Words: Catherine NorwoodProviding husbands for daughters, getting people out of prison, curing alcoholism, or even preventing a person from being gay. These are examples of requests, not to a deity, but to parliamentarians.Such requests can be as long as they are eclectic. And in these days of social media, accelerating from email through to Facebook and Twitter, constituents expect a response almost immediately, says social researcher Professor Colleen Lewis.
Words: Tim TreadgoldBeing able to predict an earthquake has long been a dream for the geosciences, but an Australian research team may have brought the world a small step closer to achieving this capability. Key to this recent development is a greater understanding of the immense forces that created the Andes mountain chain of South America, and the emergence of a potential explanation for a mysterious time gap in that mountain-building process. Until now, geologists have had a reasonable grasp of the role played by movement in the tectonic plates into which the earth’s upper layer, or crust, is segmented.
Words: Mandy ThooTest tube cubs have emerged as a new hope to halt the slide towards extinction of the snow leopard, Bengal tiger and other endangered big cats driven from their natural habitats.By converting cells taken from the adult animal into embryonic stem-like cells and freezing them, scientists may have dramatically increased the chances of saving animals whose numbers have declined critically in the wild. Tigers, leopards and other big cats have dwindled alarmingly worldwide in recent decades due to loss of habitat, declining prey and illegal hunting. The solitary and secretive nature of cats makes conservation an uphill battle, but scientists from the Monash Institute of Medical Research and the University of Queensland in Australia, have developed a simple, painless solution that may lead to ‘test tube cubs’, allowing conservation efforts to be performed without disrupting the wild cats in their natural habitats.
Words: Catherine NorwoodThe smell of meat pies mingles with that of liniment and freshly cut grass. Players take to the field, nervously anticipating the whistle that starts play. The scene plays out at thousands of community sports grounds across Australia each weekend as people (mostly men) from all walks of life congregate to contest their favourite football game; be it rugby union, rugby league, soccer or Australian Rules Football.Injuries are inevitable: pulled hamstrings, or dislocated shoulders, grass burns, a sprained ankle or two, and maybe even the odd bloody nose that temporarily sidelines a player. No one grumbles. It’s all part of the game.
Words: Dr Gio BraidottiNot everyone can make a machine able to explore the human genome and its vast network of DNA molecules; the frontier of ‘inner space’.It is a comparatively new speciality, where the machines are as pioneering as they are functional in their probing of the human body’s inner cosmos. These machines – DNA microarray scanners – make it possible to map this unfamiliar and information-rich space and scientists have invented a unique kind of cartography for the job. Called comparative genomics, it links the human body – its formation, ancestry, and breakdown during disease – to the structure of discrete regions on DNA molecules (genes) and the hereditary information they emanate. Like explorers of times past, genomics researchers too possess the potential to redraw the world – by forever changing our understanding and practise of medicine
6 children among 7 injured in south China attack
Wed, May 22, 2013 5:37PM UTC
Fishermen pay price in Asia’s volatile sea rifts
Wed, May 22, 2013 5:30PM UTC
Pakistan: Imran Khan leaves hospital
Wed, May 22, 2013 5:18PM UTC
US parents quit Singapore inquest into son’s death
Wed, May 22, 2013 2:54PM UTC
Ai Weiwei uses music to mock state power in China
Wed, May 22, 2013 2:48PM UTC
State media shows NKorea has new military chief
Wed, May 22, 2013 12:35PM UTC
North Korean leader sends ‘special envoy’ to China
Wed, May 22, 2013 12:29PM UTC