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Narcissism is a key trait in the subset of ‘dramatic, emotional and erratic’ personality disorders. ShellyS/Flickr

Explainer: what are personality disorders and how are they treated?

Personality disorders have been richly illustrated by filmmakers. Think of attention-seeking Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. Or the villains in Silence of the Lambs and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, represented by spokesman Uthman Badar, has courted controversy and been criticised by Tony Abbott in recent times. AAP/Dean Lewins

Explainer: what is Hizb ut-Tahrir?

Hizb ut-Tahrir is not a political party. It is not active in any Islamic schools, mosques or institutes. It does not have any real influence on Australia's Islamic community.
Don’t worry, it’s all under control. EPA/Farooq Khan

Explainer: what is the Arms Trade Treaty?

On February 23, Trinidad and Tobago will host the first preparatory meeting of the recently adopted Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) – the first real international mechanism to stem the spread of weapons across…
Imported frozen berries have been linked to several hepatitis A infections. 8 Eyes Photography/Flickr

Berry scare: here’s what you need to know about hepatitis A

School students in Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland are the latest group thought to have eaten frozen berries linked to hepatitis A, which has now infected 14 people nationally. All food-borne…
Citations, bibliometrics, “publish or perish”: why must we constantly assess research? Shutterstock

Explainer: how and why is research assessed?

Governments and taxpayers deserve to know that their money is being spent on something worthwhile to society. Individuals and groups who are making the greatest contribution to science and to the community…
Avoiding peanuts is currently the only way to prevent allergic reactions. sharyn morrow/Flickr

Peanut allergy treatment is on the horizon – but don’t drop the EpiPen yet

Rates of food allergies have increased over recent decades and are at an all-time high. While we don’t know the full extent of the allergy epidemic, the rate of hospitalisation for food allergies has quadrupled…
With so much uncertainty in halal labelling it can be hard for Muslim consumers to know they’re getting what they’ve asked for. Todd Lappin

Explainer: what is halal, and how does certification work?

Halal food certification in Australia has become a contentious issue. Recently, a Western Australian cafe received hateful and anti-Islamic messages after its owners tried to explain halal on Facebook…
A sleeping seal recorded, Antarctica summer, 2010. Lawrence English

The sounds around us: an introduction to field recording

In 1889, an eight-year old boy made a recording of a Common Sharma using his father’s wax cylinder recorder. This boy, Ludwig Koch, would go on to become one of the great natural history broadcasters of…
A bright fireball over the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, ALMA, in Chile, marks the fiery death of a small grain of space debris, high in the atmosphere. ESO/C. Malin

Explainer: why meteors light up the night sky

Meteors have been seen since people first looked at the night sky. They are comprised of small pieces of debris, typically no larger than a grain of dust or sand, which continually crash into the Earth’s…
The potential rezoning of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area for tourism development begs the question: just what is wilderness, and what is it good for? The Wilderness Society/AAP

Explainer: wilderness, and why it matters

The Tasmanian government this month released a draft of the revised management plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which proposes rezoning certain areas from “wilderness zones” to “remote…
Rock musicians, such as Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, have experimented with the length and breadth of songs since the 70s. EPA/Adrian Popescu

I’m right, you’re wrong … wait, what is a song?

My daughter came home from school orchestra rehearsal one day and said: Daughter: We are learning a great new song by Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. Me: Song, darling? I’d call it a piece. Daughter…
People with social anxiety disorder believe they will be rejected when others see how anxious and awkward they are. rashmi ravindran/Flickr

Explainer: what is social anxiety disorder?

Most of us would admit to feeling shy from time to time, or anxious about public speaking: the larger the crowd the greater the terror. It’s also not unusual to feel awkward while making small talk with…
Do you know what your GPA is? Or what good it is to anyone? Shutterstock

Explainer: what is a GPA and what use is it?

A Grade Point Average (GPA) is a summary statistic that represents a student’s average performance in their studies over a stated period of time, such as one semester. Being numerical, GPAs are often calculated…

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