Latest Science


A blue blood supermoon is coming

Blue moons are not quite as rare as the old idiom would have it, but blue, super and blood all at the same time? That’s quite a different story, as Alan Duffy explains. At the end of January our closest celestial neighbour will sport a bizarre name. As the second Full Moon in a month, it becomes known as a Blue Moon (hence the expression of a rare event as once in a Blue Moon, […] See more

Published 6 hours ago. Author: Bill Condie
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Titan's secrets unveiled in unprecedented detail in new topographic map

Astronomers have created a topographic map of the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan using the now-complete data set from NASA’s Cassini mission. The map of Titan, and what we can learn from it, is described in two recent papers published in Geophysical Review Letters. It shows several new features on Titan, including new low mountains, each less than 700 metres high, and two depressions in the moon’s equatorial region that scientists believe are either ancient, […] See more

Published 1 day ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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A sneeze doesn’t make the ‘flu fly

There’s no escape – sneezing and coughing isn’t needed to spread influenza. Australia might be in the midst of a heatwave, but the “Australian Flu” is going strong in Europe. The H3N2 strain of flu that swept through Australia during our winter has hit Europe in a big way, with deaths in the UK triple that of last year. But one of the big assumptions about how the flu spreads from person to person has […] See more

Published 1 day ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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New algorithm could diagnose multiple cancers with a single blood test

CancerSEEK uses machine learning in what could be a breakthrough in early diagnosis of certain cancers. Breaking down the facts and figures With the CancerSEEK blood test: Patients with cancer are successfully diagnosed in 70% of cases Healthy patients are successfully diagnosed in more than 99% of cases; that is, there is less than one per cent occurrence of false positives This study examine eight cancers; ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colorectum, lung, and breast. […] See more

Published 1 day ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Thigh bone connected to the hip bone... new mathematical model treats the body as a networked system

A new way of looking at things shows how an injury impacts overall health and helps test therapeutic responses. A US study  is the first to convert the entire body’s network of bones and muscles into a comprehensive mathematical model. The authors say it could help clinicians and physical therapists predict compensatory injuries and suggest ways of avoiding them. The networks research was led by Danielle Bassett at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and […] See more

Published 1 day ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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Hunter gatherers have a much better sense of smell than the rest of us

When we took up agriculture, our ability to follow a scent decreased dramatically. Recent research compared two closely related tribes with different lifestyles, and found that the hunter gatherer tribe could tell odours and colours apart equally well, while the horticultural tribe could not. This project builds on previous research into the Jahai people, a Malaysian hunter gatherer tribe, which showed that they could tell odours apart as easily as English speakers can tell colours […] See more

Published 2 days ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Cleaning up our space junkyard

For the past 60 years we’ve been littering in space, and scientists are warning it’s about time we did something about it before disaster strikes. We humans are messy creatures. Waste management and disposal is a hugely expensive and important part of any developed nation’s infrastructure, and even then we have problems with littering and with harmful waste ending up in the environment. But all around the globe humanity is facing a new waste management […] See more

Published 2 days ago. Author: David Gozzard from The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
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Climate may be less sensitive to carbon dioxide than predicted

New research rules out the most pessimistic warming scenarios. A revised calculation of how carbon dioxide drives global warming has led to a new estimate of the end-of-century temperature increase range. While the new study, published in the journal Nature, rules out the upper extremes, it also says that the optimists also have it wrong. “Our study all but rules out very low and very high climate sensitivities,” lead author Peter Cox, a professor at the […] See more

Published 3 days ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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New treatment stops cocaine addiction without reducing pleasure

A single protein may hold the key to curing cocaine addiction. It works in mice with drugs which are said to be safe for humans. Scientists believe they have identified a protein responsible for cocaine addiction and have demonstrated its effects by successfully defeating drug dependency in mice. Currently, there are no approved medications to treat cocaine addiction that don’t carry the risk of introducing a potential new substance for abuse. “The results of this […] See more

Published 3 days ago. Author: Andy Stapleton from Australia's Science Channel
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Tasmanian devils and tigers both went extinct on the mainland 3,200 years ago

Now the search is on for what caused the demise of the last marsupial carnivores. Thylacines and devils were the last large marsupial carnivores to roam across the Australian mainland. There are Aboriginal rock-paintings of thylacine-like animals across northern Australia from the Kimberley region to Kakadu in the Northern Territory. We’ve just published an analysis of new radiocarbon dates showing that thylacines (Tasmanian ‘tigers’, Thylacinus cynocephalus) and Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisi) went extinct on the […] See more

