Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue June 2010

Cover Story: Meeting the Missing Link
Paul Dirks gives a first-hand account of the expedition that found a new species of hominid linking humans and apes.
Image of Stephen Hawking
Feature: Entropy Theories in State of Disorder
Australian researchers have found that there is more disorder in the universe than previously realised – and that one of Stephen Hawking’s assumptions is probably wrong.
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Feature: The First Breath
A new fossil find shows that a global decline in oxygen millions of years ago drove the evolution of air-breathing in lungfishes.
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Feature: How Australia Dried Out
Lake Bungunnia, a megalake that existed 1–2 million years ago in today’s Murray–Darling Basin, reveals the story and timing of the onset of arid climatic conditions in south-eastern Australia.
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Feature: Reef Emissions Affect Climate
Coral reefs produce a natural aerosol that creates clouds over the ocean and keeps sea surface temperatures stable – with implications for both reefs and rainforests.
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Feature: Freaks of the Sea
Once the stuff of maritime legend, rogue waves up to 30 metres high have been detected by satellites, posing a significant threat to shipping and oil rigs. Now computational scientists are smashing virtual rogue waves into virtual oil and gas platforms to help design stronger, safer structures.
Feature: Fresh Water Using Geothermal Heat
Geothermal heat can provide cheap fresh water to homesteads and small townships in the outback by removing salt from brackish aquifers.
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Feature: In Space No One Can Hear You Sneeze
The altered gravity conditions of space can have serious detrimental effects on the health of astronauts. Understanding the cellular basis of this phenomenon could lead to better medical treatments on Earth.
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conSCIENCE: Homeopathy Costs Us All
There is no evidence for homeopathy yet medical insurance companies – subsidised by the government – are extending their cover due to client demand, and health authorities lack the power to act on misleading claims.
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Cool Careers: Slime Moulds Get Smart
How can slime moulds make complex decisions when they don’t have a brain?
Eco Logic: Rules of Engagement
Approaches to conservation may differ around the world but the challenges are similar.
Lowe Tech: The New Nuclear
Will new technology make nuclear energy viable?
Naked Skeptic: Misremembering the Past
It is quite simple to build false memories, even ones as serious as sexual abuse.
Out of this World: Out of This World
Dave Reneke brings news from the space and astronomy communities around the world.
DNA at crime scene
Quandary: If You’re Not a Criminal, You’ve Got Nothing to Worry About
When the DNA profiles of innocent people are kept by law enforcement agencies it places them at risk of a lifetime of genetic surveillance.
Simon Says: It Is Rocket Science
Obama boosts space exploration beyond the Moon to Mars.
reminiSCIENCE: A Very Public Scientist
Ian Lowe is proof of the value of scientists who apply their scientific training and experience to issues at the interfaces of science, technology, society and policy.