Guest Work

Under the moonlight: a little light and shade helps larval fish to grow at night

Guest Author Feb 05, 2021

Jeffrey Shima, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington; Craig W. Osenberg, University of Georgia; Erik Noonburg; Stephen Swearer, University of Melbourne, and Suzanne Alonzo, University of California, Santa Cruz At night on any one of hundreds of coral reefs across the tropical Pacific, larval fish just below the sea surface are gambling on their chances of survival. Our … Read More

The demise of Project Energize in the Waikato

Guest Author Feb 04, 2021

Emeritus Professor Elaine Rush, Auckland University of Technology New Zealand is a world leader in many things, but health promotion and disease prevention, particularly for children, is not one of them. One exception is the long-running Project Energize programme in the Waikato.  Every year for the last sixteen years, Project Energize worked with up to 240 schools attended by 40,000 … Read More

Curb population growth to tackle climate change: now that’s a tough ask

Guest Author Feb 01, 2021

Michael P. Cameron, University of Waikato Population growth plays a role in environmental damage and climate change. But addressing climate change through either reducing or reversing growth in population raises difficult moral questions that most people would prefer to avoid having to answer. The English political economist Thomas Robert Malthus laid out a compelling argument against overpopulation … Read More

Are We Screening Too Much for Skin Cancer? It’s Complicated.

Guest Author Feb 01, 2021

Teresa Carr About a decade ago, when he was a first-year dermatology resident, Adewole Adamson learned that “exploding” rates of melanoma were a pressing problem. That was — and still is — the official position of the American Academy of Dermatology. Since the mid-1970s, the incidence rate of melanoma, a potentially deadly cancer, has skyrocketed sixfold; once … Read More

Electric Cars’ Looming Recycling Problem

Guest Author Feb 01, 2021

Perry Gottesfeld In September, Tesla announced that it would be phasing out the use of cobalt in its batteries, in an effort to produce a $25,000 electric vehicle within three years. If successful, this bold move will be an industry game changer, making electric vehicles competitive with conventional counterparts. But the announcement also underscores one of the … Read More

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