Guest Work

Has Everest’s iconic Hillary Step really collapsed? Here’s the science

Guest Work May 29, 2017

By Mike Searle, University of Oxford The Hillary Step, a rocky outcrop at 8,770m, just beneath the summit of Everest (8,850m), has finally succumbed to gravity and partially collapsed. At least it has according to mountaineer Tim Mosedale, who climbed the mountain this year. His claim has been refuted by the chair of the Nepal … Read More

Global risks and strategies for superintelligence

Guest Work May 28, 2017

The following is a synopsis of a presentation last week by a Wellington business strategy consultant, David Miller. He expressed deep concerns about the nature and extent of global risks of future superintelligence. Miller’s presentation  was part of Hutt City Council’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing and Mathematics (STEMM) Festival. The arrival of superintelligence is probably still several decades … Read More

Call for mandatory screening to cut the risk of malnutrition in older people

Guest Work May 27, 2017

By Carol Wham, Massey University Old age comes with many challenges, including concerning levels of malnutrition. The issue is particularly worrying among older people recently admitted to residential care. Better diet can reduce the risk of age-related diseases and allow older people to remain independent. Yet simple screening and early intervention to improve older people’s nutrition are … Read More

Widespread invasive species control is a risky business

Guest Work May 26, 2017

By R. Keller Kopf, Charles Sturt University; Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University, and Paul Humphries, Charles Sturt University In 1977, on the islands of French Polynesia, government authorities released a predatory snail. They hoped this introduction would effectively control another species of invasive snail, previously introduced to supply escargot. Instead, by the early … Read More

Maybe we can, but should we? Deciding whether to bring back extinct species

Guest Work May 19, 2017

Gwenllian Iacona, The University of Queensland and Iadine Chadès, CSIRO De-extinction – the science of reviving species that have been lost – has moved from the realm of science-fiction to something that is now nearly feasible. Some types of lost mammals, birds or frogs may soon be able to be revived through de-extinction technologies. Read More

New Zealand’s Alpine Fault reveals extreme underground heat and fluid pressure

Guest Work May 18, 2017

By Rupert Sutherland, Victoria University of Wellington An international team that drilled almost a kilometre deep into New Zealand’s Alpine Fault, which is expected to rupture in a major earthquake in the next decades, has found extremely hot temperatures and high fluid pressures. Our findings, published today in Nature, describe these surprising underground conditions. They have broad … Read More

Distrust of experts happens when we forget they are human beings

Guest Work May 15, 2017

By Rod Lamberts, Australian National University In 2016, conservative, pro-Brexit, British politician Michael Gove announced that people in England “…have had enough of experts with organisations from acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong”. In the US, Donald Trump famously doesn’t believe any expert who doesn’t agree with … Read More

The importance of accurate science reporting

Jean Balchin May 14, 2017

“Science values detail, precision, the impersonal, the technical, the lasting, facts, numbers and being right. Journalism values brevity, approximation, the personal, the colloquial, the immediate, stories, words and being right now. There are going to be tensions.” – Quentin Cooper, of BBC Radio 4’s Material World. Open up Facebook or scroll through Twitter … Read More

Not a lizard nor a dinosaur, tuatara is the sole survivor of a once-widespread reptile group

Guest Work May 12, 2017

By Marc Emyr Huw Jones, University of Adelaide Have you ever heard of the tuatara? It’s a reptile that decapitates birds with its saw-like jaws, lives to about 100 years old, and can remain active in near-freezing temperatures. It’s also the sole survivor of a lineage as old as the first dinosaurs. May 2017 marks 150 … Read More

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Evidence of ancient life in hot springs on Earth could point to fossil life on Mars

Guest Work May 11, 2017

By Tara Djokic, UNSW Fossil evidence of early life has been found in old hot spring deposits in the Pilbara, Western Australia, that date back almost 3.48 billion years. This extends the known evidence of life at land-based hot springs on Earth by about 3 billion years. Not only is the find exciting for what it might … Read More

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