Category Archives: Science – General

General Public health and other interesting cross-topic subjects.

Infographic: how much does Australia spend on science and research?

The Conversation June 22, 2016

The latest OECD figures show that Australia does not fare well compared with other OECD countries on federal government funding research and development.
As a percentage of GDP, the government only spends 0.4% on research and development. This is less than comparable nations.

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Australia’s high rates of antibiotics overuse revealed in Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care report

Brisbane Times Kate Aubusson 16 June 2016

The first national report of antimicrobial use and resistance found almost half of all Australians in the community were prescribed antibiotics at least once in 2014, but a huge proportion didn’t need them.  In Australia’s hospitals on any given day more than one-third of patients were given antibiotics, with almost half either inappropriately prescribed or flouting guidelines, an Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care report released on Thursday found.

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Download AURA 2016 – First Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health


Linc Energy’s Qld plant built using ‘cheap, unsafe and illegal’ equipment, former engineer claims

ABC News | AM Mark Solomons 20 June 2016

Linc Energy’s underground coal gasification plant in Queensland was built using cheap, unsafe and illegal equipment, a former engineer at the company claims.

Explosive allegations in mechanical engineer Dennis Orford’s witness statement to the Queensland Environment Department, obtained by the ABC, include a claim the company had no serious intention to produce fuel but was instead attempting to manipulate the stock market.  The company is accused of polluting up to 320 square kilometres of prime agricultural land with toxic and explosive gases.

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Election 2016: Federal Coalition announces $55m package to deal with Defence contamination

ABC News | ABC Newcastle 1233 Dan Cox 14 June 2016

The Prime Minister says the Coalition will fund voluntary blood testing and counselling services for communities affected by contamination at defence sites with $55 million from the existing Defence budget to manage, contain and remediate chemical contamination at Defence bases, including the Williamtown Air Force base in NSW and Queensland’s Oakey Army Aviation Centre.

The Government said it would investigate the potential risks to human health and the environment after chemicals from firefighting foam, PFOS and PFOA, leached into ground and surface water.  This includes an epidemiological study that will look at potential patterns, causes and health effects in communities exposed to elevated levels of the chemicals.

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Names proposed for new chemical elements

BBC News 8 June 2016

Names have now been proposed for the four new chemical elements added to the periodic table in January.  They are nihonium (with the symbol Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts), and oganesson (Og).  Until now, the quartet have been referred to simply by the number of protons in each atom – 113, 115, 117 and 118, respectively.

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American Gut Project expands to Asia : Crowdsourced microbiome sequencing effort seeks participant diversity

(University of California – San Diego 2 June 2016) University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers are expanding the American Gut Project into Asia. The goal of American Gut, the world’s largest crowdfunded citizen science project, is to sequence as many human microbiomes — the unique collection of bacteria and other microbes that live in and on us — as possible.

Read EurekAlert Summary

CSIRO Melbourne climate science labs look certain to close under restructure

ABC News | The World Today Paddy Manning 6 June 2016

The CSIRO is going ahead with a controversial restructure that will see between a third and a half of its climate scientists lose their jobs.  Hardest-hit will be CSIRO’s Aspendale laboratories in south-east Melbourne, which were set up after World War II to improve weather forecasting and have since gained an international reputation.  Chief executive Dr Marshall said the CSIRO was responding to Federal Government funding cuts to climate science programs.

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