Aimee Whitcroft

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Electric cars charging ahead in NZ - Guest Work

Dec 21, 2015

Transport – it’s all around us all the time, but how often do many of us actually think deeply about it? Beyond banging our steering wheel in frustration at gridlocked traffic or a slow truck, or having an opinion about driverless cars, that is. Which brings me to electric vehicles (EV), one of my favourite topics of conversation, but one which has had very little real attention – public, private or government – in New Zealand so far. The subject’s seeing renewed public interest at the moment, due to the historic COP21 declaration and our PM’s prediction that we might all be driving electric cars within a decade. While that latter change is unlikely, given the average age of our car fleet is … Read More

Mapping things 1: dogs ‘n kids - misc.ience

Nov 27, 2014

I was incredibly fortunate to be able to attend Open Data Day* last week in Christchurch. While there, the very awesome @kayakr (Jonathan Hunt) gave an unconference session on how to build APIs from static webpages**. After some playing around with a table I got from the Wellington City Council of inland offleash dog areas, I […]

Calling All to the Night of the Nerds - misc.ience

Sep 04, 2014

As some of you may know, for the last 4+ years I’ve been organising and hosting a wee event here in Wellington called Nerd Nite (you guessed it) Wellington. I’ve made mention of it occasionally here over the last few years, and today seemed as good a day as any to mention it again! For two reasons… 1. We gots mediaaaah (daahling) coverage! Nerd Nite Wellington #23: Undead, the Universes and Everything has been covered both […]

IdeaForge: the NEW engine of creation - misc.ience

Jul 01, 2014

It’s possible some of you have noticed I’ve not been around much recently. For which I am sorry – I miss blogging about sciencely things on a regular basis :) However, life has been…busy. In addition to the whole ‘paying the mortgage with day job’ thing, I’ve been spending time trying to get various projects off the ground*. One of which, happily, I launched last week! Called IdeaForge, it’s all about bringing together people with […]

A mathematically representative climate change debate - misc.ience

May 16, 2014

John Oliver*, commentator and satirist, NAILS IT. And in case you didn’t see the news last week? Well, I’m just super glad I’m not investing in seafront property. Or anything close. Distinctly worried about most of our major cities, though, given humanity’s apparently inability to get its arse into gear around climate change-related issues. —– * If you don’t listen to satirical podcast The Bugle, I highly recommend it. This episode on climate change, particularly […]

What science becomes news? - misc.ience

Mar 31, 2014

A question almost constantly on the minds of (well, most, I guess) science communicators is: “Is this piece of research newsworthy? Will anyone CARE about it, and read what I write on the subject?” And, as a general rule, the bigger and more important the news outlet, the more crucial that question is. Thankfully, people are looking into that very question! Paige Brown, a science communicator herself, started conducting a survey into the subject last [...]

The best visualisation of the solar system yet - misc.ience

Mar 07, 2014

Regular readers may be aware of my penchant for whimsy. My happy grinnings when people mix pedantry with a sense of humour*. And today’s offering is just such a one. The description is perfectly apt: it IS a tediously accurate scale model of the solar system. But there are some wonderful surprises, and I found myself scrolling for an awfully long time, considering my inveterate inability to focus – seriously, mayflies look at me and [...]

Winners of 2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge announced - misc.ience

Feb 07, 2014

And my goodness but there are some stunners this year. It’s difficult to pick a favourite, but I did want to highlight the video below as one of them. Produced by NASA and winner of the video category, it shows the beautifully intricate and dynamic relationship between Sol (our sun) and Earth. How it affects our climate, the effect of coronal mass ejections, and more.     Of course, there’s plenty more on which to [...]

Countdown: I love this liftoff - misc.ience

Jan 27, 2014

It’s an insane day for space stuff! Stephen Hawking is boldly claiming ‘there are no black holes‘* – and this from the chap who proposed Hawking radiation :P Astronomers have discovered an ‘ultramassive’ black hole: one of the most powerful objects ever found. The ‘cosmic web’ – filaments of gas connecting galaxies across the darkest regions of space – has been long hypothesized, and now seen. And there’s this stunning video – artists’ conceptions of [...]

Spellbinding: Computers Watching Movies - misc.ience

Jan 23, 2014

Artist Benjamin Grosser has done some utterly fascinating – given us a new perspective on, well, our perception by showing us how computers ‘watch’ movies. The outcome is stunning. Each movie used – from Taxi Driver to The Matrix, Space 2001 to American Beauty – shows a strikingly different pattern. They come from software, written by Grosser, which illustrates how a computer ‘watches’ a movie in realtime. You can see where the computer focuses – [...]