This Way Up for Saturday 16 April 2016
SSRI antidepressants, Saudi oil sell off, and science news (Zika discovery and trees sharing carbon).
The use of SSRI antidepressants is skyrocketing in New Zealand and other parts of the developed world.
This Way Up takes a closer look at what these drugs are and how they work. Also, with stopping taking SSRIs linked to a whole host of unpleasant side effects, what is the best way to avoid the withdrawal symptoms?
The world's biggest oil exporter – Saudi Arabia – is getting out of oil.
Saudi Arabia is signalling that it plans to sell off its state-owned petroleum assets to establish a US$2 trillion sovereign wealth fund. The cash will then be invested in shares and other non-oil based industries. Fears of peak oil – shortages of supply – that inititally sent oil prices skyrocketing have receded as places like the US and Canada have ramped up domestic production through fracking and extracting oil from tar sands.
Terry Macalister is the Energy Editor of The Guardian and he's been following the changing global energy sector.
Dr Chris Smith of The Naked Scientists looks at the clearest evidence yet linking the Zika virus to microcephaly in children, plus how trees are sharing carbon via their root systems.
Tech: NZ internet use and Whatsapp encryption, open source lab equipment and leaf identification.
Peter Griffin looks at a study of New Zealanders' internet use and online habits – it turns out people are worrying more about corporate tracking and monitoring than anything our government is doing.
Also the instant messaging service Whatsapp embraces encryption. Is this the way of the future, and how worried will the FBI and other law enforcement agencies be about the development?
Specialist laboratory equipment costs an absolute fortune - but scientists can now use 3D printing technology to build the equipment they need at a fraction of the cost.
Oftentimes a large portion of research money ends up getting swallowed buying kit. Lab machines are expensive and the market is relatively small so the mark-up is huge. That’s why more scientists are discovering they can do a better job themselves (and save valuable research funds along the way) by sharing technical plans and using 3D printing technology to make parts.
Joshua Pearce is an engineer at Michigan Technological University who has written a guidebook for scientists on how to create a low-cost lab.
Professor Peter Wilf at Pennsylvania State University is using the latest machine learning technology to identify ancient leaves. A computer program he developed can scan leaves and categorise them into families, leading to a better understanding of where the more than 200,000 species of flowering plant that grown on earth today have come from.