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Prosecuting within complex criminal networks is hard. Data analysis could save the courts precious time and money

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It’s no secret the trail of data we leave online can reveal intimate details about our lives.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Face masks cut disease spread in the lab, but have less impact in the community. We need to know why

In controlled laboratory situations, face masks appear to do a good job of reducing the spread of coronavirus (at least in hamsters) and other respiratory viruses. However, evidence shows mask-wearing policies seem to have had much less impact on the community spread of COVID-19.


Originally published in The Conversation.

The war between Xbox and Playstation is no longer about consoles. It's about winning your loyalty

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In the latest salvo of an almost two-decade console war between Microsoft and Sony, both Sony’s Playstation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series S/X were launched last week.


Originally published in The Conversation.

We created diamonds in mere minutes, without heat — by mimicking the force of an asteroid collision

In nature, diamonds form deep in the Earth over billions of years. This process requires environments with exceptionally high pressure and temperatures exceeding 1,000℃.

Our international team has created two different types of diamond at room temperature — and in a matter of minutes. It’s the first time diamonds have successfully been produced in a lab without added heat.

Our findings are published in the journal Small.


Originally published in The Conversation.

As Australia's chief scientist, Alan Finkel brought more science into government. His successor Cathy Foley will continue the job

Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, will bring his five-year stint in the role to a close at the end of 2020. His successor will be Cathy Foley, a physicist and current chief scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the national government research agency.

What legacy will Finkel leave behind? If there’s a defining theme to his time as chief scientist, it must surely be how he has drawn science and evidence more deeply into government policy-making. Among his many achievements in this vein, two key examples leap out.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Australian hospitals are under constant cyber attack. The consequences could be deadly

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Last week, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) issued warnings to Australian health-care providers that it had observed an incr


Originally published in The Conversation.

How chemical clues from prehistoric microbes rewrote the story of one of Earth's biggest mass extinctions

Microbial mats in Shark Bay, Western Australia, similar to those that lived around 200 million years ago. Yalimay Jimenez Duarte WA-OIGC, Curtin University, Author provided

Chemical clues left behind by humble microbes have rewritten the timeline


Originally published in The Conversation.

Are you among Australia's best facial super-recognisers? Take our test to find out

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At just 11 years old, Nicole couldn’t understand why her classmates were struggling. The competition was straightforward: recognise teachers at the primary school from their baby photos.


Originally published in The Conversation.

How a Queensland sea sponge is helping scientists unravel a 700-million-year-old mystery of evolution

University of Queensland

Many human traits, such as height and disease susceptibility, depend on genes that are encoded in our DNA. These genes are switched on and off and further fine-tuned by important but hard-to-find regions in the genome.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Fierce female moles have male-like hormones and genitals. We now know how this happens.

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Moles live a tough life underground. As a result, they’ve evolved helpful adaptations, such as excavator-like claws. Female moles in particular have evolved an unusual strategy: high levels of the male hormone testosterone.


Originally published in The Conversation.