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Podcast: Skeptics, eruptions and the male pill Peter Griffin Aug 17

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Episode 40 sees us revisiting volcanology and some fun with explosives as a New York professor uses explosives to recreate the eruptive effect of maars – low profile volcanoes, the remnants of which can be seen across Auckland’s volcanic field.

Professor Greg Valentine

We check in with Vicki Hyde, the founder and stalwart of the NZ Skeptics Society who outlines what attendees at the Society’s conference in Dunedin at the end of the month can expect. We also hear from one of the researchers behind a cancer drug that turned out to be effective as a male contraceptive.

Also – a new segment – best science site of the week – this week… not a site but a Facebook page – I Fucking Love Science!

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Show notes

The NZ Skeptics Society conference – how to register, dates, programme

Scibloggers David Winter and Michael Edmonds who are on the speakers list for the Skeptics conference

Buffalo New York State University Professor Greg Valentine’s research page and the release on his maar explosions.

I Fucking Love Science on Facebook

Bloomberg: Male birth control from compound works in mice

The male contraceptive – research background

Sciblogs Podcast episode 39: Curiosity thrills Peter Griffin Aug 10

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We missed a week of the Sciblogs podcast to do some extra interviews for the Sciblogs podcast special on the Curiosity Mars Rover landing – the biggest science news event since, well the discover of the Higgs Boson.

NASA scientists celebrate Curiosity’s successful landing

You’ll enjoy the insights New Zealand scientists provide in the podcast on the Curiosity mission. Professor Craig Cary, a microbial ecologist and extremophile expert from Waikato University checks in to explain how NASA has been using Antarctica’a Dry Valley’s as a test bed to prepare to search for life on Mars.

Dr Allan McInnes, an engineering lecturer at the University of Canterbury worked on the Opportunity and Spirit mars Rovers from 2000 – 2003 so knows a thing or two about what’s involved in these highly complex and expensive missions – we ask him what’s changed after a decade of rover innovation at NASA.

Turning to the big local story of the week, the eruption of Tongariro, we talk to University of Canterbury natural hazards expert, Dr Thomas Wilson, about this week’s eruption and some of the potential future sceanrios for activity at Tongariro.

And we round out the podcast with John Kerr from the Science Media Centre taking us through three interesting science papers from New Zealand authors that were published this week

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Show notes

NASA’s curiosity coverage.

Background on Dr Allan McInnes – University of Canterbury engineering senior lecturer and former Mars Rover engineer.

Professor Craig Cary’s Waikato University homepage and an interesting National Geographic piece featuring Professor Cary.

Science Media Centre expert round-up on the Tongariro eruption.

Dr Thomas Wilson’s University of Canterbury homepage

 

Journal Wrap

txt-speak hrdr 2 read
Research article in Acta Psychologica
Round up of New Zealand media coverage from the Science Media Centre

Pictures enhance ‘Truthiness’
A draft copy of the article, provided by University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
A press release from the journal, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Truthiness‘ coined on the Colbert Report

Self Explaining Roads
Research abstract in Accident Prevention and Analysis
An earlier Wired article exploring the phenomena in the Netherlands

Podcast: Science on trial Peter Griffin Jul 20

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On the Sciblogs podcast this week, we head to the High Court where climate sceptics have this week been seeking a judicial review of NIWA’s climate records. We catch up with Sciblogger Gareth Renowden about the case and we talk to former NIWA climate scientist Jim Renwick about the current state of climate science and what it is telling us about the extent of warming on a global scale.

We also talk to Dr Melanie Massaro about her paper Trapped in the postdoctoral void and her concern at what she considers to be an oversupply of doctoral students in the New Zealand education system.

Subscribe to the Sciblogs podcast via iTunes or Stitcher.com – or just stream it straight from the site here!

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Show notes

Hot Topic: When asses go to court

Open Parachute: Scepticism, denial and the high court

NZ Herald: Global warming sceptics accuse NIWA over temperature records

Dominion Post: Wellington’s climate record shows warming trend

James Renwick’s profile

NZ Herald: Climate change slow but real phenomenon

James Renwick’s Victoria lecture

Melanie Massaro’s homepage

Melanie Massaro’s paper will be published at www.scientists.org.nz

Podcast: Higgs, I think we have it! Peter Griffin Jul 06

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EPISODE 35: This week’s podcast looks at how the news out of CERN about the discovery of a Higgs-like boson was received by the world. How did the media do in describing what the Higgs Boson actually is and did what’s the future for the Large Hadron Collider.

We hear from an experimental physicist about the potential for quantum communication based on experiments in entanglement of atoms.

