Science

Are deer the new moa revisited: the MythBusters episode - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Apr 21, 2019

In a rockshelter at the base of a giant two-storey house-sized boulder, Jamie and Janet strike pay dirt. A few centimetres under the floor of this dry overhang are the tell tale signs of a prehistoric megafaunal latrine. We’re going on a moa hunt: bones and coprolites can be found under giant boulders like this one. Photo courtesy of … Read More

Fighting fungi with feijoa - Guest Work

Guest Author Apr 12, 2019

Dr Andrew Munkacsi Many of us have heard of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, either through the media or perhaps knowing someone who died from such a bacterial infection. Just as there are bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics, there are fungal infections resistant to antifungal drugs.    Fungi are microbial organisms (not visible to the naked eye) that can infect plants, animals and humans. Read More

The replication crisis is good for science - Guest Work

Guest Author Apr 10, 2019

Eric Loken, University of Connecticut Science is in the midst of a crisis: A surprising fraction of published studies fail to replicate when the procedures are repeated. For example, take the study, published in 2007, that claimed that tricky math problems requiring careful thought are easier to solve when presented in a fuzzy font. When researchers found … Read More

Slow-slip event off the coast of Gisborne - News

Guest Author Apr 05, 2019

Dr Laura Wallace Scientists have been monitoring a slow-slip event that started in the last week off the east coast near Gisborne. Slow-slip movement model showing direction of movement of GeoNet GPS sites and amount of displacement at the plate boundary. So far we’ve recorded 10-15 cm of movement at the red area. Slow-slip events are quite common in … Read More

A long read, and a tricky jigsaw puzzle - Genomics Aotearoa

Genomics Aotearoa Apr 05, 2019

Peter Dearden Sequencing is an essential part of creating a genome, be it human, stick insect, kākāpō or sheep (all genomes Genomics Aotearoa is currently working on). But what is sequencing, how does it work, and why does it take so long?  And why does it matter to us? Sequencing is a laboratory process where segments of DNA base pairs … Read More

Orbit of the newly-launched R3D2 satellite - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Apr 02, 2019

Last Friday Rocket Lab successfully launched another satellite from the Mahia Peninsula. In this post I describe the satellite’s orbital path, and how it will slowly vary in time over the next week.  Rocket Lab successfully launched another satellite into orbit from the Mahia Peninsula soon after midday last Friday (March 29th), a wonderful achievement. Well done to … Read More

The NZ Aerospace Challenge - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Mar 31, 2019

An open competition soon to start will provide a wonderful opportunity for smart people of any age in New Zealand to take on the challenge of how we might assess water and soil pollution using satellite and drone data. What they might choose to do in attacking such environmental problems is limited only by their imaginations, and technical capabilities. All … Read More

Happy New Year (and a missed Easter) - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Mar 25, 2019

As I write it is March 25th, which was the date of New Year in Great Britain and its colonies until 1752. Indeed, throughout history it was a common date for the start of the civil year in a wide range of European states and principalities, being the traditional date of the vernal equinox, and so the beginning … Read More

Does Earth have a natural prime meridian? - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Mar 20, 2019

We are generally habituated to using the Greenwich meridian as the global standard for mapping and time-keeping, despite it being only 135 years since its adoption. As I show here, if the Catholic Church had adopted in 1582 a more-precise calendar in terms of year length then a natural prime meridian results, in a location that might appear surprising. Read More

On the Shoulders of Giants? - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Mar 16, 2019

Isaac Newton is often thought to be the inventor of the apparently self-deprecating phrase ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’, but he was not: actually it had been in use for over 500 years before he repeated it in 1675. Of more significance is that Newton wrote it in a letter to … Read More