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Connectomics: a window to the mind

The human brain has 100 billion neurons, connected to each other in networks that allow us to interpret the world around us, plan for the future, and control our actions and movements. Mapping those networks, creating a wiring diagram of […]

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Concrete: a thoroughly modern material

Concrete and cement. Words synonymous with solidity and well, staidness. Cement is probably the most ubiquitous building material of the late 20th century – yet it may provide some very 21st century surprises. Researchers at the University of Alicante have […]

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visualization of the separation of the universe due to two superposed and entangled quantum mechanical states. (image credit: Christian Schirm)

Schrödinger’s cat: the quantum world not so absurd after all?

Since Erwin Schrödinger’s famous 1935 cat thought experiment, physicists around the world have tried to create large scale systems to test how the rules of quantum mechanics apply to everyday objects. Scientists have only managed to recreate quantum effects on […]

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Lake Vostok: life beneath the ice

Imagine, Lake Vostok is covered by more than 3,700 metres of Antarctic ice. Devoid of sunlight, it lies far below sea level in a depression that formed 60 million years ago, when the continental plates shifted and cracked. Few nutrients are […]

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Pluto’s new moons named: Spock still homeless

The dwarf planet, Pluto, can still generate plenty of public interest – if the naming of its two recently discovered moons is anything to go by. After their discovery, the leader of the research team, Mark Showalter, called for a […]

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When a mind goes awry

Trouble in Mind (Jenni Ogden, Scribe, $32.95, ISBN 9781922070562, July 2013) I do not think I would be alone in fearing ‘losing my mind’. Even the common expression, “are you out of your mind?” gives solid form to what may […]

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Shenzhou 10: another step in China’s ‘Long March’ into space

The colorful and polished launch of Shenzhou 10 confirms that China has come of age as a spacefaring nation.  At 19:40 AEST on Tuesday June 11 (17:40 local time) three ‘yuhangyuan’, Chinese astronauts, embarked on China’s sixth crewed space mission. […]

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Do animals have minds?

Animal Wise: the thoughts and emotions of our fellow creatures, by Virginia Morell, Black Inc. Books, 2013. Laughing rats, name-calling wild parrots, archer-fish with a sense of humour, and educated ants; the naturalist Charles Darwin would have loved this book. […]

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New light on dark matter: space station magnet attracts praise

Nobel prizewinner Samuel Ting, early Thursday morning (March 4, 2:00 AEDT), announced the first results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) search for dark matter. The findings, published in Physical Review Letters, provide the most compelling direct evidence to date […]

This artist's conception illustrates the brown dwarf named 2MASSJ22282889-431026. NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes observed the object to learn more about its turbulent atmosphere. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Postcard from Spitzer: weather on 2M2228 is hot and cloudy

Long distance weather reports are now a commonality. The report for 2MASSJ22282889-431026 is somewhat unusual. It forecasts wind-driven, planet-sized clouds, with the light varying in time, brightening and dimming about every 90 minutes. The clouds on 2MASSJ22282889-431026 are composed of hot […]

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Science Weekly Picks

Being responsible for picking the week’s most interesting science stories is a fun and fascinating challenge. It pushes to me to look beyond my own interests and explore what others find compelling. So I trust you find my ‘science making […]

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Interstellar travel: how to spot a ‘starman’ going by

Massive objects moving at near light speeds do not occur naturally in the universe as we know it. If we detect such objects it is a reasonable to assume they are artificial artifacts from advanced intelligent life. This according to […]

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Ediacara: a “failed” evolutionary experiment?

The Ediacara Hills, north of the city of Adelaide in South Australia are a tumbling mass of ancient rocks. Sunbaked now, 580 million years ago they were a sea alive with soft-bodied organisms. These organisms varied greatly: from millimetres to […]

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Ahead of his time: the genius of Nikola Tesla

There is a dominant theme in the life of Nikola Tesla. His undoubted genius. Tesla pioneered, if not invented; AC motors, AC power generation and transmission, high voltage generation (Tesla coil), wireless transmission of power and information, radio controlled boats, […]

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