Latest Science


Crows make their own hooked tools for a quick and easy meal

New Caledonian crows craft delicate hooked tools from twigs to dig for prey like beetle grubs. Research just out compared the use of straight twigs with hooked twigs on a range of naturalistic tasks, and found that the bird-made tools were up to ten times more efficient. This study was published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Rocket Lab shows that small is beautiful with historic launch

Innovative space company provides a cost-effective solution to get tiny cubesats into orbit on time and on budget. Rocket Lab has achieved the near impossible – a successful launch of three satellites into orbit with its 3D-printed Electron rocket on just its second test launch. Superpowers would be proud of this achievement, far less a small start-up company with around 200 employees. The new launch provider joins a crowded marketplace with dominant players such as […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Can scientists break quantum physics?

An ambitious experiment is set to test why the quantum world plays by different rules. Scientists from across Europe are gearing up for an ambitious test of one of the fundamental laws of quantum physics. Together, they’ll test the limits of one of the core principles of quantum mechanics – the mind-boggling physical law that allows particles such as atoms and electrons to be in two places at once. Newton vs Quantum The vast majority […] See more

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

A blue blood supermoon is coming

Blue moons are not quite as rare as the old idiom would have it, but blue, super and blood all at the same time? That’s quite a different story, as Alan Duffy explains. At the end of January our closest celestial neighbour will sport a bizarre name. As the second Full Moon in a month, it becomes known as a Blue Moon (hence the expression of a rare event as once in a Blue Moon, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Titan's secrets unveiled in unprecedented detail in new topographic map

Astronomers have created a topographic map of the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan using the now-complete data set from NASA’s Cassini mission. The map of Titan, and what we can learn from it, is described in two recent papers published in Geophysical Review Letters. It shows several new features on Titan, including new low mountains, each less than 700 metres high, and two depressions in the moon’s equatorial region that scientists believe are either ancient, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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A sneeze doesn’t make the ‘flu fly

There’s no escape – sneezing and coughing isn’t needed to spread influenza. Australia might be in the midst of a heatwave, but the “Australian Flu” is going strong in Europe. The H3N2 strain of flu that swept through Australia during our winter has hit Europe in a big way, with deaths in the UK triple that of last year. But one of the big assumptions about how the flu spreads from person to person has […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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New algorithm could diagnose multiple cancers with a single blood test

CancerSEEK uses machine learning in what could be a breakthrough in early diagnosis of certain cancers. Breaking down the facts and figures With the CancerSEEK blood test: Patients with cancer are successfully diagnosed in 70% of cases Healthy patients are successfully diagnosed in more than 99% of cases; that is, there is less than one per cent occurrence of false positives This study examine eight cancers; ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colorectum, lung, and breast. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Thigh bone connected to the hip bone... new mathematical model treats the body as a networked system

A new way of looking at things shows how an injury impacts overall health and helps test therapeutic responses. A US study  is the first to convert the entire body’s network of bones and muscles into a comprehensive mathematical model. The authors say it could help clinicians and physical therapists predict compensatory injuries and suggest ways of avoiding them. The networks research was led by Danielle Bassett at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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Hunter gatherers have a much better sense of smell than the rest of us

When we took up agriculture, our ability to follow a scent decreased dramatically. Recent research compared two closely related tribes with different lifestyles, and found that the hunter gatherer tribe could tell odours and colours apart equally well, while the horticultural tribe could not. This project builds on previous research into the Jahai people, a Malaysian hunter gatherer tribe, which showed that they could tell odours apart as easily as English speakers can tell colours […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Cleaning up our space junkyard

For the past 60 years we’ve been littering in space, and scientists are warning it’s about time we did something about it before disaster strikes. We humans are messy creatures. Waste management and disposal is a hugely expensive and important part of any developed nation’s infrastructure, and even then we have problems with littering and with harmful waste ending up in the environment. But all around the globe humanity is facing a new waste management […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: David Gozzard from The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
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Climate may be less sensitive to carbon dioxide than predicted

New research rules out the most pessimistic warming scenarios. A revised calculation of how carbon dioxide drives global warming has led to a new estimate of the end-of-century temperature increase range. While the new study, published in the journal Nature, rules out the upper extremes, it also says that the optimists also have it wrong. “Our study all but rules out very low and very high climate sensitivities,” lead author Peter Cox, a professor at the […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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New treatment stops cocaine addiction without reducing pleasure

A single protein may hold the key to curing cocaine addiction. It works in mice with drugs which are said to be safe for humans. Scientists believe they have identified a protein responsible for cocaine addiction and have demonstrated its effects by successfully defeating drug dependency in mice. Currently, there are no approved medications to treat cocaine addiction that don’t carry the risk of introducing a potential new substance for abuse. “The results of this […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andy Stapleton from Australia's Science Channel
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Tasmanian devils and tigers both went extinct on the mainland 3,200 years ago

