Science and Society

Christmas without lockdowns, despite contrary views - Lately, In Science

Sarah-Jane O'Connor Dec 24, 2020

Heading into Christmas in Aotearoa this year feels like living in a parallel universe. Tomorrow Kiwis will celebrate Christmas without thinking much about COVID-19, if at all. No tallying how many people are allowed to dinner, worrying about getting granny sick, or having immunocompromised loved ones stuck home alone. At last count, there are 49 cases of COVID-19 in … Read More

Greenwashing: The New Brainwashing - Tuhia ki te rangi

Guest Author Dec 23, 2020

Libby Kennedy In a world of metal straws, keep cups and electric cars, everyone is on the hunt for the most eco-friendly products to help reduce their environmental impact. Many corporate companies have noticed this and are now advertising to this new green-minded demographic. Unfortunately, it is very common to see a discrepancy between the green claims advertised by … Read More

How to keep COVID-19 at bay during the summer holidays — and help make travel bubbles a reality in 2021 - COVID-19

Guest Author Dec 22, 2020

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury and Alex James, University of Canterbury Recent announcements on travel bubbles and quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia from early next year will be welcome news for whānau and friends as well as businesses and the tourism industry. But as the prime minister made clear, the travel bubble will be contingent on the … Read More

Wasps are forever? The potential to eliminate an invasive pest in New Zealand; permissions withstanding - Genomics Aotearoa

Genomics Aotearoa Dec 21, 2020

By Gemma McLaughlin, University of Otago PhD candidate Invasive social wasps have long plagued New Zealand’s beech forests and suburbs. Now, a  genetic technology holds the potential to stop such wasps in their tracks. But one major issue lurks: are scientists even allowed to explore this option? New Zealand summers are a great thing. We have our kiwi classics: … Read More

Not just complacency: why people are reluctant to use COVID-19 contact-tracing apps - COVID-19

Guest Author Dec 21, 2020

Farkhondeh Hassandoust, Auckland University of Technology Last week’s announcement of two new COVID-19 vaccine pre-purchase deals is encouraging, but doesn’t mean New Zealanders should become complacent about using the NZ COVID Tracer app during the summer holidays. The immunisation rollout won’t start until the second quarter of 2021, and the government is encouraging New Zealanders to continue using … Read More

The El Niño/Southern oscillation and the rise and fall of the Incan Empire - Tuhia ki te rangi

Guest Author Dec 21, 2020

Alex Matheson What do sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean have to do with the rise and fall of one of the greatest pre-modern civilisations? Read on – you might be surprised! The Incan Empire The Incan Empire was, at the height of its power, the largest in North or South America. By the time of the Spanish conquest … Read More

Great conjunctions and the star/comet of Bethlehem - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Dec 20, 2020

There have been many articles in the mass media about the ‘Great Conjunction’ between Jupiter and Saturn that will occur on December 21st. Some of them have been good, and informative. Many have been fairly poor. Others have been… well, weird. Some writers have imagined that there is something vitally significant about the conjunction (the close approach to each other … Read More

Covid-19 and the Science Media Centre - News

Katherine Hurst Dec 18, 2020

“Always expect the unexpected” could be the Science Media Centre’s motto, but 2020 has proven more unexpected than most years. The novel coronavirus spread through all aspects of the SMC’s work: queries from journalists, media briefings, expert reactions to breaking news, and distributing recent scientific research through the Scimex website. Even the SMC’s … Read More