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We Will Never Cure Cancer, So Should We Even Try?

Credit: dcleomiu/Adobe

Credit: dcleomiu/Adobe

By Nial Wheate

Billions of dollars are spent on cancer research each year for minimal gains. Would that money be better invested elsewhere?

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Our Human Right not to Be Poisoned

CSA-Printstock/iStock

Credit: CSA-Printstock/iStock

By Julian Cribb

Thousands of new chemicals are released each year, and the toxic effects are mounting. What can we do about it?

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Engineering Australia’s New Wealth

By Marlene Kanga

It’s time to connect the dots between invention, innovation and the role of engineering.

The decline of traditional manufacturing and the waning resources boom require Australia to develop new sources of wealth generation. As a developed nation with high wage costs and high standards of living, Australia needs to develop new industries that use advanced technologies, require high levels of education and have high barriers to entry. There is no alternative.

Australia’s Space Agency Must Define Our Future in Space

By Malcolm Davis

Australia’s space agency needs to embrace the small, agile and innovative path of Space 2.0.

With Australia set to establish its own space agency, the question of what that organisation will do is of key importance. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s website suggests that “the agency will provide international representation, support to critical partnerships, coordination of a national strategy and activities, and support for industry growth”.

Fighting Food Fraud to Protect Brand Australia

By Steve Lapidge

The global fake food trade rivals narcotics in scale. What can the Australian food industry do to safeguard its reputation for producing safe, high-quality food?

The counterfeiting of Australian food and wine products in key export markets is potentially costing Australia nearly $2 billion each year, economic modelling released in late 2017 by Food Innovation Australia Ltd has shown. Topping the list are dairy ($360 million p.a.), wine ($303 million p.a.) and red meat ($272 million p.a.) losses, with horticulture and seafood following closely behind.

Kangaroos Can Be an Asset Rather Than a Pest

By George Wilson

Kangaroo harvesting is not a commercial option for landholders, resulting in greater animal welfare issues for the kangaroos that are culled on private land.

Many graziers on the rangelands are under financial stress. Their solution is to produce more meat and wool, grow more grass, clear trees, remove wild dogs to increase lambing percentages, and lower kangaroo numbers.

In recent years a lack of demand has meant that less than half the annual kangaroo quota for commercial use has been taken. Therefore, many graziers have sought other means to lower numbers of valueless kangaroos so that more income-earning stock can be carried.

Appropriate Behaviour?

By Stephen Moston

Plagiarism by academic reviewers is hard to prove, and even harder to punish.

Most academics will be familiar with the processes for dealing with a case of suspected plagiarism by a student. The plagiarism is typically flagged by software such as Turnitin or SafeAssign. The lecturer can then view the submission, with passages containing suspected plagiarism highlighted with links to original sources. Often the plagiarism is an innocent mistake. Blatant cheating is rare.

Given this limited exposure, it comes as quite a shock when you suspect that your own work has been plagiarised by another academic. My own experience here might be informative.

It’s Time We Had a Conversation About Net Neutrality

Credit: Henrik5000/iStockphoto

Credit: Henrik5000/iStockphoto

By Matthew Rimmer

Net neutrality is more than an issue about consumer internet access and speeds. It also has implications for freedom of speech, competition and innovation.

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Bursting the News Filter Bubble

Credit: niroworld/Adobe

Credit: niroworld/Adobe

By Simon Knight

Online technologies can create echo chambers that reinforce our world views, but does this necessarily mean we need to open ourselves up to alternative facts?

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Post-Truth and the Rejection of Science

By Leigh Ackland

In an age of "alternative facts", it may not be feasible to expect people to understand the details of scientific studies, but it is crucial that they respect the importance of evidence-based information underpinning scientific analysis.

We are surrounded by science, more than at any other age in human history. Despite this, in the current political environment, science is often dismissed and scientists are ignored. This is not a situation without precedent. Historically, scientists and their ideas came into conflict with the beliefs of the time, particularly religious beliefs.