Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue June 2015

Credit: iStockphoto/yulkapopkova
Cover Story: Tattoo Inks: Poison Pigments?
Allergy and infection are two causes for caution when contemplating a tattoo. But are tattoo pigments toxic, and do they increase the risk of cancer?
A pig painting and hand stencil from Leang Timpuseng.
Feature: Pigs, Popcorn and the Origins of Prehistoric Art
The discovery of 40,000-year-old cave paintings in Indonesia has changed our understanding of the origins of art and modern culture worldwide.
Stephen Munro examines casts of Homo erectus.
Feature: Shellfish Engravings Mark the Rise of Man
Digital images of ancient shellfish have revealed markings that, according to conventional wisdom, simply shouldn’t have been there.
Feature: Cyberwarfare: How the Digital Revolution Can Change the Rules of Engagement
When does a cyberattack become an act of war, and how can governments protect its citizens from cyberattacks on civil infrastructure that is also a strategic military target?
The evolutionary tree of modern birds estimated from genomic data.
Feature: The Big Bang of Bird Evolution
Genome studies have revealed whether the extinction of dinosaurs coincided with the rapid diversification of birds.
Illustration: Elia Pirtle
Feature: The Physics of Hamstring Injuries
A spring-mass “hamspring” system explains why one particular muscle in the hamstring group is so prone to injury in sprinting sports.
Feature: The Gender Divide in Science Education
While girls now match boys in their interest and ability in science, there remains a stark disparity in the subjects they select and the careers they pursue.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky for this month.
conSCIENCE: Stem Cell Loophole Must Be Closed
Unproven stem cell treatments are being offered in Australia without regulatory oversight.
The Bitter Pill: “Alternative” Is Not a Compliment
There is no such thing as “CAM”, only medicine, complementary therapy and scam.
Directions: Science Gets a Lifeline with the National Science Strategy
A national science strategy can kick-start research–industry linkages.
Eco Logic: To Thin or Not to Thin
Stands of dense woody regrowth are increasing in extent across Australia and around the world. The effect of dense stands and thinning on tree growth is well understood but the impacts on the understorey are not.
Eureka!: Why We Can’t Resist Puppy Dog Eyes
Looking into the eyes of dogs activates the hormonal response that bonds adults to babies.
Expert Opinion: Can You Outrun an Unhealthy Diet?
An editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has blamed excess sugar and carbohydrates, and not a lack of exercise, behind the surge in obesity.
The Fit: Superphysiques
Why did André become a giant, and the people of Manus Island the most muscular?
Fossil File: Lessons from the Chinese Palaeontology Boom
Lack of funding and technical support ensures that many significant Australian fossil specimens will continue to gather dust.
Lowe Tech: Electric Cars Are About to Turn the Corner
Will decreasing battery costs finally enable the electric car to take off?
Naked Skeptic: Do It Again
Anomalous or unexpected results will always be a part of scientific research.
Neuropsy: Science and Pseudoscience in Mental Health
A new book explores the range and popularity of unproven therapies for psychological disorders.
Out of this World: An Underground Ocean on Jupiter’s Largest Moon
An underground ocean has been discovered on Jupiter’s largest moon.
Publish or Perish: Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?
When celebrity culture and science clash.
Quandary: Born to Be Bad
The idea that bad guys are made by bad genes may have a new springtime.
Simon Says: Tim, Meet Wayne
Frustrated climate change activist Tim Flannery could benefit from the counsel of a rugby league mentor.
Up Close: Cannabis research: The state of the science in an age of weed liberalization
Psychiatrist and clinical researcher Prof David Castle discusses how cannabis represents both a public health risk and a wide-ranging therapeutic opportunity, as the once “evil weed” gains greater legal acceptance for recreational and medical use.