Guest Work

The ‘Christchurch Call’ is just a start. Now we need to push for systemic change

Guest Author May 17, 2019

Kevin Veale, Massey University The “Christchurch Call” summit has made specific progress, with tech companies and world leaders signing an agreement to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. The question now is how we collectively follow up on its promise. The summit in Paris began with the statement that the white supremacist terrorist attack … Read More

The discovery of a Denisovan jaw bone and what it can tell us

Michael Knapp May 09, 2019

Last week the discovery of a lower jaw bone of a Denisovan hit the headlines all over the world. Denisovans are a now-extinct species of humans that were closely related to us as well as to Neanderthals. To an outside observer, the excitement of researchers about this find might have appeared a bit over the top. After all, Denisovans have … Read More

New Zealand’s urban freshwater is improving, but a major report reveals huge gaps in our knowledge

Guest Author Apr 18, 2019

Troy Baisden, University of Waikato Environment Aotearoa 2019, a major report released today, provides the first snapshot since 2015 of New Zealand’s environment across five “domains” – air, climate, freshwater, land and ocean. This is the first synthesis report produced under environmental reporting legislation that came into effect in 2016. Here, I’ll focus on freshwater … Read More

Taxonomy for Sale to the Highest Bidder

Guest Author Apr 15, 2019

Shaena Montanari Last December, the environmental group Rainforest Trust celebrated its 30th anniversary by auctioning off the rights to name 12 newly discovered species, including orchids, frogs, and an ant. The Virginia-based nonprofit group claimed the auction raised $182,500 for its conservation programs. The most valuable animal turned out to be a wormlike amphibian from Panama, which … Read More

Fighting fungi with feijoa

Guest Author Apr 12, 2019

Dr Andrew Munkacsi Many of us have heard of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, either through the media or perhaps knowing someone who died from such a bacterial infection. Just as there are bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics, there are fungal infections resistant to antifungal drugs.    Fungi are microbial organisms (not visible to the naked eye) that can infect plants, animals and humans. Read More

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A Classic Case of Science “He Said”, “She Said”: How Psychologists Trying to Prevent PTSD Got Controversial

Guest Author Apr 11, 2019

Hilda Bastian Natural disasters have a lot in common with other major traumas, like life-threatening accidents and mass shootings – especially the emotional distress they leave in their aftermath. Hilda Bastian, CC BY-NC-ND. As predictable and common as the psychological distress is, though, what those psychologists should or shouldn’t be doing is still controversial. It’s the centre of … Read More

The replication crisis is good for science

Guest Author Apr 10, 2019

Eric Loken, University of Connecticut Science is in the midst of a crisis: A surprising fraction of published studies fail to replicate when the procedures are repeated. For example, take the study, published in 2007, that claimed that tricky math problems requiring careful thought are easier to solve when presented in a fuzzy font. When researchers found … Read More

Squid team finds high species diversity off Kermadec Islands, part of stalled marine reserve proposal

Guest Author Apr 10, 2019

Kat Bolstad, Auckland University of Technology and Heather Braid, Auckland University of Technology Squids and octopuses could be considered the “parrots of the ocean”. Some are smart, and many have complex behaviours. And, of course, they have strange, bird-like beaks. They are the subject of ancient myths and legends about sea monsters, but they do not … Read More