The combination of a record heatwave and the hundred plus fires that are currently burning across Australia has seen the issue of “climate change” once again become hotly debated.
Those who think that we are experiencing human-induced climate change, including the majority of the world’s scientists, are now pointing the various events around us and saying, “this is what climate change looks like!” The many who refuse to accept the evidence, from your average ‘Jane and Joe’ to the various sceptic groups, point to some statistic or point to some extreme event that has failed to eventuate and argue that the ‘science is still out’.
So what is the evidence for each side?
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Were the recent British riots caused primarily by children who were placed in forward-facing strollers?
Another dilemma for mothers – as if they didn’t have enough on their plates – is the forward/rearward-facing stroller/carrier controversy raised by Cathrine Fowler, Professor of Child and Family Health Nursing at the University of Technology, Sydney.
I am acquainted with Cathrine as a professional colleague and respect her work; in many areas we would be to total agreement. I’m sure she has sound reasons for her thoughts on strollers and carriers. Nevertheless, I see it differently.
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When Cancer Council Australia published its recent estimate of the number of cancer cases in Australia linked to alcohol consumption, we didn’t expect the message to be popular.
But we have a responsibility to provide independent, evidence-based information about cancer risk, enabling Australians to make informed choices.
Many people may not want to know that something as popular as alcohol consumption increases their cancer risk – but that’s what the evidence says. And we believe everyone has a right to know about that evidence, whether it’s a “good news” story or not.
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Many of Australia’s brightest researchers and innovators will gather in Brisbane this week for the annual conference of the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Association.
Conspicuously absent will be Science and Industry Minister Kim Carr. The fact he has apparently withdrawn from attending the conference in the wake of last week’s Federal Budget speaks volumes about Labor’s latest debacle.
Like many of their wacky and ill-conceived programs – the devil is in the detail (or the detail omitted) with this latest Budget.
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People often say that writing a PhD is like giving birth to a baby. Having given both these projects a whirl in recent years, I’ve decided that some parts of the analogy are more apt than others.
Like making a new human, enrolling in a Doctor of Philosophy program often seems like a good idea at the time. It is frequently accompanied by thoughts such as “how hard can it be?”
The answer in both cases, of course, is “mind-meltingly, stomach-churningly, sleep-deprivingly difficult”. In fact, I wonder if any sane person would ever knowingly embark on PhD study or biological reproduction if they were fully cognizant of the hard labour that was actually involved.
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I recently learned a few things about the desert. You think you know about its vastness, but it is another thing to actually see it. When the sun goes down it’s bloody cold. And on a cloudless night the sky is simply breathtaking.
Last month I had the privilege of witnessing the re-entry of the Hayabusa spacecraft into the Earth’s atmosphere. Standing on the side of the Stuart Highway about 170 km north of Woomera, I was with a couple of dozen others – government representatives, media and hard-core stargazers – who had made the pilgrimage to witness the finish of the longest return space journey ever.
At precisely 11.23 pm a star appeared, grew brighter, developed a trail and then spectacularly exploded across the sky, lighting up the ground around us. Reminiscent of the final moments in Return of the Jedi, it is a scene I will never forget.
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Last Friday I did the unthinkable – I switched off my mobile phone.
At first there was the separation anxiety, not unlike the cravings one feels when on a diet, that insatiable yearning for something you know you can’t have. Then there was the involuntary impulse to reach into my pocket to check the phone for a text message, email or a missed call. Every look at the blank screen was disappointing.
As lunchtime approached, I’d become suitably acclimatised to this change to my daily routine. I read the newspaper uninterrupted over a strong Irish tea. It makes you realise how much the mobile impacts on everyday life. I use it far too much. If you ask me, enough is enough.
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I had a humbling experience the other day. Sitting in a room of 300 scientists, I found myself captivated by the sheer brilliance and daring of a lifetime spent in quiet and determined research.
Scientific endeavour can achieve so much - most of us barely realise - but we all become the beneficiaries.
At CSIRO’s annual medal presentation awards, we heard of new polymer technologies that can be implanted into a human eye to improve vision, a bio-economic model that has the potential to revolutionise the way we manage prawn fisheries and we celebrated a career spent positioning Australia at the forefront of radio astronomy.
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Most Australians believe the global financial crisis is just another horror movie that will scare the bejesus out of us for a little while before the hero emerges covered in blood and the credits start to roll.
That’s the only conclusion you can draw from the latest Essential Report that finds more people think Australia’s economic conditions will get better rather than deteriorate over the next 12 months.
GFC fear reached its high point in February, when 65 per cent of people expected conditions to get worse, compared to 19 per cent expecting it to get better; now its as if the battle is over and Kevin 07 has slayed the beast. Following last week’s news that Australia had avoided technical recession, 43 per cent of people now believe the economy is on the up and up, compared to 37 per cent who see harder times to come.
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