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Why isn’t it the norm for trials in Australia of immense public interest to be broadcast, as the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius in South Africa has? EPA/Kevin Sutherland

Morcombe, Pistorius and the public interest in court broadcasts

The one thing missing from the saturation coverage of the Daniel Morcombe murder trial in Brisbane late last week was courtroom vision. Media coverage of Brett Cowan’s conviction and sentencing involved…
The Mr Big technique that caught Daniel Morcombe’s killer, and ultimately led to his conviction, deserves credit for solving the long-running investigation. AAP/Supplied

Mr Big: the covert technique that solved the Morcombe case

The 2003 disappearance of 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe in Queensland highlighted the difficulties police face when investigating a potential murder with no body and no crime scene. Ultimately, it was the…
Videogames have the capacity to be complex and engaging in ways not possible in other media. Koen Van Weel/EPA

All work, all play: the art of videogame writing

Games writers dream up characters, dialogue, motivations and plot much like film screenwriters. But rather than keeping an audience captive for two or three hours at a time as in cinema, gamers will play…
In the face of rising opposition to its anti-bikie measures, the Queensland government must find a way to cut through the rhetoric with facts and stop inflaming the debate. AAP/Dan Peled

The battle to win hearts and minds in Queensland’s bikie war

One fascinating aspect of the Newman government’s “war on bikies” in Queensland has been the battle for the hearts and minds of average citizens. In an attempt to convince the public of the threat – and…
Stalking is an increasing crime trend in the wider community, which is exacerbated by the availability and use of social media. shutterstock

Hunting the hunter: how to effectively combat stalking

What do Steven Spielberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock, Hugh Jackman, Madonna and John Lennon have in common? They have each, at one time or another, been victims of stalking. Local radio host Sophie…
The series is an excellent demonstration of real-world challenges facing families and practitioners. ABC TV Publicity

ABC TV’s ‘Kids on Speed?’ shows drugs are not the answer

The new three-part documentary starting on ABC1 at 8:30 tonight, “Kids on Speed?” is timely given attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is attracting controversy because of growing evidence it’s overdiagnosed…
A change in investigative and policing strategy is needed if the Queensland government is to win the so-called ‘bikie wars’. AAP/Paul Miller

The end justifies the means: why Queensland is losing the bikie war

Three months into the campaign by the Queensland government against outlaw motorcycle gangs, some meaningful analysis of the effectiveness and justification for the unprecedented measures is possible…
Many more Australians want to build the ‘body beautiful’ and we want to do it in a hurry, increasingly through the use of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs). shutterstock

Muscling up: are steroids an emerging criminal threat?

High-profile claims of links between elite sports and organised crime in Australia – such as those outlined in last year’s Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report – have put performance and image enhancing…
It’s the quantity of sugar we consume that’s bad for us. Carol Green

Health check: five sweeteners and what they mean for you

People have been eating sweet foods for eons. Fruit (fructose), milk (lactose), cane (sucrose), and honey (fructose and glucose) provide us with energy for growth and development. But in these days, we…
People who are questioning whether to continue taking statins should talk to a doctor. Hilke Kurzke

Worried about taking statins? Here’s what you need to know

After last week’s controversial Catalyst program on the ABC, some people may be wondering whether they should stop taking statins to lower their cholesterol. But before making such a decision, read this…
In Queensland, the Finks motorcycle gang are among those in the gun of police, the state government, the media and the public. AAP/Joe Castro

A phony war: bikies aren’t the only problem on Queensland’s Glitter Strip

Bikies have become the poster boys of crime in Queensland. In the past week we’ve seen the announcement of a spartan, bikies-only jail likened to Guantanamo Bay, tough new laws rushed through a marathon…
Labelling a risk factor as a medical condition stimulates the therapeutic reflex to treat, which may have minimal or no benefit yet risk all the adverse effects. John Chamberlain

When does ‘abnormal’ actually impact your health?

Anyone, it seems, can create an epidemic. Witness a recent article in the Fairfax papers that provides “startling” news about the large number of Australians with high cholesterol who don’t even know they…
Several factors, including if the effects of the medicine are worth its cost, help decide whether a drug is subsidised by the government. Tetiana Yurchenko/Shutterstock

Why some drugs are publicly subsidised and others are not

Decisions whether to publicly fund new drugs or not are often tough. Should the government fund a drug that has promising early results or wait until its effects and safety issues are better understood…
We wanted to know about the people who decide where to draw the line between “normal” and “abnormal”, between healthy and diseased. Shutterstock

How diseases get defined, and what that means for you

Have you ever wondered how diseases get defined? How “high” does your blood pressure have to be before it’s called “high blood pressure”? How “low” does bone density have to be before it’s “osteoporosis…
A newly-defined condition called ‘chronic kidney disease’ could turn many people unnecessarily into patients. Shutterstock

Making people patients: chronic kidney disease over-diagnosis

Kidneys are probably not a subject most of us think about too much – but right now they’re at the centre of a global medical controversy. In a paper published in the British Medical Journal today, we explain…
The idea of vulnerable patients becoming infected by their health-care practitioner has spawned mandatory vaccination policies in many places. Thompson Rivers University

Should flu shots be mandatory for health-care workers?

Facts about Flu – Today we consider the ethics of requiring one group of people to have the flu shot as a condition of employment. We’re still looking for ways of preventing and treating influenza, and…
Roche has repeatedly refused to hand over trial data so researchers can evaluate whether Tamiflu reduces the symptoms of influenza. kiyong2/Flickr

The Tamiflu saga shows why all research data should be public

Facts about Flu - Today, we consider the long-running attempt to evaluate whether the antiviral drug Tamiflu works. There’s a dispute going on at the moment, a war of words with lots of public relations…
The murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher sparked much social media comment, some of which threatened to compromise the criminal trial of the accused. AAP/Facebook

Trial by social media: why we need to properly educate juries

This week, the Standing Council on Law and Justice (which constitutes the attorneys-general of the Commonwealth, states and territories) published a report on the impact of social media on juries. The…
The inclination to see differences between men and women makes us blind to their similarities. Daniele Civello

Gender differences: more fictions than fact?

We see gender differences everywhere – in the psychology, thoughts and behaviour of men and women. But the inclination to see differences makes us blind to the overwhelming similarities of men and women…

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