Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Online Feature

The NRL kicks off, but do you have to lose a final before you win a final?

As the 2016 NRL season gets underway, all eyes will be on the North Queensland Cowboys to see if they can repeat their premiership win in last year’s grand final.

But winning successive premierships in contact sports is not about merely maintaining your current standard, or expecting that your opposition won’t improve from the previous year.

To have a real shot at back-to-back titles, you have to be prepared to get better in all areas of performance.

Let me explain.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Chief Scientist's address to the National Press Club: The voyage of science and innovation

Below is a transcript of the speech given by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, at the National Press Club on 2nd March 2016.


Lessons from a lost ship

Let me start with a story about a small nation with middle-power ambitions.

It’s a nation in transition. Its population is growing. Its commodity-based economy is booming, on metals and minerals and grain.

That growth is supported by a strong financial sector and a sizeable migrant workforce. It is underpinned by landmark tax reform bedded down a few decades ago.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Could opposition to same-sex marriage be about the price of sex?

The White House lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate the US Supreme Court's same sex marriage ruling, 25 June 2015. White House Press Office/Wikimedia Commons

Introduce me to an oppo


Originally published in The Conversation.

Explainer: making waves in science

Making waves. Flickr/Max Nathan, CC BY-NC-ND

We see them at the beach. They’re behind every sound and light show and the miracle of Wi-Fi.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Fraudsters change tactics as a crackdown cuts some losses due to online scams

The scammers are changing the way they can trick people out of their savings. Shutterstock/Africa Studio

The amount of financial loss from online fraud suffered by people in Western Australia has almost halved, dropping from A$16.8 million in 2014 to A$9.8 million for 2015, The Conversation.

New defence trade controls threaten academic freedom and the economy

Even talking to a colleague at an academic conference overseas could have harsh ramifications. Shutterstock

A new round of trade controls will come into effect in Australia next month and they could have a far reaching impact on the way academics do their work, and may end up hurting the economy.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Automation won't destroy jobs, but it will change them

Spreadsheets didn't kill accountancy jobs, it just changed them. Shutterstock

The last few years have seen numerous studies pointing to a bleak future with technology-induced unemployment on the rise.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Police drones: can we trust the eyes in the skies?

Some people are concerned by the presence of drones in the air above them. Shutterstock

In Australia, unmanned aerial vehicles – or drones – are now being used by the police in The Conversation.

Marketers claim 5G will support the Internet of Things but is that really a thing?

network Keiichiro Ono , CC BY

A major focus of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week was around advances in implemen


Originally published in The Conversation.

Hacking the terror suspect's iPhone: what the FBI can do now Apple says 'no'

Tech giant Apple is standing firm behind its decision to refuse a US court order to help the FBI gain access to the iPhone used by one of the shooters in last year’s mass killing in California.


Originally published in The Conversation.