Science & Technology
“The textile and clothing manufacturing industry comes with a heavy price including environmental pollution and the well-publicised issues around the income and working conditions for workers.”
In the last few weeks, the western part of the United States has experienced one of the worst wildfire seasons in history. Not coincidently, some areas have also recorded the highest temperatures since records began.
Methane is a shorter-lived greenhouse gas – why do we average it out over 100 years? By doing so, do we risk emitting so much in the upcoming decades that we reach climate tipping points?
Climate change is 100% human-caused, so it’s 100% human-solvable. Don’t surrender to anxiety.
From now until October 17, Election Day in New Zealand, voters will be getting election poll information from multiple directions. So which ones can be trusted?
Misinformation is rampant about COVID-19 and in some cases, it has caused death, blindness, emergency health issues, and widespread stigma, and social ostracization.
Glaciers around the world are melting — and for the first time, we can now directly attribute annual ice loss to climate change.
The natural sciences that allow us to understand the environment are at the heart of developing strategies to adapt to, survive, and thrive as climate changes.
Why does New Zealand need to focus on genome sequencing to trace the source of its new COVID-19 outbreak?
Genetic surveillance — a technology that uses the genetic fingerprint of a virus to track its spread — is part of the public health response to New Zealand’s new COVID-19 community outbreak and could help pinpoint its source.
New Zealand is on alert as COVID-19 returns. This is what we need to stamp it out again.
“Humanity is not doomed, not now or even in a worst-case scenario in 2030. But avoiding doom — either the end or widespread collapse of civilisation — is setting a pretty low bar.”
Currently, 90% of New Zealand’s seabirds are threatened with extinction. It is a colossal loss and a colossally sad number.
What was the climate and sea level like at times in Earth’s history when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was at 400ppm?
Stringent border controls and mandatory quarantine give New Zealand a good chance to remain free of COVID-19 for months to come, according to new modelling from Te Pūnaha Matatini.
“I was surprised. The streams here are small and New Zealand is supposed to be clean, but the levels were the same as the Danube and the Rhine.”
Effective communication, capable of garnering public support for marine conservation, appears more urgent now than ever before.
Over the past 30 years, the South Pole has been one of the fastest changing places on Earth, warming more than three times more rapidly than the rest of the world.
COVID-19 is being referred to as a “once in a century event” – but the next pandemic is likely to hit sooner than you think.
“If the world does not take action on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, the future could be very grim indeed.”
A general purpose AI is inevitable and New Zealand could lead the way as the nature of work is transformed.
Robot caregivers can help maintain independence as we age, but the trick is getting humans to trust them.
New Zealand hits a 95% chance of eliminating coronavirus. However, researchers predict new cases will emerge.
NASA has announced its Artemis programme which should land the first woman and the next man (at least as far as the United States is concerned) on the Moon by 2024.
One of the interesting features of the COVID-19 pandemic is the different incidence rates of the disease and the different mortality percentages, across countries.
Just how hot will it get this century? Latest climate models suggest it could be worse than we thought
The famous telescope is celebrating thirty years of operation.
People and governments have the chance to learn from Covid-19, and build a new sustainable climate future with a watchful eye on our Sustainable Development Goals, writes Professor Ralph Cooney.
Lockdown’s effect on air pollution provides a rare glimpse of low-carbon future.
The latest environmental report on New Zealand’s lakes and rivers reiterates bleak news about the state of freshwater ecosystems, and warns that climate change will exacerbate existing threats.
Grant Christie spoke with Vicki MacFarlane about what kind of problems they are seeing in Auckland Detoxification services and how services are supporting the community during lockdown.
Lillian Ng talks to Marthinus Bekker about building emotional resilience.
The impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems are already evident. But what will the world’s biodiversity look like in the future?
In this podcast, Lillian Ng speaks with Hiran Thabrew and Melanie Woodfield about ways that families can support their children and adolescents.
Lillian Ng explores ways to support psychological wellbeing with Kerry Gibson and Zubeida Mahomedy.
