Science

Small asteroid to make near-miss of Earth in NZ skies tonight - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Sep 24, 2020

Sorry for the late notice on this one, but I only just heard myself, in common with most of the human race. A small asteroid, somewhere between the size of a truck and the size of a house in dimensions, will hurtle past the Earth tonight, dipping closer to our planet’s surface than the altitude at which TV transmission and … Read More

Neuralink and You: A Human-AI Symbiosis - Guest Work

Guest Author Sep 21, 2020

Becky Casale Elon Musk reckons his Neuralink brain implant is much more than a medical device–that one day it will drive a symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence. “Good morning! I’m Dr Benedict Egg and I’ll be supervising your Neuralink insertion today. Do you have any questions?” “Yes, Doc. Does it hurt? Will I feel it going … Read More

From adenoviruses to RNA: the pros and cons of different COVID vaccine technologies - COVID-19

Guest Author Sep 18, 2020

Suresh Mahalingam, Griffith University and Adam Taylor, Griffith University The World Health Organisation lists about 180 COVID-19 vaccines being developed around the world. Each vaccine aims to use a slightly different approach to prepare your immune system to recognise and fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, we can group these technologies into five main types. Some technology … Read More

COVID-19 is not the only infectious disease New Zealand wants to eliminate, and genome sequencing is a crucial tool - COVID-19

Guest Author Sep 15, 2020

Nigel French, Massey University Genome sequencing — the mapping of the genetic sequences of an organism — has helped track the spread of COVID-19 cases in Auckland, but it also plays an important role in the control of other infectious diseases in New Zealand. One example is Mycoplasma bovis, a global cattle disease New Zealand also hopes to … Read More

10 years since the Darfield earthquake rocked New Zealand: what have we learned? - Guest Work

Guest Author Sep 04, 2020

Mark Quigley, University of Melbourne Many of us may remember the magnitude 6.2 earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand, on February 22 2011. The quake caused 185 deaths, thousands of injuries and billions of dollars in damage and economic loss. But six months before that earthquake an interconnected maze of previously unidentified active faults ruptured beneath … Read More

Bad light stopped play - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Aug 26, 2020

One of the top challenges for physics in the modern era, along with Climate Change and explaining Dark Energy, has to be fixing the problem of bad light*. (I’m talking cricket – what else?) It’s a quintessentially English problem. It’s not raining, the pitch is perfectly playable, the spectators (COVID-19 notwithstanding) are enjoying themselves, but the umpires bring the … Read More

Why New Zealand needs to focus on genome sequencing to trace the source of its new COVID-19 outbreak - COVID-19

Guest Author Aug 14, 2020

David Welch Genetic surveillance — a technology that uses the genetic fingerprint of a virus to track its spread — is part of the public health response to New Zealand’s new COVID-19 community outbreak and could help pinpoint its source. There are now 17 cases of community transmission, all in Auckland, and health officials are treating the group as a … Read More

How genome sequencing could crack the case of the NZ Covid comeback - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Aug 13, 2020

The novel coronavirus mutates as it travels between people and around the world. By sequencing the genome, we can try to work out which case is linked with another. As Aotearoa confronted its first cases of Covid-19 community transmission in more than 100 days, the director general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, raised genome sequencing – something which “may help us … Read More