Latest Science


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

Brain scans plus artificial intelligence can predict language ability in child cochlear implant recipients

For children born with significant hearing loss, cochlear implants can be an incredibly effective treatment to help them develop listening and language ability, and a new machine learning algorithm based on brain scans can now predict exactly how well. Knowing precisely how dramatically an implant will improve language development had been out of reach. Research shows that early cochlear implantation is crucial, yet in some cases children still don’t keep up with the milestones of […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Rats off the hook for the Black Death

Humans themselves may have been the vehicle that spread the disease. Rats, or more specifically the fleas carried by them, have been blamed for the Black Death – an outbreak of plague that swept through Europe and was responsible for the deaths of one third of the population within the space of five years between 1347-1353. But new research suggests that it was the fleas and lice that made themselves at home on people, not […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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How science explains professional cyclists’ superhuman performance

Few sports rely so heavily on an exact balance between physiology, psychology and nutrition as cycling, making scientists some of the most critical members of the team. He hit the lower slopes of the venerable Mont Ventoux, pushing hard. Tom Simpson, one of Britain’s most successful cyclists, had been battling illness for three days but was still determined to push for a good result at the 1967 Tour de France – and Ventoux is the […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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NASA discovers giant ice deposits just under the Martian surface

Imagine a wall of ice 30 stories high, rising above barren dessicated red soils. This is no Game of Thrones tale but rather what you would see today on Mars according to the latest research published in Nature. Satellites images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed scarps up to six kilometres long with sharp edges that in places glow brightly at wavelengths of light associated with ice. These edges extend 100m in height, suggesting […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Not just the oceans, freshwater acidification is happening too

If ocean acidification is “climate change’s equally evil twin” then freshwater acidification is the forgotten black sheep of the family. As CO2 levels increase in the atmosphere, dissolved CO2 in water bodies increases, reducing the pH.  Ocean acidification has been well documented to cause all sorts of issues, from the collapse of zooplankton, a primary source of food for many marine systems, to damaging fish eyesight, or messing with the minds of everything from fish to snails, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Pregnancy and paracetamol – researchers flag developmental concerns

Pregnant women may need to take less paracetamol, according to two recent findings that suggest adverse outcomes in both language development and fertility of babies. Daughters and language delay Research from the USA using data from Sweden shows a link between use of this common painkiller and language development delay in girls at 30 months old. The study looked at data from 754 women who were between eight and 13 weeks pregnant when they entered […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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NASA takes us on a virtual journey to the centre of the galaxy with 360° views

Scientists, using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, have developed a new visualisation of what it would be like to travel to the centre of the Milky Way. Viewers are put in the location of the supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A*, which lies at the heart of our galaxy, about 26,000 light years from the Earth. From there they can control their exploration of the volatile environment that surrounds them. The visualisation has […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors
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Why do they need more refrigeration mechanics in Antarctica?

If it’s minus 30°C outside, why do they need refrigeration mechanics in Antarctica? “Yeah, it’s a bit of a funny one,” says Wayne Donaldson, current refrigeration mechanic and electrician based at Casey research station in Antarctica. “People always say isn’t it cold enough? But different things need to be kept at different temperatures for different reasons. Although Antarctica is cold, the temperature can fluctuate quite a bit.” At Casey station, managed by the Australian Antarctic […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel

Waging war takes its toll on wildlife

Between 1946 and 2010 conflicts occurred in 71% of protected African areas. Over the past 70 years, humans have been continuously at war in some of the world’s most important biodiverse regions. Despite the widespread presence of human conflicts in these regions, until now we haven’t had good data on how this affects wildlife populations. Previous research has shown that individual conflicts can have both positive and negative effects. Wars can relax pressure on wildlife […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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The Check Up - raw water, hot sauce, and robot strength

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. Raw water for cooked people Let’s kick off 2018 with the story people have loved to hate – the raw water craze currently underway in the United States. Be careful you don’t roll your eyes too hard, you might hurt your neck. Basically, people with more money than sense are […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Is this the source of mysterious galactic radio bursts?

An international team of astronomers, including a researcher from Western Australia, have used two of the world’s largest radio telescopes to step towards solving one of the great mysteries in astronomy – the potential source of strange, short, intense bursts of radiation called fast radio bursts. They found that these fast radio bursts begin life in astonishingly extreme and unusual environment, with the discovery suggesting that the strange source is in close proximity to a […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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2017 was the third hottest year on record in Australia

It was wet in the west, hot in the east, and warm all over. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) released its Annual Climate Statement today, showing 2017 was the third hottest year on record for Australia. Temperatures across the country continued the trend of warming, with the national average temperature over 12 months of 22.75 °C, 0.95 °C higher than the 1961-1990 average. Feeling the heat “Despite the lack of an El Niño – which is […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Anaesthetics do more than just put you to sleep

There’s no getting around it – we need anaesthetics to perform surgery. And while they are generally a safe risk in expert hands, we don’t really understand how they work. The latest research from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland sheds new light on how general anaesthetics affect the brain – and it turns out there’s a lot more to it than just putting you to sleep. “We looked at the effects […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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The blackest bird feathers rival Vantablack

Birds of paradise are amongst nature’s greatest animals. During mating they choreograph incredibly intricate dances to attract their mate – usually involving displays of their plumage to show off complex designs and bright colours. Now, scientists have found a special advantage some species have for making their plumage seem extra colourful and vibrant – their black feathers have unusual structures that make them so black they rival anything humans have ever created. In many species […] See more

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