And we talk to Dr Cameron Neylon and Sciblogger Fabiana Kubke about the recent Finch Report into open access science publishing and also PeerJ, the new open access journal.

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Show notes

Scientists react to the CERN announcement about the Higgs Boson.

the Science paper:  Heralded Entanglement Between Widely Separated Atoms

The Finch Report – full text

Sciblogs coverage of Finch Report

Open access journal PeerJ

Episode 34: Digital Earth 2.0 Peter Griffin Jun 29

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On the Sciblogs podcast this week we look at the progress made on Digital Earth initiatives like Google Earth – what’s in store for the next generation of Earth visualisation and simulation platforms?

google-earth-5-screenshotWe talk to Sciblogger Ken Perrott about new data from the 2011 Australian census that shows more Aussies are ditching religion and we check in with a scientist examining the barely tapped potential of nature to supply compounds and extracts that can be used in medicines.

You can stream the podcast by clicking on the player below, or subscribe in iTunes or via RSS. You can even listen to the podcast on your phone via Stitcher.com

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Show notes

Science Media Centre round-up of links on the Science paper on the Alpine Fault

Swine flu deaths: worse than thought

PNAS Next-generation Digital Earth paper

Information about NextSpace and Richard Simpson

Al Gore’s speech on Digital Earth

Digital Earth Summit in Wellington

The 2011 Australian Census

Ken Perrott’s blog post on the changing face of Australia’s religious affiliations

Vincenzo De Luca’s paper in Science

Episode 33: Sweet and sour Peter Griffin Jun 22

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A bumper edition this week of the Sciblogs podcast owing to the huge amount of interesting science news around the traps.

The last electric sports car?

The last electric sports car?

I kick off with my Science Media Centre colleagues John Kerr and Dacia Herbulock analysing what’s come out of the Rio20+ summit in Brazil – what have the world’s nation’s agreed on and is there any real potential to improve our performance on sustainability since we received a D- on our progress since the original summit in 1992? And what was the New Zealand delegating angling for in Rio – the multibillion dollar subsidies propping up unsustainable fisheries and fossil fuel subsidies was in their sights, but did the issue get any airplay?

We catch up with Ian Mirandah, the young lawyer who dropeed $100,000 on one of the last Telsa sports cars to be made. Elizabeth Yeaman fills us in on the unique characteristics New Zealand has that makes us especially suitable to electric cars, and Professor C.C Chang, the “grandfather” of the electric car outlines how New Zealand needs to aggregate demand with other small nations to get down the price of electric cars – which sell here at a 50 per cent premium compared to big markets like the US and Asia.

“Big Food” is in the gun this week with researchers in PLoS Medicine slamming the food and beverage industry for what they claim are cynical attempts to sell more fizzy drinks and junk food masquerading as social responsibility campaigns. Sciblogger and nutritionist Amanda Johnson joins us to discuss sugar – is it as evil and toxic as some public health advocates make out, and leading obesity expert Professor Jim Mann discusses whether its fair to compare Big Food’s tactics to that of Big Tobacco.

And we wrap up with Darwin Tunes, the crowd-sourced music evolution project that is giving researchers clues as to how music progresses based on the tastes of listeners.

Click below to listen to the podcast – also subscribe via RSS, on iTunes or Stitcher.com

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Show notes

Rio20+: rolling coverage at The Guardian

The Telegraph: Rio summit “destined to fail”

Electric cars – A Science Media Centre briefing featuring Professor C.C. Chang of Hong Kong University, Uniservice’s Will Charles and EECA’s Elizabeth Yeaman.

Coverage: Electric cars spark interest.

Tesla’s new sedan and a make or break play for the electric car maker

Big Food – the PLos paper ruffling feathers in the food and beverage industry and a round-up of expert commentary from the Science Media Centre.

The Age: With Darwin Tunes – who needs composers?

Darwin Tunes – evolving music by consumer choice

Episode 32: Staring at the Sun Peter Griffin Jun 15

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The Sciblogs podcast this week is a special edition focussing on the Transit of Venus celebrations that took place in Gisborne last week.

transitFirst there was the observation of the transit, which we were fortunate to have great weather for, then the business end of the proceedings with the Transit of Venus forum, where 300 people came together to discuss how we can better use science to boost our economy, foster greater social cohesion and generally encourage a more progressive society.

This special edition was recorded in Gisborne, featuring interviews and edited highlights of the forum proceedings. For the full sessions from the forum, visit the Royal Society of New Zealand website.

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Featured in the podcast:

Dame Anne Salmond on the events surrounding Captain Cook’s arrival in the Gisborne region – and his initially violent interaction with local Maori, a relationship that was to improve dramatically when Cook arrived at Tolaga Bay and enjoyed the hospitality of the tangata whenua.