Published 3 days ago. Author: Corey Bradshaw from Flinders University
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Hours in the saddle no concern for cyclists’ urinary or sexual health

High intensity cyclists have overall better erectile function scores than those who take it easier. The Tour Down Under is on and it’s not only the pros hitting the roads – amateurs are out on their bikes as well. But it’s not only the pedals which are getting a pushing. Previously it was thought that cycling negatively affected erectile function, potentially as a result of prolonged pressure and micro-trauma while riding. However, some of the […] See more

Published 3 days ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Guidelines underestimate how long is normal for women in labour

Dilation rate may be ‘unrealistically fast’ for some women The guidelines for how long is “normal” for women in labour were established in the 1950s, and set the expectation that the cervix dilates 1 cm per hour. A study published today in PLOS Medicine set out to find out if this rate is still relevant to the current generation of women giving birth, or whether there might be differences in different populations around the world. […] See more

Published 3 days ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Perovskite breakthrough helps solar cells sizzle

Scientists may have solved the longstanding problem of energy loss in conversion of light to electricity. Are these perovskites the game changer? This week, the International Renewable Energy Agency forecast that renewable energy is going to be consistently cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020. Solar energy will make up a sizable percentage of this renewable infrastructure but if you think that all the hard work is done, you’d be wrong. There’s still plenty of room […] See more

Published 3 days ago. Author: Andy Stapleton from Australia's Science Channel

Sounding out fish to estimate the value of marine parks

Protecting over-exploited fish is one of the reasons that marine parks, or Marine Protected Areas, have been established all over the world. Comparing how effective they are means having a method to count the number, size and variety of fish both in and outside the protected areas. Traditionally, this has involved methods like sending scuba divers down to count fish in visual surveys. Part of the long term monitoring project of the Great Barrier Reef […] See more

Published 3 days ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Shale gas is an unsustainable dead end, finds research

Shale gas is being promoted heavily by the gas industry as a future energy source, however new research has found that it is among the least sustainable energy sources available to us. Shale gas is natural gas deposits found in shale, or fine-grained sedimentary rocks. Locked deep underground, the gas is extracted by fracturing the rocks, releasing the gas and allowing it to be taken to the surface. This process, fracking, is highly controversial and […] See more

Published 3 days ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Epigenetics reveals possible DNA regions associated with autism

Autism spectrum disorder has no known cause. Studies have shown that genetics and environmental factors, such as complications during pregnancy, may play a part in developing autism. But a specific cause has yet to be found. Researchers have started to use an epigenetic approach to try to find what could be happening to our genes that would relate to autism. A new study published today found more than 2000 regulatory regions (DNA regions that control […] See more

Published 3 days ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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How the mantis shrimp uses a boxer's technique to protect itself

The structure of the mantis shrimp’s deadly hammer claw provides inspiration for advanced super-strong protective materials in aerospace and sport applications. The mantis shrimp is known as the ocean’s heavy-hitter. It has a hammer-like club that moves with the speed of a .22 calibre bullet and strikes with the force of 1,500 newtons – enough to smash the glass of an aquarium – that pulverises its prey. Until now, scientists have not known how the […] See more

Published 3 days ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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Boolean coding meets pharmaceutics to create new controlled release drugs

Scientists have ingeniously combined Boolean logic and pharmacology to create a brand new way of delivering drugs to the site that they’re needed, without affecting any other parts of the body. Using a common gel containing a high amount of water, called a hydrogel, they encased drugs that could only be released in certain physiological conditions, such as those found in a particular organ or at a disease site. That release mechanism was inspired by […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Islanders flee as long-dormant volcano eruption worsens

About 3,000 Papua New Guinea islanders are fleeing the unprecedented eruption of the long-dormant Kadovar volcano, off the country’s north coast. It is the first eruption of the volcano since at least 1700. Kadovar has been spewing smoke and ash since 5 January. As the eruption has become more violent, authorities have warned that associated tremors pose a tsunami risk to mainland’s north coast and surrounding islands. The government has ordered the evacuation of from […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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Why you shouldn’t hold your nose and mouth closed when you sneeze

It’s only the third week of January but there is an early contender for the most obvious statement of the year. According to doctors, pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn’t a good idea. One man in the UK managed to rupture the back of his throat doing exactly this, leaving him barely able to speak or swallow, and in considerable pain. Spontaneous rupture of the back of […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Lamprey study hints at signalling pathways used in spinal cord regeneration

