Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue July and August 2010

Image of crucifixion
Cover Story: The True Believers
Are we pre-programmed to believe in weird and wonderful things that lack any significant scientific basis, and are some of us more likely to believe than others?
Feature: The Biggest Losers
New evidence tightens the noose on humans as the decisive factor in the extinction of the last of the megafauna in Australia and North America.
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Feature: It’s a Wiggly, Wiggly Universe
A map of the universe as it existed six billion years ago is close to completion, and may provide new insights into the physics of dark energy.
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Feature: A Matter of Taste
Newborn babies will smile when they first taste sucrose and wrinkle their noses at the bitter taste of quinine. What is the adaptive significance of such innate responses to taste?
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Feature: Microbe Genes Could Curb Livestock Burps
The DNA sequence of a microbe that produces methane in ruminants provides a target for vaccines and other drugs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.
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Feature: The Young Visionaries
Early-career scientists are using goggles that mimic common eye diseases to teach primary school children about their vision research and the importance of eye care.
Aboriginal village near the NSW/SA border in the 1840s.
Feature: Evidence for Indigenous Australian Agriculture
The assumption that indigenous Australians did not develop agriculture is highly contestable, with a body of evidence revealing that they developed food production systems and in some cases lived in large villages.
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Feature: Climate Change or Natural Variability?
Meteorological records since the 1950s reveal a decrease in rainfall that is consistent with anthropogenic climate change, but a different picture emerges when looking at records since 1900.
conSCIENCE: The Hazards of Synthesis
Synthesis of knowledge from different disciplines is underused in research and has hazards for practitioners.
Cool Careers: The Jean Genie
Dr Yves Al-Ghazi is finding genes that can make better clothing, but plans to put his scientific training to a very different use.
Eco Logic: Are Biodiversity Offsets Good for Biodiversity?
Policy-makers love biodiversity offsets while ecologists are wary of them. What's important is their impact relative to the status quo.
Lowe Tech: A Better Deal for Meds
If you want cheaper medicines, get a prescription in New Zealand.
Naked Skeptic: "Blasphemy" Comes Before "Science" in the Dictionary
Could there be a greater abuse of both science and Christianity than creationism?
Out of this World: It’s Raining on the Sun
Dave Reneke brings news from the space and astronomy communities around the world.
Quandary: Synthetic Life or Cellular Machine?
The creation of synthetic bacteria will increase the speed with which new organisms can be generated, and reduce the value of animal life to mere chemical devices.
Simon Says: It’s Life, But Not As We Know It
The creation of the first synthetic genome is the latest paragraph in the story of evolution.