Latest Science


Men outperform women when it comes to moving images

Men see high-speed visual stimuli more quickly than women, and no one knows why. When it comes to detecting quickly moving visual objects, men are faster than women, according to research published in the journal Current Biology. But it might not be due to better visual processing, say researchers from the University of Washington in the US. Instead, it could be due to the same brain processes as those found altered in autism spectrum disorder […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Italian bridge collapse: could it happen in Australia?

Should we be using technology to monitor the state of our infrastructure? Three days on from the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, rescue teams are still looking for bodies and everyone is asking questions. How could such a large bridge fail so catastrophically? Dr Colin Caprani, a Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering at Monash University said people rightly expect that bridges won’t fall down, but he warned there are no absolutes. “Engineering […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Susannah Eliot

The planet KELT-9b literally has an iron sky

Iron and titanium have been found in the atmosphere of a super-hot giant exoplanet. KELT-9b, one of the most unlikely planets ever discovered, has surprised astronomers yet again with the discovery that its atmosphere contains the metals iron and titanium, according to research published in the journal Nature. The planet is truly like no other. Located around 620 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Cygnus, it is known as a Hot Jupiter – which […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Robots aren’t always nice, and that’s sometimes good

Studies raise concerns over robot influence on children, but find hostile behaviour can improve adult performance. Robots can exert peer pressure on kids, and make adults concentrate harder at work by acting in ways interpreted as mean, according to two new pieces of research published in the journal Science Robotics. In the first study, researchers led by Anna-Lisa Vollmer from Bielefeld University in Germany found that children are more likely than adults to give in […] See more

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

Marine heatwaves more frequent and intense

Studies predict a dramatic impact if global warming continues. Marine heatwaves (MHW) are becoming more frequent and intense as a result of global warming and that trend is likely to continue, according to Swiss researchers. And the figures are pretty grim. In a paper published in Nature, they report that the number of MHW days doubled between 1982 and 2016 and suggest that if temperatures rise by 3.5°C relative to preindustrial levels by the end of […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Why is it usually men who go to war?

Modelling suggests differences between the sexes aren’t the answer. When two tribes go to war it’s usually only men doing the fighting, and that has been the case across the centuries, irrespective of how and how much warfare might have changed. There are a number of possible contributing factors, but none really explains how infrequently women are involved in any number. In some cases, you would think, sheer weight of numbers might be an advantage. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Why don't elephants get cancer as often as others?

A gene present but inactive in many species has been revived by the world’s largest land mammal – to very good effect. Elephants possess a weaponised zombie gene that protects them from cancer by preventing rogue cells from forming, according to new research published in the journal Cell Reports. The discovery, made by a team led by geneticist Vincent Lynch from the University of Chicago in the US, goes a long way to answering one […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Easter Island happy, despite the grim faces

Evidence confirming that early life may not have been as unsophisticated and combative as many assume. For many years there was a view that the Polynesian seafarers who made remote Easter Island home about 900 years ago built a society clever enough to carve the famous and still mysterious giants stone statues (moai), then destroyed it through infighting and over-exploitation of natural resources. More recently, however, doubts have been expressed about whether the islanders really […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Remifentanil could halve the need for epidurals during childbirth

UK study suggest switching standard pain relief drug, pethidine, to remifentanil to bring greater relief to mothers. Childbirth can be a painful and dangerous process. Epidurals can often bring relief but due to side effects is not always the first line of treatment for pain relief. Epidurals are injections of pain relief drugs around the spinal cord. Whilst effective, they can increase the need for instrumental delivery during birth, which comes with its own potential […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Wild fairy-wrens taught stranger danger

Birds of a different feather can be trained to survive and recognise alarm sounds after release from captivity. Researchers may have found a way to improve the survival chances of endangered birds bred in captivity after successfully training wild fairy-wrens to recognise danger warnings from other species. The process could be likened to teaching the birds a foreign language and training them to recognise predators with their eyes closed, according to the research team that […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Janelle Kirkland from University of the Sunshine Coast
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Zapping a new approach to solar cells

Using nanotechnology, researchers develop microwave technique to improve solar cells. A simple and fast microwave experiment with the common chemical element phosphorus at Flinders University has opened the prospect of more affordable and effective super-thin solar cells. In a world in need of cheaper, sustainable energy solutions, Flinders University nanotechnology researchers made flakes of phosphorene only a few atoms thick. Phosphorene is a 2D form of phosphorus, which could not only boost the energy capacity […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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Space pic of the week: Parker Solar Probe launch

The Parker Solar Probe is heading to the sun after launching over the weekend. Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida to begin its journey to the Sun. Launching atop a ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket, Parker Solar Probe is the first-ever mission into the outer part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona. Once there, its observations will help researchers improve their forecasts […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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NASA sets the controls for the heart of the sun

Parker space probe due for launch this weekend. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, NASA is set to launch the Parker Space Probe – a vehicle designed to get closer to the sun than any previous human artefact – this weekend. The probe, which is about the size of a small car, will exploit the gravity of Venus to gradually over seven years build an orbit that will take it to within six million kilometres of the sun’s surface […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Tweets suggest a visit to the park may lift your emotions

