Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue May/June 2019

 Credit: Frog 974/Adobe
Cover Story: Could Sugarcane Prevent Diabetes?
When sugar is refined we are discarding antioxidants that not only temper metabolic diseases but can also restore insulin production.
Feature: Where Does the Periodic Table End?
The United Nations has declared 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements to highlight its first publication 150 years ago. Since then, new elements have been added to the table. Is there a final element, or are ever-increasing atomic numbers possible?
Doreen Salcher/Adobe
Feature: Your Face Is Your Fortune
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there is an additional treasure-trove of information still to be mined from new ways of looking at people's varying faces.
Feature: Wind Farms: Their True Impact on Birds and Bats
Monitoring wind farms for impacts on birds and bats is an expense that could be better directed at conservation programs for threatened species.
The beach daisy growing on the east coast of Australia.
Feature: Daisy Chains Unshackle Evolution’s Speed Limit
The rapid evolution of an introduced beach daisy reveals how much we underestimate the ability of plants to adapt to climate change.
Common wombats mark their home range with their faeces.
Feature: Why Do Wombats Poo Cubes?
Wombat faeces stand apart from others you might encounter in the bush. How do they create cubic faeces, and why?
Feature: LED Lights May Harm Your Health
Studies are finding several health consequences from LED light exposure. With their installation continuing apace in homes and cityscapes, critics are calling for clinical trials along with greater diligence from the lighting industry.
Feature: Swimming in a River of Drugs
A study finds that more than 65 pharmaceuticals accumulate in aquatic invertebrates and riparian spiders, and can then spread through the food chain to birds and other terrestrial animals.
Feature: Cancer’s Thieving Ways
Shutting down the mechanisms that enable developing tumours to steal mitochondria from the cells around them opens the way to a broad-spectrum treatment for a vast array of cancers.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your maps of the night sky for May and June.
conSCIENCE: Science at the Ballot Box
When you find yourself at the ballot box on 18 May, ask yourself about each party’s science and technology credentials. Here’s a guide.
The Bitter Pill: Reflections on the Unexpected Depth of a Problem
Professor John Dwyer reflects on changes to Australia’s health climate and the continuing influence of complementary and alternative health practices.
Directions: The Rise of the Drones
Drones were a military initiative but their widespread civilian adoption is outpacing efforts to regulate their use.
Eco Logic: Saving Nature with Revolving Real Estate
Revolving funds buy land with high nature value, protect these values through conservation agreements and then resell them. The funds from sales then purchase more land.
Expert Opinion: Call for a Moratorium on Human Genome Editing
Scientists and ethicists from seven countries have called for a global moratorium on all clinical uses of human germline editing. The suggested moratorium would not hamper research or editing of non-germline cells, but would set a period that no clinical use of editing sperm, eggs or embryos would be allowed.
Lowe Tech: Global Climate Report Underscores Australian Inaction
The upcoming Federal election has produced a spectrum of responses to curb climate change.
Naked Skeptic: I’m a Celebrity: What Do You Want to Hear?
Most celebrity endorsements are benign, but dangerous consequences can follow when celebrities promote their own ill-informed ideologies.
Neuropsy: To Sleep, Perchance to Learn
New research finds that we can learn while we’re asleep under certain conditions.
Out of this World: Square Kilometre Array Nearing Completion
Phase 1 of the Square Kilometre Array is nearing completion, and citizen scientists can help with one of the biggest astronomy projects of the next 10 years.
Quandary: The Wild West of Biotech Innovation
The failure of a US$9 billion health technology start-up provides a stark example of how venture capitalists can let market potential overrule evidence of efficacy.
Up Front: Germline Editing Faces a Speed Bump
Will a moratorium on germline editing simply be sidestepped?