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Doco Review: What Plants Talk About

This PBS documentary about the hidden life of plants opens up fundamental questions about the way we view plants through the use of beautiful videography, testimony from scientists and some not so beautiful puns. Science teaches us that like all living things, plants compete with one another for survival. But if ... Continue Reading »

Time to talk Daylight Saving Time

As summer comes to a close and autumn starts to set in, it is also nearing that time of year where we wind the clocks back by an hour. Daylight Saving Time will end in participating states (South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory , Tasmania) on the ... Continue Reading »

Reading Hair Roots in Space 

The long-term health of astronauts as they spend more and more time in space is a critical concern for the future of space exploration. What’s needed is a quick and easy way to continually monitor and assess the health of the astronaut. A combined US and Japanese team have been ... Continue Reading »

Survey responses reflect Aussie boozing behaviour

Australian researchers have revised information derived from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) to reveal trends in alcohol consumption across the country. The NDSHS collects information on alcohol and tobacco consumption, and illicit drug use among the general population in Australia. What they found agreed with data from ... Continue Reading »

How termites conquered the world

An international study released today has determined that different groups of termites followed different strategies to conquer the world. There are three genera (the plural of genus) of pest termites spread across every continent except Antarctica. Species of the genus Reticulitermes are found across Europe, Asia and North America. They are an ... Continue Reading »

What is Scurvy?

The 18th Century dockmaster and seaman William Hutchinson filled part of his book A Treatise on Practical Seamanship with the description of his slow descent into scurvy. He first notices old wounds aching, then weakness. His legs turn black, his gums swell and his teeth come loose. Finally, ... Continue Reading »

Latest developments in battery tech

During the 19th century, primitive batteries were fabricated from significant discoveries in the field of chemistry. In fact, the first electric battery, the voltaic pile, was invented by Alessandro Volta at the turn of the century in 1800. It was this breakthrough that spawned many groundbreaking battery designs including the ... Continue Reading »

Trees Breathe Easy

It looks like trees may not contribute to climate change as much as had been feared. Trees breathe out CO2 at night and, the hotter it gets, the more CO2 they release. Earlier calculations predicted that 3.4°C of warming would lead to an increase in plant respiration by as much as ... Continue Reading »

Lost memories can be retrieved

The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is most readily marked by the loss of the ability to remember but a new study in mice has shown that memories are not lost forever. What’s really happening is a loss of the ability to retrieve memories. The study also shows that, with the ... Continue Reading »

Welcome to the post-antibiotic era

Scientists are now confident that we have entered the post-antibiotic era, a time when antibiotics are no longer effective in the treatment of infections. The birth of this new medical age was highlighted in a study published today in The BMJ looking at the patterns of anti-biotic resistance in urinary tract ... Continue Reading »

WOMADelaide 2016

Welcome to Australia's Science Channel's coverage of the World of Music Art and Dance (WOMAD), where we look for the science behind the festival. Paul blogs about his WOMAD 2016 experience. There’s something fresh and crisp about walking through a big festival like WOMADelaide in the cool of the ... Continue Reading »

How hard can it be to name a turtle?

Recently, I described a new turtle species in New Guinea with the help of Arthur Georges, Yolarnie Amapou and Jim Anamiato. The turtle belonged to the side necked snapping turtles, a genus called Elseya. This was a difficult task as it required establishing 3 new subgenera as previous naming conventions ... Continue Reading »

The science of twins!

Recently I became the proud (and tired) owner of twin girls. One of the first questions I was asked before they were born was ‘are they DCDA?’ and being new to the world of twins I had no idea that twins even came in different styles. What does DCDA even ... Continue Reading »

CRISPR/Cas9 – what is it really?

Genetic manipulation is a tool that has been used for centuries, from selective breeding of animals and vegetables 100s of years ago to more modern genetic knockouts to study specific genes in more recent years. We do this to better our understanding of how genes actually work in a living ... Continue Reading »

Space Calendar 2016

Dr Alan Duffy's Space Calendar video gave us some of the most exciting dates to keep an eye out for in 2016. Grab your diaries and a pen to circle these dates. You're not going to want to miss these exciting astronomy events! Here are all the dates plus ... Continue Reading »

Beauty is simple

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but French scientists have been able to analyse men's brains to find out what makes a beautiful woman. And, while their analysis was complicated, technical and science-y, their take home message was that attractiveness for female faces is influenced by visual bias ... Continue Reading »

Stress is Cancer’s Best Friend

Australian-led research has revealed that that stress promotes the growth of cancer in mice. It's thought that stress affects the lymphatic system and the researchers found that stressed mice had more and larger lymphatic vessels associated with tumours. These changed in the lymphatic system allowed for an increase in the flow ... Continue Reading »

Science Meets Parliament: Day 1

This is the sixteenth time that Science Meets Parliament has been held in Canberra and, over the years, they have refined a format discussed in the previous blog. But today, the rubber hit the road and Science Meets Parliament 2016 started on a clear and warm ... Continue Reading »

