News

Aggressive marketing has driven the rise of the double-cab ute on New Zealand streets — time to hit the brakes?

Guest Author Jul 28, 2021

Kirsty Wild, University of Auckland and Alistair Woodward, University of Auckland   “Explore your inner beast.” That was the slogan used last year to sell the Ford Ranger. At 2.4 tonnes, that’s a lot of “light” truck, but the stakes are rising. This year, the 3.5 tonne Ram 1500 “eats utes for breakfast”. Super-sized light trucks have landed in Aotearoa … Read More

Why calling ordinary Kiwi cyclists ‘elitist’ just doesn’t add up

Guest Author Jul 28, 2021

Timothy Welch, University of Auckland   Something strange has happened to the perception of cyclists and cycling in the more than 200 years they’ve been around. Once a novelty, bike riding has moved from being a critical transport mode to a children’s pastime to now being popularly perceived as an elitist activity. This was readily apparent after the recent … Read More

How do Olympic athletes stack up against invertebrates? Not very well

Guest Author Jul 28, 2021

Caitlyn Forster, University of Sydney and Eliza Middleton, University of Sydney   Olympians spend years training to be the best of the best. Scientists and sportspeople have spent decades researching the mechanics of the human body to ensure our elite athletes are always reaching higher, faster and stronger. But how do human athletic skills compare with those of insects and … Read More

Billionaire space race: the ultimate symbol of capitalism’s flawed obsession with growth

Guest Author Jul 24, 2021

Tim Jackson, University of Surrey Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids, laments the Rocket Man in Elton John’s timeless classic. In fact, it’s cold as hell. But that doesn’t seem to worry a new generation of space entrepreneurs intent on colonising the “final frontier” as fast as possible. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no sullen technophobe. Read More

How does the Pegasus spyware work, and is my phone at risk?

Guest Author Jul 21, 2021

Paul Haskell-Dowland, Edith Cowan University and Roberto Musotto, Edith Cowan University A major journalistic investigation has found evidence of malicious software being used by governments around the world, including allegations of spying on prominent individuals. From a list of more 50,000 phone numbers, journalists identified more than 1,000 people in 50 countries reportedly under surveillance using the … Read More

Calling out China for cyberattacks is risky — but a lawless digital world is even riskier

Guest Author Jul 21, 2021

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato This week’s multi-country condemnation of cyber-attacks by Chinese state-sponsored agencies was a sign of increasing frustration at recent behaviour. But it also masks the real problem — international law isn’t strong or coherent enough to deal with this growing threat. The coordinated announcement by several countries, including the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, … Read More

Doping has become inevitable at the Olympics. And who wins gold in Tokyo might not be certain until 2031

Guest Author Jul 20, 2021

Jason Mazanov, UNSW Another Olympics is upon us, inexorable even in the face of COVID. With it comes the inevitable, salacious speculation around doping scandals. There have been doping scandals at every Olympics in my lifetime and a few before, reaching back to the middle of the 20th century. Now, because of the lag between new drugs coming into sport … Read More

Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin: can they be more than ‘space’ joyrides for millionaires?

Guest Author Jul 19, 2021

Ian Whittaker, Nottingham Trent University and Gareth Dorrian, University of Birmingham Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and his team successfully flew to the “edge of space” on the Unity 22 mission aboard a Virgin Galactic plane on July 12. The event was hailed as the start of space tourism, narrowly beating the planned launch on 20 July … Read More

In NZ and around the world, women are still more likely to present and report the news than appear in it

Guest Author Jul 15, 2021

Susan Fountaine, Massey University   Women are more visible in the world’s news than ever before — but they’re still far from achieving parity with men. According to the just released Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP), women made up 40% of reporters and 25% of news sources across print, TV, radio, internet news and Twitter. This was a record … Read More

With seas rising and storms surging, who will pay for New Zealand’s most vulnerable coastal properties?

Guest Author Jul 13, 2021

Tom Logan, University of Canterbury   The major storm surge and coastal flooding in Wellington earlier this month was another reminder that the sea is now lapping close to a lot of New Zealand’s front doors. The ominous question is: who will pay when it crosses the threshold? But that’s not a question worrying insurance companies. They’ve made their … Read More