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The government of Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak (pictured centre) has come under fire for its handling of the MH370 disaster. EPA/Ahmad Yusni

Malaysian government tested in a situation it can’t control

In the latest press conference on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has said there is sufficient evidence that the airliner crashed in a remote part of the Indian…
Like humans, ‘man’s best friend’ can sense our emotions through voice alone. Flickr/TheGiantVermin

Dogs hear human happiness – it’s in his (or her) master’s voice

Dogs really are our best friends. A study published today in Current Biology shows not only do dogs and humans read emotions in each other’s “voices”, but both are more attuned to “happy” sounds. And the…
Mining the old way too costly. Flickr/GOC53

New thinking needed on costly mining as ores get less rich

Dealing with mineral ores is rapidly becoming more complex as ore grade is decreasing, mines are getting deeper and the cost of energy and labour increases. The minerals industry has seen an increase in…
It all comes down to egg supply. Image from shutterstock.com

Explainer: what causes women’s fertility to decline with age?

We’ve known for over 50 years that reproductive ageing results in a gradual loss of fertility until about age 37, when the rate of decline accelerates dramatically. The loss of fertility is accompanied…
Christopher Pyne says students need to be taught ‘the significance of Judeo-Christian values’ to Australia, but where in the discourse did ‘Judeo-Christian’ come from? AAP/Dave Hunt

Curriculum review: where did ‘Judeo-Christian’ come from?

Education minister Christopher Pyne has copped it from the Left with both barrels for demanding that the Australian education curriculum teach students “the significance of Judeo-Christian values to our…
The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute building may inspire architects and scholars globally. Peter Barnes

Adelaide’s SAHMRI building offers a glimpse of a greener future

Is it a spaceship piloted by a friendly alien, a metallic pine cone or a giant cheese-grater? No, it’s Adelaide’s South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (the SAHMRI building for short…
Recent protests against Queensland’s anti-bikie laws will find no comfort in previous court rulings that uphold legislators’ power to infringe freedom of association. AAP/Kym Agius

Bikie laws fall foul of law of unintended consequences

This week in Brisbane, police charged five Victorian men under Queensland anti-bikie legislation, which makes it an offence for gang members to congregate in groups. But do we actually enjoy freedom of…
The cost of fresh fruit and vegetables soars in rural areas. Flickr/ Family O'Abé

Rural Australians are missing out on affordable fresh food

Would you pay A$9 for six mushrooms in inner-city Melbourne? Or A$4.50 for one small piece of broccoli or cauliflower in Sydney? Probably not – but this is what rural Australians are being asked to fork…
Research shows the loss of social interaction ranks above loss of income as the most difficult thing for retrenched workers to adjust to. Julian Smith/AAP

Mitsubishi’s silver lining for Holden workers

The images of Holden workers walking away from the plant this week following its closure announcement were the latest reminder the “job for life” era is over. As Peter Capelli wrote in 1999, the goal for…
How you feel at work directly affects how you feel about work during leisure time. Alan Cleaver

Clock off, switch off: tips to stress less outside work hours

Australians are busy at work. We report very high levels of intensive working compared to other industrialised countries. And while it’s difficult to fully disconnect from work as we head home for the…
Whose aspiration? Chris Devers/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Current notions of success do little for white working class

The underachievement of white working-class schoolchildren in the UK continues to be a subject of contentious debate. It is well-documented that white working-class pupils do less well and suffer low social…
Past studies have indicated the redback spider antivenom is effective. Cathy/Flickr

Some things to know about the redback spider antivenom

Media reports about the redback spider antivenom being ineffective caused a bit of a stir recently. The articles were based on research presented at a major toxinology conference in Dubai. To understand…
Nursing homes, and the people who care for the elderly, would benefit if there was less of a taboo around talking about dirty business. AAP/Alan Porritt

We need to talk about dirty work, and what it’s worth

A recent survey found 73% of aged care workers in Australia did dirty work, coming into contact with bodily products. These products that are normal – we all poo and bleed – but taboos surrounding dirty…
The 2011 Tesla Roadster Sports could hit 100 km/h in less than four seconds and be charged from a standard power point. AAP Image/Tesla

Will electricity save the car?

Cars defined the 20th century … [They] shaped the wars that were fought, the way cities developed and how people and goods were moved around … [As] we look to alternative technologies to fuel more than…
The European food agency has decided to allow health claims for products containing fructose. Broken Haiku/Flickr

Fructose health claims ignores evidence of harm

The European Food and Safety Agency (EFSA) has just approved health claims for fructose-sweetened products, in a move that has astonished scientists around the world. Food and drink manufacturers can now…
If we’re fit, does it matter what we weigh? Image from shutterstock.com

Viewpoints: can you be healthy at any weight?

Australians are getting heavier and, as a result, are more likely to suffer life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes. But should we be worried about a bit of excess weight…
Orphan bonobos at a Congo sanctuary don’t understand how to comfort others or themselves as well as those reared by their mums. Flickr/Princess Stand in the Rain

For primates, having a mother helps them learn social skills

Wild bonobos, like all Great Apes, spend long childhoods with their mothers, learning the skills they need to function as socially and emotionally stable members of their community. But orphaned bonobos…
Karplus, Levitt and Warshel combined classical and quantum physics. Johan Jarnestad

Nobel prizewinners took chemistry from pipettes to programming

The 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was yesterday jointly awarded to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel for developing foundation computer software that chemists today use to investigate how…
Customers leaving a Target store in Sydney earlier this year, with some of the biogradable shopping bags that can be bought at the counter. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Target’s plastic bag backdown a loss for the silent majority

Charging for plastic bags at the checkout and even banning disposable plastic bags has been a growing global trend in recent years. So what should we make of the news that retailer Target is binning its…

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