Australia Science & Nature
Scientists tout ‘pen’ technology that detects cancer in 20 seconds
Farmer loses six cows in a single lightning strike
Major rain event threatens worst floods in Queensland since 1974
Is first contact with alien life just around the corner?
Powerful earthquake hits Papua New Guinea
Major 7.5-magnitude earthquake strikes Papua New Guinea
Parts of Canberra were hit with 60mm of rain in just a few hours
Scientists tout ‘pen’ technology that detects cancer in 20 seconds
2018-03-13 09:06:49 A group of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin say they’ve developed the technology to do just that. The MasSpec Pen, which is being showcased at SXSW this week, can identify cancerous tissue during surgery in real time. “The MasSpec Pen is a handheld device coupled to a mass spectrometer that can diagnose cancer during surgery in twenty seconds,” said Marta Sans, graduate research assistant for the Livia Eberlin Research Group   Read More ...
Queensland weather: Tropical Cyclone Linda forms in Coral sea, heads towards coast
2018-03-13 08:14:49 A tropical low moving towards Queensland's south-east has developed into a category one tropical cyclone. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said Tropical Cyclone Linda is located in the Coral Sea, about 880 kilometres north-east of Sandy Cape and 1,100km east of Mackay. TC Linda is expected to continue to move south-west towards the Queensland coast for the next 24 hours, before turning south and ultimately south-east away from the coast   Read More ...
'We'll be left behind': Greens want 2030 ban on fossil-fuel car sales
2018-03-13 06:09:21 As cars typically stay on the road 18 to 20 years, Australia would need to shift to 100 per cent electric or hybrid vehicles by 2030 if the country's transport fleet were to approach zer0-emissions by mid-century. According to the Paris climate accord, developed nations including Australia will need to be carbon neutral by about 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change   Read More ...
Australia weather bureau says summer La Nina has ended
2018-03-13 06:06:52 SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s weather bureau said on Tuesday that a La Nina weather event that began in December has ended. La Nina events occur when sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean drop to lower-than-normal levels, generally resulting in stormier, colder winters in Asia’s northern hemisphere, and warmer, wet summers in the southern hemisphere. “All atmospheric and oceanic indices are now at neutral levels   Read More ...
'Vulnerable': Climate change threatens Wollongong homes, WIN Stadium
2018-03-13 02:09:59 The council had already begun placing notifications on the most vulnerable properties, "making the risks known to anybody buying into the area", he said, adding the process "had brought a lot of grief". "We were one of the first councils to get this work done," Cr Bradbery said. The gazetting of the plan comes as the government is understood to be nearing the long-awaited promulgation of the state's new coastal management plan   Read More ...
'We'll be left behind': Greens want 2030 ban on fossil-fuel car sales
2018-03-13 02:09:50 As cars typically stay on the road 18 to 20 years, Australia would need to shift to 100 per cent electric or hybrid vehicles by 2030 if the country's transport fleet were to approach zer0-emissions by mid-century. According to the Paris climate accord, developed nations including Australia will need to be carbon neutral by about 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change   Read More ...
How one group of languages conquered Australia
2018-03-13 00:13:53 A family of languages spoken by ancient and modern hunter-gatherers rapidly replaced other tongues as it swept the Australian continent more than four millennia ago, modelling work suggests. Australia’s Pama–Nyungan language family includes more than 300 languages, which are spoken across 90% of the continent. Twenty-seven other language families are restricted to the far north. Previous genetic and linguistic studies have led to competing theories about how Pama–Nyungan rose to dominance   Read More ...
Australia leads on extinction rate: report
2018-03-12 20:31:28 Critical habitats relate to protecting and preserving the habitats of threatened species but despite there being more than 1700 threatened species and ecological communities across the country, the government has only identified five critical habitats. ACF healthy ecosystems campaigner Jess Abrahams said it was "ridiculous" no critical habitat had been listed on the register for any species since 2005. "Our current law provides patently inadequate protection to prevent the destruction of critical habitat," Ms Abrahams said in a statement last week   Read More ...
What supervolcano? Humans thrived after ancient mega eruption
2018-03-12 20:31:04 Beach-side property might be a luxury today, but living by the seaside may have helped modern humans in South Africa survive the biggest supervolcano eruption of the past 2.5 million years. Key points Key points: Effect of Toba supervolcano eruption on climate and humans remains controversial Some scientists believe modern humans almost became extinct after the eruption Two South African archaeological sites were found to contain glass shards spat out by the volcano, alongside artefacts The work suggests resident humans at these sites flourished during and after the blast The Toba supervolcano, on what is now Sumatra, Indonesia, spewed about 3,000 cubic kilometres of ash, rock and glass in a cataclysmic eruption around 74,000 years ago   Read More ...
