Why do we need the EU (or UN)?

I am absolutely not an expert on European politics, or UN politics, but I do have a very good idea why we need large institutions and collectives, that bring countries and people together for common good. You can probably already guess what that is – we need them to facilitate cooperation instead of conflict.

We’re a social species that relies heavily on both relatives and strangers from within our group to survive, reproduce and thrive – it takes a village to raise a child. Where would any one couple be without the vast support network that the rest of society provides? Think midwives, farmers, teachers, doctors.

It is human nature to separate things, including social groups, into in-groups and out-groups. We rely on others around us, and form strong bonds with people inside our social groups whom we cooperate with, protect and sometimes even fight alongside. This comes in stark contrast with groups outside of our network – out-groups – whom we find ourselves strongly disliking, avoiding, fearing, competing with, sometimes fighting, but maybe occasionally trading with. This phenomenon is called xenophobia – fear of that which is foreign or strange – and it is shared to some degree by every one of our species.

What’s this got to do with the European Union? Well the easiest way to overcome xenophobia, and facilitate cooperation between rival groups, or countries, is to bring them together and make them feel part of a bigger whole. If we can agree upon a common identity, common goals, common values and common rights, eventually people will start feeling like they’re part of something bigger, and that ‘others’ are allies, not enemies.

Today, humans face problems that have no respect for country borders. These problems span the climate, the oceans, the river systems and the land, and they affect every single country on this planet. For too long, we have been competing and battling amongst ourselves, and polluting the environment that we depend on so utterly and completely. It’s high time we recognized that we are all in this together, and that we must all help one another if we are to survive the upcoming trials the climate and the planet will throw at us.

Only by seeing each and every other individual on this planet as one of our own – as a member of our group – do we stand a chance of cooperating on the enormous scale required. This requires understanding, compassion, empathy, and a strong sense of what binds us together as human beings.

I don’t claim to know everything about the European Union, or the United Nations, and like every man-made institution they have their significant flaws. But we’ve created global problems that require global solutions. These can only be tackled by the 7 billion of us working together as one body, with one shared vision. I feel that we desperately need to utilize organizations like the EU and UN if we are to have any success in combating the global issues we have brought upon ourselves. We must work collectively. We must unite. We must Remain.

EU Newspaper Clipping
Cambridge News 20th June 2016

Men No Longer Needed

Finally, recent uncited sciencey breakthroughs have confirmed previous findings allowing the production of eggs and sperm from the stem cells of both men and women. For the past billion years our ancestors have been required to mate with males in order to reproduce, but that wasteful system has finally been corrected. Starting soon, clinical trials will be carried out in prestigious name-less research hospitals, allowing lesbian couples to have children they can both call their own. Women will soon be rejoicing around the world, as men are no longer needed!

Let the age of Fempires begin!

Luckily for us men, no recent breakthroughs have actually made this a possibility, yet. Researchers in Newcastle and Cambridge have taken the first steps in creating sperm and eggs from stem cells, but they are still quite a long way off making this a reality. But let’s just imagine this is real, and is about to create shockwaves throughout our societies, as it might in the not too distant future.

If you’re in a lesbian relationship and hoping to have kids, this is the perfect opportunity for you. You no longer need to decide who will be the biological parent, as now you can both be. You can even take it in turns acting as the mother or fertilizing the egg (with your very own female sperm), as your family grows.

The male sex is a puzzle that biologists have been mulling over for decades. They can’t directly produce offspring and reproduce – the currency of natural selection – so why on earth are there so many of them? Clearly with just a few males in a population of females the group could produce a great number of offspring – far more than a rival group with a 50:50 ratio of males to females. Yet the small number of selfish males would have such high reproductive success, that natural selection would favour an increase in males. It currently takes one male and one female to produce an offspring, so if either sex were greater in number, then individuals of the common sex would have a lower average reproductive output than the rare sex. Thus, an equal ratio would be restored by natural selection, as the rare sex would be favoured by selection.

But now things have changed. With the advent of stem-to-sperm (STS) capabilities we can allow women to produce healthy sperm cells, which can be used to impregnate the egg of another woman. No longer are we restricted by the iron grip of natural selection. No longer are costly men required.

A fantastic side effect of lesbian couples having their own children is that, with no Y chromosome involved, couples are guaranteed to have little baby girls. So perhaps it is only a matter of time before men become obsolete – their parasitic nature finally exposed for all to see, and their legacy finally coming to an end.

It is true that these breakthroughs also bring us new stem-to-egg (STE) capabilities, meaning gay male couples now also have the chance to bring up children to which they are both the biological parents. However, two men, each the legacy of a billion years of the exploitative sex, simply don’t have the required uterus for same-sex reproduction. No, gay couples require a woman to act as the surrogate mother, thus continuing the dependency men have had for eternity.

Now before we celebrate there is one thing we should still consider, and that is that many women are quite attracted to men. Unfortunate though this now is, it is a rather general, well-supported finding both scientifically and anecdotally. So although men are technically no longer needed for reproduction, this does not mean that women will immediately stop finding them attractive and mating with them. Looking forward, we will perhaps see competition occurring between the men of the world and the growing number of lesbians, for the affections of straight women. But the outcome is far too uncertain for speculation.

