Science

Colour vision - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Dec 10, 2018

We’ve known for a while that child number 1 (male) is red-green colour blind. This comes as no surprise – with his maternal grandfather being the same. The genes responsible lurk on the X-chromosome. That means his mother is a carrier of red-green colour blindness, and child number 1 had a 50:50 chance of picking up her faulty X-chromosome.  It … Read More

Sentinels of change: prehistoric penguin species raise conservation conundrum - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Nov 27, 2018

Fossil hunting along the rugged and beautiful Wairarapa coastline is a dangerous exercise. Prevail against the harsh winds that blow you off your feet and fossil penguins will be your reward – prehistoric nuggets of gold from a lost world that is only now yielding its secrets. Risking life and limb: At the rugged Te Kaukau Point, bones of … Read More

Hydrophobic cabbage - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Nov 26, 2018

Saturday afternoon saw a break in the rain, and I was able to get out into the garden. The first thing I did was to harvest a red cabbage for dinner. The nice bit of the cabbage is the tightly rolled leaves in the middle, but surrounding that are a whole lot of larger leaves, which I removed and left … Read More

Biological variability and Pakistani batting collapses - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Nov 21, 2018

So, yesterday we had our Science Communication students looking at social media and blogging in particular. Alison Campbell and I talked through what makes a good science blog, and the students got to explore sciblogs.co.nz and look for themselves*.  In the coming week, the students need to put up a blog entry themselves. (I’m afraid these will be private … Read More

Colonising Mars means contaminating Mars – and never knowing for sure if it had its own native life - Guest Work

Guest Author Nov 20, 2018

David Weintraub, Vanderbilt University The closest place in the universe where extraterrestrial life might exist is Mars, and human beings are poised to attempt to colonise this planetary neighbour within the next decade. Before that happens, we need to recognise that a very real possibility exists that the first human steps on the Martian surface will lead … Read More

Cell phones give you cancer. Yeah, right. - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Nov 15, 2018

It’s been a couple of weeks since the NIH studies on mice, rats and cellphones hit the headlines.  The studies were released with perfect timing to be used in our Science Communication paper – a third-year level paper for science undergraduates on communicating science ideas well. In short, we had half the class look at what mainstream media said about … Read More

What and why is Genomics Aotearoa? - Genomics Aotearoa

Peter Dearden Nov 02, 2018

This is the first posting of a blog provided by members of the newly formed New Zealand research organisation; Genomics Aotearoa (GA). GA is an MBIE platform to improve the use of genomics and bioinformatics in New Zealand, and part of what we do it talking about what might be able to be achieved with these sciences. Why should you … Read More

TB or not TB: origin and antiquity of tuberculosis in New Zealand - Guest Work

Guest Author Oct 25, 2018

Dr Michael Knapp Recently, our team at the University of Otago embarked on a quest to identify how and when Tuberculosis (TB) reached New Zealand, by looking for the genetic signature of Tuberculosis bacteria in ancient human and animal remains from across the country. Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease which has been called a “global health emergency” by the World … Read More

Applying insights from the humanities and social sciences to help refine the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence - Guest Work

Guest Author Oct 24, 2018

Dr Douglas Van Belle As both a science fiction author and an academic who studies the role science fiction plays as a bridge between science and society, I admit I have more than a passing interest in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life, or SETI. Still, it was something of a surprise when the short paragraph I was writing … Read More