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The University of Newcastle was established as an autonomous institution in the 1960s. Its reputation is shaped by internationally recognised strength in research and an enduring commitment to quality teaching and learning, environmental sustainability, and equity and diversity.

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Artist Ben Quilty at last night’s I Stand For Mercy vigil for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Why is Ben Quilty supporting two convicted drug smugglers?

The prospect of the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran has polarised Australians. While some argue the young men should suffer the consequeneces of importing heroin, others take a different…
The real value of Lomax’s work is only now becoming clear. Wikimedia Commons

Sounding the Global Jukebox: we owe Alan Lomax a debt of thanks

If Alan Lomax were still alive, he would turn 100 Saturday. His name might not be as familiar as some other giants of folk music in the 20th century (such as Pete Seeger). But if you listen to folk or…
If governments choose to prioritise commercial interests, they place health scientists in the invidious position of helping inflict damage on public health. AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

Should scientists work with industry on alcohol policy?

It’s undeniable that there’s an irreconcilable conflict of interest in the alcohol industry being involved in developing health policy. And by participating in meetings involving industry representatives…
Many hands have helped author The Conversation’s first collaborative writing experiment.

An experiment in collaborative writing: day ten

We’re starting 2015 with an experiment in collaborative creative writing. What happens when you ask ten academics to write a story together? Taking our cue from the Exquisite Cadaver game played by Surrealist…
A mother’s healthy and varied diet during pregnancy might give her child a head start to healthy eating. Bettina Neuefeind/Flickr

Passing on taste: how your mum’s diet affects what you eat

Our parents teach us what is to eat. But this process begins well before the fight to get toddlers to eat their veggies. Not only do our parents give us the genes that define our taste receptors, research…
During post-war British rationing, Australians ensured the tradition of Christmas puddings survived. Victor Bayon

How Christmas pudding evolved with Australia

In a current TV advertisement for supermarket chain Aldi, a young traveller returns to his northern hemisphere village and shares his newfound knowledge of the Aussie Christmas. The villagers begrudgingly…
Consuming bath milk is particularly risky because it may contain the deadly STEC E.Coli bug. Olga Prokopova/Shutterstock

Bath milk crisis must prompt better cosmetic safety regulation

The death this week of a Victorian toddler after allegedly drinking “bath milk” is a reminder of how dangerous some natural cosmetics can be. The product – Mountain View Organic Dairy’s Organic Bath Milk…
Chinese president Xi Jinping and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. EPA/Harish Tyagi

Fair’s fair: time for China and India to step up at climate talks

At the UN Climate Negotiations underway in Lima, Peru, foreign minister Julie Bishop has called on China and India to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In her address to the conference on Wednesday…
Home schooling is on the rise, but why? Shutterstock

Evidence of home schooling success erased from inquiry report

Home education has had a massive rise in popularity in Australia in recent years, with increases of 100% in six years in Victoria, 50% in two years in the ACT, 50% in eight years in South Australia, and…
President Xi Jinping has a PhD in Marxism and recently directed more resources to the study of the works of Marx and Mao Zedong. AAP/Jason Reed

To make sense of modern China, you simply can’t ignore Marxism

How does one come to understand China? Many wish to do so, especially in light of China’s growing global influence. For some, language is the key that opens the door. With Chinese language, one is able…
Legalised programs may be underused if doctors do not support them. boodoo/Flickr

Legalising medical cannabis: lessons from Canada’s policies

A bill to permit medical cannabis use in Australia is set for debate in Senate. If medical cannabis use is legalised, doctors could become gatekeepers between patients and a controversial drug. Lessons…
There is such a thing as ‘too precise’ when it comes to numbers. So what’s appropriate? Erik Olsson

The significance of digits: just how reliable are reported numbers?

When numbers of any sort are presented in mathematics, science, business, government or finance, it’s fair to say a reader assumes that the data are reasonably reliable to their last digit. But presenting…
The wealthy can ensure their voices are heard via advertising, publicists or lobbyists, by owning media outlets or even by setting up their own political parties. AAP/Julian Smith

If democracy is to give everyone a say, equality isn’t an optional extra

To have a healthy democracy, it is not enough to hold regular elections, or for every person to get one – and only one – vote. At the heart of democracy is the idea that by voting for a particular party…
Jacob and Wilhelm were Grimm, no question. Wikimedia Commons

Reader beware: the nasty new edition of the Brothers Grimm

Fairy tales have a tumultuous and fragile history. They originated as tales told by “folk”. They were passed down over generations to while away long winter nights, to provide entertainment at special…
Any improvements you can make to what you eat and drink will help stack the odds in your favour. Image Point Fr/Shutterstock

Health Check: five food tips that could save your life after a heart attack

Every ten minutes in Australia someone has a heart attack. For 17% this will be fatal; the rest get a second chance. If you have had a close call, these five food tips will help get your health back on…
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says Medibank Private shares are expected to cost retail investors around $1.55-$2 per share. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Medibank Private float offers retail investors an early Christmas gift

The privatisation of Medibank Private will be complete next Tuesday when the company lists on the Australian Securities Exchange. That’s exactly one month before Christmas Day and all indications suggest…
Republican senator Mitch McConnell says the new climate deal will let China “do nothing” until 2030. Far from it. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS/AAP

FactCheck: does the new climate deal let China do nothing for 16 years?

“As I read the agreement it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc in my state and around the country.” – US Republican Senate…
Study the form guide all you like – on big race days, your money’s probably safer in your pocket. AAP/Joe Castro

How betting works – and why the Melbourne Cup skews the odds

Australia’s iconic sporting event – the Melbourne Cup – will see more than 100,000 punters pack into Flemington Racecourse this Tuesday, while those at work around the country pause to tune in to The Race…

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