Science and Society

Verification will be essential as New Zealanders start using vaccine passes – to stop fraud and the spread of COVID - COVID-19

Guest Author Dec 06, 2021

Andrew Chen, University of Auckland When New Zealand switches to the COVID-19 Protection Framework tomorrow, people will have to present vaccine passes to access many public spaces and venues. At this point, more than 2.4 million people have downloaded their official vaccine passes, which represents almost 70% of the 3.6 million people who are fully vaccinated. The transition will … Read More

Are New Zealand’s universities doing enough to define the limits of academic freedom? - News

Guest Author Nov 26, 2021

Matheson Russell, University of Auckland   The news last week that University of Auckland public health researcher Simon Thornley was retracting a co-authored paper about supposed vaccination risks during pregnancy raised deeper questions about the limits of academic freedom. Thornley’s own head of department had called for the paper to be retracted due to “the anxiety it is creating … Read More

Electric cars alone won’t save the planet. We’ll need to design cities so people can walk and cycle safely - The Changing Climate

Guest Author Nov 19, 2021

Timothy Welch, University of Auckland   At the COP26 climate summit, world politicians patted themselves on their backs for coming to a last-minute agreement. Humanity now waits with bated breath to see if countries implement the commitments they made, and if those commitments help the planet. If the rest of our climate progress mirrors the policies around transportation, we’re … Read More

Worn down by bad news? You’re not alone… - News

Guest Author Nov 19, 2021

Feature image: The weight of the world’s news can be too much. (Shutterstock) Neill Fitzpatrick, MacEwan University In 1983, Canada’s Anne Murray released another hit song. This one, though, was different than what her fans were accustomed to. A Little Good News is a sombre ballad summarizing the mood of the day: “One more sad story’s one … Read More

COVID disinformation and extremism are on the rise in New Zealand. What are the risks of it turning violent? - COVID-19

Guest Author Nov 19, 2021

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato   Last week’s COVID protest outside parliament served as a warning that New Zealand is not immune to the kinds of anger seen overseas. As Labour Party whip Kieran McAnulty put it, “I think everyone needs to be aware that things are starting to escalate.” McAnulty himself had been abused by some … Read More

7 ways to get proactive about climate change instead of feeling helpless: Lessons from a leadership expert - News

Guest Author Nov 15, 2021

Thomas S. Bateman, University of Virginia   Humans do not capitalize nearly enough on our most significant evolutionary advantage: a unique ability to take forward-looking actions that influence the future for the better. Exhibit A: Climate change is here, and things are changing quickly for the worse. However, even as dangerous and costly weather events grow more … Read More

Studies suggest no causal link between young children’s screen time and later symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity - Hot off the press

Guest Author Nov 15, 2021

Maria Corkin, University of Auckland   The possibility that screen time during early childhood could cause poorer attention later in a child’s life is a major concern for both parents and researchers. Earlier studies have suggested links between preschoolers’ screen time and difficulties with attention. But there is by no means consensus among the research community that such a relationship … Read More

How do NZ’s vaccinated teachers have those hard conversations with their anti-vax colleagues? - COVID-19

Guest Author Nov 10, 2021

Paul Heyward, University of Auckland   The news that all staff members at a small King Country school were still unvaccinated a week out from the government’s November 15 mandatory deadline underlines how challenging the weeks ahead might be. Next Monday marks the day teachers will need to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine … Read More

Studying the complex genetics behind hair colour reveals how melanin affects us - Guest Work

Guest Author Nov 09, 2021

Frida Lona Durazo, Université de Montréal   One of the traits that we usually use to physically describe people is their hair colour. Hair is a useful descriptor because it varies so much among us. Melanin is the molecule responsible for the many different hair colour tones. It’s also responsible for the colour of our skin and eyes. We inherit … Read More