The human body incorporates multiple fail-safe mechanisms to protect it against the “friendly fire” from its immune system known as autoimmune disease, Charis Teh and colleagues at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) at the Australian National University have found.

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By travelling backwards it’s pushing knowledge forwards
All planets move around their stars in the same direction as the star spins—at least that’s what we thought.

But now Australian National University astronomer Dr Daniel Bayliss and his colleagues have found that some planets break the mould. [click to continue…]

Bore hole through ice. Credit: Mike Craven Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)Researchers at Geoscience Australia have unravelled the development of a unique seafloor community thriving in complete darkness below the giant ice sheets of Antarctica.

The community beneath the Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica is 100 km from open water and hidden from view by ice half a kilometre thick. This ecosystem has developed very slowly over the past 9000 years, since the end of the last glaciation.

Today it is home to animals such as sponges and bryozoans fed by plankton carried in on the current. [click to continue…]

Smarter air traffic control could save 500 kg of fuel and reduce airport noise by 35% for a typical Boeing 747 flight between Sydney and Melbourne according to a team of Canberra-based researchers. [click to continue…]

The first practical atom laser is a step closer today thanks to Australian researchers. [click to continue…]

Electrical communication in the brain works not only like a digital computer, but also like analogue tape. How this occurs has been unravelled by researchers at The Australian National University’s John Curtin School of Medical Research.

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Certain small reef fish use wing-like fins to ‘fly’ underwater, allowing them to cruise at speeds equivalent to tuna, a team of Australian and US researchers has found. The design of the fins has drawn the attention of underwater submersible designers and the US Office of Naval Research.   

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Researchers have shown how mutations in a key gene cause a rare but devastating inherited autoimmune disease – APS-1. They’ve revealed fundamental workings of our immune system – and how our bodies teach our defence systems not to engage in friendly fire. [click to continue…]

Smoke from fires raging through tropical forests near coastal reefs can cause an algal bloom capable of killing virtually all coral and fish for hundreds of kilometres, according to new research by Australian National University scientists. [click to continue…]

Plants can listen in on bacterial communication and can even mimic this communication, possibly in an attempt to stop any attacks, according to a breakthrough in scientific understanding announced today in Melbourne. [click to continue…]

Fossil molecules from cells of bacteria and algae many millions of years old may hold the key to reading life signals from extra terrestrial sources, according to research conducted by AGSO – Geoscience Australia researcher, Dr Graham Logan.

Some molecules within living cells fossilise very well and can reveal evidence of past life, environments and geothermal processes.

Geologists have been studying such fossils in their quest to better understand the formation of major mineral deposits of lead, zinc and silver. Such an understanding will lead to better and more efficient exploration of new Australian mineral deposits.

Dr Logan studied the 1640 million-year old lead-zinc-silver deposit at McArthur River in the Northern Territory. [click to continue…]

With Ross River virus infecting an increasing number of Australians each year (5000-7000 cases), researchers have discovered how it tricks our body’s defences.

New research conducted by Dr Surendran Mahalingam and Dr Brett Lidbury firstly at the University of Canberra and now at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (Australian National University) has found that the Ross River virus has developed an ingenious strategy for avoiding the body’s natural immune system. [click to continue…]

Chris Wright has discovered enough water to fill our planet’s oceans a million times.

Unfortunately the water is in a stellar nursery in the Orion constellation about 1500 light years away.

Wright, an astronomer at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, has used an orbital telescope to explore regions of the universe/galaxy where stars are born. [click to continue…]

Black Holes are Pink

1 August 1999

in 1999

When black holes rip stars and gas clouds to pieces, the debris gets so hot that it shrouds the black hole with a brilliant blue-white light. Or so everyone thought, until we discovered pink quasars; black holes glowing with a pink light so intense that they are amongst the pinkest objects in the Universe. [click to continue…]

Australia’s rivers could not have supplied the sand on our beaches. Keith has shown that the sand probably originated in Antarctica over 550 million years ago.

Ever wondered where all the sand on Queensland beaches comes from? [click to continue…]

Soil development at snails’ pace: a pioneering study of soil formation in north Queensland shows that it takes 3000 years to form barely a millimetre of soil from the rocks beneath – too little, too long….. Too late! [click to continue…]