News

What to do about astro-junk in NZ waters?

John Kerr Aug 29, 2016

New Zealand is about join the space race with a new rocket programme, but Kiwis will need to have a think about how this is going to impact our surrounding waters. The government has just opened public consultation on new rules about how material jettisoned into the ocean from rocket launches will be dealt with under environmental legislation. NZ … Read More

Proxima b: the Earth next door?

John Kerr Aug 25, 2016

The astronomy world is abuzz following the discovery of a planet in a neighboring star system, sitting in just the right position to – theoretically – host liquid water.  It is still over four light years away, but the planet Proxima b in the Alpha Centauri system is the closest Earth-like planet we’ve found. The discovery is published today in the journal Nature. Read More

Climate impacts on southern species – where’s the data?

John Kerr Aug 23, 2016

We need to keep an eye on key species to track the impacts of climate change, but southern hemisphere countries like New Zealand and Australia are falling behind. The warning comes from South African and Australian scientists in an article published today in Austral Ecology. As the world warms, say the authors, we need long-term data to understand how plants and animals are changing … Read More

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Why use your memory when you can use your computer’s?

Julie Iles Aug 19, 2016

On every smartphone, there is probably a collection of quickly typed reminders, thoughts, grocery lists, and  titbits of information we thought we might forget. Out-sourcing our thoughts and memories like this is called ‘cognitive offloading’. The term involves everyday activities we may take for granted. From using a calculator to check finances to depending on Google Maps to get around, cognitive offloading is what we … Read More

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Ketamine & depression: NZ part of world-first clinical trial

John Kerr Aug 16, 2016

New Zealand patients will be part of the world’s largest controlled clinical trial testing the “enormous potential” of ketamine as an antidepressant medication. A vial of ketamine. Credit: Wikimedia / Psychonaught Depending on who you ask, the drug ketamine is either a powerful anesthetic, a horse tranquilizer or an illicit narcotic.  However, there is now a growing … Read More

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Olympic Rivalries: Battle of the same-sexes

Julie Iles Aug 12, 2016

This Olympic season Michael Phelps has been unmatched as the most decorated Olympian of all time, though there has still been media scrutiny surrounding his ‘glaring’ rivalry with Chad le Clos of South Africa. Professor J Benenson of Harvard University Rivalries like Phelps and le Clos’ have been making a splash at Rio, and close attention has been paid to how athletes … Read More

NZ native falcon is actually two types of bird

John Kerr Aug 10, 2016

The New Zealand falcon, or kārearea, population is actually made up of two different subspecies, scientists have decided. Researchers from Massey University declare the subspecies split in a new study analysing the physical and genetic differences between kārearea from different parts of the New Zealand. The research is published in IBIS, International Journal of Avian Science. In collecting data on bird sizes, the researchers … Read More

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The Paleo diet and diabetes: evidence lacking

John Kerr Aug 08, 2016

An Australian researcher has spoken out against a growing number of claims that the Paleo diet – consisting largely of low-carbohydrate food – can help to manage or even reverse diabetes. Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, Associate Professor Sof Andrikopoulos from the University of Melbourne says despite dozens of websites urging people with diabetes to go … Read More

Captain Cook’s Chooks

Guest Work Aug 05, 2016

by Julie Iles New Zealand’s first chickens probably hitched a ride here on Captain James Cook’s ship Resolution, new research has found. Radiocarbon dating of the chicken bones revealed an overlap between the bone and James Cook’s second voyage to New Zealand during 1773-1774. The bones were sourced from three Maori midden sites, or refuse heaps, along the east coast … Read More

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