Category: Science & Technology

Why isn’t Australia in deep space?

This weekend marks 50 years exactly since humans first walked on the Moon. It also marks Australia’s small but significant role in enabling NASA to place boots on the lunar landscape – or at least to broadcast the event. Those...

/ July 19, 2019

New wave of smart cities has arrived – and they’re nothing like science fiction

An abandoned mine shaft beneath the town of Mansfield, England is an unlikely place to shape the future of cities. But here, researchers from the nearby University of Nottingham are planning to launch a “deep farm” that could produce ten...

/ July 19, 2019

What’s not to like? Instagram’s trial to hide the number of ‘likes’ could save users’ self-esteem

Instagram is running a social media experiment in Australia and elsewhere to see what happens when it hides the number of likes on photos and other posts. If you have an Instagram account, you’ll get to see the numbers but...

/ July 19, 2019

What’s the next ‘giant leap’ for humankind in space? We asked 3 space experts

You’ve probably heard that this week marks 50 years since humans first set foot on the Moon – a feat that still boggles the mind given the limitations of technology at the time and the global effort required to pull...

/ July 19, 2019

Using language to make the world of fossil fuels strange and ugly

They weren’t getting it. I had a room full of bright first-year university students in front of me, but confusion reigned as I tried to describe how embedded fossil fuels are in every aspect of society. “OK, let’s try this....

/ July 18, 2019

Adapting cities to a hotter world: 3 essential reads

Heat waves can be deadly, especially when they combine high temperatures with elevated humidity levels that make the air feel even hotter. The impacts can be especially strong in cities, which often are several degrees warmer than nearby rural areas...

/ July 18, 2019

Heat stroke: A doctor offers tips to stay safe as temperatures soar

I easily remember laughing at Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner while watching Saturday morning cartoons as a child. I can still see the Coyote walking slowly through the sweltering desert, sun high in the sky, sweating,...

/ July 18, 2019

Not one but two Aussie dishes were used to get the TV signals back from the Apollo 11 moonwalk

The role Australia played in relaying the first television images of astronaut Neil Armstrong’s historic walk on the Moon 50 years ago this July features in the popular movie The Dish. But that only tells part of the story (with...

/ July 18, 2019

South Africa’s carbon tax matters — for the economy and tackling climate change

Carbon tax is likely to be an effective way of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, which lead to climate change and have negative consequences for human life. But the carbon tax that’s been introduced in South Africa could cost jobs, unless...

/ July 18, 2019

Betting on speculative geoengineering may risk an escalating ‘climate debt crisis’

The opening of the Oscar-winning film The Big Short, a comedy-drama on the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, begins with a famous quote: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure...

/ July 18, 2019

We need to protect the heritage of the Apollo missions

It’s 50 years since the two Apollo 11 astronauts – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin – spent 22 hours collecting samples, deploying experiments and sometimes just playing in the Sea of Tranquillity on the Moon. In doing so, they created...

/ July 18, 2019

How big is the Moon? Let me compare …

Even though we can see the Moon shining brightly in the night sky – and sometimes in daylight – it’s hard to put into perspective just how large, and just how distant, our nearest neighbour actually is. So just how...

/ July 18, 2019

When an artist looks at a chemical element, what do they see?

Artistic depictions of several chemical elements feature in a new exhibition from today as part of Australia’s celebrations for the International Year of the Periodic Table. They are the work of artists Damon Kowarsky and Hyunju Kim, who worked together...

/ July 17, 2019

Why the Moon is such a cratered place

Look up on a clear night and you can see some circular formations on the face of our lunar neighbour. These are impact craters, circular depressions found on planetary surfaces. About a century ago, they were suspected to exist on...

/ July 17, 2019

An electronic chip that makes ‘memories’ is a step towards creating bionic brains

What better way to build smarter computer chips than to mimic nature’s most perfect computer – the human brain? Being able to store, delete and process information is crucial for computing, and the brain does this extremely efficiently. Our new...

/ July 16, 2019

Forest elephants are our allies in the fight against climate change, finds research

Forest elephant extinction would exacerbate climate change. That’s according to a new study in Nature Geoscience which links feeding by elephants with an increase in the amount of carbon that forests are able to store. The bad news is that...

/ July 16, 2019

As flood risks increase across the US, it’s time to recognize the limits of levees

New Orleans averted disaster this month when tropical storm Barry delivered less rain in the Crescent City than forecasters originally feared. But Barry’s slog through Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri is just the latest event in a year that has...

/ July 16, 2019

The counter-intuitive solution to getting people to care about climate change

In a May episode of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Bill Nye the Science Guy took a blowtorch to a miniature globe. It was an effort to startle Americans out of their complacency over climate change. Whether on late-night...

/ July 15, 2019

Teeth ‘time capsule’ reveals that 2 million years ago, early humans breastfed for up to 6 years

Humans’ distant ancestor Australopithecus africanus had a unique approach to raising their young, as shown in our new research published today in Nature. Geochemical analysis of four teeth shows they exclusively breastfed infants for about 6-9 months, before supplementing breast...

/ July 15, 2019

Curious Kids: can people live in space?

Curious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au You might also like the podcast Imagine This, a co-production between ABC KIDS listen and The Conversation, based...

/ July 15, 2019