Posts by st ephen

  • Up Front: Oh, God,

    The kids at those "no science" schools are probably not missing out on much compared with their peers elsewhere; making hokey pokey once a year seems to count as teaching science.
    As it was described to me, there are three subjects taught in NZ primary schools: English (Reading/Writing), Maths, and "Topic", where Topic is Music, Physical Education, Art, Civics, History, Geography, Social Studies, Personal Hygiene, How to Approach Dogs Without Getting Bitten, Beach Safety, Road Safety, How to Escape From Perverts, Science, Bible Class, Self Esteem, Kiwiana (or Why NZ is so Great), Te Reo, Sign Language, Information Technology, Bullies and How to Stop Them, Healthy Eating, etc. Outside experts are used to teach a lot of that and it may be time to accept that we have to do the same for science. We have loads of under-employed science graduates who could deliver something worthwhile. Children are natural scientists - they ask lots of questions and love experimenting - so there's no need for the gimmicky explosion stuff inflicted on jaded teens.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Steven Joyce: Prick or Treat, in reply to NBH,

    It is worth noting that Peter Gluckman’s been the driving force behind the National Science Challenges and they’re one of his pet projects; I’m somewhat surprised that no one’s asked him for his views on all this yet.

    Don't be surprised if few scientists are willing to go public with their views on Gluckman's role in the process.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    Seems to be quite a bit of bioplastics work going on at Scion. Based on waste plant material I think, so no need for new GM organisms or displacing food crops.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Taking a very big gamble,

    Nice to know the government prefers to have ambulances lined up at the bottom of cliffs rather than fences at the top.

    Someone was talking about this in another context last week - National is all about "freedom of choice" and "personal responsibility". Hence no fence at the top, and ambulances run on a commercial basis at the bottom. Remember that, and you'll have a better chance of understanding their weird policy choices.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Another Saturday Night, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Perhaps from the rugby league comments team when viewing the replay: "He has gone outside his man and done him for pace, then he's come off his right foot and beaten the cover" sort of thing..

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fact and fantasy, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Farmer Green regards the NZ Forest Dept decision to go with Pinus radiata rather than Cupresssus macrocarpa (or lusitanica) as one of our worst national decisions.

    More accurate to say that by planting species other than radiata pine, NZ lost out on billions of dollars worth of revenue. Radiata wasn't even in the top ten by 1913, with plantings of larch alone outnumbering it by 100 to 1. Long after commercial investors had switched to almost 100% radiata, the State persisted with other species (stopping only when Treasury imposed a ROI hurdle). A bit harsh to blame the dominance of radiata on the NZFS then.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fact and fantasy,

    Just noticed that today's ODT editorial repeats the spin from the government's press release on pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol - that NZ will instead join the alternative Framework Convention on Climate Change because the KP only covers 15% of emissions so it's just symbolic, whereas all the big player are in the FCCC.

    Thing is, we were already a party to the FCCC - it pre-dates the KP. The KP came about because the FCCC was totally symbolic - there were no binding commitments and as a result nobody did anything. The KP (for all its faults) was an attempt to change that.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Reviews: #NZGT and the Herald,

    I knew it was fake, but not how incredibly fake it was.

    I happened to be in the Octagon on the day, and saw the limo pull up outside the theatre. It was only then that I noticed the red carpet and the rope holding back a somewhat bemused crowd of at least ten teenage girls. I guessed that the chap who hopped out of the limo was Ben Lummis. Or someone off the GC. Or an afternoon TV host. Anyway, he stepped onto the carpet, the cameras zoomed in extra tight, and (three-two-one) the "crowd" screamed a little and waved their flags. Then I think the limo ducked around the corner to pick up the next celeb and repeated the process. It was kind of cool, like watching actors do their thing in front of a green screen.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The gathering of the small tribe,

    …a prominent ANZ author…

    Surely the production (and consumption) of poetry and short stories involves a far tinier clique than the NZ Post Book Awards. Fair enough for not wanting to play the game – most scientists and sportspeople also hate endless rounds of grant applications and publicity – but shitting on those who do make the effort seems a bit off.

    [I did a small edit above. I don't want a scrap unfolding while I'm away from the keyboard. Let's all be nice. It's Friday. RB]

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Higgs Live!,

    Yeah. Communicating science is important. Accountability is important. Budget forecasting is important. Stakeholder engagement is important. Quality science is important. And human nature being what it is, within our CRI's each little group of experts think they're at least as important as the others, if not more so.
    NZ could be doing so much more science , dammit!

    (Or maybe - given that slick marketing actually trumps all - we could just close up shop and hand the budget over to Saatchis et al?).

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

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