Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue Jan/Feb 2017

Cover Story: Alchemists of Catastrophe: How Disasters Deliver Data
Ecologists are treating oil spills, species invasions and other environmental calamities as natural experiments on a scale that could never be attained by normal laboratory or field studies.
Feature: The Mars Challenge
Mars is the only other planet in the solar system where humans could possibly live, but the first colonists there will need some amazing science and meticulous planning to cope with cosmic radiation and find ways to generate air, water, food and energy.
Feature: What We Can Learn from Pickpockets
Scientists are using the perceptual trickery of pickpockets and magicians as a new tool to study perceptual processing in the brain.
Feature: Can You Make Beer from the Yeast in Vegemite?
Vegemite is made from the spent yeast left over from the fermentation of beer. Can it be recycled to produce Vegemite beer, and how does it taste?
Feature: Does Culling Work?
Culling of pests such as foxes, feral cats and dingoes can have unexpected and completely undesirable effects.
Feature: The Two Degree Dilemma
We’ve agreed to limit the rise in global temperature to 2°C, but how will we do it?
Feature: The Role of Gut Microbes in Autism
Gut microbes can modify our mood and even change our behaviour. They’ve now been implicated in a neuronal mutation found in the gut and brain of autistic patients.
Feature: Pride, Prejudice and Persistence
It took two decades for William Paterson to persuade his patron Sir Joseph Banks to recognise his achievements through membership of the Royal Society.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky this month.
conSCIENCE: Career Concerns Could Bust the Ideas Boom
A survey of professional scientists has uncovered worker fatigue and broad dissatisfaction with remuneration and reduced scientific capability as a result of cost-cutting.
conSCIENCE: Timber Certification Can’t See the Wood for the Trees
There are many laws that govern the harvesting and trading of timber yet illegal logging is rife and prosecution rates are low. It’s time for science to modernise timber certification schemes.
The Bitter Pill: US Mandates “No Evidence” Labels for Homeopathic Products
Before advocates of science get too excited, though, a number of caveats may limit its effect.
Directions: Research Needs a New Narrative
Research is a tapestry of creativity that enriches the society in which we live.
Eco Logic: Conservation Research Isn’t Happening in the Right Places
Conservation research is not being done in the countries where it’s most needed, and this will undermine efforts to preserve global biodiversity.
Lowe Tech: The Eye of the Renewable Energy Storm
Political foes have united in their condemnation of fear-mongering about renewable energy.
Naked Skeptic: Is Philosophy Dead?
Beware the strawman when arguing that science has outgrown philosophy.
Neuropsy: The Man Who Mistook His Cat for a Spy
A new report describes a variant of Capgras syndrome in which a patient believed that his cat had been stolen by the FBI and replaced by an imposter that was spying on him.
Out of this World: A Cool Theory about Galaxy Formation
A surprising finding about galaxy formation, and the discovery of starspots on Proxima Centauri.
Quandary: Frozen Stiff
Cryonics is a growing industry even if its feasibility is questionable and its ethics murky.
Up Front: Unrest in the Ranks – and Rankings
Working scientists are becoming disenchanted in the workplace at a time when scientific literacy of students is slipping.