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Gluten- and casein-free diet makes a meal of autism science

By Andrew Whitehouse

From the moment a child is diagnosed with autism, their family enters the unknown. Conference halls are lined with salespeople, letterboxes are stuffed with pamphlets, and life is transformed into a whirlwind tour of a fantastical array of therapies and potions that are positioned as the “cure all” for their child’s difficulties.

Australia's outgoing Chief Scientist says we're good but we can be better

By Michael Lund

Today marks Professor Ian Chubb’s final day as Australia’s Chief Scientist.

It’s a position he’s held for almost five years, during some of Australia’s most turbulent political times. He’s served under four prime ministers and six science ministers (if not always by title), for both Labor and the Coalition.

Eating healthily during the week but bingeing on weekends is not OK for your gut

By Margaret Morris

A relatively healthy but complex community is living together peacefully, until an unruly mob of hooligans begins unsettling the community’s residents and disturbing the peace every weekend.

This scenario could be playing out in the human gut every time you go on a junk food binge. Yo-yoing between eating well during the week and bingeing on junk food over the weekend is likely to be just as bad for your gut health as a consistent diet of junk.

The disruptive technologies that will shape business in the years ahead

By Charmaine Glavas and Kate Letheren

Regardless of your industry, the marketplace is continually evolving. The reason, increasingly, is the evolution of disruptive technology.

Disruptive technologies are enhanced or new technological innovations that essentially displace conventional and established technology, rendering it obsolete. They can create opportunities for new products, new markets, and new ways of conducting business.

Back to Basics: The Magician’s Apprentice 50 Years On

By John Bradshaw

The prefix "neuro" these days appears before so many other existing disciplines – neuroethics, neurophilosophy, neuroeconomics and neuroforensics – but can all these disciplines be better comprehended and mastered through the lens of brain mechanisms?

In Greek mythology, Narcissus, son of the river god Cephisus and the water nymph Leirope, was a beautiful youth, beloved by the nymph Echo whom he cruelly repulsed. For this offence, Aphrodite, goddess of love, punished him by making him pathologically enamoured of his own image as reflected in a pool of water. His continuing and fruitless attemptes to approach his beautiful self image led to his despair and death.

Seven secrets of stylish academic writing

By Helen Sword

How do you undo years of scholarly training and learn to write like a human being?

Imagine that the editor of a widely-read magazine or, say, The Conversation has heard about your academic research and invited you to contribute an article. But you only know how to produce stodgy, impersonal papers for peer-reviewed disciplinary journals.

How do you undo years of scholarly training and learn to write like a human being?

It’s a dilemma many academics face when engaging with print or online media for the first time, so here are seven tips to turn your jargon into energetic prose that anyone can understand.

The ethics of "gifted" genes: the road to Gattaca?

By Julian Savulescu

Recent research out of the UK has identified a genetic “general academic achievement factor”. Using identical twin studies, they found achievement across a wide range of academic subjects was influenced by many of the same genes:

Sustainable oil from algae: the technology is ready, but what about the politics?

By Bojan Tamburic and Arunima Malik

Ultimately, all of the oil we use to power our modern lives comes from living creatures such as algae – albeit ones that lived 3.5 billion years ago, before gradually morphing into fossil fuel.

But when we talk about algae biofuel, we mean the green, renewable and sustainable version, rather than traditional fossil crude oil. The main requirements for making algae biofuel are: lots of sunlight, plenty of space, and easy access to the sea. Australia is an algae gardener’s paradise.

Chief Scientist CSG report leaves health concerns unanswered

By Melissa Haswell and David Shearman

Chief Scientist CSG report leaves health concerns unanswered

The long-awaited independent review of coal seam gas (CSG) in New South Wales, released last week by the NSW Chief Scientist, highlighted many risks and uncertainties around human health from exposure to toxic CSG chemicals.

Despite this, the report concludes the risks can be managed through unprecedented regulation and monitoring.