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Unethical studies on Chinese minority groups are being retracted — but not fast enough, critics say


Nature, January, 2023

Campaigners who want scrutiny of biometrics research on Uyghurs, Tibetans and other groups are frustrated by slow progress. Read more...

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Humanity’s oldest art is flaking away. Can scientists save it?


Nature, December, 2023

Ancient humans painted scenes in Indonesian caves more than 45,000 years ago, but their art is disappearing rapidly. Researchers are trying to discover what’s causing the damage and how to stop it — before the murals are gone forever. Read more...

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Unvaxxed: Trust, truth and the rise of vaccine outrage


Hardie Grant Books and Crikey, June, 2022

Unvaxxed is a nuanced, timely look at vaccine hesitancy and how uncertainty and misinformation have influenced the Australian experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more...

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Why the WHO took two years to say COVID is airborne


Nature, April, 2022

Early in the pandemic, the World Health Organization stated that SARS-CoV-2 was not transmitted through the air. That mistake and the prolonged process of correcting it sowed confusion and raises questions about what will happen in the next pandemic. Read more...

COVID-19 rarely spreads through surfaces. So why are we still deep cleaning?


Nature, January, 2021

The coronavirus behind the pandemic can linger on doorknobs and other surfaces, but these aren’t a major source of infection. Read more...

Bait and switch


The Monthly, November, 2019

Lumping dingoes in with “wild dogs” means the native animals are being deliberately culled. Read more…

An identity crisis for the Australian dingo


UnDark, August, 2019

The future of the iconic canine could hinge on the question of whether it should be classified as a unique species or just another wild dog. Read more… (Republished in The Atlantic)

A more comprehensive list:

Charge dropped against New Zealand science agency after deadly volcano eruption, Nature, October 2022

Climate justice: UN rules Australia violated islander rights, Nature, October 2022

What scientists have learnt from COVID lockdowns, Nature, September 2022

Why the WHO took two years to say COVID is airborne, Nature, April 2022
Will Omicron finally overpower China’s COVID defences? Nature, March 2022
The COVID pandemic has harmed researcher productivity – and mental health, Nature, November 2021

Science agency on trial following deadly White Island volcano eruption, Nature, October 2021

Autocorrect errors in Excel still creating genomics headache, Nature , August 2021

Long COVID and kids: scientists race to find answers, Nature News, July 2021

Mix-and-match COVID vaccines: the case is growing, but questions remain, Nature News, July 2021

Does vaccinating adults stop kids from spreading COVID too? Nature News, June 2021

Why indoor spaces are still prime COVID hotspots, Nature News, March 2021

Superspreading drives the COVID pandemic — and could help to tame it, Nature News, February 2021

Contact-tracing apps help reduce COVID infections, data suggest, Nature News, February 2021

COVID-19 rarely spreads through surfaces. So why are we still deep cleaning? Nature News, January 2021

What new COVID variants mean for schools is not yet clear, Nature News, January 2021

Nature's 10: ten people who helped shape science in 2020 – Jacinda Ardern, Nature News, December 2020

Why many countries failed at COVID contact-tracing — but some got it right, Nature News, December 2020

Research round-up: sustainable nutrition, Nature Outlook, December 2020
Why schools probably aren’t COVID hotspots, Nature News, October 2020
Censored: Australian scientists say suppression of environment research is getting worse, Nature News, September 2020

China’s coronavirus vaccine shows military’s growing role in medical research, Nature News, September 2020
How Mauritius is cleaning up after major oil spill in biodiversity hotspot, Nature News, August 2020

