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Independent senator Nick Xenophon’s brief detention and deportation won’t harm bilateral relations but is more about Malaysia’s looming election. David Crosling/AAP

Xenophon’s Malaysian adventure and two looming elections

The detention and deportation of Senator Nick Xenophon from Malaysia yesterday are not likely to present problems for Australia—Malaysia relations. Rather, the Xenophon story is shaped by the domestic…
Five years on from the apology to the Stolen Generations, Aboriginal children are still in child protection at a disproportionate rate to the rest of the population. AAP/Kym Smith

Making the national apology count for Indigenous children

Five years ago, Kevin Rudd made an apology to the Stolen Generations of this country for the wholesale practice of removing Aboriginal children from their families and the identity-shattering impacts this…
Good news for those who like a weekend sleep-in: lost sleep can be recovered. Image from shutterstock.com

Explainer: can you pay off your ‘sleep debt’?

Ever have those moments on weekends or public holidays when you wake at your usual time, then realise there’s no pressing need to get up? If you go back for another couple of hours of shut-eye and use…
An exotic pet - like this slow loris - won’t have come to you voluntarily. Michael Whitehead

Dear Santa, please don’t deliver exotic pets for Christmas!

What’s the worst Christmas gift you could give someone? It would have to be a non-human primate or a big cat. Images of people cuddling cute baby chimpanzees, slow lorises or tigers can lead to false perceptions…
Recycling is all very well, but how do we stop producing waste in the first place? Yoav Lerman

For a truly sustainable world, we need zero waste cities

The current state of worldwide urban development is depressing. We are not moving towards environmentally sustainable design and reduced consumption quickly enough. There have been dire warnings about…
A slump in well-being is common to all middle-aged great apes. Tom Holbrook

Do chimpanzees and orangutans really have midlife crises?

Knowing that chimpanzees and orangutans have personalities, feel emotions and are “almost human” comes as no surprise to most people. However, linking the term “midlife crisis” to chimpanzees and orangutans…
Urban environments are increasingly bombarding us with unhealthy food choices. John Walker

Rethinking how we live to stop the chronic diseases epidemic

We are in the midst of a global epidemic of chronic diseases – diabetes, heart disease, cancers and respiratory disease are on the rise across the world. Posing a real and increasing threat to health and…
The idea of Chi (life force) flowing through meridians has an allegorical quality and the appeal of an ancient provenance. jacqueline/Flickr

Acupuncture research – the path least scientific?

A recent, rather flattering, article on acupuncture on this website holds a mirror to a broader problem in the world of acupuncture research. A problem that goes to the heart of the most fundamental scientific…
Mapping the scope of Australia’s care economy — both paid and unpaid — has been challenging. Flickr\Wunkai

Counting the cost of Australia’s care economy

It is easy to measure the national economic value of primary industry production, of manufacturing, and of the wholesale and retail sectors. But many Australians don’t work in profit-focused enterprises…
Australians from skilled trades or professions are the most likely to find a niche in the ageing workforce. Nurse image from www.shutterstock.com

Grey expectations, or a silver lining? The challenges facing older workers

Welcome to Shades of Grey, a series from The Conversation that examines the challenges posed by Australia’s ageing workforce. Today, Adjunct Associate Professor Margaret Patrickson from the University…
In the year to June 2012, 26% of SA’s electricity came from wind: how do they do it? Dave Clarke

Wind power: why is South Australia so successful?

The integration of wind energy generation into the electricity grid in South Australia is a success story. The gross statistic often quoted is the total electricity produced as a percentage of the supply…
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The London Paralympic Games - legacies for all?

The London Paralympic Games is now upon us. The Opening Ceremony has been held with all the pomp and ceremony of any other major event. But what does this event do for promoting the inclusivity of people…
When it comes to accounting for the carbon tax, accountants need to embrace a transdisciplinary approach. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Thinking outside the square: accountants have a role to play in a sustainable future

Can business and accountants guide us on the path to sustainability? Will business and accounting leaders of the future have the necessary skills to solve complex sustainability problems? How can new pathways…
We don’t know why some people don’t recover from an acute episode of pain. Kennedy/Wikimedia Commons

Pain really is in the mind, but not in the way you think

Everybody hurts, but not everybody keeps hurting. The unlucky few who do end up on a downward spiral of economic, social and physical disadvantage. While we don’t know why some people don’t recover from…
Prominent signage of unit pricing could help consumers make more informed choices about their grocery shopping. AAP

Unit pricing is smart shopping practice, but do consumers care?

In the confusing world of brands, package sizes, advertising and price promotions, what can help consumers make informed choices? Unit pricing – the price per standardised unit of measure introduced in…
Self-employment can offer a great deal of flexibility, but it can also result in a poorer work-life balance. lulemon athletica

The imperfect freedoms of the freelancer in the changing world of work

Welcome to the Future of Work, a series from The Conversation that looks at the ongoing evolution of the workplace. Today, University of South Australia’s Barbara Pocock looks at the rise of freelance…
It’s a nice place for a house, but where will you put the strawberry farm? Chip_2904/Flickr

Will Sydney or Melbourne have more hungry people in 2036?

The Victorian Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, recently announced an urban expansion for Melbourne: 5,958 hectares of new suburbs and transport corridors. But he didn’t mention the implicit costs of changing…
Fresh minimally-processed foods are more expensive than energy-dense, nutrient-poor processed foods. Alexander Baxevanis

Regulation and legislation as tools in the battle against obesity

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it - Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic. Today Kerin O'Dea…
Post-marketing studies are often used as ploys to get doctors in the habit of prescribing expensive new medicines. Flickr / Nestle

How Big Pharma opens the market to new expensive drugs

New medicines are often marketed on the basis of clinical trials of limited size and duration. So clinical studies of a medicine after it has reached the market (post-marketing studies) can be a useful…

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