Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue June 2013

Buzz Aldrin setting up seismic equipment on the Moon in 1969.
Cover Story: Lies, Damn Lies, and Science
Conspiratorial thinking is a major element in the rejection of a broad range of scientific findings, from climate change to tobacco, vaccinations, GM foods and the moon landing. But why?
Inkjet printers can already print living cells.
Feature: Organs by Inkjet
The development of a new biological ink takes us one step closer to the goal of printing living cells in three dimensions to create whole organs.
Child under anaesthesia
Feature: Thief of Time
General anaesthesia alters our perception of time by shifting the expression of clock genes to a new time zone, leading to chemically induced jet lag.
Sweet tooth
Feature: Ancient Skeletons Reveal the Cost of a Sweet Tooth
A genetic study of ancient oral bacteria in the calcified dental plaque of human skeletons shows that our ancestors had healthier mouths than us.
Insulin injection
Feature: Artificial Pancreas Reduces Highs & Hypos
Researchers hope that within 3 years new insulin pump software may be available to replace the functions of pancreatic beta-cells lost in Type 1 diabetes.
Feature: A Dangerous Hunt for Gold in Brazil
South Australian scientists have negotiated with armed gangs in lawless areas of Brazil in a brave mission to study gold deposition processes there.
Scribbly gum
Feature: Scribbles in Time
Scribbles on eucalypts are the marks of a unique interaction with caterpillars that may date back to the Gondwana supercontinent.
Australasian Sky: June 2013 star chart
Your guide to the night sky this month.
conSCIENCE: Serendipity, Your Number Is Up
Science, technology, engineering and maths skills are needed to build the nation, but student and teacher numbers are in decline.
The Bitter Pill: Is Complementary Medicine a Valid Alternative?
How can we compare the evidence base behind conventional and complementary medicine?
Cool Careers: Proposal by Paper
When Brendan McMonigal wrote a mock research paper proposing to his girlfriend neither guessed it would go viral on the internet.
Directions: Renewable Jet Fuels on the Runway
Sustainable jet fuels are needed to constrain the aviation industry’s greenhouse emissions.
Eco Logic: The Value of More Information for Managing Koalas
Thinking like a multi-billion dollar mining magnate may help us better manage koalas.
Eureka!: Genealogy Gives Birth to Incest Alert App
Icelanders can check if a potential mate is a relative, and bees lose electrons as they fly.
Expert Opinion: Red Herring for Red Meat Consumption
A nutrient used as a dietary supplement, not fat and cholesterol, is the link between red meat consumption and cardiovascular disease.
Expert Opinion: Where does Australia stand on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education?
Experts respond to a report into international comparisons of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
Expert Opinion: GM pig feed and stomach inflammation
Experts respond to a study finding that GM soy and corn cause stomach inflammation in pigs.
The Fit: I Want Your Body
One-quarter of women would give up 3 years of their lives to be their ideal weight, but what do people believe is the ideal body?
Lowe Tech: Concern at Emissions and Health Impacts of Coal
The expansion of coal seam gas operations could eventually produce as much greenhouse gas as all the cars on the road in Australia.
Naked Skeptic: How Time Flies
What has changed since Peter Bowditch first wrote for this column 10 years ago?
Neuropsy: Girlfriend, Where’s My Car?
Men and women use different strategies to find their car, with different degrees of success.
Out of this World: It’s Raining on Saturn
David Reneke’s wrap-up of space and astronomy news.
Publish or Perish: New books
Your guide to new books this month
Quandary: Déjà Vu All Over Again
In vitro eugenics could soon make Huxley’s Brave New World a reality.
Simon Says: Sniffing a Failure
Petrol sniffing in remote communities could best be combatted by giving young indigenous people a positive way to get out of it.
Up Close: Giving off gas: Agriculture's role in greenhouse emissions
Biogeochemist Prof William Horwath explains the impact that modern agriculture has on greenhouse gas emissions from the soil.
Up Close: Prey to temptation: Our struggle with irrational health choices
Social epidemiologist Prof Ichiro Kawachi describes how mental short-cuts affect our health choices, often for the worse, and what can be done to help us make better choices. Presented by Dr Dyani Lewis.
Up Close: Prey to temptation: Our struggle with irrational health choices
Social epidemiologist Prof Ichiro Kawachi describes how mental short-cuts affect our health choices, often for the worse, and what can be done to help us make better choices.
Up Close: Tender connections: Fitting prosthetic limbs for comfort and cost
Mechanical engineer Peter Lee and prosthetist Jim Lavranos describe the challenges of creating low-cost prosthetic limb technologies in developing countries, and contrast this with how things are done in wealthier economies.
Up Close: Komodo to our place: In the field with the giant monitor lizard
Integrative ecologist Dr Tim Jessop talks about the fascinating biology and the ecology of the Komodo dragon -- the largest lizard in the world.
Notice Board: Participants wanted for asbestos related disease study
Adults suffering from asbestos-related diseases are needed to participate in a University of Queensland study on the role nutrition plays in the quality of life for patients diagnosed with asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Online Feature: Words that stand the test of time
Linguists have compiled a list of words that can be traced to old forms around the time of the last Ice Age.
Online Feature: Thinking the unthinkable: tracing language back 15,000 years
Linguists have identified a set of 23 frequent words to establish relationships between languages dating back to ancient times.
Online Feature: The Tamiflu saga shows why all research data should be public
Attempts to evaluate whether the antiviral drug Tamiflu is effective have been stymied by lack of access to the data from clinical trials.
Online Feature: Comet Factory Discovered
New observations of a “dust trap” around a young star solve long-standing planet formation mystery
Online Feature: Smart bots out-game human hunters
Increasingly, those who venture into any computer-driven environment will experience a diminishing ability to tell if they are dealing with another human being, or with an artifice constructed from machine code.
Online Feature: Celebrity pandas and tigers hog the extinction limelight
Worldwide, around 20,000 endangered animal species are competing for scarce conservation funds – but just 80 ‘celebrity species’ are hogging most of the attention.
Online Feature: Catch of the day in Borneo uncovers new species
Scientists have travelled to Borneo to study parasites infecting sharks and stingrays. The study has led to the discovery of many new species, and the data has been used to help Australian aquaria control the spread of parasite infections in the sharks and stingrays they have on display.
Online Feature: Top US court blocks patents on breast cancer genes
All nine members of the US Supreme Court have ruled that isolated genetic material cannot be patented – unless the material is markedly different to what exists in nature.
Online Feature: Small Dams Create Bigger Problems
A global push for small hydropower projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may cause significant losses of biodiversity.
Online Feature: Exercise and prosper: lessons about the brain from the bomb
New research proves that neurons are created throughout life in a critical part of the human hippocampus.