Want to adopt a bat with Avon Bat Group?

Microbat Photo by Neal Foster

A BIG thank you to Kiri and Stuart from the Avon Bat Group for coming to Enter the Bat Cave and showing off the beautiful little animals they have in their care. Everyone really enjoyed getting up close and personal with an animal that is so rarely seen by the general public.

Stuart and Kiri with their bats and Bish the bear from Bristol Improv Theatre
Stuart and Kiri with their bats and Bish the Bear from Bristol Improv Theatre

If you are interested in supporting Avon Bat Group, adopting a bat, or just want to know more about your new favourite mammal; you can find more information on their website at www.avonbatgroup.org.uk, or like their facebook page for regular updates. We hope that after all you learnt during the evening, you can really appreciate how important their work is.

Thank you to everyone who came last night, we hope you had a great evening! Keep an eye on the website for more information about our next event and for another of Antony’s excellent infographics about Enter the Bat Cave.

ENTER THE BAT CAVE Ft. Batwoman Heather Nichol

Plunge into the depths of one of Bristol’s darkest bat caves – a place where the echoes of lost souls linger and haunt the footsteps of all those who enter. Fleeting silhouettes of winged creatures lay claim to these walls, and the stench of guano weighs heavy on the air…

OK, so in reality we just turned off all the lights in the Bristol Improv Theatre, and the Rising Ape team forgot to wash, but bear with us for a moment. Rising Ape returns with a night of bat-themed madness. Bring a team and stretch your wings in the quiz. You better know your long ears from your short snouts, your Dracula from your Orlok, and your Slazenger from your Gunn & Moore. But as bat researchers stuck in a terrifying cave, we don’t expect you to just sit there all night. Be prepared to get up close and personal, untangling these creature’s fascinating secrets for yourselves with help from some special guests. To conclude the night’s eerie proceedings, real-life Batwoman Heather Nichol will share her personal journey into the world of bats.

Tickets available at http://improvtheatre.net/calendar/enter-the-bat-cave/

Tickets also available on the door.

Enter the Bat Cave... there is no exit.
Enter the Bat Cave… there is no exit.

More about Heather Nichol: Heather has been involved in bat conservation for the past 5 years. She was first introduced to the world of bats during her undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds, and has since taken part in various conservation projects, including a project that discovered the first know breeding colony of Alcathoe bats in the UK. Heather has just completed a Masters by Research at the University of Bristol studying one of the hot topics in ecology at moment: bat fatalities in wind farms in Britain.

Debrief: Life on Mars

It’s been just over a week since our first event, Life on Mars, and we thought now would be the perfect time to sit back and reflect on it.

Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone for coming along and making it such an enjoyable evening. Your witty quiz names and animalistic competitiveness added so much to the proceedings.

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What would quizzes be without pun names?

For the first group of civilians on Mars, you settled in quickly. Drinking your way through the ethanol rations and indignantly defending your David Bowie album knowledge. In light of certain disagreements over quiz answers, future Rising Ape quizzes will come equipped with an academically formatted Harvard reference list. Still, the legendary Colin Pillinger would be delighted by your flattering biro portraits, and a couple of you were incredibly close to pinning the Curiosity on the Mars-y. Accordingly, inter-planetary points were awarded galore.

Next, we were very proud to see your ambition when taking on your mission to design a Martian rover. We were also slightly astonished with the lack of humanity when teams raided the scrapheap for building resources. We were reminded of a group of starving, rabid squirrels swarming in on a small packet of KP salted peanuts – needless to say, some did not survive.

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Constructing the rover using NASA-certified materials.

Following your vibrant materials raiding, we were surprised by your incredible ingenuity, some of the rovers could actually roll across rocky terrain, and one was built without any tape at all! (We know most Martian rovers are built without sticky tape, be it sello or gaffer, but NASA don’t use straws as axles either – this was seriously impressive!)

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“I tell you, he was small and green and I saw him run into that crater!”

When the sandstorm outside the colony had died down, our speaker Michaela Musilova inspired us with the science of astrobiology. She also shared with us stories from her time on the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a Mars colony experiment in the Arizona desert. According to her experiences on the MDRS, before we ship off to Mars, we need to seriously work on the psychological problems which we suffer from when cooped up with people in a small space. The Rising Ape Team thinks the only reason there hasn’t been a murder on Big Brother is probably the voting off process. Needless to say this isn’t an option on Mars.

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Michaela’s captivating presentation.

Following Michaela’s talk we opened up to questions from the floor. The first of these came in at warp speed, with what is probably the hardest scientific or metaphysical question you can ask in three words: What is life? Keep this kind of curiosity coming Rising Apes, it’s what has made humanity special all along.

Here’s the night’s playlist because we know how much you colonists enjoyed doing the Martian Hop.

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Our chemist, David ‘Chem Judge’ Judge, with an assemblage of Martian rovers.

LIFE ON MARS FT. MICHAELA MUSILOVA

Welcome to a night of knowledge, excitement, exploration and (ethanolic) excess.* (*Please drink reasonably, but feel free to consume knowledge and excitement in rampant abundance.) You are officially invited to join colony #001, the first human settlement on Mars.

The first task our crew will be subjected to is an Earth-style pub quiz on the topic of Mars. Indeed, a strange start to the first day on Mars. Nevertheless, you better wipe the dust off those Mars mission background briefings ESA mailed you a couple of months ago, and get studying. Your quiz team, or Tactical Life on marsTask Force, will be limited to a maximum of 4 colonists. But overall scores will be boosted with the second part of the evening—the activity. The nature of the activity is TOP SECRET, as exposing this information may lead some colonists to practice or buy ergogenic aids. Finally, once the scores have been collated and the prizes distributed to our most knowledgeable and dextrous of colonists, we will receive a 20 minute briefing from our crew’s resident astrobiologist Michaela Musilova. Michaela will talk us through exactly where the current academic thinking is on Martian life. Following this briefing we will have a question and answer session so we can all pick Michaela’s impressive brains some more.

To book tickets for this event follow the Eventbrite button in the sidebar. Alternatively, you can buy tickets at the door, subject to availability. You can even tell us you’re attending, and say hello, through the Book of the Face.

More about Michaela Musilova: Michaela is currently working as a PhD research student at the University of Bristol. Her dream is to be part of future space exploration missions searching for extraterrestrial life. Michaela Musilova’s primary interest is in extremophiles, organisms that live in extreme environments, such as deserts, deep sea vents and glaciers. They are significant to industry and medical research, since their enzymes are stable and functional over a wide range of physical/chemical conditions. Similar life could potentially be found in analogous extreme conditions on other planets and moons. Thus, they are very important to astrobiology – a multidisciplinary science exploring the origin and distribution of life in the Universe. During her studies, Michaela pursued other astrobiology related research, including: working as a research fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); simulating lunar and planetary surfaces through NASA and the UK Space Agency’s MoonLite project (funded by a Nuffield Foundation grant); searching for exoplanets at the University of London Observatory; and being selected as an analogue astronaut at the Mars Desert Research Station, USA.