Guest Work

How does poor air quality from bushfire smoke affect our health?

Guest Author Nov 14, 2019

Brian Oliver, University of Technology Sydney New South Wales and Queensland are in the grip of a devastating bushfire emergency, which has tragically resulted in the loss of homes and lives. But the smoke produced can affect many more people not immediately impacted by the fires – even people many kilometres from the fire. The smoke haze blanketing parts of … Read More

Holy bin chickens: ancient Egyptians tamed wild ibis for sacrifice

Guest Author Nov 14, 2019

Sally Wasef, Griffith University and David Lambert, Griffith University These days, not many Aussies consider the ibis a particularly admirable creature. But these birds, now colloquially referred to as “bin chickens” due to their notorious scavenging antics, have a grandiose and important place in history – ancient Egyptian history, to be precise. Using DNA from ibis mummies buried around … Read More

Why municipal waste-to-energy incineration is not the answer to NZ’s plastic waste crisis

Guest Author Nov 14, 2019

Trisia Farrelly, Massey University New Zealand is ranked the third-most-wasteful country in the OECD. New Zealanders produce five times the global daily average of waste per person – and they are getting more wasteful, producing 35% more than a decade ago. These statistics are likely to get worse following China’s 2018 ban on imports of certain … Read More

Climate change will fuel bush fires

Guest Author Nov 12, 2019

Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only minor, with New Zealand firefighters gearing up for possible deployment … Read More

The freshwater mussel housing crisis: eviction by invasive weeds?

Guest Author Nov 05, 2019

Tom Moore Traditionally a food source and cutting tool, freshwater mussels/kākahi are now widely valued as water filters that help clean our waterbodies and maintain ecosystem health throughout Aotearoa. The improvement they provide in water quality can make it easier for other animals to live in streams and rivers, as well as making the water safer for recreational activities and … Read More

A small New Zealand songbird that hides food for later use provides insights into cognitive evolution

Guest Author Nov 01, 2019

Rachael Shaw, Victoria University of Wellington When we think about animals storing food, the image that usually comes to mind is a squirrel busily hiding nuts for the winter. We don’t usually think of a small songbird taking down an enormous invertebrate, tearing it into pieces and hiding these titbits in the branches of trees to snack on later in … Read More

Science prizes are still a boys’ club. Here’s how we can change that

Guest Author Oct 22, 2019

Justine Shaw, The University of Queensland and Vanessa Wong, Monash University This year, five of the seven Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science were awarded to women. While this is a welcome development, the great majority of awards and prizes for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Australia still go to men. Our research has identified some of the key … Read More

Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research

Guest Author Oct 11, 2019

Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading about new research findings to help us make sense of … Read More

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Discovery of prehistoric baby bottles shows infants were fed cow’s milk 5,000 years ago

Guest Author Sep 26, 2019

Julie Dunne, University of Bristol How did people look after their children in the Stone Age? It turns out that prehistoric parents may not have been so different to modern mums and dads. Clay vessels that have been found in Germany could have been used to supplement breast milk and wean children more than 5,000 years ago. They became … Read More