Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue July and August 2013

Cover Story: Sex: Why Does It Have To Be So Complicated?
Sex. Three simple letters and a world of complication. How can something so simple, so natural and so very important be so bewilderingly complicated?
Feature: In the Eye of the Beholder
Beauty is a subjective value, but studies are finding that mate choice is often affected by upbringing, self-esteem and previous experiences in courtship.
Female Lake Eyre dragon lizards will flip over onto their backs to prevent males
Feature: No Honey, Not Tonight: Why and How Female Animals Avoid Sex
So much of our obsession with sex revolves around how to get it, and how often, but the females of many animal species have evolved remarkable adaptations to avoid it. Why?
Body shape accounts for almost 80% of the variance in men’s attractiveness.
Feature: The Masculinity Paradox
Does being “manly” make you a better mate or does it signal undesirable characteristics?
Paris Hilton
Feature: Sex in the Economy
The imprint of the competition for mates and status can be seen in the past and present shape of our economy.
Oxytocin is the molecule that helps a mother bond with her baby
Feature: The Myth of the Love Hormone
There is a molecule intimately involved in your sex life. However, its effects are not as straightforward as some would make you think.
Frogs have to adjust their calls in order to be heard in noisy urban environment
Feature: Sex in a Changing World
Sex isn’t always easy, but it’s becoming a lot more complicated due to human-induced changes to the natural environment.
Australasian Sky: July 2013 star chart
Your guide to the night sky this month.
conSCIENCE: Best Practice Science Is Open and Transparent
Geoscience Australia’s Chief Scientist outlines the philosophy behind the organisation’s newly stated science principles.
The Bitter Pill: Too Open to Ideas?
Why do intelligent people believe incredible things? Psychological studies suggest that the answer may lie in personality type rather than any measure of intelligence.
Cool Careers: From Vitamins to Solar
It is not an obvious path from Prof Andrew Holmes’ PhD on the synthesis of vitamin B12 to the next generation of solar cells, but it has now led him back to the University of Melbourne where he completed his undergraduate degree.
Directions: Two Billion More Reasons to Collaborate
With global population expected to grow by two billion, even greater collaboration between researchers and business will be needed to satisfy the world’s food, energy and other needs.
Eco Logic: Tall or Sprawl?
How should we grow Australia’s cities to minimise their biodiversity impacts?
Eureka!: Speed Bump Pain a Sign of Appendicitis
Appendicitis could be diagnosed by a patient’s pain when driving to hospital over speed bumps.
Expert Opinion: Food Standards Authority Defends GM Safety
Earlier this year, a scientific review raised concerns that double-stranded RNA molecules produced in new genetically modified crops could pose a risk to human health. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has responded to the claims by Heinemann et al. (2013) that this gene silencing technology is entering the food supply without adequate scrutiny.
The Fit: The Virtual Time Game
Men and women would spend their time differently if given less or more time each day.
Lowe Tech: The Numbers Don’t Add Up
Researchers spent a combined 550 years writing grant applications last year, yet 80% missed out.
Neuropsy: The Head Coach
New guidelines aim to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment from concussion in sport.
Out of this World: Seeing the Unseeable
David Reneke’s wrap-up of space and astronomy news.
Quandary: A Retrospective of the Stem Cell Debate
Ten years ago embryonic stem cells were set to transform medicine. Ethics took a back seat to science, but the cures never came.
Simon Says: Science After the Election
Who is likely to be responsible for science after the Federal election, and are they qualified to represent it?
Up Close: Watts fit to print: Developing flexible, organic solar cells
Polymer chemist Dr David Jones and materials scientist Dr Scott Watkins discuss the latest in flexible electronics -- the printable organic solar cell.
Up Close: Sedimental journey: Probing climate's buried past to predict our future
Paleoclimatologist Prof Jonathan Overpeck describes how research into uncovering the earth’s climate history generates important insights about our climate future.
Up Close: Pregnancy 2.0: The lingering effects of modern reproductive technologies
Reproductive biologist Dr Mark Green discusses early embryo development and how a range of environmental factors such as IVF, nutrition and chemicals can have lasting effects on health of the organism.
Up Close: Setting forth safely: Travel health before, during, and after the journey
Infectious diseases specialist Assoc Prof Tilman Ruff explains the myriad health risks to today’s travellers, including what to consider before the journey and post-trip follow-up and care.
Up Close: The world by numbers: How mathematics explains objects and events
Mathematician Prof Chris Budd discusses how mathematics seeks to explain and predict real life phenomena, from the simple movement of objects to complex “chaotic” systems such as the weather.