Why are some fish, amphibians and reptiles able to regenerate their spinal cords after injury while mammals can’t? A new study has investigated the genetic switches involved in the process in the lamprey, an ancient jawless fish that can fully recover function from a severed spinal cord within months. “They can go from paralysis to full swimming behaviors in 10 to 12 weeks,” says Jennifer Morgan, director of the Eugene Bell Centre for Regenerative Biology and […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Teens watch junk food ads, then reach for a snack

Research from the UK shows that television advertisements have a strong influence on teenagers’ eating habits. Cancer Research UK surveyed nearly 3500 teenagers about their television viewing habits – including streaming – and their diets. They found that teenagers who view three or more hours of commercial television every day end up eating at least 500 more junk food snacks per year than their counterparts who watch less television, or television without advertisements. Specific examples […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel

Brain scans plus artificial intelligence can predict language ability in child cochlear implant recipients

For children born with significant hearing loss, cochlear implants can be an incredibly effective treatment to help them develop listening and language ability, and a new machine learning algorithm based on brain scans can now predict exactly how well. Knowing precisely how dramatically an implant will improve language development had been out of reach. Research shows that early cochlear implantation is crucial, yet in some cases children still don’t keep up with the milestones of […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Rats off the hook for the Black Death

Rats, or more specifically the fleas carried by them, have been blamed for the Black Death – an outbreak of plague that swept through Europe and was responsible for the deaths of one third of the population within the space of five years between 1347-1353. But new research suggests that it was the fleas and lice that made themselves at home on people, not rats, that were much more likely to have been responsible for […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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How science explains professional cyclists’ superhuman performance

Few sports rely so heavily on an exact balance between physiology, psychology and nutrition as cycling, making scientists some of the most critical members of the team. He hit the lower slopes of the venerable Mont Ventoux, pushing hard. Tom Simpson, one of Britain’s most successful cyclists, had been battling illness for three days but was still determined to push for a good result at the 1967 Tour de France – and Ventoux is the […] See more

Published 5 days ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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NASA discovers giant ice deposits just under the Martian surface

Imagine a wall of ice 30 stories high, rising above barren dessicated red soils. This is no Game of Thrones tale but rather what you would see today on Mars according to the latest research published in Nature. Satellites images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed scarps up to six kilometres long with sharp edges that in places glow brightly at wavelengths of light associated with ice. These edges extend 100m in height, suggesting […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Not just the oceans, freshwater acidification is happening too

If ocean acidification is “climate change’s equally evil twin” then freshwater acidification is the forgotten black sheep of the family. As CO2 levels increase in the atmosphere, dissolved CO2 in water bodies increases, reducing the pH.  Ocean acidification has been well documented to cause all sorts of issues, from the collapse of zooplankton, a primary source of food for many marine systems, to damaging fish eyesight, or messing with the minds of everything from fish to snails, […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Pregnancy and paracetamol – researchers flag developmental concerns

Pregnant women may need to take less paracetamol, according to two recent findings that suggest adverse outcomes in both language development and fertility of babies. Daughters and language delay Research from the USA using data from Sweden shows a link between use of this common painkiller and language development delay in girls at 30 months old. The study looked at data from 754 women who were between eight and 13 weeks pregnant when they entered […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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NASA takes us on a virtual journey to the centre of the galaxy with 360° views

Scientists, using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, have developed a new visualisation of what it would be like to travel to the centre of the Milky Way. Viewers are put in the location of the supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A*, which lies at the heart of our galaxy, about 26,000 light years from the Earth. From there they can control their exploration of the volatile environment that surrounds them. The visualisation has […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors
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Why do they need more refrigeration mechanics in Antarctica?

If it’s minus 30°C outside, why do they need refrigeration mechanics in Antarctica? “Yeah, it’s a bit of a funny one,” says Wayne Donaldson, current refrigeration mechanic and electrician based at Casey research station in Antarctica. “People always say isn’t it cold enough? But different things need to be kept at different temperatures for different reasons. Although Antarctica is cold, the temperature can fluctuate quite a bit.” At Casey station, managed by the Australian Antarctic […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel

Waging war takes its toll on wildlife

Between 1946 and 2010 conflicts occurred in 71% of protected African areas. Over the past 70 years, humans have been continuously at war in some of the world’s most important biodiverse regions. Despite the widespread presence of human conflicts in these regions, until now we haven’t had good data on how this affects wildlife populations. Previous research has shown that individual conflicts can have both positive and negative effects. Wars can relax pressure on wildlife […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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The Check Up - raw water, hot sauce, and robot strength

The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web. Raw water for cooked people Let’s kick off 2018 with the story people have loved to hate – the raw water craze currently underway in the United States. Be careful you don’t roll your eyes too hard, you might hurt your neck. Basically, people with more money than sense are […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Is this the source of mysterious galactic radio bursts?

