Tagged: New Zealand

How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Nov 10, 2019

There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able to determine the longitude of NZ, and so put these … Read More

An invitation to name a star and a planet - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Sep 04, 2019

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) — the global organisation of professional astronomers — is marking its centenary this year by inviting different nations to propose names for both a distant star, and a planet found to orbit it (a so-called exoplanet). Anyone can suggested a moniker, for the star, for the planet, or both. So: calling all New Zealanders to … Read More

Aotearoa: Land of the long or short chronology - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Guest Author Aug 15, 2019

Lachie Scarsbrook “See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me. And no one knows how far it goes”. If you’ve seen Disney’s Moana, like me you probably just sung those first few lines whilst picturing a traditional double-hulled canoe sailing out into the sunny, blue abyss. Discovering new lands: a modern reconstruction of a … Read More

Minister right to be wary of gene editing – Part 2 - So Shoot Me

Jamie Steer Jun 19, 2019

The Minister of Conservation’s recent direction to put the brakes on research into gene editing for predator eradication has proven a bone of contention with some. That’s regrettable because her decision is well justified. See here for Part 1 of this two-part series. 4. We should progress with the research anyway A fourth objection is that the Minister has … Read More

Minister right to be wary of gene editing - So Shoot Me

Jamie Steer Jun 18, 2019

The Minister of Conservation’s recent direction to put the brakes on research into gene editing for predator eradication has proven a bone of contention with some. That’s regrettable because her decision is well justified. In a recent Letter of Expectation to Predator Free 2050 Limited, Minister Sage instructed that no resources shall be directed towards the development of gene editing … Read More

Connecting comets and rubber - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jun 11, 2019

Comet Grigg-Skjellerup was one of the first such celestial bodies to be visited by a spacecraft, the Giotto probe which was sent on to encounter it in mid-1992 after having first visited the famous Comet Halley in 1986. Comet Grigg-Skjellerup was discovered about a century ago, independently by a New Zealander (John Grigg) and an Australian (Frank Skjellerup). The younger … Read More

The 250th anniversary of Cook’s observation of the transit of Venus - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jun 02, 2019

On June 3rd occurs the 250th anniversary of the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun, the observation of which was the prime purpose behind the expedition of HM Bark Endeavour to the South Pacific, under the command of Lieutenant James Cook. Following the measurements of the transit made by Cook and the mission’s scientists in Tahiti, the … Read More

Call for independent watchdog to monitor NZ government use of artificial intelligence - Guest Work

Guest Author May 27, 2019

John Zerilli, University of Otago and Colin Gavaghan, University of Otago New Zealand is a leader in government use of artificial intelligence (AI). It is part of a global network of countries that use predictive algorithms in government decision making, for anything from the optimal scheduling of public hospital beds to whether an offender should … Read More