Archive: Griffin's Gadgets 2011

Rise of the bots – AI shows its chatty side

Peter Griffin Dec 09, 2016

Think of artificial intelligence and an image of HAL’s piercing red light in 2001: A Space Odyssey or even the emotionally needy android of Ex Machina may spring to mind. But applications of AI are all around us and much more prosaic than those sci-fi icons. Think about Google’s search or the video suggestion features of Netflix. They are being joined by one of … Read More

The internet of things and farming

Peter Griffin Dec 07, 2016

The last thing I expected to see when I visited Microsoft Research in Seattle last month were lettuces growing under LED lights and fish swimming in a tank as part of an “aquaponics” experiment. It turns out that the small crop installations are part of growing efforts underway at the software giant looking at the future of food. While Microsoft has leafy … Read More

The real Babel fish – towards universal language translation

Peter Griffin Nov 29, 2016

If you’ve experienced the anxiety and embarrassment of trying to communicate with people whose languages you don’t understand, you’ll be very interested in what the newest generation of translation technology is allowing. Earlier this month I visited Microsoft Research in Redmond, Seattle and got to see the newest version of Microsoft Translator, which allows real-time translation of group chats. Read More

ORCID explained – The new, unique identifier for researchers

Peter Griffin Oct 17, 2016

Last week saw the launch of the ORCID Consortium which sees 34 New Zealand research institutions back use of a unique identifier for researchers that promises to make keeping track of individuals’ work and evaluation of the research system more effective. ORCID’s New Zealand debut has been funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the … Read More

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Dealing with post normal science and post truth politics

Peter Griffin Oct 07, 2016

As the defacto capital of the European Union, Brussels is a bureaucrat’s Mecca. But last week it also drew some of the most senior science advisors from around the world as our own Sir Peter Gluckman held the second International Network from Government Science Advice meeting there – in the well-appointed assembly room of the European Commission’s Charlemagne Building, no less. Read More

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Science Learning Hub – relaunched, refunded

Peter Griffin Oct 05, 2016

Last night saw the relaunch at Te Papa of the Science Learning Hub, an educational resource that has amassed nearly 5,000 videos and articles about everything from nanotechnology to climate change – and showcased the work of hundreds of New Zealand scientists in the process. Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce unveiled the new-look Science Learning Hub website and said the … Read More

Aussie fluoride review: it is safe and effective

Peter Griffin Sep 14, 2016

As debate rumbles away in some New Zealand communities about whether public water supplies should be fluoridated, a new report from the Australian Government looks at the situation across the Tasman and gives fluoridation a big tick. The National Health and Medical Research Council’s  draft consultation paper,  Effects of water fluoridation on dental and other health outcomes was published today … Read More

Is chlorine the next chemical battleground?

Peter Griffin Aug 18, 2016

Hundreds of people in Havelock North are gradually returning to full health after coming down with gastroenteritis when their water supply was infected with campylobacter. The bore water many of the townsfolk were drinking wasn’t treated with chlorine, which kills bugs and viruses and would have taken care of the campylobacter – avoiding this major public health crisis. But, as with fluoridation of community … Read More

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Hawke’s Bay gastro disaster – what the experts say

Peter Griffin Aug 15, 2016

Campylobacter – it can cause a nasty bacterial infection usually associated with chicken and food poisoning. But for up to 2,000 Hawke’s Bay residents currently ill with the side effects of the infection (think nausea, vomiting and diarrhea) didn’t get it from under-cooked chicken, but from Havelock North’s town drinking water supply. Prof Michael Baker On Thursday, a sample of bore water … Read More

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