Now the search is on for what caused the demise of the last marsupial carnivores. Thylacines and devils were the last large marsupial carnivores to roam across the Australian mainland. There are Aboriginal rock-paintings of thylacine-like animals across northern Australia from the Kimberley region to Kakadu in the Northern Territory. We’ve just published an analysis of new radiocarbon dates showing that thylacines (Tasmanian ‘tigers’, Thylacinus cynocephalus) and Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisi) went extinct on the […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Corey Bradshaw from Flinders University
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Hours in the saddle no concern for cyclists’ urinary or sexual health

High intensity cyclists have overall better erectile function scores than those who take it easier. The Tour Down Under is on and it’s not only the pros hitting the roads – amateurs are out on their bikes as well. But it’s not only the pedals which are getting a pushing. Previously it was thought that cycling negatively affected erectile function, potentially as a result of prolonged pressure and micro-trauma while riding. However, some of the […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Guidelines underestimate how long is normal for women in labour

Dilation rate may be ‘unrealistically fast’ for some women The guidelines for how long is “normal” for women in labour were established in the 1950s, and set the expectation that the cervix dilates 1 cm per hour. A study published today in PLOS Medicine set out to find out if this rate is still relevant to the current generation of women giving birth, or whether there might be differences in different populations around the world. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Perovskite breakthrough helps solar cells sizzle

Scientists may have solved the longstanding problem of energy loss in conversion of light to electricity. Are these perovskites the game changer? This week, the International Renewable Energy Agency forecast that renewable energy is going to be consistently cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020. Solar energy will make up a sizable percentage of this renewable infrastructure but if you think that all the hard work is done, you’d be wrong. There’s still plenty of room […] See more

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

Sounding out fish to estimate the value of marine parks

Protecting over-exploited fish is one of the reasons that marine parks, or Marine Protected Areas, have been established all over the world. Comparing how effective they are means having a method to count the number, size and variety of fish both in and outside the protected areas. Traditionally, this has involved methods like sending scuba divers down to count fish in visual surveys. Part of the long term monitoring project of the Great Barrier Reef […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Shale gas is an unsustainable dead end, finds research

Shale gas is being promoted heavily by the gas industry as a future energy source, however new research has found that it is among the least sustainable energy sources available to us. Shale gas is natural gas deposits found in shale, or fine-grained sedimentary rocks. Locked deep underground, the gas is extracted by fracturing the rocks, releasing the gas and allowing it to be taken to the surface. This process, fracking, is highly controversial and […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Epigenetics reveals possible DNA regions associated with autism

Autism spectrum disorder has no known cause. Studies have shown that genetics and environmental factors, such as complications during pregnancy, may play a part in developing autism. But a specific cause has yet to be found. Researchers have started to use an epigenetic approach to try to find what could be happening to our genes that would relate to autism. A new study published today found more than 2000 regulatory regions (DNA regions that control […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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How the mantis shrimp uses a boxer's technique to protect itself

The structure of the mantis shrimp’s deadly hammer claw provides inspiration for advanced super-strong protective materials in aerospace and sport applications. The mantis shrimp is known as the ocean’s heavy-hitter. It has a hammer-like club that moves with the speed of a .22 calibre bullet and strikes with the force of 1,500 newtons – enough to smash the glass of an aquarium – that pulverises its prey. Until now, scientists have not known how the […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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Boolean coding meets pharmaceutics to create new controlled release drugs

Scientists have ingeniously combined Boolean logic and pharmacology to create a brand new way of delivering drugs to the site that they’re needed, without affecting any other parts of the body. Using a common gel containing a high amount of water, called a hydrogel, they encased drugs that could only be released in certain physiological conditions, such as those found in a particular organ or at a disease site. That release mechanism was inspired by […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Islanders flee as long-dormant volcano eruption worsens

About 3,000 Papua New Guinea islanders are fleeing the unprecedented eruption of the long-dormant Kadovar volcano, off the country’s north coast. It is the first eruption of the volcano since at least 1700. Kadovar has been spewing smoke and ash since 5 January. As the eruption has become more violent, authorities have warned that associated tremors pose a tsunami risk to mainland’s north coast and surrounding islands. The government has ordered the evacuation of from […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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Why you shouldn’t hold your nose and mouth closed when you sneeze

It’s only the third week of January but there is an early contender for the most obvious statement of the year. According to doctors, pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn’t a good idea. One man in the UK managed to rupture the back of his throat doing exactly this, leaving him barely able to speak or swallow, and in considerable pain. Spontaneous rupture of the back of […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Lamprey study hints at signalling pathways used in spinal cord regeneration

Why are some fish, amphibians and reptiles able to regenerate their spinal cords after injury while mammals can’t? A new study has investigated the genetic switches involved in the process in the lamprey, an ancient jawless fish that can fully recover function from a severed spinal cord within months. “They can go from paralysis to full swimming behaviors in 10 to 12 weeks,” says Jennifer Morgan, director of the Eugene Bell Centre for Regenerative Biology and […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Teens watch junk food ads, then reach for a snack

Research from the UK shows that television advertisements have a strong influence on teenagers’ eating habits. Cancer Research UK surveyed nearly 3500 teenagers about their television viewing habits – including streaming – and their diets. They found that teenagers who view three or more hours of commercial television every day end up eating at least 500 more junk food snacks per year than their counterparts who watch less television, or television without advertisements. Specific examples […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel