Science and Society

Auckland is the world’s ‘most liveable city’? Many Māori might disagree - News

Guest Author Jun 17, 2021

Ella Henry, Auckland University of Technology   While I am always happy to celebrate any accolades my country and city might garner on the international stage, seeing Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau awarded the top ranking in a recent “most liveable cities” survey left me somewhat flummoxed. In particular, I would argue that many Māori whānau in Auckland do not enjoy … Read More

Proceed to your nearest (virtual) exit: gaming technology is teaching us how people respond to emergencies - Hot off the press

Guest Author Jun 15, 2021

Ruggiero Lovreglio, Massey University   Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) aren’t just for gaming anymore, they’re also proving to be useful tools for disaster safety research. In fact, they could save lives. Around the world, natural and human-made disasters such as earthquakes, bushfires and terrorist attacks threaten substantial economic loss and human life. My research review looked … Read More

The COVID-19 lab leak theory highlights a glaring lack of global biosecurity regulation - COVID-19

Guest Author Jun 15, 2021

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato   The revived debate over whether COVID-19 could be the result of an accidental release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology may never be adequately resolved. Either way, we risk not seeing the wood for the trees. While the World Health Organization (WHO) reported in February such a leak was “extremely unlikely”, it … Read More

Friday essay: a rare bird — how Europeans got the black swan so wrong - Guest Work

Guest Author Jun 11, 2021

David Haworth, Monash University   The black swan is an Australian icon. The official emblem of Western Australia, depicted in the state flag and coat-of-arms, it decorates several public buildings. The bird is also the namesake for Perth’s Swan River, where the British established the Swan River Colony in 1829. The swan’s likeness has featured on stamps, sporting team … Read More

As more climate migrants cross borders seeking refuge, laws will need to adapt - The Changing Climate

Guest Author Jun 11, 2021

Katharine M. Donato, Georgetown University; Amanda Carrico, University of Colorado Boulder; and Jonathan M. Gilligan, Vanderbilt University   Climate change is upending people’s lives around the world, but when droughts, floods or sea level rise force them to leave their countries, people often find closed borders and little assistance. Part of the problem is that today’s laws, regulations and … Read More

The Irish lough that offers a window into the deep sea - Hot off the press

Guest Author Jun 11, 2021

James Bell, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington; Rob McAllen, University College Cork, and Valerio Micaroni, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington   Deeper than most scuba divers can safely work and above where most underwater robots are designed to descend lie some of the most poorly studied ecosystems in the world. Between 30 and 150 … Read More

How virus detectives trace the origins of an outbreak – and why it’s so tricky - COVID-19

Guest Author Jun 08, 2021

Marilyn J. Roossinck, Penn State   Every time there is a major disease outbreak, one of the first questions scientists and the public ask is: “Where did this come from?” In order to predict and prevent future pandemics like COVID-19, researchers need to find the origin of the viruses that cause them. This is not a trivial task. The … Read More

What would sustainable tourism really mean for New Zealand? Let’s ask the river - Hot off the press

Guest Author Jun 08, 2021

Jason Paul Mika, Massey University and Regina Scheyvens, Massey University   Excitement among Cook Islands tourism operators and officials at the opening of quarantine-free travel with Aotearoa New Zealand was understandable. The impact of the pandemic on the island nation’s economy has been massive and will be felt for a long time. But it wasn’t long before a local … Read More

We performed magic tricks on birds to see how they perceive the world - Hot off the press

Guest Author Jun 04, 2021

Elias Garcia-Pelegrin, University of Cambridge   Magic tricks can teach us about how the brain works. Magic capitalises on very specific blind spots in people’s attention and perception so the techniques that magicians use to trick audiences are particularly interesting to psychologists like me. Misdirection, for example, relies on the control of the audience’s attention to fool them. A … Read More

Rugby, concussions and duty of care: why the game is facing scrutiny - Guest Work

Guest Author Jun 04, 2021

Seema Patel, Nottingham Trent University   There’s growing concern about concussion-related injuries in contact sports like rugby and American football. Several high-profile collisions between participants and a growing body of research about their impact have drawn attention to the adequacy of the safety protocols in place to protect players. Since 2020, the debate has taken a … Read More