Can we conceptualise a response to the climate crisis from how the world has reacted and responded to covid-19? What can we take from the response to the pandemic to start a new response to the climate crisis?
Lillian Ng explores with Monique Jonas and Phillipa Malpas the implications of moral distress and clinical decision making in the time of COVID-19.
In this podcast, psychiatrists Lillian Ng and Stefano Cali discuss emotional contagion and the potential psychological impacts of a lockdown.
There’s a distinction between social isolation and loneliness writes professor of gerontology, Vanessa Burholt. The key is to create intergenerational connections during this time of physical isolation.
Infectious diseases expert Mark Thomas explores some of the options open to New Zealand.
“Studies of numerous antiviral treatments and potential vaccines are already underway. Never has science advanced so much in such a short period of time to combat an epidemic.”
In this podcast, psychiatrists Lillian Ng and Rob Shieff discuss fear, anxiety and our responses to them.
With basic mathematical models, researchers can begin to forecast the progression of diseases and understand the effect of interventions on disease spread.
Viruses are the most common biological entities on Earth. Experts estimate there are around 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of them.
New Zealand has a dirty rivers problem. In 2017, two-thirds of the country’s rivers were deemed too polluted to swim in. Given this, research is being carried out to find ways in which the country can attempt to clean up its rivers.
How did coronavirus spread across the world? Why is it so bad? Beth Linas explains.
The poles are warming faster than the rest of the planet, causing extreme weather events in the Northern hemisphere.
There is no overarching consensus on what is defined as organic internationally.
Biocontrol may help bees where other interventions, like chemical pesticides, have failed
Global alarm is increasing around the growing spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. How did it begin? How dangerous is it?
The impacts of climate change – in particular, the consequences of the increasing frequency of extreme weather events on all life should be abundantly clear.
How serious is the new coronavirus pandemic? Are we set for a global pandemic? Helen Petousis-Harris investigates.
With Climate Change, will volcanic eruptions become more frequent moving forward?
New research out of the University of Otago has revealed that increasing the uptake of plant-based diets in New Zealand could have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
China is experiencing an outbreak of coronavirus which has so far killed seventeen people and infected a further four hundred and forty.
The intensity and breadth of the wildfires in Australia have drawn attention to the effects of climate change and the need for greater commitment to counter the global environmental crisis.
George Perry explains the uptake in wildfires globally and how we can adapt to our changing environment.
Why do volcanoes erupt and can we forecast future activity? Phil Shane explains the science behind volcanoes.
In this lecture hosted by the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland researchers discuss how knowing what your genes do can guide the development of future personalised medicine for prevention and treatment of mental health conditions and type 1 diabetes.
Why did White Island erupt and why was there no warning? Shane Cronin explains what happened.
As it becomes obvious that society’s use of fossil fuels needs to be addressed, renewable sources of energy have been celebrated as a way for the world to break its fossil fuel dependence.
In a chapter taken from the new book “A Careful Revolution: Towards a Low-Emissions Future,” David Hall discusses how to tread carefully as the world undertakes what amounts to a climate revolution.
Professor Simon Thrush talks about safeguarding our ocean ecosystems from tipping points.
Gilbert Wong looks at the forces shaping the future of food and how research is contributing to what’s likely to be on our plates in 2030.
A new Lancet Countdown report presents the lifelong health consequences that a child born today will face from climate change.
On October 22, former MP and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, who now leads Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand, delivered the 2019 Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture at the University of Auckland, looking at institutional reform options for dealing with climate change, in light of Parliament’s recent passage of the Zero Carbon Bill.
A new bill intends for terminally ill New Zealanders who have less than six months left of life, the option of requesting and receiving an assisted death from a qualified medical practitioner if they fulfil certain eligibility criteria.
Deadly fires across California over the past several years have shown how wildfire has become a serious public health and safety issue.
A new report has been released by the Child Poverty Action Group detailing food poverty and how it affects children in New Zealand.
