Science and Society

New Zealanders’ population choices - The Dismal Science

Michael Reddell May 20, 2017

The other day Statistics New Zealand released the annual data on New Zealand birth rates.  There was some coverage of the continuing drop in teen birth rates (it was what SNZ highlighted), but the chart that caught my eye was this one.     I’d been under the impression that New Zealand’s birth rate was at, or just … Read More

Maybe we can, but should we? Deciding whether to bring back extinct species - Guest Work

Guest Work May 19, 2017

Gwenllian Iacona, The University of Queensland and Iadine Chadès, CSIRO De-extinction – the science of reviving species that have been lost – has moved from the realm of science-fiction to something that is now nearly feasible. Some types of lost mammals, birds or frogs may soon be able to be revived through de-extinction technologies. Read More

ChildSmile – a complement, not an alternative, to fluoridation - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott May 18, 2017

Local antifluoride activists are busy presenting ChildSmile and similar programmes as alternatives to fluoridation. They aren’t – and New Zealand District health Boards already operate elements of these programmes where they consider them effective. I am currently dealing with family issues so am reposting this article, “ChildSmile dental health – its pros and cons” from September 2015.   There is … Read More

Antimicrobial resistance – what does it mean for NZ? - News

John Kerr May 17, 2017

We may be a small country tucked away in the South Pacific, but that doesn’t mean New Zealand is immune to the global problem of ‘superbugs’, warns a new report.  A new evidence paper from the Royal Society Te Apārangi sums up the current knowledge on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in New Zealand and outlines efforts underway to prevent the … Read More

Fluoridation helps protect adult teeth as well as children’s - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott May 16, 2017

Recent research reveals that community water fluoridation benefits adults as well as children. While research into the effects of fluoridation in adults started earlier than for children, early studies suffered from a lack of information on effects of socioeconomic status and other confounding factors.  Recent studies with adults have been more robust but there is still some confusion – especially since … Read More

How to tell the difference between fact and fiction on a ‘post-truth’ internet - The Psychology Report

Sarb Johal May 16, 2017

“Right now we have a health hazard to democratic functioning.” Those are the words of Professor Sam Wineberg of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University in the United States, my guest on this edition of The Psychology Report.  You can listen to the original podcast here, as well as reading our conversation below.   Professor … Read More

Distrust of experts happens when we forget they are human beings - Guest Work

Guest Work May 15, 2017

By Rod Lamberts, Australian National University In 2016, conservative, pro-Brexit, British politician Michael Gove announced that people in England “…have had enough of experts with organisations from acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong”. In the US, Donald Trump famously doesn’t believe any expert who doesn’t agree with … Read More

The importance of accurate science reporting - Guest Work

Jean Balchin May 14, 2017

“Science values detail, precision, the impersonal, the technical, the lasting, facts, numbers and being right. Journalism values brevity, approximation, the personal, the colloquial, the immediate, stories, words and being right now. There are going to be tensions.” – Quentin Cooper, of BBC Radio 4’s Material World. Open up Facebook or scroll through Twitter … Read More

Fluoridation: the truth about heavy metal contamination - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott May 12, 2017

Anti-fluoride activists going on about contaminants in drinking water due to fluoridation have it all wrong. If they avoided their knee-jerk, chemophobic reactions to certificates of analysis and did some calculations they would realise they are making a fuss about absolutely nothing. I am currently absorbed in dealing with family issues at the moment so am reposting this article, “Chemophobic … Read More

NZ scientists leading de-extinction discussion - News

John Kerr May 11, 2017

If we could resurrect an extinct species like the moa or the mammoth, how would it fare out in the big bad world? This week the journal Functional Ecology published a special feature series on the ecology of de-extinction, including a number of articles by New Zealand authors. Sciblogs has dived into the de-extinction discussion with a special miniseries on de-extinction … Read More