Griffin's Gadgets

The personal jetpack – who will get there first?

Peter Griffin Dec 10, 2015

It has been a rollercoaster of a year for Martin Jetpack, the innovative Christchurch company that for years has been chipping away on developing a “practical” personal jetpack.  Glenn Martin In June, the company’s founder, Glenn Martin, abruptly quit, seemingly dismayed at the direction the company that bears his name was going in. You see, Martin’s original vision, over 35 … Read More

1 1

Savings on health costs would help offset more ambitious climate pledges

Peter Griffin Dec 09, 2015

The Climate Action Tracker, which involves five independent research organisations analysing the emissions reduction targets of the nations represented at COP21 in Paris has totted up the sums now that 158 climate pledges have been officially tabled. The upshot is that the pledges will result in 2.7 degrees Celsius of temperature rise in 2100, if the governments all met their … Read More

Scientists and fossil fuel subsidies

Peter Griffin Dec 08, 2015

As we progress through week two of the COP21 climate change talks in Paris, fossil fuel subsidies and financing the developing world to lower its carbon emissions have been major talking points. Both involve billions of dollars, pools of investment that appear increasingly at odds with each other as the parties in Paris pursue a deal to combat dangerous climate change. Last … Read More

Four homegrown science media projects worth checking out

Peter Griffin Dec 03, 2015

The Science Communicator’s conference was held in Wellington earlier this week and saw a diverse and impressive range of presentations from New Zealand and Australian science communicators.  I gave a session on the second day of the SCANZ conference showcasing four projects that involve scientists exploring innovative ways to communicate science. All of these projects are only really getting off the … Read More

2015 Research Honours – the winners

Peter Griffin Nov 10, 2015

It’s awards season again for the science sector, kicking off with the Research Honours Dinner tonight in Auckland and to be followed tomorrow by the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes and next week, the Association of Scientists’ Prizes. Some big names among the winners tonight, many of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on various science communication efforts. Congratulations … Read More

Nanogirl snags another accolade for her science communication

Peter Griffin Nov 10, 2015

Another well-deserved win for Sciblogger Dr Michelle Dickinson as she picks up the prestigous Callaghan Medal for her science communication efforts. This latest win, announced tonight at the research Honours Dinner in Auckland, is in addition to the New Zealand Association of Scientists Science Communicator’s Award and the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communicator’s Prize. That amounts to a clean sweep. I … Read More

Oh Canada! The muzzle is coming off scientists

Peter Griffin Oct 22, 2015

Canadian scientists and journalists will be breathing a sigh of relief this week with the change of government in Canada. Justin Trudeau The Harper Government’s protocols governing scientists’ interaction with the media were widely criticised. I remember attending the World Conference of Science Journalists in Qatar a few years back where a session featured a panel of Canadians venting … Read More

Obesity plan gets thumbs down from experts

Peter Griffin Oct 20, 2015

The Government yesterday released details of 22 initiatives, some new, some expansions of existing programmes, that constitute its response to the growing problem of childhood obesity. As expected, there’s no form of fat or sugar tax and no clampdown on marketing of junk food to children. The Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan Voluntary codes and and education campaigns are … Read More

7 2

Everest and groupthink: what went wrong

Peter Griffin Oct 19, 2015

There’s an excellent movie showing in cinemas at the moment that tells the story of an ill-fated 1996 Everest expedition that resulted in the death of expedition leader New Zealander Rob Hall as well as another  guide and two climbers who had paid up to US$65,000 each for the chance to make an attempt on the summit. Rob Hall Everest features breathtaking cinematography (try … Read More

Kiwi rocket scientist gets rare NASA honour

Peter Griffin Oct 13, 2015

His name adorns medals, roads and even a mountain. Now NASA has paid Kiwi rocket scientist, the late Sir William Pickering, a significant tribute, dedicating an auditorium at its iconic Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pickering’s name. In July a ceremony at JPL in Pasadena including staff, dignitaries, former JPL directors and Sir William’s daughter, Beth Pickering Mezitt, celebrated the naming of … Read More