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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Julia Gillard has presented a coherent plan for an uncertain future. AAP/Lukas Coch

Gillard’s security strategy prepares for the known unknowns

The central problem for defence and security planners right now is uncertainty. The clarity of the Cold War is gone, new threats such as terrorism have come, and seemingly peaked, and what the rise of…

Co-created democracy, movements and the masses

One thing any decent marketer will tell you is that is that markets have splintered. Mass markets now exist only for needs, not products. Even utility markets are starting to splinter. But it is we as…
The effects of climate change are becoming more apparent - who will take responsibility for the delay in action? AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Humanity’s scorched Earth program – where to now?

The intensity and frequency of bush fires and firestorms around the globe, including recently in Australia, is a growing worry. Under conditions where mean land temperatures have increased by ~1.5 degrees…
More people are telling researchers they’re sceptical about climate change, but for different reasons. US Mission Canada

Climate of doubt: what Australians think about climate change

There is growing evidence that public opinion about climate change is shifting over time. In many countries, surveys reveal that people are becoming less worried, and in some cases more sceptical about…
Depression is more than the experience of sadness or stress. Sander van der Wel

Explainer: what is depression?

Many people know what it’s like to feel sad or down from time to time. We can experience negative emotions due to many things – a bad day at work, a relationship break-up, a sad film, or just getting out…
US regulators have grounded all 787 Dreamliners until a battery fire risk is fully assessed and fixed. Flickr: Drewski2112

Grounded: looking at the 787 Dreamliner recent troubles

This week, US civil aviation safety regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took the massive step of grounding all US Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Its equivalent European counterpart, the European…
Logging of Mountain Ash doesn’t make the sustainable forestry grade. lizardstomp/Flickr

Victorian forestry is definitely not ecologically sustainable

By any scientific yardstick, forestry operations in Victoria cannot be regarded as ecologically sustainable. Much of the attention of politicians, policy makers and the general public has been on the tall…
Taxpayer-funded research should be out there for everyone to access. muffin9101985/Flickr

What is open access and why should we care?

The issue of open access to research findings has been in the media for a number of reasons lately, some positive - the release of the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) open access policy - and some…
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…

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