Technology

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

Calling out China for cyberattacks is risky — but a lawless digital world is even riskier - News

Guest Author Jul 21, 2021

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato This week’s multi-country condemnation of cyber-attacks by Chinese state-sponsored agencies was a sign of increasing frustration at recent behaviour. But it also masks the real problem — international law isn’t strong or coherent enough to deal with this growing threat. The coordinated announcement by several countries, including the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, … Read More

Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin: can they be more than ‘space’ joyrides for millionaires? - News

Guest Author Jul 19, 2021

Ian Whittaker, Nottingham Trent University and Gareth Dorrian, University of Birmingham Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and his team successfully flew to the “edge of space” on the Unity 22 mission aboard a Virgin Galactic plane on July 12. The event was hailed as the start of space tourism, narrowly beating the planned launch on 20 July … Read More

Australia and New Zealand are signing up for an international tax on the tech giants — but will it be enough? - News

Guest Author Jul 09, 2021

Victoria Plekhanova, Massey University   Australia, New Zealand and many other countries are losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year by not adequately taxing the profits of digital giants doing business in their jurisdictions. Australia has opted not to impose a digital services tax (DST) on the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber and Airbnb. Meanwhile, … Read More

How a virtual placenta could help with early detection of at-risk babies - Guest Work

Guest Author Jun 25, 2021

Alys Clark, University of Auckland and Jo James, University of Auckland   None of us would be here without our placenta, the remarkable fetal organ that nourished and sustained us before birth. But despite its importance, the placenta is among the least studied organs and we don’t fully understand how it grows and functions. This is problematic, because in one … Read More