Better emergency responses by removing social bots

Image credit: Mehwish Nasim

Filtering out social bots can help critical response teams see what’s happening in real time

Mehwish Nasim, University of Adelaide

Researchers have created an algorithm that distinguishes between misinformation and genuine conversations on Twitter, by detecting messages churned out by social bots.

Dr Mehwish Nasim and colleagues at the School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Adelaide say the algorithm will make it easier for emergency services to detect major events such as civil unrest, natural disasters, and influenza epidemics in real time.

“When something really big is going on, people tweet a huge amount of useful information,” says Mehwish.

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Researchers use sound to deliver drugs

Soundwaves. Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.

Researchers use sound to deliver drugs

A technique adapted from telecommunications promises more effective cancer treatments.

Dr Shwathy Ramesan from RMIT

Drugs can be delivered into individual cells by using soundwaves, Melbourne researchers have discovered.

Adapting a technique used in the telecommunications industry for decades, Dr Shwathy Ramesan from RMIT, and colleagues, used the mechanical force of sound to push against cell walls and deliver drugs more effectively than treatments currently in use.

The new technique aids in silencing genes responsible for some diseases, including cancer, by switching them on or off.

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Faecal pellets and food remains reveal what ghost bats eat in the Pilbara

Captive ghost bats at Perth Zoo. Photo credit: Perth Zoo.

Alba Arteaga Claramunt, University of Western Australia.
Photos of 2019 Science in Public Event at the Brisbane Hotel in Perth. Photos Ross Swanborough.

UWA, Curtin university and Perth zoo researchers have discovered that Australian endangered ghost bats in the Pilbara (WA) eat over 46 different species.

Its diet is very diverse ranging from small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Researchers used a new approach by combining two methodologies: DNA analysis of faecal pellets and classification of dried food remains.

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Redrawing the lines of our marine parks for sharks

Charlotte Birkmanis, University of Western Australia.
Photos of 2019 Science in Public Event at the Brisbane Hotel in Perth. Photos Credit – Ross Swanborough.

Small changes to marine parks could make a big difference to mako sharks and many other ocean shark species, says UWA researcher Charlotte Birkmanis, lead author of a paper published in Global Ecology and Conservation today. 

Sharks are the peak predators across the world’s oceans. They’re essential to the health of the oceans, and of the fisheries that billions of people depend on.

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Mapping our galaxy’s magnetic field

Dr Charlotte Sobey, CSIRO and Curtin University

Astronomers from CSIRO and Curtin University have used pulsars to probe the Milky Way’s magnetic field. Working with colleagues in Europe, Canada, and South Africa, they have published the most precise catalogue of measurements towards mapping our Galaxy’s magnetic field in 3-D.

The Milky Way’s magnetic field is thousands of times weaker than Earth’s, but is of great significance for tracing the paths of cosmic rays, star formation, and many other astrophysical processes. However, our knowledge of the Milky Way’s 3-D structure is limited.

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TB could be conquered by common painkillers, research reveals

Image credit – Azul. (Zebrafish)

Zebrafish model suggests aspirin slows bacterial growth.

Dr Elinor Hortle, Centenary Institute in Sydney

Aspirin could be used to treat the world’s deadliest infectious disease, according to new research conducted by Dr Elinor Hortle at the Centenary Institute in Sydney.

Tuberculosis – which affects a third of the global population – currently kills two million people every year. The spread of multi-drug resistant strains mean antibiotics are becoming less effective.

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Questions and humour the keys to social media success

Researcher finds linguistic tricks that boost Facebook post engagement

Matteo Farina, University of Adelaide and Flinders University

Some Facebook posts are more successful than others and linguist Matteo Farina has worked out why.

By applying a technique known as “Conversation Analysis” to a set of more than 1,200 posts culled from 266 anonymised users, the University of Adelaide and Flinders University academic has been able to identify specific linguistic structures common to most Facebook posts that attract a high number of Likes and written responses.

“This research shows that successful posts project a clear next action from Friends,” he says.

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Bird conservation is literally on the radar

Decades of meteorological data are telling the story of Australia’s birds.

Rebecca Rogers from Charles Darwin University

Weather radar can be used to better manage bird populations and potentially save them from extinction, a researcher at Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory has found.

Rebecca Rogers has been using weather radar to track the movement patterns of Magpie geese (Anseranas semipalmata) to demonstrate how the data generated can improve the management of Australia’s waterbirds.

The radars routinely pick up birds in flight, but while the information is a nuisance for meteorologists, it is a boon to ecologists.

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Do you know exactly where you are?

Kan Wang from Curtin University. Image credit: Ross Swanborough

We all rely on GPS to tell us where we are and where we’re going. The US government’s global network of 30+ satellites guides planes, ships, cars, tractors and much more. The latest GPS systems can provide mm- to cm-accuracy using advanced equipment and technique.

But GPS isn’t the only game in town. There are other global systems, and regional systems that we can tap into.

Curtin University researchers have explored the potential of regional navigation satellite systems (RNSSs) for Western Australian users. Two such systems are the QZSS operated by Japan and the IRNSS operated by India.

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Poo kit in post best approach for now

Dayna Cenin – University of Western Australia. Photo credit: Ross Swanborough

Australia’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is still the best way to reduce incidence and mortality for bowel cancer, according to research published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, by University of Western Australia researcher Dayna Cenin.

She predicts that personal genomics will enable more targeted screening over the coming decades, but not yet.

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