Guest Work

TB or not TB: origin and antiquity of tuberculosis in New Zealand

Guest Author Oct 25, 2018

Dr Michael Knapp Recently, our team at the University of Otago embarked on a quest to identify how and when Tuberculosis (TB) reached New Zealand, by looking for the genetic signature of Tuberculosis bacteria in ancient human and animal remains from across the country. Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease which has been called a “global health emergency” by the World … Read More

Applying insights from the humanities and social sciences to help refine the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

Guest Author Oct 24, 2018

Dr Douglas Van Belle As both a science fiction author and an academic who studies the role science fiction plays as a bridge between science and society, I admit I have more than a passing interest in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life, or SETI. Still, it was something of a surprise when the short paragraph I was writing … Read More

The myth of judging people on their merits

Guest Author Oct 17, 2018

Nancy Longnecker The well-written article entitled ‘Why men don’t believe the data on gender bias in science’ by Alison Coil stimulated this post. Coil points out that gender disparity is about much more than a numbers game and is not necessarily the result of the overt sexual harassment that is at long last being exposed in some industries. Read More

The world’s most ancient alpine songbird

Guest Author Oct 13, 2018

Lucy Dickie We might be well known for being home to the world’s only nocturnal and flightless parrot (especially after an incident a few years ago involving Stephen Fry), but few people probably know that we can also claim the world’s most ancient alpine songbird–the pīwauwau, or rock wren. Rock wren are part of the family Acanthisittidae (the New Zealand … Read More

Novel science communication sees Bird of the Year take on Tinder

Guest Author Oct 10, 2018

Imagine if our MPs used the mobile dating app Tinder to campaign during an election. The media would have a field day! And yet scientists from the University of Otago and the University of Canterbury are using this exact tactic to campaign for the critically-endangered kakī (black stilt) in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition. The … Read More

Bird of the Year: Which birds are good for ecosystem services?

Guest Author Oct 05, 2018

Bio-Protection Research Centre We are midway through one of the most important electoral contests of the year: Bird of the Year. Every year, this popular campaign raises awareness of New Zealand’s native birds and the perilous state many populations are in. At the Bio-Protection Research Centre we also think it’s a great opportunity to get people thinking about … Read More

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Palu and Donggala: working towards resiliency

Guest Author Oct 03, 2018

Michele Daly, GNS Science We can only imagine how horrific it currently is for the people of Central Sulawesi, following the magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck Donggala and Palu on late Friday afternoon 28th Sept 2018. The damaging tsunami which struck Palu Bay at incredible speeds a reported 30mins after the quake happened, caused widespread destruction. This was on top of … Read More

Satellite measurements of slow ground movements may provide a better tool for earthquake forecasting

Guest Author Oct 02, 2018

Simon Lamb, Victoria University of Wellington It was a few minutes past midnight on 14 November 2016, and I was drifting into sleep in Wellington, New Zealand, when a sudden jolt began rocking the bed violently back and forth. I knew immediately this was a big one. In fact, I had just experienced the magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura … Read More

Charisma in nature

Guest Author Oct 01, 2018

Sophie Fern It’s been a huge couple of weeks in New Zealand conservation, with Conservation Week, followed by the Great Kererū count and today voting opens for Bird of the Year. I find Bird of the Year fascinating, both because I am a giant bird-nerd, but also because I have a professional interest in what people like about the natural … Read More

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