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A five part web-series about a deadly virus, engineered in a lab, and the people at the frontline fighting bioterrorism.

To promote its new course, Bioterrorism and Health Intelligence, the University of NSW' School of Public Health and Community Medicine has created a five-part web-series called Pandemic. The series, directed by Nick Hunter and starring Michael Booth (Wonderland), is about a deadly virus unleashed on the public of the fictional nation of 'Mendona' and the hunt to find those responsible.

Webcast: Pitch Drop Experiment Nears Ninth Drop

The University of Queensland is offering people around the world the chance to add their name to the world's longest running laboratory experiment, the Pitch Drop.

The experiment was established in 1927 to demonstrate the high viscosity of pitch, which looks like a solid but behaves like a fluid over an extended timeframe.

The Pitch Drop Experiment is basically a lump of pitch in a glass funnel.

Eight drops of pitch have fallen in 86 years, but no-­one has ever seen one fall.

Australian Open Memory Championship

Tournament for mental competitors to be held August 24-25 in Melbourne

life’sDHA™ is proud to announce a continued partnership as lead sponsor of the 11th annual Australian Open Memory Championship. This live contest draws competitors vying to be named the mental athlete with the best memory in Australia. The event features 10 memory challenges, including names & faces, speed numbers, abstract images and historic & future dates, to name a few. This year’s championship will be held August 24-25 at the Oaks on Collins hotel in Melbourne, Australia and is free to spectators.

Sci-ku for maths and statistics

Students and adults around Australia are being challenged to unleash their inner poet with a science haiku (sci-ku) on the topics of Maths or Statistics.

The annual RiAus Sci-ku competition, now in its fourth year, is encouraging people to discover the wonders of science through poetry. This year’s Sci-ku theme celebrates the International Years of Statistics and the Mathematics of Planet Earth. A sci-ku is a short, three-line poem about the sciences, inspired by the Japanese haiku. A haiku is a poem of 17 syllables – written in a 5-7-5 syllable format – although this restriction doesn’t apply to a sci-ku.

Participants wanted for asbestos related disease study

Adults suffering from asbestos-related diseases are needed to participate in a University of Queensland study on the role nutrition plays in the quality of life for patients diagnosed with asbestosis or mesothelioma.

The team of investigators including Associate Professor Judith Bauer, Professor Sandra Capra and Dr Maeli Campbell-McNulty from UQ’s School of Human Movement Studies are hoping to recruit 150 patients in the trial.

Associate Professor Bauer said the study would be the first assessment of nutritional status, body composition, dietary intake and impact on quality of life for patients with asbestos-related diseases and the findings would provide a guide for dietitians caring for such patients.

Volunteers needed for research into effectiveness of brain-training games

Curtin University researchers are seeking participants across Australia for a study examining the effectiveness of on-line computer brain training games designed to improve cognitive function through regular use.

The Great Australian Brain-Training Challenge is a research project being carried out by Curtin’s School of Psychology and Speech Pathology.

Dr Frank Baughman, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology Lecturer and lead researcher in the project, said brain-training games make up a multi-million dollar industry internationally. Curtin’s research will investigate whether they really work to make people smarter and who they benefit the most.

HEALTH STUDY - Are brain training games effective?

PLay online games to help researchers determine the effectiveness of brain training programs.

‘Brain training’ games are games that have been designed to improve cognitive function through regular use of computerised tests. They make up a multimillion-dollar industry, but do they really work and for whom?

A team of Curtin University researchers is seeking participants to test exactly this and all you have to do is play online games for around 30 minutes, 3 times a week, and be aged 8 years and up!

At the end of the 6 weeks of training, you can find out just how much you have improved. So, what are you waiting for?

Seafarers can help track effects of climate change

Seafarers are being encouraged to take part in a unique global study, using a mobile phone app to record the effects of climate change.

The public science project will measure the amount of phytoplankton, minute organisms at the very start of the marine food chain, currently residing in the world’s oceans.

Scientists fear the population of the microscopic beings is in decline due to rising sea temperatures and, if true, that could have consequences for every aspect of marine life.

The project is being spearheaded by Plymouth University’s Marine Institute, which hopes to build a map of the oceans that charts the seasonal and annual changes of phytoplankton from now and into the future.

An Unsung Hero of Science Communication

By Australasian Science

The Australian Science Communicators has named the Editor of Australasian Science, Guy Nolch, as the 2012 Unsung Hero of Science Communication.

The President of ASC, Jesse Shore, said the award is “to honour a person or group who exemplify science communication, who have not yet received significant recognition for their contribution to science and its promotion, and for work done in Australia over a considerable or prolonged time".

Shore said: "The judging panel selected Guy as the standout choice from a number of worthy nominees. The judges mentioned Guy’s many notable achievements and attributes:
• his long period of distinguished science publishing;
• training and mentoring science communicators;

Smartphone climate change app opens to public

By ScienceNetwork WA

Citizens can now contribute to climate change tracking for scientists by using their smartphones.

ClimateWatch, a citizen science project started in 2007 by EarthWatch Australia, has launched an iPhone app which allows the public to record species sightings immediately.

ClimateWatch enables the tracking of animal, bird, plant and insect species to determine the impact of climate change on their distribution and behaviour. So far it has over 25,000 data points recorded on the website launched in 2010 and over 5000 registered users.

ClimateWatch’s WA Project Manager Mr Richard Weatherill says that a lack of knowledge is not a barrier to participation.