An international team of astronomers, including a researcher from Western Australia, have used two of the world’s largest radio telescopes to step towards solving one of the great mysteries in astronomy – the potential source of strange, short, intense bursts of radiation called fast radio bursts. They found that these fast radio bursts begin life in astonishingly extreme and unusual environment, with the discovery suggesting that the strange source is in close proximity to a […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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2017 was the third hottest year on record in Australia

It was wet in the west, hot in the east, and warm all over. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) released its Annual Climate Statement today, showing 2017 was the third hottest year on record for Australia. Temperatures across the country continued the trend of warming, with the national average temperature over 12 months of 22.75 °C, 0.95 °C higher than the 1961-1990 average. Feeling the heat “Despite the lack of an El Niño – which is […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Anaesthetics do more than just put you to sleep

There’s no getting around it – we need anaesthetics to perform surgery. And while they are generally a safe risk in expert hands, we don’t really understand how they work. The latest research from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland sheds new light on how general anaesthetics affect the brain – and it turns out there’s a lot more to it than just putting you to sleep. “We looked at the effects […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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The blackest bird feathers rival Vantablack

Birds of paradise are amongst nature’s greatest animals. During mating they choreograph incredibly intricate dances to attract their mate – usually involving displays of their plumage to show off complex designs and bright colours. Now, scientists have found a special advantage some species have for making their plumage seem extra colourful and vibrant – their black feathers have unusual structures that make them so black they rival anything humans have ever created. In many species […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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New slow release HIV treatment – the pill box you can swallow

Once an automatic death sentence, HIV is now a far more manageable disease. But its management depends on strict adherence to a dosing schedule of a cocktail of virus-fighting drugs – and only about 30 per cent of patients follow through on taking them. But a new solution could change all that, require just a weekly dose of a capsule that acts like a mini pill box, slowly releasing the various drugs in the right […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Researchers grow first fully functioning human muscle from stem cells

Researchers have developed the first successful method for growing functional human muscles from stem cells, opening up a world of possibilities for the research and treatment of rare muscular diseases. Move aside Dwayne Johnson, there is a new muscle-man in town. His name is Nenad Borsac, and together with a team of researchers, he has developed a way of growing far more muscle than The Rock could ever hope for. They began with human skin […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Even in extremely dire conditions, women outlive men

A study of crises of different types across the ages show that women are the life expectancy champions. The same is true for other animals where females routinely live longer than males. The highest mortality ever registered in recorded human history took place when returned American slaves returned to Africa in the 19th century. Between 1820 and 1843, freed slaves from America were encouraged to return to Africa. Many of those that undertook this dangerous and […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Warmer climates are turning green sea turtles female

Male green sea turtles have all but vanished from the northern Great Barrier Reef with a new study finding that more than 99 per cent of the 200,000 turtles living there are female. Researchers say global warming is the culprit. Sea turtles’ sex is determined by the incubation temperature of the eggs with warmer temperatures skewing towards females. The trend is a clear threat to the future of the species. Understanding the gender balance of […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Swallowable sensors reveal mysteries of human gut health

Findings from the first human trials of a breakthrough gas-sensing swallowable capsule could revolutionise the way that gut disorders and diseases are prevented and diagnosed. The trials by researchers at RMIT University have uncovered mechanisms in the human body that have never been seen before, including a potentially new immune system. The new technology and discoveries offer a game-changer for the one-in-five people worldwide who will suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder in their lifetime. They […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: RMIT Universtiy from RMIT University
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Regular ibuprofen use can impact reproductive health in men

Men might want to rethink how often they reach for ibuprofen, with the latest research showing that it can negatively affect their reproductive health. A small study of 31 otherwise healthy men between the ages of 18 and 35 showed that taking the equivalent of three tablets of Nurofen every day for six weeks is enough to cause a problem. By administering certain doses of ibuprofen and then blood testing for levels of the drug […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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El Niño lets Antarctic ice shelves grow taller, even as they lose weight

A study published today is the first report using satellite measurements to gauge ice sheet thickness during ENSO variations. El Niño and La Niña are the two phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and understanding how Antarctic ice shelves respond to ENSO variability is useful to understand how global climate changes might affect ice shelves around Antarctica. “There have been some idealised studies using models, and even some indirect observations off the ice […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Exercise is the anti-ageing 'cure' for the heart

