Code for life

Glyphosate is to go back to trial

Grant Jacobs Oct 13, 2018

Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos[1] has written a Tentative Ruling that glyphosate is to go back to trial. I’m not a lawyer, but her ruling looks pretty damning. Let’s have a look at what it says. What’s a Tentative Ruling? Tentative rulings are preliminary indications of rulings ahead of the final ruling. (Lawyers indicate these tentative rulings rarely differ substantially … Read More

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A foil to the populist scourge: towards a Science Commission for New Zealand?

Grant Jacobs Sep 24, 2018

While writing about the demise of Jacqueline Rowarth’s role as head of the New Zealand Environment Protection Agency (NZ EPA), Peter Griffin (former head of the Science Media Centre) also covers progress towards a NZ Science Commission. His piece provides an useful opportunity to revisit this initiative, raised during the election, and how it seems to be going sideways since. Read More

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Sticky thoughts on where research can most effectively influence policy

Grant Jacobs Aug 30, 2018

New Zealand’s Chief Science Advisor (CSA), Professor Juliet Gerrard, has been asking where research can most effectively influence policy – one post-it note at a time, (Posted 21st August ~10:45pm, NZST; click on image to open tweet.) The comments after this piece are open for readers to offer their thoughts on where science should best influence policy. Please do! … Read More

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Food Evolution – screening at Queenstown August 31st

Grant Jacobs Aug 27, 2018

Food Evolution, the movie, is screening at Queenstown at the end of the month. If you’re in the area, check it out. It’s free: you just have to register at EventBrite. The screening and panel discussion is in the Clancy’s Meeting Room, Level 5, Rydges Lakeland Resort, from 7pm on Fri. 31 August. The film is narrated by well-known science communicator … Read More

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Newspaper warns of human-induced climate change in 1912

Grant Jacobs Aug 17, 2018

We’ve had more than 100 years of warnings of human-induced climate change now. It’s nearer 200 years, really. Before records were taken they would be extrapolations rather than observations. Extrapolations are harder for those outside of science to trust, but extrapolations are part of what science does. Looking to where things might go is useful. This pithy, insightful newspaper article … Read More

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USA Court ruling on glyphosate— the role of IARC and Eugenie Sage’s call

Grant Jacobs Aug 13, 2018

A lot has been said about a recent court case ruling about Monsanto’s Roundup. Let’s look just at the role of IARC and Eugenie Sage’s call for the New Zealand Environment Protection Agency (NZ EPA) review their stance on Roundup. The role IARC seems to be very little understood. Many media reports (worldwide) on this court case offer a throw-away … Read More

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The ‘Impossible Burger’ is not genetically modified

Grant Jacobs Jul 06, 2018

In the New Zealand media and social media people are talking about this genetically modified ‘Impossible Burger’. Except it’s not. Sorry everyone, but it really isn’t genetically modified. What was genetic engineered is a yeast that makes one of the ingredients used in the ‘Impossible Burger’. It’s just a different way of making that ingredient. The ingredient is the same … Read More

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‘Fake author’ papers opposing HPV vaccine retracted, editor’s defence

Grant Jacobs May 28, 2018

‘Fake author’ papers opposing HPV vaccine by ‘Lars Andersson’ are being retracted. The editor of one of the papers has offered an extraordinary defence, railing at the Karolinska Institute. Earlier this month I wrote about a research opinion piece claiming that the HPV vaccine increases cervical cancer in some patients. Among the faults of the comment article were that the … Read More

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Apple boards bendy once again

Grant Jacobs May 26, 2018

As you age history repeats itself. Anyone over about 30 will know what I mean. Today I was reading over at ArsTechnica how some of the Apple 6 phones were bendier than earlier models, and Apple knew it. The writer reports, These touchscreen-controlling chips became unseated from the logic board due to bending and flexing with normal use. Back … Read More