What kind of creatures might we find populating the cosmos?
Given Earth is our sole example of life in the universe, it's hard to know what we're looking for elsewhere in the cosmos.
Melburnians love their trees, and for good reason.
The fact that we have embraced the notion of emailing a tree is no surprise. We have been passionate about trees in cities for a long time.
People were talking about heatwaves long before the data proved they were on the rise.
Powerhouse Museum/Wikimedia Commons
The history of climate change is writ large in literature - and not just scientific journals. An analysis of Google's vast library shows a rise in use of phrases such as "unusual weather" and "heat wave".
Concept design of a lunar base that could be made with 3D printing.
ESA/Foster + Partners
Imagine if you could build a home on the moon out of moon dust. That just one of the possibilities being explored for 3D printing.
Avoiding logging in native forests could earn Australia millions of extra carbon credits.
The Renewable Energy Target now includes wood waste from forestry. But a more sustainable use of Australia's native forests would be to leave them alone and earn carbon credits from the avoided emissions.
Labor leader Bill Shorten sees more renewable energy on the horizon.
AAP Image/Alan Porritt
Labor's plan to deliver 50% renewable energy by 2050 could add between $160 and $264 to annual household power bills. But this could be completely offset by better policies to encourage energy efficiency.
Bright light outdoors stimulates the release of the retinal transmitter, dopamine, which has a protective effect.
Myopia, or short-sightedness, is a condition in which distant objects appear blurred, but closer objects can usually be seen in sharp focus.
The speakership has become so politicised in Australia that we’ve been blinded to the possibilities that having a truly independent Speaker might open up.
By making the speakership a political gift of the party in power, Australia is missing a major opportunity for democratic renewal of its parliament.
Tasmanian hydro power had a boom couple of years when the carbon price was in place.
A year after the demise of the carbon tax, we might expect both coal and greenhouse emissions to have bounced back, at the expense of renewables like hydroelectricity. Sure enough, that's what happened.
Producers may have to look for other destinations for cattle they’d been preparing for export to Indonesia, like this herd in a Northern Territory feedlot.
There needs to be less Indonesian government involvement in the live cattle trade, as with other commodities like grains.
Syphilis outbreaks tend to occur in marginalised populations where there is a lack of affordable, appropriate and culturally acceptable health care.
The syphilis outbreak in Central Australia is not about child abuse. But it highlights the urgent need for investment in sexual health services for Aboriginal Australians living in remote areas.
The classic lecture theatre hasn’t changed much over the centuries.
Lectures are being abandoned in favour of "flipped" classes, with lots of short videos and quizzes. But the lecture format has merits that shouldn't be overlooked.
Diggers Wedding in Melbourne, 1869, watercolour.
ST Gill/ State Library Victoria
ST Gill may be the quintessential Australian colonial artist, yet he has never been the subject of a comprehensive retrospective exhibition. At least, not until now.
There is a link between venues with high incidences of violence and alcohol promotions like ‘happy hour’.
Statistics might lend the impression that going out at night anywhere in inner-city Melbourne is risky. But assaults in licensed premises are highly concentrated in specific venues.
Malcolm Turnbull has called for a more robust dialogue on national security, where measures are free to be challenged.
The continual use of colourful language when talking about terrorism exaggerates the threat in Australia and could play into the hands of Islamic State's sophisticated recruitment strategies.
Energy efficiency has driven the recent fall in electricity demand.
In June this year, forecasts revealed residential and business demand has risen for the first time in five years. The trend could be here to stay, according to a report released today from the Australia Institute.
Children in particular experience a multitude of viral illnesses during their early years.
Viruses cause all kinds of infections from relatively mild cases of the flu to deadly outbreaks of Ebola. Clearly, not all viruses are equal and one of these differences is when you can infect others.
The O'Farrell government had a law limiting political donations struck down by the High Court.
It is unfortunate that it is only scandals and the perception of corruption or criminal involvement that prompt moves to reform Australia’s political finance regime.
At its best, opera can, indeed, be a powerful form of allegorical theatre.
EPA/Gian Ehrenzeller (Image from Verdi's I due Foscari)
A gang-rape scene in a new London staging of Rossini's Guillaume Tell was greeted with audience booing, and has sparked ongoing controversy. Are opera directors at risk of miscomprehending the medium?
The Greek debt crisis could deliver RBA Governor Glenn Stevens a bolt from the blue.
China's slowing economy is a greater concern than the Greek crisis, but booming property prices mean the RBA should hold firm.