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Analysis and Comment (15)

“Hi! Is that the 1980s? I’ve got your phone. You can have it back.” Computex e Forum

The three rules that stop a tech device from losing its cool

In the world of hi-tech devices, it is imperative to keep your finger on the pulse. Some of the most successful companies of our times, such as Apple and Google, are those that understand the power of…
3D printed hat - just the thing for Melbourne Cup. Flickr/ Hindrik S

What price our fascination with cheaper 3D printing?

The future of 3D printing is firming up as it moves from do-it-yourself tinkerers to key players selling complete consumer solutions. This shift brings important ecological and socio-economic implications…
Wine is increasingly becoming the drink of choice for Australians. isante_magazine

The rise of Australia as a wine nation

Think of alcohol in Australian life and you probably think of beer: a “hard-earned thirst” and all that. Yet our national drinking taste is undergoing a dramatic change. Not only are we drinking less overall…
Technology such as the iPad has been found to affect our wellbeing both positively and negatively. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

We could be superheroes: the era of positive computing

Digital technologies have made their way into all aspects of our lives that influence our wellbeing - affecting everything from social relationships and curiosity to engagement and learning. Psychologists…
Protesters march against the torture at Abu Ghraib; we use social psychology to help understand why people commit such acts. Shrieking Tree

Rethinking long-held beliefs about the psychology of evil

Social psychology addresses many of the important questions that concern us as human beings. It’s also the subject of newspaper editorials on most days: why is there conflict between groups? How can it…
Indoctrination is one of the key forces at play in any society. flickr/lets.book

You have been indoctrinated (oh yes you have)

Despite its association with totalitarian societies of the left and right, indoctrination is also a common feature of societies that describe themselves as free: those where the coercive powers of the…
Most people associate Cabramatta with crime and drug dealing, but the reality is much has changed since the 1990s. AAP

‘I Love Pho’: tough love, democracy and the Vietnamese journey

In a world of 24/7 news cycles and prejudice masquerading as insight, it is often very difficult to communicate the deeper analyses based on social science research. Surprising then that a program based…
Celebrities Jay-Z and Beyonce called their newborn child Blue Ivy. But can the rest of us get away with less orthodox names? AAP

Jay-Z, Beyoncé, baby Blue Ivy and the art of naming

American rock band Modest Mouse’s song Black Cadillacs (2004) has a particularly wonderful opening: And it’s true we named our children / After towns that we’ve never been to Inside a song filled with…
Curtis Stone and Normie Rowe in a Coles ad that has attracted the ire of a fake Chopper Read.

Chopper Read, Coles and Twitter: going down and staying down?

It is a very 21st century story. A Twitter account purporting to be that of noted Australian criminal Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read takes offence to an ad featuring ageing singer Normie Rowe and uses his…
Australians willingly helped their neighbours when it was needed during the Queensland floods of 2011. Flickr/RaeAllen

Do you know your neighbour? Lending a hand and the Queensland floods

Neighbours are a source of growing aggravation in Australia and we are lodging more official complaints about each other than ever before. Excessive noise or odour, inadequate levels of property maintenance…
Australian actor Hugh Jackman is the subject of persistent speculation about his sexuality. AAP/Tracy Neary

Is he or isn’t he? The tawdry pastime of sexuality speculation

Straights, gays, and those vacillating somewhere on the periphery, have equally demonstrated a penchant for the game. Sitting back, stroking one’s chin and speculating on sexuality. Who’s gay? Who’s confused…
“Hipsters” are mocked at the moment, but do we even know who they really are? Wikimedia Commons/Jack Newton

Looking beyond the parody to define the hipster

The term “hipster” has become increasingly prominent in Australia’s urban lexicon this year. Even the Sydney Morning Herald has caught on, writing about “Hipster Housing”, featuring a young bespectacled…
Being unable to afford one substantial meal a day and pay for home insurance are indicators of poverty. Flickr/27147

Down and out in Australia: the new way to define poverty

Poverty is about more than just a lack of income. Those who experience it face unacceptable restrictions on their material and social wellbeing. Research can no longer focus on defining a poverty line…
Women should be allowed to have fun, without the media judging them. AAP/Jack Tran

The wilding of women: why the media should ease up on girls

Wilding, a word seldom used outside of sociology, describes compounded acts of immorality. Of teenagers, apparently, running amok. In packs usually, with rage and ribaldry in their eyes. I was thinking…

Research and News (6)

Hypertension may cause birth defects

High blood pressure in pregnancy may itself cause birth defects rather than a type of drug used to treat the condition in…

Expert views of Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street protests that started in New York have proved contagious. Sit-ins and attempted occupations have spread…

Research Briefs (3)

Social standing inheritable?

Studying forked fungus beetles in the US has led researchers to believe that one’s place in a social network could be hereditary…

Fear of mass death linked to social circles

Threats that have the potential to kill more than 100 people frighten people significantly more than those that would only…