Technology

Water on the Moon? - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Oct 27, 2020

The space news this week is largely focused on an announcement from NASA regarding the discovery of water on the Moon. Not liquid water – the lunar surface is far too cold for that – but apparently ice deposits in the surface layers in near-polar regions, and perhaps deeper below the surface too. Finding water on the Moon in an … Read More

Science at the movies: The new comet impact film - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Oct 22, 2020

Disaster movies forever capture the public attention… but did you ever stop to think that the word disaster actually means bad star? That is, ‘dis’ implies a pejorative (as in disease, or disgust, or disrespect), while ‘aster’ comes from the Latin astrum, similarly the Greek astron. Obviously enough, this derives from old astrological beliefs. In modern science, asteroids are called that … Read More

Possible inter-satellite collision on Friday - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Oct 14, 2020

Two objects in low-Earth orbit may collide with each other on Friday, in a hyper-velocity impact which would lead to millions of fragments being left on-orbit, each potentially-lethal to functioning satellites. Fingers crossed (not that I am superstitious) that it is a miss, rather than a hit. One local media article is available here. Above I wrote ‘objects’ because … Read More

Treating an infected president - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Oct 04, 2020

News reports indicate that a range of therapies are being tried on the President of the United States to treat his SARS-CoV-2 infection. Two of these involve treatments that have not yet completed clinical trials. One was a cocktail of two neutralising antibodies. The second is an anti-viral drug.   Monoclonal antibodies The president was initially given a single treatment … Read More

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

TikTok suicide video: it’s time platforms collaborated to limit disturbing content - Guest Work

Guest Author Sep 09, 2020

Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández, Queensland University of Technology and D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye, Queensland University of Technology A disturbing video purporting to show a suicide is reportedly doing the rounds on the popular short video app TikTok, reigniting debate about what social media platforms are doing to limit circulation of troubling material. According to media reports, the video first showed up … Read More

Learning from techno-hype - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Sep 07, 2020

There have been several hyped technological developments in the last few weeks. Nothing unusual in that, but they provide useful examples of the need to adopt a critical mindset when considering the significance of developments and trends. Some futurists seem to just scrape the headlines for content without questioning the reports. That just feeds an uncritical … Read More

NZ’s cyber security centre warns more attacks likely following stock market outages - Guest Work

Guest Author Aug 31, 2020

Dave Parry, Auckland University of Technology The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has issued a warning to all New Zealand businesses to be prepared for cyber attacks, following almost a week of daily attacks on the New Zealand stock exchange (NZX). The attacks have caused outages, sometimes for hours, of NZX’s public-facing website since Tuesday last … Read More

Containers for reproducible bioinformatics research - Genomics Aotearoa

Genomics Aotearoa Aug 12, 2020

By Aleksandra Pawlik, Ngoni Faya, Joseph Guhlin, Megan Guidry, Tom Harrop, Dinindu Senanayake Rapid development of computational bioinformatics tools mean we can more easily push research boundaries. However, it comes at a cost. The complexity of the software chain that needs to be installed and configured to run advanced workflows results in researchers spending hours, if not days, trying … Read More