‘We felt we had beaten it’: New Zealand’s race to eliminate the coronavirus again, Nature News, August 2020
Australia is cracking down on foreign interference in research. Is the system working? Nature News, August 2020
Mounting evidence suggests coronavirus is airborne — but health advice has not caught up, Nature News, July 2020
Coronavirus fallout puts next generation of scientists at risk, Nature Index, May 2020
Is the coronavirus airborne? Experts can’t agree, Nature News, April 2020
Citizen crowds flock to assist coronavirus research, Nature Index, April 2020
Coronavirus outbreak: what’s next, Nature News, January 2020
Catastrophic Australian bushfires derail research, Nature Index, January 2020 (republished on
‘Deathly silent’: Ecologist describes Australian wildfires’ devastating aftermath, Nature News, January 2020
Australian biobank repatriates hundreds of ‘legacy’ Indigenous blood samples, Nature News, December 2019
Head of ancient-DNA lab sacked for ‘serious misconduct’, Nature News, December 2019
Rare bird’s detection highlights promise of ‘environmental DNA’, Nature News, November 2019
Rare warming over Antarctica reveals power of stratospheric models, Nature News, October 2019
Foreign interference under the spotlight at Australian universities, Nature News, August 2019
‘Paralysed by anxiety’: researchers speak about life in troubled ancient-DNA lab, Nature News, August 2019
Head of prestigious ancient-DNA lab suspended amid bullying allegations, Nature News, August 2019
Global political climate of ‘fear’ threatens ecologists’ work, Nature News, April 2019
The fight for control over virtual fossils, Nature, March 2019
Funding debate over paper quality vs quantity, Nature Index, September 2017
Scientists tainted by misconduct of former collaborators, Nature Index, December 2017
Biased for benefit: Stimulating the world’s most popular drug targets with more nuance, Nature Medicine, June 2017
Australian climate job cuts leave hole in Southern Hemisphere research, Nature News, May 2016
The CAVE artists, Nature Medicine, March 2014


