Science and Society

Illicit markets and Bali Booze - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Nov 11, 2019

The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail laced with methanol hidden in their drink. Without taste … Read More

How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Nov 10, 2019

There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able to determine the longitude of NZ, and so put these … Read More

1000 of these now - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Nov 09, 2019

Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in a few pictures.) Slow to fall This piece started a … Read More

Public health, externality, and vaccination - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Oct 31, 2019

Paternalism is contentious. Arguments for state action to protect us from ourselves are fraught. I come down pretty heavily on the anti-paternalism side of the argument, but I’ve heard respectable defences of paternalism. But policy around vaccination is hardly paternalistic. There’s a clear market failure that could be pointed to in any sound Regulatory Impact Statement. In a place with … Read More

“Action for Healthy Waterways”: Some big ticket actions that the Government has neglected - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Oct 31, 2019

Prof Nick Wilson, A/Prof George Thomson, A/Prof Simon Hales, Prof Michael Baker The NZ Ministry for the Environment has produced a valuable discussion document with many good ideas for improving the health of waterways in New Zealand. But there are important gaps. In this blog we consider three big-ticket items to include in an integrated strategy to improve our waterways: … Read More

What to do about the Trade In Endangered Species Act - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Brendan Moyle Oct 24, 2019

A discussion document on our TIES legislation was introduced by the Conservation Minister recently. This Act is the main tool we use to as a party of the CITES treaty (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species 1973). The motivation for the proposed changes clearly comes from the dramatic decline in the elephant populations since 2009, generated in large … Read More

Science prizes are still a boys’ club. Here’s how we can change that - Guest Work

Guest Author Oct 22, 2019

Justine Shaw, The University of Queensland and Vanessa Wong, Monash University This year, five of the seven Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science were awarded to women. While this is a welcome development, the great majority of awards and prizes for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Australia still go to men. Our research has identified some of the key … Read More