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Bodies and brains already merged with computer power

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11 December 2006 | Tim Thwaites
Bodies and brains already merged with computer powerThe animated family conversation was becoming louder. Looking for signs that it was disturbing the other passengers, there was no need to worry. On a tram which was two-thirds full, almost all were staring into space, plugged into their iPods.

Biotech revolution promises to alter human nature

13 November 2006 | Ursula Stephens
Biotech revolution promises to alter human natureThe most significant threat posed by contemporary biotechnology is the possibility that it will alter human nature—and thereby move us into what Fukuyama calls a "post human" stage of history.

Environmental complexities of the modern dishwasher

30 October 2006 | Tim Thwaites
Environmental complexities of the modern dishwasherBecause of the intricate nature of all the interactions involved, the best course of action in environmental matters is rarely clear or obvious. We just need to be grateful for decisive political leaders.

Renewed esteem for a former marine enemy

16 October 2006 | Tim Thwaites

Simple systems belie beguiling comlexities of natureGrey nurse sharks were cast as villains who preyed on unsuspecting swimmers. It's now regarded as an endangered species, whose potential disappearance from the marine ecosystem could lead to nasty imbalances further down the food chain.

If governments won't fix climate change, people power will

18 September 2006 | Inna Tsyrlin
A visiting Dutch environmental economist says it may be too late to expect governments to wake up to the dire need to make and implement adequate policies. He says it is time for us to "work on our government", rather than wait for the government to work on us, to change the way we live.

Honk if Pluto is still a planet

04 September 2006 | Tim Thwaites
Honk if Pluto is still a planetThe outcry with which people greeted ex-planet Pluto’s change in status surprised many. Even the language used was astonishing. Pluto had been “demoted”, “banished” and “stripped of its status”. The Times of India reported people buying bumper stickers asking fellow drivers to “Honk if Pluto is still a planet”.

Changed climate will cook the elderly

04 September 2006 | Kate Mannix

Changed climate will cook the elderlyWhen the human body gets to 42°C, it starts to cook. Death is inevitable, and it is the most vulnerable who will go first. While the CSIRO has projections on the likely effects of climate change in Australia, there has been little work on what that will actually mean for human health outcomes in specific regions.

When human life is not really human life

07 August 2006 | Tim Thwaites

The term 'therapeutic cloning' is unfortunate, as it has nothing to do with replicating humans. Researchers undertaking therapeutic cloning would say that the circumstances under which they stimulate human eggs to develop ensure there is no way the result could ever become a human baby.

More 'special features' in store for DVD technology

24 July 2006 | Tim Kroenert
More 'special features' in store for DVD technologySpecial features are the DVD equivalent of a free set of steak knives. The appeal isn’t solely economic, either-film buffs are attracted to the idea of expanding their bank of esoteric movie knowledge. But special features are not the extent of the big studios' bag of tricks.

Virtual voyeurism

10 July 2006 | Margaret Cassidy
Webcams allow us to see ordinary life as it is being lived around the world. A myriad of sites takes us to tourist sites, places of worship, and even to the Antarctic.

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