Category: Science & Technology

Six million hectares of threatened species habitat up in smoke

At least 250 threatened species have had their habitat hit by fires. Gena DrayMore than one billion mammals, birds, and reptiles across eastern Australia are estimated to have been affected by the current fire catastrophe. Many animals and plants have...

/ January 18, 2020

Australian sea lions are declining. Using drones to check their health can help us understand why

Australian sea lions (Neophoca cinerea) are one of the rarest pinnipeds in the world and they are declining. Jarrod Hodgson, CC BY-NDAustralian sea lions are in trouble. Their population has never recovered from the impact of the commercial sealing that...

/ January 17, 2020

Homosexuality may have evolved for social, not sexual reasons

We propose same-sex attraction evolved to allow greater social integration and stronger same-sex social bonds. SHUTTERSTOCKHow did homosexuality in humans evolve? Typically, this question is posed as a paradox. The argument is this: gay sex alone can’t produce children, and...

/ January 16, 2020

The Dish in Parkes is scanning the southern Milky Way, searching for alien signals

The Parkes radio telescope can detect extremely weak signals coming from the most distant parts of the Universe. ShutterstockFor John Sarkissian, operations scientist at the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope, astronomy has been his life’s passion – starting from the age...

/ January 15, 2020

From election upsets to climate chaos, rolling the dice helps us appreciate the odds

The simple dice can provide an introduction to statistics. Steve Johnson, CC BY-SA“He [God] does not play dice”, quipped Albert Einstein, but for mortals chance is part of life. We cannot experience, measure and predict with absolute certainty. We may...

/ January 14, 2020

Virtual reality may be the next frontier in remote mental health care

Remote workers, particularly in the fields of mining and construction, are at greater risk of mental health problems. And accessing quality mental health care can be difficult for them. SHUTTERSTOCK In recent years, experts have focused on finding better ways...

/ January 14, 2020

Bushfires, bots and arson claims: Australia flung in the global disinformation spotlight

In the first week of 2020, hashtag #ArsonEmergency became the focal point of a new online narrative surrounding the bushfire crisis. The message: the cause is arson, not climate change. Police and bushfire services (and some journalists) have contradicted this...

/ January 10, 2020

6 things to ask yourself before you share a bushfire map on social media

NASA’s Worldview software gives you a satellite view of Earth right now, and can help track the spread of fires. Nasa WorldviewIn recent days, many worrying bushfire maps have been circulating online, some appearing to suggest all of Australia is...

/ January 9, 2020

As fires rage, we must use social media for long-term change, not just short-term fundraising

Comedian Celeste Barber's fundraising efforts have gained monumental support. But we need to think of long-term engagement in climate action too. FacebookWith 26 fatalities, half a billion animals impacted and 10.7 million hectares of land burnt, Australia faces a record-breaking...

/ January 9, 2020

Winning at social media is probably simpler than you think

The world is starting to see the gradual decline of Facebook, with 15 million US users dropping off between 2017 and last year. Nonetheless, Facebook remains the largest social network in the world. As of late last year, almost 60%...

/ January 8, 2020

Batteries made with sulfur could be cheaper, greener and hold more energy

Lithium-ion batteries have changed the world. Without the ability to store meaningful amounts of energy in a rechargeable, portable format we would have no smartphones or other personal electronic devices. The pioneers of the technology were awarded the 2019 Nobel...

/ January 7, 2020

ColdFusion Mixtape for 2020

0:00 Track 1 Burn Water - She Shines (Neo Flip) 3:34 Track 2 Burn Water - Angel 7:04 Track 3 Burn Water - Movement 10:01 Track 4 Burn Water - I Found U Free Download (But if you'd like to...

/ January 7, 2020

The story of a wave: from wind-blown ripples to breaking on the beach

By the time a wave reaches shore, it may have travelled tens of thousands of kilometres. Ian Mitchinson / ShutterstockIt’s a cliché, but Aussies love the beach. And little wonder: with 36,000 kilometres of coastline, Australia is blessed with some...

/ January 6, 2020

Bushfires have reshaped life on Earth before. They could do it again

The catastrophic bushfires raging across much of Australia have not only taken a huge human and economic toll, but also delivered heavy blows to biodiversity and ecosystem function. Already, scientists are warning of catastrophic extinctions of animals and plants. Humans...

/ January 6, 2020

Broadcast turns 100: from the Hindenburg disaster to the Hottest 100, here’s how radio shaped the world

The famous Hindenburg tragedy was heard around the world via recorded radio journalism. Wiki Commons, CC BYEighty-one years ago, a broadcast of Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds supposedly caused mass hysteria in America, as listeners thought martians had invaded...

/ January 5, 2020

Look up! Your guide to some of the best meteor showers for 2020

A composite image of one night watching the Orionids meteor shower. Flickr/Jeff Sullivan, CC BY-NC-NDWhere 2019 was a disappointing year for meteor showers, with two of the big three (the Quadrantids, Perseids and Geminids) lost mainly to moonlight, 2020 promises...

/ January 2, 2020

History repeats itself. That’s bad news for the 2020s

When there are too many elites in a society, competition for power makes existing problems worse. Francisco Goya / WikimediaWhat will happen in the 2020s? If history is any guide (and there’s good reason to think it is), the outlook...

/ January 2, 2020

A month at sea with no technology taught me how to steal my life back from my phone

The time we invest in our digital lives is time we don’t get back. But, it's not impossible to knock your digital-dependance - and the holidays are the best time to start.  A survey this year revealed that Australians, on...

/ January 1, 2020

That’s a relief! We have a way to recover phosphorus from our urine

Phosphorus was first discovered by boiling down thousands of litres of urine. Shutterstock/LestermanTo mark the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements we’re taking a look at some of the elements used by researchers in their work. Today’s...

/ December 26, 2019

Playing with old phones teaches children good habits, and reflects our bad ones back at us

Hard at play: 'technology corner' can teach kids healthy boundaries around device use. Jo Bird, Author providedScreens are everywhere, including in the palms of our hands. Children see how much time we adults spend on our smartphones, and therefore how...

/ December 26, 2019