Honest Universe

When Marketing Trumps Science

Mark Hanna Mar 06, 2015

Recently I’ve run across a couple of New Zealand companies that sell therapeutic products – one a weight loss pill, the other a jet lag drink – that seem to put marketing first and let science take the back seat. This is by no means new behaviour, but I want to use them as examples […] … Read More

How Well Do You Know Your Moon?

Mark Hanna Feb 25, 2015

Phil Plait, who writes the wonderful Bad Astronomy blog over on Slate, noticed something interesting in a recent episode of The Simpsons: To the untrained eye, nothing about this cartoon image is likely to seem unusual. But if you spend a lot of time looking at the sky, and you have the additional context that […] … Read More

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Irradiation of Food and Compulsory Labelling

Mark Hanna Feb 01, 2015

Biosecurity is a big issue for New Zealand. Being a group of islands fairly isolated from all other landmasses and having quite a unique native ecosystem (many native birds with no native mammalian predators and few native land mammals), we have a lot to lose from introduced species. There are also biological threats to industry […] … Read More

ACC and Acupuncture 3

Mark Hanna Jan 20, 2015

I’ve written a couple of times in the past about ACC and Acupuncture: ACC and Acupuncture ACC and Acupuncture 2 To summarise, in 2014 a couple of Official Information Act (OIA) requests to ACC uncovered information about how much they had spent on acupuncture treatments over the past decade, as well as a more detailed […] … Read More

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Oakura Bay Rocks Expedition

Mark Hanna Jan 06, 2015

Ever since I was a child, I’ve spent my summers at Oakura Bay. It’s a really lovely beach on the east coast of New Zealand, about 3 hours’ drive north of Auckland. My father’s family has been coming here since he was a child, and for the past 16 years we’ve been lucky enough to […] … Read More

New Zealand Skeptics Conference: Fighting Pseudoscience

Mark Hanna Dec 09, 2014

Over the weekend, I attended the New Zealand Skeptics Conference at Auckland University. It was a great weekend, with consistently good speakers. Not only did we have the hosts of the popular Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast and George Hrab from the Geologic podcast over from America, we also had a lot of fantastic […] … Read More

Copper & Magnetic Healing: How to Respond to Complaints

Mark Hanna Nov 21, 2014

Last Saturday, I was in a store that had a display on their counter advertising copper and magnetic jewellery: As you may be aware, claims that copper jewellery are able to help with arthritis are relatively common, although the evidence is pretty negative. The claim about magnets attracting iron in your blood and thereby increasing […] … Read More

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We Landed on a Comet

Mark Hanna Nov 13, 2014

So, last night was exciting. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) robotic spaceship Rosetta arrived at the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in early August, after an amazing journey comprising of over 10 years and four gravity slingshots. Last night, it separated from its lander module, Philae, and sent it to touch down on the surface of the comet. […] … Read More

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GirlGuiding New Zealand Has Removed “God” From Their Promise

Mark Hanna Oct 17, 2014

In July 2012, Girl Guides Australia changed the promise all Girl Guides have to make, by removing the compulsory mention of “God”. After seeing this news, I looked up the GirlGuiding New Zealand website to find if they had a similar compulsory mention, and found that they had. Although I am obviously ineligible to be […] … Read More

Ethical Pharmacy Practice 2: Time for a Spring Clean

Mark Hanna Oct 11, 2014

In July, I wrote an article on Ethical Pharmacy Practice and Homeopathic No-Jet-Lag. In it, I described the importance of the role pharmacies play in the healthcare system, and their ethical obligation not to mislead consumers or promote ineffective healthcare products. In particular, I described an advertisement I saw in an Auckland pharmacy for a […] … Read More

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