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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Spin doctors: Astrophysicists find when galaxies rotate, size matters

Sky survey provides clues to how they change over time.

A simulation showing a section of the Universe at its broadest scale. A web of cosmic filaments forms a lattice of matter, enclosing vast voids. Credit: Tiamat simulation, Greg Poole

The direction in which a galaxy spins depends on its mass, researchers have found.

A team of astrophysicists analysed 1418 galaxies and found that small ones are likely to spin on a different axis to large ones. The rotation was measured in relation to each galaxy’s closest “cosmic filament” – the largest structures in the universe.

Filaments are massive thread-like formations, comprising huge amounts of matter – including galaxies, gas and, modelling implies, dark matter. They can be 500 million light years long but just 20 million light years wide. At their largest scale, the filaments divide the universe into a vast gravitationally linked lattice interspersed with enormous dark matter voids.

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Underwater grandmothers reveal big population of lethal sea snakes

A novel citizen science project in New Caledonia finds an ‘astonishing’ number of venomous reptiles in a popular swimming spot.

Fantastic grandmother Monique Mazière photographing sea snake number 79, nicknamed Déborah. Credit: Claire Goiran/UNC

A group of snorkelling grandmothers is helping scientists better understand marine ecology by photographing venomous sea snakes in waters off the city of Noumea, New Caledonia.

Two years ago the seven women, all in their 60s and 70s, who call themselves “the fantastic grandmothers”, offered to help scientists Dr Claire Goiran from the University of New Caledonia and Professor Rick Shine from Australia’s Macquarie University in their quest to document the sea snake population in a popular swimming spot known as Baie des citrons.

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Lonesome no more: white sharks hang with buddies

Apex marine predators choose who they hang with, researchers reveal.

A white shark (Carcharodon Carcharias). Credit: Wikimedia Commons

White sharks form communities, researchers have revealed.

Although normally solitary predators, white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) gather in large numbers at certain times of year in order to feast on baby seals.

These groupings, scientists had assumed, were essentially random – the result of individual sharks all happening to turn up in the same area, attracted by abundant food.

Now, however, a group of researchers including behavioural ecologist Stephan Leu from Macquarie University in New South Wales, Australia, have used photo-identification and network analysis to show that many of the apex predators hang out in groups which persist for years.

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Not long ago, the centre of the Milky Way exploded

Researchers find evidence of a cataclysmic flare that punched so far out of the Galaxy its impact was felt 200,000 light years away.

An artist’s impression of the massive bursts of ionising radiation exploding from the centre of the Milky Way and impacting the Magellanic Stream.
Credit: James Josephides/ASTRO 3D

A titanic, expanding beam of energy sprang from close to the supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milky Way just 3.5 million years ago, sending a cone-shaped burst of radiation through both poles of the Galaxy and out into deep space.

That’s the finding arising from research conducted by a team of scientists led by Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D) and soon to be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

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