Latest Science


Federal laws are being broken as threatened species habitat continues to be destroyed

Despite federal environmental protection laws, human activities are continuing to destroy threatened species habitat at dangerous rates. Why This Matters: With habitat destruction continuing at high levels, the government is failing to protect our native species from extinction. Human activities have destroyed more than 7.7 million hectares of threatened species habitat, revealing critical failures with Australia’s federal environmental protection laws. A University of Queensland-led study has revealed that less than seven per cent of this […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: University of Queensland Newsroom from The University of Queensland
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Our legal rights are in the hands of people with a weird ability we don’t understand

So-called “super recognisers” are being recruited for surveillance and security roles while the science is having to play catch-up. Why This Matters: Police and security agencies are putting people’s safety and legal rights in the hands of a phenomenon we poorly understand nor know the limits of. Super recognisers – or people with uncanny abilities to match images of unknown faces with their real-life owners – are increasingly being relied upon by security agencies and […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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Indigenous youth suicide rates hits crisis point

There is an increased suicide rate among Indigenous youth compared to non-Indigenous youth, and now it’s at crisis point. Why This Matters: A suicide crisis is emerging in Indigenous youth, and we need to understand why in order to prevent the rate from increasing even more. A new systematic review has shed light on the risk factors and prevalence of suicide, self-harm and suicide ideation among Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. The review, […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: ECU Newsroom from Edith Cowan University
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Queensland bushfires: Is this the new normal?

Bushfires across Queensland in the first week of September have devastated communities. Why This Matters: Climate change is increasing bushfire risk earlier in the year. Bushfires are nothing new in Australia, but how many of us think of them occurring just one week out of winter? More than 60 fires are burning across Queensland and New South Wales, described by the NSW Rural Fire Service as worse than fires at the height of summer. With […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Lyndal Byford from Australian Science Media Centre
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Troops are putting themselves in harms way to protect robot mates

When military robots become valuable members of the team, there’s a tendency to treat them like colleagues rather than machines. Why This Matters: Making human-like robots changes how we interact with them. But that empathy can also put humans in danger trying to protect them. It is increasingly common to use robots in war zones to examine and disarm hazards or recover objects with the understanding that the loss of a robot is a far […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: UniSA Newsroom from University of South Australia

Weird tropical sea snake breathes through its forehead

Just when they couldn’t get any creepier, researchers have discovered that this sea snake can breathe through it’s forehead. Why this matters: Structures that work similar to gills have evolved separately in fish and this snake, millions of years apart. Plus we just thought it was a really interesting story. Only fish have gills, right? Wrong. Meet Hydrophis cyanocinctus, a snake that can breathe through the top of its own head. The 3m species, which […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Alessandro Palci from Flinders University
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How clean is your hospital room?

Despite rigorous cleaning processes, infections are still spread in hospitals. Improved hospital cleaning could minimise this risk resulting in health benefits and cost savings. Why this matters: Improving cleaning initiatives in hospitals reduces the risk of infection, which in turn saves lives. That means hospital stays are shorter, which in turn saves money. Imagine you need to go into hospital. First, you are likely to be seen in the emergency department, and then moved to […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Adrian Barnett from Queensland University of Technology
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Australia's renewables power past national target

Australia is installing renewables at a record rate which will soon see us surpass our Renewable Energy Target. Why this matters: Electricity generation is responsible for a significant proportion of Australia’s carbon emissions. Despite messy government policies and attempts to water down renewables development, Australia is still pushing forward with a transition to cleaner cheaper electricity generation. Australia continues to install renewables at record rates and will surpass the scrapped target of 41,000 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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Driving to work? For your health, try public transport instead

Forget the slog of the daily commute, there are healthier ways to travel to work. Why this matters: Long commutes can damage your health, and they’re increasing in length. But choosing more active transport can reverse the effects. How long is your daily commute to work? According to the latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, workers living in a capital city, spend 66 minutes travelling to and from work each day. […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Deakin Newsroom from Deakin University
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GM crops: to ban or not to ban? That's not the question

With two states making different decisions on genetically modified crops, researchers say conversations need to move past simply being “for” or “against” GM. The South Australian government recently announced its intention to lift the long-standing statewide moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops, following a statutory six-week consultation period. A government-commissioned independent review had estimated the cost of the moratorium at A$33 million since 2004 for canola alone. The review concluded there was no clear market […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Rachel A. Ankeny from The University of Adelaide
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A simple gel could help prevent radiation burns

A gel dressing could be used to prevent skin burns – a painful side effect from radiation therapy. A novel silicone-based, film-forming gel dressing could be used to prevent skin burns, which are a side effect that affects head and neck cancer patients. The study from the Queensland University of Technology, is the first of its kind to find an effective barrier against skin damage from radiation therapy in head and neck cancer. The researchers […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: QUT Newsroom from Queensland University of Technology
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Why are most of the fossils we find male?

