Interesting sites

This list of sites will be updated at irregular intervals when sites related to meeting topics or topics that have been in the news.

  1. Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) whose lasting contribution to the biological sciences was the creation of a practical and simple system of identifying organisms, living or extinct, using a two-word or binomial system of naming. This fundamental tool created a system for organising information about plants and animals, whose numbers were rapidly increasing as a result of exploration and discovery. Linnaeus is also recognised as ‘creating order out of chaos’ through his system of classification whereby he organised nature into three kingdoms: mineral, vegetable and animal, each of which was then subdivided into various classes. The Linnaean system rapidly spread worldwide through his students who undertook extensive voyages, such as that of Daniel Solander (1733–1782) who sailed with the Cook voyage to the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand in 1768–1771. As the foundation of modern taxonomy, the legacy of Linnaeus continues to be recognised today; presently, his extensive collection of specimens held at the Linnaean Society in London is being digitized to allow universal access. There are a number of web sites with information about Linnaeus including an article from NZ Geographic, Berkley University and even a short online course from Uppsala University that has quite a lot of publicly available material. A great site for Botanists is the Linnean herbarium Department of Phanerogamic Botany, Swedish Museum of Natural History which has placed 3658 digital images of the herbarium’s specimens online. The IK Foundation also has links to a lot of material about different aspects of Linnaeus’s work.
  2. Renowned author Rachel Carson was a quiet woman who stirred extraordinary controversy that persists decades after her death. Her 1962 book ‘Silent Spring’ brought world-wide attention to the harm to human health and the environment wrought by mishandling of a powerful pesticide, fomenting the environmental movement. In the 100th anniversary year of Carson’s birth (27 May 1907), this publication examines how occasionally in history a book with a powerful idea can bring about peaceful but dramatic change in a democratic society. Click on “Rachel Carson: Pen Against Poison” to read this reflection on her work.
  3. “A World of Possibilities” is an American award-winning one hour weekly radio program that penetrates behind the headlines to uncover the deeper meanings of events. Radio NZ plays this program Sunday evening about 7:00pm. You can also access these programs again from the Mainstream Media Project (MMP) web site at or directly to the on-line programs
  4. You can find links to a number of interesting Science programs to listen to from the Radio New Zealand site. Try the link,factual
    • For example, Radio New Zealand has recently been running a series of programmes arising from a collaboration between eminent New Zealand writers and physicists named “Are Angles OK”. Listen to them online from
  5. The Reith Lectures were inaugurated in 1948 by the BBC to mark the historic contribution made to public service broadcasting by Sir John (later Lord) Reith, the corporation’s first director-general. The series of lectures from 1999 onwards can be accessed from the BBC’s site at You can either listen to most of these again online or get a copy of the transcript to read at leisure.
  6. “The Bush” section of Te Ara the New Zealand encyclopedia was recently launched. It can be found at: