August 31, 2014

12:15 AM | Weekly Science Picks
New Sunday, new editor’s selections stories. Well, let us see what would be the most promising and exciting news of this week. This weekly presentation covers many different areas from Australia’s biodiversity, over the idea of artificial human blood, until […]test The post Weekly Science Picks appeared first on Australian Science.

August 30, 2014

1:45 PM | Weekend reads: DIY peer review, wildly exaggerated breakthroughs, and how to commit fraud without being caught
Another busy week at Retraction Watch. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: “…as I am the first author of this manuscript…it would probably be better if someone else performed the review.” Keon West on “the strangest e-mail I’ve had to send in a while.” Of course, he could have just done his own peer review. “…most […]
4:19 AM | Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-made World
By Mark Miodownik Synopsis: Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? How come concrete pours? Why does a paperclip bend? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? From the towering skyscrapers […]
12:15 AM | The Best of Australian Science: August 2014
It’s the end of August, 2014 and it our time to review the top headlights for this month. This would be our selection for the previous period. From the caves to the classroom From classrooms around the country, students will […]test The post The Best of Australian Science: August 2014 appeared first on Australian Science.

August 29, 2014

3:29 PM | Australian university to repay $275K grant because of “misleading and incorrect” information
Courtesy of The Australian, we have an update on a story we first covered in late 2012. As we reported then: A contested retraction in Stem Cells and Development has left the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) graduate student who fought for it in limbo, uncertain if he will earn his PhD. And many of […]
1:30 PM | Second retraction appears for former University of Florida ob-gyn subject to ORI probe
Nasser Chegini, an ob-gyn formerly on the faculty at the University of Florida who has been the subject of an Office of Research Integrity (ORI) inquiry for several years, has a second retraction. Chegini is suspected of having used bogus data in some of his work — research backed in part by some $4 million […]
9:35 AM | Interview: Simon Phipps, a computer scientist and open source advocate
One could call Simon Phipps a real eclectic geek, having in mind his background and activism globally: from campaigning for digital liberties, open data, open source software and political transparency, through his columns at InfoWorld to presidenting at the Open […]test The post Interview: Simon Phipps, a computer scientist and open source advocate appeared first on Australian Science.
4:00 AM | Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics
By Ruth Lewin Sime Synopsis: Lise Meitner (1878-1968) was a pioneer of nuclear physics and co-discoverer, with Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, of nuclear fission. Braving the sexism of the scientific world, she joined the prestigious […]
1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Richard Robinson
Special thanks to Steve Jenkins for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – My Manager and Other Animals Richard is best known for building and voicing puppets for various television series such as Spitting […]
12:15 AM | Robots to ResQu rainforests from purple plague
Australia’s rare and precious rainforests, like the iconic Daintree, could have an unexpected aerial ally in the battle against weeds – autonomous helicopters. Two Project ResQu helicopters developed by CSIRO completed trial flights near Cairns, locating weeds like the dreaded […]test The post Robots to ResQu rainforests from purple plague appeared first on Australian Science.
12:00 AM | #flashbackfriday Science Book a Day Interviews Tim Birkhead
This week’s #flashbackfriday is from January 6, 2014. It is an interview that we did with Tim Birkhead, who answered 5 questions about his featured book – Bird Sense: What It’s Like to Be a Bird. Make sure you check […]

August 28, 2014

8:10 PM | Know your methods
In the September 2014 issue of Nature Methods, authors at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology argue in a Commentary that a productive way to frame the discussion about the reproducibility of biological results is to focus on how best to make good measurements. In other words, increasing the confidence in measurements is likely to also increase the reproducibility of the results of those measurements. Notably, in complex biological systems, making good measurements is not […]
3:30 PM | Déjà vu: Double pub in the same issue earns a retraction
Always do a careful reading of your galleys, editors. We imagine readers of Biomedical Chromatography’s special issue, “Reminiscences of Chang Kee Lim,” did some flipping back and forth when they found the same paper published twice. Here’s the resulting notice for “Determination of 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal in serum by high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection after pre-column derivatization using […]
1:30 PM | Cancer researcher has correction upgraded to retraction
Rakesh Kumar, a researcher with six recent corrections and one retraction, has had one of those corrections upgraded to a retraction. Here’s the unhelpful notice, from Molecular Endocrinology: The August 2007 Molecular Endocrinology article by by Gururaj et al, “Estrogen Induces Expression of BCAS3, A Novel Estrogen Receptor-alpha Coactivator, through Proline-, Glutamic Acid-, and Leucine-Rich […]
4:00 AM | How Many Jelly Beans?
By Andrea Menotti  (Author), Yancey Labat (Illustrator) Synopsis: How many jelly beans are enough? How many are too many? Aiden and Emma can’t decide. Is 10 enough? How about 1,000? That’s a lot of jelly beans. But eaten over a […]
12:15 AM | Everyday Economics: A New Course by Marginal Revolution University Where Students Create the Syllabus
In 2012, Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, two econ professors at George Mason University, launched Marginal Revolution University (otherwise known as MRUniversity) which delivers free, interactive courses in the economics space. During its early days, MRUniversity created courses on The […]test The post Everyday Economics: A New Course by Marginal Revolution University Where Students Create the Syllabus appeared first on Australian Science.

