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How do we think about something we can’t see and don’t experience in our everyday lives, but seems to be pushing our universe apart ever faster? NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team

Explainer: the mysterious dark energy that speeds the universe’s rate of expansion

Einstein's theory of gravity says dark energy must be out there, accelerating the expansion of our universe. But what is it and how can we try to figure out more about it?
Sometimes you need more than a romantic sunset. Renate Flynn/Flickr

Happy endings: the ins and outs of clinical sexology

Sexology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of human sexuality, including sexual behaviours, interests and function. A sexologist is a trained professional who specialises in human sexuality.
The main dome of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. ninara/Flickr

Who is Allah? Understanding God in Islam

Allah, the divinity at the heart of Islam, has 99 names and is often poorly understood outside the faith. Islam recognises no god but Allah, who revealed scriptures to bothJewish and Christian prophets before Mohammed.
The placenta plays a critical role in pregnancy, fetal development and health throughout life. Remy Sharp/Flickr

Explainer: what is placenta?

An incredibly complex and important organ in its own right, the placenta is only found in mammals. And how it functions has the potential to have profound effects on the lifelong health of the developing foetus.
Patients pay a contribution towards the cost of their medication to the pharmacist who then claims the difference between what they paid and the patient contribution from the government. Gustavo Gomes/Flickr

Explainer: what is the Community Pharmacy Agreement?

Australians make an average of 14 visits to the pharmacy for medicines and advice every year but most don't know about the agreement that governs how we buy government-subsidised medicines from them.
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…

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