Science, Technology and Innovation

The ethics of medical practice in offshore detention facilities

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As the standoff between hundreds of asylum seekers in the Manus Island detention facility and PNG authorities continues, we are witnessing a potential crisis of health and mental health among these detainees. Louise Newman The Conversation As a psychiatrist, I have had direct contact with current Manus detainees who are experiencing increasing anxiety and distress and an uncertain future. Some of these people are treated with medication, usually antidepressants, and some feel that this provides them with some symptomatic relief. ... Read More »

Doctors join forces for euthanasia

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A group of WA doctors have banded together to push for assisted dying laws in the State, arguing one of the country’s peak medical group is out of touch. Cathy O’Leary The West Australian The newly formed WA arm of Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice has made a submission to the State’s parliamentary inquiry into end-of-life choices, which closed for submissions this week. The doctors include GP Alida Lancee, who was at the centre of a police investigation last year ... Read More »

Climate change might be worse than thought after scientists find major mistake in water temperature readings

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The sea was much colder than previously thought, the study suggests, indicating that climate change is advancing at an unprecedented rate Andrew Griffin The Independent Global warming might be far worse than we thought, according to a new study. The research challenges the ways that researchers have worked out sea temperatures until now, meaning that they may be increasing quicker than previously suggested. The methodology widely used to understand sea temperatures in the scientific community may be based on a ... Read More »

Assisted dying is one thing, but governments must ensure palliative care is available to all who need it

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Assisted dying moved one step closer to reality in Victoria last week with the authorising bill passing the lower house with a comfortable 47-37 majority Stephen Duckett Throughout the debate, many MPs spoke of terrible personal experiences of the deaths of family members. The Conversation Such harrowing stories were also present in submissions to the parliamentary inquiry into end-of-life choices, that recommended an assisted dying regime leading to the… These terrible deaths were most often used to argue in favour ... Read More »

Prehistoric teeth fossils dating back 9.7 million years ‘could rewrite human history’

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‘This is a tremendous stroke of luck, but also a great mystery’ Paleontologists in Germany have discovered 9.7 million-year-old fossilised teeth that a German politician has hailed as potentially “rewriting” human history. Tom Embury-Dennis  The Independent  The dental remains were found by scientists sifting through gravel and sand in a former bed of the Rhine river near the town of Eppelsheim. They resemble those belonging to “Lucy”, a 3.2 million-year-old skeleton of an extinct primate related to humans and found ... Read More »

Deep-Sea Mining Requires Transparent Environmental Management

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For three years researchers from eleven countries have been working intensively on these questions on the consequences on deepsea mining on ecosystems and environmental aspects in the project “MiningImpact” coordinated by the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel… Hydro International This week, they discuss their findings at the project`s final meeting at the Natural History Museum London, UK. They also presented recommendations for the protection of the marine environment. In the 19th century, some researchers believed that below water ... Read More »

As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. We must return the Parthenon marbles

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Now Amal Clooney has reignited the debate over the Parthenon’s crowning glory, it’s time we rectified a historic wrong. Reunite these ancient sculptures with their home Helena Smith The Guardian As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=””/> Almost every day I take a walk around the Acropolis. “Around” is the operative word, because the Greeks have gone to great lengths to unite their Athenian antiquities with a pedestrian path. At the centre of this ... Read More »

Capitalism is ending because it has made itself obsolete, former Greek finance minister Yannis Varoufakis says

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Exclusive: Former economics professor says rise of artificial intelligence will spell end of neoliberal system Tom Embury-Dennis The Independent  Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed capitalism is coming to an end because it is making itself obsolete. The former economics professor told an audience at University College London that the rise of giant technology corporations and artificial intelligence will cause the current economic system to undermine itself. Mr Varoufakis, who took on EU institutions over Greek debt repayments in 2015, said companies ... Read More »

‘It’s able to create knowledge itself’: Google unveils AI that learns on its own

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<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=””/> In a major breakthrough for artificial intelligence, AlphaGo Zero took just three days to master the ancient Chinese board game of Go … with no human help Ian Sample The Guardian Google’s artificial intelligence group, DeepMind, has unveiled the latest incarnation of its Go-playing program, AlphaGo – an AI so powerful that it derived thousands of years of human knowledge of the game before inventing better moves of its own, all in the space of three ... Read More »

NIST urges caution in use of courtroom evidence presentation method

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Courtroom use of ‘Likelihood Ratio’ not consistently supported by scientific reasoning approach, say NIST experts EurekAlert! Two experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are calling into question a method of presenting evidence in courtrooms, arguing that it risks allowing personal preference to creep into expert testimony and potentially distorts evidence for a jury. The method involves the use of Likelihood Ratio (LR), a statistical tool that gives experts a shorthand way to communicate their assessment of ... Read More »

UK scientists told: in no-deal Brexit scenario they will have to leave EU research projects

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The Commission has for the first time made clear the position of UK grantees after Brexit, in a sign the EU is laying the ground for the UK to leave without a deal Éanna Kelly Science|Business  The EU Commission has for the first time laid out how it will handle its scientific relationships with the UK after the country leaves in 2019, in a sign that Brussels has begun thinking about emergency steps should Brexit negotiations fail. In a notice ... Read More »

Mr. Trump Nails Shut the Coffin on Climate Relief

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The Trump administration formally proposed on Tuesday to roll back yet another of President Barack Obama’s efforts to position the United States as a global leader in the fight against climate change The Editorial Board The New York Times  The move, though widely anticipated, was deeply disheartening. In March Mr. Trump ordered Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which was aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Mr. ... Read More »

Old sites, new visions: art and archaeology collide in Cyprus

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Over the past two decades Australian archaeologists have been slowly uncovering the World Heritage-listed ancient theatre site at Paphos in Cyprus. Craig Barker  Diana Wood Conroy The Conversation The Hellenistic-Roman period theatre was used for performance for over six centuries from around 300 BC to the late fourth century AD. There is also considerable evidence of activity on the site after the theatre was destroyed, particularly during the Crusader era. The excavation of the site, and of the architectural remains ... Read More »

Let’s face it, we’ll be no safer with a national facial recognition database

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A commitment to share the biometric data of most Australians – including your driving licence photo – agreed at Thursday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will result in a further erosion of our privacy. That sharing is not necessary. It will be costly. Bruce Baer Arnold The Conversation But will it save us from terrorism? Not all, although it will give people a false sense of comfort. Importantly, it will allow politicians and officials to show that they are ... Read More »

Here’s why you may not be able to bypass paywalls through web search anymore

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The era of using a Google search to bypass a news website’s paywall may be coming to an end Google has announced that subscription news websites will no longer have to provide users three free articles per day under its ‘Google first click free… ABC The move has been welcomed by media giants such as News Corp, which have paywalls in place and have long complained that the policy essentially forced them to give their content away for free if ... Read More »

Diesel cars help drive Australia’s energy emissions to highest level, report shows

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Exclusive Australia’s love affair with diesel cars has helped push the nation’s energy emissions to a record high, new analysis shows, in a warning that road transport rivals electricity as the most pressing energy challenge facing the… Nicole Hasham The Age Respected energy analyst Hugh Saddler compiled the disturbing report on behalf of progressive think tank The Australia… Dr Saddler said the failure of successive governments to invest in efficient transport infrastructure, such as rail, has allowed transport fuel emissions to keep rising – ... Read More »