Researchers studied reef sands at Heron Island, Hawaii, Bermuda and Tetiaroa. In this photo, white areas show the predominance of sand on reefs. Southern Cross University

Our acid oceans will dissolve coral reef sands within decades

Ocean acidification poses an increasing threat to the sediments that form the framework of coral reefs - within around 30 years, these carbonate sands may no longer be able to form.
The Urban Planning Exhibition Centre in Shanghai – good planning is immensely valuable. Jordiferrer/Wikimedia Commons

Australian cities are crying out for better planning, but the research funding is missing

Given the challenges Australian cities face, the need for urban planning based on solid research is greater than ever. Sadly, when it comes to research funding, planning is at the back of the queue.
‘I am a migrant’ solidarity signs were displayed during the European Parliament debate on immigration and asylum in the Strasbourg plenary. European Parliament/flickr

Crimes of solidarity: liberté, égalité and France’s crisis of fraternité

Fraternity is one of the three pillars of the French Republic, but social solidarity is fraying as citizens are criminalised for acting on their beliefs in the human rights of asylum seekers.
Martin Winkler and Virgilio Marino in Opera Australia’s 2018 production of The Nose at the Sydney Opera House. Prudence Upton

Barrie Kosky’s nose for the inventive and surreal makes for an outstanding production of The Nose

Expatriate Australian director Barrie Kosky and Shostakovich's modernist opera The Nose seem made for each other. It was sung in an expressive English translation - and the tap-dancing noses brought the house down.
The 2014 film Ex Machina explored a dystopian vision of what could happen in a world where humans empathise with robots. Lionsgate Home Entertainment

How we decide who and what we care about – and whether robots stand a chance

When we include someone (or something) in our moral circle we feel a sense of moral obligation for their treatment. But the factors determining who is in or out are more complicated than you may think.
Olympic gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada are artists on ice, but behind their performance is years of training to be mentally tough during competition. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

How Olympians train their brains to become mentally tough

For any athlete to deliver a gold medal performance, mental toughness is an essential ingredient. But what exactly is mental toughness — and how does an athlete develop it?
Living alongside humans gets noisier all the time. Katrina Burgers/Shutterstock.com

Your drive to the shops makes life pretty noisy for whales

From the oil that makes your petrol, to car parts, to the groceries and other things in your weekly shop, retail consumerism is driving a boom in the amount of noise in the world's oceans.
Heavy metal concert fans: there are striking differences in the emotional responses of fans and non-fans of death metal. Parth Joshi/flickr

Death metal is often violent and misogynist yet it brings joy and empowerment to fans

For non-fans, listening to death metal is a negative experience. But research has found the music has the opposite effect on fans, giving rise to positive experiences such as power, joy and peace.
Malcolm Turnbull will be relieved to have some time away from the Barnaby Joyce affair when he arrives in Washington this week. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

China, North Korea and trade the key talking points when Turnbull meets Trump

When he meets the US president this week, the prime minister will talk about the North Korean nuclear threat, the rise of China, and the rebranded Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Employers can encourage employees to be more active through office design. Shutterstock

How employers can design workplaces to promote wellness

Research shows that corporate wellness programs don't really work. If companies want to boost employee health they should consider designing the workplace to encourage the right behaviour.
What does a green star rating – One Central Park apartments in Sydney received five stars, for instance – actually mean? AAP

Greenwashing the property market: why ‘green star’ ratings don’t guarantee more sustainable buildings

Buildings are central to creating more sustainable cities, and green ratings are often used to assess how well a building measures up against this goal. But the current system has serious flaws.

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