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Wild sex: when sex roles get reversed, some females develop a 'penis'

A male African jacana bird mounts a female, but who takes the lead in caring for the young?. Shutterstock/Dave Montreuil

In many species, the males develop elaborated sexual traits to attract females and dissuade pot


Originally published in The Conversation.

Talking serious science using scissors and glue

A student once told me that she would prefer to learn from pages of writing rather than from a single, concise image. When she told me, I think I may have actually frowned and I definitely paused, just long enough to feel slightly uncomfortable and to see that she was not just being reactionary; frustrated at the challenging task we had set.

As a strong visual thinker, learning from well-constructed diagrams is my preference so, to me, the idea that someone would knowingly choose text over a visual option seems utterly preposterous.


Originally published in The Conversation.

See the cosmos with X-ray vision: Japan’s new Hitomi space telescope

An artist's impression of the ASTRO-H telescope. JAXA/Akihiro Ikeshita

In June 1962, an Aerobee 150 sounding-rocket blasted above the Earth’s atmosphere from the White Sands Missi


Originally published in The Conversation.

Should scientists engage with pseudo-science or anti-science?

If someone is spouting pseudo-science, should scientists risk legitimising them by getting into a debate with them? Shutterstock

The ABC’s flagship science journalism TV programme, Catalyst, has riled the scientific community once again.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Australia's digital divide is narrowing, but getting deeper

Internet access continues to grow but some people are still not connected. Pixabay, CC BY

The digital divide continues to narrow in Australia but important divisions persist, and t


Originally published in The Conversation.

FBI vs Apple: giving up security and privacy could hurt us all

The US government is asking Apple to effectively hack it's own phone. Shutterstock

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” is an argument that is used often in the debate about surveillance.


Originally published in The Conversation.

We should work together in the race to mine the solar system

How would people react to mining on the moon? NASA, GPN-2001-000009

With interest in the prospect of mining the moon and asteroids gaining pace, it’s time to take a hard look at what’s really at stake.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Why bats don't get get sick from the deadly diseases they carry

Bats are a natural host for more than 100 viruses, some of which are lethal to people. These include Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Ebola and Hendra virus. These viruses are among the most dangerous pathogens to humans and yet an infected bat does not get sick or show signs of disease from these viruses.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Infographic: how fast is the NBN?

CC BY-ND

There has been a lot of talk about the National Broadband Network (NBN) in its various guises under the Labor and now Liberal governments.


Originally published in The Conversation.

When humans split from the apes

Cranium of Sahelanthropus tchadensis: a 7 million year old member of the human evolutionary lineage from Chad.


Originally published in The Conversation.