This Way Up

Saturday 6 February 2016, with Simon Morton

Do you have a curious question about food, consumer products, technology, travel or science?  Email us and we'll do our best to find the answer thiswayup@radionz.co.nz

This Way Up Part 1

Fighting back against telemarketers, how we learn to eat and a buyer's guide to the best vacuum cleaners.

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Fighting the telemarketers

Roger Anderson is fed up with telemarketers. Rather than just hanging up when they call, he decided to fight back with The Jolly Roger Telephone Company.

Using a system that automatically responds with his voice recordings, he wastes cold callers' time by engaging with them, and then stringing them along so they're less likely to call you.

Roger Anderson

Roger Anderson

Photo: Supplied

Here in New Zealand, you can sign up to a Do Not Call registry operated by the Marketing Association. It's not a guarantee that you won't get some nuisance calls, but it should at least reduce the number you're getting. You can find more details and advice at Consumer.org.nz

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Bee Wilson: How we learn to eat

Bee Wilson

Bee Wilson

Photo: Jay Williams

Many families wrestle with the challenges posed by having a picky eater; and it's not just a problem for children, either! When you think that the average household has to navigate their way through more than 1,000 mealtimes every year there's no shortage of opportunities for conflict, tears and tantrums.

The good news, according to food writer Bee Wilson, is that our taste and flavour preferences aren't set in stone. Although they develop in the womb, there's loads of things we can do to change them and it needn't just revolve around threats to withhold pudding.

In her book First Bite: How We Learn To Eat she looks at how we learn to eat, and the latest thinking and science on how we can change our taste and flavour preferences.

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Best vacuum cleaners

Remember the good old days when buying a new vacuum cleaner was as easy as working out which model sucked up dirt the best? Life was so simple back then! So should you go bagless, upright, cordless, or canister?

Paul Smith of consumer.org.nz

Paul Smith

Photo: Supplied

Simon Morton asks Paul Smith, Head of Testing at consumer.org.nz. He's been putting the latest vacuum cleaners on the market through their paces.

Here's the consumer.org.nz buyer's guide

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This Way Up Part 2

Tech news (Google, Amazon and TPPA), latest science (flu, Zika virus and human gene editing) and what alcohol does to us.

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Tech news: Google, Amazon and TPPA

Peter Griffin

Peter Griffin

Photo: Supplied

Technology news with Peter Griffin and Google aka Alphabet becomes the biggest business on the planet. There are also rumours that Amazon is planning to open a network of up to 400 physical stores, and some of the implications of this week's signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

 

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Science: Flu, Zika virus and human gene editing

Dr Chris Smith of The Naked Scientists

A new approach to fighting flu, the latest on the Zika virus outbreak, and UK authorities approve the gene editing of human embryos.

Simon Morton looks at the latest science news with Dr Chris Smith of The Naked Scientists.

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What alcohol does to us

beer lineup

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski / CC BY-SA 2.0

Consuming alcohol is linked to more than 60 diseases including cancer, heart disease, stroke, birth defects and mental health issues. So how much is too much?

Well, in the UK what has been called the biggest shake-up to Britain's alcohol guidelines in 20 years has just taken place. The key change? Recommended safe drinking guidelines for men have been revised downwards to 14 units or 112 grams of alcohol a week, this makes them the same as the recommended limits for women.

Professor Ian Shaw

Professor Ian Shaw

Photo: Supplied

That's different to the situation here in New Zealand where safe drinking guidelines differ for men and women – no more than 10 standard drinks or 100 grams of alcohol a week for women and 15 drinks or 150 grams for men, and in both cases the recommendations are that you have at least two alcohol-free days every week. So what does alcohol do to our bodies when we drink?

Toxicologist Ian Shaw explains how the body processes booze, and how drinking too much can do us damage.

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We're playing these tracks too...

Artist: Prince Rama
Track: Bahia
Composers: Taraka Larson and Nimai Larson
Album: Xtreme Now (release date: March 4, 2016)
Label: Carpark Records 

Artist: Shearwater
Track:  Filaments
Composer: Jonathan Meiburg, Danny Reisch, Lucas Oswald, Abram Shook, Jesca Hoop
Album: Jet Plane and Oxbow
Label:  SUBPOP

And our theme music is:

Artist: Jefferson Belt
Track: The Green Termite
Composer: Jefferson Belt
Album: Table Manners
Label: Round Trip Mars