BIZ/TECH/FINANCE

Coal does not have an economic future in Australia

The closure of the Hazelwood mine has lessons for the future of coal in Australia. Global Warming Images/AAP Renewables are stealing the march over coal in Australia, and the international outlook is for lower coal demand. Today the international Coal Transitions project released its findings, based on global coal scenarios and detailed case studies by teams in China, India, South Africa, Australia,...

We’ve got apps and radars – but can ants predict rain?

Folklore says we might be able to predict the coming of rain by observing the behaviour of ants. from www.shutterstock.com It’s often said that ants can predict impending rain and respond by changing their behaviour. Some people say that if you see ants building their mounds higher, or building them from different materials, this might signal the coming of rain. But is there any...

Australia’s UN report card: making progress, could do better on inequality and climate

A sign of a drier, hotter planet? Australia is nowhere near meeting even the modest target of a 26% emissions reduction by 2030. David Mariuz/AAP Visiting drought-affected farmland in NSW last week, new PM Scott Morrison said he was not interested in considering the role of climate change on the drought because he was “practically interested in the policies that will address...

The new and more efficient payments system means new and more efficient payments fraud. Here’s how to prepare

It’s about to become easier to steal money. We’ll have become more vigilant. Shutterstock Most credit card fraud takes place online or over the phone. It’s not the cards that are stolen, but the details. The Australian Payments Network finds they are used to amass 85% of the money stolen using Australian credit cards, without the need to steal the cards...

What is a mobile network, anyway? This is 5G, boiled down

Once it’s up and running, the main change for 5G users will be increased speed and reduced delay. Robin Worrall/Unsplash Who will build Australia’s 5G mobile phone network? Not Chinese telecommunications infrastructure company Huawei, which was recently excluded from involvement via a statement from then acting Home Affairs Minister Scott Morrison – now prime minister – and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield. Read more: Huawei...

New solar cells offer you the chance to print out solar panels and stick them on your roof

This roof in Newcastle has become the first in Australia to be covered with specially printed solar cells.  University of Newcastle, Author provided Australia’s first commercial installation of printed solar cells, made using specialised semiconducting inks and printed using a conventional reel-to-reel printer, has been installed on a factory roof in Newcastle. The 200 square metre array was installed in just...

Would an eruption in Melbourne really match Hawaii’s volcanoes? Here’s the evidence

Luckily, monitoring systems at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano allowed some warning before fissures opened up in 2018.  United States Geological Survey/AAP Spectacular images of recent volcanic eruptions in Hawaii are a little disheartening – especially given news reports suggesting there is a sleeping volcano under Melbourne that could awaken and erupt at any moment. Understanding the geological differences between Melbourne and Hawaii is really helpful...

How hydrogen power can help us cut emissions, boost exports, and even drive further between refills

Could this be the way to fill up in future? CSIRO,  Author provided Hydrogen could become a significant part of Australia’s energy landscape within the coming decade, competing with both natural gas and batteries, according to a new CSIRO roadmap for the industry. Hydrogen gas is a versatile energy carrier with a wide range of potential uses. However, hydrogen is not freely available in...

What do your earliest childhood memories say about you?

The experience “this happened to me” is stronger than “this happened” in memory formation. epicharmus/flickr We experience thousands of events across childhood, and yet as adults we recall only a handful. Some might be “firsts” (our first ice cream, our first day at school), or significant life events (the birth of a sibling, moving house). Others are surprisingly trivial. So, what...

How ‘bling’ makes us human

Necklaces and earrings in traditional Kenyan cultures denote messages about marriage and childbearing. from www.shutterstock.com Sparkly jewellery, expensive shoes, designer watches – who doesn’t love a bit of “bling”? In 2017 Australians spent A$28.5 billion on ornamenting themselves with clothing, cosmetics, and accessories. But this obsession with decorating our bodies isn’t just a trivial activity. Archaeological evidence shows us it’s actually a large part...

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