North Queensland residents hit by flash floods warned about crocodiles sighted in rising waters
2018-03-12 18:44:10 A crocodile alert has been issued in parts of Australia after the reptiles were spotted near people’s homes following severe flooding. Residents in North Queensland already struggling to cope with damage caused by torrential rain were warned to keep out of the water and be wary of areas where crocodiles could be lurking just under the surface. Authorities appealed for people to report sightings to a CrocWatch emergency line   Read More ...
There’s a very interesting reason this evolutionary mutation exists
2018-03-12 12:36:03 The proper name for this rare condition is a preauricular sinus — the holes are ‘nodules, dents, or dimples’ that are visible around the external ear where a person’s face meets the ear cartilage. So why are they there? Technically they’re a hereditary birth defect, first documented by scientist Van Heusinger back in 1864. Around half of those affected have holes on just one side while the other half can find them on both   Read More ...
New images snapped by probe orbiting Jupiter reveal cluster cyclones
2018-03-12 08:17:27 From its position, high above Jupiter’s cloud tops, the tiny spacecraft Juno has given us an extraordinary new view of the innards of the solar system’s giant. Jupiter weighs more than twice as much as all the other planets put together. Howling winds race around its equator in streaks of orange, white and blue. Jupiter’s largest storm, The Great Red Spot, rages seemingly without end   Read More ...
Krill's plastic digestion skills 'mind-blowing' for Australian scientists
2018-03-09 00:12:00 Krill may be at the bottom of the food chain, but they are proving to be a secret weapon in the war against ocean plastics, one poo at a time. The tiny crustaceans are ingesting micro-plastics unknowingly, and breaking them down into much smaller nano-plastics through their digestive system, research has found. The study, published in Nature Communications, has formed part of the PhD research of Dr Amanda Dawson from Griffith University   Read More ...
Row of cows found dead after lightning strike in Australia
2018-03-08 12:46:13 A lightning strike is believed to have killed six cows, which were discovered lying dead in a row on a property in Queensland, Australia, last week. Grazier Eda Shirley found his cattle lining a fence last Wednesday, following a storm on February 26. Shirley's son, Derek, said it appeared that they had been killed instantaneously after lightning struck the fence. "They would have been standing in water near the fence and the lightning has just dropped them all at the same time," Derek Shirley said   Read More ...
Papua New Guinea faces long recovery as earthquake death toll tops 100, PM says
2018-03-08 10:17:15 Papua New Guinea faces a long road to recovery after the powerful earthquake that hit the nation's rugged highlands more than 10 days ago, with the death toll now believed to have climbed to more than 100, its leader said. Key points: PNG PM says it could take years to repair damage Earthquake and aftershocks caused landslides and damage across the country ExxonMobil forced to shut down all facilities in PNG, repairs and inspections could take around eight weeks   Read More ...
Queensland farmer discovers six of his cows dead in lightning strike
2018-03-08 09:06:10 AN AUSTRALIAN farmer made an eerie discovery of six cows lying in a single line. Now experts believe they were all killed by a single lightning blast in south-east Queensland. A QUEENSLAND farmer has shared eerie photos of six cows lying in a single line after they were struck by lightning. Derek Shirley found four of his cows and two calves lying dead on their Beaudesert property just days after a severe thunderstorm hit south-east Queensland   Read More ...
Row of cows in Australia killed 'by lightning strike'
2018-03-08 07:06:26 An Australian farmer has found six cows lying dead in a row, in what experts have attributed to a lightning strike. The animals were discovered next to a barbed-wire fence on a paddock in Queensland last week, a few days after a heavy storm. The cows' owner, Derek Shirley, said he was "stunned" by the find. Dr Sabrina Lomax, a livestock expert from Sydney University, said she believed all six animals had been touching the fence when they died   Read More ...
Clusters of cyclones encircle Jupiter’s poles, researchers discover
2018-03-08 02:07:01 The planet’s tempestuous, gassy atmosphere stretches some 3000 kilometres deep and comprises a hundredth of the planet’s mass, studies based on observations by NASA’s Juno spacecraft have revealed. The measurements shed the first light on what goes on beneath the surface of the largest planet in the Solar System. “Galileo viewed the stripes on Jupiter more than 400 years ago. Until now, we only had a superficial understanding of them,” said Yohai Kaspi from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, an author of one of four studies published in   Read More ...
Farmer loses six cows in a single lightning strike
2018-03-08 00:13:23 A Beaudesert farmer has found six cows lying dead, all in a straight line, after thunderstorms in south-east Queensland. Derek Shirley said there was not a mark on any of them. "There was just a storm, it was a pretty severe storm, there were a few cracks of lightning and thunder and then there was one particularly loud one and that's all we heard," he said   Read More ...
What's with the weird cyclones at Jupiter's poles?
