Podcast, Science, Science and Society

TOSP Episode 14: December 12th 2011

[Original post on the Sciblogs The Official Sciblogs Podcast site]

This week’s a little special.

In addition to aimee and Elf discussing how our brains process syntax and vocabulary (differently, it turns out!), the biggest black holes yet discovered and a 17 year old who’s made huge strides in the fight against cancer, Elf also sits down with a panel of our bloggers for a discussion!

Panelists (in order of appearance):

  • Prof. Shaun Hendy - Sciblogger: A Measure of Science
  • Ken Atkinson - Science Media Centre
  • Peter Griffin - Science Media Centre, Sciblogs founder and Sciblogger: Griffin’s Gadgets
  • John Kerr - Science Media Centre
  • Ken Parrot - Sciblogger: Open Parachute
  • Elf - TOSP co-host, Sciblogger: Just So Science

The topics covered are:

  • NZ science is often forced through funding to ‘pick winners’? What do you think of this strategy and which ‘winning’ technologies would you pick to invest in?
  • One of the responses often given by students who wish to continue their studies overseas is that you “can’t do world class science or get a world class qualification in NZ”. Do you see a solution to this? Is it an accurate description of your area in NZ science?
  • R&D tax credits are a significant (well - to US they are) election issue. Will they address NZ’s poor R&D expenditure per capita? Or is a more deep seated problem associated with NZ’s disperse population and low levels of capital investment?
  • China’s plan is to have a man on the moon by 2020. What goals would you like to see NZ science set during the same period?
  • What will be the big science developments over the next 12 months?


It’s a wee bit longer than usual, but we figured it was interesting enough to warrant it!


Study Finds the Key to Language: How Humans Form Sentences

How the brain strings words into sentences

Neuron - Syntactic Processing Depends on Dorsal Language Tracts

Monster Black Holes Are Most Massive Ever Discovered

17-year-old wins 100k for creating cancer-killing nanoparticle

From fireflies to superbugs….

Sciblogs Events

The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes

Other interesting things (from diet and mental health to transparent crab shells, and more!)


Pearltree for this episode here, pearltree for all TOSP episodes here. You can also follow these posts by RSS here, or you can follow the podcast on iTunes!

You can find this podcast on New Zealand’s very own Ziln TV (which feeds through to services like Sony TV). Additionally, we have a Youtube Channel – Sciblogs Podcast – which gets updated weekly, too.  Thanks to State Shirt and Rhian Sheehan for the use of their music in our intro and outro.

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