Sir Peter Gluckman on the issues raised by the Transit of Venus forum, the areas that need attention and the way forward.

Sir Paul Callaghan’s reflections on a life in science from an interview conducted by film maker Gaylene Preston before Sir Paul’s death.

Scibloggers Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Dr David Winter and Elf Eldridge on what came out of the Transit of Venus forum.

ALSO: The Gisborne Boys High School Choir, Venus by Holst, from the Planets suite and more… all here on the Sciblogs podcast!

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher.com or stream it here from Sciblogs.

Sciblogs coverage of the Transit of Venus:

There’s a little black spot on the sun today – Peter Dearden
Sabbaticals – Marcus Wilson
The Geek Manifesto: required reading – Michael Edmonds
A vision for New Zealand education 2020 – Michael Edmonds
Pounamu reflections – Michael Edmonds
Transit of Venus forum in review – Elf Eldridge
The unseen transit – Gareth Renowden
Transit of Venus – Marcus Wilson
Transit of Venus: a sight for sore eyes – Peter Griffin
Transit of Venus: Live from Gisborne – Peter Griffin

Episode 31: It won’t hurt a bit! John Kerr Jun 01

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On the Sciblogs podcast this week we look at the debate heating up on folic acid and whether we should make it mandatory for bakers to put it in bread, to help prevent babies developing neural tube defects. We talk to the scientists about the latest science on folate and fortification as the Government seeks feedback from the public on the issue.

We talk to Sciblogger Dr John Pickering for making a $100 dialysis machine. Currently dialysis treatment costs up to $80,000 per patient per year. Why is it so expensive and how could the price be brought down.

And we hear the scientist behind needleless injections describe how he took the pointy end out of getting a jab.

PLUS, we wrap up the science papers making headlines this week.

Click below to play back the podcast and check out the show notes below…

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Journal Wrap

Smells like teen spirit… or old people?
PLoS ONE research article
Article in Scientific American

Offices are officially filthy!
PLoS ONE research article
Media release

No more needles
Medical Engineering & Physics research article
Press release from MIT

Cricket research goes for six
Procedia Engineering research article
New Zealand Herald news story

Episode 30: Does this science compute? John Kerr May 25

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*beep beep buzz whirr*This week on the Sciblogs podcast, we talk to the head of the New Zealand eScience Infrastructure about the opportunities for New Zealand researchers to tap into our supercomputing power.

We check in with the team running the Southern Cross Cable which carries most of our international internet traffic. And we hear from researchers looking at how our descriptions of kinship vary depending on what language we speak.

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Show notes


Budget round up from the Science Media Centre

The NeSI website and Nick Jones’ Auckland University home page

The Southern Cross Cable Network

Research article on language and kin in Science, and a related Carnegie Mellon University media release

Journal Wrap

Life on Mars? not quite
Full research article from Science
BBC News report

Parasites pervert TB test
Full article from Nature Communications
Related Nature News article

Slow Quakes
Full article in Geophysical Research Letters
Media round-up on the Science Media Centre website.

Streetlights change ecosystems
Full article in Biology Letters
ABC Science news story

Episode 29: Getting a grip! John Kerr May 18

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We are getting to grips with nature on the Sciblogs podcast this week as we gain an insight into Japan’s tsunami recovery efforts, manipulate plastic to create tiny solar cells and use brain implants to control a robotic arm – and grip a cup of coffee!

tsunami-debris

Don’t forget to “like” Sciblogs on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Show notes

Sciblogger Motoko Kakubayashi checks in from Japan

What to do with 20 million tons of debris – Motoko’s latest Sciblogs post on the Japanese earthquake

The Science Media Centre of Japan website

Shedding light on solar cells with Justin Hodgkiss

Dr Justin Hodgkiss’s staff page at Victoria University of Wellington

A Q&A with Justin on emerging scientists by colleague and Sciblogger’ Elf Eldridge (Just So Science)

Tetraplegics control robotic arm through brain implant

The BrainGate2 robotic arm case study, published this week in Nature

Acompanying ‘News & Views’ article in the journal

You can watch video of the system in action and further researcher interviews on the Science Media Centre website .

Find out more about the BrainGate project on the official website.

Journal Wrap

Life, death and coffee

Research article from the New England Journal of Medicine

Gaydar on the radar

Original article in PLoS ONE

Expert analysis from the Conversation

Googling cancer

Research article from PLoS Computational Biology

Related coverage

Inflammation thermostat

Original research in Disruptive Science & Technology

Media Release from the University of Pittsburgh

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