2018-03-07 22:18:43 It's a planetary puzzle of massive proportions: what lies beneath Jupiter's turbulent shroud of blustery bands and mega cyclones? jupiter key points Key points: Juno spacecraft has been looping around Jupiter since July 2016 New data show gas giant's jet streams are 3,000km deep, below which lies dense core of hydrogen and helium that acts like solid mass Stable cyclones at Jupiter's poles have planetary scientists stumped Plenty more data will follow; the Juno mission will continue to July 2021 Now, thanks to the Juno spacecraft, planetary scientists have been given a tantalising glimpse at the gas giant's deepest secrets   Read More ...
Solar power: What happens when we start producing more electricity than we can consume?
2018-03-07 02:09:30 While Australia leads the world in the use of rooftop solar power, some experts say there could soon be too much power coming online — and governments will have little choice but to cut subsidies. Key points: 3.5 million solar panels were installed on Australian rooftops in 2017 1 in 5 households saving money on power bills by selling excess electricity back to the grid Mr Wood says a shift to demand-driven power pricing could help the battery industry Government figures show that last year, 3   Read More ...
'Cracker': Solar surge starts to get buy-in from big shopping centres
2018-03-06 12:13:22 Stockland, one of Australia's biggest developers, is adding the equivalent of nine rugby fields of solar panels to shopping centre roofs, fuelling the long-anticipated commercial rush into renewable energy. The company's $23.5-million investment will involve the installation of 39,000 photovoltaic panels on 10 retail centres, adding a total of 12.3 megawatts (MW) of capacity. Returns over the coming decade are expected to average 11   Read More ...
Heavy rain hits southeast Queensland as north braces for possible cyclones
2018-03-05 22:06:47 than 100mm of rain fell in southeast Queensland overnight, causing flash flooding and disrupting trains this morning. CREDIT: The TODAY show/Channel 9. MORE than 100mm of rain has been dumped on parts of the state’s southeast overnight, most of which came in just 90 minutes. Up to 81mm was recorded in just one hour in some areas, as severe storms swept through the southeast corner   Read More ...
Man dug out from beneath snow after avalanche at California ski resort
2018-03-05 00:09:09 Several people used their hands and shovels to dig a man to safety after an avalanche at a ski resort in northern California buried him beneath the snow. Key points: Five people buried but unhurt by avalanche at Squaw Valley Ski Resort Second avalanche at Mammoth Mountain buried three people, no injuries Two snowboarders killed in separate incidents after blizzard The man was one of five people who became trapped when the barrage hit Squaw Valley on Friday (local time)   Read More ...
While politicians question the reality of climate change, farmers and businesses act
2018-03-04 20:18:02 David Bruer has been growing vines and making wine at his Temple Bruer vineyard in the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia since 1978. In his vineyard laboratory, weather records for every vintage for nearly 40 years are stacked in plastic folders. They clearly show a steady increase in maximum temperatures over that time of about 1 degree. It might seem like a relatively small change but the impact has been dramatic   Read More ...
Brisbane braces for flash flooding after dangerous storm dumps 80mm of rain in half an hour
2018-03-04 10:12:39 Dangerous storm cells have delivered heavy rainfall in Brisbane's north, with 80 millimetres recorded in the semi-rural suburb of Samford in just 30 minutes. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a warning for the "very dangerous thunderstorms", for areas near Strathpine, Samford, Aspley, Albany Creek and Lake Samsonvale. Nearly 100 millimetres of rain was recorded at Mount Mee, north of Brisbane, in an hour   Read More ...
Winter storm kills five people, leaves millions without power in United States
2018-03-04 02:06:54 Five people, including two children, have been killed in the United States' north-east during a fierce winter storm authorities say they will "never forget". Key points: Five dead, including 6yo and 11yo boys 2.4 million homes and businesses without power in north-east, mid-west Coastal communities warned storm "life and death" situation The National Weather Service (NWS) in Boston warned the weather event was a "life and death" situation for people living along the coast   Read More ...
North-west Queensland hit with heavy rain, flooding after long-awaited downpour
2018-03-03 02:10:14 A long-awaited downpour has brought plenty of joy to north-west Queensland, but the heavy rains have also brought flash flooding and damage, with predictions a further 300mm could fall in some areas today.   Read More ...
The scientists planning to get stuck in the ice to plug a climate gap
2018-03-02 21:12:28 For Markus Rex, this week's midwinter Arctic heatwave is the perfect justification for the most ambitious climate research effort ever planned at the top of the world. Professor Rex is a leading atmospheric climate researcher at Germany's University of Potsdam but also the project co-ordinator for a €60 million ($95 million) year-long scientific expedition to improve the understanding of the processes under way in the fastest-warming part of the planet   Read More ...
