Honest Universe

Natural Curiosity

Mark Hanna Jun 09, 2015

On the second Wednesday of every month, there’s a great Twitter chat on science communication in New Zealand: #SciCommNZ Unfortunately I’m always busy on Wednesday evenings while this is going on, but I’ve tried to participate as much as I can by joining in late and reading through each discussion. The questions that have been […] … Read More

Then and Now: The New Zealand Complementary Medicines Industry

Mark Hanna May 31, 2015

In 2007, the Ministry of Health undertook a review of the “complementary medicines industry” in New Zealand, and found that a significant majority of companies weren’t complying with consumer protection legislation. The review was never made public, but when I saw it mentioned in a recent article in North & South magazine I asked the […] … Read More

Press Council Complaint: Homeopathy in the Wairarapa Times-Age

Mark Hanna Apr 14, 2015

In February this year, an article was published in the Wairarapa Times-Age (both in print and online) headlined Use of natural remedies is on the rise. The article discussed some specific cases of so-called “natural remedies” being used to treat serious diseases, such as intravenous vitamin C for leukaemia and homeopathy to treat various forms […] … Read More

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Finding Power and Balance: Proving and Disproving Claims

Mark Hanna Apr 09, 2015

I’m very happy to have had an article published on the website of the New Zealand Science Teacher, the official publication of the New Zealand Association of Science Educators. My article is about applied kinesiology, I’ve embedded the introduction below and you can read the whole thing on the NZST website: Finding Power and balance: […] … Read More

100% Natural and Chemical Free

Mark Hanna Mar 13, 2015

This afternoon, the Advertising Standards Authority released their decision to uphold an interesting complaint regarding advertisements for a couple of cleaning products on a website. Here is the ASA’s description of how the products were described on the website: The Wendyl’s website (http://wendyls.co.nz/) for “100% natural cleaning and beauty products” advertised their products as having […] … Read More

Ethical Pharmacy Practice 3: Running Out of Excuses

Mark Hanna Mar 12, 2015

Ethical pharmacy practice is something I have written about before. If you’ve read those posts, please bear with me as I cover some familiar background. In New Zealand, we are lucky enough to have an industry code of ethics for pharmacists, published by the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand, which holds pharmacists to high ethical […] … Read More

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When Marketing Trumps Science

Mark Hanna Mar 06, 2015

Recently I’ve run across a couple of New Zealand companies that sell therapeutic products – one a weight loss pill, the other a jet lag drink – that seem to put marketing first and let science take the back seat. This is by no means new behaviour, but I want to use them as examples […] … Read More

How Well Do You Know Your Moon?

Mark Hanna Feb 25, 2015

Phil Plait, who writes the wonderful Bad Astronomy blog over on Slate, noticed something interesting in a recent episode of The Simpsons: To the untrained eye, nothing about this cartoon image is likely to seem unusual. But if you spend a lot of time looking at the sky, and you have the additional context that […] … Read More

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Irradiation of Food and Compulsory Labelling

Mark Hanna Feb 01, 2015

Biosecurity is a big issue for New Zealand. Being a group of islands fairly isolated from all other landmasses and having quite a unique native ecosystem (many native birds with no native mammalian predators and few native land mammals), we have a lot to lose from introduced species. There are also biological threats to industry […] … Read More

ACC and Acupuncture 3

Mark Hanna Jan 20, 2015

I’ve written a couple of times in the past about ACC and Acupuncture: ACC and Acupuncture ACC and Acupuncture 2 To summarise, in 2014 a couple of Official Information Act (OIA) requests to ACC uncovered information about how much they had spent on acupuncture treatments over the past decade, as well as a more detailed […] … Read More

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