Australian National University

ANU was established, in 1946, to advance the cause of learning and research for the nation. It is consistently ranked among the world’s best universities and many ANU graduates go on to become leaders in government, industry, research and academia.

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How do rooftop solar panels work? Abi Skipp

Explainer: what is photovoltaic solar energy?

There are two main types of solar energy technology: photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal. Solar PV is the rooftop solar you see on homes and businesses - it produces electricity from solar energy directly…
Medical device manufacturers sometimes engage in unconscionable behaviour to secure sales to private hospitals. Image from Shutterstock.com

Medical device sales: when a rebate becomes a kick back

Australian public interest regulators usually have a very imperfect picture of how much anti-competitive or fraudulent activity is occurring in areas such as health care. But there’s a better approach…
Yesterday’s fatalities highlight the importance of ensuring Australian authorities continue to respond to asylum seekers caught at sea. AAP/Sharon Tisdale

Stop the deaths: rescuing asylum seekers is an integrity issue

We received news yesterday of the latest fatal capsize of a boat carrying asylum seekers towards Australia – the 20th reported sinking event in four years. The two deaths yesterday brought the confirmed…
Mass extinctions caused by rapidly escalating levels of CO2 have occurred before. Global warming image from www.shutterstock.com

Another link between CO2 and mass extinctions of species

It’s long been known that massive increases in emission of CO2 from volcanoes, associated with the opening of the Atlantic Ocean in the end-Triassic Period, set off a shift in state of the climate which…
Australia is hanging on to flood mitigation measures that other countries have left behind. AAP Image/Pamela Blackburn

Three major floods, four reviews, but still lessons to learn

The last few years provided plenty of data to help us reform our approach to floods. With devastating flooding in Queensland and Victoria in 2011 and 2013, we should have learned a great deal about which…
Often at the centre of electoral debate, what role do marginal seats have to play in this year’s election? AAP/Stefan Postles

From Western Sydney to Western Australia, how marginal is marginal?

In an election year, perhaps the only thing more inevitable than the major parties’ verbal jousting is the media’s obsession with marginal seats – that handful of bellwether electorates that can supposedly…
The lessons learnt from the Millennium drought may not help us prepare for the next Big Dry. Flickr/thoughtfactory

Australia is not ready for the next big dry

Three years ago in March 2010, southeast Australia was still in the grip of “the big dry” or the “millennium drought” - billed as the worst drought since European settlement. Dams across the Murray-Darling…
Adam Bandt, Christine Milne and Richard Di Natale don’t walk this planet, says The Daily Telegraph. AAP/Penny Bradfield

Little Green people from outer space: labelling Christine Milne and co

The Daily Telegraph isn’t known for holding back. As Stephen Conroy discovered in an already infamous front page, if you’re in its firing line, you’ll know it. It’s a world where a relatively pragmatic…
Many students are confused about grammar and sentence structure – so should universities teach it explicitly? Words image from www.shutterstock.com

Back to basics: should universities teach grammar?

Imagine a student turning up at university and not knowing basic multiplication. He or she could be hard-working, bright, enthusiastic but completely unable to answer a basic question like: what’s six…
The case of Aaron Swartz has put punitive intellectual property enforcement provisions under the spotlight. Flickr

Aaron’s Army fights the Trans-Pacific Partnership

In light of the death of internet activist Aaron Swartz, there is a need to reconsider intellectual property enforcement standards in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The 16th round of the Trans-Pacific…
Humans understand complicated ideas better when they’re told as stories. Marie Still

Stories help us think about a sustainable future

Many commentators have had a go at forecasting what Australia might be like in the future. Such exercises are valuable inputs to our thinking as individual, organisational or societal decision-makers…
A number of Shadow Bank commentators point to a slight uplift in the housing market as a sign that interest rates should rise in the medium term.

Interest rates should stay on hold, for now

No change remains the consensus of the nine members of the Shadow Board in the Reserve Bank of Australia holding interest rates unchanged from February at 3.00%. But rates need to rise significantly within…
Heat, floods and fire: it’s not just weather. timswinson.com

Angry summer shaped by a shifting climate

The hottest summer on record. The hottest month on record. The hottest day ever recorded for the whole of Australia. Heatwaves, bushfires, record rainfall and floods – extreme events across the land. This…
If petrol prices are relatively low, why worry about burning the stuff? David Neubert

Gas guzzlers fuelled by shrinking petrol tax

An iron law of economics is that people respond to incentives. If the petrol price goes up, it should be of little surprise that consumers alter their choices at both the petrol pump and the car dealership…
Coal threatens our future: what kind of investment is that? AAP Image/Paul Miller

Future Fund drops tobacco: should fossil fuels be next?

After a year long public campaign, the Future Fund has today announced plans to end its $222 million investment in tobacco. The decision follows much debate about whether the Future Fund should engage…
The Institute of Cetacean Research has accused the Sea Shepherd of ramming its vessels at sea. AAP/The Institute of Cetacean Research

Arrrrrrrrr the Sea Shepherds really pirates?

The US ninth circuit Court of Appeal has decided today that Sea Shepherd activists are pirates. The decision begins with colourful rhetoric about the appearance of pirates throughout fiction, but it addresses…
Western Australia’s State Barrier Fence is designed to keep emus out of farms - but at what cost? Graeme Chapman.

All cost, little benefit: WA’s barrier fence is bad news for biodiversity

Every five or ten years Western Australia’s emus undertake mass migrations in search of food. On the way they encounter the 1,170km State Barrier Fence, which seeks to stop dingos, emus and kangaroos entering…
Giving electricity providers something to aim for could reduce prices. Ville Miettinen

Reducing peak demand: targets are good practice

Better managing peak demand, the primary culprit behind recent rapid price rises across Australia, is a key challenge facing Eastern Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM). To deal with peak demand…

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