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Magnification (1,000 times) of Clostridium botulinum from food, which causes a severe form of food poisoning called botulism. Microbe World/Flickr

Explainer: the good, the bad and the ugly of botulinum toxin

It might be fine for us to inject ourselves with Botox in a quest for eternal youth, but when the microorganism that produces this potent toxin is found in whey powder that might end up in baby milk formula…
Exercising to the point of breaking a sweat plays a key role in stroke prevention. Charles Wagner

There’s something you can do to reduce your risk of stroke

Many people who have had a stroke believe that their family history is the main reason for it, regardless of how well they look after themselves. While a family history of cardiovascular disease does increase…
Despite criticisms that Julia Gillard has overplayed the gender card, the policies of her government have put in place a framework for true gender equality in the workplace. AAP/Alan Porritt

Gender equality at work: the Labor legacy

I was recently phoned by a journalist and asked to reflect on what the Labor government had done for gender equality. I started to jot down a number of reforms on the back of an envelope and surprised…
Our ape relatives respond like human toddlers who are denied a treat or feel frightened. Reflexiste

Do chimps and bonobos go ape when risk goes wrong?

Do chimpanzees and bonobos throw tantrums when their decision-making fails to pay off? That’s the question posed in a new PLoS ONE study by Brian Hare of Duke University and Alexandra Rosati of Yale. It…
With smartphones allowing work emails to be checked out at all hours, the separation of work from leisure is becoming increasingly blurred. Image from www.shutterstock.com

You’ve got mail, 24-7: a work-life blessing or curse?

For many of us, smartphones and laptops have enabled an electronic untethering from physical and temporal limitations workplaces, creating the opportunity for greater flexibility to fit paid work in and…
Online retailer Amazon has come in for criticism since it was revealed they electronically tag their factory workers - does this represent the ‘new world’ of work? Scottish Government

The brave new world of work: where employees are treated as criminals

Every age has its estimate of the pressures and perils of work. Adam Smith, writing in the 18th century, focused on the toil and trauma of work. Karl Marx, writing in the 19th century, spoke of the alienation…
Basal-cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in Australia. http://www.flickr.com/photos/redvers

Human trial puts skin cancer drug within reach

A drug that may one day be used to treat skin cancer has been found to be safe for use on humans and may reduce the size…
The ‘Islamophobia’-related responses to last week’s Boston bombings have been somewhat measured in comparison to 9/11. EPA/CJ Gunther

Boston bombings: beware the multi-million dollar Islamophobia industry

Local commentators have variously described reactions to the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured 183 others, as “restrained”, “refreshingly honest” and wholly different to what…
China’s fast-track urbanisation doesn’t have to be unsustainable. Flickr/dcmaster

China’s cities get eco-smart, what can Australia learn?

China is urbanising faster than any other country in history. It now has 120 cities with over one million people and 36 cities with over two million. By 2030 there will be one billion people living in…
Little does she know what she’s smearing on her face. canonsnapper

A foundation for cosmetics: dry water and liquid marbles

Do you buy expensive moisturisers in a bid to combat the ravages of age, or does catching a mid-afternoon whiff of your pits have you reaching for the roll-on? We smear various lotions and potions on our…
The author’s key message is diametrically opposed to that of just about every reputable nutrition authority in the world. Sexy Eggs/Flickr

Peer review: David Gillespie’s Toxic Oil

A best-selling book about nutrition has a power to influence the national diet that many health professionals can only dream about. And, if David Gillespie’s success is anything to go by, being a layman…
The rise in CCTV means many of us are under near constant observation, a trend that will only be exacerbated by the rise of drones. Flickr/ogglog

Brave new world: drones and the law

In the late 1970s I found myself wandering the mostly deserted streets of East Berlin, having successfully negotiated Checkpoint Charlie and a horde of East German border guards. I remember commenting…
Former Victorian detective Paul Dale arrives at the Supreme Court on the first day of his trial in Melbourne, Febr. Julian Smith/AAP

Paul Dale, Carl Williams and our trust in police

A Victorian Supreme Court jury is currently hearing a case involving former drug squad detective, Paul Dale, who has pleaded not guilty to twelve counts of giving false evidence to the Australian Crime…
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, choose mostly unprocessed grains and cereals, cut back on salt, fat and sugar, and get more active. jamesjyu.

New Australian dietary guidelines: experts respond

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) today released its updated Australian Dietary Guidelines to advise Australians about the types and amounts of foods needed to maintain a healthy…
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…

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