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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In the short term, reducing demand could be bad for the environment, but the long-term view is brighter. Gustavo Durán

Reducing peak demand: lowering prices, but what about emissions?

The past year has seen several processes to reduce the price of electricity to consumers. Each has highlighted the importance of “demand management” - consumers reducing use at peak times to reduce the…
The science on climate change hasn’t become less clear since 1990, but media coverage has. Garry Knight

How we lost 20 years on climate change action

Scientists have warned about the “greenhouse effect” for years. Now it is no longer a scientific nightmare; it has arrived. Lines from Al Gore’s famous movie? No. The Sydney Morning Herald published these…
Some of the isotopes we find here on Earth were created in supernova explosions like this one. NASA

Explainer: what is an isotope?

If you’ve ever studied a periodic table of the elements (see below), you’re probably already aware that this table reveals a great deal about the chemical properties of the atoms that make up our world…
The 2003 European heat wave caused 80,000 deaths at temperatures Australians usually experience in a regular summer. AAP

Could we acclimatise to the hotter summers to come?

Acclimatising to heat is a tough gig. Since 1970, central Australian regions have warmed 1.2ᵒC and as the world continues to get warmer, increasingly common and increasingly intense heat waves will make…
Bushfires release CO2, but how much? AAP Image/Kim Foale

Fact check: do bushfires emit more carbon than burning coal?

“Indeed I guess there’ll be more CO2 emissions from these fires than there will be from coal-fired power stations for decades.” - acting Opposition leader, Warren Truss, January 9, 2013 On Wednesday, leader…
Storing surplus water underground will ease the hard times during drought. Tim J Keegan/Flickr

Banking water underground for our future

Australia should prepare now for dry times ahead by “banking” its water underground. This means storing surplus water underground during wet periods and bringing it up for use during dry times. Water storage…
China’s economic growth has been underpinned by a favourable demographic dividend - but China’s demographic story is not always so clear. Flickr

Growing old in the Chinese economy

China’s exceptional economic growth performance in the last three decades has coincided with equally remarkable demographic change. There is now plenty of evidence to suggest the potential demographic…
Obesity’s negative impact on mortality may be outweighed by other factors favourably influencing life expectancy. Isaac Brown/Stocky Bodies

Obesity’s paradoxical impact on trends in life expectancy

The rising level of obesity, along with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other related diseases, is predicted to slow down or reverse the decline in mortality seen in most Western countries in recent…
Balancing the priorities of industry and the public is one of the greatest challenges of open health. Truthout.org

The tension at the heart of open health oversight

Open health is the intersection between health care and information communications technologies. We’ve previously talked about what it is and why people should care about it, the problems that may occur…
Sponges and hydra, which are made of colonies of cells with a small number of cell types, have some similarities with cancer. Biodiversity Heritage Library

An astrobiological view of cancer’s evolutionary origin

Life originated on Earth about four billion years ago. Death, sex and multicellularity came along about a billion years later. According to our new atavistic model, cancer came with multicellularity. About…
It’s time to take solar transport fuels a lot more seriously. National Renewable Energy Lab

Here’s to hydrogen: Australia is missing the potential of solar fuels

Many times in human history governments have tried to write policies based around future technologies and missed identifying the transformational keys. In the 1970s, for example, few if any horizon-scanning…
Some of life’s problems are just not solvable. Sean Dreilinger

Listen up worry warts, ruminating won’t solve your problems

We all do it from time to time – replay scenarios over and over in our minds. Problem is, these repetitive and, at times, uncontrollable thoughts inevitably leave us feeling worse and make us more prone…
If Victoria keeps logging the way it is, the Leadbeater’s Possum is doomed. ccdoh1/flickr

Sending Leadbeater’s Possum down the road to extinction

We have studied the effects of current widespread clear-felling in Victoria’s Mountain ash forests for almost three decades. Clear-felling now loses large amounts of money for the state of Victoria, degrades…
An Indigenous MP in Western Australia has highlighted the tensions in Indigenous education around culture and. Indigenous image from www.shutterstock.com

Learning for the western world? The Indigenous education dilemma

Last week the Western Australian Indigenous Labor MP, Ben Wyatt, told a conference in Perth that Aboriginal children in remote communities need a “full Western education”. Wyatt went on to say that the…
Unequal access to technology and technological literacy are the biggest challenges to open health. Stethoscope image from www.shutterstock.com

Diagnosing the inequality problems of open health

Open health programs create a range of ethical concerns. Some of these are old, and some are new; some need action now, and some need a longer view. Responding to these concerns requires the use of a limited…
As the Indian delegate said, ‘If we don’t get cheap technology we will never be able to adapt to climate change’. But Doha was reluctant to discuss the matter. Danish Wind Industry Association.

The Doha deadlock: intellectual property and climate change

In November 2001, Doha hosted trade talks over intellectual property and public health. The discussions resulted in the landmark Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health. The Doha Declaration…
Has it been a particularly bad year for Australian politics? AAP Image/Lukas Coch

All out war: the year that was in Australian politics

The political year has been characterised by many commentators as a grisly one, full of aggressive personal abuse and character assassination. A prime example was the vituperative final week of parliamentary…
Everyone wants good news about coral, but we shouldn’t misinterpret the latest findings. Phil Camill

Research good news for coralline algae, but not necessarily for reefs

As Doha disappoints on delivering any real progress on reducing global CO2 emissions, new research demonstrates that a key component of coral reef structures may be more resilient in the face of increasing…
China’s growing investment in research and development could leave Australia by the wayside. AAP

China’s rise through the R&D ranks provides lessons for Australia

When it comes to innovation, China is not renowned for being cutting-edge; it is better known for adapting existing technology rather than creating its own. Yet, as Xi Jinping stated in his first speech…
Labor elder Senator John Faulkner has called for a thorough reform of internal party practices. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

NSW Labor, the Catholic Church and the ADF: institutions eating themselves alive

Since its nineteenth century birth, the Australian Labor Party has helped to define the country’s institutional landscape. But according to one of its most respected members, party grandee Senator John…

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