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First tools, then power tools, then we rule the world. Mick Sibley/University of Auckland

Crows, the technological tool specialists of the avian world

While the species of the crow family - including jackdaw, magpie, crow, rook and raven - are renowned in myth and legend for their intelligence, a scientific basis for this has been hard to establish…
Not only has the way we look at our mobile devices changed, but they’re starting to look back at us. andres.thor

Apple’s Touch ID: time to come to grips with a touchy subject

Apple’s latest and greatest - the iPhone 5s - met a muted reception last week in San Francisco. Although the device’s admittedly evolutionary-not-revolutionary updates target early adopters and high-end…
Details have emerged of the US National Security Agency’s anti-cryptography effort, via whistleblower Edward Snowden. Ole Spata/EPA

NSA breaches a new level of social contract with Sigint

In the wake of the latest New York Times/Guardian UK/ProPublica triple team effort breaking news of America’s National Security Agency’s (NSA) anti-cryptography effort Sigint, a new level of social contract…
Exposure to infrasound, at the level produced by wind turbines, is an ordinary occurrence. Flickr/Wavy1

How the power of suggestion generates wind farm symptoms

A surge in health complaints linked to wind farms could owe more to increased discussion of health risk than the low-level sound generated by the actual turbines, according to a new study. The study by…
Samsung is a major player in technologies that will deliver future telecommunications services. Robert Schlesinger/EPA

Sorry, Apple: Samsung is winning the war on 4G platforms

In light of the much-publicised dispute over handset design patents between Apple and Samsung, many commentators have cast Samsung as the “fast-follower”, while Apple is pushing at the frontier of innovation…
There’s a broad base of public support for government action against smoking in New Zealand. Barbara Walton/AAP

Big Tobacco on the warpath against plain packaging in New Zealand

The tobacco industry has launched an advertising campaign against the New Zealand government’s proposal to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products. According to the media campaign, plain packaging…
Academic writing doesn’t have to be old and dusty. Wyoming_Jackrabbit

Seven secrets of stylish academic writing

Imagine that the editor of a widely-read magazine or, say, The Conversation has heard about your academic research and invited you to contribute an article. But you only know how to produce stodgy, impersonal…
There’s no evidence suggesting that a calcium-rich diet causes heart problems. Rachel James

Can calcium supplements cause heart disease?

People taking calcium supplements to mitigate their risk of developing bone disease (osteoporosis) may be doing more harm to their health than good. That’s because a growing body of research shows the…
The Kony campaign is not as accessible as it makes out. BellaSalsaa

Kony 2012 and the case of the invisible media

Much has been said about Invisible Children’s video campaign to rally awareness towards the atrocities of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. But more important is what Kony 2012 means in our ongoing relationship…
Maori academics in New Zealand should be wary of talking to the non-Maori media. Flickr/geoftheref

Academic bashing in the media – a first-hand account

Maybe it’s the lot of academics to be misrepresented, but when a single incident can nearly get you sacked it makes you reconsider whether to deal with the media at all. Last year, comments of mine about…
Ever had the sense someone’s watching over your shoulder? Nick Chill Photography

Carrier IQ knows everything you do on your phone … but why?

What if you used your smartphone, knowing you might be sharing certain information, but had no idea what exactly was being shared? Or why you might be sharing it? If you knew someone could be recording…
Have the #occupy protestors been gagged? AFP/Timothy A. Clary

Did Twitter censor Occupy Wall Street?

In the age of social media, if we’re able to get online, engage with a few tools and connect our ideas to others who sympathise, we’re able to initiate social change. Or that’s the theory. The world begins…

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