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World View

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✦ ✦ Unlabelled ✦ The queen of questions in evolutionary biology

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8 Dec 2011
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To celebrate Christmas, we've got some great prizes from the COSMOS gadgets shop to give away in the coming weeks. Our first prize is two COSMOS underwater MP3 players that would make a perfect gift for a friend or family member (but we won't tell if you keep if for yourself...). Our favourite answer to the question below will win!

Question: What topic would you most like to see COSMOS cover in 2012?

Email your answers to to win! Competition closes at 5:30pm on 14 December 2011. Terms and conditions here. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks - we've got a COSMOS netbook to give away too!

And congratulations to Michael Gmirkin for winning last week's competition! A copy of Chasing the Sun is on its way to you!


Almost half of you think you'll live to see commercialised Terminator-style eye lenses that can project emails and text messages directly in front of our eyes. Thirty-sex percent of you think they're not far off, but you're not putting them on your Christmas lists. Nineteen percent of you think it will be some time before this technology hits our shelves. View the full results and add your comments.

NEW POLL: Would you switch to a diet based on insect proteins to help conserve the Earth's resources? Have your say.


human evolution

Human brain evolution traced to gene activity

The rapid evolution of the human brain may be traceable to specific gene activity, researchers in China and Germany suggest.

Ground-based telescope

Clearer skies for ground-based telescopes

A new kind of filter will enable astronomers to better detect the dim light generated during the early life of the universe.
ancient killer Anomalocaris

Ancient killer had excellent vision

A remarkably preserved fossil from South Australia has revealed that the top predator in the Cambrian oceans, over 500 million years ago, was equipped with complex eyes and excellent vision.
black hole

Largest black hole discovery reported

Two of the largest black holes known to exist have been discovered and they are just a mere 300 million light years from Earth.
guppy fish attractive

Female fish distract males with attractive friends

To avoid unwanted male harassment, female guppy fish have developed a unique strategy - associating themselves with more attractive females.
first habitable zone planet

Earth's twin confirmed in 'habitable zone' of Sun-like star

The first planet in the 'habitable zone' of a distant Sun-like star has been confirmed by NASA's Kepler mission.

Monash Change of Preference Expo - It’s Chooseday.
Discover the choices you have. Welcome to a world of possibilities. Speak one-on-one with Monash representatives about course options, entry requirements, fees, costs and alternative entry pathways at the Change of Preference Expo. All courses and all campuses will be represented at this event. Saturday, 17 December, 10am – 2pm, Caulfield Campus. Click here for more details.


Monkey Rhinopithecus strykeri

The queen of questions in evolutionary biology

Positive news stories about animals are pretty rare. Unfortunately you're more likely to see a story about how a certain rhinoceros species has gone extinct or a certain native bird is now critically endangered than you are a story about animals being brought back from the brink of extinction. Which is why stories about the discovery of previously unknown species - especially the discovery of a bunch of new species - are so encouraging.

The World Wildlife Fund reported today that in 2010, new species were discovered at the rate of one every two days in the Greater Mekong region that includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Yunnan Province of China. (Download a PDF of the report here.)

The 208 new species include a new snub-nosed monkey, a self-cloning skink, five carnivorous plants and a beautiful green and yellow leaf warbler (an insectivorous bird). You might remember the monkey from such comparisons as to Michael Jackson, due to its uniquely upturned nose. Locals say this kind of monkey can be spotted with its head between its knees in wet weather to avoid rain running into it. Which I guess sounds pretty cute if you like monkeys. Oh and after posing with the ghostly monkey corpse, the locals who found it ate it.


Don’t miss our special COSMOS guide exploring the science, innovation and engineering developments in South Australia, a state brimming with capacity in R&D, training and careers. Rich in mineral wealth, SA has a strong focus on engineering, IT, food science, environment, mining, defence and astronomy. This 7-page special looks at career success stories, key technology areas, green initiatives, hot topics and more, mapping the best the Festival State has to offer. Click here for more details.


Sunken gondwana

From the depths

A trove of underwater discoveries are being unearthed, as scientists bring new Atlantises to light from deep below the Southern Ocean.
the future of food

The future of food

Your great-grandkids may eat their greens, but also a carte du jour of lab-grown meat, GM crops and insect-derived proteins. Hal Hodson gets a taste of the future of food.


South American mammal from the Late Cretaceous

'Ice Age' sabre-toothed squirrel brought to life

Fossils usually turn up as fragments of the whole animal. But scientists sometimes get lucky.
World's most biosecure lab

Inside the hot zone

Elizabeth Finkel visits the world's most biosecure lab.
The thinker

A thinker or a doer: which are you?

Intern Jude Dineley explores the concept of the thought experiment


caleb white

High flyer

For Caleb White, a lifelong hobby has become a professional obsession.
Jason Smith

Designer drugs for cancer

Medicinal chemist Jason Smith has removed cancer's invisibility cloak by identifying four drug candidates that may slow tumour growth.


The Roadmap to 100: The breakthrough science of living a long and healthy life

The Roadmap to 100: The breakthrough science of living a long and healthy life

A refreshingly simple guide to how to live a healthy life, covering topics such as the preventable consequences of old age and the role of sexual relationships.
    View     Edit     Outline  Title: * Summary: * Stay abreast of the bounty of new worlds are discovered every week in space with this new app. Input format Categories Content section: Reviews: * Meta data Byline: Input format Product name: Author: Publ

Exoplanet app

Stay abreast of the bounty of new worlds that are discovered every week in space with this new app.

RMIT’s associate degrees are two-year qualifications that will to fast-track into a relevant degree or a cutting-edge career.
You can advance into a range of RMIT degrees including: Engineering (including aerospace, automotive, civil, mechanical, network and electrical/electronic), Biomedical Science, IT, Food Science, Biotechnology, Applied Science. Come to the information session on Monday 19 December and speak face-to-face with RMIT reps about your study options. Visit the website for details.


REVERSE AGEING As we face a global ageing epidemic and the prospect of brain deterioration, a revolution in genetics is transforming the way we'll live in the future. Are you ready for a smarter, longer lifetime? It may be closer than you think. Plus, we look at the shaky foundations for putting the science of predicting earthquakes on trial, meet the world’s most astonishing predator, discover a clock so precise it would lose less than a second in the entire history of the universe and travel to South Australia to find out about the cutting-edge science and technology transforming this resource-rich state. Order your copy now! Read the digital edition immediately, or have a print edition sent to you.

Curtin Top-ranked for Earth Sciences Research – ERA Results.
In the Federal Government Excellence in Research for Australia 2010 survey of Australian Higher Education Institutions, Curtin was one of only six Australian Universities awarded the highest possible ranking of 5 for the Earth Sciences discipline overall, indicating “outstanding performance well above world standard”. More info here.


Do you think Terminator-style eye lenses will go on the market in your lifetime?
Maybe, but I'm not holding my breath

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