Guest Work

Why the Australasian Health Star Rating needs major changes to make it work

Guest Author Jun 19, 2019

Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington; Alana Harrison, Victoria University of Wellington; Hongzhi Gao, Victoria University of Wellington, and Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington Unhealthy diets cause multiple physical and mental health problems. To help consumers make healthier choices, Australia and New Zealand introduced the voluntary Health Star Rating … Read More

How endangered are New Zealand dolphins and sea lions?

Guest Author Jun 05, 2019

Professor Steve Dawson, Professor Liz Slooten, Associate Professor Bruce Robertson The Department of Conservation (DOC) has downgraded the threat status of the New Zealand sea lion and New Zealand (Hector’s) dolphin. NZ sea lion has changed from “Nationally Critical” (the same category as the kākāpō) to “Nationally Vulnerable” based on “actual improvement”. The problem is, the available data do … Read More

Call for independent watchdog to monitor NZ government use of artificial intelligence

Guest Author May 27, 2019

John Zerilli, University of Otago and Colin Gavaghan, University of Otago New Zealand is a leader in government use of artificial intelligence (AI). It is part of a global network of countries that use predictive algorithms in government decision making, for anything from the optimal scheduling of public hospital beds to whether an offender should … Read More

The ‘Christchurch Call’ is just a start. Now we need to push for systemic change

Guest Author May 17, 2019

Kevin Veale, Massey University The “Christchurch Call” summit has made specific progress, with tech companies and world leaders signing an agreement to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. The question now is how we collectively follow up on its promise. The summit in Paris began with the statement that the white supremacist terrorist attack … Read More

The discovery of a Denisovan jaw bone and what it can tell us

Michael Knapp May 09, 2019

Last week the discovery of a lower jaw bone of a Denisovan hit the headlines all over the world. Denisovans are a now-extinct species of humans that were closely related to us as well as to Neanderthals. To an outside observer, the excitement of researchers about this find might have appeared a bit over the top. After all, Denisovans have … Read More

New Zealand’s urban freshwater is improving, but a major report reveals huge gaps in our knowledge

Guest Author Apr 18, 2019

Troy Baisden, University of Waikato Environment Aotearoa 2019, a major report released today, provides the first snapshot since 2015 of New Zealand’s environment across five “domains” – air, climate, freshwater, land and ocean. This is the first synthesis report produced under environmental reporting legislation that came into effect in 2016. Here, I’ll focus on freshwater … Read More

Taxonomy for Sale to the Highest Bidder

Guest Author Apr 15, 2019

Shaena Montanari Last December, the environmental group Rainforest Trust celebrated its 30th anniversary by auctioning off the rights to name 12 newly discovered species, including orchids, frogs, and an ant. The Virginia-based nonprofit group claimed the auction raised $182,500 for its conservation programs. The most valuable animal turned out to be a wormlike amphibian from Panama, which … Read More

Fighting fungi with feijoa

Guest Author Apr 12, 2019

Dr Andrew Munkacsi Many of us have heard of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, either through the media or perhaps knowing someone who died from such a bacterial infection. Just as there are bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics, there are fungal infections resistant to antifungal drugs.    Fungi are microbial organisms (not visible to the naked eye) that can infect plants, animals and humans. Read More

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