Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue May/June 2017

Cover Story: Will Enhanced Soldiers Fight a Just War?
Technologies may be able to enhance a soldier’s strength, endurance, stress tolerance and cognitive ability, but could they reduce their moral capacity to follow the laws of armed conflict?
Feature: Neural Interfaces: From Disability to Enhancement
Neuroprosthetic arms, mind-controlled exoskeletons and brain–computer interfaces are already enabling the disabled, but what happens when these and other devices become mainstream consumer products that blur the lines between enhanced human and machine?
Feature: The Wild West of Robot Law
Robots remain a law unto themselves, with legal frontiers including issues such as liability, copyright and even the taxing of robots much like the human workers they are replacing.
Feature: Quantum Satellite Micius Challenges Einstein
Quantum cryptography experiments onboard a new Chinese Earth satellite foreshadow secret communications on a global scale with security guaranteed by the laws of physics.
Feature: How We Sense Time
Our sense of time is critical to our everyday experience, from consciousness to movement and learning.
Feature: Speed Bumps Slow Electric Vehicles
How much can electric vehicles reduce Australia’s carbon emissions, and what are the factors limiting the transition from Australia’s fleet of conventional combustion engines?
Feature: Why Personal Data Breaches Are a Growing Problem
While most people whose online data have been compromised report little or no financial consequences, the overall cost runs into trillions of dollars even before the loss of trust in e-commerce is factored in.
Feature: Why Do Whale Sharks Get So Big?
Whale sharks have evolved to become the world’s largest fish as a consequence of feeding on vast amounts of tiny prey in the cold ocean depths.
Feature: The Illegal Wildlife Trade as a Source of New Alien Species
The illegal wildlife trade is increasing the likelihood that foreign reptiles will become established in the wild – with consequences for both biodiversity and human health.
Feature: The Future of Frogs in the Face of Fire
The increasing risk of bushfires due to climate change is escalating the risk of extinction for frogs in Australia’s south-east.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky this month.
conSCIENCE: Post-Truth and the Rejection of Science
In an age of "alternative facts", it may not be feasible to expect people to understand the details of scientific studies, but it is crucial that they respect the importance of evidence-based information underpinning scientific analysis.
The Bitter Pill: Prevention or Pretension?
When the great Dutch scholar Erasmus famously wrote that “prevention is better than cure” around 500 years ago, he didn’t exactly have orthomolecular medicine and high colonics in mind.
Directions: Are Research Priorities Useful?
Research priorities can place a greater emphasis on inputs than the potential outcomes.
Directions: Steady Budget for Science and Technology
Science and Technology wins and losses in the 2017 Federal Budget.
Eco Logic: Can Economics Enhance Ecological Restoration?
Economics has a lot to offer ecological restoration. A greater engagement with economics would enhance the likelihood of success for many restoration efforts.
Expert Opinion: National Science Statement Released
The Australian government has set out a plan to use science to engage and enrich Australian society. Its objectives are to engage all Australians with science, building scientific skills, produce new research and technology, and improve Australians’ lives through research.
Expert Opinion: Federal Budget 2017-18
Experts comment on how the 2017-18 Federal Budget will impact research, health and science.
Expert Opinion: After 'WannaCrypt', should governments stockpile software vulnerabilities?
Should governments adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world?
Fossil File: The Amazing Dinosaur Tracks of Broome
The discovery of a diverse range of dinosaur tracks fills in a huge gap that tells us what kinds of dinosaurs once inhabited Australia during the first quarter of the Cretaceous period.
Lowe Tech: Keeping All the Lights On
A 100% renewable energy system using pumped hydro can store enough power for peak demand at a competitive price to fossil fuels.
Naked Skeptic: Irregular Regulation
A caustic paste can dissolve the authority of regulators more effectively than its purported use against cancer cells.
Neuropsy: Every Day I Hear the Book
Some readers “hear” characters speaking to them, even when the book is finished.
Out of this World: Mysterious Radio Bursts from Outer Space
Fast radio bursts have been detected near Canberra, and now you can join the hunt for a ninth planet in our solar system.
Quandary: Turning Psychopaths into Nice Guys
If moral bioenhancement of psychopaths becomes obligatory, who will benchmark standards?
Up Close: Feeding the 9 billion: Inconvenient truths about global food security
Sustainable agriculture expert Prof Tim Reeves discusses the profound changes required in agricultural practice, public policy and consumer behavior if we are to feed earth’s ever-growing human population that is projected to exceed 9 billion in 2050. Business as usual won’t pass muster anymore.
Up Close: Antagonise your ageing: The science behind living healthier for longer
Geriatrician Professor Andrea Maier describes what happens to our cells as we age, and explains the causes of age-related diseases. She also discusses how positive lifestyle choices and preventive medical interventions can help us live healthier for longer.
Up Close: What's killing women? Sex disparity and the shifting landscape of age-related disease
Population health researcher Professor Cassandra Szoeke outlines what ails women as they grow older, how men differ from women in age-related diseases, and how public awareness and personal lifestyle change have been shown to have a positive impact on women's quality of life in their later years.
Up Front: Gender Bias Extends to Peer Review
Gender bias in science is found not only in pay and seniority but also in the peer review process.
Online Feature: We must plan the driverless city to avoid being hostage to the technology revolution
Online Feature: Why brain stimulation isn't what it's cracked up to be Online Feature: The bark side: domestic dogs threaten endangered species worldwide
Online Feature: How 3D food printers could improve mealtimes for people with swallowing disorders Online Feature: Junk food packaging hijacks the same brain processes as drug and alcohol addiction
Online Feature: Beware the hype – springy soles won’t make you run much faster Online Feature: Budget 2017: government goes hard on gas and hydro in bid for energy security
Online Feature: Found: 'lost' forests covering an area two-thirds the size of Australia Online Feature: The 2017 budget has axed research to help Australia adapt to climate change
Online Feature: Explainer: how the brain changes when we learn to read Online Feature: Why do some graziers want to retain, not kill, dingoes?
Online Feature: The other Eurovision star hunt: Australia joins with Europe to explore the universe Online Feature: Expert culture has killed the innovator in workplaces
Online Feature: Science or Snake oil: do Band-Aids really 'heal cuts twice as fast'? Online Feature: New Zealand's Alpine Fault reveals extreme underground heat and fluid pressure