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Analysis and Comment (17)

Because greed isn’t always good. Because greed isn’t always good. gaynoir

Bank bonuses just encourage greedy or dishonest staff

The explosive issue of banker bonuses refuses to go away – and not just because of the Bank of England’s controversial new “clawback” measures, which will defer bonuses for three to five years. President…
Low to moderate consumption of alcohol increases your risk of cancer but reduces your risk of heart disease. Low to moderate consumption of alcohol increases your risk of cancer but reduces your risk of heart disease. giannisl/Flickr

How much alcohol is OK? Balancing risks and benefits

For many of us, alcohol is an enjoyable backdrop to life: wine with dinner, beers with friends, a glass of bubbly to celebrate a special occasion, or nip of something heavier to unwind after a long day…
Let there be light on new innovation. Let there be light on new innovation. Flickr/ Anders Illum

Bright ideas come when people dare to take risks

It’s been a while since Fred Astaire played a CSIRO scientist in the 1959 movie of Nevil Shute’s novel On the Beach. Still one premise of the film holds true: you can’t always predict where your research…
It’s better to plan for disaster than have to plan a clean up after one. It’s better to plan for disaster than have to plan a clean up after one. IAEA Imagebank

What is ‘acceptable risk’ when planning a nuclear power plant?

Modern safety engineering follows the aphorism, “there is no such thing as zero risk, only acceptable risk”. However, calculating chances and risk is a finicky process, especially when played out against…
One tough mudder. One tough mudder. The 621st Contingency Response Wing

Tough Mudder: a modern-day cheese rolling competition

Tough Mudder is an endurance foot race over 12 miles that belongs to a class of obstacle courses known as MOB, or mud, obstacles and beer, that have seen an explosion in popularity since 2010. They include…
Official advice is important, but if it doesn’t match up with local knowledge it’s often ignored. Official advice is important, but if it doesn’t match up with local knowledge it’s often ignored. AAP Image/Damian Shaw

Why don’t they do as they’re told? Taking fire risks on the fringe

It’s alarmingly familiar. Scenes of bushland burning on the fringes of an Australian city. The roofs of threatened homes just visible through the forest canopy and the smoke. Fire-fighters beyond exhaustion…
Concentrating on texting when UR driving isn’t GR8. Concentrating on texting when UR driving isn’t GR8. Flickr

The perils of multitasking

The dangers of texting while driving recently received renewed attention thanks to a public service documentary produced by German film director Werner Herzog. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration…
To assess the risk of a schizophrenic attack, we try to work out the risk of a rare event in a bunch of people with a mixed bag of symptoms. To assess the risk of a schizophrenic attack, we try to work out the risk of a rare event in a bunch of people with a mixed bag of symptoms. Flickr/daniellehelm

Are you really at risk of attack by someone with schizophrenia?

A violent attack by someone who is mentally ill quickly grabs the headlines. And it’s usually implied that mental illnesses are a preventable cause of violent crime. Tackle that and we can all sleep safer…
Overprotective policies constrain kids and teach them to value risk assessment over opportunity. Overprotective policies constrain kids and teach them to value risk assessment over opportunity. Sim Dawdler/Flickr

Kids need to take risks: Mum and Dad will just have to deal with it

We take an “efficiency” approach to childhood and child-rearing in Australia. We want kids to grow up and become productive economic citizens without them deviating from identified pathways, and society…
We are all susceptible to being swayed by the whims of social movements. We are all susceptible to being swayed by the whims of social movements. epSos.de

Danger, you’re at serious risk of … no, sorry, it’s all relative

We assess risk every day. But very few of us receive any formal training in the requisite mathematics and statistics, and, partly as a result, poor decisions are made, both by individuals and governmental…
Learning more about the contribution of multiple risk factors to major depressive disorder will help predict risk. Learning more about the contribution of multiple risk factors to major depressive disorder will help predict risk. Iris Shreve Garrott

Predicting the risk of depressive disorder – promises and pitfalls

The possibility of harnessing genetic science to head off major depressive disorder, the world’s leading cause of disability, is getting closer. But molecular intervention for this common multifactorial…
Headlines such as “Thousands at Risk” are guaranteed to cause worry. Headlines such as “Thousands at Risk” are guaranteed to cause worry. Nate Steiner

Don’t panic: what statins tell us about understanding risk statistics

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently revised the safety labels for statins, widely used anti-cholesterol drugs. They mandated label warnings saying statins may increase the risk of type 2…
Pregnancies are much less risky than they used to be. Pregnancies are much less risky than they used to be. Malingering

Take the pressure down – pregnancy doesn’t have to be so stressful

Advances in medical science and technology have significantly reduced the risk of serious complications and death during pregnancy and birth. You’d think this would make mums-to-be more relaxed than they…

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Research Briefs (4)