Our Changing World for Thursday 30 August 2007
On this programme
Richard Taylor is a physicist with a passion for art. His research into the chaotic patterns of currents flowing through nano-scale electronic devices prompted him to analyse Jackson Pollock's abstract paintings - and to discover that they contained the same patterns, called fractals. Now at the University of Canterbury, he is investigating what happens in our brains when we watch fractal patterns.
Matiu/Somes Island is a protected reserve in the center of Wellington Harbour. It's home to several endangered species, including a translocated population of the very rare Brother's Island tuatara. After many years of anticipation, word finally came this month of two tiny tuatara hatchlings successfully emerging from eggs found on the island.
A humble fungus found on the forest floor could become the source of high-value bioactive ingredients. Known as vegetable caterpillar, or awheto, the fungus has been used traditionally by Maori for food, medicine and to produce tattoo ink. Stephen Tauwhare, a natural products chemist at Industrial Research, is analysing awheto for compounds associated with health benefits.
Elaine Rush is a nutritionist at the Auckland University of Technology, and she explains how lifestyle changes can help us live healthier and longer lives.