The Big Q

Questions - Ideas - Scholarship - Debates

Project for Public Interest Media

Are we on the verge of a revolution in cancer research?

In the past decade, cancer research undertaken at the University of Auckland has changed lives. Our top scientists say it has now entered the next frontier and there’s hope that cancer could eventually be brought under control.

Can the media influence the side effects of medication?

Kate Mackrill explores what is known as the nocebo effect and whether the media can in fact influence the side effects of medication.

What happened in the European Elections? 70 academics share their reflections

In the wake of the European Elections in May 2019, seventy leading academics from across the European Union contributed their reflections, thoughts, and analysis to Euroflections

Politics & Society

Black Lives Matter, Otherwise all lives do not matter ▶

In a lecture given at the University of Auckland, Professor Onwubiko Agozino attempts to demonstrates the theory that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. By treating Black Lives as if they do not Matter, the lives of human beings everywhere are threatened and so all should rally in support of Black Lives in the interest of humanity.

Q+A: How can we fix New Zealand’s broken justice system?

A new independent report into New Zealand’s justice system has revealed massive failings and discovered entrenched issues of racism and bias. Khylee Quince talks about the report and why transformative change is needed.

Q+A: Getting the message across: What is public diplomacy?

What is public diplomacy and how effective can it be? While it has a long history, the study of public diplomacy is only becoming more salient in an age of globalisation and increasing digital communication posing both new challenges and opportunities for governments. Doug Becker speaks with Daniel Aguirre Azócar and Nicholas Cull about public diplomacy, its foundations, and effectiveness.

Science & Technology

Are we on the verge of a revolution in cancer research?

In the past decade, cancer research undertaken at the University of Auckland has changed lives. Our top scientists say it has now entered the next frontier and there’s hope that cancer could eventually be brought under control.

Q+A: Why are the numbers of insects in fast decline?

Why are the numbers of insects in fast decline? What does it mean for our food supply and our long term survival? Scientists say climate change is not the only reason. Maria Armoudian speaks with Andrew Dopheide about the current plight of our insect population.

Business & Economics

Q+A: Is New Zealand ready to go carbon zero?

In New Zealand, recent policy plans by the government show the first steps towards zero-carbon emissions. Oil and gas exploration has been banned although with controversial stipulations, while a zero-carbon bill is currently going through parliament which proposes putting a price on carbon. Is New Zealand ready to go zero carbon?

What are the implications of the US-China trade war? 🔊

In 2018, the United States and China have been embroiled in a trade war with each country continuing to raise tariffs placed on goods traded between the two nations. But what exactly are Donald Trump’s tariff policies and what will be their effects?

Could a recession be just around the corner?

The U.S. economy is growing at the fastest pace in five years and unemployment is at the lowest level in almost half a century. So why are Wall Street and some economists suddenly worried about a recession?

Arts & Culture

Black Lives Matter, Otherwise all lives do not matter ▶

In a lecture given at the University of Auckland, Professor Onwubiko Agozino attempts to demonstrates the theory that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. By treating Black Lives as if they do not Matter, the lives of human beings everywhere are threatened and so all should rally in support of Black Lives in the interest of humanity.

Q+A: Why is the United States so polarised?

What are the fault lines that have fractured politics in America? Julian Zelizer has analysed the historical roots of the present-day political turmoil, divisions, and partisanship in the US for his new book Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974. 

Q+A: Believing the ‘unbelievable’: What are conspiracy theories? How do they flourish?

Post-truth. Alternative facts. Fake news. We are living in a world where conspiracy theories are allowed to flourish. With every mass shooting, terrorist attack, and new political policy announcement it seems like a new conspiracy theory will be dreamt up somewhere both on and offline to explain the reasoning behind an event. But what exactly is a conspiracy theory, why do they flourish, and how dangerous are they?

What is the ‘Alt-Right’?

After the horrendous attacks in Christchurch, many people understandably have questions about the motives and ideology of the alleged attacker. Damon Berry analyses the role the alt-right might have played in the attacks.

Q+A: How are political ideologies labelled?

The political spectrum is often a model that puts political ideologies on a scale of left to right – hence why we hear the term ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’. The terms date back to 1789 and the French Revolution, when radicals sat on the left side of the National Assembly, the aristocracy on the right. But how are political ideologies labelled and how are political spectrums formed?