August 27, 2014

6:53 PM | Journal takes down autism-vaccine paper pending investigation
An article purporting to find that black children are at substantially increased risk for autism after early exposure to the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine has been shelved. Although we don’t know if the events are related, the move comes amid claims that a CDC whistleblower has accused health officials of suppressing information about the link. Not surprisingly, […]
3:30 PM | This retraction has teeth: Journal changes publication policy after discovering misconduct
The Indian Society of Periodontology has changed their editorial policy as the result of an author who had “neither taken adequate permission from nor given due acknowledgement to all authors concerned.” Now, any authors will be required to sign a contract acknowledging accountability for the content of the submitted paper, as well as be able […]
2:11 PM | A Response to the NY Times: "Choking the Oceans with Plastic"
The New York Times had an editorial on Monday by Captain Charles S. Moore, a long-time, outspoken advocate for raising awareness of plastic pollution in the ocean gyres. The editorial tells of the plastic pollution that he observed during his latest trip in the Pacific. While I do not doubt the veracity of his anecdotes, Moore uses a small subset of his observations to portray a wholly inaccurate image of what the pollution is like in the gyres in the Pacific and other oceans.Throughout the […]
1:30 PM | Language of a liar named Stapel: Can word choice be used to identify scientific fraud?
A pair of Cornell researchers have analyzed the works of fraudster Diederik Stapel and found linguistic tics that stand out in his fabricated articles. David Markowitz and Jeffrey Hancock looked at 49 of the Dutch social psychologist’s papers — 24 of which included falsified data. (Stapel has lost 54 papers so far.) According to the […]
4:00 AM | Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries
By Sharon Bertsch McGrayne Synopsis: Since 1901 there have been over three hundred recipients of the Nobel Prize in the sciences. Only ten of them — about 3 percent — have been women. Why? In this updated […]
1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Steve Jenkins
Special thanks to Steve Jenkins for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest–and Most Surprising–Animals on Earth My interest in science led […]
12:15 AM | Water and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuel
An ANU team has successfully replicated one of the crucial steps in photosynthesis, opening the way for biological systems powered by sunlight which could manufacture hydrogen as a fuel. “Water is abundant and so is sunlight. It is an exciting […]test The post Water and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuel appeared first on Australian Science.

August 26, 2014

3:30 PM | “Our jaws hit the floor!!” Researchers say authors doctored images for rebuttal letter
Try to follow along on this one. We think it’s worth it. The authors of a letter replying to a comment in a urology journal have retracted their response because it contained inappropriate figures. At least, that’s the official story. The original paper, “Effect of a Risk-stratified Grade of Nerve-sparing Technique on Early Return of […]
3:18 PM | The Ebola outbreak would be so much worse without plastics
There are a lot of dangerous jobs in the Ebola hot zone right now, but the possible worse job would be that of handling the bodies of those that have just died. Despite the general recommendation to avoid touching people with the disease, these bodies do need to be handled in order to dispose of them without furthering the spread of the disease. And the only safe way to do that is by using plastics and polymeric materials to encase the corpse and protect the workers. A recent Buzzfeed article […]
1:30 PM | Incomplete reference helps editor find duplicate paper — and retract article
Pro-tip: If you’re going to try to publish your work twice, don’t give editors a reason to go searching the internet for your previous work. Here’s case in point, a retraction notice from the Botswana Journal of Agriculture & Applied Sciences: Below is the letter written to the author(s) of the article “Mabe, R. Capacity […]
4:00 AM | The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts
By Sarah Dry Synopsis: When Isaac Newton died in 1727 without a will, he left behind a wealth of papers that, when examined, gave his followers and his family a deep sense of unease. Some of […]
1:41 AM | A Hangout with Google Science Fair in Swaziland
You know what’s awesome? Seeing a bunch of young people at work on changing the world to make it a better place for all. Today, I hosted a Google Science Fair Hangout On Air on Sustainability... -- Read more on
12:15 AM | How Rockets Really Work
The chemistry of ridable explosions. In recounting the riveting experience of what it’s like to launch on a Space Shuttle, pioneering astronaut Sally Ride vividly recalled how “the shuttle leaps off the launch pad in a cloud of steam and […]test The post How Rockets Really Work appeared first on Australian Science.

August 25, 2014

6:21 PM | “I am not a monster and I am not unreasonable:” Student attacks professor with axe after grant is cut
A physics graduate student at the University of Coimbra in Portugal attacked a professor with an axe earlier this month after losing a grant. The student, Colin Paul Gloster, attacked physics lecturer Maria Filomena Santos, who according to the Irish Mirror will “require reconstructive surgery as the axe cut very close to the tendons.” Speaking of […]
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