Tag Archives: TV

Science on New Zealand TV

Maori Television has been very successful. As well as the coverage of Maori issues many viewers have been pleased at their programming of quality foreign films.

I came across another gem of theirs recently: 411 – a locally produced programme on innovation, science, technology and design. (See 411.net.nz for information).

Presenters Tumamao Harawira and Taupunakohe Tocker

It’s a fast moving but quite informative programme. Often covering local companies and research institutes.

Recent stories have covered subject like Lense Innovation, Car Recycling, The Synchrotron, Cinematic Games, Kiwifruit Innovation, Maori Digital Art, Virtual Learning, Reef Design, Interactive Books and Wireless Mobile Device Learning.

Future programmes will cover Supercars, Honey Innovation, Bio-Engineering, Gaming Development, Custom Ear Monitors, Appliance Innovation, Building Technology, Observatory Technology and Advanced Materials Manufacturing.

It’s about time we had something like this.

If you are interested tune in Fridays 10:30 pm on Maori Television.

The presenters are Tumamao Harawira and Taupunakohe Tocker

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Science in popular culture

I have often thought that the public understanding of science would be vastly improved if there was a better portrayal of scientists and the scientific process in the popular culture, particularly TV. I have a vision of a realistic TV soap opera based at a scientific institute, rather than a police station, hospital, medical centre or street. Not a Dr Who. But realistic in the sense that characters have the drama and problems of normal life (as in Coronation Street or Shortland Street) but are professionally engaged in the process of doing realistic science.

Having worked on a reasonable sized science campus I am aware that such places have the same sorts of scandals, sex and violence, as any other place. (Yes we even had at least one murder). I’m sure such a drama or soap opera could be made that would succeed in ratings. But it would also help to overcome the misunderstanding of science that seems to be rife in the popular culture.

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Fueling a new cold war

They say that truth is the first casualty in war. But, I would think the further away you are, and the less involved your country is, the more objective the information available on a conflict. I have been sadly disillusioned on this with the coverage of the South Ossetian/Georgian/Russian war by our news services.  While there have been a few alternative reports on Radio New Zealand the coverage on New Zealand TV has been completely one sided. It seemed that Russia was the only aggressor and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his fellow Georgians were the only victims.

Sadly, here is where one has to resort to the internet. Even so there can be problems. Georgia claims that some of their web sites had been disabled for a period because of DDoS attacks. Three Russian news services I consulted (Russia Today, The St. Petersburg Times and RIA Novosti were frequently down in the last week. Russia Today reported numerous DDoS attacks often made it unavailable.

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