The scientists planning to get stuck in the ice to plug a climate gap
2018-03-02 06:10:50 For Markus Rex, this week's midwinter Arctic heatwave is the perfect justification for the most ambitious climate research effort ever planned at the top of the world. Professor Rex is a leading atmospheric climate researcher at Germany's University of Potsdam but also the project co-ordinator for a €60 million ($95 million) year-long scientific expedition to improve the understanding of the processes under way in the fastest-warming part of the planet   Read More ...
Major rain event threatens worst floods in Queensland since 1974
2018-03-02 02:35:25 PARTS of Queensland are gearing up a flooding event “so significant that nothing has ever been seen like it in this state”. A Townsville creek broke its banks on March 1, after a low pressure system brought rain to the area and flooded roads. Townsville Bulleting reported the city received its highest rainfall in three years, while the Bureau of Meteorology on March 1 predicted another 12 to 24 hours of heavy rains   Read More ...
Heavy rain set to fall across large parts of western Queensland
2018-03-01 22:14:15 By Harriet Tatham, Andrew Saunders and staff The heaviest rain in years is set to drench large sections of western Queensland over the next few days as the low-pressure system that has flooded Townsville moves inland, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says. But there is still a high degree of uncertainty over precisely where that might occur. On Wednesday and Thursday, more than 350 millimetres of rain fell in the Townsville region   Read More ...
ANU librarians begin urgent salvage job after precious books, documents damaged in Canberra flood
2018-03-01 22:13:58 A very old and musty book can sometimes seem like a biohazard, and the books on the bottom floor of the Australian National University's Chifley Library could come close. Now that the water from Canberra's flash flooding has receded, staff have been able to get inside the university's most prestigious library to see the damage — but only after donning protective masks   Read More ...
Playwright takes on Andrew Bolt, climate change sceptics and Breitbart News
2018-03-01 16:58:48 Kill Climate Deniers: Playwright takes on Andrew Bolt, climate change sceptics and Breitbart News Four years after backlash shut down the original staging of the play, David Finnigan's Kill Climate Deniers has now opened in Sydney. In 2014, Finnigan was commissioned by Canberra's Aspen Island Theatre Company to write a play that explored climate change and Australian politics. He called the play Kill Climate Deniers, and was given a $19,000 grant from the ACT Government to develop it   Read More ...
Britain grinds to a halt as 'Beast from the East' brings snow, ice
2018-02-28 02:16:46 London: Heavy snowfall has caused major travel disruption across the UK and Ireland, leading to road closures as well as flights and trains being cancelled. A Siberian weather system forecasters have called the "Beast from the East" brought the coldest temperatures for years to Britain and many parts of Europe. The freeze was expected to continue for much of the week   Read More ...
Queensland weather: South-east hit with heavy rains; five rescued from floodwater
2018-02-26 14:16:22 Five people have been pulled from fast-rising floodwaters as south-east Queensland is hammered with heavy rain. Firefighter Jason Mannix said crews were travelling from another job when they spotted a woman in trouble on a flooded causeway in Oxley, in Brisbane's south. "She was on her own and was panicking and had said that she can't swim and she can't open the car or anything because the water was too fast and too far up on the door," he said   Read More ...
Is first contact with alien life just around the corner?
2018-02-26 01:05:05 We are on the cusp of discovering new technologies that “will take us even farther as we explore the planets and the stars” — and lead us closer to making contact with alien life, writes Michio Kaku in “The Future of Humanity.” We know that one out of every five stars in the Milky Way galaxy has an Earth-like planet orbiting it — which means that there are more than 20 billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy, according to Kaku   Read More ...
Powerful earthquake hits Papua New Guinea
2018-02-26 00:08:46 A magnitude-7.5 earthquake has struck Papua New Guinea's southern highlands. The seeds of an earthquake lie in the tectonic plates that make up the Earth's surface and on which the continents sit. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake hit about 90 kilometres south-west of Porgera in the early hours of this morning at a depth of 35 kilometres   Read More ...
Major 7.5-magnitude earthquake strikes Papua New Guinea
2018-02-26 00:06:17 Sydney, Australia | AFP | A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea early Monday, US seismologists said, but no tsunami warning was issued. The quake’s epicentre was around 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of Porgera in Enga province, according to USGS, and hit at a depth of 35 kilometres. USGS said some casualties and damage were possible and recent earthquakes in the area had caused tsunamis and landslides   Read More ...
Major 7.5-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Papua New Guinea
2018-02-25 20:35:38 Sydney, Australia: A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea early Monday, US seismologists said, but no tsunami warning was issued. The quake's epicentre was around 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of Porgera in Enga province, according to USGS, and hit at a depth of 35 kilometres. USGS said some casualties and damage were possible and recent earthquakes in the area had caused tsunamis and landslides   Read More ...