Good news about screen time and kids’ health?

By Brendon Hyndman, Charles Sturt University A newly published study in the journal PLoS ONE suggests spending time on screens is unlikely to be directly harmful to young children. The US study attracted global attention, as screen time has been commonly blamed for disrupting the healthy habits of our youth. Headlines announced “Screens are not … Continue reading Good news about screen time and kids’ health?

A slice of the semiconductor market

In the world of manufacturing, small has fast become large, with the sales of semiconductors reaching US$439 billion across the world last year. That equates to the production of nearly 300 billion semiconductor chips, or about 40 chips for every person on the planet. Australia is no more than a bit player in this massive … Continue reading A slice of the semiconductor market

Mapping floods on every street in the world

Accurate, street-level data on flooding risk is tremendously useful when preparing for natural disasters. But this data can be very hard to come by, especially in poorer nations. Enter the World Flood Mapping Tool, a new site developed by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH). The tool contains detailed 3D … Continue reading Mapping floods on every street in the world

Cosmos Briefing: the Semiconductor Shortage

Global semiconductor industry sales were $439.0 billion in 2020. China has called chip independence a top national priority in its latest five-year plan, while U.S. President Joe Biden has vowed to build a secure American supply chain by reviving domestic manufacturing. Even the European Union is mulling measures to make its own chips. Given our … Continue reading Cosmos Briefing: the Semiconductor Shortage

Forget about dogs: Dinosaurs wagged their tails too

Dogs wag their tails when they are happy, but dinosaurs wagged their tails when they walked, according to new simulations. Researchers from the Queensland Museum and colleagues created simulations to show how a Coelophysis – a 210-million-year-old theropod, weighing around 15 kilograms – would walk. Computer simulation of extinct theropod dinosaur Coelophysis running at maximum … Continue reading Forget about dogs: Dinosaurs wagged their tails too

Why does my internet connection feel slow and jumpy, even when my internet speed is high?

By Vijay Sivaraman Of the 8.2 million homes and businesses active on Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) in July 2021, 77% are now reported to be on a broadband plan that delivers speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps). This is plenty to accommodate a typical household’s needs for video streaming (Netflix high-definition … Continue reading Why does my internet connection feel slow and jumpy, even when my internet speed is high?

Planet Smartwatch: Being an island of data in a world of change

Last year in Cosmos magazine, I wrote all about my growing love affair with my smartwatch. With it I’d built the internal and external “feedback loops” of information and awareness that helped me to lose 20kg, put a spring in my step – and set me on the road to health. Those loops consisted of … Continue reading Planet Smartwatch: Being an island of data in a world of change

Across the Metaverse

Have you heard about the “metaverse”? It’s the next new thing, according to Facebook founder-and-CEO-for-life Mark Zuckerberg. “Think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content, you are in it,” he said recently as he announced the formation of a metaverse product group within the trillion-dollar social media colossus. So … Continue reading Across the Metaverse

Small, diamond-based quantum computers could be in our hands within five years

Small, affordable, ‘plug-and-play’ quantum computing is one step closer. An Australian startup has won $13 million to make its diamond-based computing cores shine. Now it needs to grow. ANU research spinoff Quantum Brilliance has found a way to use synthetic diamonds to drive quantum calculations. Now it’s on a five-year quest to produce commercially viable … Continue reading Small, diamond-based quantum computers could be in our hands within five years

Open algorithms and secret keys: will existing encryption solutions solace quantum?

When we design an algorithm for encryption, we’re not devising some kind of secret code. In fact, the whole algorithm is open – it’s published, and well-known. The only part which is not known is this relatively short 128-bit piece of information – a simple, secret key. And every time you’d like to communicate, you … Continue reading Open algorithms and secret keys: will existing encryption solutions solace quantum?

Maths, encryption, and quantum computing

Are you worried about someone listening into your calls, reading your emails, or watching your video chats? You’re not alone. The internet has changed the face of communication and how communication can be stolen, spied upon or manipulated, and it always gets harder to protect ourselves as technology evolves. This becomes even more difficult as … Continue reading Maths, encryption, and quantum computing

Breakthrough in quantum computing

Quantum engineers from UNSW Sydney have made a critical breakthrough in the development of quantum computing technology, solving a problem that has long frustrated scientists and until now represented a major roadblock to the development of the next generation of computers. The problem in question involves spin qubits, which are the basic units of information … Continue reading Breakthrough in quantum computing