Guest Work

Coronavirus: the road to vaccine roll-out is always bumpy, as 20th-century pandemics show

Guest Author Sep 26, 2020

Samantha Vanderslott, University of Oxford If you have been following the media coverage of the new vaccines in development for COVID-19, it will be clear that the stakes are high. Very few vaccine trials in history have attracted so much attention, perhaps since polio in the mid-20th century. A now largely forgotten chapter, summer polio outbreaks invoked terror in parents. Read More

Cycling: head injuries ignored because of entrenched macho culture

Guest Author Sep 24, 2020

Howard Hurst, University of Central Lancashire and Jack Hardwicke, University of Winchester Competitive road cycling is a demanding and unique sport. One where crashing is inevitable – especially at the professional level. While the risk of head injury is relatively low in cycling – approximately 5-13% – compared to contact sports such as rugby, the consequences of a … Read More

Arctic sea ice is being increasingly melted from below by warming Atlantic water

Guest Author Sep 24, 2020

Tom Rippeth, Bangor University Arctic sea ice today (white) is covering a much smaller area than in 1980-2010 (orange line). National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, CC BY-SA Each September, scientists like me look out for the point when the Arctic’s meagre summer fizzles out and sea ice begins to grow once more. This point … Read More

Humans ignite almost every wildfire that threatens homes

Guest Author Sep 23, 2020

Nathan Mietkiewicz, National Ecological Observatory Network and Jennifer Balch, University of Colorado Boulder CC BY-ND Summer and fall are wildfire season across the western U.S. In recent years, wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes, forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate and exposed tens of millions to harmful smoke. Wildfires are a natural disturbance for these regions, but when … Read More

Neuralink and You: A Human-AI Symbiosis

Guest Author Sep 21, 2020

Becky Casale Elon Musk reckons his Neuralink brain implant is much more than a medical device–that one day it will drive a symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence. “Good morning! I’m Dr Benedict Egg and I’ll be supervising your Neuralink insertion today. Do you have any questions?” “Yes, Doc. Does it hurt? Will I feel it going … Read More

Euthanasia referendum: How to cut through the emotions

Guest Author Sep 18, 2020

Jacqui Maguire, registered clinical psychologist This podcast episode highlights how difficult it is to have effective conversations about euthanasia due to how polarised people’s views are. I’m a clinical psychologist, with a passion for science communication. In early 2020 I founded the podcast Mind Brew, with an aim to make psychological research accessible for New Zealanders to foster … Read More

New Zealand will make big banks, insurers and firms disclose their climate risk. It’s time other countries did too

Guest Author Sep 18, 2020

Ivan Diaz-Rainey, University of Otago This week’s announcement of mandatory disclosures of climate-related risks for companies and financial institutions is arguably the New Zealand government’s most significant climate policy — even more so than the Zero Carbon Act itself. The new policy will come into effect in 2023. It requires all banks, asset managers and insurance companies with … Read More

Swimming with whales: you must know the risks and when it’s best to keep your distance

Guest Author Sep 11, 2020

Chantal Denise Pagel, Auckland University of Technology; Mark Orams, Auckland University of Technology, and Michael Lueck, Auckland University of Technology Three people were injured last month in separate humpback whale encounters off the Western Australia coast. The incidents happened during snorkelling tours on Ningaloo Reef when swimmers came too close to a mother and her calf. Swim encounters with … Read More

Could academic streaming in New Zealand schools be on the way out? The evidence suggests it should be

Guest Author Sep 11, 2020

David Pomeroy, University of Canterbury; Kay-Lee Jones, University of Canterbury; Mahdis Azarmandi, University of Canterbury, and Sara Tolbert, University of Canterbury Academic streaming in New Zealand schools is still common, but according to recent reports it is also discriminatory and racist. Also known as tracking, setting and ability grouping, streaming has been called a systemic barrier to Māori educational … Read More

‘Compassionate conservation’: just because we love invasive animals, doesn’t mean we should protect them

Guest Author Sep 09, 2020

Kaya Klop-Toker, University of Newcastle; Alex Callen, University of Newcastle; Andrea Griffin, University of Newcastle; Matt Hayward, University of Newcastle, and Robert Scanlon, University of Newcastle On an island off the Queensland coast, a battle is brewing over the fate of a small population of goats. The battle positions the views of some conservation scientists and managers who believe … Read More