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AuthorBen Wylie-van Eerd

Author Archive: Ben Wylie-van Eerd

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July 25, 2011

I would like to share with you all today the message of one of Victoria University’s leading scientists, and New Zealander of the Year, Professor Sir Paul Callaghan. You may have already encountered this message in his 2009 book Wool to Weta or in any one of numerous speeches, but if you haven’t, then you […]

July 11, 2011

Use of 1080 poison to protect native birds has for as long as I can remember been something of a contentious issue. For quite understandable reasons, many people feel poisons are unpleasant, and that poisons dropped from the sky are dangerous. There have been arguments back and forth between proponents and opponents of the currently […]

June 1, 2011

According to a recent report by the guardian newspaper, last year has been measured by the international energy agency as the highest carbon year on record. More carbon was emitted last year than in any other year, and the increase from last year to this was also the highest increase on record. This came as […]

May 18, 2011

Today’s issue is about words, and about the slightly peculiar phrases that are constantly passing the lips of scientists. “It seems unlikely that…” “it is reasonable to assume that…” “we can say with a high degree of confidence that…” Any scientist worth their salt will avoid pronouncing something to be absolutely true[1], and what we […]

May 10, 2011

This week, GE Free NZ (along with a couple of other environmentally activist organisations) lodged a complaint against AgResearch, New Zealand’s biggest science research organisation. Normally in these situations, I side with the scientists and blame the incident on a lack of understanding about the science of genetics, the risks present and the measures taken […]

May 9, 2011

More and more often these days I am hearing people say that they are unsatisfied with their education, that it hasn’t prepared them for their lives as adults. Maybe it’s because of the introduction of NCEA. Maybe it’s because a degree is no longer a job ticket. Maybe it’s because the lag between teaching and […]

April 25, 2011

This week, a little more on education and a realisation about growing up in today’s world. One of the other things I noticed about Richard Feynman’s education throughout his college (that’s US for university) days was that he was always surrounded by other scientists. Physicists, mathematicians, chemists, oh my! In the universities he attended, there […]

April 5, 2011

UPDATE – Curse yoou Peter Gluuckmaaaaaan! Always a step ahead of me :\ ( I’d like to take a slight aside today, and talk about education and growing up as a scientist, and about the differences between the present and the past. And I guess gripe about education in general! I’ve been reading about the […]

March 28, 2011

Aside – before I start I’d just like to celebrate a research success from New Zealand regarding climate change. One way to reduce carbon entering the atmosphere is to catch it as it leaves smokestacks from coal power plants. It turns out that many common minerals are actually very good at capturing carbon, but they […]

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