Latest Science


A new baby planet sighted in Milky Way

Missing link in knowledge of planet formation. In a world first, astrophysicists at Monash University have spotted a new planet inside a protoplanetary disc of space dust and gas, giving new insights into the way planets form. “Discs of gas and dust surrounding young stars are the birthplace of planets,” co-lead author Dr Christophe Pinte said. “However, direct detection of protoplanets forming within discs has proved elusive to date. The observation was made using the ALMA telescope […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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Platypus hormone has potential to treat diabetes

Peptide has dual function in venom and digestion. A key metabolic hormone found in the venom and gut of Australia’s iconic platypus holds potential to treat type 2 diabetes, new research led by the University of Adelaide suggests. The peptide-1 (GLP-1) is similar to glucagon, that is secreted in the gut of humans and animals, stimulating the release of insulin. The discovery stems from the sequencing of the platypus genome in 2008. “One of the […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel

No news from Opportunity in Martian mega-storm

Rover shuts down as raging dust clouds blot out sunlight. NASA engineers believe Opportunity rover is out of power as a dust storm cuts it off from enough sunlight to recharge its batteries. They sent a signal to the 15-year-old rover in Perseverance Valley earlier today, but did not hear back from it. When Opportunity’s batteries dip below 24 volts it enters low power fault mode, in which all subsystems, except a mission clock, are […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Eavesdropping on the mysterious narwhal

Scientists record the sounds of the Arctic’s ‘unicorn whale’. US and Danish scientists have gone right to the source in a bid to start monitoring how human activity affects one of the Arctic’s most mysterious creatures – the narwhal or “unicorn whale” with the large protruding tusk. They captured 533 hours of audio recordings that revealed three distinct types of sound – clicks, buzzes and calls – used in specific ways. Clicks and buzzes were produced […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Waves hasten Antarctic ice shelves collapse

Storm swells causing ‘catastrophic disintegration’. Storm-driven ocean swells have triggered the catastrophic disintegration of Antarctic ice shelves, according to Australian researchers. They say reduced sea ice coverage since the late 1980s has left ice shelves more exposed, causing them to flex and break. And they have called for sea ice and ocean waves to be included in future ice sheet modelling. “Sea ice acts as a protective buffer to ice shelves by dampening destructive ocean […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Pygmy perch swam across the desert

And there’s more to the species than expected. Freshwater pygmy perch once swam across parts of arid Australia where there has been no fresh water for a long time. They did it at least twice, in fact, more than 15 million years ago, heading east to west. Research by Australian and Brazilian scientists not only adds further weight to the suggestion that rivers once flowed in areas that are now arid, it also tells us […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Coral reefs save coasts and costs

Cost of flood damage soaring, study finds. We don’t really need more proof that we really need coral reefs, but researchers from the Nature Conservancy in California have provided it. They’ve found that the cost of damage from floods would double without them. Or, to look at it the other way, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico and Cuba could save more than $400 million a year each if they invested more in reef management. In […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Queen bumblebees affected by insecticides and diet

Study reveals negative consequences for queen. The bumblebee population is being affected by insecticides and, more surprisingly, a dull diet. Both have “unique negative consequences” on nesting queens, according to new research, including delayed nest initiation and lower brood numbers in the nest. They do partially recover if exposure to pesticides is only temporary, however. The study carried out at the University of California, Riverside was one of the first to look at the impact […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Getting fat? Maybe sleep on it. But not too much

Korean study suggests 6-10 hours is best. Getting too much sleep or not enough may affect your health and waist line, according to new research. A study of 133,600 Koreans suggests fewer than six or more than 10 hours of sleep per night is associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, which is characterised by having a fat waist, high blood-fat levels, low levels of good cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Tracking the false killer whale is not fake news

Groote Eylandt rescue inspires a new collaborative project. The discovery of a false killer whale stranded on the shores of remote Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria a year ago did more than just spark a successful 12-hour rescue mission by the local Anindilyakwa Land and Sea Rangers. It also inspired a concerted effort to find out more about this mysterious mammal – a large dolphin with a deceptively whale-shaped head. Leading the work […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lauren Fuge from Australia's Science Channel
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5 revolutionary ideas that could shape the world in 2050

How nature can help us cope in the future. It’s no secret that our planet is headed for some dark and unpredictable times, with climate change looming, and an ever-expanding global population which consumes more resources than Earth can sustain.  That’s why scientists are looking for solutions in nature to put us back on the front foot as we prepare to face the biggest challenges our species has ever seen.  Here’s a glimpse of what’s […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bec Crew from Australia's Science Channel

Teaching robots to see like us

Technology might make driverless cars drive better. Australian scientists hope to improve how mobile robots and driverless cars operate and interact with people by helping them to see the world from a more human perspective. In what it believes is a world first, a team from QUT in Queensland has used visual semantics to enable high-performance place recognition from opposing viewpoints. As PhD student Sourav Garg explains, while humans can recognise a place when re-entering […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel

