BioBlog

Honeycreepers in hawaii

Alison Campbell May 25, 2020

The 2015 Schol Bio paper included a question about a group of birds known as honeycreepers, specifically, the 56 species endemic to the Hawaiian islands. (Or, were endemic: 18, or perhaps 19, are still living; the others are extinct.) Students who’ve already had a look at this paper as part of their preparation for the exam will know that it included … Read More

Thoughts on the proposed changes to NCEA

Alison Campbell Feb 28, 2020

Many readers will probably have read this RNZ article (or heard the related interview), or seen calls for consultation on the Ministry of Education’s suggested changes to the number of subjects – and achievement standards – on offer to year 11 students. I’ve been following (& participating, where I can) all this with colleagues and friends, and … Read More

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Why do students need to learn about the nature of science?

Alison Campbell Feb 25, 2020

You’re probably aware that the Achievement Standards used to assess senior school students’ learning are being reviewed. Science is one of the ‘pilot’ subjects in this process, where a ‘Subject Expert Group’ has developed 4 draft Science standards¹ (a significant step away from the current 30+, and a response to advice from several high-level advisory groups). These drafts … Read More

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Neandertals’ genetic legacy extends into africa

Alison Campbell Feb 03, 2020

For the last few years it’s been pretty much received wisdom that African populations shared only a tiny proportion of their genes, if any, with Neanderthals. In contrast, other non-African sapiens populations had a small but significant admixture of Neanderthal genes. The underlying reason for this, it’s been assumed, is that Homo sapiens and neandertalensis only bred with each other in Europe … Read More

Controversy? Or Manufactroversy?

Alison Campbell Jan 22, 2020

A few days ago, New Zealand’s Minister of Education announced the wider release of a resource on climate change, which was initially trialled at a Christchurch school during 2018. According to the Minister, children will learn about “the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response to it and its impacts – globally, nationally … Read More

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anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful

Alison Campbell Dec 02, 2019

“Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. The fight to vaccinate continues with the Nation’s health … Read More

Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue

Alison Campbell Nov 28, 2019

As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have a greater reach than others. On a global level … Read More

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Measles deaths and antivax misinformation

Alison Campbell Nov 26, 2019

Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a benign childhood disease”. Clearly, it is not. (And never … Read More

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