Gammas are “discussion papers” based on current issues that emerge in the media and become part of public debate.

The production of Gammas ceased in 2008. However, the topics do remain current as most issues reappear with regularity. Gamma can be freely downloaded for educational purposes.

  • 1080 – Who is Taking the Bait?

    1080 – Who is Taking the Bait?

    1080 is a poison used in New Zealand to kill possums. From time to time, protests against its use receive quite extensive media attention.

  • Adversity’s Sweet Milk – A1/A2 Milk Debate

    Adversity’s Sweet Milk – A1/A2 Milk Debate

    It would seem that all milk is not created equal, and that’s even before humans start “adding value” by reducing fat content or adding vitamins, minerals or flavourings.

  • Anthrax

    Anthrax

    Description of the bacterium and effects of infection. The range of forms of anthrax that can affect humans and animals and the visible symptoms.

  • Battery Electric Vehicles – Alternative Transport Methods

    Battery Electric Vehicles – Alternative Transport Methods

    Fuel prices are fluctuating. Motorists continue to feel the pain, with no prospect of respite.

  • Bioweapons

    Bioweapons

    We hear a lot in the news about ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (WMDs). A WMD is a weapon that can do an enormous amount of damage in one hit.

  • Bird Flu – The Asian Bird Flu Pandemic

    Bird Flu – The Asian Bird Flu Pandemic

    In 2004, bird flu, also known as avian influenza, has become a major health scare in Asia, causing several human deaths and the culling of millions of chickens.

  • In the Blood: New Born Screening

    In the Blood: New Born Screening

    In developed countries around the world, a baby, usually between 48 and 72 hours after birth, is pricked in the heel. The welling drop of blood is dripped onto an absorbent piece of card.

  • Climate Change

    Climate Change

    Human activities are causing the Earth’s climate to change and there are many potential consequences of this.

  • Coal – New Zealand’s Black Gold

    Coal – New Zealand’s Black Gold

    Thousands of years ago, prehistoric man discovered an amazing quality in a black rock – it could burn.

  • Drinking Water

    Drinking Water

    Essential to life, water is everywhere – it even comes in bottles. People in cars and on bikes, students in class rooms, office workers and posties are sucking on sipper bottles to get their eight glasses a day.

  • Drugs in Sport

    Drugs in Sport

    To compete in the modern Olympic Games, to win gold, to stand on the rostrum as the flag is raised and the national anthem played, is the dream of many.

  • Eating Disorders

    Eating Disorders

    Definition of an eating disorder – those most at risk and recognition of the condition.

  • Energy

    Energy

    It is becoming harder to obtain some energy sources, forcing up prices. Because of these issues, New Zealand will need to find new sources of energy, and it will need to make better use of its existing ones.

  • Food Labeling – What are we Eating?

    Food Labeling – What are we Eating?

    The need for accurate food labelling, the role of the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) and how label information can be interpreted by consumers.

  • Foot and Mouth Disease

    Foot and Mouth Disease

    A widespread outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) hit Britain in the first half of 2001 and massive resources were assigned to eradicate the highly infectious disease.

  • Genetic Engineering and Ethics

    Genetic Engineering and Ethics

    The development of gene technology has prompted more calls for moratoria than any other branch of research.

  • Genetic Engineering off the Field – Genetechnology Research

    Genetic Engineering off the Field – Genetechnology Research

    The main focus of genetic engineering so far has been the study and improvement of commonly used crop plants, but an enormous variety of modifications is being explored in other primary production sectors as well as in industries outside agriculture.

  • Harnessing the Oceans – Is it Viable to Utilise New Zealand’s Ocean as an Energy Source?

    Harnessing the Oceans – Is it Viable to Utilise New Zealand’s Ocean as an Energy Source?

    A sensible vision of New Zealand’s renewable energy future should utilise a range of different resources.

  • New Zealand’s Role in the International Space Programme

    New Zealand’s Role in the International Space Programme

    March 2008 was an exciting time for the international space community with the launch of Jules Verne, the first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), which will rendezvous with the International Space Station, and because New Zealand is strategically located it has a vital role to play in the success of the mission.

  • Lead and You

    Lead and You

    People have had a troubled relationship with lead since the dawn of human history.

  • Life After Dolly – Cloning

    Life After Dolly – Cloning

    In 1996, two Scottish organisations, the Roslin Institute and PPL Therapeutics, collaborated to create Dolly the sheep, the first mammal ever cloned from adult DNA.

  • Mad Cow – Bovinespongiformencephalopathy (BSE)

    Mad Cow – Bovinespongiformencephalopathy (BSE)

    What is BSE? Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), often referred to in the media as mad cow disease, is an infectious, incurable and fatal disease which slowly attacks the brain and nervous system of cattle

  • Malaria

    Malaria

    In the time it takes you to read this page, at least 1000 people have been infected with malaria and as many as seven have died.

  • Meningitis

    Meningitis

    New Zealand is in the grip of an epidemic, and has been since 1991. The epidemic is caused by a bacterium (a kind of germ) called Neisseria meningitidis or meningococcus.

  • Organic Food

    Organic Food

    Organically grown food is produced without, or with a minimum amount of, artificial fertilisers and pesticide sprays.

  • Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis

    Imagine opening a jar of jam – as you wrestle with the top, you hear and feel the bones in your wrist fracture – or reaching into the cupboard for a glass – as you stretch out you experience the excruciating agony of one of the vertebrae in your spine bursting and collapsing on itself.

  • SARS

    SARS

    As of 2 June 2003, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has infected 8384 people and killed 770.

  • The Scientific War on Terror – Response to New Threats

    The Scientific War on Terror – Response to New Threats

    The events of 11 September 2001 took the world by surprise when two civilian aircraft were deliberately flown into New York’s Twin Towers.

  • Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies – Politicians Psychological Techniques

    Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies – Politicians Psychological Techniques

    Unbeknown to many of you, during election campaigning many politicians engage deliberate psychological techniques to get you to vote for them.

  • The Promise of Stem Cell Research

    The Promise of Stem Cell Research

    Imagine a world where Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy can be easily treated with little more than an injection of the appropriate stem cells.

  • Response to a Marine Incursion of Styela Clava

    Response to a Marine Incursion of Styela Clava

    The invasive sea squirt Styela clava had not been reported in New Zealand before its discovery around Auckland and at Lyttelton in 2005.

  • For Whom the Bell Tolls (and doesn’t stop) – Tinnitus

    For Whom the Bell Tolls (and doesn’t stop) – Tinnitus

    Tinnitus, a ringing or other noise in the ears not caused by an external source, is a condition which affects a large number of people.

  • Tsunamis

    Tsunamis

    On 26 December 2004 a large earthquake off the coast of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia triggered tsunamis that raced across the Indian Ocean causing immense damage and loss of life.

  • Weight of the World:Obesity Declared a Global Epidemic

    Weight of the World:Obesity Declared a Global Epidemic

    Trends in New Zealanders Putting on fat – reasons, both biological and environmental.

  • Xenotransplantation

    Xenotransplantation

    An in-depth look into the science of xenotransplantation as well as discussing the issues that surround the technology.

  • Yucky Dirty Hands – Are New Zealanders Washing their Hands?

    Yucky Dirty Hands – Are New Zealanders Washing their Hands?

    It would seem that we New Zealanders, both young and old, are not as good about washing our hands as we would like to believe.