Dave Hansford, a science and environment writer, sensed the same whiff of rat that was niggling our olfactory senses at Point of Order the other day. He proceeded to investigate and reporteds his findings in an item, Dead rats, a mystery lab, and the very curious antics of the anti-1080 lobby, which was published on The Spinoff.
The whiff followed the release by an anti-1080 lobby of “lab tests” which – the group contended – found poison in vermin that washed up in Westport last month.
This directly contradicted the findings of Landcare Research, which had tested carcasses for 1080 and found none. (In necropsies, Massey University was unable to establish a cause of death).
Hansford set out see if the lobby’s claims stand up to scrutiny.
He failed to flush out the identity of the laboratory which did the testing: Continue reading “Anti-1080 lobby issues a press statement – and then it shies away from media questioning”
We smell a rat when one laboratory report says testing has detected 1080 in dead rodents collected on the West Coast, contradicting the findings of another laboratory report which found no evidence of the controversial poison.
The identity of the laboratory which produced the first-mentioned report is being kept confidential “for the security and safety of the independent chemists involved … ”
The secret lab’s findings challenge the Department of Conservation insistence that 1080 was not found in any of the wildlife tested by Landcare Research and Massey University veterinarians.
Who should we believe?
The Science Media Centre asked for help in tackling that question by asking for comment from Dr Belinda Cridge, in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of Otago. Her observations can be read HERE. Continue reading “Toxicologist is called in to help sort out contradictory findings on 1080 and wildlife deaths”
Questions are raised on the AgScience blog about the allocation of grants from the Marsden Fund this year.
The fund is managed by Royal Society Te Apārangi on behalf of the government and presumably its decisions reflect government policy.
The allocation of $83.671 million (excluding GST) to 125 research projects across New Zealand was announced this week.
The society says the 2019 grants support excellent New Zealand research in the areas of science, engineering, maths, social sciences and the humanities
The AgScience post reports a dearth of grants for science in the agricultural and horticultural sector.
It also questions whether the money is being invested in the best projects or has been allocated on the basis of other considerations. Continue reading “An emphasis on equity, diversity and inclusion has an impact (and raises questions) on Marsden Fund grants”
The proposition that global warming driven by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a risk that needs to be dealt with has achieved a large measure of agreement among policymakers. The proposition that it has to be dealt with right now and at great cost has no such consensus. Continue reading “Climate emergency: future shock or last gasp”
Overshadowed perhaps by the government’s push to improve care for cancer patients, an initiative by the Heart Foundation with the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge in making a $2m grant for a research programme, has high significance in the health sector.
Heart disease is NZ’s single biggest killer, claiming the lives of more than 6,300 NZers every year – that’s one person every 90 minutes. More than 22,000 Māori and more than 7,000 Pacific people are living with heart disease.
The new three-year study, the first major programme of its kind in NZ, aims to improve access to healthcare for Māori and Pacific people, which has the potential to achieve equity in heart health outcomes for all NZers.
Continue reading “Science at work in the health sector”
At last there’s some recognition from the government that it needs to revise its policy on gene editing. It follows a report from the Royal Society Te Aparangi on the considerable benefits gene editing can bring to our lives.
Climate change is being widely accepted as one of the greatest threats facing mankind.
The more extreme Green lobbyists contend it could lead to the extinction of the human race — but the same Green lobbyists resist the gene editing science.
Largely as a result of pressure from the Green Party, the provisions governing gene editing, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs), were amended in 2003 in line with the government’s overall policy of proceeding with caution while preserving opportunities.
Work in gene editing was not prohibited , but scientists found the policy so difficult to navigate that those working in the field have been forced to conduct experiments and trials abroad. Continue reading “Royal Society report heaps more pressure on government to review GM law – but Green extremists are an obstacle”
You’ve got to hand it to Shane Jones. Even when he is not playing the fairy godfather role in the provinces he can make the headlines.
There he was on the front page of the NZ Herald last week with the message that NZ needs to review its genetic modification-free “gospel”.
Of course this raises alarm bells among the Green lobbies, because it is an article of faith among Green politicians that they “saved” NZ when a ban was applied to the application of GM in this country.
But Jones reckons if NZ is going to find a solution to meet the climate change transition, then it must apply weapons from the arsenal of science and technology. His intervention followed the concerns raised by the government’s Interim Climate Change Committee that laws surrounding GM could be a barrier to lowering farm emissions.
Continue reading “The Green Gospel on GM is under challenge – from Shane Jones as well as Sir Peter Gluckman”