Tagged: politics

Why looking for aliens is good for society (even if there aren’t any) - Guest Work

Guest Work Jul 27, 2017

Ian Crawford, UCL The search for life elsewhere in the universe is one of the most compelling aspects of modern science. Given its scientific importance, significant resources are devoted to this young science of astrobiology, ranging from rovers on Mars to telescopic observations of planets orbiting other stars. The holy grail of all this activity would be … Read More

New Zealanders’ population choices - The Dismal Science

Michael Reddell May 20, 2017

The other day Statistics New Zealand released the annual data on New Zealand birth rates.  There was some coverage of the continuing drop in teen birth rates (it was what SNZ highlighted), but the chart that caught my eye was this one.     I’d been under the impression that New Zealand’s birth rate was at, or just … Read More

How to tell the difference between fact and fiction on a ‘post-truth’ internet - The Psychology Report

Sarb Johal May 16, 2017

“Right now we have a health hazard to democratic functioning.” Those are the words of Professor Sam Wineberg of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University in the United States, my guest on this edition of The Psychology Report.  You can listen to the original podcast here, as well as reading our conversation below.   Professor … Read More

To march or not to march? - Kidney Punch

John Pickering Apr 17, 2017

When I’ve marched in the past it has been to protest or celebrate.  The call for a March for Science, due to take place in New Zealand on the 22nd of April, has me confused as to its purpose. When I first heard the suggestion of a March for Science in New Zealand I admit I was immediately sceptical (occupational … Read More

Reading Creedy: Sugar tax report - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Mar 01, 2017

John Creedy is really good at using complicated maths to make simple points. I’ll summarise the simple points in Creedy’s working paper on sugar taxes, issued earlier this month. Section 2.1 shows that, whenever people enjoy a bundle of goods of various healthiness, and whenever people are likely to shift from one good to another if prices change, any … Read More

De-extinction dilemma: Bring back the moa or save the kiwi? - News

John Kerr Feb 28, 2017

Adding previously-extinct species to our conservation checklist will strain already tight conservation budgets, say a team of New Zealand and Australian scientists. Little Bush Moa, Anomalopteryx didiformis. © Te Papa. De-extinction – resurrecting extinct species with the help of modern technology – has been largely confined to the realms of sci-fi. But now technology is catching up with the fantasy. Read More

Picking zones and picking winners - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Feb 22, 2017

The push for more localist approaches to policy problems in New Zealand continues to gather steam. Earlier this month, the McGuinness Institute argued for what they’re calling Demarcation Zones for policy trials. Their formulation differs a bit from what we at the Initiative proposed in 2015, but the core idea is similar: let local communities take on additional … Read More

Are experts really being ignored? - The Dismal Science

Michael Reddell Feb 20, 2017

A few months ago, I wrote a post on the role of “experts”, responding to a British journalist and author’s lament for the apparent willlingness of voters/societies to downplay, or even dismiss, the role of experts when it comes to making significant public policy decisions. In his column in yesterday’s Sunday Star-Times, local economist Shamubeel Eaqub returns to … Read More

Book review: The Conversation Yearbook 2016 - Scibooks

Sarah-Jane O'Connor Jan 20, 2017

Toward the end of the year there can be a glut of ‘best of’ publications, but The Conversation Yearbook 2016 stands out as an enjoyable, wide-ranging collection of essays. The Conversation has been running in Australia since 2011, collating news and views from the academic and research community on hot topics of the day or longer-burning issues. My main … Read More

Brexit, Trump and all that - The Dismal Science

Michael Reddell Dec 14, 2016

Last week, The Treasury hosted a guest lecture featuring two visiting academics under the heading Brexit, Trump & Economics: Where did we go wrong.  One of the visitors –  Samuel Bowles, now a professor at the Santa Fe Insitute -had been around long enough that in his youth he had served as an economic adviser in Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign,  … Read More