Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue May/June 2018

Cover Story: Inside the Lair of a Mysterious Cosmic Radio Burster
Two of the world’s largest radio telescopes have unveiled the astonishingly extreme and unusual environment of a mysterious source of repeating radio bursts emanating from 3 billion light-years away.
Feature: A Piece of North America Is Now in Queensland
Geologists have discovered rocks in northern Queensland that bear striking similarities to those found in North America, suggesting that part of northern Australia was actually part of North America 1.7 billion years ago.
Feature: Gassy Continents Balance the Carbon Budget
Carbon accumulated in the Earth’s upper mantle over billions of years may be 130 times more significant in controlling the climate than previously thought.
Feature: Mountains Drove Bursts of Evolution and Extinction
Bursts of evolution and mass extinction events coincide with mountain-building events that have influenced nutrient levels in the oceans.
Feature: The Evolution of Sexes
Sex does not depend on the existence of different sexes. Instead, males and females may be the result of genetic conflict arising from the evolution of large and complex individuals.
Feature: Cognitive Impairment During Pregnancy: Myth or Reality?
While reports of cognitive decline throughout pregnancy are widespread, evidence has been inconclusive. Until now.
Feature: To Feed or Not To Feed? The Impacts of Backyard Bird Feeders
Bird feeding is a popular way for people to interact with urban wildlife, but what are the consequences for birds, bird populations and native biodiversity as a whole?
Feature: How Far Does Your Cat Roam?
It’s 10 pm. Do you know where your cat is? Would you believe it could roam up to 30 km in a week?
Feature: A Nose for Conservation
Conservationists are recruiting dogs (and their owners) to detect rare species like tiger quolls as well as invasive pests and weeds, but how reliable are they?
Feature: Tunnelling Bacteria: An Underestimated Threat to Wooden Structures
Bacteria that have evolved a clever way to feed by tunnelling within cell walls can thrive in pretreated wood in humid conditions, and may even have damaged new houses in Auckland.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky this month.
conSCIENCE: Australia’s Space Agency Must Define Our Future in Space
Australia’s space agency needs to embrace the small, agile and innovative path of Space 2.0.
The Bitter Pill: What Is the Point of Veterinary Acupuncture?
While some misguided people try ineffective “therapies”, at least they can seek out other treatments if they don’t work. Not so the hapless pet.
Directions: The Energy Trilemma
Clear direction is needed to direct the transition to cheap, reliable and carbon-neutral energy technologies.
Eco Logic: Revolving Private Land to Conserve Nature
Buying, protecting and reselling private land can be an effective way to conserve nature, but relies upon selecting the right properties.
Expert Opinion: First Stars May Have Revealed the Dark Matter Particle
CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory has detected a faint silhouette of the first stars after the Big Bang. Its extreme coldness indicates the existence of the dark matter particle.
Expert Opinion: What the Federal Budget Means for Science
Experts comment on how the 2018-19 Federal Budget will impact research, health and science.
Fossil File: Dinosaurs Should Rock Older Students Too
Primary schools use dinosaurs to teach how scientific disciplines overlap. Universities should too.
Lowe Tech: Investment in Renewables Is Burying Coal
Politicians lobbying for more coal-fired power stations are defying the preference for renewables by both consumers and investors.
Naked Skeptic: The Sweet, Simple Things of Life
From artificial sweeteners to fruit, sugars give wellness warriors a sugar high.
Neuropsy: If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On
Extreme re-listening to popular songs reflects personality type.
Out of this World: Massive Star’s Dying Blast Caught By Pure Chance!
A massive star’s dying blast has been caught by pure chance, and how early moons collided to form today’s Moon.
Quandary: Ethical Challenges About Voluntary Assisted Dying
Much of the focus on new voluntary assisted dying laws is centred on patient autonomy, but it is only one of the four pillars. Does the legislation also satisfy the other three tenets of beneficence, non-maleficence and justice?
Up Front: AI Faces Its Manhattan Project Moment
Researchers are boycotting a major university that is opening an autonomous weapons lab in collaboration with an arms company.