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Alcohol leads to more violence than other drugs, but you’d never know from the headlines

alcohol leads to more violence than other drugs, but you’d never know from the headlines
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Drinking alcohol, not taking illicit drugs like ecstasy or LSD, is more closely linked with violence. Yet, media reports tend to say the opposite Mainstream media tend to report more stories about illicit drugs than alcohol. Stories about illicit drugs are also more negative. The...

Increased private health insurance premiums don’t mean increased value

increased private health insurance premiums don’t mean increased value
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New health minister Greg Hunt has approved a 4.8% rise in health insurance premiums A topic of discussion at many barbecues this summer will inevitably be private health insurance. Is it worth it? Do we need it? Every year it gets more expensive. The average...

Black holes are even stranger than you can imagine

black holes are even stranger than you can imagine
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An artist’s impression of a Sun-like star close to a rapidly spinning supermassive black hole, with a mass of about 100 million times the mass of our Sun Our love of black holes continues to grow as our knowledge of these celestial bodies expands....

Droughts and flooding rains already more likely as climate change plays havoc with Pacific weather

droughts and flooding rains already more likely as climate change plays havoc with pacific weather
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Climate change is already delivering more extremes of wet and dry to the Pacific region Global warming has already increased the risk of major disruptions to Pacific rainfall, according to our research published today in Nature Communications. The risk will continue to rise over...

Crisis, what crisis? How smart solar can protect our vulnerable power grids

crisis, what crisis? how smart solar can protect our vulnerable power grids
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Solar panels can be both a headache and an opportunity for network companies Some commentators seem to be worried that our electricity networks are facing an impending voltage crisis, citing fears that renewables (rooftop solar panels in particular) will threaten the quality of our...

Hissstory: how the science of snake bite treatments has changed

hissstory: how the science of snake bite treatments has changed
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Gone are the days when we were told to suck out a snake’s venom. So what’s the current treatment and how have treatments changed over time? Summer is traditionally Australia’s snake bite season, when both snakes and people become more active. The human death...

Sunday essay: trace fossils – the silence of Ediacara, the shadow of uranium

sunday essay: trace fossils – the silence of ediacara, the shadow of uranium
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Marcoo was a 1.4 kilotonne ground-level nuclear test carried out at Maralinga in 1956. The contaminated debris was buried at this site in the 1967 clean-up known as Operation Brumby As an archaeologist working in the remote areas around Woomera and the Nullarbor Plain,...

Do vegetarians live longer? Probably, but not because they’re vegetarian

do vegetarians live longer? probably, but not because they’re vegetarian
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Vegetarians might live longer, but only because they’re more likely to be healthy in other ways, too In the past few years, you may have noticed more and more people around you turning away from meat. At dinner parties or family barbecues, on your...

Dietary guidelines don’t work. Here’s how to fix them

dietary guidelines don’t work. here’s how to fix them
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Pastry or fruit? Dietary guidelines aren’t helping us make the best food choices Dietary guidelines come under a lot of fire. They have been accused of not being based on evidence, not being environmentally sustainable and being out of touch with nutritional science. They...

When the heat is on, we need city-wide plans to keep cool

when the heat is on, we need city-wide plans to keep cool
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Cities are facing more heatwaves, but not all strategies to keep us cool are equal The recent spate of heatwaves through eastern Australia has reminded us we’re in an Australian summer. On top of another record hot year globally, and as heatwaves become more...