Category Archives: Science – General

General Public health and other interesting cross-topic subjects.

Dozens of airports across Australia being monitored for toxic foam contamination

ABC News 24 August 2016

Investigations are continuing into the impact of toxic firefighting chemicals at 36 airports across the country, Airservices Australia says.

The aviation services agency confirmed the airports, including Brisbane, Rockhampton, Mackay, Maroochydore, Townsville and Cairns, have sites with traces of the foam, which contains the chemicals PFOS and PFOA.

The foam was also used on grounds at the Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney airports.

As part of its submission to a Senate inquiry looking into land and groundwater contamination from the foam at Oakey Army Aviation Centre on Queensland’s Darling Downs, the agency revealed the foam was used from the 1980s to 2003.

A pub brawl over research funding doesn’t benefit any of us

The Conversation | Rod Lamberts & Will J Grant 24 August 2016

Here we go again. On Monday, we were interested to see The Daily Telegraph’s Natasha Bita and 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley making a strong fist of implying they would make good directors of Australia’s research funding system, supported supported by a college of experts in suburban pubs.

In this piece in the Telegraph, Bita provides us with some examples of what are headlined “‘absurd’ studies that do nothing to advance Australian research”.

Studies lined up for ridicule included a project to “investigate warfare in the ancient Tongan state through a study of earthwork fortifications”; another on “whether colleagues chatting in open-plan offices ‘creates annoyance’ and affects productivity”; and an investigation of the “post World War II evolution of the Australian university campus”.

Hadley joined in the ruck, suggesting that the Australian Research Council (ARC) should be forced to “justify its grants in the front bar of a pub in western Sydney or northside Brisbane”.

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Science on a soapbox comes to King George Square

Brisbane Times Cameron Atfield 20 August 2016

In the post-digital age, women at the cutting edge of technology are going back to 19th century methodology to talk science and challenge gender stereotypes.   Soapbox Science co-organiser Alienor Chauvenet said it was all about demystifying science and, importantly, bringing it to the people.  And Dr Chauvenet said she had no trouble finding volunteers to spend their Saturday afternoons on a King George Square soapbox, even with the threatening grey skies.

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Science Week: Invisible intestinal war depicted in graphic novel

ABC News | 774 ABC Melbourne Simon Leo Brown 19 August 2016

A graphic novel being launched as part of Science Week depicts an epic battle raging in the intestines of a nurse during World War I.  The Invisible War begins its story 100 years ago on August 23, 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.  As the war rages outside, Australian nurse Annie Barnaby is infected with a potentially deadly bacteria.

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Ancient Egyptian mummified head ‘brought to life’ in Melbourne

ABC News Andie Noonan 20 August 2016

Led by the University of Melbourne, a team of experts has reconstructed the relic with the help of CT scanning, a 3D-printed skull, forensic science and art.  The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine was able to scan the mummified remains.

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David Goodall, 102yo scientist, told to leave Edith Cowan University post

ABC News Charlotte Hamlyn 21 August 2016

At 102, David Goodall is Australia’s oldest working scientist.  He’s had a career in ecology spanning 70 years, producing more than 100 research papers, earning three doctorates and receiving a member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the field.  But now he has been told to pack up his office, with the university declaring him unfit to be on campus.

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Professionals switching careers to teaching to boost educator shortfall

ABC News Lexy Hamilton-Smith 21 August 2016

From marine biologists to dietitians, a growing number of professionals are ditching their jobs to take up teaching in what is being called the ‘big switch’.  The move comes at a critical time, as they will soon be stepping up to fill a looming shortfall in educators, as an ageing workforce in Queensland starts to retire from 2019.

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