Another potential use of this technology would be cutting out a reproductive partner all together, as women could make their own sperm and use it to fertilize their own egg. This self-fertilization might sound like a great idea that would result in clones, twice as related to you as normal offspring, however there are a few problems. Firstly, clones have an identical genome to the ‘parent’ whereas this would be two random halves of the same genome. This means the chance of abnormalities due to inbreeding and harmful recessive alleles is dangerously high. Additionally, reproducing with one’s self, usually known as asexual reproduction, is detrimental because it severely limits the genetic variation of the resulting offspring. Sexual reproduction evolved as it maximizes genetic variation, such that diseases and parasites cannot become accustomed to a host’s genome and thus able to rapidly attack its offspring.

There is one final pitfall that we must consider. Take our perfect lesbian couple; let one fertilize the other’s egg and watch as the child develops over the next 9 months. Now here’s the problem. What if our sperm-wielding woman does a runner? She could move to the next town, attract another lesbian partner, impregnate her and then move on again! Outrageous you might say. But this woman would be doing rather well in the gene pool, and she would be taking advantage of her ability as the sperm-giver to make a very low investment in reproduction. What does this all mean? Well, in a world full of lesbians, some would probably shift to a fast, low investment strategy and the lesbi-man would be born. All of this goes to say that when it comes to sexual reproduction, even between members of the same sex, unequal initial investment in human reproduction cannot be overcome.

Latest Research

Newcastle: “Women may be able to grow own sperm” by Roger Highfield: The Telegraph (2007)

Cambridge: “Cell breakthrough to bring two-dad babies” by Lois Rogers: The Sunday Times (2015)

The BlueSi Radio Show

BlueSci Radio logoI’ve taken on the role of Head of Radio for BlueSci, a science communication society at the University of Cambridge. We have a different guest on every week and discuss their research and a bunch of other science that takes our interest – hopefully it will take yours!

There’s two ways to listen:

– On the BlueSci website here

– On the iTunes Podcasts app – just search ‘BlueSci’ and hit Subscribe

Hope you enjoy,


Simon Moore, Tom Jameson & Simon Hoyte after recording Ep 8
Simon Moore, Tom Jameson & Simon Hoyte after recording Ep 8

Did Men Create Gender Inequality?

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 20.12.47
I wrote a piece for the BlueSci magazine blog. They’re a student run magazine at the University of Cambridge, and I’m their new Head of Radio. I shall be bringing you a science radio show in the next week or two – how exciting!

Did Men Create Gender Inequality?
Jessica Valenti would have us believe that “Gender inequality is a problem men created – now they have to help fix it.” I agree it’s a problem men must help fix, but I believe there is a fundamental biological reason behind gender inequality – that men are not responsible for creating the problem. And pointing fingers like that isn’t going to help the situation.

Have a read.


Passionate Conservation

People drive conservation and environmental efforts, and their personality and style of interaction can have a big effect on the strength of the message they’re trying to communicate. I’ve recently noticed the stark contrast between active and passive speakers on these subjects. Active speakers aren’t afraid of ruffling feathers; in fact they strive to do so! They wish to enrage enough people with their facts and accusations to inspire an army of activists to take up the fight. Sometimes they may overemphasize the facts or make unfounded allegations, but they are driven by an incredible passion to make a difference.

On the other hand, passive speakers often adopt the less aggressive approach of letting the facts speak for themselves. They are usually less inclined towards bold statements, and leave you with ‘food for thought’ rather than suggestions for direct action to take today. Passive speakers may be equally passionate, but their personalities stop them from being too rash and outspoken. Sometimes the passive approach can be very effective, but it has the danger of leaving an audience feeling pessimistic about the situation, or confused at the speaker’s lack of personal concern.

Brian May

Brian May, founder of wildlife charity Save Me, is a great example of a passionate conservationist.

In our present state of environmental crisis, we can’t afford to sit back and quietly pass on the message that we’re destroying our planet!! We need to shove it down people’s throats and shake people into action. The time for a calm, measured response has gone – we’re in dire straits and we need people to appreciate the severity of the situation.


If you have a conservation message to tell and you think it’s pretty damn important, don’t leave your emotions and passion out of it – use them to highlight the severity of the situation.

Racing Extinction

Last week I had the privilege to attend a Discovery Channel film screening at the London Zoo (thanks John Cousins). The main event: Racing Extinction, a documentary about the illegal trade in endangered wildlife, and the mass extinction that humans are driving at this very moment. Wondering if it matters if species are going extinct? Read this.


The director’s last documentary, The Cove, won an Oscar and opened people’s eyes to the slaughter of dolphins that goes on in Japan. This new piece is similarly harrowing – investigative journalism with a very important message. It’s a must-see if you’re at all concerned about the fate of life on this planet.


You can see Racing Extinction on Wednesday 2nd December at 9pm, your local time, on the Discovery Channel.