BioBlog

Appeal to antiquity? Appeal to nature? Bingo!

Alison Campbell Jun 13, 2018

I was idly skimming the Herald’s website when I came across an article with the headline “Is plant medicine really that effective?” Since the article appears to be in the nature of an advertorial, the answer is, it depends on who you ask. Unlike man-made chemical drugs that have been developed as novel medicines from the 19th century onwards, plant medicines … Read More

Is there science in reflexology?

Alison Campbell Jun 06, 2018

I subscribe to the Tertiary Insight newsletter (a great way to keep up with news of what’s happening in the tertiary sector). Yesterday’s edition included a statement (& a link) about the NZQA’s decision to cancel the registration of the Aromaflex Academy. It seems that this Private Training Establishment (PTE) was placed under strict conditions in January 2018, & … Read More

Could – & should – the moa be a goer again?

Alison Campbell Jun 03, 2018

I’m starting to gear up for some Schol Bio preparation days in the regions (hi, Hawkes Bay! See you in 4 weeks!) and realised that I haven’t written anything specifically focused on those exams for a while. So I thought that putting something together would be a good way to spend a rather wet Sunday. At these days we usually … Read More

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History & ‘right to try’

Alison Campbell May 30, 2018

Over the last few years, OracA has written quite a bit about the so-called ‘right to try’ legislation that has been enacted in many US states – and, as this post of his describes, will now most likely become a thing at the federal level. (I say “most likely”, given President Trump’s history of wanting to significantly reduce … Read More

Talking about what we should teach

Alison Campbell May 10, 2018

While I was on holiday (Japan – it was wonderful!) – I read Tom Haig’s interesting article about ‘curriculum wars’ over on Education Central, and it reminded me of the concerns I’ve held for some time that we don’t really talk enough about *what* to teach in our classrooms, be they university-level or in the secondary sector.  Several years back (how time … Read More

There are horses for courses, but snails for faces?

Alison Campbell Mar 21, 2018

I first wrote about the snail facial back in 2015, in response to an article in the Herald on Sunday on that very topic. Today, the fact that there’s a story on the very same subject on the Stuff webpage suggests that there is always an appetite for woo (although when I read the story just now, I was … Read More

Why is one person’s science another’s conspiracy theory?

Alison Campbell Mar 13, 2018

One of the things that’s become quite obvious, in the various anti-vax comments that I’ve followed and responded to on line, is that people with ‘alt’ views have very firm ideas on what constitutes ‘the truth’. And it’s not something that mainstream organisations, authorities, or scienceA are seen as offering. And so (on a new UNICEF New Zealand post) we see: … Read More

UNICEF and friends VS the outspoken Anti-vaxxers

Alison Campbell Mar 07, 2018

Back in mid-February, UNICEF NZ posted a piece on the importance of vaccines. Shortly thereafter, the comments thread had been overrun by anti-vaccination pro-disease activists. (I have to say, I’m really impressed with the person who does UNICEF’s social media. Talk about grace and dignity under fire!) This seems to happen every time a story about vaccine-preventable disease hits the … Read More

What are the challenges for First-Year Core Science Courses?

Alison Campbell Feb 28, 2018

Professor Karen Burke da Silva was the keynote speaker at Day 1 of the 2017 First-Year Science Educators’ Colloquium, held in Wellington. Her topic: Transforming large first year science classes: A comprehensive approach to student engagement. Currently at Flinders University, she’s been instrumental in setting up an ‘integrated teaching environment’ that’s seen a drop in withdrawals, and a marked … Read More