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THE WEEKLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER FROM AUSTRALIA'S #1 SCIENCE MAGAZINE
NEWS
FEATURES
OPINION
BLOGS
REVIEWS
12 Jan 2012
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THIS WEEK'S COMPETITIONS!

Starting the year off with a bang, we have three copies of Peter Shaver’s book Cosmic Heritage: Evolution from the Big Bang to Conscious Life, valued at RRP$64.95 each, to give away! For your chance to win, email your answer to the question below to online@cosmosmagazine.com. The first three correct submissions will win!

Question: The book cover of Cosmic Heritage features a well-known painting. Name the title of the painting, the artist who painted it and the year in which it was painted.

We're also running an an animals-only Where in the COSMOS? competition! Send a photo of an animal you've encountered or your pet reading a copy of COSMOS magazine to online@cosmosmagazine.com for your chance to win one of three TINTIN - The Complete Collection DVDs. The three winning photos will also feature in an upcoming issue of the magazine!

Finally, congratulations to Robert Drusetta from South Australia, you're the winner of a A$300 COSMOS netbook! Thanks to everyone who entered, we had a tough time deciding on just one winner.


POLL RESULT

Almost half of you (49%) voted for neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light as the biggest story for 2011. The second biggest story for last year according to 33% of you was the confirmation of the first 'habitable' exoplanet and 18% of you thought the Higgs boson update was the biggest story of last year. View the full results and add your comments.

NEW POLL: Do you think adjusting the Doomsday Clock is a worthwhile exercise? Have your say.


TOP NEWS

 

Milky Way is a treasure trove of habitable planets

Every star in our galaxy is orbited by, on average, one or more planets: that's the mind-boggling conclusion of a new study by an international team of astronomers.
hairy skin touch

How hairy skin is wired for touch

The complex system of nerve cells in hairy skin has been seen in detail for the first time, revealing that different types of hair follicle are tuned to sense different sorts of soft touch.
biggest star jet

Biggest star jet found in neighbouring galaxy

A star shooting matter in a jet stretching over 400 trillion km has been found in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby galaxy to Earth.
smarter lizards

Hot nests lead to smarter lizards

Eggs hatched in hotter nests produce smarter young lizards than those hatched in cooler environments, new research has suggested.
mosquitofish

Picky fish prefer fortunate mates

Females fish prefer to associate with males that experience normal development over those that suffer an early period of food restriction - despite appearing identical in every way.
the cost of sex

Locusts reveal the cost of sex

The cost of sex has been revealed through new research into how often locusts are attacked by predators while 'getting busy'.


4th Annual National Communication Officers' Conference 2012, by Liquid Learning.
Essential skills and practical tools to enhance the performance of communication professionals in a rapidly evolving environment. EXPLORE: Maintaining Alignment between Communication Strategy and Patterns of Media Use; Effectively Engaging the Media, Stakeholders and the Community in an Ongoing Conversation; Apply Proactive Approaches to Crisis Communication & Reputation Management; Achieving Measurable Results from Social Media and Online Communication. Download the brochure here or visit www.liquidlearning.com.au.


IN FOCUS


gamify dopamine

Let the gamifying begin

Over the holidays I read a fantastic article in Wired Magazine about a little Facebook game called Cow Clicker. Developed by Ian Bogost, an American game developer and academic at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Cow Clicker is described by journalist Jason Tanz as a "borderline-evil piece of work that was intended to embody the worst aspects of the modern gaming industry".

If you want an example of the worst aspects of the modern gaming industry, says Bogost, look no further than Zynga studio's FarmVille, the explosively popular Facebook game with 110 million subscribers recorded late last year, 31 million of which play daily. The premise of FarmVille is simple - upon signing up, you take control of a farm, cultivating various crops and livestock herds within certain time limits to ensure that they don't wither away and die. Every time you do something in your farm, your friends on Facebook will be notified about it. And if you want your farm to grow better and more quickly, you can invest real dollars into it. Of course you can.

"Games like FarmVille are cow clickers," Bogost tells Tanz. "You click on a cow, and that's all you do." Which is how Cow Clicker, Bogost's cynical response to Zynga's thinly-veiled success story in exploitation came about. The premise for Cow Clicker is even more simple - upon signing up, you get a cow. A beady-eyed bovine with skewed nostrils and the body type of a compressed accordion. Every six hours you are allowed to click your cow, which triggers a Facebook notification announcing as much. You will also receive a point, which will go towards your cow clicking tally, and you'll cause your cow to emit an inexplicably satisfying "moo".

READ MORE>>


Your Science Degree begins at the University of Western Sydney in 2012
Choose from a range of science programs that are practical and hands-on which will set you apart from other science graduates. Study alongside world leading researchers and academics in state of the art facilities. Visit our website to see how UWS will set you on the right path for a successful career. Click here for more info.


THIS WEEK'S FEATURES


graphene

Atomic flatland

Graphene, the two-dimensional wonder material, seems ready to deliver on some of its early promises for the three-dimensional world.
climate change australia

Shock-jock tactics for climate debate

Australia has become a social experiment within which the climate change 'debate' has turned into a fact-free brawl, with Murdoch-owned newspapers at the centre, argues Stephan Lewandowsky.
extreme cosmos

Extreme speed

Bryan Gaensler takes a whirlwind tour of the fastest objects in the universe.


THIS WEEK'S BLOGS


christmas beetle

Where have all the Christmas beetles gone?

It's that time of year when retailers bemoan the fickle habits of consumers, people clean out their barbeques and Christmas beetles crash into windows and pile up around streetlights ... or do they?
opportunistic science

Opportunistic science

New intern, Renae, wonders if everyone can contribute to science with the power of observation.
Science work experience

Journey to COSMOS

Our youngest ever intern Natacha reflects on how a little work experience can open your mind to job opportunities.


THIS WEEK'S PROFILES


Medical physicist Paul Keall

Hitting a moving target

Medical physicist Paul Keall has spent much of his career using medical imaging to chase tumours and improve the accuracy of radiation therapy.
Michael Biercuk

Sweating the (very) small stuff

The forces that interest experimental physicist Michael Biercuk are about a septillion times smaller than the weight of a feather.


CURRENT ISSUE IN STORE NOW!

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.

Poll

What do you think was the biggest science news story of 2011?
First 'habitable' exoplanet confirmed
33%
Did particles break the speed of light?
49%
Physicists catch a glimpse of Higgs boson
18%

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