“Hidden” thoughts in visual part of brain

How much control do you have over your thoughts? What if you were specifically told not to think of something – like a pink elephant? A recent study led by UNSW psychologists has mapped what happens in the brain when a person tries to suppress a thought. The neuroscientists managed to ‘decode’ the complex brain activity … Continue reading “Hidden” thoughts in visual part of brain

Tim Jarvis on Human-wildlife conflict

It’s 84 years since the last known Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), died at Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart. Locked out of its sleeping quarters by its keepers, it died in its cage, alone, as temperatures plummeted overnight. In 1996, on the 60th anniversary of this inauspicious date, 7 September was declared National Threatened Species Day … Continue reading Tim Jarvis on Human-wildlife conflict

The myth of ‘living with’ a level of COVID-19

Disease management terms like ‘elimination’ and ‘eradication’ have been used in press conferences and media coverage since the start of COVID-19. While these terms seem familiar, they are technical public health terms which mean something very specific in an infectious disease context – and misuse of the terms can be at best confusing, or at … Continue reading The myth of ‘living with’ a level of COVID-19

The secret to surviving night shift

A simple coffee and a quick catnap could be the cure for staying alert on the nightshift as new research from the University of South Australia shows that this unlikely combination can improve attention and reduce sleep inertia. In Australia, more than 1.4 million people are employed in shift work, with more than 200,000 regularly … Continue reading The secret to surviving night shift

Can mums-to-be drink coffee?

There is “no safe level” of caffeine consumption for women who are pregnant or trying for a baby, according to an international study released this week. But Aussie experts argue the warnings are “alarmist” and say the study recommendations may unnecessarily worry hopeful and expectant mothers. The paper reviewed 48 studies over the past 20 … Continue reading Can mums-to-be drink coffee?

Why people get sick in virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) technology – which can immerse people in real or imagined environments via a head-mounted display (HMD) – has expanded possibilities for how people can learn, communicate and relax. Not just a source of entertainment, VR is now used across education, skills training and medical rehabilitation. In many cases, VR is used to … Continue reading Why people get sick in virtual reality

The zoonotic diseases closer to home

With genetic analysis suggesting COVID-19 originated in animals before it spread to humans, now is a good time to bear in mind zoonotic diseases are closer to home than people might think, says a UNSW researcher. Whether it’s bin chickens raiding rubbish bins, pigeons flocking to alfresco dining leftovers or cuddles with the family pet, animals … Continue reading The zoonotic diseases closer to home

Fred Watson: Greatest Science Cinematography

  On a cold, wintery day there was nothing better than to sit down and check out this year’s SCINEMA International Science Film Festival from the comfort of my own living room. To be honest, I’m not a great movie watcher, but I do know when I’ve seen something worthwhile, and the two films I … Continue reading Fred Watson: Greatest Science Cinematography

Faking a smile is almost as good as the real thing

From Sinatra to Katy Perry, celebrities have long sung about the power of a smile – how it picks you up, changes your outlook, and generally makes you feel better. But is it all smoke and mirrors, or is there a scientific backing to the claim? Research from the University of South Australia confirms that … Continue reading Faking a smile is almost as good as the real thing

Why the brain can see faces in everyday objects

If you tend to notice faces in inanimate objects around you, you’re not alone. It could be the Virgin Mary in a toastie, a house scowling at you, a bowling ball surprised you want to put your fingers in there, or a capsicum screaming in horror – our brains love to put faces where they’re … Continue reading Why the brain can see faces in everyday objects

Cooper Creek looks like Mars

Red-tinted sands and dark green braided streams provide a colourful contrast within Queensland’s Channel Country. As the International Space Station (ISS) was passing over southwest Queensland, an astronaut took this photo of the Cooper Creek floodplain. The image was taken by a member of Expedition 62 on 5 April 2020, using a standard Nikon D5 … Continue reading Cooper Creek looks like Mars

Online events during National Science Week

Australia’s National Science Week is back from 15-23 August, and thanks to everything that’s happening, most events are now online. So now you don’t need to be worried about missing out on any of Australia’s biggest celebration of all things science – you can do check it all out from your own home. Here are … Continue reading Online events during National Science Week