Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue April 2016

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Cover Story: Creationism Evolves
It’s 10 years since US legislation drafted to stop the teaching of “intelligent design” was ruled unconstitutional, yet anti-evolution legislation continues to replicate and “evolve” across the USA.
Credit: Henry Cook
Feature: Wallabies Rock the Basis of Speciation
Six rock-wallaby species in Queensland have different numbers of chromosomes, yet gene flow somehow occurs between them. What does this tell us about how new species form?
Excavations at Colosseum Chamber. Credit: Gilbert Price
Feature: The Ice Age Lizards of Oz
A chance finding in a Queensland cave has revealed that giant and dangerous lizards still lived when the first humans reached Australia.
Feature: The Giant Rats of Timor
Giant rats coexisted with humans for 40,000 years on the island of Timor. Their extinction is a cautionary tale about the ecological consequences of deforestation in South-East Asia today.
Credit: BrianAJackson/iStockphoto
Feature: Gut Feeling
Does indigestion lead to anxiety and other mood disorders, and could a cure be in sight for both?
Feature: Do Fish Feel Pain?
If you want to know whether your pet goldfish can feel pain you had better look inside its head to see if it has the brains for it.
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Feature: Data Caps Brain Cancer Concerns
Extensive health data records in New Zealand have revealed whether brain cancer rates have changed as a result of radiation emitted by mobile phones.
Credit: psdesign1/Adobe
Feature: Keeping the Noise Down
Transgenic mice have revealed how the cochlea protects itself from loud noise and why some people may be more susceptible to hearing loss than others.
Feature: How half our brain keeps watch when we sleep in unfamiliar places
Poor sleep in an unfamiliar setting may be linked to an important function of the brain to protect the sleeper from potential danger.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky for this month.
conSCIENCE: Defence Takes Control over Australian Research
A new law comes into force this month that puts scientists at risk of imprisonment and businesses at risk of losing their intellectual property.
The Bitter Pill: Is Chemmart’s myDNA Test Right for You?
The promises of genetic tests and treatments may be outstripping the science.
Directions: Australia’s High Schools Are Into STELR
The STELR program now reaches 500 schools, 50,000 students and 1500 teachers each year.
Eco Logic: Beyond Threat Maps
Targeting threats alone won’t save our wildlife.
Expert Opinion: Wi-Fi Fears Disputed
The ABC’s science program Catalyst drew widespread criticism after giving precedence to the views of US cancer epidemiologist Dr Devra Davis in an episode that examined “whether our wireless devices could be putting our health at risk”.
The Fit: Choose Your Friends Wisely
Friends, family and co-workers influence our health and happiness to varying extents.
Fossil File: The Rise of High-Tech Palaeontology
High-tech scanners now enable palaeontologists to gain new insights from significant fossils embedded in solid rock.
Lowe Tech: Engineering Numbers Aren’t Adding Up
Our universities aren’t producing enough engineers to meet demand, and gender balance remains an issue.
Naked Skeptic: University Research Is Losing Its Independence
Universities can no longer be relied upon to allow unconventional voices to be heard – unless there’s sponsorship attached.
Neuropsy: The Soul of Wit
Laughter may be the best medicine, but some jokers may be incurable.
Out of this World: A New Spin on Star-Forming Galaxies
Astronomers calculate that black holes at the heart of galaxies could swell to 50 billion times the mass of the Sun, and determine why some galaxies are “clumpy” rather than spiral in shape.
Quandary: A Bizarre Dilemma from Sweden
“Resignation syndrome” in refugee children and adolescents in Sweden is one of the most bizarre medical stories of the past decade.
Up Close: The end of sustainability: Realism and resilience in managing our natural resources
Environmental legal scholar Prof. Robin Craig argues that the doctrine of sustainability in managing our natural resources fails to take into account an emerging age of ecological uncertainty. Instead, notions of sustainability and sustainable development need to make way for approaches based on resilience thinking, which attempts to factor in and adapt to coming large-scale social and ecological shifts brought about by climate change.
Up Front: Defence Act Casts a Long Shadow
The battle now shifts from public good to commercial research, as new Defence powers threaten a broad range of “dual-use” technologies.
Odd Spot: Art of Time
Seiko creates a Rube Goldberg machine to build one of its watches in this fantastic video.
Odd Spot: John Oliver on Conspiracy Theories
For those who love or loathe conspiracy theories, John Oliver turns his attention to the Cadbury Creme Egg.
Online Feature: Regenerating body parts: how we can transform fat cells into stem cells to repair spinal disc injuries Online Feature: CSIRO must ensure climate science is maintained
Online Feature: Individuals not the priority in the Cyber Security Strategy