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✦ ✦ Unlabelled ✦ The science of January 26

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26 Jan 2012
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We've got two copies of PUSH, a science fiction film that blends elements of X-Men, The Matrix and Momento to give away! For your chance to win, send your answer to the question below to Our favourite, most creative answers will win.

Question: If you could have one super-power, what would it be, and why?

And we're still running our animals-only Where in the COSMOS? competition, so send a photo of an animal reading an issue of COSMOS magazine to 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!

And congratulations to Peter Schiff and Guy Victor Courreges - you've each won a copy of Elizabeth Blackburn and the Story of Telomeres from last week's competition!


The poll split you again this week with 34% of you saying 'yes' to the question of energy drinks being treated like non-prescription drugs and 34% of you saying 'no'. Thirty-two percent of you would prefer an alternative measure to be taken to ensure the safe consumption of the high-caffeine beverage. View the full results and add your comments

NEW POLL: Are you worried about solar storms? Have your say.


magic mushroom brain

Magic mushroom trip mapped in the brain

The effects of hallucinogenic drugs as they pass through the brain have been mapped for the first time, providing insight into the drug's effects on consciousness and mood.
levitating fruit flies

Levitating flies mimic weightlessness of space

The weightlessness of space has been reproduced in insects using high-powered magnets.
archaeopteryx feathers

Archaeopteryx feather colour and structure revealed

Archaeopteryx, a 150 million-year-old raven-sized dinosaur, had black feathers on its wings that were structurally identical to those of modern birds, researchers have reported.
Narcissistic males health problems

Narcissism has a higher health cost for men

Narcissistic males are more likely to experience long-term health problems than females with the same personality trait, new research suggests.
biggest solar storm

Biggest solar storm since 2005 pummels Earth

A potent solar flare has unleashed the biggest radiation storm since 2005 and could disrupt some satellite communications in the polar regions.
Australian rainforest dragon

'Earliest known lizard' actually a modern species

What was widely thought to be the oldest known lizard turns out to be a species of modern lizard related to the Australian dragon lizard.

Do you think you could convince Australia’s Chief Scientist that you’re right?
TechNyou Science Education Resource is giving you the chance to do just that. Bring the latest in scientific development to your classroom and challenge yourself and your students to make a 3-5 minute video to win one of 3 WIFI iPad2. For more information on the Science Education Resource and competition, go to


annular solar eclipse

The science of January 26

~ Becky Crew

Yes, January 26 is Australia Day, but for those of you who are looking for something a little more scientific to celebrate today, here are a few things I managed to dig up:

• Today marks the 1,946th anniversary of the 5th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet. Derived form the Greek words 'peri' (meaning 'near') and 'helios' (meaning 'sun'), the perihelion is the point in an orbit of a planet, asteroid or comet at which it is the nearest to the Sun. 

Observed by astronomers since at least 240 BCE, this plucky little comet makes its way in and out of the inner Solar System every 75 to 76 years, and in 1986 became the first comet to be observed in detail by spacecraft. Oh but don't load some new batteries in your camera just yet - the next perihelion is predicted to occur on 28 July 2061.



blue carbon

The blue carbon strategy

Mangrove forests, seagrass beds and salt marshes possess a huge carbon storage capacity, which scientists say can be used to mitigate climate change. Known as blue carbon, this resource could one day be quantified and sold on international carbon trading markets.
Square Kilometre Array

Inside the Square Kilometre Array

In February 2012, the location of one of the world's greatest science facilities is expected to be revealed. Until then, it's anyone's guess as to whether the Australian/NZ or Southern African consortium will win the bid to host the A$2.5 billion radio telescope.
diamond planet

Two sides of the same coin

From astrophysics to genetics, all published scientific research is subject to rigorous challenge by other scientists, scrutinised for errors and the evidence tested. So why are some disciplines treated differently, asks Matthew Bailes.



Tiny turtles face a big new threat

Endangered turtles have made friends with poachers in Brazil, but the country’s booming economy is bringing a new enemy to the beach.
henderson petrels

Shock and gnaw to save Henderson wildlife

The elimination of invasive rats on a Pacific Island looks set to offer the island's threatened wildlife a reprieve.
annular solar eclipse

The science of January 26

From sexy spiders to rare solar eclipses, January 26 is not just about Australia Day.



The most valuable resource

It's Carla Eisemberg's job to help the villagers in Papua New Guinea protect the country's endangered pig-nosed turtle and plan for the future.


The lust for blood

The Lust For Blood

Why are we fascinated by death, murder and horror? Curious psychologist and counselling professor Jeffrey A. Kottler delves into why everyday people are so attracted to violence.
Making Girls and Boys: Inside the Science of Sex

Making Girls and Boys: Inside the Science of Sex

Jane McCredie's book questions why we restrict gender to only male or female and sensitively describes the ramifications for people who can't be so easily labelled.


SOLAR APOCALYPSE A mystery illustration made by an 18th-century astronomer has revealed the most massive flare from the Sun ever recorded. When next one erupts – as scientists are now certain one will – the flare will wreak global chaos and likely bring our modern interconnected civilisation to a standstill. Read about superflares from the Sun, plus, a revolutionary technique that reveals your brain in a new light and could combat behaviours from addiction to depression. Find out also why the top athletes win, and if we are facing a Gattaca-style world of predictive genetics that could typecast us from birth. Pre-order your copy now! Read the digital edition immediately, or have a print edition sent to you.


Do you think energy drinks should be treated like non-prescription drugs?
Yes, the associated health risks are too great
No, consumers just need to be more responsible
Maybe not this, but some alternative measure should be taken

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