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If the US Research Works Bill passes, public access to US research will be restricted. Flickr/the Firebottle

A small bill in the US, a giant impact for research worldwide

Over the Christmas period, a short Bill was introduced into the US House of Representatives. The Research Works Act aims to make it illegal to require researchers to make their work publicly available…
Former President Lula used Brazil’s commodities boom to secure the country’s future. AAP

A lesson for Australia in Brazil’s resources-driven economic miracle

Brazil has just passed the United Kingdom to become the sixth-largest economy in the world. Only a decade ago such news would have been written off as just another version of the old joke, “Brazil is the…
An ice-free world isn’t impossible – even though it seems the stuff of science fiction. Alistair Knock

As emissions rise, we may be heading for an ice-free planet

Last December’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union featured three of the world’s leading climate scientists: James Hansen (NASA’s chief climate scientist), Elco Rohling (National Oceanography Centre…
Are Australia’s Collins class a feat of engineering genius or an expensive boondoggle? iStock

In deep water: where now for the Collins class submarines?

In 2011 Minister for Defence Stephen Smith announced a review on the Sustainment of Australia’s Collins Class submarines. The review is led by John Coles, an independent expert from BMT Defence Services…
Aung San Suu Kyi and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton at Suu Kyi’s home in 2011. AAP/Ngein Chan Vaing

Aung San Suu Kyi’s election bid is the litmus test for reform in Burma

In a landmark development, Aung San Suu Kyi recently confirmed she would run in by-elections to be held in Burma on April 1, 2012. Until now, Suu Kyi has not been allowed to stand for election. When the…
Oysters can still play an important role in romance, even though they aren’t an aphrodisiac. Stephen Coles

Monday’s medical myth: eating oysters makes you randy

The stuff of romance novels or a secret tool to give you a boost in the bedroom? We start the year by examining the truth about oysters. Holly gazed around in awe. Rory had brought her to a tiny waterfront…
Get your feet wet this summer holidays. Joanne Snaps

Off the couch and out the door: getting your kids into nature

Here’s a scene that might be familiar: it’s an invitingly sunny day yet, infuriatingly, the kids remain sprawled, skinny and listless, on the couch. They’re peering into tiny Nintendo machines and every…
Are the benefits of openness worth the risk of releasing a new superflu? Ars Electronica

Avian superflu and the censorship of science

Two studies, one carried out in the Netherlands by Ron Fouchier and the other in Japan by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, are causing controversy over the creation of a new strain of H5N1 Avian Influenza or “bird flu…
There’s a lot of carbon in there. John Tann

Is using native forests for energy really carbon-neutral?

Australia’s forest conflict gets easier to solve as every day passes. In reality, the conflict will solve itself if the government can just resist reviving the environmentally and economically inferior…
The Green Climate Fund needs to attract developed countries’ money with a few nest eggs. CaptPiper

Empty shell or nest egg: what next for climate finance after Durban?

DURBAN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: One of the main achievements of the Durban climate change conference was establishing the Green Climate Fund. This is expected to channel a fair amount of the US$100 billion…
How can we stop people putting themselves in peril? AAP/Josh Jerga

Five ways to prevent more asylum seeker tragedies

Last weekend, an overcrowded fishing boat sank off the coast of Indonesia with more than 200 asylum seekers on board. In Australia, the political blame game started soon after with both sides trying to…
Japan has lost its taste for nuclear, which means higher emissions and less energy security. AAP

Powering Japan after Fukushima

Recently, Jenny Corbett, Executive Director of the Australia-Japan Research School at ANU, sat down with Tatsuo Hatta, Professor Emeritus at Osaka University and a former President of the Japanese Economic…
If the republic is going to be put back on the political agenda in 2012, more will need to step up and talk more about the issue publicly. Flickr/GregTheBusker

Vive la republique! Why Nicola Roxon’s push for constitutional reform needs supporters

The new Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, has made her intention clear to reignite the debate on Australia becoming a republic. On taking up the new position, she took the opportunity to stake out her position…
There’s no shortage of hype around thorium, but how justified is the excitement? AzureGrackel

Thoughts from a thorium ‘symposium’

You have probably heard at least a little about thorium. There are certainly advocates out there who strongly believe it could help solve the world’s energy problems. The idea is that thorium-based nuclear…
Michael Somare (right) and his deputy Sam Abal claim to be rightful leaders of PNG. AAP/Eoin Blackwell

Explainer: political crisis in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has been gripped by political turmoil for almost a week now. Two men – Michale Somare and Peter O'Neill – are currently claiming to be the rightful prime minister of the nation. Both have…
Space touches all of us – but how can we stay in touch with space? The iconoclastic yet iconic ionic icon

Australia in space: what’s our policy?

Almost every aspect of our lives is in some way touched by space science and technology. As such, the public policy implications are many and varied. Services provided via space-based technologies are…

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