Latest Science


Can't go outside? Even seeing nature on your screen can help cheer you up

Being cooped up at home doesn’t mean you can’t connect with nature in some way – and you’ll feel better for it. Why This Matters: Satisfying our biophilia can help not only during iso, but afterwards as well. Are you feeling anxious or irritated during the coronavirus lockdown? Do you constantly want to get up and move? Maybe you need a moment to engage with nature. Getting into the great outdoors is difficult at right […] See more

Published 4 weeks ago. Author: Aini Jasmin Ghazalli from Australian National University
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No wonder isolation’s so tiring - all those extra decisions are taxing our brains

All the tiny everyday decisions that we make during the COVID-19 pandemic and isolation are beginning to take their toll. Why This Matters: Sometimes it’s best to take a step back and not do everything at once. Anxiety, depression, loneliness and stress are affecting our sleep patterns and how tired we feel. But we may be getting tired for another reason. All those tiny decisions we make every day are multiplying and taking their toll. Is it safe to […] See more

Published 4 weeks ago. Author: Ben Newell from University of New South Wales
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Mining resources in space - what's legal and what's not?

There are serious concerns around how mining in space and the role of private corporations will be governed. Why This Matters: Laws regulating space are complex and in some cases incomplete. As the world tries to cope with the challenges of 2020, discussions around the use of mined resources from outer space continue to ratchet up. On April 6, the US White House released an executive order that Americans “should have the right to engage in […] See more

Published 4 weeks ago. Author: Steven Freeland from Western Sydney University
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Behold, the “Crazy Beast”

It might look like a badger, but internally the Crazy Beast has got some crazy-weird seemingly nature-defying anatomy. Why This Matters: Madagascar keeps throwing up evolutionary weirdness. When in isolation, animals evolve bizarre features and behaviours. And sometimes, it gets really weird. Madagascar already has its fair share of weird and wonderful fauna. But now researchers have uncovered a mammal the size of a cat, that resembled a badger, and roamed amid dinosaurs and giant […] See more

Published 4 weeks ago. Author: Natalie Parletta from Australia's Science Channel
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Seven industries that are being transformed by drones

From pizza delivery to a flying medical toolbox – drones are taking off in all sorts of industries. Why This Matters: Drones can add a level of convenience, efficiency, and safety. This article is sponsored by Bright-r. Everyone is getting in on the drone action. They’re not just toys for flying around your suburb spying on neighbours (don’t do this), or for filmmakers getting killer shots for Game of Thrones. A huge range of industries […] See more

Published 4 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel

6 countries, 6 curves: how nations that moved fast against COVID-19 avoided disaster

Individually, the graphs tell their own story. Together, they have one clear message: places that responded quickly were more effective at getting COVID-19 under control. Why This Matters: Different responses explain why COVID-19 devastated some countries. To understand the spread of COVID-19, the pandemic is more usefully viewed as a series of distinct local epidemics. The way the virus has spread in different countries, and even in particular states or regions within them, has been quite […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Hassan Vally from La Trobe University
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Queensland dolphins intentionally beach themselves to trap food

Beached as bro! Dolphins in Queensland’s Fitzroy River chase fish onto muddy banks and beach themselves, before sliding back into the water. Why This Matters: Dolphins keep surprising with their cleverness (and risk-taking). When it comes to finding food, Dolphins are pretty ingenious. They cover their noses in sea sponges to protect their snouts and uncover more fish hiding in the sandy sea floor. Others use shells as filters, carrying them through the water before […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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If we can put a man on the Moon, we can save the Great Barrier Reef

As the Great Barrier Reef continues to suffer from mass bleaching events, it’s clear action is needed to save this great wonder. Why This Matters: There is no silver bullet to the regular bleaching, but it is still possible. Scientists recently confirmed the Great Barrier Reef suffered another serious bleaching event last summer – the third in five years. Dramatic intervention to save the natural wonder is clearly needed. First and foremost, this requires global greenhouse gas […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Peter J Mumby from The University of Queensland
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Measurements of a distant quasar suggest one of the universe's constants is weirdly inconsistent