Scientists have discovered that most of the fossils they dig up are male – it sounds strange, but the explanation is actually pretty simple. When you dig up an ancient bison leg, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the odds of it being a bull versus cow leg were roughly equal. But you’d be wrong. Around 75 per cent of bison fossils are male, according to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academies […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Dyani Lewis from Cosmos Magazine
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Native birds in south-eastern Australia worst affected by habitat loss

Habitat loss is a major concern for hundreds of Australian bird species, and south-eastern Australia has been the worst affected. More than half of all native bird species have each lost two-thirds of their natural habitat across Victoria, parts of South Australia and New South Wales. That’s the finding by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub study, featuring University of Queensland scientists. A team of researchers looked at how the amount of habitat available for each of […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: University of Queensland Newsroom from The University of Queensland
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From outback to outer space - Pilbara rocks hold clues to finding life on Mars

In preparation for Mars 2020, NASA and ESA scientists have ventured to the Aussie outback to learn the secrets of our ancient rocks. NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) scientists have spent a week in the remote outback of Australia for specialist training in identifying signs of life in ancient rocks. The trip served as preparation for NASA’s and ESA’s Mars 2020 missions, which are designed specifically to search for past life in rocks that […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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Humans began to dominate the Earth 3,000 years ago

A global project has found that humans began to significantly alter the Earth 3,000 years ago. But it pales into insignificance with our recent effects. Archaeologists have identified with unprecedented precision the turning point when humans began to transform the Earth beyond recognition, tracing it to around 3,000 years ago. Prior to this study, scientists suggested that humans began altering the Earth in 1950. Others have pinpointed the Industrial Revolution as the beginning of significant […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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Genetics may play a role in sexuality, but it's more complicated than that

Largest genetic study finds “diverse sexual behaviour is a natural part of overall human variation”. A new study has found that there is no “single gay gene”. Instead, researchers suggest there are thousands of genetic variants linked to the trait, that when combined only contribute to one per cent of the genetic variation. The researchers also suggest that same-sex sexual behaviour is influenced, like most other human traits, by a mix of genetic and environmental […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Amelia Nichele from Australia's Science Channel
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This car will race across Australia using the same energy as a kettle

Teams from around the world are making final preparations to their solar racers before the World Solar Challenge across Australia. The shimmering red vehicle above is not the spacecraft it looks like, but rather UNLIMITED 3.0, one of Australia’s most advanced solar race cars. It will compete in the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, a brutal 3,000km race across rugged outback terrain from Darwin to Adelaide. It’s a long trek and UNLIMITED 3.0 is going […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Western Sydney Newsroom from Western Sydney University

One in nine Australian women live with endometriosis

“It is so important to identify the number of women affected to move forward” say researchers. New research has found that 1 in 9 Australian women are diagnosed with endometriosis by the time they reach the age of 44. Researchers from The University of Queensland say they hope defining the prevalence of endometriosis in Australia would help increase understanding of the condition. “Numbers like this show how relatively common the condition is – it’s something […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: University of Queensland Newsroom from The University of Queensland
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Energy harvesting smart fabrics are one step closer thanks to lasers

The next generation of waterproof smart fabrics will be laser printed and made in minutes. Australian scientists have developed a cost-efficient and scaleable method for rapidly fabricating textiles that are embedded with energy storage devices. In just three minutes, the method developed by researchers at RMIT can produce a 10x10cm smart textile patch that’s waterproof, stretchable and readily integrated with energy harvesting technologies. The technology enables graphene supercapacitors – powerful and long-lasting energy storage devices […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: RMIT University from RMIT University

Charles Camarda on becoming an astronaut

NASA Astronaut Charles Camarda flew to space on STS-114, NASA’s first mission after the explosion of Space Shuttle Columbia and loss of its crew. With a background in engineering, Charles’s route to becoming an astronaut came after working for NASA in research and development. Now, he uses what he learnt during his space career to teach engineers and students the right way to fail. But with a fast changing space industry, he thinks Australian students […] See more

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

Saturn's wind mystery is starting to unravel

Saturn’s interior might flow like honey, and it might solve the mystery of why winds stop at a certain depth inside the giant gas planet. A new study argues that Saturn’s interior flows like honey due to its magnetic field, which may help solve the mystery of why the planet’s powerful winds stop 8,500km inside the giant gas planet. Unlike Earth, Saturn has no solid surface; it is a gaseous planet, consisting mostly of hydrogen […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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No, the pumice raft isn't going to save the Great Barrier Reef

A volcanic pumice raft has set sail for Australia, with some hoping it will bring millions of new and healthy corals. Some think it’ll rescue our reef – but that ignores the underlying issues. A giant pumice raft is floating its way across the Pacific Ocean, with claims it could “restock” the Great Barrier Reef. The raft, which is about the size of Manhattan, is expected to bring millions of organisms, including new and healthy […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Amelia Nichele from Australia's Science Channel
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Mobile phone software potentially breaks a bunch of laws

Readily available consumer spyware products potentially violate a range of Australian laws, relating to harassment, stalking, identity theft and fraud. New research has found that spyware products available for download on most smartphones have the potential to break Australian laws, through their manufacture, advertising and use. It’s caused the researchers from Deakin University to urge for greater support for domestic violence support services given the risk posed to personal privacy and safety. Diarmaid Harkin from […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Deakin Newsroom from Deakin University

Public transport systems need a rethink to get Aussies on board

Despite more than half of us believing we should do more to help the environment, only 12 per cent commute using public transport. Rail commuters, take a bow. By catching the train instead of driving, your environmental footprint is five times less that of a typical motorist. If you’re walking or cycling, you get full marks for a zero imprint on the environment. However, according to a recent study from the University of South Australia […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: UniSA Newsroom from University of South Australia
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Aussie men are living longer than other males around the world

According to new research, Aussie men are living longer than any other group of males  – with Aussie women not too far behind. Here’s some good news for your Monday: new research has found that Australian men are now living longer than any other group of males in the world, and Aussie women aren’t too far behind in the rankings.  The research, from The Australian National University (ANU), introduced a new way of measuring life […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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