Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

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The Dark Web Dilemma
The dark web can hide the activities of organised crime and child abusers but it can also enable people in repressive regimes to communicate with the wider world.
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Recognising Nemo
Recent studies are helping to dispel the myth that fish have a 3-second memory. In fact, some species of reef fish can even recognise human faces.
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Clusters of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus protected by a biofilm.
A Trojan Horse to Clear a Stuffy Nose
Antibiotic resistance is expected to kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined, but a new approach aims to penetrate the biofilms that protect bacteria from antibiotics.
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Pharmed Meds
Some clever chemistry is turning plants into pharmaceutical factories that could enable remote communities in developing countries to grow and store stable medicines cheaply.
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The skeleton of Kunbarrasaurus ieversi
A Dinosaur with an ID Crisis
It’s little wonder that a dinosaur with parrot-like beak, bones in its skin and an inner ear like a turtle confused the palaeontologists who discovered it in Queensland in 1990.
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Guardians of the Gut
The appendix has long been considered an evolutionary relic but new evidence indicates it has an important role in our immune system.
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Credit: Svislo/istockphoto
Mortality Molecules
Cancer cells become immortal by exploiting a mechanism that protects normal cells from DNA damage. Can we use these molecules to turn off cancer’s fountain of youth?
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Microscopy imaging of metastatic cancer cells. Credit: drimafilm/adobe
The Bacteria that Promote Cancer
A bacterial protein can trigger inflammation and facilitate the progression of cancer.
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The Bold and the Beautiful
The discovery that a gene partly determines which swans are bold and which are wary of people could assist captive breeding programs in cities.
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COVER STORY
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The dark web can hide the activities of organised crime and child abusers but it can also enable people in repressive regimes to communicate with the wider world.
FEATURES
Credit: Stephen Coburn/adobe
Recent studies are helping to dispel the myth that fish have a 3-second memory. In fact, some species of reef fish can even recognise human faces.
Clusters of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus protected by a biofilm.
Antibiotic resistance is expected to kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined, but a new approach aims to penetrate the biofilms that protect bacteria from antibiotics.
Credit: Maksym Yemelyanov/adobe
Some clever chemistry is turning plants into pharmaceutical factories that could enable remote communities in developing countries to grow and store stable medicines cheaply.
The skeleton of Kunbarrasaurus ieversi
It’s little wonder that a dinosaur with parrot-like beak, bones in its skin and an inner ear like a turtle confused the palaeontologists who discovered it in Queensland in 1990.
Credit: freshidea/adobe
The appendix has long been considered an evolutionary relic but new evidence indicates it has an important role in our immune system.
Credit: Svislo/istockphoto
Cancer cells become immortal by exploiting a mechanism that protects normal cells from DNA damage. Can we use these molecules to turn off cancer’s fountain of youth?
Microscopy imaging of metastatic cancer cells. Credit: drimafilm/adobe
A bacterial protein can trigger inflammation and facilitate the progression of cancer.
The discovery that a gene partly determines which swans are bold and which are wary of people could assist captive breeding programs in cities.
New evidence about the creation of the Red Sea has fundamentally changed how geologists understand the birth of oceans.
The government’s blueprint for scientific research will create a more innovative and entrepreneurial Australia.
Labor believes that “Australia cannot be an innovation nation unless we are an education nation – and a science and research nation”.
The Australian Greens want to put Australia on a path to spending 4% of GDP on science and research by 2030.
The idea that the internal structure of protons might change under certain circumstances is being put to the test, and could help to explain some inconsistencies in theoretical physics.
UP FRONT
Early next month Australians will head to the election polls, and for once scientific issues have bubbled to the surface.
conSCIENCE
It’s time for public recognition of the fact that, in a country where almost all of the 92 natural elements can be found, chemistry offers Australia sustainable economic prosperity.
Goals of sequestering carbon in agricultural soil ignore the law of diminishing returns.
NEUROPSY
The human disposition to find meaning in random data is hard-wired in the brain.
LOWE TECH
The federal Budget treated science as an expense while the Royal Commission identified nuclear waste as a potential money-spinner.
THE BITTER PILL
Lax regulation of complementary treatments is allowing alternative laboratories to peddle expensive and useless diagnostic tests.
QUANDARY
A report calculates that we’re more likely to die in an extinction event than in a car crash.
THE FIT
Better technology, training methods and financial rewards only partly explain why athletes continue to get faster and stronger.
THE NAKED SKEPTIC
There is little evidence that chiropractors are willing to reform their practices.
OUT OF THIS WORLD
CSIRO technology is behind the world’s largest single dish radio telescope, and astronomers have found a peanut-shaped galaxy.
UP CLOSE PODCAST
Decision science researcher Prof Peter Bossaerts argues that investigating brain activity as we make decisions is generating new insights into how we deal with uncertainty and risk. Once the domain of economists and psychologists, the study of human decision-making is increasingly taking a neuron-level view, with implications well beyond economics and finance.
ECO LOGIC
A review of the costs and feasibility of marine restoration projects reveals that they are often very expensive and risky.
EXPERT OPINION
The Federal Budget announced an additional $100 million for geographical modelling of mineral, petroleum and groundwater resources, and $200 million over 10 years for Antarctic research. However, there were no direct budget measures relating to CSIRO.
DIRECTIONS
Systems, technology, culture and trust are essential elements of safety in our food supply.
AUSTRALASIAN SKY
Your map of the night sky for this month.
PARACELSUS' POISON
The explosive expansion of the Zika virus in the Americas has only been exceeded by the rise of conspiracy theories blaming everything from vaccines to genetically modified...
Those of us who consume honey as a tastier alternative to refined sugar would have been disturbed to see headlines proclaiming Australian honey could be making us sick. Why, you...
For most of us, food is more than fuel, it is a source of delight and an important part of healthy living. Also for most of us, our food must travel substantial distances from...