Science and Society

The Chinese coronavirus outbreak: what are the options for vaccines and treatments? - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 22, 2020

By now you’ve probably heard of the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan City, China. The number of cases is rising, up to about 300 with six deaths. Cases have been reported in several more Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in Japan, Thailand, and South Korea. There are also reports of a case in … Read More

Controversy? Or Manufactroversy? - Unsorted

Alison Campbell Jan 22, 2020

A few days ago, New Zealand’s Minister of Education announced the wider release of a resource on climate change, which was initially trialled at a Christchurch school during 2018. According to the Minister, children will learn about “the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response to it and its impacts – globally, nationally … Read More

The emerging coronavirus outbreak in China - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 21, 2020

By now you’ve probably heard of the new virus causing an outbreak of severe pneumonia in China. The question on most people’s minds is, how worried should we be, especially as hundreds of millions of people will soon be travelling across China and beyond to visit family for the Lunar New Year holiday? The situation is changing daily, but … Read More

In Outrage Over Its Bunk Science, Goop Finds Fuel for Growth - Guest Work

Guest Author Jan 16, 2020

Michael Schulson For years, experts have said that Goop, the wellness and lifestyle brand founded by the actor and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow, markets pseudoscience and overblown cures. And for years, despite the criticism, Goop has just kept growing. Now the company, which was valued at $250 million in 2018, seems poised to reach an even larger audience. Last … Read More

Science in the ’20s – part 1 - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Jan 15, 2020

  Outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. That’s a description of the lifestyle of women “flappers” in the 1920s. Could it apply to science (and scientists) in the 2020s? Actually, you could look back at the past decade and see those, or similar terms, used about some science and scientists. Sometimes justifiably, most times not. Looking ahead ten … Read More

The WHO Vaccine Safety Summit – from someone who was actually there - Diplomatic Immunity

Helen Petousis Harris Jan 14, 2020

The conspiracy I saw a new conspiracy theory flying around the other day. According to the conspiracy (that seems to originate from Del Bigtree), the World Health Organization have been ‘caught on camera’ questioning the safety of vaccines. Gosh this sounds as though someone was a mole at a secret meeting and filmed scientists admitting vaccines were … Read More

Who’s afraid of the non-native accent? Everyone … unless you tell them about it - Lippy Linguist

Andreea Calude Jan 07, 2020

As someone who learnt English late-ish in life, I was always on the look-out for signs which betray my foreignness, afraid that my clumsy mispronunciation or syntactic misalignment will give away my outsider status. And for once, sadly, my worries were well-founded it seems. It’s bad, prejudice is rife! In a study published last year, Roessel and her colleagues … Read More

Transitioning - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Dec 31, 2019

Two things you can guarantee at this time of the year. Predictions about the coming year, and days at the beach (only lightly polluted, hopefully). Futures thinking is often seen as identifying the “next big thing” – technology and consumer trends. But that’s surface level futuring. Wave spotting. As a first step in raising awareness of change … Read More

Southern Cross and Pointers Painted Large Across Christchurch - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Dec 25, 2019

Using knowledge of when the Sentinel-1A radar satellite was due to pass over New Zealand, a team at Christ’s College laid out specially-constructed radar retroreflectors across Hagley Park in Christchurch, in that way painting the Southern Cross and the Pointers in a huge array clearly visible in the derived radar image of the city.  A special – but brief – … Read More

Kiwi exoworlds are named - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Dec 20, 2019

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) this year invited nations to propose names for distant stars selected on the basis of having planets (exoplanets) discovered to be orbiting them. The New Zealand entries, now adopted officially by the IAU, are Karaka for the star, and Kererū for its associated exoplanet.  In a previous blog post I described how New Zealanders had … Read More