Guest Work

Farewell the utopian city. To cope with climate change we must learn from how nature adapts

Guest Author May 07, 2021

Mohammed Makki, University of Technology Sydney   “Among all species, it is perhaps only humans who create habitats that are not fit to live in.” – Stephen Marshall It’s a damning statement but one that can be reasonably argued to be true. We don’t have the best track record in creating lasting and sustainable habitats, especially if one … Read More

Why we remember more by reading – especially print – than from audio or video

Guest Author May 04, 2021

Naomi S. Baron, American University   During the pandemic, many college professors abandoned assignments from printed textbooks and turned instead to digital texts or multimedia coursework. As a professor of linguistics, I have been studying how electronic communication compares to traditional print when it comes to learning. Is comprehension the same whether a person reads a text onscreen … Read More

The rise of pop-psychology: can it make your life better, or is it all snake-oil?

Guest Author May 04, 2021

Nick Haslam, The University of Melbourne   More than 50 years ago, George Miller, president of the American Psychological Association, urged his colleagues “to give psychology away”. No, cynical reader, he was not instructing his followers to abandon the field. Rather he hoped raising the general public’s awareness of psychology would help to solve society’s problems. In the half century … Read More

Side-Stepping Safeguards, Data Journalists Are Doing Science Now

Guest Author May 01, 2021

By Irineo Cabreros News stories are increasingly told through data. Witness the Covid-19 time series that decorate the homepages of every major news outlet; the red and blue heat maps of polling predictions that dominate the runup to elections; the splashy, interactive plots that dance across the screen. As a statistician who handles data for a living, I … Read More

Inside the world of tiny phytoplankton – microscopic algae that provide most of our oxygen

Guest Author Apr 30, 2021

Abigail McQuatters-Gollop, University of Plymouth Phytoplankton are microscopic algae living throughout the ocean’s surface waters. They can’t swim and are at the mercy of the currents and tides. Despite their small size, phytoplankton enable life in the oceans – and throughout the planet – to exist. There are two types of plankton – zooplankton, which are animals, and phytoplankton, which … Read More

Meet 5 of Australia’s tiniest mammals, who tread a tightrope between life and death every night

Guest Author Apr 29, 2021

Andrew Baker, Queensland University of Technology Australia has a rich diversity of mammals, with around 320 native, land-based species, 87% of which are found here and nowhere else. Many of these mammals are secretive, only active at night, and small, weighing less than one kilogram. Mammals are “endotherms”, which means they must generate their own heat and maintain the … Read More

Treated like dirt: urban soil is often overlooked as a resource

Guest Author Apr 27, 2021

Roisin O’Riordan, Lancaster University When you think about soil, you probably think of rolling fields of countryside. But what about urban soil? With city dwellers expected to account for 68% of the world’s population by 2050, this oft forgotten resource is increasingly important. City-based agriculture is on the rise. But urban soil is more often associated with contamination … Read More

Endless itching: how Anzacs treated lice in the trenches with poetry and their own brand of medicine

Guest Author Apr 26, 2021

Georgia McWhinney, Macquarie University We think we know a lot about Australian and New Zealand soldiers’ health in the first world war. Many books, novels and television programs speak of wounds and war doctors, documenting the work of both Anzac nations’ medical corps. Often these histories begin with front-line doctors — known as regimental medical officers — who first … Read More

Seedkeeping can connect people with their roots and preserve crops for future generations

Guest Author Apr 23, 2021

Natalie Jesionka, University of Toronto “All seeds are sacred, these seeds are connected to 10,000 years of human relationship to the land,” says Owen Taylor, co-founder of Philadelphia-based Truelove Seeds, who sells vegetable, herb and flower seeds that tell ancestral and regional stories. He adds, “seedkeeping refers to not just the saving of seeds, but also the keeping of … Read More

Demand for rare-earth metals is skyrocketing, so we’re creating a safer, cleaner way to recover them from old phones and laptops

Guest Author Apr 20, 2021

Cristina Pozo-Gonzalo, Deakin University Rare-earth metals are critical to the high-tech society we live in as an essential component of mobile phones, computers and many other everyday devices. But increasing demand and limited global supply means we must urgently find a way to recover these metals efficiently from discarded products. Rare-earth metals are currently mined or recovered via traditional e-waste … Read More