University of South Australia

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If we’re fit, does it matter what we weigh? Image from

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…
Property investment advisers do not need a licence - in fact, no qualifications are required. Image sourced from

The unregulated business of property investment advice

Record low interest rates are stoking Australia’s property market, with some expressing concern that property spruikers are targeting self managed superannuation funds investing in the sector. Providing…
Gentle aerobic exercise is good for our brain – keeping it sharp, alert and ready for action. Image from

Gentle exercise is enough to keep your brain fit and healthy

Once upon a time we thought the brain was incapable of changing - if it was broken, it couldn’t be fixed. But that idea has been challenged in the last few decades with research suggesting that the brain…
A primary carrier of the Chikungunya virus, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) could easily hop to mainland Australia from Torres Strait islands. Camponotus Vagus

Explainer: the chikungunya virus and its risk to Australia

Chikungunya is a virus transmitted to people by mosquitoes; it usually causes a non-fatal but debilitating illness. Despite thousands of people being infected each year in Africa, Asia and Melanesia, chikungunya…
The 4G revolution will not be live streamed due to insufficient bandwidth. hugovk

Indoor blackspots could leave 4G revolution wanting

The latest battle between mobile phone companies for customers is well underway as they prepare for the full introduction of 4G, the new superfast service that is supposed to allow unprecedented internet…
Research on work and family policies support an approach that responds to the intensive demands of early childhood, as well as birth. Image from

A family affair - good policy is more than paid parental leave

When the Labor government introduced a national paid parental leave (PPL) scheme on 1 January, 2011, it was late to the international party. The International Labour Organisation had been recommending…
Accountants are in an ideal position to guide companies through the green economy. Image sourced from

Accountants: The unlikely environmentalists?

With an increasingly complex assortment of green tape and initiatives such as emissions trading schemes, environmental issues are no longer solely associated simply with a corporate conscience; they are…
British journalist Caroline Criado-Perez (far right) has been the latest victim of vitriolic online abuse. EPA/Bloomberg

Fighting back against gender hate, one tweet at a time

Germaine Greer once wrote that women have no idea how much men hate them. Thanks to the internet, now we do. - @PennyRed Since the 1990s, some social commentators have declared that we live in a post-feminist…
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

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.

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…

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