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Sydney Chamber Opera’s Mayakovksy critically engages with neglected aspects of the great Russian poet’s biography. Photo: Zan Wimberley

Mayakovsky at Carriageworks: a telegram from an alien future

“I’m a poet. That’s what makes me interesting.” So begins the autobiography of Vladimir Mayakovsky, whose futuristic militarisation of poetic verse proved even more revolutionary than the Bolsheviks’ seizure…
While Victorian opposition leader Daniel Andrews faces demands for answers from The Age, the newspaper hasn’t addressed the ethics of recording off-the-record conversations. AAP/Julian Smith

Andrews' media accusers have some explaining of their own to do

It is a sad day when senior political figures steal a journalist’s recording device and destroy its contents, as we have been told happened at this year’s Victorian Labor Party conference. But it is an…
Javelin throwers make it look easy, but there’s more to the action than you might think. David Davies/PA Wire

Science of the spear: biomechanics of a javelin throw

The Commonwealth Games women’s javelin finals were held overnight, with Aussies Kim Mickle and Kelsey-Lee Roberts picking up gold (plus a Games record) and bronze respectively. Seven-time British champion…
When cells are deprived of energy and nutrients from their external environment, they package up and consume their own components to survive. Kevin McShane/Flickr

How cancer eats itself to survive our therapies

Can you imagine being so desperate for food that you would eat yourself to survive? Most people can’t but our cells do exactly this. When cells are deprived of energy and nutrients from their external…
Hamas has built an elaborate network of tunnels but not civilian bomb shelters in Gaza. EPA/Jack Guez

Civilian deaths in Gaza conflict are not automatically a war crime

Inevitably, the United Nations Human Rights Council has expressed its condemnation of Israel and launched a war crimes inquiry. The vote on July 23 followed the usual political lines that have previously…
Commonly held beliefs about what makes a good board of directors are often wrong. Shutterstock

Boards, risk taking and independence: a $50bn mistake

The Australian Institute of Company Directors is pushing for company directors to be better protected from lawsuits, arguing concern about jail time and fines is impacting director decisions and ultimately…
Traditionally, audio-visual archives have emphasised preservation and put access second. Thomas Christensen

Files can’t wait: the future of the National Film and Sound Archive

It goes without saying these are difficult times for the country’s museums and archives. In recent months, the National Library, War Memorial, Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, and others, have all flagged…
Sherlock Holmes and his friends will remain in the public domain. EPA/ Andy Rain

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Disappearing Copyright

Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court dismissed a plea from the Conan Doyle Estate, which was trying to stop the publication of a new book based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective Sherlock…
In recent years, the service of troops from France’s then-colonies in both world wars has been the object of sustained presidential attention. EPA/Philippe Wojazer

Reconciliation or récupération? Indigenous soldiers in WWI

In vogue among the political left during the events in Paris in May 1968, the French term récupération refers to the danger of “the Establishment”, be it the government or a political party, seizing on…
Emma McKeon, Alicia Coutts, Brittany Elmslie and Bronte Barratt after winning the 4x200m Freestyle Final. Emma and Brittany are also undergraduate students at Griffith University. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Nail it or fail it – how student athletes juggle sport and study

Australia sent 417 athletes to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games – its largest ever contingent – and based on our 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games competitors, around 40% are university students…
An artist’s impression shows a pair of wildly misaligned planet-forming gas discs around both the young stars in the binary system HK Tauri. R. Hurt (NASA/JPL-Caltech/IPAC)

From dust clouds to wobbly orbits for new planets

New observations of a youthful binary star system, reported today in the journal Nature, may help to explain one of exoplanetary science’s greatest unanswered questions – the peculiar orbits of so many…
Xi Jinping’s tour through Latin American countries signals the time is right to reassess Chinese investment in Australia. AAP/EPA/Cubadebate

Xi Jinping’s Latin American tour harbours insights for Australia

Chinese President Xi Jinping has just returned from his second state visit to Latin America, having achieved what no other leader could. His dash through Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, and Cuba has breathed…
It has been predicted middle-tier universities will “wither on the vine” in the wake of fee deregulation, but they have a unique opportunity to bloom and thrive if they go about it the right way. Flickr/Austin DeArmond

Middle-tier universities in Australia aren’t doomed to wither and die

The “future of universities” has been the subject of much speculation in recent years. Online learning, declining government support, global competition between universities and the rise of universities…
Indigenous land owners weren’t consulted in the past about the creation of Western Australia’s huge Ord River irrigation scheme – but a recent agreement offers a more positive example for developing other parts of northern Australia. Pete Hill/Flickr

Lessons from the Kimberley on developing Northern Australia

We are very happy to have got this far. We have had our disagreements but we have managed to work through them and now we are all getting on with the job. We have learnt a lot through the process. Standing…
The Global Financial Crisis showed financial markets consistently let down individuals and society. SEIU/Flickr

Time to bring some science to financial regulation

The recent report by the Senate Inquiry into ASIC documenting wide-ranging illegal and unethical conduct by financial advisers, is just another piece of evidence suggesting that regulation of the financial…
When you hear hooves, shout camel, not bioterrorist. Delpixel/Flickr

Middle East respiratory virus came from camels, not terrorists

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a tiny, spiky package of fat, proteins and genes that was first found in a dying man in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, we…
An Israeli Iron Dome missile is fired to intercept a rocket from Gaza. EPA/Abir Sultan

Explainer: Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system

The breakdown of an initial ceasefire between Israeli forces and Hamas last weekend played out to a familiar soundtrack: the wail of air-raid sirens and the menacing hiss of incoming rocket fire, followed…
Many parties have a vested interest in shaping the way we remember the Great War ahead of its centenary, but some are more equal than others. EPA/Thomas Bregardis

Who owns the myths and legends of the Great War centenary?

When prime minister Tony Abbott declared at Villers-Bretonneux that “no place on earth has been more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than these fields in France”, Australian attention focused again…
Scottish mountain biker Rab Wardell at the official opening of the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails, Glasgow. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Common ground: how mountain biking will leave a lasting legacy

Mountain bikers took to trails around Glasgow yesterday, with men’s and women’s cross-country races run at the new purpose-built Cathkin Braes Country Park. There’s more to the event than steep slopes…
Hugo Weaving’s Macbeth dwells on the isolation and introspection of one of Shakespeare’s great tragic leads. Photo: Brett Boardman. Sydney Theatre Company

Hugo Weaving reveals Macbeth’s weakness – and his unhappiness

Sydney Theatre Company’s new production of Macbeth may draw attention for its star, Hugo Weaving, but the most powerful agent of this production is the theatrical space. Director Kip Williams has inverted…
Caesar (Andy Serkis) is the leader of the ape nation in a scene from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Weta/20th Century Fox

Oscars for animals? Andy Serkis should be beating his chest

The notion that a chimpanzee could win an Academy Award for acting (or anything else) seems farcical at first glance but, of course, it’s not an actual chimpanzee being discussed in the case of the latest…
Do architectural competitions lead to unrealistic design directions? AAP/ Paul Miller

Architecture competitions are risky … but we can build on that

There’s a perverse irony in the apocryphal tale of the design competition for the Sydney Opera House in 1956. The story goes that, after the selection of the group of finalist designs for the competition…