The environmental impact of music: digital, records, CDs analysed

Our favourite way of listening to music might have a bigger environmental impact than we think. patat/ Shutterstock Although streaming remains the most popular way people listen to music, old formats like cassettes and vinyl have both seen an increase in sales. In fact, vinyl has seen a remarkable sales increase of 1,427% since 2007, selling around around 4m LPs in 2018 in the UK alone....

Hidden women of history: Elsie Masson, photographer, writer, intrepid traveller

Elsie Masson outside Government House, Darwin.  Wayne Collection, Copyright Pitt Rivers Museum. In 1913, at the age of 23, Elsie Masson was travelling on a steamer near Port Essington, 150 miles from Darwin, when it was approached by a small lugger. The boat was manned by one white man and two black men. As she later recounted, The white man raised a...

How capitalism ruined our relationship with bacteria

Drawing from the Wellcome Collection There are many rational reasons that motivate consumers to spend US$65 billion annually on household cleaning products. But non-rational mechanisms are nevertheless still at work in the cleaning products market, as in all others. Advertisements for domestic hygiene products usually follow the same simple yet powerful structure: the threat of bacterial contamination looms large, but anti-bacterial gels, soaps,...

‘Alexa, call my lawyer!’ Are you legally liable if someone makes a purchase using your virtual assistant?

If you have voice shopping activated on your voice assistant, anyone in your home could potentially purchase items in your name. Shutterstock When Amazon launched its Alexa virtual assistant in 2014, it probably didn’t think that a bird would expose a potentially significant legal issue with the device. But an African grey parrot named Rocco, living in Blewbury, England,...

How to take better photos with your smartphone, thanks to computational photography

A light-trails long exposure of London’s Tower Bridge, shot on iPhone8Plus using the NightCap app. Rob Layton, Author provided Each time you snap a photo with your smartphone – depending on the make and model – it may perform more than a trillion operations for just that single image. Yes, you expect it to do the usual auto-focus/auto-exposure functions that are the hallmark of...

Women seeking asylum for family violence don’t have an easy time getting it

Women fleeing asylum face unique obstacles.  THAI IMMIGRATION BUREAU HANDOUT/EPA Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun’s story has travelled around the world this week, highlighting Saudi Arabia’s repressive treatment of women and that not only those who seek asylum by sea face perilous journeys to safety. For now, al-Qunun remains in Thailand, and it’s been reported the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) has deemed her to...

Almost every brand of tuna on supermarket shelves shows why modern slavery laws are needed

Tracking the journey of tuna from the seas around Thailand to Australian supermarket shelves shows modern slavery is a pervasive problem. Shutterstock.com What is the chance the last tin of tuna you ate was made using slave labour? If it came from Thailand, the odds may be a lot higher than you imagine. We have tracked the journey of tuna from...

Red meat and imported wine: why ethical eating often stops at the restaurant door

Can eating steak in a restaurant (or reindeer tongue, for that matter) ever be considered an ethical form of eating? It depends who you ask. Shutterstock Nowadays, ethical eating is often presented as a truism: we are told we should all be making ethical food choices, not only at home but also when we dine out. However, it’s become something of a...

Here’s why doctors are backing pill testing at music festivals across Australia

Pill testing is a rare opportunity to speak to drug users about their drug use. from www.shutterstock.com For many years experts in the field of drug policy in Australia have known existing policies are failing. Crude messages (calls for total abstinence: “just say no to drugs”) and even cruder enforcement strategies (harsher penalties, criminalisation of drug users) have had no...

Is the ‘midlife crisis’ a real thing?

It does make sense your mood may start to dip in midlife.  Javier García/Unsplash Middle age is often seen as life’s pivot point. A hill has been climbed and the view over the other side is unsettling. As Victor Hugo said: “forty is the old age of youth” and “fifty the youth of old age”. The idea adults in midlife face a...