Guest Work

Apes, robots and men: the life and death of the first space chimp

Guest Author Feb 01, 2021

Alice Gorman, Flinders University On January 31, 1961, an intrepid chimpanzee called Ham was launched on a rocket from Cape Canaveral in the United States, and returned to Earth alive. In this process, he became the first hominin in space. In the 1950s, it was unclear whether humans could survive outside Earth – both physically and mentally. The science fiction … Read More

The viral ‘Wellerman’ sea shanty is also a window into the remarkable cross-cultural whaling history of Aotearoa New Zealand

Guest Author Jan 30, 2021

Kate Stevens, University of Waikato In a year of surprises, one of the more pleasant was the recent runaway viral popularity of 19th century sea shanties on TikTok. A collaborative global response to pandemic isolation, it saw singers and musicians layering harmonies atop an original recording of ‘Soon May the Wellerman Come‘ by Scottish postie Nathan … Read More

Why Do So Many Astronomy Discoveries Fail to Live Up to the Hype?

Guest Author Jan 20, 2021

Dan Falk Britons who switched on their TVs to “Good Morning Britain” on the morning of Sept. 15, 2020, were greeted by news not from our own troubled world, but from neighboring Venus. Piers Morgan, one of the hosts, was talking about a major science story that had surfaced the previous day, informing his viewers that “there may … Read More

Book Review: Unlocking the World of Autism

Guest Author Jan 20, 2021

Sara Luterman Growing up autistic in a non-autistic world can be very isolating. We are often strange and out of sync with peers, despite our best efforts. Autistic adults have, until very recently, been largely absent from media and the public sphere. Finding role models is difficult. Finding useful advice for navigating life’s problems, even more so. In … Read More

Breathing Life into the Corpse Flower

Guest Author Jan 20, 2021

Doug Johnson The alien-like blooms and putrid stench of Amorphophallus titanum, better known as the corpse flower, draw big crowds and media coverage to botanical gardens each year. In 2015, for instance, around 75,000 people visited the Chicago Botanic Garden to see one of their corpse flowers bloom. More than 300,000 people viewed it online. But despite … Read More

Upgrade rage: why you may have to buy a new device whether you want to or not

Guest Author Jan 19, 2021

Michael Cowling, CQUniversity Australia We’ve probably all been there. We buy some new smart gadget and when we plug it in for the first time it requires an update to work. So we end up spending hours downloading and updating before we can even play with our new toy. But what happens when we can’t update our gadgets any further? … Read More

Why Aotearoa New Zealand’s early Polynesian settlement should be recognised with World Heritage Site status

Guest Author Jan 08, 2021

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato and Valmaine Toki, University of Waikato Aotearoa New Zealand likes to think it punches above its weight internationally, but there is one area where we are conspicuously falling behind — the number of sites recognised by the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Globally, there are 1,121 recognised World Heritage Sites, both cultural and natural. Read More

Online Misinformation Fuels a Fight Over Folic Acid

Guest Author Jan 06, 2021

Christina Szalinski When Martha Field became pregnant in 2005, a singular fear weighed on her mind. Not long before, as a Cornell University graduate student researching how genes and nutrients interact to cause disease, she had seen images of unborn mouse pups smaller than her pinkie nail, some with brains bulging outside their skulls or with deformed … Read More

Six space missions to look forward to in 2021

Guest Author Jan 05, 2021

Ian Whittaker, Nottingham Trent University and Gareth Dorrian, University of Birmingham Space exploration achieved several notable firsts in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, including commercial human spaceflight and returning samples of an asteroid to Earth. The coming year is shaping up to be just as interesting. Here are some of the missions to keep an eye out for. Read More

Dr. Jill Biden and the Doctoral Title Controversy

Guest Author Dec 15, 2020

Anaise Irvine The internet usually doesn’t pay too much attention to doctoral degrees and the people who hold them. Oh sure, we have our own corners of the web, but seldom does mainstream social media erupt with discussions about academic issues. This past weekend, that all changed. The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece* by a Mr. Joseph Epstein … Read More