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A new branch of life found in a pond in Melbourne

By Susan Lawler

Pandoravirus promises future surprises

The pandoravirus is a brand new form of life, and it’s a bit like a knitted potato. No one can imagine a knitted potato. Klara Kim

Are doctors to blame for superbugs?

Who is to blame re the mess we are in regarding antibiotic-resistant superbugs? Doctors, livestock farming, airlines, drug companies, nursing homes, or a mixture of them all?

How Australia and other developed countries have ended up in their current predicament of infections showing increasing resistance to antibiotics has been addressed in a session at the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) Gram Negative Superbug meeting on the Gold Coast.

Climate change is at a record pace

Climate change occurring 10 times faster than at any time in past 65 million years.

The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.

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.