Technology

Times to Spot the Space Station - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Feb 19, 2019

It’s easy to see the International Space Station passing overhead: you just need to know when and where to look. Oh, and a clear sky. The International Space Station (ISS) regularly passes across New Zealand, a little more than 400 km above our heads – rather less than the distance between Auckland and Wellington. Most of these transits … Read More

Civilization VI: Gathering Storm shows video games can make us think seriously about climate change - Guest Work

Guest Author Feb 18, 2019

Noam Obermeister, University of Cambridge and Elliot Honeybun-Arnolda, University of East Anglia A new expansion has added environmental challenges to Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, the latest in a popular series of strategy video games that has been running since the 1990s. The expansion – called Gathering Storm – adds new features to the game, most … Read More

The Nelson bush fire: What can satellite images tell us about such events? - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Feb 12, 2019

The ongoing fires in the Nelson-Tasman region have quite rightly provoked much alarm. The response of Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the NZ Police, the NZ Defence Force, and many private individuals, has been magnificent. However, the utilisation of satellite imagery for assessing such fires and then planning and responding is deficient in NZ compared to much of the rest … Read More

Lime E-Scooters – Avoiding a collision course with public health? - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Feb 11, 2019

Prof Janet Hoek, Assoc Prof George Thomson, Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Caroline Shaw Currently introduced in four New Zealand cities, Lime electric scooters (e-scooters) have elicited varied responses. Proponents argue they will help reduce traffic density, thus bringing health and environmental benefits, while critics suggest they risk unacceptable overall harm to pedestrians, users themselves, and to taxpayers, who … Read More

Satellite imagery of the Nelson bush fire - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Feb 09, 2019

The area burnt in the ongoing bush fire in the Nelson-Tasman region, largely around Pigeon Valley near Wakefield, can easily be seen in satellite imagery collected in recent days.  Earth observation satellites frequently cross New Zealand and, clouds allowing, collect imagery of the land and sea below. In later posts I will discuss such data collection in more detail, but … Read More

Satellite Orbits: Global Navigation Systems - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Feb 05, 2019

Apart from the US-provided Global Positioning System (GPS) used by most commercial navigation systems – such as in your car, or mobile phone – there are several distinct networks operated by other space agencies deploying their own satellite fleets. Here I describe the orbits employed by the Russian, European Union and Chinese GNSS constellations. (Part 3 in a series of … Read More

Who spread fake news during the 2016 US election, and whose responsibility is it to stop them? - News

Annika Bess Feb 01, 2019

“Fake news.” Trump drawled during the led up to the 2016 election. You’re probably tired of hearing the phrase, yet he was right; fake news is a concerning issue, but who is its audience? The 2016 US presidential election was fraught with cries of ‘fake news’. As the term was used from almost all political leanings, the question remains: who … Read More

Harry Hindmarsh Atkinson: obituary - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jan 27, 2019

Harry Atkinson in 2012 (courtesy William Tobin). Harry Atkinson was one of those able New Zealanders who went overseas to study, fully intending to return one day to these shores to live, but due to their great success in their adopted homelands never did so. A physicist by training, he moved into science advice and administration in Britain and … Read More

Video games could teach spatial skills lost to a society dependent on devices - Guest Work

Guest Author Jan 22, 2019

Lloyd White, University of Wollongong Video games have long been criticised for encouraging violence and antisocial behaviour. And parents often express concern that they could have detrimental effects on their child’s learning abilities. But research has shown that off-the-shelf video games can also aid learning – particularly when it comes to the development of … Read More