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A round-up of the latest science and news from Australasia.

Salinity Changes Confirm Warming

By Stephen Luntz

Variations in salinity are intensifying, indicating that the Earth’s cycle of evaporation and rainfall has pumped up during the 20th century.

A study of ocean salinity in the American Journal of Climate confirms that variations in salinity are intensifying, indicating that the Earth’s cycle of evaporation and rainfall has pumped up during the 20th century.

Science Academy Awards Peter Pockley

Image of Peter Pockley

Peter Pockley has been awarded the 2010 Australian Academy of Science Medal.

By Guy Nolch

Australasian Science writer Peter Pockley has been recognised for his service to science journalism over four decades.

Australasian Science’s senior correspondent, Dr Peter Pockley, has been awarded the 2010 Australian Academy of Science Medal.

Pockley has been with Australasian Science since it merged in 1998 with Search, for which he had been writing since 1991.

Pockley completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Melbourne, and obtained first-class honours in chemistry. After a Diploma of Education (first-class honours again) he taught science at Melbourne Grammar before completing a PhD in Geology at Oxford.

Budget a win for climate change deniers

By FASTS

FASTS responds to the Federal Budget

Delayed action on climate change flies in the face of peer‐reviewed science that shows human‐induced climate change is threatening our future and urgent action is required, says the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies [FASTS].

“Tonight’s Federal Budget is a victory for those people with their head in the sand on climate change – the Opposition and The Greens who voted against an Emissions Trading Scheme,” said Anna‐Maria Arabia, Executive Director of FASTS.

Supercapacitors Increase Battery Life

By Stephen Luntz

A team at Waikato University has demonstrated that supercapacitors can be used to capture electrical energy that would otherwise go to waste in portable electronic devices, significantly increasing the efficiency of high-tech gadgets.

Read this article in Australasian Science Magazine (print only).

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Size Matters for Dung Beetles

By Stephen Luntz

Certain species of female dung beetles have evolved horns that are remarkably similar to those of male mammals, with a few more reminiscent of dinosaurs. The females use these to compete with each other, but when males fight for mates they also stand to gain a resource that is vital to their reproduction – dung.

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Mountain Ash Can Resprout

By Stephen Luntz

Mountain ash shares with other eucalypt species the capacity to resprout after fires, but only if the blaze is relatively cool, according to new research.

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Aphid Genome Sequenced

By Stephen Luntz

The pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) is the latest species to have its genome published, thanks to an international collaboration including the University of Otago.

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Indigenous Migraine Treatment

By Stephen Luntz

Native lemongrass (Cymbopogon ambiguus) is used in indigenous medicine to relieve headaches. No clinical studies have been done to confirm its effectiveness, but in vitro research at Griffith University suggests that belief in its properties is credible.

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Cosmetic Passes Test

By Stephen Luntz

The belief that smearing oatmeal on your face is good for the skin is more than an urban (or rural) myth, according to Ms Becky Macdonald of The Biopolymer Network, who has found proteins in oats that are likely to work well in moisturising the skin.

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Gene Implicated in Kidney Stone Formation

By Stephen Luntz

Research on mice with a gene removed has unexpectedly shed light on the cause of kidney stones and liver failure.

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