Pointing At Science

Why it is perfectly safe to have a beer with your BBQ

Steve Pointing Feb 08, 2015

Not content with catalyzing a change to the recipe for Coca Cola and Pepsi in 2012, an unfortunate misinterpretation of science has now caused the Heineken brewing company to announce this week that it too will follow suit and modify the recipe for it’s beers in the US market.The culprit is the ‘caramel colour’ compound 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), which … Read More

Starting “Science Chat” in 2015 with stories ancient and modern

Steve Pointing Jan 23, 2015

Here is a summary of my first 'Science Chat' feature of the year for TV3’s Firstline show, which resumed this week on TV3 after the summer breakWatch here: http://www.3news.co.nz/world/scientists-atomic-tests-mark-new-era-2015012211#axzz3PaoCjTVfThe ancient: New insight to worlds oldest writingThe wealthy Roman resort town of Herculaneum was buried in 79AD by the massive eruption from Mt Vesuvius that also engulfed Pompeii.  Excavations some … Read More

Spaceward Bound Captain’s Log

Steve Pointing Jan 21, 2015

Captain’s Log: Day 1 (Friday)Blast Off !After starting the day with a really great early morning media interview with the charismatic Aziz Al-Sa’Afin from TV3 in Auckland, the NASA, Australian and Kiwi participants headed down to Rotorua where we received a very warm welcome Whakatau by the elders of Te Takenga Marae, Te Arawa in Mourea (just outside Rotorua).  The … Read More

Captain’s Log: Day 1 (Friday)

Steve Pointing Jan 18, 2015

After starting the day with a really great early morning media interview by the charismatic Aziz Al-Sa’Afin from TV3 in Auckland, the NASA, Australian and Kiwi participants headed down to Rotorua where we received a very warm welcome Whakatau by the elders of Te Takenga Marae, Te Arawa in Mourea (just outside Rotorua).  The location could not have been more … Read More

Testing the NASA drone

Steve Pointing Jan 16, 2015

Matt Reyes from NASA shows some budding young astrobiologists our GPS-linked drone at the Marae. It's ideal for flying over Rotorua's hot pools, and devices related to this are key to future planetary exploration and the search for traces of life on ot... Read More

Spaceward Bound “T minus 1 day”

Steve Pointing Jan 15, 2015

The excitement is mounting as participants begin to arrive in New Zealand for the inaugural New Zealand Spaceward Bound expedition.  My scientific collaborator and friend, NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay says: "New Zealand is a great place fo... Read More

Science Knight speaks out on politicians “dishonesty”

Steve Pointing Jan 15, 2015

I was lucky enough to spend a little time with Sir Paul Nurse at Scott Base in Antarctica a few years ago, and it was a genuine pleasure.  The charismatic president of the Royal Society and Nobel Laureate has now climbed even higher in my estimation for his latest public commentary on science and politics.  He branded UK politicians “cowardly” … Read More

Spaceward Bound “T minus 2 days”

Steve Pointing Jan 14, 2015

Astrobiology – the study of life in its broadest possible sense - is about to become BIG in New Zealand, with the first ever NASA Spaceward Bound outreach expedition commencing this Friday in Taupo (http://astrobiology.kiwi/spaceward-bound-new-zealand/).  This will bring together NASA scientists and overseas educators with kiwi scientists, teachers and students. Astrobiology is an ideal medium for learning in science and … Read More