SMC Science Deadline: Yellow sticker blues, data journalism and science prizes galore

By Sciencemediacentre.co.nz received 3 years ago

Categories: Science
Age: 19 until 30 year 31 until 64 years 65 and older
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Issue 353, 13 Nov 2015

In this issue:

Research awards
Quake prone cost
Herald Insights Policy updates
New from the SMC

Quick Links

SMC Alerts
Media Registration
About us
Contact the SMC

Top news from scimex.org  the Science Media Centre's news sharing platform.

'Agribuzzness' started with the first farmers

NZ and Aus didn't thaw out at end of ice age

A joint to ease joint pain? Jury is still out

Facebook stalking your brain

New from the SMC

In the News: Cancer the cost of a Life – NZH special series
In the News: PM’s Science Prizes – In the News   Expert Reaction: ‘Earthquake prone’ buildings fall in value   In the News: Honours for New Zealand’s top researchers

  Applications still open for Wellington two-day workshop in Feb 2016
Apply Here

New from the SMC global network

  Expert Reaction:  ‘Menopause: diagnosis and management’   Briefing: Prof Guy Poppy, Chief Scientific Adviser to the FSA    Expert reactions: Low-energy sweeteners, energy intake and body weight   Expert Reaction: Macrolide antibiotics and cardiovascular risk
Australian SMC
Expert Reaction: Gene-edited cell therapy saves baby girl from leukaemia   Expert Reaction: Australia can prosper while protecting the environment

No shortage of science accolades

New Zealand’s top scientists have been recognised this week, with not one but two high profile sets of awards honouring the best of the research and education community.
2015 Research Honours Dinner
On Tuesday the Royal Society of New Zealand held its annual Research Honours Dinner in Auckland, awarding medals to top researchers across a range of fields.
The winner of the highest honour, the Rutherford Medal, was Distinguished Professor Ian Reid, in recognition of his research into the treatment of osteoporosis – including debunking the theory that calcium and vitamin D were effective treatments for the bone disease. He also took home the Liley Medal, awarded by the Health Research Council at the same event.
For her tireless efforts in science communication, Dr Michelle Dickinson was awarded the Callaghan Medal. This completes her clean sweep of the country's top awards in this space, having won the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize and the NZ Association of Scientists' Science Media Communicator's award last year.
Read the full list of award winners on the Royal Society of New Zealand website.
Prime Minister’s Science Prizes
Hot on the heels of the Honours Dinner came the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes, awarded by John Key the next evening at a special event in Wellington. The prizes, totalling $1 million, were established in 2009 as a way of raising the profile and prestige of science among New Zealanders.
The top prize of $500,000 went to none other than Distinguished Professor Ian Reid, along with two of his colleagues, Associate Professors Mark Bolland and Andrew Grey, for work on osteoporosis and bone health.
The Science Media Communication Prize was presented to Dr Ian Griffin, Director of the Otago Museum and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Otago’s Department of Physics.
Read the full list of award winners on the official PM’s Science Prizes website.
You can also read a full round up of news coverage from the Research Honours and PM’s Science Prizes on the Science Media Centre website.

Policy news & developments

Seal colonies: DOC has announced two islands in Abel Tasman National Park will become specially protected areas for breeding colonies of New Zealand fur seals.
HRC report: A 'strategic refresh' report reviewing the Health Research Council has been released by the Ministry of Health and MBIE.
MBIE proposals: MBIE has opened proposals for the redesigned Contestable Research Fund and is also seeking proposals for Regional Research Institutes.

Quake risk tumbles building values

Earthquake-prone buildings drop in value, but the extent of the discount depends on who makes the call.
Placing an official ‘earthquake prone’ sticker on a commercial building almost halves its value, according to new research from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and GNS Science.
However, the same study found buildings which are equally earthquake prone, but not yet officially declared to be, don’t suffer the same drop in sale price - a finding which the authors say “came as a real surprise.”
The researchers tracked the buying and selling of Wellington buildings as well as official declarations of 'earthquake-prone' buildings between 1998 and June 2015. They were able to identify purchases of 'non-stickered' but earthquake prone buildings by the fact the property later received a sticker from the council.
They also noted that the Canterbury earthquakes had a sizeable impact on the commercial property market.
“Following the earthquakes, we also found a significant increase in the probability of sale of a declared earthquake-prone building, especially in central Wellington,” said lead author Dr Arthur Grimes from Motu.
Independent expert Dr Geoff Thomas from Victoria University Wellington noted the impact of the Canterbury quakes may be due to a "higher level of awareness of the likely future costs in remediation as well as tenants now selecting buildings to occupy based in part on the level of earthquake resistance".
"This was rare prior to the Christchurch earthquakes," he told the SMC.

Prof Jason Ingham, leader for the new QuakeCoRE earthquake-prone buildings project, welcomed the study:

"The findings in this report will therefore contribute to our understanding of how to best develop regional and national policies to tackle the risk associated with earthquake prone buildings in a manner that recognises the economic pressures on individuals and communities."

You can read more expert commentary on the Science Media Centre website.

Quoted: Radio New Zealand

"Humans like to think of themselves as being the top of the tree and very smart but when it comes to a lot of problems involving causality we actually tend to do really poorly."
  Dr Alex Taylor, winner of the MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize, discusses his research on cognition in crows.

Data journalism gets a boost 

Launch of Herald Insights sees a dedicated focus on data journalism at the country's largest newspaper.

A micro-site dedicated to data journalism and visualisation projects will bring together the Herald's data projects overseen by data editor Harkanwal Singh.
The Herald's data journalism efforts have been growing through the year and saw the data team headed by Singh recognised at the Canon Media Awards in May for best innovation in multimedia storytelling for their Election app, which featured a visualisation of real-time data feeds from polling booths.
Herald publisher NZME is also hiring a data visualisation journalist and an interaction designer to bolster its data efforts. The movie is symbolic of a growing focus on data-driven journalism across the board at New Zealand news outlets. It is also reflected in moves by journalism schools to introduce modules on data journalism - AUT University's Bachelor of Communications Studies now offers a data journalism paper (Jour703).

The SMC can assist you in accessing science-related sets of data and has partnered with Figure NZ to graph science data. 

New from Sciblogs

Some of the highlights from this week's Sciblogs posts:
HPV “vaccination syndrome” – latest investigation -  A new European report reiterates the safety of the HPV vaccine, writes Helen Petousis Harris.
Diplomatic Immunity
Lab in a Box is on the road - Peter Dearden unpacks the latest news from his science education initiative.
Southern Genes
Attacked by an umbrella - A smack in the face from an umbrella springs Marcus Wilson into doing some quick physics calculations.
Physics Stop

Upcoming events

Please see the SMC Events Calendar for more events and details. Gender and Sexuality Symposium - 16 Nov, Wellington. Showcasing the work of postgraduate students undertaking research on diverse gender and sexuality-related topics.
  New Zealand Ecological Society 2015 Conference - 16-19 Nov, Christchurch. Sharing the society’s ongoing contributions in ecology and conservation.
  Research in Education Conference - This conference by NZARE is an opportunity to define, discuss and develop research praxis and pedagogies, connect with knowledge communities, and have an experience that is distinctly Māori.

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