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THE WEEKLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER FROM AUSTRALIA'S #1 SCIENCE MAGAZINE
NEWS
FEATURES
OPINION
BLOGS
REVIEWS
21 Oct 2011
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THIS WEEK'S COMPETITION

We've got a copy of Dr Karl's book 'Brain Food' to give away! Our favourite, most creative answer to the question below will win:

Question: If you could improve one aspect of your brain through food, whether it's dreaming, language, motor control, telekinesis, sense of direction etc, what would it be, and why?

Email your answers to online@cosmosmagazine.com to win! Competition closes at 5:30pm on 27 October 2011. Terms and conditions here.



POLL RESULT

When we asked readers about their vitamin use we got a mixed response: 26% are convinced vitamin supplements are healthy despite few proven benefits, while 20% said they'd stop taking them because they're a waste of money and pose potential risks. The largest number of voters (32%) said they'd be more cautious when they took vitamins in future, carefully checking the labels, while 22% don't take vitamins. View the full results and add your comments.

NEW POLL: Should we let babies watch movies despite warnings that it could harm development? Have your say.


TOP NEWS

Volcanoes, Bromo Tengger Semeru national park, Indonesia

Did volcanoes cause the Great Oxidation Event?

The Great Oxidation Event, a milestone in the history of life that saw the first appearance of oxygen (O2) in the Earth's atmosphere, was the result of geological processes that could one day be mimicked on Mars.
Ancient ochre processing tools

Ochre find reveals ancient knowledge of chemistry

The oldest ochre-processing toolkits and workshop ever found have been unearthed in South Africa, indicating that as far back as 100,000 years ago, humans had an elementary understanding of chemistry.
iCub

Robot vision lags behind human sight

By pitting human vision against that of machines for the first time, computer scientists have shown that machines still struggle with interpreting visual patterns, compared to their human counterparts.
Blue stragglers

Stars that shouldn't exist explained

Cannibalistic companions are responsible for impossibly young, hot stars known as blue-stragglers, say scientists.

Teenage IQ swings

Adolescent IQ swings linked to brain changes

Rather than being fixed over our lifespan, a person's IQ can show both significant increases and decreases during their teenage years, new results suggest.

table salt

Table salt used to boost digital storage

A process that can expand the data storage capacity of computer hard disks six-fold using a common kitchen ingredient - table salt - has been discovered.



COSMOS Postgraduate Survival Guide 2011
Expand your horizons with this comprehensive postgraduate careers guide. Be inspired by profiles of early career scientists, growth industries and international opportunities. Use our Postgraduate Information Sessions directory to start planning the next stage of your career. Available in the current August/September issue of COSMOS. To order extra copies, email: subscribe@comsosmagazine.com.


IN FOCUS


St Paul's Cathedral

If anybody calls, say I am designing St. Paul's

Biographers recount a story that when England’s greatest architect Christopher Wren was 90 years old, he grouchily referred to his portfolio of more than 50 buildings - including St Paul’s Cathedral, no less - as "rubbish", compared to his scientific pursuits. It’s the kind of statement that, when taken at face value, easily perpetuates the myth of Wren being the ultimate personification of art versus science, which is how British historian Lisa Jardine interpreted it in her 2003 biography, On a Grander Scale. It certainly makes for a good narrative, but it’s one that Wren, born 379 years ago on October 20, would probably be quite bemused by.

In the 17th century, the divide between the sciences and the arts did not yet exist. The great architects such as Leonardo, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo were not trained in the discipline of architecture, but were incredible polymaths who had a superior understanding of the way mathematics, geometry and physics could combine and manifest themselves in a creative artistic vision. And a bit of 'right place at the right time' luck likely helped birth a few great architects' careers – Wren’s first stab at architecture was in 1663, when his uncle, then the Bishop of Ely, commissioned him to design the Pembroke College Chapel at Cambridge University.

Before establishing his career as an architect, Wren had been prodigious young scientist. You could easily associate his scientific expertise with at least 10 sciences, including biology, astronomy, physiology, meteorology, physics and entomology. He was an inventor – his repertoire included a mechanical seed drill for sowing crops and a transparent beehive – and a practicing anatomist.

READ MORE>>


THIS WEEK'S FEATURES


musical beauty, genome coding and evolution.

Musical beauty hints at the sound of genomes

As off-key as it sounds, new research is suggesting there may be a link between musical beauty, the coding of genomes and evolution.

Whirls of Chaos

Whirls of chaos

Richard Feynman was right: quantum vortices really do exist, and may ripple across the fabric of the cosmos. Marissa Cevallos reports.

THIS WEEK'S FICTIONS


Deep Clean

Deep Clean

"The unit is purely cognitive," she says. No shots, no pills. It's something brand new, this addiction therapy. Neon Kumar sits there listening to nothing.

THIS WEEK'S BLOGS


Lift off! Our new intern Mara hits the ground running...

And we have lift off!

Our new intern Mara Flannery shares her first impressions of life in Australia, and reflects on week one with COSMOS.

St Paul's Cathedral

If anybody calls, say I am designing St. Paul's

It's time to take a cue from the great minds of the Renaissance and put the old 'art versus science' debate to rest.

THIS WEEK'S PROFILES


Shark ecologist Charlie Huveneers

Swimming with sharks

It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but shark ecologist Charlie Huveneers is getting up close and personal with some of the ocean's most enigmatic predators to help determine better methods of conservation.
Tim March

Building a 'perfect' plant

In order to increase crop yields, plant geneticist Tim March is developing more resistant grains that can withstand extreme conditions and disease.

THIS WEEK'S REVIEWS


The Science of Kissing

The Science of Kissing: What our lips are telling us

From a nervous to an enchanting encounter, kisses can cross a range of spectrums - so how did the practice originate and why does it feel so good?

Quantum Man

Quantum Man

Through the writings of one renowned theoretical physicist, this insightful biography offers a glimpse into the life and genius of another.



Check out the new COSMOS gadgets!
Netbook computer, $290; Underwater mp3 player, $39; Battery powered iPhone/iPad charger, $19; Mini video recorder, $29. Prices in AUD, includes GST. Prices do not include delivery. Delivery only within Australia. View these amazing products here.

CURRENT ISSUE IN STORE NOW!

THE TRUTH ABOUT DRUGS Three things you should know about the genetically modified food that could soon hit supermarket shelves: and prepare to be surprised. We go behind the scenes of pioneering research and find out why GM foods polarise debate. Plus, with an expected world population of nine billion in 2050, how will we feed the planet? From synthetic meat to insects, we review some of the weird and innovative solutions. Stunning images, the origin of sex, where civilisation and farming began and the extreme speeds of the fastest objects in the universe are but a few of the tempting morsels for your mind this issue. Bon appetit! Order your copy now! Read the digital edition immediately, or have a print edition sent to you.

Poll

Despite studies suggesting vitamins are useless and even dangerous, will you still take them?
Yes, I'm still convinced they're good for me
26%
No, they're a waste of money and a possible health risk
20%
Maybe, but I'll be more cautious with the kind I take
32%
I don't take vitamins
22%

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