Sitting around all the time is bad for your heart – it makes the muscle shrink and stiffen as you age. “When the muscle stiffens, you get high pressure and the heart chamber doesn’t fill as well with blood. In its most severe form, blood can back up into the lungs. That’s when heart failure develops,” according to Dr Benjamin D. Levine, founder and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine. Dr Levine […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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How Felix fell faster than a speeding bullet

Sometimes time flies past incredibly quickly – it’s been five years since Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner skydived from the edge of space. During his record breaking jump he not only completed the highest skydive ever attempted, but also broke the sound barrier on his way down. It’s taken until now for scientists to catch up to him and analyse the aerodynamics of his jump, and they have found a pretty amazing result – Baumgartner, with […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

To the stars and beyond – reasons to look up in 2018

There’s a lot happening in space this year, so here are 13 reasons (and times!) to look up in 2018. There’s everything from rocket launches to NASA missions to meteor showers — you don’t want to miss these astronomical events. SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch (with that payload) January – The future of reusable rockets and potentially SpaceX itself rides on the success of upgrading from the Falcon 9 to the Falcon Heavy (effectively three Falcon […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Space junk - how it got there and what we're going to do with it

On 17 March 1958, Vanguard became the first solar-powered satellite to be launched into space. It was also destined, once its mission ended, to become the first of a less salubrious class of orbiting object – space junk. From nothing in 1958, to more than 100 million pieces of human-made space junk that orbits the Earth today. It includes dead satellites, rocket parts, fuel tanks, paint flecks, nose cones, collision debris and more. The amount […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel

My beautiful deadly city - when home makes you sick

What do you do when you love your hometown – but it could be killing you? That is the dilemma for the residents of the arctic mining city of Norilsk in Russia’s central north. Norilsk is the world’s northernmost city with more than 100,000 inhabitants and second largest city after Mumansk inside the Arctic Circle. It is also one of the most polluted cities anywhere in the world. Despite that many residents are still proud to […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel

Death of a beetle - the battle for life under the microscope

NEX is the winner of the 2017 SCINEMA Award for Technical Merit. It is a ‘visually stunning film illuminating the minute battles of nature from the micro to macro scale as a rhinoceros beetle, attacked by a fungus, struggles between life and death’. It charts the destructive course of a fungus that invades the body of a rhinoceros beetle, eventually killing it. “The basic idea was to show something that is actually horrible in a very […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel

In search of the perfect pig - happy AND tasty

Pork.0 is an inspiring and touching short documentary that follows Carl Blake II who is using genetics to fight back against the factory farming of pork that has damaged the environment, produced bland meat and led to miserable lives for farmed pigs. Blake, a former computer engineer began his quest after a harrowing car accident he very nearly didn’t survive. He has already attracted attention by producing some of the tastiest and happiest pigs in […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel

Where are the snows of yesteryear?

The ice and snow of the Rocky Mountains is rapidly vanishing due to climate change. A study in 2016 suggested that smaller snowfalls and shrinking glaciers and other icy terrain could lead to shortage of water supplies. The 1,000-year-old Arikaree Glacier in Colorado, for example, has been thinning by about 1 metre a year for the past 15 years and will disappear completely in 25 years. Most scientists believe the process is now irreversible. This film […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors

Champagne – and the importance of bubbles

Does anything herald the imminent arrival of a good time more than the pop of a champagne cork? While champagne may be the preferred tipple for celebrating another rotation around the Sun, the tongue-tingling bubbles in this party elixir do more than get you in a dancing mood. But it’s not as straightforward as you may think. Critics will often commend fancy bottles of champagne for the fine, delicate bubbles that rise from the glass. […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: Andy Stapleton from Australia's Science Channel

2018 shapes up to be a huge year in physics and astronomy

As we get ready to say goodbye to 2017 let’s take a look at 2018, which is shaping up to be another year of great discoveries. Riding the gravitational wave After a spectacularly successful observing run, the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors have shut down for upgrades that will make them more sensitive. When they are switched back on in late 2018 they will be able to detect gravitational wave events further out in […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: David Gozzard from The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
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The ancient water supply systems of Iran

For thousands of years Persians have channeled water from deep underground aquifers to the surface for drinking and agriculture using an ingenious system of channels. The aqueduct in the central Iranian city of Yazd is a fine example of the ancient technology, which still has the ability to provide water in this harsh arid climate. But this UNESCO heritage site is rotting away thanks to bureaucracy, corruption and neglect. This fascinating film explores the complex […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel

