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Science + Technology — Analysis and Comment

Observations of the dusty cloud G2 as it approaches and then swings around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. ESO/A. Eckart

Young star theory forged from a near miss with a giant black hole

The best observations yet of a mysterious gas cloud that was heading for the black hole at the hear of our Milky Way reveal it may have more stellar origins.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne is waving goodbye to the Future Fellowships scheme and it could cost Australian research dearly. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Cuts to Future Fellowships will cost more than just jobs

Christopher Pyne’s proposed cuts to ARC Future Fellowships will have devastating ripple effects well beyond those researchers who will miss out on research funding.
According to the statistics, modern airliners are safer than ever. John/Flickr

How safe is air travel today?

In light of another tragic airline crash, it's natural to ask whether air travel is becoming less safe. In fact, air travel is safer than at almost any point in history.
Research institutes are important economic contributors to their host cities. The University of Queensland is just across the river from the city of Brisbane. Photo credit: The University of Queensland.

Future Fellowship cuts hit early-stage researchers hardest

Scrapping the ARC Future Fellowships scheme would have a significant impact on the Australian research community, with knock-on effects for innovation, the economy, and society at large.
Chief scientist of Australia Professor Ian Chubb during his address to the National Press Club in Canberra. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Aspiring to something magnificent with science in Australia

Science matters and is important for Australia's future but there is evidence mounting that we are falling behind the rest of the world.
The Bellinger Snapping Turtle is under threat, and that bodes ill for the entire ecosystem. Copyright: Gary Bell/OceanwideImages.com

Turtle extinction event bodes ill for our waterways

The Bellinger River Snapping Turtle is under threat of extinction, and it suggests something very wrong with the whole ecosystem.
The challenge is to keep the cyber criminals locked out of systems. Flickr/Yuri Samoilov

The ongoing war against cybercrime

With cybercrime estimated to cost the global economy upwards of US$400 billion a year -- and expected to rise -- what are the challenges to beating the criminals?
Locating Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2, the new bright light in the sky. Alex Cherney

Ancient nova is now thought to be a stellar collision

A new light in the southern night sky is thought to be an exploding star. It comes as astronomers reveal an ancient nova explosion is now thought to have been two stars colliding.
Cryptographic algorithms have been in a constant arms race with systems seeking to crack them. Yuri Samoilov/Flickr

Encryption today: how safe is it really?

Encryption has come a long way since the days of Sparta and Rome, but it's still not 100% secure.
Map depicting the two major hypotheses of the spread of Indo-European languages (white arrows) and geographic distribution of the archaeological cultures described in the text. Wolfgang Haak

European invasion: DNA reveals the origins of modern Europeans

Europe is famously tesselated, with different cultural and language groups clustering in different regions. But how did they all get there? And how are they related?
The government can’t read your email, but it will be able to find out where you sent it to and from. Paul Downey/Flickr

It’s too late to debate metadata

There are still unanswered questions about the data retention bill, but it's now too late to get answers before it is passed into law.
Journalists tackle the Prime minister Tony Abbott at a typical media conference at Parliament House in Canberra. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Data retention plan amended for journalists, but is it enough?

The Abbott government's efforts to amend its data retention bill amid concerns about journalists protecting their sources is still a worry. And others should be concerned too, including MP.
Research infrastructure, such as the H-1NF at the Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility, enables our world leading science. Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility

Securing the future of Australia’s research infrastructure

Australia needs to take a longer term view of research infrastructure funding in order to prevent it from becoming politicised.
The Kepler satellite discovers exoplanets by measuring the light drop from a star when a planet moves in front of it. Maths can uncover many more exoplanets. Australian National University and the Niels Bohr Institute

Alien worlds: most stars have planets in the habitable zone

The search for life on other planets gets a boost thanks to an old calculation that found Uranus in our solar system.
Binary systems are not enough if you want to improve security. Flickr/Ivan Plata

Beating cyber criminals with quantum solutions

As hackers get more sophisticated in their cyber crime efforts we need to look to new technology to make our systems more secure, and potentially unhackable. So how can quantum physics help?
Many people fear technology, and have great reservations about kids using smartphones and computers. Anthony Kelly/Flickr

Are you afraid of technology? You shouldn’t be

Many people fear technology is making us dumber, and they have great reservations about children using smartphones or computers. But technology ought to be embraced, particularly by kids.