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Webcams have been made public because their passwords weren’t changed from the default. Flickr/Cory Doctorow

How to keep the world’s eyes out of your webcam

There are concerns that thousands of private webcams around the world could be streaming live images to anybody who wishes to view them – without their owner knowing – thanks to a Russian website providing…
Warmer waters heading south – here’s sunrise off Manly in New South Wales. Flickr/Jeff Turner

Things warm up as the East Australian Current heads south

Occasional erratic bursts southward of the East Australian Current (EAC) are thought to have moderated the weather of south-east Australia this autumn and winter and they continue to introduce tropical…
As the leaders were meeting at G20 the tweeters were tweeting their own thoughts on the global summit. Flickr/Palazzo Chigi

From selfies to climate change: the #G20 debate on Twitter

The G20 Summit that brought many of the world’s most important leaders to Brisbane last weekend was also a major Twitter event. Australian and international users expressed their concerns over the appearance…
A woman stands outside a makeshift toilet built by a resident of a slum colony based on the bank of the Yamuna River, India. Flickr/Gates Foundation

Providing the toilets people want will help Clean India’s campaign

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has wowed audiences in Australia during his recent visit and used the occasion to remind people of his plan to provide a toilet at home for all Indians by 2019. The…
Rosetta deploys the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. ESA/ATG medialab; Comet image: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam

The Rosetta lander detects organic matter: the seeds of life?

Scientists working with data sent back by the now-slumbering Philae lander have announced the discovery of organic molecules on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Finding organic compounds on 67P’s surface…
If you get lost in the bush, you might be found by a flying robot, such as this one. UAV Challenge

Robots in the skies: how Outback Joe was found and rescued

Lost and thirsty in the Australian bush, Outback Joe waited eight years. And finally, in September this year, he was found – by a flying robot. Outback Joe is not a real person, but for a week each September…
Tassie devils in the wild are prone to the transmissible cancer. Flickr/roger smith

Tassie devil facial tumour is a transmissible cancer

On Monday this week The Conversation published a story under the headline “What’s killing Tassie devils if it isn’t contagious cancer?” The article suggested evidence that the Tasmanian devil facial tumour…
Philae’s first panorama shows a 360 degree view around the point of final touchdown. Superimposed is a sketch of what the lander team believes is Philae’s configuration. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Sleep now for Rosetta’s comet probe after a bouncy landing

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) pioneering Rosetta mission to land on a comet has been wildly successful, but now it appears that part of its aim, the exploration of the surface by the little Philae…
Look beyond tinfoil hats – the most dangerous pseudoscience comes from scientists. B Rosen/Flickr

Scientists can learn from pseudoscience … that’s a fact

Scientists should study pseudoscience – see what the pseudoscientists are up to and perhaps (for a laugh) try a few pseudostudies themselves. Critically, scientists must learn what really distinguishes…
A reduction over the years in rider deaths in horse racing means further tragedies could be prevented. Flickr/Tsutomu Takasu

We need to prevent further jockey deaths in horse racing

Horse racing claimed the lives of three jockeys recently – two in Australia and one in the United States – and some prominent industry professionals have openly claimed that deaths in racing are part of…
Ancient DNA can tell you a lot more than skull shape about the origins of the first Europeans. Flickr/Sebastian Dooris

Ancient DNA sheds light on the origin of Europeans

Much of the evidence of where the first Europeans came from was originally derived from comparisons of skulls but our work looking at ancient DNA is revealing new insight, with results published this month…
The human Y chromosome has retained only 3% of its ancestral genes. So why’s it a shadow of its former self? Rafael Anderson Gonzales Mendoza/Flickr

Sex, genes, the Y chromosome and the future of men

The Y chromosome, that little chain of genes that determines the sex of humans, is not as tough as you might think. In fact, if we look at the Y chromosome over the course of our evolution we’ve seen it…
Left … right … where’s the centre? Flickr/Mike Leary

How an approach to science helps define the political centre

There was a bit of talk over the last election cycle, expressed in the usual language of political left and right, about returning the pendulum to the “sensible centre”. Sounds a good idea, but what does…
Different people behave in different ways behind the wheel of a car. Flickr/Nuno Sousa

Road rage much? Personality predicts our driving behaviour

Personality traits can be used to predict a lot about a person. They can tell about their probable career success, if they’re likely to get divorced, their risk at dying early from disease – and now, how…
No longer a ‘hipster thing’ … even governments are embracing typewriters. Christian Gonzalez/Flickr

Typewriters, not touchscreens … security the old-fashioned way

In writing, music, photography and other areas, “outdated” technologies have initially been valued for their retro, nostalgic appeal in the hipster culture. Vinyl is one of the most notable technologies…
Ten Earths could be laid across the diameter of the gigantic sunspot in AR2191 during its previous rotation – captured on October 23, 2014. NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory

Giant sunspot returns – and it’s bigger and badder than ever

The largest sunspot seen in 24 years is rotating back to face the Earth, and it looks to have grown even bigger. Last month, the solar active region known as AR12192 (also known as AR2192 to some of its…
The bobtail squid and bioluminscent bacteria are just one of hundreds of examples of mutualism. Klaus Stiefel/Flickr

It takes two: how mutualisms evolve in a world of selfish genes

Reproduction for a female fig wasp can be a nightmarish process. When she is ready to lay her eggs, she leaves the fig in which she was born and became pregnant and searches for another. After she finds…
Dr Andrew Stephenson and Dr Anthony Jacko examine the longest running laboratory experiment in the world.

Explainer: the pitch drop experiment

Something strange is happening within the world-famous pitch drop experiment with the latest drop forming much faster than the last couple of drops. There have been nine drops so far and all attention…
The mantis shrimp has 12 types of visual cones. Klaus Stiefel/Flickr

Inside the colourful world of animal vision

As humans, we live in a colourful world, but differences in visual systems means that not all animals see the world in the same way. Unlike other aspects of an object such as size or mass, colour is not…