A voice from the future – what 2018 may have in store for STEM

An interesting quirk of science is that we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run. While it may be difficult to know what lies around the corner, there are a number of dedicated professionals who spend their time trying to work out what the future may hold. Robert Hickson is a Strategist and “Futurist” who specialises in providing scientific and strategic advice […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: Andy Stapleton from Australia's Science Channel

Operation IceBridge – Beauty from the ends of the world

NASA’s Operation IceBridge has been flying over Antarctica to measure changes in land and sea ice at the bottom of the world for the past nine years. The airborne survey is designed to give unprecedented 3D views of Earth’s polar ice, ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. Data collected will help scientists bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), which operated […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Can Reindeer fly? Answers for inquisitive minds this Christmas

It’s that magical time of the year again, when Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” is bellowed throughout shopping malls all over the country. A time when friends and family come together to share in the experience of overindulgence. And, a time where inquisitive little minds start questioning the cute fairly tales told to them by well-meaning adults desperately trying to keep the magic of Christmas alive. How do Reindeer fly? How does Santa […] See more

Published 4 weeks ago. Author: Andy Stapleton
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Chimps and six year olds will pay to see sweet justice served

There’s a reason that a 10 minute remix of Tyrion slapping Joffrey from Game of Thrones has racked up millions of views on youtube.  People get pleasure from watching others receive punishment for wrongdoings. via GIPHY   When does this kick in?  A study this week in Nature Human Behaviour carried out an experiment with 4 to 6 year olds to find out at what point humans develop this desire to see justice served, and […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Robotic return trip to comet and drone exploration of Titan, are NASA finalists for future missions

A return trip to a comet to pick up samples and a drone-like rotorcraft that would explore potential landing sites on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan are the two finalist concepts in NASA’s competition for a robotic mission in the mid-2020s. The concepts were chosen from 12 proposals submitted in April. “This is a giant leap forward in developing our next bold mission of science discovery,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors
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A salad a day keeps memory okay

A recipe for a good memory might be anything with lots of leafy vegetables. An observational study from the US found that people who regularly eat their greens had a slower decline of memory and thinking skills compared to people who never or rarely eat these types of veggies. The difference was so great, the salad-lovers were the equivalent of 11 years younger in age. “Adding a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables to your […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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The water within Mars

The reason Earth has water and Mars is a desert may be underfoot. Tens of kilometres under the barren, dried out surface of Mars may exist the water that astronomers have long suspected it should contain but somehow lost, turning it into a lifeless desert while Earth retained its oceans and allowed life to evolve. Recent discoveries by robotic explorers and orbiters of Mars have revealed that the red planet was once blue like Earth, […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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The Check Up - prosthetics, cosmetics, and anaesthetics

The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web. This is a supersized version to get you through the holidays – happy reading! ‘Smart’ prosthetic limbs Let’s kick off by introducing you to Darren Wilson. He lost both his legs in a motorcycle accident, but he’s since undergone a procedure called osseointegration, where an implant is put directly into […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Cosmic rays might lead to cloudy days - but claims of affecting climate change look exaggerated

Thousands of light years away a star meets its end, exploding as a supernova. Cosmic rays spew out of this cataclysmic event, streaming across the universe unimpeded and unchecked. And when they reach Earth, according to Danish researchers, they might cause clouds to form. However, claims that these clouds are significant factors in climate change are exaggerated, say other scientists. Cosmic rays are streams of high-energy particles released from stars, supernovae, and the corona of […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

Decorator crabs get into the Christmas spirit for science

In an experiment that appears to be designed for Instagram, scientists have given some decorator crabs Christmas-coloured pom poms to investigate what drives their decorating behaviour. There are around 900 species of decorator crabs, named for their penchant to cover themselves in adornments. Some species will grab whatever seems to be available, while some will decorate themselves with particularly nasty smelling or horrible tasting items as a form of chemical camouflage, for example toxic seaweed […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Surfing citizen scientists monitor ocean pollution

Surfers around Sydney’s Northern Beaches have been working with scientists from the Clean Ocean Foundation to develop a citizen science toolkit to monitor wastewater outflows from a local water treatment plant. When there’s a heavy rainfall, the water treatment plant at Warriewood can’t cope with the influx of stormwater, and Sydney Water which operate the plant discharge partially treated water into the ocean, near a popular surf spot. By involving Surfrider Northern Beaches, scientists have […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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High-tech forensics confirm oral history of Aboriginal massacre

