thing is the muesli, not the milk - he's totally uninterested unless it's what's left of my morning bowl of cereal), and today I caught him joyfully licking the dregs at the bottom of my bowl of carrot soup.

Socrates on the other hand really loves chocolate and coffee. It should come as no surprise that he is also referred to as 'the fat one'. If ever I'm enjoying an espresso or a bit of chocolate, Socrates comes running and sits next to me in that creepy-cute way that cats do. The other day I caught him sleeping with his head resting on the drip tray of the coffee machine but wasn't quick enough to grab a photo. It was surely one of the cutest/weirdest things I have ever seen. Chocolate contains Theobromine which can be toxic to cats so we're careful not to leave it lying around where he might be able to ingest it but it's funny to see his face light up whenever I unwrap a Melkerull.

Socrates'really weird thing, though, is his love of clean things. He goes absolutely loopy whenever we've cleaned anything with bleach. At the first sniff of it, he starts tripping out, rolling around on the floor and drooling all over the place. It is a sight to behold. He also really seems to like Original Source Cranberry and Poppy Seed shower gel (Mint too to a lesser extent). I've not had to bother drying my feet/legs after a shower for the last month or so as Socrates is more than happy to do it for me by gleefully rubbing himself all over them. I switched to using a Nivea body wash for a couple of days and you should have seen the look he gave me.

We were a tad worried about the whole food thing after Schrödinger's anaemia, and Socrates' weird bleach thing, but we've talked to our veterinarian friend about both of their strange tastes and whilst she's certain it's not normal, she doesn't think it's a sign of illness or dangerous in any way, thank Bastet.

This post doesn't quite fit my self-imposed remit of writing about science and humanisty things, but I've always had in mind to look up what the scientific explanations might be for the foods that they like, if indeed there are any. Mostly though, it was a chance to write about two of my favourite living things in the universe and show off their cute little faces.



Book review: The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood

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