Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue December 2010

Cover Story: How Does a Black Hole Eat Its Breakfast?
The bending of space–time by mass allows astronomers to peer deep into the universe, and they have begun to use this to probe one of the most enigmatic phenomena in the universe: the explosions of light surrounding black holes known as quasars.
Global warming is, unsurprisingly, making heat waves hotter.
Feature: Heat Stress in a Warming World
Heat stress could be the most dangerous consequence of global warming this century.
Feature: Spitting Image
Archerfish are known for their remarkable hunting technique of spitting water at insects above the water, and their eyes are specially adapted for seeing both above and below the water’s surface.
The native herb Lomandra stands in front of the invasive weed African lovegrass
Feature: New Tactics in the War on Weeds
Sometimes fertilisers can be more effective than herbicides when it comes to controlling weeds.
Tim Inglis searching for B. pseudomallei in the Kimberley.
Feature: Dangerous Ground
A deadly bacterium lies dormant in tropical soils until it is disturbed by natural disasters, mining operations or even gardening.
Environmental footprint
Feature: Turning Water into Fuel
A simple inorganic semiconductor could deliver an artificial photosynthesis process that will convert sunlight and water directly into hydrogen and oxygen, thus providing the renewable fuel of the future.
Feature: Thank God for the New Atheists
Religious people of all backgrounds and orientations need to heed what atheists such as Richard Dawkins are saying if they want their traditions to remain relevant to modern society.
conSCIENCE: The National Science Curriculum: Not Yet!
The draft science curriculum scores a “fail, more work needed” from the Deans of Science.
Cool Careers: Rust Never Sleeps
The battle against crop diseases is gaining increased attention, and Robert Park plays a leading role in keeping the world fed.
Eco Logic: Australia’s Acoustic Environmental Accounts
A network of acoustic monitoring boxes spread across Australia’s bioregions could provide a cheap continent-wide biodiversity surveillance system providing feedback on how biodiversity is changing over time.
Lowe Tech: An Irrigation Channel Too Far
How much will reduced water allocations in the Murray–Darling Basin really hurt regional communities?
Naked Skeptic: The Truth About Skeptics
A skeptic is not a cynic, an atheist or a poor speller. So what, then, is a skeptic?
Out of this World: How Much Do Stars Weigh?
Dave Reneke brings news from the space and astronomy communities around the world.
Quandary: Nobel Committee Brushes Ethics Aside
What did the Swedes have in mind when they awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine to the inventor of the test-tube baby?
Simon Says: A Plan So Cunning... Or Courageous
The government’s backflip on a carbon price was politically opportunistic, but public support could suffer if global emissions keep rising.