Guest Work

Explainer: What any country can and can’t do in Antarctica, in the name of science

Guest Author Nov 04, 2018

Julia Jabour, University of Tasmania Antarctica is owned by no one, but there are plenty of countries interested in this frozen island continent at the bottom of the Earth. While there are some regulations on who can do what there, scientific research has no definition in Antarctic law. So any research by a country conducted in or about … Read More

Is It Ethical for Nutrition Scientists to Accept Industry Money?

Guest Author Nov 02, 2018

Ingfei Chen Numerous studies suggest conflicts of interest are damaging nutrition science. But with federal funding in short supply, what’s a researcher to do? For nutrition scientists in academia, career advancement hinges on winning grant money to do research and publishing the results in prestigious journals. There’s stiff competition, however, for limited federal funding. Though the numbers … Read More

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Why New Zealand needs alternatives to 1080

Guest Author Oct 26, 2018

Andrea Byrom Predictably, the public debate about the pest control toxin 1080 has ramped up a notch in recent weeks and months. I say predictably, because it is no surprise to anyone involved in conservation that pest control methods – whatever they might be – are controversial. Such controversy is a global phenomenon, often with polarised debates. Why does such … Read More

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TB or not TB: origin and antiquity of tuberculosis in New Zealand

Guest Author Oct 25, 2018

Dr Michael Knapp Recently, our team at the University of Otago embarked on a quest to identify how and when Tuberculosis (TB) reached New Zealand, by looking for the genetic signature of Tuberculosis bacteria in ancient human and animal remains from across the country. Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease which has been called a “global health emergency” by the World … Read More

Applying insights from the humanities and social sciences to help refine the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

Guest Author Oct 24, 2018

Dr Douglas Van Belle As both a science fiction author and an academic who studies the role science fiction plays as a bridge between science and society, I admit I have more than a passing interest in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life, or SETI. Still, it was something of a surprise when the short paragraph I was writing … Read More

The myth of judging people on their merits

Guest Author Oct 17, 2018

Nancy Longnecker The well-written article entitled ‘Why men don’t believe the data on gender bias in science’ by Alison Coil stimulated this post. Coil points out that gender disparity is about much more than a numbers game and is not necessarily the result of the overt sexual harassment that is at long last being exposed in some industries. Read More

The world’s most ancient alpine songbird

Guest Author Oct 13, 2018

Lucy Dickie We might be well known for being home to the world’s only nocturnal and flightless parrot (especially after an incident a few years ago involving Stephen Fry), but few people probably know that we can also claim the world’s most ancient alpine songbird–the pīwauwau, or rock wren. Rock wren are part of the family Acanthisittidae (the New Zealand … Read More

Novel science communication sees Bird of the Year take on Tinder

Guest Author Oct 10, 2018

Imagine if our MPs used the mobile dating app Tinder to campaign during an election. The media would have a field day! And yet scientists from the University of Otago and the University of Canterbury are using this exact tactic to campaign for the critically-endangered kakī (black stilt) in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition. The … Read More