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Climate strongly affects human conflict

The Earth's climate plays a more influential role in human affairs than previously thought – both now and in ancient times.

Shifts in climate are strongly linked to human violence around the world, with even relatively minor departures from normal temperature or rainfall substantially increasing the risk of conflict in ancient times or today, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton University.

Happy National Orgasm Day

By Rob Brooks

New research has tested two predictions concerning womens' orgasms as signals of the likelihood of fidelity and conception.

Today, I have just learned from Katherine Feeney’s column in the Sydney Morning Herald, is National Orgasm Day. What that is and how you celebrate it remains a little opaque to me*. Will there be organised pageantry and fireworks later on? Should one share this knowledge with a loved one? Or simply mark the occasion alone?

Chief Scientist Calls for a National Strategy for Science

By Professor Ian Chubb

A transcript of the Chief Scientist's launch of the position paper: ‘STEM in the national interest: A strategic approach’

Today, I am launching a position paper urging a strategic approach to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (which I will call STEM) in Australia. For those who do not have a copy but who do have an interest, the paper is available on the website of the Office of the Chief Scientist.

For today, I have planned a talk, this launch, in essentially three parts.

Helium rationing, a looming crisis – and a sinking feeling

By Brent McInnes, Curtin University

With helium demand rapidly outpacing supply and rationing inevitable, Macquarie University has launched a helium recovery system.

Helium demand is rapidly outpacing supply, cheap helium is gone forever and rationing is inevitable.

More disturbingly is that a global helium supply crisis is looming this year. The fact is that the US Senate has until October 1 2013 to pass a bill overturning a current law that stipulates that on that date the US Federal Helium Reserve (35% of current global supply) will be closed to non-government users.

2013 shaping up to be one of Australia's hottest years on record

By David Jones, Karl Braganza and Rob Smalley

The last 10 months have been abnormally warm across Australia and we’ve seen a notable lack of unusually cold weather this winter. Are we heading for the hottest year on record?

  • Australia’s hottest day on record
  • Australia’s hottest week on record
  • Australia’s hottest month on record
  • Australia’s hottest summer on record
  • Australia’s hottest September to June (10 months) on record

Neuroscientists plant false memories

Researchers have implanted false memories into mice, potentially illuminating the mechanisms underlying the human phenomenon of "recalling" experiences that never occurred.

The phenomenon of false memory has been well-documented. In many court cases, defendants have been found guilty based on testimony from witnesses and victims who were sure of their recollections, but DNA evidence later overturned the conviction.

In a step toward understanding how these faulty memories arise, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can plant false memories in the brains of mice. They also found that many of the neurological traces of these memories are identical in nature to those of authentic memories.

Scientists model 'extraordinary' performance of Bolt

Mathematical model accurately depicts the extraordinary feats of Usain Bolt during his 100 metre world record sprint.

A group of researchers from Mexico has provided an insight into the physics of one of the greatest athletic performances of all time.

In a paper published in the European Journal of Physics, the researchers have put forward a mathematical model that accurately depicts the truly extraordinary feats of Usain Bolt during his 100 metre world record sprint at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

Epilepsy in a Dish

Stem cell research reveals clues to disease's origins and possible treatment.

Epilepsy in a dish: Stem cell research reveals clues to disease's origins and possible treatment

U-M-led study of neurons created from skin of patients with Dravet syndrome

A new stem cell-based approach to studying epilepsy has yielded a surprising discovery about what causes one form of the disease, and may help in the search for better medicines to treat all kinds of seizure disorders.

The findings, reported by a team of scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School and colleagues, use a technique that could be called "epilepsy in a dish".

Starburst wind keeps galaxies 'thin'

A feast and fast sequence explains how large galaxies can keep their mass down.

Unlike humans, galaxies don't have an obesity problem. In fact there are far fewer galaxies at the most massive end of the galactic scale than expected and scientists have long sought to explain why. A new University of Maryland-led study published in the journal Nature suggests that one answer lies in a kind of feast and fast sequence through which large galaxies can keep their mass down.

Psychopaths Understand Victims' Pain

Brain research shows psychopathic criminals do not lack empathy, but fail to use it automatically.