Category Archives: Science – General

General Public health and other interesting cross-topic subjects.

How Trees Help Solve Murders

Atlas Obscura Cara Giaimo 20 May 2016

Twigs, seeds and pollen can help heat up otherwise cold cases.  For forensic botanists, plants make up a whole class of readily available witnesses.  The first botanist to branch out into forensics was Arthur Koehler, who, as a wood expert at the United States Forest Products Laboratory, lent his expertise to a number of cases in the 1920s and ’30s.

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Revisiting Fukushima: Five years on

ABC News | Foreign Correspondent Mark Willacy 24 May 2016

Foreign Correspondent returns to the scene of Japan’s 2011 nuclear meltdown and discovers ghost towns left in the wake of the devastating tsunami.

Foreign Correspondent: Into the Zone goes to air on Tuesday at 9.30pm on ABC TV.

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Genetically Engineered Crops Are Safe and Possibly Good for Climate Change

Scientific American Niina Heikkinen May 18, 2016

Genetic engineering could play a role in making crops more resilient to climate change, but more research is still needed to understand the technology’s potential uses, the National Academy of Sciences said yesterday.
In a sweeping 400-page report, the country’s top scientific group found there was not evidence to support claims that genetically modified organisms are dangerous for either the environment or human health. At the same time, the introduction of genetically engineered crops had little apparent influence on the rate at which agricultural productivity was increasing over time.

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Three Queensland scientists are working as part of an international team that aims to develop quicker testing for the Zika virus.

SBS News AAP 16 May 2016

Three Queensland scientists are part of an international collaboration aiming to develop a test for the Zika virus that provides results in as little as 15 minutes.

Dr Joanne Macdonald, a senior lecturer in molecular engineering at the University of the Sunshine Coast, is one of 14 Australian researchers to recently take part in a research mission to Brazil and Colombia, where connections were made with local researchers working to combat the disease.

Along with two scientists from the University of Queensland, she has begun work to develop a tool to quickly detect and track Zika.

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Experts react to ‘waste of money’ headlines against probiotics Adi Menayang 11 May 2016

A recent article posted in the Brisbane Times went with the headline “Probiotics not shown to benefit healthy adults, researchers say”.  The story itself is based on findings from a Danish study. We reached out to some people in the industry and academia for a second opinion, and they are critical of the media’s oversimplification of the study’s results.

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How Factory Farms Play Chicken With Antibiotics Tom Philpott May/June 2016

And the inside story of one company confronting its role in creating dangerous superbugs.

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World-first scanning helium microscope looks at spider fangs and butterfly wings

ABC News 16 May 2016

Australian researchers say they have built a world-first prototype of a new microscope that will “open scientific doors”.

Associate Professor Paul Dastoor from the University of Newcastle has been working on the scanning helium microscope (SHeM) for 20 years.

He said it will enable scientists to study human, animal and plant samples, as well as computer chips and pharmaceutical drugs, without damaging or changing them.