Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Complete

Seven Signs of a Quack

By Peter Bowditch

How does an expensive cancer clinic measure up against seven signs of pseudoscience?

Peter Bowditch is a former President of Australian Skeptics Inc. (www.skeptics.com.au).

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Rare Rectangular Galaxy Found

By David Reneke

News from the space and astronomy communities around the world.

David Reneke is an astronomy lecturer and teacher, a feature writer for major Australian newspapers and magazines, and a science correspondent for ABC and commercial radio. Subscribe to David’s free Astro-Space newsletter at www.davidreneke.com

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Energy Future Needs a Portfolio Approach

By Martin Thomas

Nuclear options must be part of the low-carbon discussion.

Mr Martin Thomas AM FTSE HonFIEAust chairs the ATSE Energy Forum and is chair of Energy Technologies Limited and Dulhunty Poles Limited. He was a former Principal of Sinclair Knight Merz and a member of the 2006 Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The Lost Riches of the Himalaya

Aerial view of several Himalayan glaciers.

Aerial view of several Himalayan glaciers.

By Lloyd White

Most of the world’s gold and copper deposits are formed at tectonic plate boundaries. It’s a pity, then, that geologists find it difficult to locate the ancient plate boundaries in the Himalayan mountains.

Lloyd White is now a postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian National University’s Research School of Earth Sciences.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Shade & Light

Some reef fish require large table corals to conceal them.

James Cook University researchers James Kerry and Professor David Bellwood constructed artificial habitat to test the attraction of concealment for large reef fish.

By James Kerry

Climate change is reducing the complexity of coral reefs, with implications for the reef fish that require large table corals to conceal them from predators, prey, and even ultraviolet light.

James Kerry is a PhD student in marine biology at James Cook University. The research was funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence and is published in the scientific journal Coral Reefs.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Can We Program Safe AI?

Credit: iStockphoto

Credit: iStockphoto

By Steve Omohundro

Tomorrow’s software will compute with meaning and be much more autonomous. But a thought experiment with a chess robot shows that we will also need to carefully include human values.

Steve Omohundro is President of Self-Aware Systems.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The Future of GPS

Credit: iStockphoto

Credit: iStockphoto

By Drew Turney

With jammers now available for only $20, civilian and military use of GPS is no longer secure. Has the GPS had its day, or will a competing system soon take over?

Drew Turney is a freelance writer.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Frozen in Time: What Caused the Extinction of the Ice Age Megafauna?

© Yukon Government, Art by George "Rinaldino" Teichmann

The megafauna of Siberia and Alaska included muskoxen, bison, wild horses and woolly mammoths. © Yukon Government, Art by George "Rinaldino" Teichmann

By Simon Ho

A new study of ancient DNA preserved in permafrost has revealed that Ice Age megafauna varied considerably in their ability to survive climate change and the spread of humans.

Simon Ho is a Senior Lecturer and an Australian Research Council Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The Transit of Venus, 2012

Credit: Geoffrey Wyatt, Sydney Observatory/Powerhouse Museum

Geoffrey Wyatt’s prize-winning image of the 2004 transit was taken with a special filter that only allows through the red light of hydrogen atoms. Credit: Geoffrey Wyatt, Sydney Observatory/Powerhouse Museum

By Nick Lomb

Transits of Venus allowed astronomers to calculate the scale of the solar system, and led to the discovery of Australia. On 6 June this year Australians and New Zealanders will have a ring-side view of one of the most famous events in astronomy – and the last one for another 105 years.

Dr Nick Lomb spent 30 years as an astronomer at Sydney Observatory, which is part of the Powerhouse Museum, and is still closely associated with it. His book Transit Of Venus: 1631 to the Present is published by NewSouth and Powerhouse Publishing, and provides the full story of the transits of Venus (see http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/transit-of-venus-the-book/). Sydney Observatory will run programs associated with the transit of Venus on 6 June 2012, including safe solar viewing if sky conditions permit. For details, see http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/transit-of-venus-at-the-obs/

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Out of Asia

Credit: Jamie Tufrey

Credit: Jamie Tufrey

By Sue O’Connor

The discovery of ancient fish hooks and the bones of offshore fish species reveals that the people living to the north of Australia more than 50,000 years ago had the maritime skills and equipment necessary to reach Australia.

Sue O’Connor is Professor of Archaeology and Natural History at The Australian National University.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.