For almost a century, the people of the Kutjungka region of WA have passed on the testimony of massacres of their ancestors at Sturt Creek. Now Flinders University researchers have found scientific evidence that indicates bodies of Aboriginal victims in the southeast Kimberley region were frequently incinerated following the event. Working with oral testimony of the descent group, which originated from a sole adult survivor of the massacre, archaeological surveys defined two distinct sites containing thousands […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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The poor are wiser than the rich, research suggests

If you’ve ever thought that rich people are jerks, well the latest research might just agree with you – if you read between the diplomatic and objective scientific lines. Two studies just out from the US provide insight into the relationship between wealth and emotions. It looks like having less money is associated with greater wisdom and more positive feelings about relationships and other people. The first study, regarding social class and wise reasoning, used […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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What science says about giving the perfect gift this Christmas

You’ve spent months agonising over the perfect gift. And now, the moment of truth is here and all eyes are on the receiver. Buying gifts at Christmas needn’t be a gamble. There are some tried and science-tested approaches to ensure that you don’t have to locate the receipt on boxing day. Experiences vs. things Scientists from the University of Toronto have found that giving an experience rather than a material item builds a stronger relationship […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Andy Stapleton from Australia's Science Channel
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Happy dolphin population deserves protection in Coffin Bay

When dolphins are in a safe, bountiful environment, they don’t venture far – despite having the capability to range over vast ocean distances. And within such areas, we need to ensure that dolphin populations remain protected and secure, with good management. Flinders University researchers have performed detailed studies of an especially large dolphin population in Coffin Bay, at the foot of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, and found that when dolphins find such a patch of […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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Kangaroo-sized flying turkey once roamed Australia

A giant, flying turkey as tall as a kangaroo is among five extinct large megapode birds discovered by palaentologists at Flinders University. All five birds were chunky relatives of today’s Malleefowl and Brush-turkeys, but the giant brush-turkey Progura gallinacea, which was as tall as a grey kangaroo, soars above the others. After carefully comparing megapode fossils from Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, the researchers have concluded that the remains belong to five different […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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Want to know more about the secret life of your cat?

Just as the children’s nursery rhyme says, people have long wondered the whereabouts of their feline friends. Now, the covert lives of Australia’s cats are set to be exposed in the University of South Australia’s new national Cat Tracker study. The project team is now seeking cats to participate in the study. Led by Discovery Circle Research Leader, UniSA’s Dr Philip Roetman, Cat Tracker will follow the day- and night-time movements of up to 1,400 […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from University of South Australia
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The best science fiction on screen in 2017

It’s been the sort of year where escapism doesn’t have a long shelf life, so this list is a murderer’s row of ‘that movie came out just this year? Feels like a lifetime ago!’ On the flipside, remembering these great films will give you all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings. So here they are, the best science fiction your eyes and ears could get in 2017, in no particular order. And I can’t guarantee […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Flirty finches live up to their name

Galápagos Islands finches that helped Charles Darwin develop his theory of natural selection are showing clear signs of further evolutionary development. The latest study by researchers from the Flinders University Bird Lab has further shown that the birds commonly known as Darwin’s finches are the world’s fastest-evolving vertebrates, with their appearance and behaviour quickly adapting to rapidly changing environments. Researchers Dr Katharina Peters and Professor Sonia Kleindorfer, from the Research Centre for Animal Behaviour at […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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To Mars and back - health impacts from radiation in space

In September Adelaide hosted the 2017 International Astronautical Congress. Elon Musk spoke about his SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to Mars while Lockheed Martin unveiled their plans for a Mars Base Camp. A multitude of countries and companies who are active in the international space industry displayed exhibits. Anyone who attended would leave with a sense that travel by human beings to Mars is changing from a dream to a goal. An expedition to the surface of […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Ian Furness from University of South Australia
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How Google and artificial intelligence helped NASA find a missing exoplanet

Scientists have unveiled an eighth planet orbiting a distant star in the solar system dubbed as Kepler-90, about 2,500 light years away from us. The planet, Kepler-90i, was previously overlooked in the data from the Kepler Space Telescope as the signals were weak. But Google’s machine learning approach revisited the data and unearthed the hot rocky planet that orbits its star every 14.4 days. The artificial intelligence system allows computers “learn” – in this case to […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Bill Condie
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Astronomy is great in any sign language

Sign language is now officially practised in almost every country, but diverse heritages and cultures has meant that many have slightly different signs for words. Now, a project by the International Astronomical Union has sought to build a translation book to help deaf communities – and fill in the gaps of astronomical words that don’t have signs. The project started with 47 words that were the most used in astronomy, such as comet, telescope and […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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The science behind your latte layers

