Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Online Feature

What are lost continents, and why are we discovering so many?

Lord Howe Island is one of the few places where the lost continent of Zealandia is exposed above sea level.


Originally published in The Conversation.

A push to make social media companies liable in defamation is great for newspapers and lawyers, but not you

At his Wednesday address to the National Press Club, Attorney-General Christian Porter said the federal government is pursuing “immediate” defamation law reform.

The announcement seemed a bit odd, as defamation is a subject for state and territory governments to legislate on. A NSW-led law reform process has been ongoing for years.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Curious Kids: why does wood crackle in a fire?

If you've ever put wet wood on to a fire, you may have noticed it makes a lot more noise than dry wood.
Shutterstock


Why does wood crackle in a fire? – Rocco, age 6 (nearly 7!)


Originally published in The Conversation.

An American company will test your embryos for genetic defects. But designer babies aren't here just yet

No gene for cuteness has yet been identified -- but give it time. Shutterstock

Designer baby, anyone? A New Jersey startup company, Genomic Prediction, might be able to help you.


Originally published in The Conversation.

A collapsing star in a distant galaxy fired out some of the most energetic gamma rays ever seen

The HESS telescopes in Namibia are on the alert for high-energy gamma rays. HESS Collaboration / Clementina Medina

The brightest fireworks in the universe are called gamma-ray bursts and are created by the death throes of certain kinds of stars.


Originally published in The Conversation.

To feed the world in 2050 we need to build the plants that evolution didn't

Synthetic biology can help agriculture adapt to a changing world. Shutterstock

We need to revolutionise agriculture in the next 30 years.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Instead of showing leadership, Twitter pays lip service to the dangers of deep fakes

Neural networks can generate artificial representations of human faces, as well as realistic renderings of actual people. The Conversation.

Don't (just) blame echo chambers. Conspiracy theorists actively seek out their online communities

The term illuminati has been used since the late 15th century, and applied to various groups since then.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Turn down for what? Why you turn down the radio when you're trying to park your car

When you're looking for a destination, you might need to cut down the volume Shutterstock

You’re driving down an unfamiliar street on a clear spring evening. You’ve been invited to a friend of a friend’s party, at a house you’ve never been to before.


Originally published in The Conversation.

The main problem with virtual reality? It's almost as humdrum as real life

Virtual horse racing, at a real racecourse? Zero points for imagination. Rachel Grey/AAP Image

Just a few years ago, virtual reality (VR) was being showered with very real money.


Originally published in The Conversation.