Latest Science


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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 years ago. Author: Hilary Jones from Australia's Science Channel
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