As California burns, oceans rise, storms intensify, and Greenland’s glaciers melt, the world continues to try to identify solutions to the ongoing climate crisis.
A group of researchers has found that there are definite and viable sources of freshwater under our oceans.
Grant Galbreath looks at whether New Zealand can transition to a plant-based future?
Are surfers selfish when it comes to looking after the environment?
2018 saw the worst ice melts in New Zealand since the 1980s. But why are glaciers declining in Aotearoa? Mitch Fuller speaks with doctoral student Lauren Vargo about her research into glacial melting.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world – but how much does advertising have to do with it? Jim Mann is calling for greater government regulations around how food is advertised, especially to children.
In a lecture given at the University of Auckland, Professor Judith Bessant speaks about her work looking at techno-human futures and how this could affect work cultures moving forward.
A New Zealand study has found that those who use nicotine e-cigarettes in conjunction with other nicotine supplements such as patches have a higher chance of quitting than those who don’t.
Often thought of as the king of the ocean, shark populations are on the decline the world over, while their habitats have been affected by human contact.
How is climate change affecting the oceans and marine life? What are the interactions between the earth, the atmosphere, and the ocean, and how does that affect human life? What measures can people take to prevent massive environmental damage?
This week, a report on the health of trans and non-binary New Zealanders revealed some alarming statistics into psychological distress, discrimination and ongoing barriers to health services.
They are known to get drunk on berries, fall out of trees, and hang around humans, but Kererū have become something of a New Zealand icon.
New research from the University of Otago has revealed that cannabis use is in decline among young people in New Zealand. The research showed that between 2001 and 2012 lifetime use of the drug among teenagers dropped from 38% to 23%.
What are the biophysical limits to New Zealand’s food and energy future? Mike Joy says people need to do a lot less of what they are doing now if New Zealand is to have a sustainable future.
Are we living in a climate of ignorance when it comes to discussing climate change? Joel Rindelaub seems to think so.
Low-lying Pacific islands in atoll archipelagos such as Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati are likely to adapt to the effects of climate change rather than simply sink beneath the waves.
How do we measure pain, anyway? Jeremy Delahanty investigates.
Brettina Mrusek asks if we can we clean up earth’s orbit before it’s too late.
New research involving kelp DNA has suggested a novel way to measure and potentially predict previously unknown locations that may be prone to earthquakes.
As the quest to combat plastic pollution continues, new research has explored the potential for developing environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic, like sulphur polymers.
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.
A new study led by Kieran D. Cox and researchers at the University of Victoria in British Columbia confirms a logical but cringe-worthy conclusion: humans are consuming plastic.
Kate Mackrill explores what is known as the nocebo effect and whether the media can in fact influence the side effects of medication.
Reforestation can help reverse not one but two planetary crises according to new research from the Earth Innovation Research.
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.
In the ruling against Caster Semenya, bogus science is being used to stifle the vulnerable according to Sarah Laframboise.
Is the transmission of trauma multi-generational? Do children of survivors of mass atrocities have a higher risk of developing psychological disorders?
El Niño has rapidly become stronger and stranger, according to new research involving coral records.
The recently released Global Assessment from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is a wake-up call to all of us when it comes to species extinction according to Wendy Nelson.
In December 2018, the New Zealand parliament passed a bill to create a regulated market for medicinal cannabis and a legal defence for users who take the drug for palliative reasons. But what are the flaws, if any in New Zealand’s new medicinal cannabis scheme?
A recent report has found that our use of cars is harming both our health and our environment. The report, titled Turning the Tide, claims that urgent steps are needed to encourage New Zealanders to walk, cycle, or use public transport.
How did the earthquakes affect the mental health of the people of Canterbury? Ben Beaglehole and Joseph Boden discuss their research.
Norman A. Paradis investigate why it is so hard to find a cure for Alzheimer’s after a century of research into the brain disease.
A recent report from a team of researchers based at the University of Otago has found that our use of cars is harming both our health and our environment. Is it time to give up our cars?