Warming climate ups risk of global maize shortage

Modelling forecasts increased volatility and simultaneous failures in harvests. Global warming is likely to result in multiple and simultaneous poor maize harvests across the globe, leading to price hikes and food shortages, new modelling shows. A study led by Michelle Tigchelaar of the University of Washington in the US confirms earlier research that predicted the maize harvest would decrease as the climate continues to heat up, but also finds an increasing degree of volatility in […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Male dolphins know their mates’ names

Vocal labels a part of complex relationships. We can now add social intelligence to the list of impressive dolphin traits. Researchers from the University of Western Australia have discovered that male bottlenose dolphins can retain individual vocal labels or “names” to help recognise friends and rivals in their social network. No other non-human animals have yet been found that do that. Working with colleagues from the University of Zurich and the University of Massachusetts, they studied […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Eye on the sky to fill ‘er up

Canadians say there’s a way to make fuel from the air. Engineers have developed what they say is a cost-effective way of pulling carbon dioxide from the air to create carbon-neutral fuels that are compatible with existing fuel networks and vehicles. The process works by direct air capture; giant fans draw ambient air into contact with an aqueous solution that picks out and traps CO2. Add heat and chemical reactions, and that same CO2 can be […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel

Zero sums: bees recognise nothing

Experiment finds tiny-brained bees can grasp a concept that defeated the ancient Romans. Experiments by Australian researchers have demonstrated that honeybees can understand the concept of zero – something that eludes humans for the first year or two of life. In a paper published in the journal Science, scientists from RMIT University in Melbourne demonstrate that honeybees can be trained to associate reward with choosing the smallest of two number sets on offer. The idea […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Tropical cyclones more sluggish – and dangerous

US study reveals significant slowdown over 70 years. Tropical cyclones are slowing down and spending longer over the land they cross, with the potential to wreak even more havoc. Research by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests their translation speed (the rate they travel across the planet) has slowed by an average of 10 per cent globally over the past 70 years. In Australia, it is 19 per cent, but we’re far from […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Condom use drops as anti-HIV pill gains popularity

Australian study correlates PrEP uptake to a fall in condom use. It has been heralded as a game-changer, the popularity of a once-daily pill to prevent HIV infection has significant benefits but it has been linked to complacency at a community level, Australian researchers have warned. Their observational study of nearly 17,000 gay and bisexual men in Sydney and Melbourne suggests that the rapid uptake of a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) coincided with an equally quick fall in […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel

Ancient jaws tell a food story

Early humans adapted to a tropical lifestyle. Dried meats and palm plants may have been on the menu for the earliest hunter-gathers in Asia. That’s the conclusion of researchers from the University of NSW, who used modern Uranium-series dating techniques to analyse three human jawbones found in the Niah Caves in Sarawak in 1957. Project leader David Curnoe and colleagues estimate that one is 28-30,000 years old, and the others at least 11,000 and 10,000 […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Alcohol abstainers miss more days at work than moderate drinkers

European study finds teetotallers have a poor work record. People who don’t drink alcohol are more likely to miss days at work than folk who don’t mind a drop or two, research from Finland shows. Common wisdom holds that teetotallers, because they carry a zero-risk of suffering a debilitating hangover or injuring themselves by falling off a bar stool, are very likely to be reliable employees. Researchers led by Jenni Ervasti from the Finnish Institute […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Breast cancer eliminated using patient’s own T cells

Breakthrough may provide treatment for ‘untreatable’ cancers. US researchers have eliminated a patient’s breast cancer using her own T cells, in what they say is the first successful case of T cell immunotherapy for late-stage breast cancer. Dr Steven Rosenberg and colleagues from the National Institutes of Health cultivated cells which could recognise and attack the patient’s tumour before returning them to her body where they did their job and left her tumour-free. They say […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Middle age isn’t the risk it used to be

Research shows we have a high chance of making it to our 70s. Our risk of dying during middle age has dropped substantially in the last 50 years, especially from cardiovascular diseases, according to new research. Analysis by Monash University shows that Australians in their 20s now have an almost 90% chance of surviving until they are 70, up from just a 54-72% per cent in the 1960s. There is a downside to this, of […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Sexbots ‘won’t stop sex crime’, despite the hype

Experts say there is no evidence for their clinical use. Sexbots, by their very name and nature, are divisive. While some claim lifelike robots specifically created for sexual gratification can encourage safer sex and curb the incidence of sex crimes and sexual violence against women and children, others argue they are more likely to normalise sexual deviancy or act as a practice ground for violence. And while debate continues, the growth of the concept is […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel

Here’s your ‘uncertainty’ guide to Australia’s World Cup chances

It suggests you don’t put your money on the Socceroos. Australia may have been buoyed by its recent strong showing against the Czech Republic, but a unique uncertainty model devised by an Adelaide academic suggests the Socceroos are only a 14 per cent chance of even making the second round. Our chances of winning the Cup are a slender 0.1 per cent – which probably wouldn’t surprise even Australia’s most diehard fans. Mind you, Germany, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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How did agriculture really get started?

New modelling settles a long-running debate. Sort of. Too many people living off the fat of the land may have forced others to make hay while the sun shines, new modelling shows. Research from a team led by Patrick Kavanagh of the Colorado State University in the US reveals that food surplus, rather than shortage, was the “common, global factor” in the development of agriculture – regardless of geography or historical period. However, in a […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel

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