Science and Society

What effect could climate change have on human aggression? - The Psychology Report

Sarb Johal Mar 13, 2017

In this Psychology Report, I talk with Dr Matt Williams from the School of Psychology at Massey University in New Zealand about the possible link between climate change and violence levels, based on this paper. You can listen to the original podcast here, as well as reading our conversation below.   Sarb Johal:   In this first … Read More

Anti-fluoride authors indulge in data manipulation and statistical porkies - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott Mar 12, 2017

Darrell Huff & Irving Geis wrote a classic book – How to Lie With Statistics. They outline various ways data can be presented to give the wrong story. However, there is an even more naive use of statistics to misrepresent data – just declare that a relationship is statistically significant, don’t show any data or statistical analysis. Unfortunately, many … Read More

Marriage, kids, and the wage gap - The Dismal Science

Paul Walker Mar 11, 2017

The career dynamics of the gender gap for graduates of the Chicago Business School, as studied by Bertrand, Goldin, and Katz (2010), illustrate a common pattern. While women and men start their careers with similar earnings, a substantial gap arises over time, and the arrival of children is a major concurrent factor in the rising earnings gap. At least in … Read More

A better conservation science sector is critical… … of itself - Politecol

- Wayne Linklater Mar 11, 2017

My latest critique of conservation in New Zealand received a largely positive response, especially from others who think empathy with wildlife an important ethic. It was a busy week and so, unfortunately, I haven’t yet responded to all who telephoned and wrote. But the article also received some negative comments, especially from people who identify themselves as conservationist or … Read More

Seven tips for surviving the apocalypse - Guest Work

Guest Work Mar 10, 2017

By Lewis Dartnell, University of Westminster Billionaires who have made their fortunes in Silicon Valley seem to be worried about the future. So worried in fact, that some of them are reportedly buying vast estates in places such as New Zealand, as “apocalypse insurance” boltholes to head to in the event of doomsday scenarios such as nuclear attack … Read More

Aunty Cecily - Kidney Punch

John Pickering Mar 09, 2017

This International Women’s Day I read a re-post of a wonderful article about Otago University women in science.  I thought I’d add another one, my Aunt Cecily, or to the rest of the world Dame Cecily Pickerill. Dame Cecily Pickerill. Aunty Cecily was clever, determined, and, yes, a tough woman.   It was those qualities that helped her … Read More

Deciphering scientific history (and handwriting) - Infrequently Asked Questions

Lynley Hargreaves Mar 08, 2017

Dr Simon Nathan The human side of James Hector, the dominant scientist of nineteenth century New Zealand, long lay hidden in the illegible scrawl of Hector’s handwriting. Then Dr Simon Nathan began writing a biography of the man who established the museum that became Te Papa and the institute that became the Royal Society of New Zealand. In making … Read More

How to protect your private data when you travel to the United States - Guest Work

Guest Work Mar 07, 2017

By Paul Ralph, University of Auckland On January 30 – three days after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order restricting immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries – an American scientist employed by NASA was detained at the US border until he relinquished his phone and PIN to border agents. Travellers are also reporting … Read More

Reducing the alcohol purchase age and risky driving - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Mar 07, 2017

Reducing the alcohol purchase age from 20 to 18 did not increase the number of road accidents. If anything, risky driving dropped for a while. Stefan Boes and Steve Stillman have updated their earlier work (noted here) on New Zealand’s alcohol purchase age to bring in some more recent accident data to allow for longer term trends. It’s … Read More