Biology / Evolution

Review: Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony by Kevin N. Layland

A version of this review appeared in Issue 75 of Cosmos Magazine, July 2017  The runaway evolution that drove human brilliance Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind by KEVIN N. LALAND Princeton University Press (2017) Evolutionary biologists are often loath to admit the vast gap that exists between our own brilliance and … Continue reading

The next generation of weapons against antibiotic-resistant superbugs
Biology / Evolution / Medicine

The next generation of weapons against antibiotic-resistant superbugs

From Cosmos Magazine, June 30, 2017 (Image: naturalismus via Flickr)  At his North Adelaide practice, Peter-John Wormald has the unenviable job of unblocking the noses of people with chronic sinusitis. Many of his patients have spent years on antibiotics that have failed to budge their infection, providing the perfect breeding ground for resistant superbugs. For … Continue reading

Biased for Benefit: Stimulating the world’s most popular drug targets with more nuance
Biology

Biased for Benefit: Stimulating the world’s most popular drug targets with more nuance

From Nature Medicine, June 2017 (Image: Nick Page via Flickr) In September 2012, a small biotech startup named Trevena unveiled preclinical trial results for its front-running compound, TRV027. The fledgling Philadelphia-based company had been going strong since its founding five years earlier, raising $24 million from investors in 2008 and securing a position in BusinessWeek’s … Continue reading

Biofuels: could agave, hemp and saltbush be the fuels of the future?
Biology / Environment

Biofuels: could agave, hemp and saltbush be the fuels of the future?

From The Guardian, May 10, 2017 (Image: Sergio Niebla via Flickr) Biofuels have long been touted as a carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuels, doing for the world’s planes, ships and automobiles what windfarms and solar panels are doing for its electricity grids. With the transport sector accounting for almost one fifth of Australia’s total carbon … Continue reading

Cool roofs: beating the midday sun with a slap of white paint
Environment / Technology

Cool roofs: beating the midday sun with a slap of white paint

From the Guardian, April 14, 2017 (Image: Alberto d’Argenio via Flickr) There’s no shortage of measures that homeowners and businesses can take to lessen their environmental footprint – from better insulation and double glazing, to easing up on air-con usage and swapping in LED lights. One part of the house that seems to be attracting … Continue reading

Salt, silicon or graphite: energy storage goes beyond lithium ion batteries
Climate / Technology

Salt, silicon or graphite: energy storage goes beyond lithium ion batteries

From The Guardian, April 6, 2017 (Image: Solar thermal plant in Spain, Beyond Zero Emissions via Flickr) Between the political bickering following a spate of blackouts in South Australia and the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeting that he had a fix, and then the South Australian government announcing that it will build a grid-connected battery … Continue reading