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Science + Technology — Analysis and Comment

We already have a good idea of the challenges ahead – and now we know how science can help. Kris Krüg/Flickr

Chief Scientist’s view: the smart path for an uncertain future

AUSTRALIA 2025: How will science address the challenges of the future? In collaboration with Australia’s chief scientist Ian Chubb, we asked how each science discipline will contribute to Australia now…
Women can help deal with a shortfall of people in ICT industries. Flickr/European Parliament

C'mon girls, let’s program a better tech industry

Twitter is the latest tech company to reveal figures showing women are still underrepresented in the information and communication technology (ICT) workforce. Men make up 70% of the overall staff and women…
Your computer has a special fingerprint that can give away details of your online browsing. Flickr/Sandra Nahdi

Tracking your digital fingerprint online raises privacy issues

Just how much information we give away about ourselves as we browse the web has been raised again by a tracking device used in thousands of websites. Researchers at Belgium’s University of Leuven have…
A dwarf galaxy: a challenge for modern cosmology? This dwarf galaxy ESO 540-31 is more than 11 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Cetus (The Whale). , Luca LimatolaESA/Hubble & NASA

A cosmic two-step: the universal dance of the dwarf galaxies

Over the last few years we’ve been studying the orbits of dwarf galaxies and we expecting to find them buzzing at random around large galaxies. But looking out into the universe, we see some dwarfs undertaking…
Cyclists in the Monash Wind Tunnel are able to measure the effects of their gear on wind resistance. Monash University

The aerodynamics of a Tour de France time trial

As the Tour de France approaches its final days, teams will be looking to place their top riders in the best possible position for the all-important individual time trial in the penultimate stage, where…
First bodies of victims in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash arrive at Eindhoven Airbase, the Netherlands. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

How dental records will help identify bodies from MH17

The first of the bodies from Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 have arrived in the Netherlands ready for forensic investigation into the remains of the 298 passengers and crew. Identifying the victims is…
To rebuild public trust in GM products, safety claims must be confirmed by independent research. IRRI Photos/Flickr

Independent safety reviews will foster trust in GM technology

The topic of releasing genetically modified (GM) products into food and the environment is highly polarised. But are we making any progress with it? The debate is now so vicious and impatient that to have…
Google changes its policy on usernames. Flickr/Robert Occhialini

Any name will do from now on says Google – why the change?

Google has announced a surprising end to its controversial “Real Name” policy with a contrite post on Google+, telling users that there are “no more restrictions” on the names people can use. This is a…
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…