A rise in the global consumption of meat will have major consequences for the environment according to a new paper published in Science.
With much excitement from the press, an international team of astronomers recently announced they had directly imaged the silhouette or shadow of a black hole for the first time. Chris Benton explains why this is important.
Bugs like it hot, and evolve faster when there’s lots of carbon dioxide meaning more mosquitoes according to Max Levy.
We all know climate change is a problem. It is generally portrayed as an exclusively bio-physical issue that will impact things like our weather and oceans, agriculture and water availability. But climate change also has an impact on mental health.
Eileen Reynolds investigates the opioid crisis that has gripped the United States over the last few years.
In New Zealand, recent policy plans by the government show the first steps towards zero-carbon emissions.
For years a myth has been propagated that the MMR vaccine causes autism. However new research has confirmed the link does not exist.
Julie Anne Hope discusses how microplastics are interfering with our marine ecosystems.
Eighteen countries from developed economies have had declining carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels for at least a decade. While every nation is unique, they share some common themes that can show Australia, and the world, a viable path to reducing emissions.
Today is Valentine’s Day but what exactly is love? How have notions of love changed over time? Can love be consciously developed? And how does love for partners, friends, children, and countries differ?
The world is fast running out of fresh water and the results could be very grim.
How will climate change affect our natural world, our society, and our culture? What can we do to halt the looming catastrophe? A panel of experts discusses how climate change will impact New Zealand.
How does culture shape our understanding and treatment of mental illness? Maria Armoudian speaks with Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, Tanya Marie Luhrmann, and Andrew G. Ryder about culture and its impact on mental health.
A medicinal cannabis bill has just past its third reading in the New Zealand parliament. But is it time to also look at recreational use in the country?
On 26 November 2018 NASA’s lander InSight successfully touched down on Mars. But what is it doing there?
Paleoclimatologists are digging into the connections between the collapse of Mayan Civilization and extreme droughts.
Scientists are finding more and more evidence that human behaviour is not rational, not conscious, and maybe completely programmed without our rational thinking.
Fewer crops are feeding more people worldwide and that is not good according to Karl Zimmerer.
We are sending worms into space. But why?
As electric cars and trucks appear increasingly on highways, it raises the question: When will commercially viable electric vehicles take to the skies?
Joseph M. Boden explores how research can inform change with regards to abortion law reform.
It’s not just sleep: circadian rhythms influence your metabolism, circulation and psychology, too according to Jackie Grimm.
Watching violence on screens makes children more emotionally distressed according to new research.
A vaccine that could block mosquitoes from transmitting malaria has emerged. Jonathan Lovell and Wei-Chiao Huang investigate.
Birds, bees, whales, and turtles all use the Earth’s magnetic field to guide their behaviour. Now scientists have learned much more about how. Maria Armoudian speaks with Andres Vidal-Gadea about what has been discovered.
Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report on the impacts of 1.5°C global warming above pre-industrial levels. Tra Dinh explores some of the questions that arose out of this.
Afraid of lions by moonlight and raptors by day, animals will behave in dramatic ways as Cassie Fruend explains.
With bird colony collapses and crop failures occurring more frequently, what is happening to life on Earth and how can we address the changes for long-term sustainability?
The popularity of electric vehicles in New Zealand is increasing every year, but is our obsession with electric mobility driving an increase in lead poisoning?
World hunger has risen for three straight years, and climate change is a cause according to Jessica Eise and Kenneth Foster.
With more scientists saying we should give up meat for the sake of the environment, are insects the answer to food insecurity?
2017 saw the highest international tourism numbers in seven years. However, there is a cost as Archana Chand explains.
All scientific indications are suggesting that the Earth is fast reaching a tipping point, a point of irreversible damage to life on the planet. Maria Armoudian spoke with world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen about the science and politics of climate change.
With new technology, mind control is no longer just science fiction as Lily Toomey explains.
What does the discovery of a new dwarf planet tell us about the outer parts of our Solar System?
