Sweet September

I haven’t been posting much lately because my non-science related work is concentrated in August and September. However, I thought I’d better show I’m alive so here’s a round-up of the highlights of September Australasian Science.

I haven’t had time to read most of the features yet, but there’s a big article (subcribers only) on all the latest news on the Square Kilometre Array. Final bids are now being lodged. The team making the bid are trying to keep a lid on their confidence. If we win it will do far more for the Australian economy than any steelmill, as well as advancing human knowledge to an enormous degree, but I doubt it will even make the front page of most of our newspapers, nor be seen as a break in the government’s run of troubles.

The cover story is on techniques to keep people suffering massive blood (also sub only) loss alive until they can be brought to hospital. Currently this is being applied to soldiers, but hopefully one day we’ll see it extended to car crash victims and other civilians.

I’ve got a feature in there as well, one I wrote months ago on Bryan Fry’s discoveries about lizard venom. (Yes sub only as well). In some ways Fry is what Steve Irwin pretended to be, and he’s thoroughly overturned the thinking on the evolution of reptile toxins. Some of the poisons he’s discovered show promise for treating high blood pressure. However, the main reason to read the article are the great photos of Fry with various enormous lizards.

Continuing on the charasmatic megafauna theme is the Cool Scientist, Rachel Lowry (this one’s for everyone. Rachel is director of Wildlife Conservation and Science at Zoos Victoria. She’s been the driving force between two of the most successful conservation campaigns in recent Australian history, and it all began by dressing up as Priscilla the Cains Birdwing Butterfly. Having spent two years as one of the Wilderness Society’s koalas it is great to see a fellow suitworker making good.

Normally I can’t follow how Guy decides which of the Browse articles to put on the website, but this time he’s picked the best. There’s a truly astonishing story of tool using fish – one that should force a rethink of our attitudes to intelligence in animals. We have proof that even if the universe is not green, the galaxy is, and the article on Mike Archer’s research on three tonne wombats. Not on the website is a so cute it will rot your teeth story on scientists playing matchmaker for mountain pygmy possums to preserve the highly endangered Mt Buller population.

About Stephen Luntz

I am a science journalist, specialising in Australian and New Zealand research across all fields of science. My book, Forensics, Fossils and Fruitbats: A Field Guide to Australian Scientists is out now through CSIRO Publishing. I am also a professional returning officer for non-government organisations. I'm very politically active, but generally try to restrict this blog to scientific matters.
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