Notice Board: Sci-ku for maths and statistics
Students and adults around Australia are being challenged to unleash their inner poet with a science haiku (sci-ku) on the topics of Maths or Statistics.
Notice Board: Australian Open Memory Championship
Tournament for mental competitors to be held August 24-25 in Melbourne
Pockley's Point: Vale Peter Pockley
Australia's longest-serving science journalist, and long-time columnist for Australasian Science, has passed away.
Issues: Fox Baiting in Tasmania: What’s at Risk?
With careful attention to the science and planning, targeting foxes in a wildlife-rich environment can be a success.
Online Feature: Early failure a key to turning back the clock
Fitness among the elderly is improved by a high-resistance circuit training program with fewer but more demanding repetitions at each station.
Online Feature: Sex, Food and Pseudoscience
Sexcereal is a his-and-hers line of breakfast cereals that claims to boost your love life.
Online Feature: National Press Club address: Suzanne Cory
The full text of a speech by Suzanne Cory, President of the Australian Academy of Science.
Online Feature: Scientists explore the mind with epigenomic maps
Comprehensive mapping of the human brain epigenome uncovers large-scale changes that take place during the formation of brain circuitry.
Online Feature: Big bang theory: how did dinosaurs have sex?
How did dinosaurs mate and what evidence do we have to reconstruct their sex lives?
Online Feature: At the bottom of the top, Australia and the 2013 Global Innovation Index
The Global Innovation Index (GII) for 2013 has recently been published and once again Australia finds it is at the bottom of the top.
Online Feature: Stem cell research reveals clues to brain disease
The development of new drugs for improving treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease is a step closer after recent research into how stem cells migrate and form circuits in the brain.
Online Feature: Is sexual addiction the real deal?
Researchers have measured how the brain behaves in "hypersexual" people who have problems regulating their viewing of sexual images.
Online Feature: 'Dead' gene comes to life and puts chill on inflammation
Discovery may explain how anti-inflammatory steroid drugs work, leading to entirely new classes of anti-inflammatory treatments without some of the side effect of steroids.
Online Feature: No link between mercury exposure and autism-like behaviours
Pre-natal mercury exposure from fish consumption eliminated as cause of later autism-like behaviours.
Online Feature: Psychopaths Understand Victims' Pain
Brain research shows psychopathic criminals do not lack empathy, but fail to use it automatically.
Online Feature: Starburst wind keeps galaxies 'thin'
A feast and fast sequence explains how large galaxies can keep their mass down.
Online Feature: Epilepsy in a Dish
Stem cell research reveals clues to disease's origins and possible treatment.
Online Feature: Scientists model 'extraordinary' performance of Bolt
Mathematical model accurately depicts the extraordinary feats of Usain Bolt during his 100 metre world record sprint.
Online Feature: 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.
Online Feature: 2013 shaping up to be one of Australia's hottest years on record
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?
Online Feature: Helium rationing, a looming crisis – and a sinking feeling
With helium demand rapidly outpacing supply and rationing inevitable, Macquarie University has launched a helium recovery system.
Online Feature: Chief Scientist Calls for a National Strategy for Science
A transcript of the Chief Scientist's launch of the position paper: ‘STEM in the national interest: A strategic approach’
Online Feature: Happy National Orgasm Day
New research has tested two predictions concerning womens' orgasms as signals of the likelihood of fidelity and conception.
Online Feature: An End to Sunburn Pain?
The molecule that causes the pain of sunburn could be blocked in a sunscreen additive.
Online Feature: 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.
Online Feature: Climate change is at a record pace
Climate change occurring 10 times faster than at any time in past 65 million years.
Online Feature: 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?
Online Feature: A new branch of life found in a pond in Melbourne
Pandoravirus promises future surprises
Online Feature: How the brain keeps eyes on the prize
Dopamine signal strengthens as long-term goal draws nearer.
Online Feature: Dolphins keep lifelong social memories
Dolphins can recognise their old tank mates’ whistles after being separated for more than 20 years — the longest social memory ever recorded for a non-human species.
Online Feature: The day before death
A new archaeological technique gives insight into the day before death.
Online Feature: Can people really be addicted to sex?
Is there a neurological basis to hypersexuality?
Online Feature: Brain scans may help diagnose dyslexia
Differences in a key language structure can be seen even before children start learning to read.
Online Feature: Sugar is toxic to mice in 'safe' doses
Three soft drinks daily affect lifespan, reproduction
Online Feature: Exposing dopers in sport: is it really worth the cost?
If the achievements of confirmed cheaters and other athletes are similar does it mean the drugs don't work or is everyone cheating?