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Established in 1850, the University of Sydney was Australia’s first tertiary education institution. It is committed to maximising the potential of its students, teachers and researchers for the benefit of Australia and the wider world.

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In this photo a researcher from the virology institute at the Bonn Faculty of Medicine looks at cell cultures. Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Explainer: what exactly is coronavirus?

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a “perfect storm” of conditions…
Australia’s ability to influence China will largely depend on how it engages with China’s complex and growing diplomatic machinery. Shutterstock

Speaking with: Kerry Brown on China, Australia and diplomacy

Speaking with: Kerry Brown on China, Australia and diplomacy.
The emergence of China as a 21st-century superpower has already had profound impacts on Australia. As China reshapes the balance of power, not only in the Asia-Pacific region but globally, its influence…
When airlines fill up, it’s not always easy to work out the cost. Patrick Lauke/Flickr

Explainer: fuel hedging and its impact on airlines and airfares

With oil prices on the decline, and analysts predicting record profits for the 2014/15 financial year, Qantas and Virgin Australia are under increasing pressure to abolish fuel surcharges and lower their…
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is widely tipped to lose his seat in the January 31 election – yet there are ways he could still be premier. AAP/John Pryke

Can Newman still be Queensland premier if he loses his seat?

If the Liberal National Party wins the Queensland election on Saturday, but its leader, Campbell Newman, loses his seat of Ashgrove, can he remain premier? This may be the question vexing minds on Sunday…
Stéphane Charbonnier’s Charlie Hebdo offended people of all religions, but when does causing offence become unethical? EPA/Yoan Valat

How do we decide if offending someone is unethical or not?

Causing offence to others often causes hurt. Such actions have been condemned as unethical, even immoral behaviour in a civilised society. There have been many examples. The Bill Henson photographs of…
An artist’s impression of the oldest known system of terrestrial-sized planets, Kepler-444. Tiago Campante/Peter Devine, University of Birmingham

Ancient exoplanet discovery boosts chances of finding alien life

One of the crucial variables in calculating the likelihood that alien life exists elsewhere in our galaxy is the number of stars that possess planetary systems, and the proportion of those planets that…
Walkable but stressful? Higher-density neighbourhoods need to be carefully planned. Thorsten Rust/Shutterstock.com

Higher-density living can make us healthier, but not on its own

In cities across the country, the promotion of higher residential densities in certain areas has become an orthodox part of urban planning. Consolidation, as opposed to sprawl, is seen as a way to accommodate…
Newly appointed Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis arrives at the Presidential Palace to be sworn-in under Greece’s new government. Yannis Kolesidis/EPA/AAP

Yanis Varoufakis: from accidental economist to finance minister

Since 2009, the economic situation of Greece has helped expose the architecture and policy regime problems of the European Union and the eurozone. On Sunday the Greek electorate rebelled against the self-defeating…
Things are looking up for Queensland health in a number of areas, including the repair of a failed payroll system for health staff and increasing local management of services. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Queensland health has a better outlook, so who deserves credit?

It’s a sign of how much has changed in a few years that health has barely featured in the Queensland election campaign, despite being one of the issues that voters still say they care most about. That…
If we want to know whether screening saves lives, we need to show a reduction in the cancer death rate rather than an increase in the survival rate. Steven Depolo/Flickr

When talking about cancer screening, survival rates mislead

Cancer screening is beneficial when it’s able to prevent people dying from cancer. And it should clearly be adopted where there’s evidence showing this. But using cancer survival rates to promote screening…
The pharmaceutical industry understandably wants to convince quitters to use their products as much as possible. Joe Plocki/Flickr

Is it time to stop subsidising nicotine replacement therapies?

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) became available in Australia in 1984 (gum) and 1993 (patches), first as prescription-only items. From 1988, they started becoming available as an over-the-counter item…
The first world war and the Australian Red Cross tracing service share close centenaries. Australian Red Cross, 1919.

Tracing family with the Australian Red Cross – then and now

Since 1915, the Australian Red Cross International Tracing Service has worked to reconnect families from around the world who have been separated by war, armed conflict, disaster and migration. Some of…
History tells us it’s better for countries to get their GST right to start with, rather than try to broaden the base later. Natalie Boog/AAP

What can other countries teach us about GST reform?

Value added tax (VAT), virtually non-existent before 1960, has been the predominant form of consumption tax since the mid-1980s. Given that more than 160 countries now have a VAT, it is hardly surprising…

Greece – the Moment of Dignity

During the past three years, several anguished and rather melancholy ‘Democracy Field Notes’ tried to analyse the causes of the Greek crisis and the terrible pain and misery unfairly inflicted on many…
There are up to 400 chemical compounds on human skin that could play a role in attracting mosquitoes. sookie/Flickr

Health Check: why mosquitoes seem to bite some people more

There’s always one in a crowd, a sort of harbinger of the oncoming mosquito onslaught: a person mosquitoes seem to target more than others. What is it about these unlucky chosen few that makes them mosquito…
The performers in Nothing To Lose challenge viewers to rethink their ideas about bodies and beauty. Photo: Toby Burrows. Sydney Festival

Taking up space: Nothing to Lose at the Sydney Festival

It may seem odd, and a touch ironic, that the act of taking-up-space is of concern to a fierce-fat-femme like Kelli Jean Drinkwater. Speaking about her current collaboration with Force Majeure and choreographer/director…
The Forum of Pompeii recreated in Lego. Craig Barker/Nicholson Museum

Lego Pompeii creates less pomp and more yay in the museum

Lego Pompeii was painstakingly recreated from more than 190,000 individual blocks across 470 hours for Sydney University’s Nicholson Museum – it’s the largest model of the ancient city ever constructed…
UKCHUK-GA: Pansori Mother Courage. JD Woo MG/Sydney Festival

A stunning reworking of Brecht at the Sydney Festival

Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children (1941) is, alongside Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (1953), the defining dramatic text of post-war European theatre. Few, if any, theatrical images are as…
Only recently has conversation about access to new drugs been moving to acknowledging the need for a community debate about affordability as well. pixxiestails/Flickr

Why the public should have a say in high-cost drug subsidies

Decisions about public subsidies for high-cost drugs are naturally quite complex. And while patients have increasingly been given a voice in the process, the views of the wider community have generally…

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