Not only does a universal constant appear to change at the outer fringes of the cosmos, it occurs in only one direction, which is downright weird. Why This Matters: If this is confirmed, the fundamental concepts underpinning physics may need a revision. New measurements of a quasar 13 billion light-years away have found that one of the cosmological constants used in physics can in fact be awkwardly inconsistent. The fine structure constant is used to […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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COVIDSafe tracking app reviewed: the government delivers on data security, but other issues remain

Whether you download COVIDSafe or not is up to you, but it’s important to be informed before making that decision. Why This Matters: Be an informed decision maker. About 1.13 million people had downloaded the federal government’s COVIDSafe app by 6am 27 April, just 12 hours after its, said Health Minister Greg Hunt. The government is hoping at least 40% of the population will make use of the app, designed to help reduce the spread of the […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Mahmoud Elkhodr from Australia's Science Channel

AI can write a song as good as anything you've heard on Eurovision*

*That can be good or bad depending on your own interpretation. But there’s a European AI song contest to find out, and Australia has a team (of course). Why This Matters: We’re not getting Eurovision this year, so the AI Song Contest is our substitute. Eurovision might be cancelled, but an Australian tune written using artifical intelligence is in the running to win a new international song competition. You can even vote to help. The […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: RMIT University from RMIT University

Hubble turns 30 - The images that changed our view of the universe

As the Hubble Space Telescope turns 30, astrophysicist Alan Duffy shares his favourite images and how they changed the way we understand the universe. Why This Matters: Hubble has shown us the universe in ways we never thought possible. On 25 April 1990 the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the Space Shuttle Discovery. Lifted from the cargo bay, the astronauts onboard, including future NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, unfolded the telescope’s solar arrays and antennae […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Part of a disCERNing crowd

Australian physicist Martin White reveals what life is like working on the world’s most exciting science experiment – CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Why This Matters: Living in Australia doesn’t exclude you from being part of science history. It’s lunchtime, and I am standing with a colleague under the main site of the CERN laboratory, trying to work out whether to go right or left. With the rainy Geneva winter in full swing, he informs me […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Martin White from Cosmos Magazine

Hungry galaxies grow fat on the flesh of their neighbours

Modelling has shown that big galaxies get bigger by ‘eating’ smaller ones – like a constant case of the cosmic munchies. Why This Matters: The findings shed light on how galaxies evolve. Galaxies grow large by eating their smaller neighbours, new research reveals. Exactly how massive galaxies grow so big is poorly understood, not least because they swell over billions of years. Now, a combination of observation and modelling from researchers, led by UNSW’s Anshu Gupta […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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These 5 images show how air pollution changed over Australia’s major cities before and after lockdown

As people travel less and stay at home more, pollution is dropping across some Australian cities. But not all, and scientists aren’t sure why. Why This Matters: The challenge now is how to restrict pollution after COVID restrictions lift. Have you recently come across photos of cities around the world with clear skies and more visibility? In an unexpected silver lining to this tragic crisis, urban centres, such as around Wuhan in China, northern Italy […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Elena Sánchez-García from Australia's Science Channel
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Facial recognition reveals the unknown Diggers of Vignacourt

After a century of mystery, facial recognition has identified over a thousand unknown ANZACs from photographs taken in France. Why This Matters: There are many more pieces of history for us to uncover. Vignacourt is a town in France that few Australians have heard of. And yet the town was visited by thousands of Australian Diggers, who passed through the cobbled streets on their way to the nearby Western Front during World War I. As they […] See more

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

Open science: after COVID-19 there can be no return to closed working

Science is largely publicly funded but not publicly accessible – when science is not openly accessible, it does not, and cannot, reach everyone who needs it. Why This Matters: COVID-19 has shown us we can’t afford to not have a global open science effort. In the few months since the first case of COVID-19 was identified, the underlying cause has been isolated, its symptoms agreed on, its genome sequenced, diagnostic tests developed, and potential treatments and […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Virginia Barbour from The Australian Academy of Science
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Why do more men die from coronavirus than women?

