Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue Sep/Oct 2018

A Chroococcidiopsis colony containing both normal and “far-red” photosynthetic c
Cover Story: Extreme Photosynthesis: How Life on Earth Could Survive on Mars
The discovery of a new form of photosynthesis extends the limits where life can survive on Earth, and might provide a first step to terraforming Mars.
Feature: Space as a Military Centre of Gravity
There is a common misconception that space is a pristine global commons that sits above terrestrial geopolitical rivalries. Nothing could be further from the emerging reality.
Credit: showcake/Adobe
Feature: The Importance of Meal Times on Weight Loss
Our modern 24/7 appetite is disrupting natural gastric signalling oscillations to the brain. Restricting meal times could help weight loss and maintenance, particularly among shiftworkers.
Credit: vchalup/Adobe
Feature: Flashes of Light Flush Chronic Constipation
A new treatment for chronic constipation involves sticking lights “where the sun don’t shine”.
Credit: Piotr Wawrzyniuk/Adobe
Feature: The Fish That Should Have Got Away
Attempts to catch the biggest fish may have unwittingly caused the fishing industry to crash in many parts of the world. To make things more worrying, new research indicates that climate change will reduce the capacity of fish to reproduce.
Over a 48-hour period, more than 100,000 citizen scientists generated random num
Feature: Game Over for “Spooky Action” Loophole
More than 100,000 citizen scientists have taken part in the world’s first global quantum physics experiment to test Einstein’s concept of “local realism”.
Credit: Alessandro Silvano
Feature: The Melting Antarctic Glacier That Could Flood the World
A scientific voyage has revealed startlingly warm waters around a glacier in East Antarctica that could raise global sea levels by 4 metres.
Credit: Nischaporn/Adobe
Feature: Can the Electricity Grid Cope with Electric Vehicles?
Electric vehicles are expected to take over our roads in the coming decade, but can our electricity infrastructure cope with the additional demands they will place on it?
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky this month.
Credit: Francois Poirier/Adobe
conSCIENCE: The Basic Mistake Made by Critics of Electric Vehicles
Arguments that electric vehicles are no “greener” than the electricity they use fail to acknowledge the increasing role of renewables in the energy grid.
Sean Connell taking notes at a vent that is emitting CO2 bubbles.  Note the pres
conSCIENCE: The Good News You Missed About Ocean Acidification
Carbon may be acidifying the oceans, but the species it’s supposed to harm are fighting back.
conSCIENCE: Your Nitrogen Footprint Has Far-Reaching Consequences
Australia’s reliance on coal and taste for beef is contributing to nitrogen pollution as far away from our population centres as the Great Barrier Reef.
The Bitter Pill: The MINDD Foundation is Built on Shaky Ground
A forum held at The University of NSW, but not endorsed by it, has highlighted the spurious credibility that university settings give to groups making unsubstantiated health claims.
Credit: momius/Adobe
Directions: Solving the Gender Equation
The SAGE program aims to engender balance in STEM professions.
Credit: Thomas Vignaud
Eco Logic: The Third Dimension of Conservation
Oceans are inherently three-dimensional spaces, so effective and efficient conservation planning in oceans should take this third dimension – depth – into account.
Expert Opinion: Mozzies Knocked out with Gene Drive
Researchers say they've successfully used a CRISPR-based gene drive to cause the collapse of a population of caged malaria-carrying mosquitoes by targeting a gene that determines whether an individual mosquito develops as a male or a female.
Lowe Tech: The War on Plastic
Our present epoch has been called the Anthropocene because of the dominance of human activity, but perhaps it should be called the Plasticine.
Naked Skeptic: A Brief History of Some Science
Science has brought public health a long way since the voyages that led to Australia’s discovery and settlement were ravaged by disease. Why, then, do some people want to turn back?
Credit: Couperfield/Adobe
Neuropsy: The Moving Finger Writes, and Tells a Ghost Story
A reduced sense of personal agency persuades Ouija board users to believe in ghostly messages.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will expand our knowledge of the origin and evolution
Out of this World: Humanity’s First Visit to a Star
A probe will travel through the Sun’s atmosphere, and astronomers have found the fastest-growing black hole known in the universe.
Quandary: Is Cognitive Enhancement a Problem in Australia?
Just because the non-medical use of cognitive stimulants isn’t common, it doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem.
Up Front: A Military Motive for the Space Agency
National security, not economic opportunity, may have motivated the government’s new interest in a sovereign space capability.
Online Feature: 2018 Nobel Prize for physics goes to tools made from light beams – a particle physicist explains
The Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to three scientists for the inventions of optical tweezers – in which two laser beams can hold a tiny object – and a method for creating powerful lasers.
Online Feature: How the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry have transformed research and saved lives
The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to work on how to use the principles of evolution to create new medical treatments and renewable fuels.
Online Feature: Prime Minister’s Prize for Science 2018 goes to 'Earth-watcher' Kurt Lambeck