Sections

Services

Information

AU Australia

Science + Technology — Analysis and Comment

The need for caution when any anomaly is revealed in new research. Flickr/Adam Gerard

How myths and tabloids feed on anomalies in science

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? What if research throws up a result that calls for a new way of thinking? How do we…
Patterns of emergence are all around us. Feliciano Guimarães/Flickr

Emergence: the remarkable simplicity of complexity

From the fractal patterns of snowflakes to cellular lifeforms, our universe is full of complex phenomena – but how does this complexity arise? “Emergence” describes the ability of individual components…
Women ask why there aren’t more women in lists of top scientists. Katrina Cole

Women scientists get vocal about top billing on Twitter

A steady infiltration of scientists onto Twitter has accompanied the growing recognition that a social media presence is just as important as taking the podium at a conference. Social media is leading…
Upgrade rage - what to do when things go wrong? Flickr/Nicola Albertini

Windows 9, iOS8 – the balance between bugs and upgrades

In the tech world there is a dynamic tension between needing to get products to market before the competition and the need to take enough time to make those products completely defect-free and user friendly…
Things can and do go wrong when some announcements are mad ahead of time. Flickr/Narshada

The risks of blowing your own trumpet too soon on research

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Today a cautionary tale of why you should be careful of some new announcements made…
Say hello to the new Ello. Ello

Say Ello to the new privacy debate on social media

Ello is new social networking space on the web that is receiving a lot of attention of late – so much that it’s caused a few problems with the website out of action from time to time. Ello’s new popularity…
Apple computers could be at risk from the latest Bash bug. Flickr/Oliver

Shell shocked – but what should you do about the Bash bug?

A serious security flaw has been discovered in a ubiquitous utility program present on a wide variety of important computer systems, including many Unix-based servers and Macintosh desktop computers. “Shell…
A Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans) in the wild near Melbourne. Raoul Ribot

Colour variability in Crimson Rosellas is linked to a virus

Despite its name, the Crimson Rosella is perhaps Australia’s most colour-variable bird and a cause of this striking and beautiful diversity seems to be a disease that’s potentially deadly to many other…
Sydney fans had much to celebrate after beating Hawthorn in the 2012 AFL Grand at the MCG in Melbourne.Can the Swans do it again this year? AAP Image/Joe Castro

Who will be the weakest link on AFL Grand Final day?

Hawthorn has recovered after a rough patch this season, with key players shaking off injuries and its tenacious coach returning after a health scare. So why have the Hawks earned their spot on Saturday’s…
A US Chinook similar to the one involved in the gun battle of Takur Ghar. Flickr/The U S Army

Bad space weather may have caused fatal Afghan gun battle

Three American soldiers* may have died in Afghanistan’s battle of Takur Ghar because of disruptions caused by plasma bubbles – a form of space weather – according to a new study. Space weather is normally…
Looking for proof? No such thing in most research. Flickr/Paul Mazumdar

Where’s the proof in science? There is none

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Those people looking for proof to come from any research in science will be sadly disappointed…
An example of unidirectional cause and effect: bad weather means umbrella sales rise, but buying umbrellas won’t make it rain. Mariusz Olszewski/Flickr

Clearing up confusion between correlation and causation

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Today we look at the dangers of making a link between unrelated results. Here’s an…
Watching the sun over a nature reserve in ACT, Australia. Flickr/Andrew

Explainer: what makes the spring equinox?

It’s the time of the equinox or more specifically the spring equinox for us in the southern hemisphere. The equinox is a midpoint. It’s around now that day and night become equal in length (but more about…
US Army scientists analyse unknown samples to determine whether hazardous. That’s typical of research trying to understand the unknowns and expand on our knowledge. Flickr/US Army RDECOM

Why research beats anecdote in our search for knowledge

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? We begin today by looking at the origins of research. It is comforting to feel like…
What data from telcos and tech companies does the government want handed over? Flickr/Nic McPhee

When does Google hand over your data to governments?

Governments around the world want to know a lot about who we are and what we’re doing online and they want communications companies to help them find it. We don’t know a lot about when companies hand over…
The term ‘creationist’ can encompass many types, each with their own beliefs. Logan Campbell/Flickr

Categories of creationists … and their views on science

John Long provoked a comments barrage on The Conversation last week after defending the theory of evolution in the face of creationist views. Unfortunately, while some of the comments were thoughtful…
Gemini North observatory, on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, shoots a laser beam into the night sky to create an ‘artificial star’, part of a process that helps astronomers remove blurring from any images of galaxies. Gemini Observatory and Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy

Laser helps find supermassive black hole in a small galaxy

A supermassive black hole has been found in an ultracompact dwarf galaxy – the smallest galaxy known to contain such a massive black hole. This finding, published today in Nature, suggests that supermassive…
Over time, Earth’s plates went from static to dynamic. Modestas Jonauskas/Flickr

What a crack up: hefty continents got tectonic plates moving

Plate tectonics – the large-scale movement of Earth’s lithosphere or outer layers – started around three billion years ago, but how those movements started was a bit of a mystery – until today. With colleagues…