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Spot the rice Activity

by Pat, 8 July 2014 | 0 comments

Safety: Donate this rice to maths. Don’t eat the black grains. You will need 1 kg rice Large jar, big enough to hold all the rice Electronic scales Plastic container Marker Calculator Calculate the mass of a grain of rice Weigh out exactly 10 g of rice. Count the number of grains of rice you…

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Best of 2013

by Pat, 20 December 2013 | 0 comments

It’s been another busy year in science. As 2013 draws to a close, let’s have a look at some of the science highlights. The year was off to a sizzling start, with a heatwave breaking records in a number of places around Australia in January. The extreme heat was also a factor in triggering bushfires….

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Bacteria spiked by black silicon

by Pat, 13 December 2013 | 0 comments

Recently in Science by Email we explained how some microbes keep us healthy. Unfortunately, not all microorganisms are helpful, and some cause illness. Recent discoveries could help keep nasties at bay. A number of diseases are caused by bacteria. They range in severity from mild, irritating infections or a bit of diarrhoea, to life-threatening illnesses…

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The science of sharks

by Pat, 6 December 2013 | 1 comments

Following a fatal attack off New South Wales, sharks are once again in the spotlight. As tragic as these events are, shark attacks are so rare, scientists aren’t sure why humans are bitten at all. Sharks are found in oceans all around the world – some live near the coast, others in deeper water. Some…

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The friends you may not know you had

by Pat, 29 November 2013 | 0 comments

Coral reefs, rainforests, wetlands – these are just a few examples of ecosystems. But you don’t have to go travelling far and wide to find them. You have your own personal ecosystem that goes wherever you go: your microbiome. Your microbiome consists of a range of microbes that live in your body. Most of the…

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Super storms

by Pat, 22 November 2013 | 0 comments

A massive storm called Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines earlier this month. One of the largest storms ever observed, it has caused widespread destruction in the island nation. Typhoons, cyclones and hurricanes are all different names for the same thing: a particularly violent type of tropical storm. Which name it is given depends on where…

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Scorched earth not so barren

by Pat, 15 November 2013 | 0 comments

With dry conditions and high temperatures, the risk of bushfires increases over the Australian summer. But while the destructive nature of fire cannot be denied, fire still plays an important role in some ecosystems. Evidence of bushfires burning thousands of years before the arrival of Australia’s Indigenous people can be found in the form of…

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Aurora origins

by Pat, 8 November 2013 | 0 comments

On a dark night, far from the Equator, you might be lucky enough to spot an aurora: a shimmering, colourful glow in the sky. This natural light show has captivated people for thousands of years. While it is mostly associated with cold, dark nights near the poles, auroras have a much brighter, warmer origin: the…

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The need for sleep

by Pat, 1 November 2013 | 0 comments

You’ve been up since early morning, had a long day at school and it’s late in the day. Your eyes are tired, it’s hard to concentrate and you’re trying not to yawn. It sounds like you’re ready to sleep. Humans spend a lot of their lives unconscious. Young babies spend more time asleep than awake,…

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Megafauna Monday: Dromornis stirtoni

by Pat, 14 October 2013 | 2 comments

Welcome to Megafauna Monday, where we help you chase away the post-weekend blues by showcasing some of the mighty beasts that once roamed the planet. Today it’s about the biggest bird of them all! Fast facts Scientific name: Dromornis stirtoni Lived: about 15 million years ago. Fossils of these big birds have only been found…

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