Blog Archives

The LHC is back and it’s ready to probe the limits of matter

The LHC is back and it’s ready to probe the limits of matter

Since shutting down in early 2013, the most powerful particle accelerator on the planet, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), has been sitting dormant. Over the past two years this scientific colossus situated at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, has undergone a series of repairs and upgrades. But now it is ready to reawaken from it’s slumber. […] … learn more→

What happens when a self-driving car meets a road rage driver?

What happens when a self-driving car meets a road rage driver?

Driverless cars could soon be cruising Australian roads if South Australia gives the go-ahead to reforms to its road legislation. The technology promises to increase safety on our roads, but what happens when such automated cars meet the less attractive side of human driving: the road rage driver? Such incidents may be rare on our […] … learn more→

In the absence of satisfying facts—or any facts at all

In the absence of satisfying facts—or any facts at all

On January 29, this was the lead headline on the NBC Nightly News newsfeed: “Malaysia Airlines MH370 Declared an ‘Accident,’ Search for Survivors Ends.” On the surface, this headline is absurd in at least two very obvious ways. First, how can the loss of the plane be declared an “accident” when no one has located […] … learn more→

Scientists and public disagree, but let’s not get too excited

Scientists and public disagree, but let’s not get too excited

A new set of surveys of scientists and the public finds the two groups have widely different views about scientific issues. Conducted by the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the survey found scientists tended to have a more positive opinion of many technologies than the general […] … learn more→

How we can each fight cybercrime with smarter habits

How we can each fight cybercrime with smarter habits

Hackers gain access to computers and networks by exploiting the weaknesses in our cyber behaviors. Many attacks use simple phishing schemes – the hacker sends an email that appears to come from a trusted source, encouraging the recipient to click a seemingly innocuous hyperlink or attachment. Clicking will launch malware and open backdoors that can […] … learn more→

Let there be light! Celebrating the theory of electromagnetism

Let there be light! Celebrating the theory of electromagnetism

It’s hard to imagine life without mobile phones, radio and television. Yet the discovery of the electromagnetic waves that underpin such technologies grew out of an abstract theory that’s 150 years old. Our knowledge of the existence of such waves is a direct result of James Clerk Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism which was first published […] … learn more→

What makes one Earth-like planet more habitable than another?

What makes one Earth-like planet more habitable than another?

When it comes to finding the right kind of planet to target in the search for life elsewhere in the universe, the size of the planet matters. All planets are believed to form by a process of competitive cannibalism, in a disk of material around a nascent star. Small pieces of dust collide and grow, […] … learn more→

Can astronomy explain the biblical Star of Bethlehem?

Can astronomy explain the biblical Star of Bethlehem?

Bright stars top Christmas trees in Christian homes around much of the world. The faithful sing about the Star of Wonder that guided the wise men to a manger in the little town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. They’re commemorating the Star of Bethlehem described by the Evangelist Matthew in the New Testament. Is […] … learn more→

Facebook and Google have a moral duty to stop online abuse

Facebook and Google have a moral duty to stop online abuse

It’s the stuff of nightmares: your intimate images are leaked and posted online by somebody you thought you could trust. But in Australia, victims often have no real legal remedy for this kind of abuse. This is the key problem of regulating the internet. Often, speech we might consider abusive or offensive isn’t actually illegal. […] … learn more→

What is 4D printing?

What is 4D printing?

Additive manufacturing – or 3D printing – is 30 years old this year. Today, it’s found not just in industry but in households, as the price of 3D printers has fallen below US$1,000. Knowing you can print almost anything, not just marks on paper, opens up unlimited opportunities for us to manufacture toys, household appliances […] … learn more→