The secret to a perfect latte comes down to the impatience of your barista and some nifty fluid dynamics, according to new research. Researchers at Princeton University, after having their curiosity piqued by the neat layers of a latte, have investigated how layers develop when espresso is poured into hot milk. However more than just creating Insta-worthy coffees, the findings will have important implications for industry. “The structure formation in a latte is surprising because […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Everything you want to know about the SKA's Murchison Widefield Array

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is the world’s newest telescope, built in Western Australia as part of the worldwide Square Kilometre Array (SKA) network. One of four planned precursor facilities, it is the first to be completed. The MWA is located 315km northeast of Geraldton at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, a “radio quiet” area larger than Tasmania. Within this area, radio transmissions are strictly restricted and monitored, making it one of the quietest places in […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: ICRAR Outreach from The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
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Electric eels inspire new biomedical batteries

Electric eels are the inspiration for a new power pack design that could soon be used to drive biomedical devices. Researchers have built the battery based on the cells that eels use to shock their prey. It consists of lumps of gels, arranged in rows much like the eel’s electrocytes. “Our artificial electric organ has a lot of characteristics that traditional batteries don’t have,” Thomas Schroeder, a chemical engineer at the University of Michigan in Ann […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Bill Condie

The Check Up - parasites, drug policy, and gaps

The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web. Toxoplasmosis hijacks our immune system Having a cat around is basically inviting toxoplasmosa gondii into your house. But that’s cool, it’s pretty easy to use basic hygiene and make sure you don’t get infected with the mind-altering parasite. Seriously, wash your hands after you change your kitty litter! For most […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Clinical trial shows potential against food allergies in children

Food allergies affect millions of people around the world and have been on the rise for decades. Children are particularly at risk, with around one in 20 children affected compared with two in 100 adults. Not only are these allergies becoming more common, they are also growing in severity. And while there are several treatment options, there is no cure. Now, a new promising study suggests that an allergy drug, omalizumab, combined with food desensitisation treatments can […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Life's building blocks may have been created in space

It’s one of the great mysteries – where did the organic molecules that would be the ingredients for life on our young Earth come from? One possible source is becoming increasingly plausible thanks to new research released this week, that those basic organic molecules formed in space itself. Throughout space there are lumps of ice packed with chemical molecules, called molecular ices. Formed due to the low temperature of space, gases such as methane and […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Quasar from the dawn of time gives window on infant Universe

Astronomers have discovered a supermassive black hole and a quasar from the Universe’s infancy – around 690 million years after the Big Bang. The black hole has a mass that is 800 million times that of the Sun and is 13 billion light years away – the most distant we have ever detected and a window on what the Universe was like before the deionisation of hydrogen into the form it exists in today. What […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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New sodium battery could be the beginning of the end for lithium

A new battery technology offers the chance for a cheaper, greener and safer replacement to lithium batteries. The key is replacing the lithium with the far more common, and less flammable, sodium. Recharge your battery facts To understand this technology, let’s quickly refresh the basics behind batteries. All batteries convert chemical energy into electrical energy by moving metal ions from one side of the battery to the other. In a battery, a metal ion reacts […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel

Duck-billed predator dinosaur discovered in Mongolia

A bizarre new species of dinosaur has been discovered in Mongolia, that had penguin-like flippers as forelimbs, the neck of a swan, the bill of a duck, except lined with teeth like a crocodile’s. The animal, which is believed to have lived around 71-75 million years ago, is thought to have spent part of its life in the water and used its razor sharp claws to hunt down prey. The species, Halszkaraptor escuilliei, is described in […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Bill Condie
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Genetic technology is ‘changing the way we do medicine’

Aldgate schoolboy Angus Bond is the human face of the genomic revolution being led by South Australian researchers. The nine-year-old, who has the rare bone marrow disease Diamond-Blackfan Anemia (DBA), has given UniSA and SA Pathology researchers a global breakthrough in genetic mapping. Thanks to state-of-the-art genetic DNA sequencing technology being employed by UniSA and SA Pathology Professor Hamish Scott and his team at the Centre for Cancer Biology, the cause of Angus’s condition has […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Hilary Jones from Australia's Science Channel
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Latest images from Juno's close fly-by of Jupiter

The Juno mission to Jupiter has produced another stunning image of the giant planet, this one taken from just 18,906 kilometres about the tops of the planet’s clouds. The colour-enhanced image is of a cloud system in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere, taken on 24 October from a latitude of 57.57 degrees – 60% of the way Jupiter’s equator to its north pole. It was the spacecraft’s ninth close fly-by. An earlier release of an image from […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors
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