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Once a software maker learns about a “zero-day” vulnerability, there’s usually no time left to fix it. Midnight via www.shutterstock.com

Zero-day’ stockpiling puts us all at risk

“Zero-days” are serious vulnerabilities in software that are unknown to the software maker or user. They are so named because developers find out about the security vulnerability the day that it is exploited…
Notions of the ‘right to know’ forced Hillary Clinton to defend her use of a private email account as secretary of state - a far cry from the days when citizens didn’t even know how their representatives voted. EPA/Andrew Gombert

The right to know vs the need for secrecy: the US experience

The idea of the right to know as the 'lifeblood of democracy' is a surprisingly modern development. And in an age when transparency is prized, privacy and secrecy can still be justified in many cases.
Free pollination services: a bee at an almond orchard in California. Randy Stiefer

Bringing scientific rigor to ‘ecosystem services’

Forests, wetlands, wildlife, waterways all provide valuable services to society. Would we take better conserve natural resources if we paid for these ecosystem services?
Hacking and making a profit isn’t as easy as it looks. Reuters

Hard Evidence: how much is cybercrime really costing us?

In the wake of the latest high-profile hack of Sony and claims of “cyber-vandalism” being thrown about, it’s normal to feel a sense of unease. Just this week, yet another proposal for new cybersecurity…
The author with his brother and father on the way to Florida

The last exiles

“Normalization” – that’s been the word of the week among Cubans and Cuba watchers. Set aside for the moment whether it’s really possible for a dictatorship and a democracy to have normal relations, since…
‘Plates of the Outback’ - A supercell thunderstorm near Urana, NSW drifts over the landscape. John Allen

Australia faces a stormier future thanks to climate change

The supercell that hit Brisbane on November 27 this year caused more than A$500 million worth of damage, produced hail up to 7.5 cm in diameter, and lashed the city with winds of more than 140 km an hour…
Ferguson after grand jury results announced Jim Young/Reuters

Ferguson: a tale of two competing narratives

Before the ambulance even came to collect the body of 18 year-old Michael Brown from the streets of Ferguson, it was clear that this case would be tried in the court of public opinion. Was Brown a “gentle…
Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz says Australia should make sure its international “brand name” is for its high-quality services. EPA/Arne Dedert

Audio Q&A: Professor Joseph Stiglitz on inequality, rent-seeking and Australia’s ‘brand name’

Nobel Laureate and renowned economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz has been packing out lecture theatres in Australia in the past week. During his whirlwind tour, he’s talked about why inequality matters…

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