The sex bias in COVID-19 deaths is part of a much larger picture and can lead to different responses to a range of diseases. Why This Matters: Understanding our differences can lead to better treatments. All over the world – in China, Italy, the United States and Australia – many more men than women are dying from COVID-19. Why? Is it genes, hormones, the immune system – or behaviour – that makes men more susceptible to the disease? I […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Jenny Graves from Australia's Science Channel
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Glowing dolphins: The brilliance of bioluminescence off our coasts

Marine biologist Vanessa Pirotta was instrumental in filming dolphins swimming in bioluminescence for the first time – and the experience was unforgettable. Why This Matters: Bioluminescence is a reminder of how beautiful our oceans are. One of the largest migrations on earth takes place in the ocean every night. Billions of tiny marine organisms known as zooplankton rise to the surface to feed on phytoplankton– tiny microscopic creatures which make their own food using the […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Vanessa Pirotta from Australia's Science Channel
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The biodiversity debate is over – now let’s save the planet

To preserve biodiversity, a new report suggests conservation efforts should focus on both large wild habitats and human-dominated ones. Why This Matters: We’ve got the instructions, now we need to use them. With the planet’s biodiversity crisis putting hundreds of thousands of species at risk of extinction, conservationists aren’t sure whether to focus efforts and resources on protecting large wild habitats, or those that are fragmented and degraded. An analysis published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Natalie Parletta from Cosmos Magazine
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Ten ‘catastrophic’ threats to our survival highlighted in Australian report

“The human species’ ability to cause mass harm to itself has been accelerating since the mid-20th Century.” Why This Matters: COVID-19 may have the spotlight, but we can’t ignore the other threats. The current pandemic may have shifted our focus, but we cannot ignore 10 “catastrophic and existential” threats to human survival, a new report warns. However, the pandemic could be used by governments to begin the address the threats. The call for global, united action […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Natalie Parletta from Cosmos Magazine
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What you might have missed about the COVID-19 situation: 22 April 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop here and around the globe, stay informed with our regular update of the situation. Why This Matters: Stay informed, stay safe. The Numbers Global Confirmed cases: 2,561,044 Confirmed deaths: 176,984 Source: Johns Hopkins University (10:30 am AEST 22 April 2020) Australia Confirmed cases: 6547 Confirmed deaths: 67 ACT: 103 cases, 3 deaths NSW: 2926 cases, 26 deaths NT: 28 cases, 0 deaths Queensland: 1015 cases, 6 deaths SA: 435 cases, 4 […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Ian Connellan from Australia's Science Channel
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We know what stopped Ebola and we know what can stop COVID-19

“It’s an infectious disease with human-to-human transmission, so how we control it is entirely based on how our community responds to it.” Why This Matters: To beat COVID-19 it’s as simple as staying home. Dr Kamalini Lokuge has 25 years of experience in high-risk epidemics. She has worked in outbreaks of Ebola, Lassa fever and avian flu, and according to the New York Times, was one of the first epidemiologists to draw attention to the scale of the […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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What a simulated Mars mission taught me about food waste

When Dianne McGrath went to “space” (in Utah), it demonstrated just how much food wastage occurs – and how easy it is to reduce. Why This Matters: Food security is an increasing concern – meanwhile Australians each send 300kg of food to landfill every year. As a food waste researcher, I’m interested in how humans prepare food, eat and manage leftovers. This interest is not just confined to Earth – it extends to other planets. […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Dianne McGrath from RMIT University
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What Colombia’s cocaine hippos and the Kimberley’s donkeys have in common

Introduced species might be turning the clock back on a whole history of extinctions. Why This Matters: Introduced species might be changing ecosystems the same way long-extinct species did. The giant wombat may no longer roam the wilds of Australia, but wild donkeys certainly do. And in South America, giant llamas have disappeared, and hippos are now found in rivers. And weirdly, the donkeys and hippos might have something in common. Over the past 100,000 years, […] See more

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