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Science + Technology — Analysis and Comment

Research funding will continue to be haphazard if an anecdotal approach continues to be taken. Lisa S/www.shutterstock.com

How to better allocate research money and fix a flawed system

Taxpayers want to know that their money is well spent on research. Yet funding agencies persist in trying to explain research results in terms of papers and publications rather than in terms of people…
How do we know if we’re getting value for money on research funding? Flickr/Régis Matthey

Let’s spend more wisely on research in Australia

Australia allocates around A$9 billion a year of taxpayers’ money for research, but how do we know if that money is being spent wisely? With the Australian Government threatening to reduce the amount of…
Vital forensic evidence could be lost as bodies from Malaysia Airlines MH17 are moved. EPA/Anastasia Vlasova

Identifying bodies from MH17 is a challenge for forensics

Returning the 298 victims from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to their families with dignity and respect is a major priority for each nation involved. Disaster victim identification (DVI) is a difficult…
Google’s Project Zero targets the shadowy world of cybercrime. Flickr/Robert Scoble

Google is playing catch-up on cybercrime with Project Zero

Google’s new Project Zero team adds some welcome muscle in the fight against cybercrime and could also lead to better privacy for all, making it harder for intelligence agencies to spy. The team will be…
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as it takes off from Schiphol airport near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at 12.31 PM July 17. EPA/Fred Neeleman

Who handles the investigation on downed flight MH17?

The investigation into what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and the location of the black box recorder comes down to a series of complex treaties and international law. Calls are being made by…
Debris of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 Boeing 777 near Donetsk, Ukraine. EPA/Alyona Zykina

Why was Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 flying over Ukraine?

As investigations continue into who brought down the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 with 298 people on board – including at least 28 Australians – questions must be asked as to why the plane was flying…
No longer the unreachable object, the moon became less ethereal after the ‘giant leap for mankind’. Petri Damstén/Flickr

Apollo 11 changed the way we felt about the moon, 45 years ago

Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, after multiple Apollo lunar missions unfolded through the 1960s in front of an awestruck global audience. But many wondered…
Who’s looking at who when drones take to the sky? Flickr/fisl quinze

Drones finally get MPs talking tougher on privacy laws

The increasing use of drone aircraft in Australia may finally lead to a long overdue change in privacy laws to protect against the use of remote eyes and ears in invasive technologies. The call for tougher…
Domesticated mammals, including dogs, share a number of characteristic features. Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr

Why so many domesticated mammals have floppy ears

Take a look at several domesticated mammal species and you might spot a number of similarities between them, including those cute floppy ears. The famous naturalist and evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin…
With growing pressures on our land, the aim will be to ‘farm smarter, not harder’. choctruffle/Flickr

Agriculture in Australia: growing more than our farming future

AUSTRALIA 2025: How will science address the challenges of the future? In collaboration with Australia’s chief scientist Ian Chubb, we’re asking how each science discipline will contribute to Australia…
Like Icarus, passengers on aircraft during solar flares can cop the effects of flying close to the sun. HK.Colin/Flickr

Are you a frequent flyer? Solar storm radiation can be harmful

Space weather impacts many modern-day technologies. But one of the most concerning – and least reported – space weather effects is the increased radiation exposure to passengers on commercial long-distance…
We’re most at risk from cyber scams when distracted by events such as the World Cup. Flickr/Nelson Oliveira

World Cup fans are the latest to be targeted by cyber criminals

As rival football teams have been battling it out in this year’s World Cup, cyber criminals have had their eye on a different goal – to cash in on this global distraction at any opportunity. Among the…
Windows 8 is loved and hated in equal measure. So what will Windows 9 do differently? Microsoft Sweden/Flickr

What to expect from the next generation of Windows

The tech world is abuzz with speculation on what Microsoft is planning for the next generation of its operating system to replace Windows 8. It was always going to be difficult to create an operating system…
There are rules, and then there are ‘rules’ for riders. EPA/Kim Ludbook

Unofficial rules of the Tour de France matter most

Riders in the Tour de France are engaging in a battle of wits as they follow two sets of rules – the official rules and the other set of “unofficial” rules that come with any competitive sporting challenge…
Arp220 is a nearby Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxy similar to what ALESS65 would look like if it were closer to Earth. NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)

Red and dead future for a galaxy running out of star fuel

A galaxy more than 12 billion light years from Earth is heading for a “red and dead” future because it is running out of the fuel needed to make new stars. The galaxy, known as ALESS65, is an ultra-luminous…
A child in Senegal waiting to be tested for sickle cell anaemia - in parts of Africa up to 40% of the population can carry the sickle cell gene. EPA/Pierre Holtz

Explainer: one day science may cure sickle cell anaemia

Genetic mutations that affect our blood cells' haemoglobin are the most common of all mutations. It has been estimated that around 5% of the world’s population carry a defective globin gene. Haemoglobin…