Guest Work

Science or Snake Oil: is A2 milk better for you than regular cow’s milk?

Guest Work Aug 24, 2016

Nicholas Fuller, University of Sydney The new big thing hitting our supermarket shelves is “A2 milk”. Not only has this resulted in a great debate about whether it is any better for us than regular cow’s milk, but also a bitter feud over labelling between the big dairy companies in the Federal Court. So what is A2? … Read More

New Zealand is letting economics rule its environmental policies

Guest Work Aug 23, 2016

By Stephen Knight-Lenihan, University of Auckland Balancing the environment with development is tricky. One way for policymakers to include the value of ecosystems in development is to set limits for pollution and other environmental impacts, known as environmental bottom lines (EBLs). These can be a helpful way of embedding into an economy the value of ecosystems. They also help … Read More

Sloths aren’t lazy – their slowness is a survival skill

Guest Work Aug 22, 2016

By Becky Cliffe, Swansea University Conventional wisdom has it that sloths are simple, lazy creatures that do very little other than sleep all day. Even the very name “sloth” in most languages translates as some version of “lazy”. It seems astonishing that such an animal survives in the wild at all. In 1749, French naturalist Georges Buffon was the … Read More

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New medicines hiding in New Zealand forests

John Kerr Aug 19, 2016

“The world currently faces a critical shortage of therapeutic drugs to treat disorders such as bacterial infections and chronic pain”, says scientist Dr Eric Buenz. “The New Zealand bush may have the answers.” Eric has highlighted his search for new drugs in a video entered into Thinkable’s ‘180 Seconds of Science’ competition, sponsored by the Royal Society of New … Read More

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Overshoot and collapse – climate disruption and increasing homelessness

Guest Work Aug 19, 2016

By Dr George Preddey Two contrasting colour illustrations on the back cover of the NZ Listener (July 2-8) are disquietingly reminiscent of contrasting sketches that appeared in a 1981 report on climate disaster by the Commission For the Future, 35 years ago.    These illustrations and sketches feature the Beehive as in 1981 and 2016 and as inundated later this … Read More

Whale of a problem: why do humpbacks protect other species?

Guest Work Aug 17, 2016

By Tracey Rogers, UNSW Australia A group of killer whales are on the hunt. They work together to submerge and drown a whale calf. But then more whales appear. The newly arrived humpbacks bellow a trumpet-like call, and wield their five-metre-long pectoral flippers like swords against the prowling killer whales. The killer whales are driven away from the … Read More

30 ways to sabotage the introduction of solar power [SPOILER – we’ve tried them all!]

Peter Griffin Aug 15, 2016

by George Jones If for some reason someone wished to delay the introduction of solar panels into New Zealand, here are some ideas on how to do it. 1. Insist that the electrical industry eliminate any incentives that might inadvertently have been imposed in the past.  Make sure that the Electricity Authority stamps out these incentives where it can, … Read More

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Does burnt food give you cancer?

Guest Work Aug 12, 2016

By Simon Cotton, University of Birmingham If you’re offered a plate of blackened barbecue food this summer, you might think twice about eating it. It’s commonly thought that food that has been burnt could cause cancer. This is in part down to one particular molecule that forms when food is cooked at high temperatures, known as acrylamide. But … Read More

Anti-paleo diet attacks miss the point

Guest Work Aug 09, 2016

Guest post by Grant Schofield, Professor of Public Health at Auckland University of Technology and Director of the Human Potential Centre. Another week, another warning that the paleo diet is not really where its at, especially for diabetes. The paleo diet – the idea that we should be guided in human nutrition/public health nutrition by evolutionary history is steeped with controversy. Health experts and authorities are seemingly going well out … Read More

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Here’s how you beat ‘indestructible’ head lice

Guest Work Aug 08, 2016

Cameron Webb, University of Sydney Head lice don’t pose a particularly serious threat to our health but they do cause great anxiety among parents and carers. This anxiety, and associated stress, is made even worse given the perceived social stigma of a family infested with parasites, and the seemingly endless battle to exterminate these pests. What are … Read More

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