Technology

Upgrade rage: why you may have to buy a new device whether you want to or not - Guest Work

Guest Author Jan 19, 2021

Michael Cowling, CQUniversity Australia We’ve probably all been there. We buy some new smart gadget and when we plug it in for the first time it requires an update to work. So we end up spending hours downloading and updating before we can even play with our new toy. But what happens when we can’t update our gadgets any further? … Read More

Cleansing the Twitters - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Jan 13, 2021

I’m less than convinced by arguments that platforms like Twitter should be subject to common carrier regulation preventing them from being able to decide who to keep on as clients of their free services, and who they would not like to serve. It’s much easier to create competition for the network in this case than it was for Telecom in … Read More

An Australia–NZ travel bubble needs a unified COVID contact-tracing app. We’re not there - COVID-19

Guest Author Dec 14, 2020

Mahmoud Elkhodr, CQUniversity Australia New Zealand’s coronavirus contact-tracing app COVID Tracer was recently revamped. It now uses the Bluetooth-based Google/Apple exposure notification (GAEN) framework. This allows Android and Apple (iOS) devices to communicate via a contact-tracing mechanism built into the devices’ operating systems. Meanwhile, Australia continues to use the COVIDSafe app, which also uses Bluetooth, but with … Read More

Big Eye Wide, But Shut - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Nov 23, 2020

A few days ago the US National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the decommissioning of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. This story has been the subject of items in the mass media around the globe, and also in New Zealand. Cables supporting the massive horns and radio receivers above the dish have snapped, the actual dish surface has been … Read More

SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are about to ruin stargazing for everyone - Guest Work

Guest Author Nov 22, 2020

Samantha Lawler, University of Regina I walk outside my rural Saskatchewan house before dawn and look up, expecting to have my breath taken away by the sheer number of stars overhead. I’m a professional astronomer, but I still appreciate naked-eye stargazing as much as an eager child. This is the first place I’ve lived that’s dark enough to easily see … Read More

New data privacy rules are coming in NZ — businesses and other organisations will have to lift their games - Guest Work

Guest Author Nov 17, 2020

Anca C. Yallop, Auckland University of Technology Most people these days are aware that what they share online is both valuable and vulnerable. Data privacy has become a major concern for consumers and corporations alike. The issue will come to a head when New Zealand’s Privacy Act 2020 comes into force on December 1. The legislation replaces and updates … Read More

How to live in space: what we’ve learned from 20 years of the International Space Station - Guest Work

Guest Author Nov 03, 2020

Alice Gorman, Flinders University and Justin St. P. Walsh, Chapman University The fictional ‘Brick Moon’ was constructed from bricks because they are heat-resistant. NASA November 2 marks 20 years since the first residents arrived on the International Space Station (ISS). The orbiting habitat has been continuously occupied ever since. Twenty straight years of life in space makes the ISS … Read More

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