Technology

The world is desperate for new antibiotics, and New Zealand’s unique fungi are a source of promising compounds - Hot off the press

Guest Author Sep 10, 2021

Siouxsie Wiles, University of Auckland   While we’re all rightly focused on the COVID-19 pandemic at the moment, the SARS-CoV-2 virus isn’t the only microbial threat we face. Back in 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that within a decade, antibiotic-resistant bacteria could make routine surgery, organ transplantation and cancer treatment life-threateningly risky — and spell the … Read More

Improving ventilation in schools: a key protection against Covid-19 outbreaks and an enduring legacy for healthier learning - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Sep 10, 2021

Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Dr Julie Bennett, Dr Jin Russell, Dr Jennifer Summers, Dr Leah Grout, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson* As much of the country moves down Alert Levels, children are returning to in-person learning with little or no protection against the potential spread of Covid-19 infection in schools. It is therefore critical that ventilation is improved in … Read More

Licensing bonanza in computational life sciences*   - Genomics Aotearoa

Genomics Aotearoa Sep 09, 2021

By Florian Pichlmueller (University of Auckland) and Christina Straub (ESR) . 2min read GPL, MIT, BSD, CC – no they’re not a secret vocabulary, these are in fact acronyms for open source licenses that allow code to be freely used, modified and shared. And there are many more – take a look at the open source initiative to see … Read More

NZ is introducing mandatory record keeping to help contact tracers. But is the data protected enough? - COVID-19

Guest Author Sep 06, 2021

Andrew Chen, University of Auckland   From 11:59pm on Tuesday September 7, every person in Aotearoa New Zealand over the age of 12 will be required to keep a record of their whereabouts, either by scanning QR codes or signing paper registers many businesses and event organisers will have to provide. Mandatory record-keeping is part of an effort to … Read More

Excel autocorrect errors still plague genetic research, raising concerns over scientific rigour - Hot off the press

Guest Author Aug 27, 2021

Mark Ziemann, Deakin University and Mandhri Abeysooriya, Deakin University   Autocorrection, or predictive text, is a common feature of many modern tech tools, from internet searches to messaging apps and word processors. Autocorrection can be a blessing, but when the algorithm makes mistakes it can change the message in dramatic and sometimes hilarious ways. Our research shows autocorrect errors, particularly … Read More

Why rapid genome sequencing is key to finding out how long Delta has been in NZ, and how large this outbreak might be - COVID-19

Guest Author Aug 20, 2021

David Welch, University of Auckland; Jemma Geoghegan, and Nigel French, Massey University   We knew the Delta variant would eventually arrive in Aotearoa, but real-time sequencing, which produces full genomes from positive cases in less than 12 hours, will ensure the lockdown is as short and effective as possible. There are now 21 cases and we can expect more … Read More

New Zealand could take a global lead in controlling the development of ‘killer robots’ — so why isn’t it? - News

Guest Author Aug 20, 2021

Jeremy Moses, University of Canterbury; Geoffrey Ford, University of Canterbury, and Sian Troath, University of Canterbury   “New Zealand versus the killer robots” might sound like a science fiction B-movie, but that was essentially the focus of an event at parliament earlier this month. Hosted by Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control Phil Twyford, the “Dialogue on Autonomous Weapons … Read More

Militaries plunder science fiction for technology ideas, but turn a blind eye to the genre’s social commentary - Guest Work

Guest Author Jul 28, 2021

Will Slocombe, University of Liverpool   Military planning is a complicated endeavour, calling upon experts in logistics and infrastructure to predict resource availability and technological advancements. Long-range military planning, deciding what to invest in now to prepare armed forces for the world in thirty years’ time, is even more difficult. One of the most interesting tools for thinking about future … Read More

Aggressive marketing has driven the rise of the double-cab ute on New Zealand streets — time to hit the brakes? - News

Guest Author Jul 28, 2021

Kirsty Wild, University of Auckland and Alistair Woodward, University of Auckland   “Explore your inner beast.” That was the slogan used last year to sell the Ford Ranger. At 2.4 tonnes, that’s a lot of “light” truck, but the stakes are rising. This year, the 3.5 tonne Ram 1500 “eats utes for breakfast”. Super-sized light trucks have landed in Aotearoa … Read More

How does the Pegasus spyware work, and is my phone at risk? - News

Guest Author Jul 21, 2021

Paul Haskell-Dowland, Edith Cowan University and Roberto Musotto, Edith Cowan University A major journalistic investigation has found evidence of malicious software being used by governments around the world, including allegations of spying on prominent individuals. From a list of more 50,000 phone numbers, journalists identified more than 1,000 people in 50 countries reportedly under surveillance using the … Read More