Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue October 2013

Cover Story: Cosmic Hotspots for Life
New evidence reveals that large meteorite impacts took long enough to cool for microbial life to emerge and thrive in the wet and warm conditions of the impact crater.
An adult female green turtle returning to the sea after nesting. T. Franc
Feature: Mother Knows Best
Why do turtles lay eggs when their close relatives evolved live birth? A study of their reproductive physiology reveals how egg-laying improves the survival prospects of hatchlings.
Photo: Guy Nolch
Feature: Why the Long Face?
The jaw strength of crocodiles can be predicted by simple linear measurements that could provide new insights into the diets of extinct marine reptiles.
A large female golden orb-web spider
Feature: Along Came a Spider
The comparative size and weight of two animals determines the outcome of 80% of fights. Now a small spider has revealed the physiological factors that help explain the other 20% of contests.
eye spy
Feature: Are You Looking at Me?
Is that person wearing the sunglasses looking at you? Or are we programmed to anticipate that we are being watched even when we’re not?
pancreatic stem cells
Feature: Adult Stem Cells Offer New Hope for Diabetics
The transplantation of insulin-producing cells has been limited by a shortage of donor tissue. Could pancreatic stem cells offer a way forward for the treatment of diabetes?
Australasian Sky: October 2013 star chart
Your guide to the night sky this month.
conSCIENCE: Calculating Carbon
Research supports a new approach to counting net CO2 emissions.
The Bitter Pill: The Natural Logic of Health Care
It’s time to debunk the “natural is healthy and good and non-natural is unhealthy and bad” myth.
Cool Careers: Stars Above, Energy Below
Outside her research on the birth of the first stars, Rachel Webster is working on the use of geothermal energy in Victoria’s coal fields and running programs to support women in science.
Directions: Nuclear Energy Has a Future in Australia
Australia has compelling reasons to debate the use of nuclear energy as a power source.
Eco Logic: A New List to Frame Biodiversity Conservation
A new IUCN Red List promises to enlarge the debate on declining biodiversity to include ecosystems.
Eureka!: Cockroaches Quit Sugar
Cockroaches have learnt to avoid sugar, rendering many baits ineffective.
Expert Opinion: Experts respond to the IPCC's 5th report on climate change
Experts from Australia, New Zealand and the UK respond to the IPCC's report “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis”.
The Fit: Wanderlust
We are walking less than ever, but urbanisation isn’t always to blame.
Lowe Tech: Common Concerns in Mother England
Population, nuclear energy and marine conservation are issues in common for Australia and the UK.
Naked Skeptic: Fides et Ratio – Faith and Reason
Are reports of a negative correlation between intelligence and religious belief a tabloid beat-up?
Neuropsy: The Streep Effect
Is Foreign Accent Syndrome the result of brain trauma or stress, or not even a foreign accent?
Out of this World: The First 100,000 Years of the Universe
Astronomers view the first 100,000 years of the universe, and NASA outlines the scientific goals for a future landed spacecraft mission to Europa.
Quandary: The Dark Background to Immortal Cells
The origins of human cell lines used in some of the world’s greatest medical discoveries have been called into question.
Simon Says: Resetting Research Priorities
Our latest strategic research agenda reveals marginal changes and a faster pace of renewal.
Up Close: Brain traces: Neurobiology's emerging insights into schizophrenia and its treatment
Molecular biologist Prof Brian Dean talks about how both post-mortem and live imaging investigations of brain biology are helping to identify new treatment targets for the multifaceted condition of schizophrenia.
Up Close: Counting the coast: Modeling the oceans of a warming planet
Climate modeler Dr Kathy McInnes describes what mathematical modeling can tell us about the effects of rising sea levels and extreme weather events on our coastlines.
Up Close: You've got male: The wide-ranging effects of testosterone
Endocrinologist and hormone researcher Prof Jeffrey Zajac talks about the broad and transformative effects of testosterone on the male body.
Up Close: Making nice: Julian Savulescu and the case for moral bioenhancement
Philosopher and bioethicist Julian Savulescu joins host Peter Mares for a conversation on the potential for moral bioenhancement through direct brain stimulation, pharmacology or genetics, and the ethical implications of such interventions.
Peter Pockley
reminiSCIENCE: A Pioneer of Science Journalism
Guy Nolch pays tribute to long-time columnist Peter Pockley, who was Australia's longest-serving science journalist.
Notice Board: Webcast: Pitch Drop Experiment Nears Ninth Drop
The University of Queensland is offering people around the world the chance to add their name to the world's longest running laboratory experiment, the Pitch Drop.
Odd Spot: Collision-causing millipedes will eventually abate
A recent low-speed train collision in Perth attributed to Portuguese millipedes (Ommatoiulis moreleti) on the tracks is a symptom of growing millipede numbers in Western Australia.
Online Feature: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: more certainty, not much news
What new does the IPCC's fifth report have to say about our climate problem?
Online Feature: Pasta shape provides better LED
'Rotelle' molecules depolarise light and are more efficient than 'spaghetti'
Online Feature: IPCC report sets a conservative carbon budget
The evidence for the continued warming of the planet is overwhelming, according to the IPCC's latest report.
Online Feature: Extraordinary 'missing link' fossil fish found in China
Discovery gives us powerful new insights about the building of the human body plan, which began seriously with these ancient fossil fishes.
Online Feature: Care and consent: the fraught ethics of international clinical trials Online Feature: Making Martian clouds on Earth
Cloud-chamber experiments show that clouds on Mars form in much more humid conditions than clouds on Earth
Online Feature: Scientists link DNA to marital satisfaction
Study links genetics, emotions and marital satisfaction.
Online Feature: Diamond 'super-Earth' may not be quite as precious
An alien world thought to be the first known planet to consist largely of diamond appears less likely to be of such precious nature.
Online Feature: Bread, beer and botox: the science behind the 2013 Nobel Prize for medicine
The 2013 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded "discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic". What does this mean and why is it important?
Online Feature: Could the Higgs Nobel be the end of particle physics?
While the discovery of the Higgs boson has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics, it hasn’t brought us any closer to answering some of the most troubling problems in fundamental science.
Online Feature: Nobel prizewinners took chemistry from pipettes to programming
The 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded for research that has revolutionised our understanding of how enzymes control the chemistry in our bodies.
Online Feature: Sticks and stones: Brain releases natural painkillers during social rejection
Finding that the opioid system can act to ease social pain, not just physical pain, may aid understanding of depression and social anxiety
Online Feature: Of heads and headlines: can a skull doom 14 human species?
A newly discovered 1.8 million-year-old skull from Eastern Europe has been pitched as disproving a decades-old paradigm in human evolution.