Guest Work

Are Google and Facebook Responsible for the Medical Quackery They Host?

Guest Author Jun 30, 2018

Michael Schulson Social media algorithms help charlatans spread autism cures, vaccine disinformation, and AIDS denialism through online videos. Who’s really to blame? Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury is an Indian engineer with, he says, an honorary Ph.D. in diabetes science from Alliance International University, a school in Zambia that bears many of the hallmarks of an online scam. He … Read More

We’re Going Multiplanetary: The Quest for New Earths

Guest Author Jun 29, 2018

Becky Turner Theoretical physicist and one-man-phenomenon Stephen Hawking contributed a wealth of knowledge to mankind during his lifetime. One of his recommendations was that humans would need to colonise other planets in the next hundred years to avoid annihilation. His fears took the form of deadly viruses, nuclear war, asteroid impacts, and global warming. In order to avoid … Read More

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Hacking your holiday: how cyber criminals are increasingly targeting the tourism market

Guest Author Jun 29, 2018

Joe Burton, University of Waikato Imagine if a hacker shut down the baggage handling system of one of the world’s busiest airports. Or took control of a fleet of autonomous delivery trucks and re-routed them to disrupt rush hour traffic in a major metropolis. What if the hacker then demanded a ransom to unlock the digital networks they’d … Read More

Monster hunt: using environmental DNA to survey life in Loch Ness

Guest Author Jun 27, 2018

Neil Gemmell Reported sightings of the Loch Ness monster go back to the Dark Ages, but now our Super Natural History team is using the 21st-century technology of environmental DNA to survey all life in the famous Scottish lake. The premise of environmental DNA (eDNA) is simple. Life is messy, and living things leave behind skin, hair, … Read More

Feeding frenzy: public accuse the media of deliberately fuelling shark fear

Guest Author Jun 25, 2018

Peter Simmons, Charles Sturt University and Michael Mehmet, Charles Sturt University Are you scared of sharks? If you never read or watched the news, would you still be? Last year’s Australian Senate inquiry on shark mitigation and deterrent measures heard evidence that media coverage has contributed to “disproportionately high fear of sharks among the public compared … Read More

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‘Please Alexa’: are we beginning to recognise the rights of intelligent machines?

Guest Author Jun 22, 2018

Paresh Kathrani, University of Westminster Amazon has recently developed an option whereby Alexa will only activate if people address it with a “please”. This suggests that we are starting to recognise some intelligent machines in a way that was previously reserved only for humans. In fact, this could very well be the first step towards recognising the … Read More

The science of journalism

Guest Author Jun 21, 2018

Zahra Shahtahmasebi This year’s Centre of Investigative Journalism conference hosted several inspiring speakers; the likes of Alison Mau, Melanie Reid and Louise Nicholas. While the #metoo movement was a topic of focus, another issue was discussed among some of the delegates; the role of science within investigative journalism. Newsroom’s science and environment editor Eloise Gibson says the tools used … Read More

Could playing Fortnite lead to video game addiction? The World Health Organisation says yes, but others disagree

Guest Author Jun 20, 2018

Joanne Orlando, Western Sydney University Could your child be addicted to playing video games? Maybe. If you’re a parent looking for tips on moderating your child’s gaming habits, read on. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, for the first time, recognised “gaming disorder” – compulsive and obsessive playing of video games – as a diagnosable condition. Read More

Why methane should be treated differently compared to long-lived greenhouse gases

Guest Author Jun 13, 2018

Dave Frame, Victoria University of Wellington; Adrian Henry Macey, Victoria University of Wellington, and Myles Allen, University of Oxford New research provides a way out of a longstanding quandary in climate policy: how best to account for the warming effects of greenhouse gases that have different atmospheric lifetimes. Carbon dioxide is a long-lived … Read More