Latest Science


Rising carbon dioxide will leach nutrients from rice

By century’s end the rice will still grow, but it will be less nourishing. Rice, the crop that feeds half the world, could be nutritionally deficient within decades if global warming continues unabated, research shows. The cereal is robust in many respects but is notably sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. A study published in the journal Science Advances models rice health in line with projections for rising carbon dioxide levels, linked to global warming, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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What we learnt from Stargazing Live: Episode 1

Catch up on Stargazing Live on the ABC with our wrap of Episode 1. Huzzah! The best three hours of science TV in Australia has returned! Stargazing Live is back for another year, live from Siding Spring Observatory. With Brian Cox dropping knowledge bombs with Julia Zemiro, Lisa Harvey Smith blowing our minds, and Greg Quicke and Alan Duffy out and about discovering the cosmos, here’s what we learnt in the first episode, Episode 1. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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When you need things to really stick, do like spiders do

Glycoproteins hold the key in wet conditions. We’ve known for a while that spiders use a glue-type material to hunt and capture their prey, and that it works even in humid or wet habitats, but we haven’t known how or why. Until now. Researchers from the University of Akron in the US have discovered that glycoproteins (proteins which consist of amino acids and sugar molecules) are the main component of spider aggregate glue, and can […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Hunting for ghost mushrooms

It’s the perfect time of year to go hunting for ghost mushrooms. Close your eyes and let them adjust to the darkness, instructs our guide. It’s 6.30pm and I’ve driven 500km to a pine forest outside Mt Gambier to visit Ghost Mushroom Lane, one of the largest concentrations of the Australian native glow-in-the-dark Ghost Mushroom. The tour is organised by Forestry SA, which manages the pine plantation. A group of around 20 of us have been […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Biodegradable plastic bags are not safe for the environment

New research destroys the cosy thinking round ‘greener’ alternatives. Purchasing biodegradable plastic bags seems like a positive change for any concerned citizen trying to play their small part in the war on waste, but a new review into the biodegradable nature of plastic shows that it might not be as clear cut as we had hoped. Plastic bags The humble plastic bag has become synonymous with pollution.  Nowhere is this truer than in the marine […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andy Stapleton from Australia's Science Channel

How birds got their beaks

Birds gained an evolutionary advantage over their dinosaur ancestors by skipping tooth development altogether Why do birds have beaks? Fewer teeth makes for a lighter body, which could have helped in the evolution of flight. But there were birds flying around with some impressive gnashers, so that can’t be the only reason. Beaks also make for stronger skulls.  Beaks that come in a huge range of shapes and sizes certainly help birds adapt to a […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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The secret behind Michael Jackson's impossible dance move

Biomechanics experts warn against trying the  ‘anti-gravity’ tilt at home. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t agree that Michael Jackson was one of the most influential musical artists of our time. But it wasn’t only music he influenced and revolutionised. His dance moves defined pop music choreography, and pushed dancers to do more and more extreme moves. Now one of his signature moves – the extreme lean from Smooth Criminal – has come […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Scientists find a new way to group atoms

Australians hope to open another dimension in chemistry. Australian scientists have found a new way of joining groups of atoms into shape-changing molecules they say opens up the possibility of a new area of chemistry and the development of many new drugs, microelectronics and materials. They are both excited – the last reported discovery of a new way to make isomers was in 1961 – and confident, expecting to have a proof-of-principle and prototype demonstration […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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GI Jennie and Ant Man among science luminaries

Australian Academy of Science names 21 new Fellows. An Australian scientist who has revealed the hidden world of ants is the first person from the Northern Territory to be elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. Dr Alan Andersen, the world’s leading ant community ecologist, is one of 21 scientists acknowledged in 2018 for their outstanding contributions to science, alongside mathematician Professor Geordie Williamson, who at 36 becomes the youngest living Fellow. This […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Intermittent rivers boost global carbon emissions

We can’t ignore those that don’t always flow. Rivers that sometimes stop flowing and even dry up completely still have a significant impact on CO2emissions around the globe, according to a collaborative study involving 94 international partners. In fact, the researchers say we may have to increase estimates of daily carbon dioxide emissions from inland watercourses by as much as 150 per cent. Dusty, dry riverbeds accumulate leaves, wood and other plant material, and this […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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It’s time to ‘I heart’ eggs

Daily consumption may reduce cardiovascular disease. Eating an egg a day could help keep our hearts a lot healthier, according to a team of researchers from China and the UK. Their study of more than 400,000 people found that daily egg consumers had a 26 per cent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke, a 28 per cent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke death and an 18 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD). […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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The interstellar immigrant in our own backyard

Astronomers have discovered an object orbiting Jupiter which they say is not from our solar system. When the interstellar asteroid ‘Oumuamua passed us by last year, astronomers peered intently hoping to find the secrets of rocks and asteroids from other solar systems. Now, scientists have discovered an asteroid currently nestling in Jupiter’s orbit which they say started life in another solar system. The difference between it and ‘Oumuamua, however, is that while ‘Oumuamua was just […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Diet study needs urine donations

