Rufus Black is a man of many parts. The vice-chancellor of the University of Tasmania is an ordained minister in the Uniting Church, a lawyer and a philosopher. He overcame dyslexia to become a Rhodes scholar and study philosophy at Oxford.
Combustible tobacco could be relegated to the ashtray of history one day if health authorities in the US manage to push through unprecedented and highly controversial rules limiting nicotine in standard cigarettes. The US Food and Drug Administration appears committed to the idea of introducing a rule to set a maximum nicotine level for cigarettes, …read more
A spiritual leader’s criticism of a Griffith University academic in a parliamentary hearing was one of the few public skirmishes in a hard-fought battle behind the scenes, now set to culminate in an official misconduct hearing at the university next month.
A new battle in the world’s mosquito wars is being fought around Innisfail in far north Queensland, where an international research team released three million male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This species can transmit a range of potentially lethal diseases including dengue, yellow fever and Zika, which can cause birth defects.
How about saving the Great Barrier Reef with a one-molecule-thick layer of natural calcium carbonate that floats on the sea surface and reduces the damaging heat of the sun on corals? Maybe the answer is cloud-brightening — spraying microscopic droplets of seawater into the atmosphere to form clouds and provide more shade for the heat-battered …read more
Amateur anatomists, or perhaps anyone interested in all the odd dead ends of the human body, will like Nathan Lents’s Human Errors. Human anatomy, as the American biologist points out, is a clumsy jumble of adaptations, including some useful life-saving features such as the opposable thumb — without which we would be unable to hold a …read more
On Sandra Harding’s first day as vice-chancellor of James Cook University in far north Queensland she saw what looked like a tombstone of Eddie Mabo. The famous Torres Strait Islander was behind the Australian High Court decision in 1992 that overturned 200 years of “terra nullius” — the notion that Australia was uninhabited when it …read more
Somebody familiar with the tiny red-dirt town of Marree is good at keeping a giant secret. Marree, population 150, sits at the junction of the Oodnadatta and Birdsville tracks in the remote upper north of South Australia, east of one of Australia’s great mysteries: the “Marree Man”, a 4.2km-long reproduction of a giant Aboriginal figure …read more
“When you start recruiting, don’t stuff it up” was the pithy message from departing Queensland University of Technology vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake to the institution’s chancellor, the venerable philanthropist and pastoralist Tim Fairfax.
The crowded medical products aisle of the Woolworths supermarket in Sydney’s working-class suburb of Eastlakes offers a selection of nicotine products to passing consumers. Crammed on the shelf above the heartburn products is a range of quit smoking aids: nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges, nicotine patches and nicotine mouth spray.