The Big Q

Questions - Ideas - Scholarship - Debates

Project for Public Interest Media

In the face of censorship, can pop music still be political?

After the recent success of American artist Childish Gambino’s music video “This is America,” Patrycja Rozbicka explores whether pop music can still be political in the face of censorship.

What happened to life on Mars?

Monica Grady looks at the recent detection of organic material on Mars and whether this means more evidence of past life on the red planet.

The Golden State Killer case: Are our data rights slipping away?

Earlier this year, a 72-year-old former police officer named Joseph D’Angelo was arrested for a spate of rapes and murders attributed to the elusive Golden State Killer between 1976 and 1986. D’Angelo’s arrest has raised profound questions about ethical uses of DNA and how popular DNA testing and genealogical services can be used or misused without the user’s knowledge. Maria Armoudian speaks to Ellen Wright Clayton, Mark Rothstein, and Dennis McNevin about how DNA and other private data can be used and misused in law enforcement, healthcare and employment.

Politics & Society

Can crowdfunding help the environment?

As the effects of human activity on the environment become more widely felt, people are turning to crowdfunding campaigns to help conserve the Earth’s environment. But are they effective?

Why do human rights campaigns fail in China? ▶

Why have so many human rights campaigns, such as Free Tibet and the Falun Gong, failed in China? Why have others such as better environmental protection and HIV/Aids care fared better? What have the costs been on political movements with the more successful campaigns? What activism can work in the authoritarian country? Maria Armoudian speaks with Stephen Noakes. 

Is the IMF failing?

Adam Triggs investigates why the world’s economic crisis-fighting mechanisms are dangerously inadequate and whether the IMF is failing.

Science & Technology

What happened to life on Mars?

Monica Grady looks at the recent detection of organic material on Mars and whether this means more evidence of past life on the red planet.

The Golden State Killer case: Are our data rights slipping away?

Earlier this year, a 72-year-old former police officer named Joseph D’Angelo was arrested for a spate of rapes and murders attributed to the elusive Golden State Killer between 1976 and 1986. D’Angelo’s arrest has raised profound questions about ethical uses of DNA and how popular DNA testing and genealogical services can be used or misused without the user’s knowledge. Maria Armoudian speaks to Ellen Wright Clayton, Mark Rothstein, and Dennis McNevin about how DNA and other private data can be used and misused in law enforcement, healthcare and employment.

How does income inequality effect obesity?

National income and income inequality impacts on body size of children and adolescents, according to new research from the University of Auckland, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

Can we avoid the looming climate wars?

Our options as a humanity may be dwindling in the face of climate change. The coming changes may completely alter the world as we know it with collapsed ecosystems, mass immigration of climate refugees, and more devastating wars over basic necessities such as food and water. Maria Armoudian speaks to veteran journalist Gwynne Dyer about the scenarios we face with climate change and the options for humanity.

Business & Economics

Can crowdfunding help the environment?

As the effects of human activity on the environment become more widely felt, people are turning to crowdfunding campaigns to help conserve the Earth’s environment. But are they effective?

Why do corporations have the same rights as people?

How did corporations get civil rights? That is Adam Winkler’s question. He says that the corporate rights movement began as early as 1809 with Alexander Hamilton’s Bank of the United States case. That was followed by an advancement of corporate rights in 1882 when a former senator named Roscoe Conkling argued that corporations should get the same protections under the U.S. Constitution as people received. Winkler speaks with Maria Armoudian.

Is the IMF failing?

Adam Triggs investigates why the world’s economic crisis-fighting mechanisms are dangerously inadequate and whether the IMF is failing.

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network?

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network? Nicola Shepheard speaks with business graduate Paul Rataul and University of Auckland management and international business lecturers Dr. Dan Tisch Dr. Peter Zamborsky about the success of Netflix. 

Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? 🔊

Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? What is the future of cryptocurrency? What are the pros and cons? And what do they mean for economics, for power, and for society? Maria Amoudian discusses the questions around cryptocurrency with David Golumbia, Gina C. Pieters, Lee W. McKnight, and Emin Gun Sirer.

Arts & Culture

Why should we learn Te Reo Māori?

Stephen May outlines why it is important New Zealanders should learn Te Reo Māori in the wake of debate around whether the language should be made compulsory in schools.

Conspiracy Clash: What’s behind it?

Flat Earthism and the idea that human activity is not responsible for climate change are two of the most prevalent conspiracy theories today. Both have been increasing in popularity since the late 20th century but what is behind this conspiracy clash?

Is Netflix killing the cinema?

The rise in popularity of on-demand video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime is increasingly seen as a threat to the 113-year-old ritual of going to a cinema to see a movie. James Robins spoke to Dr Karina Aveyard, Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, author of “Lure of the Big Screen: Cinema in Rural Australia and the United Kingdom” and co-editor of “Watching Films: New Perspectives on Movie-going, Exhibition and Reception,” about whether Netflix might kill the cinema.