Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue June 2016

Credit: adimas/adobe
Cover Story: The Dark Web Dilemma
The dark web can hide the activities of organised crime and child abusers but it can also enable people in repressive regimes to communicate with the wider world.
Feature: A New Basis for Nuclear Structure
The idea that the internal structure of protons might change under certain circumstances is being put to the test, and could help to explain some inconsistencies in theoretical physics.
Credit: Stephen Coburn/adobe
Feature: Recognising Nemo
Recent studies are helping to dispel the myth that fish have a 3-second memory. In fact, some species of reef fish can even recognise human faces.
Clusters of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus protected by a biofilm.
Feature: A Trojan Horse to Clear a Stuffy Nose
Antibiotic resistance is expected to kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined, but a new approach aims to penetrate the biofilms that protect bacteria from antibiotics.
Credit: Maksym Yemelyanov/adobe
Feature: Pharmed Meds
Some clever chemistry is turning plants into pharmaceutical factories that could enable remote communities in developing countries to grow and store stable medicines cheaply.
The skeleton of Kunbarrasaurus ieversi
Feature: A Dinosaur with an ID Crisis
It’s little wonder that a dinosaur with a parrot-like beak, bones in its skin and an inner ear like a turtle confused the palaeontologists who discovered it in Queensland in 1990.
Feature: Birth of the Red Sea
New evidence about the creation of the Red Sea has fundamentally changed how geologists understand the birth of oceans.
Credit: freshidea/adobe
Feature: Guardians of the Gut
The appendix has long been considered an evolutionary relic but new evidence indicates it has an important role in our immune system.
Credit: Svislo/istockphoto
Feature: Mortality Molecules
Cancer cells become immortal by exploiting a mechanism that protects normal cells from DNA damage. Can we use these molecules to turn off cancer’s fountain of youth?
Microscopy imaging of metastatic cancer cells. Credit: drimafilm/adobe
Feature: The Bacteria that Promote Cancer
A bacterial protein can trigger inflammation and facilitate the progression of cancer.
Feature: The Bold and the Beautiful
The discovery that a gene partly determines which swans are bold and which are wary of people could assist captive breeding programs in cities.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky for this month.
conSCIENCE: Chemistry: 21st Century Science for the Global Economy
It’s time for public recognition of the fact that, in a country where almost all of the 92 natural elements can be found, chemistry offers Australia sustainable economic prosperity.
conSCIENCE: Myths about Carbon Storage in Soil
Goals of sequestering carbon in agricultural soil ignore the law of diminishing returns.
conSCIENCE: From Prickly Pears to Quantum Computing: Enjoying the Fruits of Australian Science
The government’s blueprint for scientific research will create a more innovative and entrepreneurial Australia.
conSCIENCE: Future Research Stars Are Born in Every Town
Labor believes that “Australia cannot be an innovation nation unless we are an education nation – and a science and research nation”.
conSCIENCE: Greens Plan Giant Boost to Science and Research
The Australian Greens want to put Australia on a path to spending 4% of GDP on science and research by 2030.
The Bitter Pill: Dodgy Tests and Dodgy Diagnoses
Lax regulation of complementary treatments is allowing alternative laboratories to peddle expensive and useless diagnostic tests.
Directions: Food Safety Rests on Four Interlocking Issues
Systems, technology, culture and trust are essential elements of safety in our food supply.
Eco Logic: Restoring Marine Coastal Ecosystems: What’s the Cost?
A review of the costs and feasibility of marine restoration projects reveals that they are often very expensive and risky.
Expert Opinion: Federal Budget 2016
The Federal Budget announced an additional $100 million for geographical modelling of mineral, petroleum and groundwater resources, and $200 million over 10 years for Antarctic research. However, there were no direct budget measures relating to CSIRO.
Expert Opinion: Very Hot Drinks Are a Likely Cancer Risk
The World Health Organization has found that drinking very hot drinks is a likely cancer risk but there is no evidence of a link between coffee and cancer.
Expert Opinion: Who to kill? The dilemma of driverless cars
Driverless cars hold the promise of safer transport. But how should they react when loss of life appears inevitable? Should a car swerve to miss a pedestrian on the road, even if doing so would kill the passenger?
The Fit: Why Are Sporting Records Always Being Broken?
Better technology, training methods and financial rewards only partly explain why athletes continue to get faster and stronger.
Fossil File: The Heart of a Good Fossil
Palaeontologists have found their Holy Grail: the fossilied heart of a Cretacean fish.
Lowe Tech: Is Nuclear Waste More Valuable than Scientific Research?
The federal Budget treated science as an expense while the Royal Commission identified nuclear waste as a potential money-spinner.
Naked Skeptic: Put the Lyme in the Quackonut
There is little evidence that chiropractors are willing to reform their practices.
Neuropsy: Jesus on Toast
The human disposition to find meaning in random data is hard-wired in the brain.
Out of this World: CSIRO Technology behind World’s Largest Telescope
CSIRO technology is behind the world’s largest single dish radio telescope, and astronomers have found a peanut-shaped galaxy.
Publish or Perish: Imagining the Future: Invisibility, Immortality and 40 Other Incredible Ideas
Quandary: Global Catastrophic Risk
A report calculates that we’re more likely to die in an extinction event than in a car crash.
Up Close: Decision neuroscience: Emerging insights into the way we choose
Decision science researcher Prof Peter Bossaerts argues that investigating brain activity as we make decisions is generating new insights into how we deal with uncertainty and risk. Once the domain of economists and psychologists, the study of human decision-making is increasingly taking a neuron-level view, with implications well beyond economics and finance.
Up Close: The necessity of kindness: Altruism in animals and beyond
Evolutionary biologist and historian of science Prof Lee Dugatkin joins Dr Andi Horvath to discuss displays of altruism in insects, animals and humans, and how the often harsh evolutionary imperatives of survival can actually accommodate, promote or depend on acts of kindness and justice.
Up Close: Twin engines of truth? How science and law interact to construct our world
Social science and legal scholar Prof Sheila Jasanoff discusses how science and the law interact or compete with one another in the formulation of public reason -- in the economy, the courts and the political landscape.
Up Front: Jobs, Growth and... Science
Early next month Australians will head to the election polls, and for once scientific issues have bubbled to the surface.