Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Fire is a key part of ecosystems in the Mallee. Credit: Peter Teasdale
Pyrodiversity vs Biodiversity
New research challenges conventional wisdom that the creation of a diverse mosaic of fire histories benefits biodiversity.
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James Randi
James Randi: An Honest Liar
James Randi discusses his greatest achievements, disappointments, what woo annoys him the most, and the challenges fracturing the skeptical movement.
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handcuffs
New Defence Act Handcuffs Science
Australian scientists risk huge fines and even imprisonment under new laws that will give Defence bureaucrats extraordinary powers over their research.
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The first act of copulation in vertebrates
A Kink in the History of Sex
The discovery of the first vertebrate to have copulated reveals not only the genesis of different male and female forms but also some surprising kinks in how sex has evolved.
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A school of vetulicolians swimming in the Cambrian ocean
Meet Our Weirdest Ever Cousins
Strange-sounding and even stranger-looking, vetulicolians are close relatives of vertebrates.
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climate
Climate Records Reveal North–South Divide
The first comprehensive reconstruction of the Southern Hemisphere’s temperature over the past millennium reveals that Northern Hemisphere warm and cool periods were not global. But what about late 20th century warming?
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Misplaced fear of radiation and accidents is impacting our response to climate d
The High Price of Obsolete Science
The anti-nuclear movement co-opted the environment movement on the strength of theories about DNA, radiation and cancer that have long been proven false.
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Fire is a key part of ecosystems in the Mallee. Credit: Peter Teasdale
New research challenges conventional wisdom that the creation of a diverse mosaic of fire histories benefits biodiversity.
FEATURES
handcuffs
Australian scientists risk huge fines and even imprisonment under new laws that will give Defence bureaucrats extraordinary powers over their research.
Misplaced fear of radiation and accidents is impacting our response to climate d
The anti-nuclear movement co-opted the environment movement on the strength of theories about DNA, radiation and cancer that have long been proven false.
James Randi
James Randi discusses his greatest achievements, disappointments, what woo annoys him the most, and the challenges fracturing the skeptical movement.
Researchers have simulated in the laboratory how quantum particles could overcome the “grandfather paradox” of time travel.
The first act of copulation in vertebrates
The discovery of the first vertebrate to have copulated reveals not only the genesis of different male and female forms but also some surprising kinks in how sex has evolved.
A school of vetulicolians swimming in the Cambrian ocean
Strange-sounding and even stranger-looking, vetulicolians are close relatives of vertebrates.
climate
The first comprehensive reconstruction of the Southern Hemisphere’s temperature over the past millennium reveals that Northern Hemisphere warm and cool periods were not global. But what about late 20th century warming?
A recap of the top science stories in 2014, from Ebola's spread and a Facebook experiment that wasn't "liked" to the discovery of Richard III's remains and the world's largest dinosaur.
A recap of the weirdest science stories in 2014, from the attractiveness of hipster beards and the induction of a dream within a dream to the number of bacteria transferred during a kiss.
THE FIT
How does the fitness of humans compare with other animals?
QUANDARY
A one-way trip to Mars, funded from the rights to a reality TV show, raises many bioethical issues.
THE BITTER PILL
Acupuncture is often cited as an effective alternative method of treating a range of ailments, but few people are aware of the origins, philosophies and contradictions involved.
THE NAKED SKEPTIC
Stem cell tourism employs the same tactics as the cancer quackery industry to exploit the hopes of people desperate for cures of serious medical conditions.
SIMON SAYS
Almost three decades of high-level engagement between the government and the research sector has reached a dead end.
OUT OF THIS WORLD
The Hubble has found Kuiper Belt targets for the New Horizons program, and monster galaxies are gaining weight by cannibalising neighbours.
conSCIENCE
A looming global shortage of an important fertiliser necessitates the development of phosphorus-efficient crops, recycling of phosphorus from sewage and even separating it from urine.
LOWE TECH
Selling shares in fossil fuel companies may seem an ethical choice but it may equally be sound investment practice.
THE FOSSIL FILE
A synchrotron scan of a 400 million-year-old fish has revealed how far back our own facial structures evolved, and a 28 million-year-old toothed whale fossil has revealed the origins of echolocation in modern whales.
EUREKA
The 2014 Ig Nobel Prizes had a focus on weird science involving food.
NEUROPSY
The publication of the DSM-5 prompts debates over the science of diagnosing and treating mental illness.
ECO LOGIC
As “the last wilderness on Earth” Antarctica requires a better system of protected areas.
AUSTRALASIAN SKY
Your map of the night sky for December 2014.
DIRECTIONS
Mass production is dying, opening up manufacturing opportunities for a high-tech bespoke industry.
PARACELSUS' POISON
This morning I woke to the most disappointing headline ever. “A Bite to Remember? Chocolate Is Shown to Aid Memory” was prominent in my twitter feed, highlighting a recent paper...
UP CLOSE PODCAST
Neuroscientist Prof Baroness Susan Greenfield examines the scientific bases of how constantly-on digital environments may bring about changes in our brains.