One of the 2018 Nobel Prizes in physics went to Donna Strickland but why don’t more women win science Nobels?
What next for space travel? Joel Wooten investigates.
Luciana Esteves warns of the dangers of living near the coast and suggests it is time we moved people away from some areas.
The introduction of genome editing signals a dramatic departure from the usual pathway through reproductive care. However, the use of genetic technologies in reproduction is frequently criticised for harbouring eugenic undertones.
In the near future, “meat” could mean a lot more than it does now.
Are we prepared for a global flu pandemic? Mark Ecclestone-Turner investigates.
Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar industry that has reportedly helped fund Al-Qaeda-related groups. What is the scope of the problem? What should be done about it?
C. Michael White discusses why synthetic marijuana is so dangerous.
Tourism accounts for 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and Jenny Howard says we can do more to limit our carbon footprint.
The ocean is awash with plastic. Giant patches of discarded plastic items, bottles, bags are forming in oceans like the Pacific. Plastic pieces are killing off wildlife that swallow or get choked by them.
Do you remember when you were a baby? What was your first memory?
Marc Jacobson has been working to take the world to 100% renewable energy by 2050 which he argues can slow down climate change and reverse some of the damage.
Michelle Langley looks at new research which revealed information showing the first known person to have had parents of two different species.
We know there are higher death rates happening because of climate change but how is it affecting birth rates? Alan Barreca’s research has looked at the effects of climate on fertility rates. Maria Armoudian spoke with Barreca about his research.
What are the hidden costs of civilisation? Could civilisation be behind disease, mental illness, climate change, and religious fundamentalism? Spencer Wells thinks it might just be. Maria Armoudian speaks to Wells about his book Pandora’s Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilisation.
Is humanity the most damaging predator on Earth? Many experts say yes and that its predatory practices maybe disrupting evolution.
Do dogs really, truly understand what we tell them? Scientists trained some pups to endure MRIs to help find out as Lauren Makenzie Reynolds explains.
Genomics expert Devang Mehta explores whether it is safe to eat genetically modified food.
New Zealand’s most sacred tree is under threat from disease, but the response so far has been slow as Matthew Hall explains.
We know how to fight wildfires effectively. Why don’t we do it? Microbial ecology expert Michael Graw discusses what we should be doing to combat wildfires.
Hallucinations may be a symptom of mental illness, but they are not necessarily harmful as Yewande Pearse explains.
After the recent discovery of a large liquid water lake on Mars Jonti Horner explores what this means for the ongoing quest to find life on the red planet.
Doctoral candidate Hannah Thomasy discusses the impacts of all-nighters on the brain. Is staying up late a health-risk?
What is a hallucinogen? Benjamin Bell explores what these mind-altering drugs do in our brains.
Dogs stick their noses in everything, but many people believe their saliva is beneficial. Jennifer Tsang from Massive Science explains.
Extinction is a natural process, but it’s happening at 1,000 times the normal speed. Does this mean we are experiencing a sixth mass extinction event?
With the effects of climate change continuing to be widely felt around the world and the ongoing increase of CO₂ in the atmosphere why can’t we just pull carbon dioxide out of the air?
New research has shown that Orangutans have been adapting to humans for 70,000 years.
What is the science behind superstition and why do we believe the unbelievable? Neil Dagnall & Ken Drinkwater investigate.
As climate change encroaches, our heritage is drowning according to Patty Hamrick.
Suicide rates have been steadily rising in the United States. So what explains the increase in the numbers of people taking their own lives, and what can be done to solve what amounts to a crisis in public health? Maria Armoudian speaks with Mark S. Kaplan.
Trauma has profound and lifelong physical and psychological effects on its survivors. It can damage the mind, the brain, and stunt development. What exactly is trauma? How does it affect us individually and as a society? And how can trauma survivors recover from these experiences?
The militarization of outer space? Gbenga Oduntan looks into Donald Trump’s plan to create a space force.
