Honest Universe

Oakura Bay Rocks Expedition

Mark Hanna Jan 06, 2015

Ever since I was a child, I’ve spent my summers at Oakura Bay. It’s a really lovely beach on the east coast of New Zealand, about 3 hours’ drive north of Auckland. My father’s family has been coming here since he was a child, and for the past 16 years we’ve been lucky enough to […] … Read More

New Zealand Skeptics Conference: Fighting Pseudoscience

Mark Hanna Dec 09, 2014

Over the weekend, I attended the New Zealand Skeptics Conference at Auckland University. It was a great weekend, with consistently good speakers. Not only did we have the hosts of the popular Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast and George Hrab from the Geologic podcast over from America, we also had a lot of fantastic […] … Read More

Copper & Magnetic Healing: How to Respond to Complaints

Mark Hanna Nov 21, 2014

Last Saturday, I was in a store that had a display on their counter advertising copper and magnetic jewellery: As you may be aware, claims that copper jewellery are able to help with arthritis are relatively common, although the evidence is pretty negative. The claim about magnets attracting iron in your blood and thereby increasing […] … Read More

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We Landed on a Comet

Mark Hanna Nov 13, 2014

So, last night was exciting. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) robotic spaceship Rosetta arrived at the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in early August, after an amazing journey comprising of over 10 years and four gravity slingshots. Last night, it separated from its lander module, Philae, and sent it to touch down on the surface of the comet. […] … Read More

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GirlGuiding New Zealand Has Removed “God” From Their Promise

Mark Hanna Oct 17, 2014

In July 2012, Girl Guides Australia changed the promise all Girl Guides have to make, by removing the compulsory mention of “God”. After seeing this news, I looked up the GirlGuiding New Zealand website to find if they had a similar compulsory mention, and found that they had. Although I am obviously ineligible to be […] … Read More

Ethical Pharmacy Practice 2: Time for a Spring Clean

Mark Hanna Oct 11, 2014

In July, I wrote an article on Ethical Pharmacy Practice and Homeopathic No-Jet-Lag. In it, I described the importance of the role pharmacies play in the healthcare system, and their ethical obligation not to mislead consumers or promote ineffective healthcare products. In particular, I described an advertisement I saw in an Auckland pharmacy for a […] … Read More

ACC and Acupuncture 2

Mark Hanna Sep 04, 2014

The ACC has responded to my Official Information Act request that I mentioned in my last post on ACC and acupuncture. Here’s what I asked for in my request: Dear Accident Compensation Corporation, In response to an Official Information Act request from Kevin McCready in June (https://fyi.org.nz/request/1749-continue…), Mrs Koleti Vae’au wrote that: In 2011, ACC’s […] … Read More

The Price of Painkillers Part 2: Only Misleading in Australia

Mark Hanna Aug 29, 2014

Yesterday, I wrote about how various painkillers with the same active ingredients often cost different amounts. In particular I talked about Reckitt Benckiser’s “Nurofen” ibuprofen products, some of which are advertised as targeting specific types of pain even though it doesn’t seem plausible, given that they are essentially exactly the same, that they could target […] … Read More

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