Science and Society

Super cute home robots are coming, but think twice before you trust them - Guest Work

Guest Work Oct 09, 2017

By Cherie Lacey, Victoria University of Wellington and Catherine Caudwell, Victoria University of Wellington (pictured) Following several delays, a new range of social domestic robots is expected to enter the market at the end of this year. They are no ordinary bots. Designed to provide companionship and care, they recognise faces and voices of close family and … Read More

TL;DR: Antiperspirants don’t cause breast cancer - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Oct 07, 2017

Facebook certainly leads me to read papers that I normally wouldn’t.  For whatever reason, a post about deodorants popped up on my feed, from the Wendyl’s Green Goddess page. In the blurb for a sale of products was the following: Conventional products contain aluminium ingredients which have been linked to cancer. Do your skin and body a favour and … Read More

Testing adaptive governance approaches to address New Zealand’s ‘wicked’ environmental problems - Guest Work

Guest Work Oct 06, 2017

By Lisa Sharma-Wallace  Environmental problems today are complicated. Some might even call them ‘wicked’. They involve clashing public perceptions, moving targets, differing stakeholder aspirations, and long-term time-frames, often stretching over generations. They’re also multi-dimensional, including a number of different causes, impacts, parties, and objectives which shift over time. Where do we even begin to address problems like these? Non-linear … Read More

Every Noise at Once: Big data beats - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Oct 05, 2017

This site Every Noise at Once is amazing. Big data identification of all the musical genres and where they sit relative to each other. Here’s the project description: This is an ongoing attempt at an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space, based on data tracked and analyzed for 1536 genres by Spotify. The calibration is fuzzy, but in … Read More

‘Pregnancy isn’t a death event’ – social media’s window to the dark side - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Oct 03, 2017

Today I was on leave and, the weather being bad, thought I’d do a bit of catching up on the news. And so it was that I found, on the Stuff FB page, an item about the (lack of) funding for cutting-edge cancer drugs. So far, so innocuous (although also somewhat sad) – until I read the comments.  For there, I … Read More

This is what happens when you talk to your mother about artificial intelligence - Kidney Punch

John Pickering Oct 03, 2017

I have been chatting with my mother about the headlines around artificial intelligence and my own venture into the field. In this poem she has picked up beautifully, I think, on the idea is that any problems with AI will be because of our own inadequacies as we train the machines.  K.A. Pickering, October 2017   Artificial Intelligence  Artificial Intelligence … Read More

Laptops in lectures - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Oct 02, 2017

I type much more quickly than I write (some would argue, also more legibly). But when I’m taking notes in meetings, I do it with a (very old-fashioned) fountain pen & notebook. The reason is that this makes me filter what I’m writing, so that only the relevant points make it onto paper.  And this is why I’m actually somewhat … Read More

Teams, collaborations, lone wolves, and cranks - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Oct 01, 2017

Jeremy Farrar, the director of the London-based biomedical research charity the Wellcome Trust, has written an opinion piece in the Guardian newspaper espousing the value of (international) collaborations in the face of Brexit, Britain proposed exit from the European Union. Farrar rightfully highlights the importance of collaborations. Collaboration can be essential for many types of work, and direct interactions … Read More

Immigration policy and emissions targets - The Dismal Science

Michael Reddell Oct 01, 2017

I’ve written a few posts in recent months about the connections between our immigration policy – materially boosting our population growth rate – and New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions (for example here and here).  New Zealand is unusual because, as the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has highlighted: • we have a fairly high rate of trend population growth, … Read More

Kia ora: how Māori borrowings shape New Zealand English - Lippy Linguist

Andreea Calude Sep 29, 2017

New Zealand English is one of the youngest dialects of English. It exhibits a number of unique features and the use of words from the indigenous Māori language is probably the most salient and easily recognisable one. In our latest research, we found that the process by which Māori words are most frequently borrowed resembles the Darwinian concept of … Read More