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Cakes aren’t universally unhealthy – and they play an important role in our society. Flickr/comedy nose

Healthy or harmful? It’s a piece of cake

The obesity epidemic is creating panic in the community, with media commentators expressing outrage at our widening waistbands and academics raising alarms about the health implications of carrying excess…
Emissions spiked, thanks to more intensive energy use. Louis Vest

The emissions rebound after the GFC: why greenhouse gases went up in 2010

Recessions are not the way to permanently cut greenhouse gas emissions. Global emissions surged during 2010, cancelling out the reductions from the global financial crisis (GFC). Emissions took off in…
A trading coalition would help Indonesia meet its emissions-reduction targets. World Resources

Building carbon markets with our nearest neighbours

International carbon markets are on the nose in some quarters. From some on the left they are seen as a cheap way to absolve polluters’ sins without having a real impact on reducing emissions. From some…
As Hugo Chávez’s health deteriorates, how will he guarantee his political future? EPA/Marcelo Garcia

Venezuela: taking stock of Chavez’s physical and political health

Just eight months after being treated in Cuba for cancer, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was back in Cuba again last month to have another tumor removed from the same area. Despite his illness, Chávez…
There are plenty of opportunities to be seized if Brazilian mining company Vale decides to expand its operations to Australia. AAP

Why Australia should engage with Brazilian mining giant Vale

Rumour has it that Brazilian mining giant Vale is eyeing up the Yilgarn region of West Australia for a new venture. Forget notions of Vale trying to invade the backyard of its prime competitors BHP Billiton…
Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens: knowing how individuals board members think is important. AAP

Shadowing the RBA: uncertainty matters when it comes to interest rates

Monetary policymaking is imperfect. When board members of a central bank such as the Reserve Bank of Australia sit down to set the appropriate target cash rate each month - as they did this week - there…
Voters elect delegates who pledge support to a particular candidate. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Explainer: Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday is billed as the most important day for any US presidential nomination contest, and this year it’s more fascinating than ever. Fewer states are voting than usual and the Republican party…
Bob Carr is Australia’s new foreign minister after a cabinet reshuffle by Julia Gillard. ABC News24

Cabinet reshuffle: Gareth Evans on Bob Carr

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today delivered a political surprise by announcing former NSW premier Bob Carr as Foreign Minister in her reshuffled cabinet. Carr takes over from Kevin Rudd, who returns to…
Julia Gillard claimed a definitive victory this morning: now the hard work begins. AAP

Gillard vs Rudd: the best of The Conversation’s coverage

From Kevin Rudd’s surprise resignation last week to this morning’s galvanising ballot, The Conversation has kept you up-to-date with analysis from Australia’s foremost academic political analysts. Just…
Gillard had strong support from caucus this morning. AAP/Alan Porritt

Julia Gillard wins ALP leadership spill: expert reaction

Prime minister Julia Gillard has defeated Kevin Rudd in this morning’s leadership ballot by 71 votes to 31. Rudd has said he will not initiate a further challenge to the prime minister’s leadership, but…
Synthetic biology may help us create artificial life, but how should we patent it? Wellcome Images

Inventing life: patent law and synthetic biology

With promises of improved medical treatments, greener energy and even artificial life, the field of synthetic biology has captured the public imagination and attracted significant government and commercial…
Julia Gillard never had the courage to confront Kevin Rudd. ABC News 24

Kevin Rudd has the courage to lead that Julia Gillard lacks

Kevin Rudd has formally announced he will contest the Labor leadership in a ballot on Monday. This is just the latest act in the pantomime of Australian politics. This drama production is an indulgence…
You have to go back to the time of the dinosaurs to see where Earth is heading. Mr Kimberley/Flickr

Is another mass extinction event on the way?

Why have mass extinctions of species occurred since the late Proterozoic (from 580 million years ago) and repeatedly through the Phanerozoic? Integral to these extinctions were abrupt changes in the physical…
How do we encourage more Australians to become live kidney donors? CarbonNYC

For love, not money: kidney exchange encourages social contract

Many readers will have seen advertisements encouraging people to talk to their loved ones about organ donation. This is part of the government’s latest set of initiatives to increase Australia’s organ…
Are you a rational thinker, or do you make decisions based on intuition? alistairh

The benefits of being in two minds

Are you the “lazy” or the “deliberate” thinker? Why can’t we have a hybrid? Something has been bugging me for quite a while – how difficult it is to strike a balance between thinking fast, albeit impulsively…

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