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Our Changing World

August 2021 stories

Kia ora

I hope you are keeping safe and well in your bubble. Hopefully we see a swift resolution to the current outbreak.

In the meantime, here is August's Our Changing World episodes for you to enjoy.

The month started with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and is ending with the Paralympic Games underway. In Mind Games Katy Gosset investigates the impact of the home game advantage, while I learn about optimal states in adventure sports.

Other topics covered this month include the post-release tracking of forty North Island robins, New Zealand's hunt for exoplanets, and a musical explanation of what mRNA is and how mRNA vaccines work.

Hope you enjoy!
Noho ora mai,

Surveying the skies

Our Changing World looks to the skies.
Starting in outer space, Claire Concannon speaks with Dr. Nicholas Rattenbury about how New Zealand scientists hunt for planets outside of our solar system, and what they hope to learn.
Then, closer to home, Katy Gosset speaks to Manaaki Whenua chief scientist Dr. Fiona Carswell and New Zealand Garden Bird survey founder Dr. Eric Spur about the trends this annual citizen science survey has revealed, and how we can all get involved.

A new way to make vaccines

Our Changing World combines with Celtgrass band WeBanjo3 to give a musical explanation of how information flows in the cell.

Then University of Otago microbiologist & immunologist Dr. James Ussher explains how decades of work have enabled scientists to tap into this information flow, allowing the development of mRNA vaccines such as the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines.
What makes this mRNA vaccine technology so game-changing and exciting? And what might it be applied to next?

Forty feathered needles in a forest haystack

A trip to the bush in the Turitea Reserve to speak with Professor Doug Armstrong and Dr. Zoe Stone of Massey University.
Forty toutouwai or North Island robins have been re-introduced to this reserve near Palmerston North. Claire finds out how radio transmitters, receivers and drones are used to monitor the birds’ movements, and how researchers hope that the information gathered will help with the goal of getting ‘More birds in the bush’.  

Image: Alexander Robertson

Mind Games

Two stories on the pscyhology of sport.

Katy Gosset finds out from Dr. Brad Miles about Home Game Advantage research happening at the University of Canterbury – how crowds impact sports performance, and what happens when there are no supporters there.
Claire Concannon speaks to skydiver and PhD researcher Patrick Boudreau about the psychology states called flow and clutch that adventure sports athletes frequently get in to - states that make these sports so enjoyable to do, and allow the athlete to avoid potentially fatal mistakes.
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Finding us on the radio

Our Changing World airs after the 9PM news on Thursday nights on RNZ National 101FM. Here's a handy list of our AM and FM frequencies across the country. You can also listen live on the RNZ website.

The show repeats after the 1AM news on Sunday mornings, and one story also plays on Wednesdays at 3.35PM.
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