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By Stephen Luntz

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Global Outlook for Nuclear Energy

By Michael Angwin

Despite the Fukushima disaster, Australian uranium miners are confident that the growing demand for electricity in a carbon-constrained world will drive an increase in nuclear power generation.

Michael Angwin is CEO of the Australian Uranium Association.

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Our Last-Gasp Share of Giant Telescope

Artist's impression of SKA static, low frequency aperture arrays

Artist's impression of SKA static, low frequency aperture arrays to be built in Phase 1 at the Murchison site in WA. Credit: SKA Organisation/TDP/DRAO/Swinburne Astronomy Productions

By Peter Pockley

What was the back story behind the decision to split the Square Kilometre Array between southern Africa and Australia?

Peter Pockley has been reporting the SKA saga for Australasian Science since the project was first conceived. © Peter Pockley (scicomm@bigpond.net.au)

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Where to look for life on the red planet

Mars

The potential biosphere of Mars can extend from the surface in some locations to a typical depth of 37 km, with many subsurface environments potentially hospitable for life.

By Eriita Jones & Charles Lineweaver

By determining the minimum criteria for life, researchers have narrowed down the locations where life may lurk on Mars.

Eriita Jones is a PhD candidate with Charles Lineweaver at the Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics. They originally published the research descreibed here in the journal Astrobiology (10, 349–61; 11, 1017–33).

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SCIENCE INKorporated

Fry's tattoos include CT scanned images of Komodo dragon skulls, a stylised snak

Fry's tattoos include CT scanned images of Komodo dragon skulls, a stylised snake and an adrenalin molecule.

By Matt Finch

His body may be adorned by tattoos of snakes, Komodo dragons and an adrenaline molecule, but Bryan Fry is only one of many scientists whose research interests are glorified in ink.

Matt Finch is a freelance writer and education consultant.

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The Evidence for Meditation

istockphoto

istockphoto

By Jonathan R. Krygier, Sara Shahrestani & Andrew H. Kemp

Meditation has traditionally been associated with Eastern mysticism, but science is beginning to show that cultivating a “heightened” state of consciousness can have a major impact on our brain, the way our bodies function and our levels of resilience.

Jonathan Krygier is a PhD candidate, Sara Shahrestani is a third year psychology student, and Andrew Kemp is a NHMRC Career Development Award Fellow at the University of Sydney's School of Psychology.

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A Burning Question

iStockphoto

iStockphoto

By Karl-Heinz Wyrwoll, Michael Notaro & Guangshan Chen

For thousands of years, indigenous Australians modified the landscape of the continent through regular and widespread burning of vegetation. Their use of fire was in part for hunting purposes and also for clearing pathways, for signalling other tribal groups and for promoting grass regrowth. Results from a recent climate modelling experiment suggest that these traditional burning practices may have been of sufficient magnitude to change the climate of northern Australia.

Karl-Heinz Wyrwoll is Associate Professor at The University of Western Australia’s School of Earth and Environment. Michael Notaro and Guangshan Chen are based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Climatic Research. The study was funded by Kimberley Foundation Australia and Climate Program Prediction for the Americas, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (USA).

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Spoilt by Choice

iStockphoto

iStockphoto

By David Raubenheimer & Stephen J. Simpson

Our supermarkets provide a wide variety of foods, so why do more than a billion people worldwide eat more poorly than hunter-gatherers? A study conducted in a Swiss chalet was the starting point to test a theory.

David Raubenheimer is Professor of Nutritional Ecology and Director of the Bachelor of Natural Sciences degree at Massey University. Professor Stephen Simpson is ARC Laureate Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences, and Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, the University of Sydney.

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The Earth’s First Super-Predators

Anomalocaris

Spanning 1 metre in length, the Cambrian super-predator Anomalocaris patrolled the world’s oceans more than half a billion years ago. Credit: Katrina Kenny

By Allison Daley & John Paterson

The discovery of the world’s oldest apex predators in the oceans more than half a billion years ago is a puzzling story that began well over a century ago. We now have a much clearer picture of these spectacular animals, but the debate about their feeding habits continues.

Allison Daley is a postdoctoral researcher at the Natural History Museum in London. John Paterson is a Senior Lecturer at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW.

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Cracks in the Edifice of Science

By Michael Cook

A tenfold increase in the number of retractions over the past 10 years raises questions about the infallibility of peer review of scientific research.

Michael Cook is editor of the bioethics website BioEdge.

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