Tracking Twitter shows that visiting the park could increase your mental affect. Just spending time in leafy parks can improve the emotion and decrease the negativity of Twitter users for several hours, scientists have discovered. The research, published on the pre-print site arXiv, supports the long-held link that open spaces are beneficial for physical and psychological wellbeing. Indeed, there are concerns that declines in the amount of urban park areas, and thus contact with nature, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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When and how to watch the 2018 Perseid meteor shower

For sky-watchers in the northern hemisphere, this weekend promises to be spectacular. The Perseid meteor showers are an annual summer highlight for the northern hemisphere, when seemingly hundreds of meteorites flash across the sky, moving fast and leaving long “wakes” of light and colour behind them. This weekend promises to be the best time to check it out, and here’s everything you need to know. The peak of the Perseid shower this year will be […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Lombok earthquake causes a permanent ground-shift

Sections of the island have been lifted by 25 centimetres. The deadly earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Lombok earlier this week permanently deformed the island, lifting entire areas by a quarter of a metre, according to satellite mapping. Scientists at NASA and Caltech used data from ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-1A and -1B satellites to measure the ground movement due to the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck the island on 5 August. By comparing measurements taken […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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How useful are stratospheric veils?

Scientists go back to the volcanic source to raise questions about solar radiation management technique. US scientists have questioned the potential of “stratospheric veils” to counter climate change after having a more detailed look at the incidents that inspired the idea in the first place. They now believe that injecting aerosols into the stratosphere could do as much to damage crop yields as it would to protect them from rising temperatures. A team led by […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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A creepy crawly cure for Dravet syndrome

Tarantula venom may directly target a faulty gene and restore normal brain activity. Spiders are often the stuff of childhood nightmares, but one species could provide the answer to a debilitating childhood disease. Australian scientists have used a peptide isolated from the venom of the West African Togo Starbust tarantula (Heteroscodra maculate) in mouse models to treat Dravet syndrome, a severe myoclonic epilepsy that affects children before their first birthday and can cause intellectual disabilities, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Follow in the footsteps of megafauna

From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons, the latest children’s book from Dr Danielle Clode highlights Australia’s amazing fossils. Australia’s giant ‘wombat’, the Diprotodon, is described as the world’s largest marsupial, weighing more than 2.5 tonnes at almost three metres long. Award-winning Flinders University science writer Dr Danielle Clode tells some intriguing tales about this mammoth animal and many other megafauna in her latest children’s book, From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons: Australia’s Amazing Fossils (Museums Victoria). Diprotodon optatum roamed across Australia, from the world-famous Naracoorte […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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The Spear Project aims to add to our understanding of Bronze Age life

Hungarian museum piece sheds light on ancient metallurgy. In 1893, a man called László Pokorny, a collector of curios, walked into the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest and handed over an ancient spearhead. The artefact boasted a 14-centimetre-long leaf-shaped blade – worn and damaged – ending in a cylindrical socket that had clearly once contained a wooden shaft. The museum curators saw immediately that the spearhead was similar to many previously unearthed through the Carpathian […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Space pic of the week: Asteroid close-up

Hayabusa2 snapped this close-up of asteroid Ryugu less than 6km from the surface. Hayabusa2, JAXA’s asteroid chasing spacecraft, snapped this close-up image of its target, Ryugu, on July 20. Taken from an altitude of just 6km, the resolution is about 3.4 times higher than previous images. 1 pixel in the image corresponds to about 60cm. The largest crater on the surface of Ryugu is near the centre of the image showing its “mortar” shape. The […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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The star that wouldn't die

The brightest star in our galaxy should have destroyed itself 170 years ago, but didn’t. Now astronomers think they know why. About 170 years ago astronomers watched as Eta Carinae, the brightest star in our galaxy, unleashed an almighty outburst that released almost as much energy as a typical supernova. And yet Eta Carinae survived the cataclysmic explosion. Ever since, astronomers have been searching for an explanation for why the powerful blast wasn’t enough to […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Australian Akshay Venkatesh wins Fields Medal, the 'Nobel Prize of Maths'

The Fields Medal, the Nobel Prize of Mathematics, has been awarded to Professor Akshay Venkatesh, the second Australian ever to win the prestigious prize. Originally from Perth, Ashkay specialises in pure mathematics and number theory. He was specifically awarded “for his synthesis of analytic number theory, homogeneous dynamics, topology, and representation theory, which has resolved long-standing problems in areas such as the equidistribution of arithmetic objects.” He was awarded their prize with four other mathematicians […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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The short story of the Flores pygmies

A modern group of short-statured people living on the island of Flores are not genetically related to the original ‘hobbits’ Homo floresiensis. On the island of Flores in South East Asia, not that far north of Western Australia, populations of tiny humans arose twice, completely independently and separated by tens of thousands of years. The research by an international team led by Princeton University, and published in Science, found that a modern group of short-statured people […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Some planetary scientists are still crying about Pluto

A statement claims that calling another object Planet 9 is ‘insensitive’. In this week’s edition of the Planetary Exploration Newsletter, a group of 35 scientists have complained that the use of the term Planet 9 is “insensitive”. In the statement titled On the insensitive use of the term “Planet 9” for objects beyond Pluto, they criticise the naming of a hypothetical giant planet orbiting on the absolute outer reaches of our solar system as Planet […] See more

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