Science and Society

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

The internet of predatory things - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Mar 05, 2017

My first job after completing my Bachelor’s was tracking and trapping rats on Stewart Island. Decades later, the tools and approaches for mammalian pest control have progressed; better lures, traps and poisons. But not so much. Particularly if you compare how the field of genetics has changed over the same time; from laborious manual DNA sequencing to high-speed automation. The … Read More

Govt requests NGO client data – Why do they need this? - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Mar 04, 2017

I’m a big fan of letting NGOs benchmark their effectiveness using government data. But I don’t quite get why the government needs NGOs to collect some of this information on their behalf. Here goes. The government holds a huge amount of linked administrative data on all of us in the Integrated Data Infrastructure. All kinds of stuff can be linked … Read More

Mexican soda and sweet storable substitutes - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Mar 02, 2017

A couple more important points on the Mexican soda tax,  which I discussed in relation to a recent report on sugar taxes in New Zealand. First from the comments on Tuesday’s post: Mexicans also love to drink uncarbonated sugary drinks, like horchata, and drink more of those now carbonated beverages are more dear. Much of that market doesn’t go … Read More