SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY

Carbon emissions will reach 37 billion tonnes in 2018, a record high

AAP Image/Mick Tsikas Carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from fossil fuels and industry are projected to rise more than 2% (range 1.8% to 3.7%) in 2018, taking global fossil CO₂ emissions to a new record high of 37.1 billion tonnes. The strong growth is the second consecutive year of increasing emissions since the 2014-16 period when emissions stabilised, further slowing progress...

Protecting our digital heritage in the age of cyber threats

There is no clear cybersecurity governance framework geared towards detecting and preventing attacks against digital identity assets. One of the key functions of the government is to collect and archive national records. This includes everything from property records and registers of births, deaths and taxes, to Parliamentary proceedings, and even the ABC’s digital library of Australian news and entertainment. A...

What younger people can learn from older people about using technology

Two thirds of Australians over 65 use social media.  Shutterstock Older people are often portrayed in the media as being technically challenged. Jokes are often shared on social media about older people taking photos on their phones with their thumb covering the lens, or accidentally installing viruses on computers. Some of these damaging stereotypes impact upon how ordinary Australians interact with older age...

Why battery-powered vehicles stack up better than hydrogen

A battery electric vehicle in The University of Queensland’s vehicle fleet.  Low energy efficiency is already a major problem for petrol and diesel vehicles. Typically, only 20% of the overall well-to-wheel energy is actually used to power these vehicles. The other 80% is lost through oil extraction, refinement, transport, evaporation, and engine heat. This low energy efficiency is the primary reason...

Stone tools date early humans in North Africa to 2.4 million years ago

Archaeological excavation at Ain Boucherit, Algeria.  Mathieu Duval, Author provided When did early humans first arrive in the Mediterranean area? New archaeological evidence published yesterday online by the journal Science (as a First Release) indicates their presence in North Africa at least 2.4 million years ago. This is about 600,000 years earlier than previously thought. The results, from the Ain Boucherit site in north eastern...

Happy birthday, SA’s big battery, and many happy returns (of your recyclable parts)

The big battery has notched up a year in operation, during which it has been widely hailed as a success. AAP Image/David Mariuz A year ago yesterday, Tesla’s big battery in South Australia began dispatching power to the state’s grid, one day ahead of schedule. By most accounts, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery has been a remarkable success. But there are some concerns...

Summer forecast: scorching heat and heightened bushfire risk

Queenslanders have taken to the water in the face of record-breaking heat. GLENN HUNT/AAP Large parts of Australia are facing a hotter and drier summer than average, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s summer outlook. Drier than average conditions are likely for much of northern Australia. Most of the country has at least an 80% chance of experiencing warmer than average day...

Tension as scientist at centre of CRIPSR outrage speaks at genome editing summit

Jiankui He claims he has used CRISPR to edit the genomes of twin girls. Merlin Crossley, Picture - Author provided I am currently at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, where controversial CRIPSR scientist Jiankui He presented his research just a few hours ago. He also answered questions from gene experts Robin Lovell-Badge (Crick Institute) and Matt Porteus (Stanford), plus...

What would a fair energy transition look like?

Minimising the economic and social impacts on fossil fuel communities. AAP Image/Julian Smith Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced last week that a federal Labor government would create a Just Transition Authority to oversee Australia’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This echoes community calls for a “fast and fair” energy transition to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Read more: Labor’s...

Researcher claims CRISPR-edited twins are born. How will science respond?

    Chinese scientist He Jiankui of Shenzhen claims he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies. from www.shutterstock.com   Gene editing technology is revolutionising biology – and now twin human baby girls may be a living part of this story. Today several media outlets report that a team of scientists in China has used CRISPR to modify the DNA of healthy human embryos to genetically “vaccinate” against...