Pointing At Science

Starfish-killing robots and artificial plants – cyborgs or saviours?

Steve Pointing Sep 09, 2015

  Two pieces of research news this week highlight how, in science, bad things can outwardly seem a good idea and good things can sometimes sound scary!  First the ‘good’ – a team at Queensland University of Technology have been developing an underwater robot that can kill starfish – doesn’t sound that good does it?  Well, this very clever invention … Read More

Seabirds facing death by plastic

Steve Pointing Sep 03, 2015

A synthesis of data spanning over 60 years has revealed an alarming increase in the number of seabirds that have ingested plastic. An Australian-led study published this week in PNAS (abstract only without a subscription) shows that whilst the number of seabirds that had eaten plastic was 5% in 1950, by 2010 this had risen to 80%, and is … Read More

Amoeba that farm bacteria and more on Dear Science

Steve Pointing Aug 27, 2015

Check out my Dear Science show on 95 bFM this week.  I discuss three new research papers that reveal what the distribution of large mammals on Earth would look like if humans had never existed, why amoeba ‘farm’ certain bacteria but not others, and a study that may have identified the molecular basis for why mammals have much bigger … Read More

What would the world look like without humans?

Steve Pointing Aug 25, 2015

Despite the best efforts of American dentists and accountants to exterminate lions, giraffes and other large mammals in Africa, the continent still supports the greatest diversity of large mammals today.  The reason for this is not that Africa has a particularly favourable environment for mammalian diversity. Instead new research shows it is because humans have wiped out so many of … Read More

Super mice, robot limbs and more on Dear Science

Steve Pointing Aug 21, 2015

On my Dear Science show on 95 bFM radio this week, I discuss breaking science news stories including the creation of a super mouse in the laboratory, how the brain can control robotic limbs, and a report that New Zealand intertidal skinks use salty snot to osmoregulate! Despite being fiercely opposed to animal experimentation I found the super mouse … Read More

This week on bFM’s Dear Science show

Steve Pointing Aug 13, 2015

The ‘space lettuce’ story has been widely covered this week (see my blog ‘Rocket salad Anyone’ from 11 August), and lets face it few things are less appealing than a 2 day old lettuce – so this week listen to some other science news stories on bFM.  I discuss how new advances in understanding the immune system of bees may … Read More

How to make Auckland a world-class city?

Steve Pointing Aug 13, 2015

A great feature by Jamie Morton in the Herald started this week, looking at Auckland’s potential to be a truly world-class city.  My contribution focuses on the issue of air quality and human health, and in particular the need for an allergen monitoring system.  Catch the Herald article here:http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world-class-auckland-best-city-on-earth-herald/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503861&objectid=11496189Watch the video that accompanies the feature here:http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world-class-auckland-best-city-on-earth-herald/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503861&gal_cid=1503861&gallery_id=153311 … Read More

Rocket salad anyone?

Steve Pointing Aug 12, 2015

I tweeted (@stevepointing) this story yesterday describing how astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) had tucked into their first ‘home grown’ salad in space.  It was also the feature of my interview with Duncan Garner on yesterday’s Radio Live Driveshow.  The obvious joy at having something other than food from a foil pouch was clearly visible among Scott … Read More

Acknowledging the Value and Integrity of Mātauranga Māori in science

Steve Pointing Jul 24, 2015

It has been really rewarding to work with John Perrott and Pare Keiha to articulate our vision on the Value and Integrity of Mātauranga Māori in science. John has written a particularly articulate statement that I reproduce (with his permission) below:Indigenous knowledge is enshrined in New Zealand’s culture and legislation through the Treaty of Waitangi. The importance Māori place on … Read More

A new Earth?

Steve Pointing Jul 24, 2015

NASA announced exciting news today that the Kepler space telescope has identified the most 'earth like' planet to date (http://www.nasa.gov/keplerbriefing0723). So what does this actually mean? and is it really that exciting?This is a breakthrough for ... Read More

Site Meter