Science and Society

Citizen scientists discover new type of aurora - Guest Work

Guest Work Apr 25, 2017

By Nathan Case, Lancaster University A collaboration between aurora-hunting citizen scientists and a team of professional researchers has resulted in the discovery of a completely new type of aurora. The finding was made possible thanks to photos taken by aurora enthusiasts from across the globe which scientists could then compare with data from satellites. The aurora, more … Read More

Debating science - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott Apr 25, 2017

This last week has certainly raised the profile of the “science debate” in New Zealand. Most importantly we saw big turnouts for the Science March in several major cities – a demonstration that lots of scientists and supporters of science feel that science could be threatened – or at least that it is unappreciated by the politicians and other decision-makers. Maybe … Read More

Mandatory labelling – again - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Apr 24, 2017

Twitter suggests there’s a pretty common fallacy out there that needs a bit more thorough treatment. Here’s how it looks: Free markets require informed choices Therefore the government should compel companies to label their products about things that I happen to care about. Otherwise how can people make informed choices? Why is this an error? There’s an infinite array of … Read More

Superbug death may herald ‘start of the post-antibiotic era’ - News

John Kerr Apr 21, 2017

Infectious disease experts are “deeply alarmed” by the death of a US woman due to a bacterial infection resistant to all available antibiotics. Writing this week in a  Medical Journal of Australia editorial, researchers warn that the case may herald “the start of the post-antibiotic era.” Professor Cheryl Jones, President of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID), and … Read More

To march or not to march? - Kidney Punch

John Pickering Apr 17, 2017

When I’ve marched in the past it has been to protest or celebrate.  The call for a March for Science, due to take place in New Zealand on the 22nd of April, has me confused as to its purpose. When I first heard the suggestion of a March for Science in New Zealand I admit I was immediately sceptical (occupational … Read More

An open letter on fluoride, science and kindness - Nano Girl

Michelle Dickinson Apr 17, 2017

Dear Lorraine, I see that last week you decided to send this message to Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter: After reading your e-mail I decided to create a flowchart for you to follow for the next time that you decide to interact with another human being.  This should especially be used when communicating with people that you … Read More

No, fluoridation is not associated with leading causes of death - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott Apr 16, 2017

We are all going to die but fluoridation isn’t killing us. Oh, dear – the local anti-fluoridation people are at it again. More cases of fiddling statistics  – and yet again the guilty party is the US anti-fluoridation activist Karen Favazza Spencer. She should really take some advice about statistics. Although I suspect she doesn’t care – she is just … Read More

Counting the calories of cannibalism - News

Jean Balchin Apr 16, 2017

Human cannibalism is a deliciously fascinating topic. Identifying the motivations for human cannibalism remains a contentious issue. A recently-constructed nutritional template for the human body suggests that prehistoric human cannibalism was most likely motivated by something other than nutritional needs. Human flesh may have been cooked for greater calorific value. James Cole, from the University of Brighton found that the … Read More