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The bell does not dismiss you – the whole culture dismisses you. David Davies/PA

There is no quick fix for white working class underachievement

Last week a report from the Education Select Committee called new attention to an old problem: white working-class children consistently do especially badly at school. In response to a persistent cycle…
From suicide to heroin addiction, young adult fiction creates open discussion about the darker issues in our society. Flickr

Young adult fiction’s dark themes give the hope to cope

Problem or issue-based young adult novels are not new occurrences. From John Green’s Fault in Our Stars (2012) to Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (2007), books aimed at readers as young as 12, and as…
Spending on water-saving infrastructure could expose Murray-Darling farmers to debt and drought. Michelle Bartsch/Flickr

The latest Murray-Darling plan could leave farmers high and dry

The federal government’s approach for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has shifted again, and now favours water-saving infrastructure over purchasing water rights. But is it the right move? The new scheme…
The virtual bodies around us are so unrealistic that it’s not unusual for people to question whether they’re normal. Emergency Brake/Flickr

You’re not Barbie and I’m not GI Joe, so what is a normal body?

We live in a world of improbable bodies; they populate our television screens, magazines and billboards. If you’re like most Australians, you might sometimes get the feeling your body isn’t normal. But…
Just telling yourself you’re well rested doesn’t mean you can override how your body is experiencing lack of sleep. William Brawley/Flickr

Think positively about sleep by all means, but you can’t fool your body

Sleep – elusive, precious, restful sleep – is a topic close of many of our hearts. Such is the importance of this activity that sometimes people cling on to half-baked ideas about it with an unnatural…
Two F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in action. AAP Image/Department of Defence, Lockheed Martin

What do we need of a military fighter aircraft?

Now the Australian Government has committed to a further 58 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft it is time to ask whether this is a good idea, will we be getting value for money – and will the JSF…
The rise of Islamophobia in Australia has left Muslims vulnerable as anti-discrimination laws cover racial but not religious vilification. AAP/Dean Lewins

A Muslim perspective on Racial Discrimination Act amendments

The markers of identification of communities have clearly moved from just race, colour and national or ethnic origin to include religion. In the case of Muslims, their faith and culture and all that it…
Aboriginal Mimi ‘trickster’ spirits are genderless. Making Camp at 'Forest, Cunningham's Gap, 1856', 2009, pigmented inks on 310gsm Huhnemuble German Etching Paper, edition of 5, 29.5 x 42 cm (paper size). Courtesy of the artist, Troy-Anthony Baylis

The art of seeing Aboriginal Australia’s queer potential

Since European contact Aboriginal people, such as myself, have been constructed as “straight”. This cultural default has contributed to the difficulty of proving so-called “real accounts” of sexual and…
Increasing boys’ confidence by letting them focus on something they want to do offers a strategy to reengage them with school. Shutterstock

Do boys dislike school? Or just what they’re learning?

Since the 1970s, a panic about “disaffected” boys underachieving in formal schooling has gripped Western society. Despite efforts in Australia like Boys: Getting It Right and the UK Raising Boys Achievement…
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…

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