Pointing At Science

The science of modern life

Steve Pointing Nov 18, 2015

On my Dear Science show this week, I highlight new research that may help to explain how we respond to some aspects modern life. Obesity increases risk of respiratory disease The first study is from Montreal, where a disturbing connection between obesity and respiratory health has been identified. The Journal Risk … Read More

Art meets science in Antarctica

Steve Pointing Nov 16, 2015

If you are in Auckland from now until 24thJanuary then you might want to check out the Elusive Earth: Refined images of Antarctica exhibition at the TSB Bank Wallace Art Centre.  The artwork will definitely appeal to the scientist in you, with images of the natural landscape and scientific fieldwork that have been filtered, collaged and abstracted to … Read More

Some quirky armchair physics

Steve Pointing Oct 28, 2015

I featured a trio of really interesting new scientific publications this week on my Dear Science radio broadcast, with a quirky physics theme that illustrates how the purest science can explain really diverse ‘stuff’. Ant colonies that behave as a liquid A report by scientists at Georgia Tech published in Nature Materials this week … Read More


Almost Armageddon?

Steve Pointing Oct 13, 2015

There were a large number of people who believed that the end was nigh last weekend, after reports that a massive asteroid was going to pass perilously close to Earth and possibly even impact and cause global devastation Armageddon style.  The fact that I reported this story on Monday’s Paul Henry Show attests to the fact this did not … Read More

Life on Mars – one step closer?

Steve Pointing Sep 29, 2015

NASA has delivered the first proof that moving ‘liquids’ on Mars’ surface are made of water, albeit extremely salty brines. These are likely to be ten times saltier than seawater here on Earth and so a human would receive burns from contact with these brines.  However, extremely salty lakes that occur in many desert environments from California to Tibet do … Read More

Humans make bacterial clouds

Steve Pointing Sep 24, 2015

Regular readers of this blog will know how much I detest research on animals, so I decided to focus all my effort on this week’s Dear Science show to discussing scientific studies that used actual human test subjects! The first features a quirky but cool study from Jessica Green’s lab in Oregon. The paper released as an open access … Read More


Steve and Ben do science ‘doggy style’

Steve Pointing Sep 16, 2015

Before you get all over-excited, this blog is not about sex!  I took my dogs to the vet the other day and was inspired to do some research on man’s best friend – and this evolved into a ‘doggy special’ for my Dear Science show on bFM radio this week: Some highlights from the show … Read More

Starfish-killing robots and artificial plants – cyborgs or saviours?

Steve Pointing Sep 09, 2015

  Two pieces of research news this week highlight how, in science, bad things can outwardly seem a good idea and good things can sometimes sound scary!  First the ‘good’ – a team at Queensland University of Technology have been developing an underwater robot that can kill starfish – doesn’t sound that good does it?  Well, this very clever invention … Read More

Seabirds facing death by plastic

Steve Pointing Sep 03, 2015

A synthesis of data spanning over 60 years has revealed an alarming increase in the number of seabirds that have ingested plastic. An Australian-led study published this week in PNAS (abstract only without a subscription) shows that whilst the number of seabirds that had eaten plastic was 5% in 1950, by 2010 this had risen to 80%, and is … Read More

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