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Expert Reactions

Pacific origins for Brazil Zika outbreak? – Expert Reaction

John Kerr posted in on April 13th, 2016.

The current Zika outbreak in Brazil may have had its origins in Polynesia, says new research speculating the virus was brought to South America by Pacific Island canoeing teams competing in Rio in 2014. The ongoing Zika outbreak in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, has been scrutinized by Brazilian and German scientists who have revealed its […]

SMC BRIEFING: Climate change and the Pacific

John Kerr posted in on February 17th, 2016.

With a warmer future set to hit our Pacific neighbours hardest, is there still a chance to turn the tide? The first ever conference on climate change and the Pacific, ‘In the Eye of the Storm‘,  is being held this week in Wellington at Victoria University. The conference brings together Pacific community representatives, scientists, artists, politicians […]

Fear of gods’ wrath propelled growth of societies – In the news

John Kerr posted in on February 11th, 2016.

Belief in the wrath of judgemental gods spurred the expansion of human societies, suggests a new study co-authored by New Zealanders. The researchers interviewed hundreds of people from eight diverse communities around the world – including Vanuatu and Fiji – who practised a wide range of religions. Studying people playing economic games, they found that […]

UPDATED: Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on September 29th, 2015.

The Kermadec Islands and surrounding ocean – one of the Pacific’s most diverse and pristine marine environments – is to be protected from all forms of fishing and mining. The Prime Minister’s announced the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary this week at the United Nations in New York. More information, including a Q&A, is available on […]

What can NZ learn from Japanese earthquakes? – The Press

Laura Goodall posted in on February 27th, 2015.

Paul Gorman, science editor at The Press, visited Japan on an Asia New Zealand Foundation and Foreign Press Center of Japan fellowship. In his follow-up opinion article, he compares earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and looks at how the Japanese use science to minimise their impact. An excerpt (read in full here): The repeating two- notes up, one-note […]

Size matters in language evolution – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on February 3rd, 2015.

When it comes to new words, size matters. An Australian-based study of 20 Polynesian languages, including New Zealand Maori, suggests that widely-spoken languages gain new words more frequently while those with just a few speakers tend to lose words faster. How the size of a population affects the evolution of language is unclear. Do languages […]

Quakes near Kermadec Islands

John Kerr posted in on June 24th, 2014.

A series of three strong quakes struck the Kermadec Islands this morning but have not triggered tsunami warnings here in New Zealand. According to updated records from the US Geological Survey, the quakes, reaching 6.9, 6.3 and 6.2 magnitude, struck about 90km south east of Raoul Island, the largest of the Kermadec Islands. The quakes […]

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Cyclone Evan NZ bound – Jim Salinger

John Kerr posted in on December 17th, 2012.

Tropical cyclone Evan has devastated Samoa and is currently causing strife in Fiji. Now, meteorologists are forecasting that a weakened cyclone Evan will continue on to New Zealand. Prof Jim Salinger, climate scientist and visiting professor at Stanford University, noted to the SMC: “It looks like tropical cyclone Evan, after strafing Fiji, will head for […]

Climate changes mean tough times ahead for Pacific islands

Peter Griffin posted in on November 25th, 2011.

 Australian scientists have  released a new report on climate change in the Pacific detailing rising sea levels, increasing temperatures andincreases in ocean acidity with  drastic implications for coral-based eco-systems from hitting home in less than 40 years. “The Pacific is getting hotter, sea-levels are rising, rainfall is changing, and equatorial winds have weakened,” said researcher, […]

NZ Herald: Pacific coastal disaster risk to be assessed

Peter Griffin posted in on February 11th, 2010.

Eloise Gibson of the NZ Herald reports that GNS scientists will be spending the next 6 months travelling around the Pacific to assess the risk to infrastructure of another major natural disaster. The infrastructure to be looked at will include roads, houses, pipes and workplaces, with particular reference to the placement of much of the […]

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