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TOORAK TIMES - SOCIALLY AWARE

Vital for life, heat and power – what you never knew about salt water

Salt water is fun to swim in – but it also carries the electrical signals vital for life. Raphael Nogueira/Unsplash Your tongue is a salt detector – it dissolves the solid salt crystals sprinkled on your chips to create an intense flavour sensation. But salt is way more important than just being a food additive. Salt water is literally the most common substance on the surface...

Needless procedures: knee arthroscopy is one of the most common but least effective surgeries

Knee arthroscopy requires admission to hospital and an anaesthetic. It carries some risk of harm such as infection or further damage in the joint. from shutterstock.com More than 70,000 knee arthroscopies were performed in 2011 in Australia and, though rates of the surgical procedure are now falling, it still remains one of the most common surgical procedures. The word arthroscopy means to look...

Yes, AI may take some jobs – but it could also mean more men doing care work

Care work isn’t confined to the home, or care professions such as nursing or childcare, it also happens in professional life – and it’s mostly done by women. Shutterstock It’s now generally accepted that as artificial intelligence (AI) advances into fields of work that were formerly considered skilled labour, a huge number of manual and white collar jobs are likely to disappear. These are...

Explainer: what is energy security, and how has it changed?

 The idea of energy security has been at the centre of much policy debate recently. The federal government defines energy security as the adequate supply of energy across the electricity, gas and liquid fuel sectors. But this notion has become outdated, following the spate of electricity blackouts that have occurred in the past few years. The concept of energy security is now...

Grattan on Friday: Wentworth preselectors’ rebuff to Morrison caps week of mayhem

Dave Sharma - not the PM’s pick. AAPONE/Brendan Esposito In the early hours of Friday morning, the Liberal preselectors of Wentworth delivered their new prime minister a humiliating public slapdown. In selecting Dave Sharma, 42, former Australian ambassador to Israel and now a partner in an accountancy firm, as the candidate for the October 20 byelection, the preselectors have on all...

Where Australian states are up to in decriminalising abortion

Campaigns continue to have abortion decriminalised across Australia. Peter Rae/AAP Abortion is common, safe, and the only criminalised listed medical procedure in Australia due to an archaic, flawed piece of legislation inherited from Victorian England. Despite campaigns to decriminalise abortion, progress has been slow, and patchy across states. Here’s where each state is up to. The Australian Capital Territory The ACT is the only Australian jurisdiction to...

Human evolution: secrets of early ancestors could be unlocked by African rainforests

Image courtesy Oleg Znamenskiy/Shutterstock.com Think of rainforests and the picture is inevitably one of a dark and forbidding realm where life is abundant, yet alarmingly cryptic. Rather than the sense of space offered by long, iconic grassland vistas, distance is compressed into tangled webs of foliage, veiling both predators and prey. Diffuse and difficult to access proteins, carbohydrates and fats...

Google searches reveal where people are most concerned about climate change

A handy source of information about questions big and small. TheDigitalWay/pixabay What do you do if you have a question? You probably Google it. According to Google Trends, in 2017 Australians were keen to know about tennis, Sophie Monk, fidget spinners and Bitcoin. But besides these arguably trivial queries, our Google searches also revealed our concerns about extreme weather events such as...

Ten of Australia’s best literary comics

Tommi Parissh’s The Lie and How We Told It is one of a crop of new Australian comics appealing to adult audiences. With news that the Man Booker Prize long list includes a graphic novel for the first time, the spotlight is on comics as a literary form. That’s a welcome development; the comic is one of the oldest kinds...

Health Check: what happens when you hold in a fart?

Better out than in.  Sementsova Lesia/Shutterstock Ever been in a situation where passing wind is going to be hugely embarrassing and you’ve had to hold in a fart? Let’s face it – we all have. Trying to hold it in leads to a build up of pressure and major discomfort. A build up of intestinal gas can trigger abdominal distension, with some...

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