Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue May 2015

Cover Story: Post Mortem: What Happens to Drugs after Death?
Drug levels can rise, fall or even disappear entirely after death, potentially leading to incorrect conclusions about murder, suicide and drug overdoses.
Feature: Positive Minds Wire Our Brains for Tough Times
Positive feelings are linked to brain development in teenagers, giving neuroscientists insights into why people differ in their resilience to stress and other mental health conditions later in life.
Feature: Australia’s Role in the 2011 Global Carbon Sink Anomaly
How did Australia’s vegetation cause a sudden and massive increase in uptake of atmospheric CO2 in 2011, and why did sea levels fall in the same year?
Thai liver worm in the bile ducts within the liver
Feature: Worm Spit May Lick Liver Cancer
A liver worm is responsible for 26,000 cancer deaths every year, but a component in its spit could form the basis of a vaccine – and could even help to heal chronic wounds in diabetics.
The sap exuding from Pycnandra acuminata in New Caledonia
Feature: Heavy Metal Farming
Special plants called hyperaccumulators can extract valuable metals from mineralised soils, yielding metallic crops that are more valuable than food grown in soils that are unsuitable for normal agriculture.
hip x-ray
Feature: Listen to the Hips When They Can No Longer Hop
Hip replacement implants wear out and need to be replaced, but determining when this is necessary is a significant challenge for orthopaedic surgeons. Now an ultrasound device has been developed that can detect the vibrations made by microscopic abrasions within implants.
Feature: The 21st Century Imitation Game
New sequencing technologies are enabling scientists to crack the genetic code of rare mitochondrial diseases and disorders of sex development.
Feature: Hypersonic Art
An artist with a passion for bringing the abstract and strange to life, Peter Hennessey has immersed himself in the world of hypersonics, and given researchers a fresh perspective about their work.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky for this month.
conSCIENCE: Closing the High Seas Opens Fishing Opportunities
Closing international waters to fishing would have little or no effect on global catches but make fishing potentially fairer, safer, better-managed and less polluting.
The Bitter Pill: Stepping out of the Dental Dark Ages
Water fluoridation has been one of the country’s most effective public health measures, but parts of Australia don’t have that benefit and may even strongly resist it. Why?
Directions: Water Reform Needs to Be Back on the National Agenda
Our national water research effort is fragmented, non-strategic and lacks leadership.
Eco Logic: Sustainable Fish and Chips
One of the simplest things anyone can do to promote marine conservation is to stop eating unsustainable seafood.
Eureka!: It’s Not How Big It Is, Is It?
A review has determined the average penis length in men, while those with erectile dysfunction may benefit from a treatment using a by-product of liposuction. Meanwhile, there is a link between corruption and antibiotic resistance.
Expert Opinion: WHO Releases Sugar Guidelines
The World Health Organization has recommended that adults and children reduce their daily intake of sugars, excluding sugar in fruits, vegetables and milk, to less than 10% of their total energy intake. Halving this to six teaspoons per day would provide additional health benefits.
Expert Opinion: 2015 Federal Budget: Announcements and Expert Responses
Experts comment on how the 2015 federal Budget will impact research, health and science.
The Fit: The Back Roads to Obesity
Obesity isn’t just a matter of eating too much of the wrong foods. Several other factors in modern life have been playing a role.
Fossil File: The Birth of Filter-Feeding Giants
Lowe Tech: Nuclear Naïvity
Political posturing over the nuclear industry and higher education reveal scant regard for science.
Naked Skeptic: If It’s Too Good to Be True...
Despite the NHMRC’s findings on homeopathy and the death of a “wellness warrior”, there is little critical evaluation of health claims by the mainstream media.
Neuropsy: Memory Surgery
Recent discoveries about memory modification open the way to erasing traumatic memories.
Out of this World: Galactic Dinosaurs Aren’t Extinct
Astronomers have found that compact massive galaxies that roamed the early universe have been hiding in plain sight.
Quandary: A Fresh Look at the Pill
If anabolic steroids are considered dangerous, why has so little research been done on the long-term safety of another steroid – the contraceptive pill?
Simon Says: Engineer in Charge
Redefining pepper and implanting STEM cells are on the agenda of the new Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Science.
Up Close: Fume with a view: Consumer products and your indoor air quality
Civil and environmental engineer Prof Anne Steinemann outlines the causes and consequences of poor indoor air quality, and in particular the potentially hazardous fumes generated by home cleaning and personal care products.