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Guillaume Le Gentil sailed the seas for many years to catch a glimpse of Venus in transit. Brocken Inaglory

Transit of Venus: a tale of two expeditions

On Wednesday, as you’ll no doubt know by now, a rare celestial event will occur. Venus will pass between the earth and the sun - the transit of Venus. You might also already know that this cosmic spectacle…
Don’t look at the transit of Venus directly … but make sure you look at it. Jan Herold

Transit of Venus: a must-see for everyone … no seriously

When Australia II won the America’s Cup yacht race in 1983, then-prime-minister Bob Hawke famously exclaimed: “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.” Taking inspiration from this…
A vitamin C a day won’t keep colds away. Owaief

Monday’s medical myth: vitamin C prevents colds

Vitamin C is so often suggested as a treatment for the common cold that it’s almost considered common sense. This well-known vitamin is primarily found in fruits and vegetables, with small quantities in…
Religious groups claim “ex-gay” therapies have scientific merit. flickr/michael keith photography

Praying the gay away: when religion hijacks science

It’s been decades since electroshock therapy or other psychiatric interventions were routinely employed to “treat” homosexuality. These days, reparative therapy is more popular. It involves a combination…
Modern professionals have an opportunity to undo some of the hardships created by pathologizing same-sex attraction. stigeredoo

From homophobia to homophilia: the future face of medicine

Homophilia, a term once used to define “unnatural” relations between same-sex people in the early- to mid-20th century has been given a makeover. Urban gay communities around the world are using homophilia…
Analysing Anzac speech, slang and reading material gives us a better understanding of their experience. EPA/Tolga Bozoglu

From ‘Aussies’ to ‘Whizz-bangs’: the language of Anzac

Many place the Anzac legend at the heart of the Australian national identity. But some have rightly challenged this idea, opening up debate about why the Anzac story is so central to our national mythology…
Information is everywhere all at once these days, which raises questions around how it should be archived. petit hiboux

Masters of the digital multiverse: can public libraries save the day?

We all know the internet has enabled the creation of digital worlds of multi-layered, interconnected online information. But who’s going to protect this information for current and future generations…
Australia has a long history of engagement with Asia, as Melbourne’s Chinese Museum demonstrates. Greenstone Girl

Engaging with Asia? We’ve been here before

AUSTRALIA IN THE ASIAN CENTURY – A series examining Australia’s role in the rapidly transforming Asian region. Delivered in partnership with the Australian government. Today, Professor David Walker looks…
Medical schools once battled with a shortage of cadavers, which led to some unsavoury practices. Derek Harper

Donating your body to science? Don’t worry, it’s not what it used to be

The recent discovery of hundreds of human body parts in the University of Cologne’s cellars shocked Germany’s academic community and raised broader questions about the rights of people who donate their…
Drugs smuggled into a South Australian prison. If jails can’t be kept drug free, what hope is there for wider society? AAP/Thuy On

Australia’s love affair with drugs

Australians have always loved their drugs – more so than any other nation in which those same drugs are proscribed and used under threat of native, criminal penalties. Drug taking is a national trait…
Local history has an important place in Australia. The academic world should get involved. Flickr/Kate's Photo Diary

Academic snobbery: local historians need more support

Local history is one of the most popular forms of history in Australia. Yet there is a yawning gap between the enthusiastic amateur and the academic historian. While some academic historians engage with…
Greater Western Sydney may be a new team, but Sydney and AFL have firm historical ties. AAP Image/Paul Miller

With the debut of GWS, Aussie Rules comes home to Sydney

The AFL season kicks off today and there’s a new team in town – Greater Western Sydney. Some don’t like it – the cynics claim Aussie Rules has no historical foothold in western Sydney. I disagree. While…
The victims of forced adoption want an apology from the Commonwealth government. Nikkirk

Re-writing Australia’s history of forced adoption

A long-awaited Senate Committee report will tomorrow reveal whether the Commonwealth’s policies and practices played a role in coercing young, unwed Australian women to give up their newborn babies for…
International Holocaust day is an important day to remember all atrocities in human history. EPA/Jacek Bednarczyk

Remembrance is the most powerful weapon against genocide

It’s hard to imagine that a whole race of people can be forgotten. But if no one chooses to remember them, genocide can mean just that, leaving a large hole in our history and dooming future minorities…
Pardoning Breaker Morant should not be a priority for the government. AAP Image/Australian War Memorial

Pardon me, but Breaker Morant was guilty

Early in the New Year, while most of us were thinking about going to the beach or when it would be okay to consign those unwanted Christmas presents to a charity bin, Commander Jim Unkles of the Royal…
You may want to start hoarding supplies and making your end of world plans now – before it’s too late. Flickr/Necromundo

2012 cometh: how to prepare for the apocalypse

If you believe the doomsayers, the human race is not long for this earth. By the end of this year, our number will be up: the four horseman of the apocalypse will be upon us, fire will rain from the skies…
Momentum is gathering behind calls to pardon the father of computer science. BinaryApe

Calls for a posthumous pardon … but who was Alan Turing?

You may have read the British Government is being petitioned to grant a posthumous pardon to one of the world’s greatest mathematicians and most successful codebreakers, Alan Turing. You may also have…
Many Aboriginal people, like boxer Anthony Mundine, look to Islam as a way of re-connecting with their roots. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Long history with Islam gives Indigenous Australians pride

Muslim conversion is growing in Indigenous communities. In the 2001 national census, 641 Indigenous people identified as Muslim. By the 2006 census the number had climbed by more than 60% to 1014 people…
Mirrors of a magical scientist: Andromeda photographed through a Newtonian telescope. Flickr/JonBaglo.

Digital alchemy: Sir Isaac Newton’s papers now online

The notebooks of Sir Isaac Newton, who was famously reported to have suffered a (scientifically) earth-shaking blow to the…

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