Science Meets Parliament 2016

I have to confess, and to paraphrase Charles Darwin it’s a little like confessing a murder, but I’ve never attended a Science Meets Parliament before - and I’ve been in science all my professional working life either as a researcher or as a science journalist. So I’m looking forward to ... Continue Reading »

Rule 1: Don’t Talk About Dino Fight Club

  A dinosaur fossil with a record breaking number of injuries has been revealed in a new study. The Dilophosaurus specimen examined is part of a Californian museum collection, however previous descriptions of this dinosaur had focussed on characteristics common across the species and overlooked the many injuries exhibited on the ... Continue Reading »

Welcome to O-Week

If you're an existing uni student, you know that O-week is about freebies. But if you're new to uni, it can be overwhelming. It's a big stage in life. For many of you, it will be the first time that you've ever set foot on a university campus. Yeah, it's nothing like ... Continue Reading »

Habitat Fragmentation

Without habitats, organisms have nowhere to live. The removal, modification and degradation of habitat is the most significant cause of species decline and extinction. Habitat fragmentation is a major concern for the conservation of biodiversity - the number and form of living organisms and ecosystems. Habitats become ... Continue Reading »

Study, party, repeat.

I was the first person in my family to go to university. I had been to all of the different open days and made my decision; I was going to study chemistry at The University of Wales, Swansea. It wasn’t the biggest or best university I had been to, but ... Continue Reading »

Science vs The Community

Big news out of China this week – their brand new five hundred metre-wide radiotelescope (FAST) is nearing completion. This gigantic telescope will dwarf any other on Earth – the next largest is in Puerto Rico and measures just over 300 metres in diameter (you may recognise it from ... Continue Reading »

The importance of being interested part 1

Science is awesome. When I say awesome, I mean it in the strictest sense of the word: it inspires awe. Awe at the beauty of the natural world and the incredibly elegant process by which all this life came about (yay for evolution). Awe at the fascinating and complex chemical reactions ... Continue Reading »

Big brains, no protection against extinction

While we humans like to credit our success to our large brains, research just published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests that having a bigger brain may actually be a lethal liability for a species. Graduate student Eric Abelson from Stanford University in California measured the brain size and ... Continue Reading »

Lead and a life of crime

Australian research has shown a link between childhood exposure to lead and a later life of crime according to an article just published in the journal Environmental Health. Researchers from Macquarie University, including lead author Professor Mark Taylor (pictured), investigated lead levels in six NSW suburbs and found that each additional ... Continue Reading »

Vintage-inspired NASA space posters

In celebration of 20 years of exoplanets, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have created a fictional “Exoplanet Travel Bureau” with these vintage-inspired space travel posters. Exoplanets are planets outside of our solar system - until 1995 we didn’t know they existed. Since then, 1,941 exoplanets have been confirmed in just 20 years ... Continue Reading »

What Your Tongue Won’t Tell You About Taste

I find the topic of taste to be quite palatable. Taste is a thought-provoking subject, and arguably one of the senses that in a sense, drives conversations at catered events, and meals shared with family and friends. Those who like to travel and sample different cuisines, like I do, probably ... Continue Reading »

Is there a science to wine tasting?

At almost every occasion or dinner event wine is on the menu. It’s a topic for discussion, a chance to share knowledge and some may enjoy the snobbery of a fine drop, while others simply enjoy a sharing a drink. Science events are no exception and at every meeting, conference ... Continue Reading »

The Sci-cademy Awards

Here at RiAus, we're big fans of science on the screen. And when science hits the big screen well, we're onto it! (Check out our science recaps of The X-Files revival episodes!) It will surprise no one to learn that when I looked up the 2016 Oscar nominations to ... Continue Reading »

Happy Darwin Day!

Today Charles Darwin turns 207 so take a moment to reflect on the greatest name in science and his legacy of brilliant ideas. Now I know that “greatest name in science” is always going to be a controversial claim and that there are other contenders in the likes of Sir Isaac ... Continue Reading »

Herpes helps to control carp

European Carp are the rabbits of the inland waterways of the Murray-Darling Basin. These feral pests breed prolifically, ruin the quality of the water with silt from their digging into stream beds and out compete most native fish species. And, to date, there’s been very little that can be done ... Continue Reading »

RiAus and the Australia Day Awards for 2016

It is with great pleasure that RiAus congratulates Bragg Members and friends of RiAus who received awards in the 2016 Australia Day Awards List. The Honourable Michael David Rann Mr Rann has been made a Companion of the Order of Australia. ”For eminent service to the Parliament and the community of South Australia, particularly ... Continue Reading »

Last day for Chief Scientist of Australia

After almost five years, Professor Ian Chubb will end his role as Australia's Chief Scientist. On Tuesday, he released his statement about the importance of science to the nation’s future which can be viewed here. He speaks positively about the future and encourages scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians to work hard and do ... Continue Reading »

Do we suffer in silence?

Can sounds you can't hear make you sick? Some people claim to have suffered headaches, migraine, nausea, fatigue, dizziness and an uncomfortable feeling of ‘pressure in the ears’, all of which they attribute to inaudible 'ultrasound'. Ultrasound is ultra-high frequency sound above the range of human hearing but little is ... Continue Reading »


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