Lead pollution beat Amundsen and Scott to the South Pole by 20 years Guest Work Jul 31

By Joe McConnell, Desert Research Institute We know elements of the story. It was 1911, as Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen raced to the South Pole. Temperatures were below -50˚C. Scott was British; Amundsen a Norwegian. Sled dogs were dying, and the explorers suffered from frostbite. The stakes were high, with financing of future explorations [...]

Moa bones reveal DNA half-life but Jurassic Park remains fiction Guest Work Jul 02

By Michael Bunce, Curtin University and Morten Erik Allentoft, University of Copenhagen [Originally published in October 2012 and republished here following Labour MP Trevor Mallard's desire to see the Moa resurrected] Moa birds disappeared from New Zealand following the arrival of human settlers in the 13th century, but their fossils now provide us with a [...]

GM techniques: from the field to the laboratory (and back again) Guest Work Jun 23

By Peter Langridge, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics Welcome to GM in Australia [Ed: See Grant Jacob's three part series on GM in New Zealand here], a series looking at the facts, ethics, regulations and research into genetically modified crops. In this first instalment, Peter Langridge describes two GM techniques: selective breeding and genetic [...]

Audio Q&A: Neuroeconomics – the curse of choice Guest Work Jun 19

By Helen Westerman, The Conversation and Emil Jeyaratnam, The Conversation We are faced with a myriad of choice in our lives – but an emerging body of work suggests the more choice we’re faced with, the more likely we’ll make a poor decision. The conundrum is called the “curse of choice” and the field of [...]

In defence of (some) science scepticism – a lawyer’s view Guest Work Jun 03

by Dr Nicole Moreham Since becoming a Rutherford Discovery Fellow in 2011, I have often found myself in the company of scientists. Not surprisingly, I regard them as a highly impressive bunch – intelligent, thoughtful and deeply committed to what they do. There is one area though where I quite often find myself disagreeing with what people in [...]

The Value of Science Guest Work May 29

By Toby Hendy, Ryan Ridden-Harper and Josh Mangos from the University of Canterbury What comes to mind when you think about science? Are you a scientist? If not, could you be? We can all be awestruck when we consider how the things in our life actually work and the technology behind them. What kind of [...]

Research ethics and trials on unconscious patients Guest Work May 19

Prof Grant Gillett from the University of Otago’s Bioethics Centre explores the issue of informed consent in medical research in the wake of media coverage of a planned clinical trial involving unconscious patients.

Callaghan Innovation – a critique Guest Work May 13

By Dr Horace Moore “Bureaucracy destroys initiative. The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.” -­ Milton Friedman Introduction In its Statement of Intent 2012­ – 2015 released on 24 May 2012, the Ministry of Science and Innovation states that: “The ministry’s greatest imaginable challenge is to double the value [...]

‘Impact’ in science – what’s in a word? Guest Work May 12

by Professor Sir Peter Gluckman The word ‘impact’ has come to be the catch-all term to describe the expected benefit or ‘return’ from investing in scientific research.   But what the word actually means can vary greatly depending on whom one asks and who does the asking. Indeed, as an increasingly used keyword within the [...]

Six bizarre feeding tactics from the depths of our oceans Guest Work May 06

By Jessica Carilli, University of California San Diego Sea life can be fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Some creatures look beautiful on the outside but harbour darkness within. Some of the scariest tactics of the deep sea go on display when these creatures eat. Here are six of my favourite feeding strategies: 1. [...]

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