By Rachel Thomas 01/10/2018


There’s a lot of media out there, and we know it can be hard to keep track of the things you want to read, watch and listen to.

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite science-related stories from last month to help you out. If you’ve seen something great that’s not here, let us know in the comments.

Tawaki, marathon penguins
Giselle Clarkson, Tawaki Project

Giselle has drawn a beautiful cartoon outlining the findings of a research paper by the Tawaki project on marathon penguins. It’s a great example of a novel way to communicate science and makes even a DOI look pretty.

Is it time to change our mind on GMOs?
Farah Hancock, Newsroom

Farah Hancock talks to experts and a former activist turned supporter on GMOs on New Zealand’s conservative approach, future food, and what we stand to lose if we’re left behind.

Big read: The gap between the rich and poor at university
Kirsty Johnston, New Zealand Herald

Kirsty Johnston looks at new university data, which indicates circumstances you’re born into are likely yours for life. Instead of education levelling the playing field, data shows the system is more likely to simply replicate the advantage or disadvantage its pupils are born with.

Bird brain
Ashleigh Young, Eyelash Roaming

Wellington writer Ashleigh Young wanted to write about Nigel the lonely Mana Island gannet and wound up with this beautiful essay on animals, anthropomorphising and analogies.

Deep space
Kennedy Warne, New Zealand Geographic

In recent years, night photographers have been taking their boats, cameras and lights increasingly further offshore—from the reefs and kelp forests of the coast to the pelagic depths beyond. And so has emerged a new niche of night photography, known as blackwater. This visually stunning piece uncovers the menagerie of rarely glimpsed species that rise up in the darkness.

Nitrous oxide no laughing matter
Eloise Gibson, Newsroom

In a featured funded through the Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund, Eloise Gibson talks to the scientists and farmers who are leading efforts keep nitrogen in the ground and out of the atmosphere.

Drug Free Sport NZ’s testing regime ineffective in fight against doping
Dana Johannsen, Stuff

Only five deliberate sport doping cheats have been caught through drug testing in 10 years, this Stuff investigation reveals. Instead, scores of lower level athletes are being banned for accidental infractions or recreational drug use. Dana Johannsen reports in the first part of: ‘Who are you calling a cheat?’

The reality of life on the minimum wage in NZ
Kathleen Winter and Susan Strongman, RNZ

Ahead of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, RNZ launched the short documentary project Minimum, in which Kiwi women working for minimum wage told filmmaker Kathleen Winter their stories.

Dr Death 
Laura Beil, Wondery

We’re at our most vulnerable when we go to our doctors. We trust the person with the medical degree and we trust the system to protect us. This morose podcast follows stories from 33 patients who were failed by the system and harmed – sometimes fatally – by a neurosurgeon who should have never been allowed near a scalpel.

Listen to the World
Unknown Author, New York Times Magazine

From the rumble of Kilaeua to the winds in Utah – this incredible interactive brings 11 locations around the world with audio soundtracks, posing the question: What if we chose where to travel based on sound? The full journey takes about 30 minutes on auto-play.

Why Are Puffins Vanishing? The Hunt for Clues Goes Deep (Into Their Burrows)
Josh Schwartz, The New York Times

This feature, beautifully illustrated by Josh Haner, follows researchers trying to figure out why Iceland’s puffins are in trouble. It finds that while overfishing, hunting and pollution are putting pressure on the birds, climate change may prove to be their biggest challenge.

Inside the ‘shadowy world’ of China’s fake science research black market
Natasha Mitchell, ABC News

In China, there’s a growing black market peddling fake research papers, fake peer reviews, and even entirely fake research results to anyone who will pay. some scientists can even pay to have their name included on scientific papers they didn’t work on, Natasha Mitchell writes.

How will police solve murders on Mars?
Geoff Manaugh, The Atlantic

If humans ever go to the Red Planet, the worst of our impulses will follow us there. Writing in The Atlantic, Geoff Manaugh imagines Mars PD in a place of new blood-spatter patterns, different body decay rates, and space-suit sabotage.

September on Sciblogs

Mental health in public life: Is the experience of politicians and how we make policy intertwined?
Sarb Johal, The Psychology Report

Politicians might not always get your sympathy, but their jobs are high pressure and high stress; is there a better way to address politics and mental health?

Genetic solutions to pest control
Neil Gemmell, Guest Work

The best tool we currently have for large-scale pest control is 1080, writes Neil Gemmell, but it would be great to have a tool that isn’t a poison. Neil discusses how potential genetic control technologies can help New Zealand become Predator Free by 2050.

An open letter to Rethink Fluoride
Alison Campbell, BioBlog

Dr Campbell responds to an anti-fluoride group, after they targeted her with multiple questions on social media then blocked her from responding.

Suffrage 125

To commemorate 125 years of universal suffrage in New Zealand, Sciblogs ran a series with contributions from women in science covering issues from paid parental leave to bias and stereotypes in research.