Guest Work

What does ‘academic freedom’ mean in practice? Why the Siouxsie Wiles and Shaun Hendy employment case matters

Guest Author Jan 14, 2022

Jack Heinemann, University of Canterbury   Two high-profile University of Auckland academics raised important questions about academic freedom with their complaint to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) that their employer had failed its duty of care to them. Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles and Professor Shaun Hendy have become well known for their work explaining the science behind COVID-19 and … Read More

The stomach moves to a rhythm of gentle contractions. Any change can be an early signal of gastric disease

Guest Author Dec 21, 2021

Peng Du, University of Auckland and Peikai Zhang, University of Auckland Our stomach is a wonderful organ that turns what we eat into the nutrients and energy we need to maintain our health. At first glance, it might appear as a simple extendable muscular bag, but it has many sophisticated divisions of labour and functions that continue to puzzle researchers. Read More

Autistic people need a greater say in where NZ’s autism research funding is spent – here’s a way forward

Guest Author Dec 07, 2021

Lisa Marie Emerson, University of Canterbury Research has tremendous potential to help the estimated 93,000 autistic New Zealanders live the lives they want to live. The trouble is, funding for autism research is currently skewed away from the areas autistic people themselves say would be most useful. When asked what future autism research should be prioritised, autistic people and … Read More

Studying the complex genetics behind hair colour reveals how melanin affects us

Guest Author Nov 09, 2021

Frida Lona Durazo, Université de Montréal   One of the traits that we usually use to physically describe people is their hair colour. Hair is a useful descriptor because it varies so much among us. Melanin is the molecule responsible for the many different hair colour tones. It’s also responsible for the colour of our skin and eyes. We inherit … Read More

Students are told not to use Wikipedia for research. But it’s a trustworthy source

Guest Author Nov 05, 2021

Rachel Cunneen, University of Canberra and Mathieu O’Neil, University of Canberra   At the start of each university year, we ask first-year students a question: how many have been told by their secondary teachers not to use Wikipedia? Without fail, nearly every hand shoots up. Wikipedia offers free and reliable information instantly. So why do teachers almost universally distrust it? … Read More

Standing on one leg is a sign of good health – and practising is good for you too

Guest Author Oct 07, 2021

Dawn Skelton, Glasgow Caledonian University Research shows that people’s ability to stand on one leg is an indicator of health and that getting better at standing on one leg can add to fitness and potentially lifespan. Being able to stand on one leg is linked to increased levels of physical activity and decreased risk of falls and is … Read More

How rainbow colour maps can distort data and be misleading

Guest Author Oct 07, 2021

Philip Heron, University of Toronto; Fabio Crameri, University of Oslo, and Grace Shephard, University of Oslo   The choice of colour to represent information in scientific images is a fundamental part of communicating findings. However, a number of colour palettes that are widely used to display critical scientific results are not only dangerously misleading, but also unreadable to a proportion … Read More

Why you shouldn’t make a habit of doing a ‘just in case’ wee — and don’t tell your kids to either

Guest Author Sep 21, 2021

Jennifer King, University of Sydney   We’ve all done a quick “just in case” wee before heading out or because we’re passing the bathroom. If you’re a parent, you might have also told the kids to “do a wee now so we don’t have to find a toilet later.” Doing a “just in case” wee isn’t a problem if it’s … Read More