A Queensland researcher needs a wee bit of help. Researchers at the University of Queensland are seeking volunteers prepared to urinate for science. As part of an ongoing investigation into the role of nitrate in diet, Nick McMahon, of the university’s School of Human Movement and Nutrition Science, wants to enrol a cohort of active adults who are prepared to exercise for a couple of hours a week, then pee into a bottle and deliver […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Itchy science: mosquito saliva triggers your immune system

A mosquito bite alone, without pathogens, can affect your immune system for up to a week. Mosquito bites are the bane of every Australian during summer. Their bite – and more specifically, their saliva – packs a powerful punch, as researchers have published this week. This is the first study to look at mosquito saliva on human immune cells in a living mice, transmitted through a mosquito bite. Understanding mosquito-transmitted diseases is a high global […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel

Treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome becomes a closer reality

Scientists have made a major breakthrough in understanding what causes polycystic ovary syndrome. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 10 to 18% of women worldwide. The occurrence is even higher for Indigenous women. Despite how common PCOS is among women there is currently no standardised treatment, let alone a cure. Scientists have suspected for some time that there may be more than a heritable or genetic component to the disease. Environmental factors such as hormone exposure […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Hippos leave fish in deep do-do

Hippo dung is so potent it can clean out a river, research finds. As if there weren’t already enough self-evident reasons why sharing a river with a mob of hippos is a bad idea, there’s now an extra one – which is very bad news indeed if you happen to have no other option. A study published in the journal Nature Communications reports that hippos wallowing in Africa’s Mara River fill it with so much poo […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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This is the winning formula for a pop smash hit

It could predict which songs will be chart toppers or door stoppers. Songs that top the charts are mostly sung by women, more upbeat, and ‘party-like’, according to scientists who may or may not be Eurovision fans. After sifting through more than 500,000 songs released over the past 30 years and their success on the UK Singles Chart, scientists from the University of California Irvine claim to have cracked the formula of what makes songs […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Genes tell of our distant insect-eating past

Conserved genes for breaking down exoskeletons point to a bug-munching common ancestor. The first mammals – very likely small creatures that spent much of their time trying not to get crushed under the feet of reptilian megafauna – have left markers of their diet in the genomes of most, perhaps all, of their descendants. Research conducted by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, in the US, has found remnants of genes that enable insect […] See more

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

Stars formed ‘soon’ after the Big Bang

A distant galaxy reveals some secrets Stars may have begun forming in a distant galaxy 250 million years after the Big Bang, a new study suggests. The Universe was barely 2 per cent of its current age at the time, which makes the finding of great interest to those involved with a fundamental quest of modern astronomy – locating the earliest galaxies and studying how they influenced the intergalactic medium in the early years. A […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Whatever it's worth, Bitcoin can cost a lot

Economist suggests the cryptocurrency uses almost as much energy as Ireland Bitcoin could be using half a per cent of the world’s total electric energy by the end of this year, according to analysis by a financial economist cum blockchain specialist. Alex de Vries puts the minimum current usage of the Bitcoin network at 2.55 gigawatts annually, which means it uses almost as much electricity as Ireland. A single transaction uses as much electricity as […] See more

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

Less than half of elderly Aussies up to date with pneumococcal vaccine

Pneumonia is a disease which ends lives prematurely, even in wealthy countries with excellent health care. Pneumonia does not discriminate. Famous deaths from pneumonia include actress Brittany Murphy (2009), cricketer Sir Donald Bradman (2001) , and astronomer and science communicator Carl Sagan (1996). The most common cause of pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae, which causes about 20% of pneumonia in Australia and more than 15,000 GP visits and 2,000 deaths in Australia annually.  The Lung Foundation […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Clinical trial shows acupuncture ineffective for IVF

An Australian study with over 800 women shows that acupuncture treatment during IVF has no effect on live birth rates. If you or anyone you know has ever been through IVF you’ll know it’s a pretty tough process, physically, emotionally and financially. Women undergoing IVF have been shown to have the same sort of stress levels as cancer patients. With Australian success rates around 33% for the first cycle, patients are increasingly looking for complementary […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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There’s, um, a word for that

Multi-language analysis finds human speech slows down when it encounters nouns. If you’re talking and you want to get your message across quickly, then ditch the nouns. That’s the message arising from research done by a team led by Frank Seifartfrom the University of Zurich and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. To make their findings, the scientists analysed thousands of recordings of spontaneous speech uttered by people from a wide […] See more

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

Meet the marsupials that mate themselves to death before they disappear

Famous for their wild sex lives, two new antechinus species have been classified endangered. The antechinus is renowned for its males which enter a mating frenzy that destroys their immune systems till they drop down dead. “It is pretty rare to uncover new mammals in developed countries such as Australia. These two new species were discovered on misty mountain summits. They have likely retreated there as the climate has warmed, and there is now nowhere […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Queensland University of Technology
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Hard yakka doesn’t make men healthy

A meta-analysis confirms that sometimes regular exercise does not bring about a health bonus. The idea that regular physical exercise is good for health has been accorded a serious caveat following the confirmation of a paradox at its heart. In a meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a team of researchers led by Pieter Coene from the VU University Medical Centre in the Netherlands finds that the benefits of physical exercise are […] See more

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