Tag: Science Media Centre

Science Deadline

Press Release – Science Media Centre Tianjin explosion investigated The exact cause of the huge explosions that rocked the Chinese port city of Tianjin remains a mystery for now, but chemical experts are assessing the situation.Science Deadline Issue 341, 14 Aug 2015 Tianjin explosion investigated The exact cause of the huge explosions that rocked the Chinese port city of Tianjin remains a mystery for now, but chemical experts are assessing the situation. The series of explosions occurred around 3.30am (NZT) yesterday at a container storage station at the city port, causing widespread damage and injury. Latest reports put the death toll at 50 with over 700 admitted to hospital. The BBC reports that the explosions have been traced to a warehouse at the port which was reportedly storing “dangerous and chemical goods”. Xinhua news reports that a team of 217 military specialists in nuclear and biochemical materials have arrived at the site today to assess potential chemical hazards. A number of toxic chemicals, including cyanide, were present at the port and may have been spread widely by the explosions. “With a blast like this, normally you would expect the transport [of particulate matter] to be along the wind gradient or contours, but a blast this big must push it beyond that in the opposite direction,” Ravi Naidu, Director of the Global Centre for Environmental Remediation at the University of...

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Fat debate, TPPA medical fears and $1.9M fund for engagement

Column – Science Media Centre SMC Science Deadline: Fat debate, TPPA medical fears and $1.9M fund for science engagementSMC Science Deadline: Fat debate, TPPA medical fears and $1.9M fund for science engagement Issue 315, 13 Feb 2015 In this issue: Fat advice TPPA concerns $1M fund __ Quick Links SMC Alerts Calendar Briefings Media Registration About us Contact the SMC New from the SMC In the News: Meteor media coverage explodes across New Zealand Expert reaction: Dietary fat recommendations In the News: Fat review re-ignites debate on NZ diet advice Briefing: Kauri dieback – what happens now? Expert reaction: HIV court case controversy The SMC network UK SMC Expert reaction: sugar, industry and public health Expert reaction: genes, obesity and fat distribution Expert reaction: unemployment linked with deaths by suicide Expert reaction: health effects of alcohol across different age groups Expert reaction: to two new reports on geoengineering Australian SMC Briefing: Past, present and future of bushfires and disasters Tribute to climate scientist Dr Michael Raupach Briefing: Health impacts of wind farms – release of NHMRC statement Media training for scientists Upcoming Christchurchworkshop APPLY NOW Fat advice debate kicks off Decades-old advice on dietary fat intake in the UK and US is completely unfounded, claims a new review, sparking global debate on food recommendations. The authors of the review — published in the journal Open Heart — say that...

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SMC Heads-Up: Animal testing, tornadoes, freshwater science

Press Release – Science Media Centre Animal testing; Fatal tornado; Action on water; New from the SMC; Sciblogs highlights; Research highlights; Policy News; Sci-tech eventsSMC Heads-Up: Animal testing, tornadoes, freshwater science and disaster communication Issue 210 7 – 13 December Quick Links SMC Alerts Briefings Calendar Media Registration More About Us Contact Us Animal testing still crucial to science Controversy over proposed safety testing methods for new “legal highs” erupted this week as it emerged that unregulated, emerging recreational drugs may have to be subject to testing involving animals. Writing in the Herald, legal commentator Catriona MacLennan wrote: “dogs shouldn’t die so humans can get high” and claimed New Zealand should lead the world by banning animal testing outright. On Monday, after a report on toxicity assessments for novel psychoactive substances was made public, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne ruled out use of the median lethal dose (LD50) testing regime for these drugs, citing concerns over animal ethics in this context. But he has left the door open for some form of animal testing of legal highs. The Australia NZ Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Testing (ANZCCART), told the SMC that phasing out use of animals in testing new treatments and drugs wasn’t realistic – yet. “Experience has taught society that the health and safety of the chemicals we use, as medicines, in food and...

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SMC Heads-Up: GM-Cancer link questioned, vaccines, IgNobels

Press Release – Science Media Centre GM Wheat; HPV Vaccine; IgNobel Prizes; New from the SMC; Sciblogs highlights; Research highlights; Policy News; Sci-tech eventsSMC Heads-Up: GM-Cancer link questioned, vaccine ‘psuedoscience’ challenged and the IgNobel goes to…. Issue 199 21 – 27 September GM Maize cancer link questioned New research on the long term effects of herbicide-resistant GM maize fed to rats generated sensational headlines this week — e.g. ‘GM corn causes cancer‘ — but international scrutiny has shown that the study falls far short of proving such claims. The French research, published this week in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, was underwritten in part by the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, a group known for it’s staunch anti-GM stance. The authors claim that females rats fed the GM maize were 2-3 times more likely to die during the 2 year study, mostly due to mammary tumours. They also noted the males in some GM-fed groups had an increased incidence of other types of cancer. Independent researchers around the globe have criticised the study, citing poor methodology and lack of statistical analysis. Prof David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding Of Risk, University of Cambridge, told the UK SMC: “In my opinion, the methods, stats and reporting of results are all well below the standard I would expect in a rigorous study – to...

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SMC Heads-Up: GM Pine attack, issues for new scientists

Column – Science Media Centre Prospects for emerging researchers The New Zealand Association of Scientists will hold its annual conference on Monday in a forum that will focus on emerging scientists and the opportunities that exist for them as they embark on their careers.SMC Heads-Up:GM Pine attack, issues for new scientists and Chinese medicines analysed Issue 177 – April 13 – 19 Prospects for emerging researchers The New Zealand Association of Scientists will hold its annual conference on Monday in a forum that will focus on emerging scientists and the opportunities that exist for them as they embark on their careers. The conference will feature senior scientists, policy makers and science funding administrators and be addressed by David Carter, Minister for Primary Industries and of Local Government and David Shearer, leader of the Labour Party, and spokesperson for Science and Innovation. In a scene-setting piece outlining some of the issues the conference will explore, NZAS president Professor Shaun Hendy writes that the way science is practiced is changing and that New Zealand has to adapt quickly. “Big scientific problems require big teams these days and our current institutional arrangements, with their high transaction costs and researcher-scale accountabilities, are ill-suited to meet such challenges. Putting together large, multi-institutional teams to tackle complex problems remains depressingly difficult in the New Zealand environment”. Hendy, who has researched how innovation ecosystems work and...

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