Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue June 2011

Cane toad
Cover Story: It’s Evolution – But Not As We Know It
The accelerating pace of the cane toad’s advance through tropical Australia has revealed a new mechanism of evolution.
The clawless gecko  actually consists of ten or more species.
Feature: Cryptic Clues to Species Diversity
Genetic research is revealing how much we have seriously underestimated species diversity in many Australian vertebrate groups.
Drug lab
Feature: Drug Labs Leave Lethal Legacy
Mobile methamphetamine labs leave behind a deadly cocktail of contaminants in residential neighbourhoods – with property owners left to pay for the considerable clean-up costs.
Feature: Balancing Act
What can an earthquake simulator tell us about how our visual and vestibular systems communicate with each other to help us balance?
Feature: The Scientific Legacy of Burke & Wills
This month marks the 150th anniversary of the deaths of Burke and Wills. The expedition was originally considered a failure, but more recent analysis has changed that view.
Aluminium cans
Feature: Aluminium Production: A More Sustainable Future
Bacteria that consume sodium oxalate have the potential to reduce the environmental footprint of aluminium production while saving the industry millions.
Feature: Mining with Microbes
High salt concentrations in Western Australian groundwater have restricted the mining industry’s use of microorganisms to extract metals from their ores. Until now.
Australasian Sky: Stargazing in June
What’s in the night sky this month?
Australasian Sky: Lunar Eclipse on 16 June
We’re going to be treated to a total lunar eclipse just before sunrise on Thursday 16 June with the Moon expected to take on an eerie reddish glow.
conSCIENCE: Invest in Science for a Stronger Australia
An economic crisis is looming because Australia is not investing in science for its future.
conSCIENCE: Invest in Science for a Stronger Australia
An economic crisis is looming because Australia is not investing in science for its future.
Cool Careers: Vanadium Research Recharged
US President Barack Obama has described Maria Skyllas-Kazacos’ research as “one of the coolest things I’ve ever said out loud”.
Directions: Time for a New Focus on Food
Civil wars over food in northern Africa at a time when around half of Australians are dying as a result of their diets present the greatest scientific challenge of our time.
Eco Logic: What We Can Do for Long-Term Biodiversity Monitoring
The vexed issue of long-term biodiversity monitoring in Australia has had a long history of discussion but few outcomes. Here are a few obvious things we could do now.
Eureka!: The Top 40 of Whale Songs
A playlist of whale songs takes 2 years to reach French Polynesia.
Expert Opinion: Sedentary Behaviour in Children Linked to Narrower Blood Vessels in the Eye
A study of children in Sydney suggests that retinal blood vessel narrowing increases with sedentary activity. Children who engaged in more physical activities, such as rugby or cricket, had wider retinal arterioles. The magnitude of vessel narrowing for each hour per day of sedentary behaviour was similar to a 10 mm of mercury rise in systolic blood pressure. Experts independent of the study respond to the research and what it means for children’s health.
Lowe Tech: Scientific Evidence Faces Mediation
Uncertainty in science enables misconceptions to perpetuate in courts and the media, but there is now a process for dealing with conflicting advice from scientific experts.
Naked Skeptic: The End Is Nigh! Repent!
One sure prediction about the end of the world is that there will be failed predictions about the end of the world.
Naked Skeptic: Skeptic Sued By SensaSlim
TGA's Complaints Resolution Panel forced to put investigation on hold.
Out of this World: Diamonds in the Sky
David Reneke brings news from the space and astronomy communities around the world.
Quandary: I Swear by Apollo, the Healer
Doctors’ attitudes to the Hippocratic Oath reveal that codes of conduct are not enough to produce ethical doctors – and scientists.
Simon Says: The Future is a Big Hole – For Now
Being a quarry for the world is not enough but it buys us time to develop a high-tech economy.
Chemical Solutions: Earthworms Indicate Soil Toxicity
Earthworms ingest soil contaminants and absorb them through the skin, making them an ideal indicator of soil toxicity.
Online Feature: The Future of Astronomy
Bryan Gaensler predicts what we will have learnt about the universe in 40 years time.