Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue April 2011

Most Australian adults believe in divine creation over Darwinian evolution.
Cover Story: A Nation of Creationists
A survey of beliefs in the origin of life and the universe has found that the majority of Australians believe in creationism and theistic evolution.
Ingestion of a meal rich in carbohydrate is associated with improved mood.
Feature: Comfort Foods and Exercise Reverse Anxiety from Early Life Stress
Stressful experiences during childhood can affect brain development, leading to increased anxiety and depression-like behaviours in adults, but this process can be reversed with diet and exercise.
Feature: New Insights into the Autistic Brain
Studies of the brain have identified a physiological basis for autism’s impact on human perception, but new technology is making it possible to develop a biologically based diagnostic tool.
The enormous Goldstrike pit in Nevada
Feature: Earthquakes with the Midas Touch
Earthquakes are catastrophic events, but the stress changes they generate deep in the Earth mean they have not so much a silver lining, but a golden one.
Perforin punching pores through a cell membrane
Feature: Molecular Assassins
A molecular assassin that bacteria use to punch their way into our cells is also used by our immune system to return fire, opening up avenues for treating autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Many babies born prematurely suffer from different kinds of inflammation.
Feature: Getting to the Heart of Inflammation
Pre-term babies with bronchopulmonary disease are providing insights into inflammatory responses behind diseases as diverse as migraine, arthritis and diabetes.
Mt Etna
Feature: How Tectonic Plates Take the Plunge
New evidence shows that the speed of the Earth’s tectonic plates and their boundaries, as well as the formation and destruction of mountain ranges, is controlled by the size of plate boundaries.
Feature: Cleaning Up the Toxins After the Fire
Toxic chemicals in firefighting foam accumulate in animal and human tissue, causing cancer and neonatal mortality. New technology is now keeping it from accumulating in the environment.
School science experiment
conSCIENCE: How Effective Is Science Outreach?
Will the International Year of Chemistry successfully promote science to the community?
Lord of Lightning
Cool Careers: The Lords of Lightning
The Big Day Out music festival this year hosted two performers using Tesla coils to hurl lightning bolts at each other.
Directions: Don’t Rush the Science Curriculum
The rush to implement the new Australian Curriculum is jeopardising the future of science, engineering and maths education.
Eureka!: Put Away Your Smelly Socks
Magdeline Lum reports on quirky experiments and research findings.
Expert Opinion: Learning to Count Begins in Infancy
A team led by a researcher from the University of Queensland assessed how 18 month-old babies responded to videos of counting, and claim they demonstrate that humans begin to learn to count earlier than previously thought.
Lowe Tech: Amber Light Given for Food Labels
A review of food labelling is introducing a traffic-light warning system but left it voluntary for purveyors of junk food.
Naked Skeptic: Treating the Symptoms
Practitioners of alternative medicine claim that conventional medicine treats only the symptoms and not the underlying cause – which ironically is what homeopathy’s founder first advocated.
Out of this World: Sex in Space – A Taboo?
Dave Reneke brings news from the space and astronomy communities around the world.
Quandary: Rehabilitating Eugenics
Kits that charge thousands of dollars to genetically test consumers for genes with supposed links to social characteristics are heralding a new era of eugenics.
Simon Says: Natural Disasters or Natural Events?
Were the weather events of the past summer truly “extreme”?
Chemical Solutions: Toxic Legacy of Volcanic Ash
Toxic trace elements deposited by volcanic ash can persist in the environment for decades, with implications for water purity.