Science and Society

Mosquito-borne diseases more likely to reach New Zealand - Infrequently Asked Questions

Lynley Hargreaves Nov 02, 2017

It’s a familiar New Zealand story, the havoc wrecked by all the pest species we’ve brought in. But in the case of mosquitoes, the worst might be yet to come. There were 12 mostly bird-nibbling mosquito species in pre-European times. Since our arrival, three new species have become permanently established here. We’ve stopped dozens more at our … Read More

October ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott Nov 02, 2017

Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for October 2017. Of course, Statcounter has decided to change their format and this has caused a headache this month. Every time this happens it screws up the existing methods for automatically downloading the statistics. I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site … Read More

What do we know about how young women think about food at school? - The Psychology Report

Sarb Johal Nov 02, 2017

In this episode of the Psychology Report, I talk to Dr. Eva Neely, a lecturer at the School of Public Health at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. She has done some groundbreaking research on the social health meanings of food for youth in schools – which is a step away from the usual health-focused approach used when trying to … Read More

Earth Microbiome Project: crowd-sourcing the world’s bacteria - News

John Kerr Nov 02, 2017

A genetic database of over 27,000 bacterial samples from around the world – including New Zealand – will keep researchers busy for years to come. Cataloging the bacterial diversity of the entire planet? Given that microbes are basically everywhere, this seems like an impossible task. But an international team of researchers is taking on the challenge. The Earth Microbiome … Read More

Auckland botanist inspires science award name change - Griffin's Gadgets

Peter Griffin Nov 01, 2017

The New Zealand Association of Scientists this evening presented their annual awards in Wellington, honouring some of the country’s top researchers with a suite of prestigeous medals. Dr Lucy Cranwell See full details of the winners below. One nice surprise was to see the Association’s science communicator’s medal, which has been won in recent years by scientists including Michelle Dickinson, … Read More

Walking and cycling for transport is good for physical activity levels in Kiwis! - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Oct 31, 2017

By Dr Caroline Shaw, University of Otago.  Physical activity is good for health. Higher levels of physical activity are associated with reduced rates of breast and colon cancer, better mental health, lower obesity rates, lower heart disease, stroke (the list goes on). This blog looks at a new study we just published that found that New Zealanders who walk … Read More

Asking the government for information - Honest Universe

Mark Hanna Oct 31, 2017

You have the right to ask the government for information. Because of a law called the Official Information Act (OIA), they’re obliged to give it to you unless there is a good reason not to. You’ve likely seen the OIA mentioned in the news. Phrases like “Documents released to [news outlet] under the Official Information Act” can often be found … Read More

Five ideas for reforming mental health care in New Zealand - The Psychology Report

Sarb Johal Oct 30, 2017

The first article in this short series looked at the scale and scope of the problem of increasing mental health related presentations in New Zealand. In that first article, I argued that ‘Capitalism with a Human Face’ can take its place in altering the settings of the economy in favour of the experience of those who live and work in it, … Read More

When to kick out a professor - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Oct 27, 2017

(Or a taught course, or department.) Reading about the latest retraction of a Shaw and Tomljenovic research paper on aluminium (with two ‘i’s!) and vaccines, I was reminded of topics I’ve ruminated on in the past: when to investigate a professor, and when do they no longer justify their position? What criteria might we use? What are the hallmarks … Read More

New fluoride debate falters - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott Oct 26, 2017

What is it with these anti-fluoride campaigners – and particularly their leaders? They make a song and dance about having “science on their side.” They will heavily promote the latest research and papers if they can argue that they confirm their bias. And they will email politicians or make submissions to local bodies making scientific claims – often with citations and long lists of references. Read More