Science

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

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

Dental plaque DNA shows Neandertals used ‘aspirin’ - News

Jean Balchin Mar 09, 2017

Ancient DNA found on Neandertal teeth has revealed fascinating new insights into the behaviour, diet, use of plant-based medicine and the evolutionary history of our nearest extinct relatives. “Dental plaque traps microorganisms that lived in the mouth and pathogens found in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, as well as bits of food stuck in the teeth—preserving the DNA for … Read More

Bacteria hitch a ride on raindrop spray - News

John Kerr Mar 09, 2017

New research reveals how raindrops on soil create bioaerosols – tiny droplets of bacteria-laden water – which can help spread harmful microbes, including kiwifruit pathogen Psa. Although soil bacteria are usually pretty slow at getting around, wet weather has been suggested to give them a hand travelling large distances. But exactly how rain gets bacteria from the soil into the air has been … 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

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

Trusting someone’s engineering calculations - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Mar 03, 2017

We put our trust in someone else’s calculations and measurements all the time. It’s just part of the modern world. Cross a bridge, drive a car, use anything electrical, and we implicity trust that the people who designed it, built it, installed it and tested it have done their job correctly. Occasionally things go wrong and disaster strikes, but, by … 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