Guest Work

Social media must confront its role in terrorism

Guest Author Mar 22, 2019

Dr Paul Ralph By live-streaming the Christchurch mosque shooting, Facebook has drawn our collective attention, once again, to the role of social media in mass shootings and terrorism. Each time something like this happens, the tech giants claim to be doing everything they can, the tech pundits bemoan the problem as intractable, and the politicians fail … Read More

Extremism is not a mental illness

Guest Author Mar 20, 2019

Shaun Robinson, Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand Following Friday’s appalling terrorist attack, the Mental Health Foundation has been disappointed but unsurprised to see some people speculating the terrorist must have been mentally ill. We understand why it’s comforting to think this. We all want to think the terrorist is an outlier, an outsider, different to us. We … Read More

How birds become male or female, and occasionally both

Guest Author Mar 13, 2019

Jenny Graves, La Trobe University The highly unusual “semi-identical” Australian twins reported last week are the result of a rare event. It’s thought the brother and sister (who have identical genes from their mother but not their father) developed from an egg fertilised by two different sperm at the same moment. In humans, it’s the sperm that … Read More

Pleading for accuracy in trial reporting

Guest Author Mar 12, 2019

Dr Julia Rucklidge A recently-published trial generated headlines about nutritional supplements and depression – but what did they actually find? Last week, Mariska Bot and colleagues published a clinical trial in JAMA whereby they randomised overweight or obese adults with subsyndromal depressive symptoms to placebo, micronutrients (400 mcg folic acid, 800IU vitamin D, 30 mcg selenium, 100 mg … Read More

Context is best – a reflection on last week’s breast vs bottle uproar

Guest Author Mar 11, 2019

Dr Eva Neely Last week clinical psychologist Dr Natalie Flynn was interviewed about the new release of her parenting book Smart Mothering. In her book, she draws on scientific literature to provide parents with the up-to-date, state of the art research on varying parenting practices, one topic being infant feeding. Though the intentions sit in the right place, … Read More

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The Dawn of the Age of Plastics

Guest Author Feb 28, 2019

David Taylor The 1939 World’s Fair was a testament to cork’s primacy in consumer packaging. But a little-known substance called plastic was waiting in the wings. In the closing months of World War II, Americans talked nonstop about how and when the war would end, and about how life was about to change. Germany would fall soon, people … Read More

What’s in a name?

Guest Author Feb 27, 2019

Megan Shaffer Identifying species is not as easy as it seems. Animals are generally distinguished from one another based on differences in their appearances. Generally, organisms that look the same and share similar characteristics are named the same species, and organisms that look different are classified as different species. Though seemingly simple, identifying species based on what they look like … Read More

Remembering the Christchurch earthquake eight years on

Guest Author Feb 22, 2019

Today is the eighth anniversary of the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake. Ken Gledhill was the Director of GeoNet at the time and shares some memories from the time and reflects on how GeoNet has been shaped by the quake. Eight years ago on 22nd February, Christchurch was struck by a M6.2 earthquake that caused widespread destruction and tragically claimed the lives … Read More