Benjamin Bell lays out a cautiously optimistic case for using the psychedelic in therapy for social anxiety.
Epigenetics has been hailed as the missing link between genes and environment. Nicola Shepheard explores this phenomenon in greater detail and seeks out whether inheritance is about more than just genes.
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.
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.
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 Gwynne Dyer about the scenarios we face with climate change.
In this special extended episode of the What If? podcast, Luke Goode talks about the future of mental health with a panel of international experts who were recently brought together as part of an Australia and New Zealand lecture tour entitled ‘Mental Health Crisis.’
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.
Arunima Malik & Ya-Yen Sun look into the carbon footprint of tourism and find out it is bigger than we thought.
Doctoral candidate Theresa Laverty looks at how bats could guide humans to clean drinking water in places where it is scarce.
Predators are helping farmers and reducing car crashes with surprising results.
Reuben McLaren speaks to Marewa Glover about whether the Government’s smokefree 2025 policy is indeed the least harmful way to reduce the harm that tobacco causes.
Professor Simon Thrush from the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “how do we restore marine ecosystems?”
Nick Malone from the School of Social Sciences at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “how do we apply what we know about ape behaviour and ecology to conservation practice?”
Professor Judith Littleton from the School of Social Sciences at the University of Auckland talks about her big question, “How are illness and disease created in particular bodies?”
In the first video of our new “big question” series Daniel Hikuroa from Māori and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “Why are we killing our rivers?”
Robots are not part of some science fiction future, they’re here now and being used in ever more interesting and adventurous ways.
After the recent passing of world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, Maria Armoudian talked with Peter Galison and Priya Natarajan about the work and legacy of Hawking within the context of physics.
A major University of Otago-led study into an ancient climate change event that impacted a significant percentage of Earth’s oceans has brought into sharp focus a lesser-known villain in global warming: oxygen depletion.
Shalene Singh-Shepherd outlines new research that looks into how parasites choose their hosts.
Science is no longer cool, according to Chris Mooney. This could have huge consequences for the world, which needs science to help resolve many crises facing us today. But people are paying less attention and giving less credence to science and scientists due in part to politics, mainstream media, religion, and anti-intellectualism.
Scientists say we still have time to address climate change and we have made headway, but we still have a long way to go. What do we need to do to combat climate change, and how worried should we about global warming?
The last two decades have seen the Internet become an essential medium for occupational, academic, and personal purposes. As our culture becomes more dependent on the Internet it is no surprise that we are starting to hear reports of people displaying problematic behaviour in relation to compulsive use of such technology.
With climate change upon us, the Earth is changing the way it functions. What exactly is occurring and where are we headed?
For many years geneticists and psychologists have in worked in separate labs on factors such as our genetic codes and our experiences that they each thought were affecting our physical and mental health respectively. But it may be that our experiences are affecting our epigenetics which can then get handed down for generations to come, contributing to diseases and behaviors such as cancer and depression.
In this episode of What IF? Professor Jeremy Wyatt talks about the new frontier of “third wave” dexterous robots that combine the intelligence and unstructured mobility of second wave robotics with capacities for sophisticated manipulation and fine motor skills in unfamiliar situations.
Scientists are still trying to understand the mysteries of our slumber. Why do we sleep? What is its purpose? And what actually happens during sleep?
Many observers argue that economic forces are corrupting medical care and eroding the trust between patients and their doctors.
Planet Earth has faced five mass extinctions in its lifetime. Now we may be facing the sixth. What have we learned from the previous mass extinctions that can help us avoid a total collapse? Can humanity rescue the planet that it has imperiled?
What technological changes will be needed to power the renewable revolution? Sung-Young Kim has been studying the political economy of the new clean energy revolution. Maria Armoudian sat down with him to discuss his research and what needs to happen as we move towards renewables.
Sanitation and antibiotics have saved the lives of many, but are they also the culprits behind some modern diseases? Martin Blaser argues we might have gone overboard in killing our microbes and that may be causing some of today’s epidemics.