When Nigel Latta blows stuff up Peter Griffin Apr 23

Psychologist Nigel Latta has a new show running on TV One: Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up. It is great TV, science-related but presented in a very pop-science format, with shades of Mythbusters and the types of science shows you’ll see browsing the Discovery Channel – plenty of explosions and slow motion photography. The first episode [...]

When balance goes out the window Peter Griffin Apr 14

A few weeks ago, for the first time ever, I took a complaint to the Press Council against a newspaper. I’ve been the subject of a Press Council complaint in the past, one that wasn’t upheld. I know it is time consuming and stressful responding to a complaint, so I didn’t make my own complaint [...]

New media rules hit UK government scientists Peter Griffin Apr 02

Science communication bodies have criticised a UK Government code for civil servants requiring ministerial approval before they talk to the media. The UK’s Civil Service Code was updated this month requiring the pre-authorisation, which in theory also applies to scientists working for the government in units such as the Met Office and the National Institute [...]

On climate change and fire-breathing dragons Peter Griffin Apr 01

Given the recent climate-related discussion here on Sciblogs, paper from Nature seems highly appropriate… Wed 1 Apr – Embargoed until 12:01 NZT: Climate change to wake sleeping dragons: An Australian and UK study has reported that increasing temperatures will result in an explosion of fire-breathing dragons around the world. The researchers say that dragon numbers declined during cool periods in history [...]

Sponsoring species – is it worth it? Peter Griffin Mar 25

From the Yellow-eyed penguin to the Kakapo, companies are keen to associate their brands with efforts to save some of our iconic native species. Is this funding worth it? Hell yes! As Department of Conversation spending on preserving biodiversity comes under pressure, private money is increasingly being sought to support conservation efforts. We need these [...]

When New Zealand science news goes viral Peter Griffin Jan 13

“Wooo, there’s New Zealand did ya!” Wrote one commenter on the Facebook page “I F*cking Love Science” last week. Okay, hardly the most articulate response to a story, but one that expressed the pride in seeing New Zealand science receiving exposure and recognition on a global scale. The story attracting attention was about researchers from [...]

Top ten weirdest science stories of 2014 Peter Griffin Dec 19

It was another big year for science capped off with the successful Rosetta mission to land a probe on a comet. But as usual, there were also plenty of quirky science stories that captured our attention too. My colleagues at the Australian Science Media Centre rounded up a list of the some of the quirkiest. [...]

Public attitudes to science and technology – key takeaways Peter Griffin Dec 04

The latest Nielsen survey to gauge New Zealanders’ attitudes towards science and technology is the largest and most thorough one yet and reveals much to be positive about but also several areas of concern. Nielsen surveyed a representative sample of 3,004 New Zealanders over the age of 15, (2,504 online and 500 by phone), asking them a series [...]

When scientists don’t speak out – gag orders and funding fears revealed Peter Griffin Nov 03

There’s been much debate about the forthcoming Code of Conduct on Public Engagement the Royal Society of New Zealand is developing. This piece of work is part of the Government’s Science in Society Strategy and is laid out in Annex 4 of this document, which outlines initiatives that will be rolled out as part of [...]

Dirty Politics: Learning from Washington lobbyists’ play book Peter Griffin Aug 21

If the covertly organised smear campaigns and secretly-funded attacks on public health experts outlined in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics seem more suited to an episode of House of Cards, that’s because they could easily be lifted from the dirty politics of Washington D.C. that inspired aspects of the show. As I blogged about earlier this [...]

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