Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue November 2015

Credit: vitanovski/SSilver
Cover Story: Digital Immortality
Is a Google executive’s vision of a digital afterlife feasible or a fantasy?
Credit: Eraxion/iStock
Feature: Probiotics for the Planet’s Polluted Plumbing
Imagine a world where billions of tiny creatures were deployed in the environment to degrade industrial pollutants that contaminate the world’s crucial groundwater reserves.
The installation of 3000 clear plastic panels simulates an El Niño drought
Feature: A Raincoat for a Rainforest
How do you study the effects of drought in a rainforest? Try covering one in plastic.
A green oasis of Antarctic mosses in the Windmill Islands. Zbyněk Malenovský
Feature: Will Antarctic Oases Remain Green?
Antarctic mosses are threatened by climatic change and human activity, but researchers can now detect their health by analysing spectral patterns imaged from the ground or remotely by drones.
Credit: Rob Byron/adobe
Feature: Blood Test Stops Cancer Return
The ability to detect cancer DNA in a patient’s blood could enable doctors to predict the risk of cancer recurrence and track the success of treatments like chemotherapy in real time.
In May, 134,000 saiga antelope died in central Kazakhstan. Credit:serg2015/adobe
Feature: Can We Live without Large Herbivores?
The collapse of large herbivore populations around the world has dire ecological and social consequences.
Credit: photopitu/adobe
Feature: Failure as a Route to Success
Lorraine Chantrill describes the obstacles that have impeded a clinical trial of genomically guided treatment of an aggressive form of cancer.
Credit: vchalup/adobe
Feature: Black Death
A new study suggests that some galaxies suddenly stop forming stars because the gas they use for star formation is blown away by the activity of their central supermassive black holes.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky for this month.
conSCIENCE: Medical Research Must Come Clean
Up to one-third of cell lines may be contaminated, threatening the reliability of research.
conSCIENCE: A Game-Changer for Nuclear Safety
Nuclear energy modules are getting smaller and safer, making them viable options for remote communities.
The Bitter Pill: Why People Believe Weird Things 101
A new university course is teaching students why normally sensible people believe weird things, and some of the tricks used by pseudoscientific practitioners.
Directions: Unconventional Gas Needs the Right Support and Controls
Unconventional gas faces two issues: its role as an energy source and social acceptance.
Eco Logic: Casting a Critical Eye over Biodiversity Offsets
Biodiversity offset policies may result in perverse incentives that lock in biodiversity loss.
Expert Opinion: Can You Catch Alzheimer’s from Growth Hormones?
Brain damage found in autopsies of patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease acquired from growth hormone injections is strikingly similar to the damage done by Alzheimer’s disease.
The Fit: Retirement Time
Retirement is fun, but is it because you do what you like or because you like what you do?
Fossil File: Reflection on the Discovery of a New Fossil Human Species
The discovery of a new ancient human is a reminder about how much we’ve modified the planet.
Lowe Tech: The Impact of Technology
The government has abdicated its responsibility to assess the broad economic effects of new technologies.
Naked Skeptic: One, Two, Three! What Are We Counting For?
Number abuse is rife in online forums and even science news websites.
Neuropsy: Slings and Arrowsmiths
A well-promoted intervention for children with learning disorders lacks reliable evidence for its efficacy.
Out of this World: Regional Processes Led to Huge Martian Floods
Regional processes led to huge Martian floods, and interstellar seeds could have created oases of life throughout the universe.
Quandary: Life in the Fridge
Cryonics technologies have captured the imagination of some of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley, but what about the rest of us?
Simon Says: GM Support Going Stale
Australians are increasingly divided in their support for genetically modified crops and foods.
Up Close: Brain in a Dish: the therapeutic potential of stem cells and organoids
Epilepsy researcher Steve Petrou and developmental neuroscientist Miranda Dottori discuss the potential of organoids, miniature immature organs grown in dishes, particularly for future epilepsy and autism research.