Strategies behind the great vaccine race, Cosmos Magazine, August 2020

Role Models in a time of pandemic, Cosmos Magazine, June 2020
COVID-19: the open data pandemic? Cosmos Magazine, May 2020
Diverse genomes open new window into human history, Cosmos Magazine, March 2020
Indonesian rocks show ubiquity of ancient human art, Cosmos Magazine, March 2020
Tiny bird-like dinosaur smallest ever found, Cosmos Magazine, March 2020
Skulls and skills varied in archaic Homo erectus, Cosmos Magazine, March 2020
Innovation thrives in partially connected populations, Cosmos Magazine, March 2020
Distant human relative mixed with our cousins, Cosmos Magazine, February 2020
West Africans share genes with ancient mystery man, Cosmos Magazine, February 2020
Stone tools reveal intrepid travels of the Neanderthals, Cosmos Magazine, January 2020
Children’s graves reveal genetic diversity of ancient West Africa, Cosmos Magazine, January 2020
Java Man not so old after all, Cosmos Magazine, January 2020
Java Man’s last stand, Cosmos Magazine, December 2019
The world’s oldest hunting scene, Cosmos Magazine, December 2019
Did bad luck kill the Neanderthals? Cosmos Magazine, November 2019
Ancient enamel sheds light on extinct giant ape, Cosmos Magazine, November 2019
Sacred Egyptian ibises were wild birds, Cosmos Magazine, November 2019
Likely human homeland identified, Cosmos Magazine, October 2019
How mammals inherited the Earth, Cosmos Magazine, October 2019
Huge genomic changes an afterglow of archaic human pairings, Cosmos Magazine, October 2019
Bunny bone bonanza shows Neanderthals skinned rabbits, Cosmos Magazine, October 2019
Early Cretaceous predator discovered in Thailand, Cosmos Magazine, October 2019
There was life, but not as we know it, Cosmos Magazine, October 2019
No bones about it: a first glimpse of what Denisovans looked like, Cosmos Magazine, September 2019
An ancestor ‘modern in many ways’, Cosmos Magazine, September 2019
Massive genome study reveals South Asia’s prehistory, Cosmos Magazine, September 2019
Why are fossils more often male? Cosmos Magazine, September 2019
We’ve been changing the planet for thousands of years, Cosmos Magazine, August 2019
Ape-like face of early human ancestor revealed, Cosmos Magazine, August 2019
Lifting the lid on primate brains, Cosmos Magazine, August 2019
Humans pushed cave bears towards extinction, Cosmos Magazine, August 2019
European pigs shook off their ancestry, Cosmos Magazine, August 2019
Living the high life in the stone age, Cosmos Magazine, August 2019
A Millennium Falcon from back in the Cambrian, Cosmos Magazine, August 2019
What makes this dragon fierce, Cosmos Magazine, July 2019
Ancient ancestors cared about their kids, Cosmos Magazine, July 2019
The peopling of the Americas, Cosmos Magazine, July 2019
Ancient DNA sheds light on early cattle, Cosmos Magazine, July 2019
The oldest known modern human in Europe, Cosmos Magazine, July 2019
A rare dental trait lives on, Cosmos Magazine, July 2019
World could support many more trees, research shows, Cosmos Magazine, July 2019
Ancient DNA sheds some light on a Mediterranean mystery, Cosmos Magazine, July 2019
Some prehistoric crocs were vegetarians, Cosmos Magazine, June 2019
Early humans may have shared Europe with a giant bird, Cosmos Magazine, June 2019
Neanderthal groups more closely related than we thought, Cosmos Magazine, June 2019
Monkey tool design changed over millennia, Cosmos Magazine, June 2019
Ediacaran organisms grouped together to access food, Cosmos Magazine, June 2019
Gender inequality arose 8000 years ago, Cosmos Magazine, June 2019
For those about to rock: the birthplace of humanity’s tool kit found, Cosmos Magazine, June 2019
Jawbone puts Denisovans on the Tibetan Plateau at least 160,000 years ago, Cosmos Magazine, May 2019
DNA remnants of three separate Denisovan populations found in human genomes, Cosmos Magazine, April 2019
New fossil human relative found in the Philippines, Cosmos Magazine, April 2019
Two millennia pile-on at burial mound, Cosmos Magazine, April 2019
Warm weather pushed Neanderthals into cannibalism, Cosmos Magazine, March 2019
Claim that Australia was settled 60,000 years earlier than thought disputed, Cosmos Magazine, March 2019
Chinese fossil site rivals Burgess Shale, Cosmos Magazine, March 2019
Heading in the right direction: humans have an inbuilt compass, Cosmos Magazine, March 2019
Grass, shrubs and dryness: a year in the life of a giant sloth, Cosmos Magazine, February 2019
Ape-like or human? Disagreement erupts over Neanderthal posture, Cosmos Magazine, February 2019
Ancient humans, fearless squirrel hunters, Cosmos Magazine, February 2019
Are these Denisovan teeth? We may never know, Cosmos Magazine, January 2019
A tale of two turtles, Cosmos Magazine, January 2019
Neanderthal genes influence human head shape, Cosmos Magazine, December 2018
Revealed at last: Australia’s fearsome marsupial lion, Cosmos Magazine, December 2018
Humans and Neanderthals were frequent lovers, genetics reveals, Cosmos Magazine, November 2018
Ancient African extinctions: humans off the hook, Cosmos Magazine, November 2018
Neanderthal head injury less common than thought, Cosmos Magazine, November 2018
Primates of the Caribbean: dead monkeys do tell tales, Cosmos Magazine, November 2018
Surprise find: Neanderthals show evidence of lead contamination, Cosmos Magazine, November 2018
Out-of-Africa wasn’t much of a tough gig, findings suggest, Cosmos Magazine, October 2018
Madagascar: claims for early settlement debunked, Cosmos Magazine, October 2018
Making do, at a pinch: Neanderthal used precision grips, not power, Cosmos Magazine, September 2018
Claim for early humans in Madagascar disputed, Cosmos Magazine, September 2018
Inflammation overload, Cosmos Magazine, June 2018
Optogenetics: understanding the brain, one flash of light at a time, Cosmos Magazine, April 2018
Six of nature’s weirdest sex lives, Cosmos Magazine, February 2018
Bring back that loving feeling, Cosmos Magazine, December 2017
Oxytocin linked to water intake, Cosmos Magazine, November 2017
Neanderthal extinction a fizzle, not a bloodbath, Cosmos Magazine, November 2017
Brain’s autopilot is a daydream believer, Cosmos Magazine, October 2017
Schizophrenia, cholesterol, eating disorders and a nice tan – our Neanderthal legacy, Cosmos Magazine, October 2017
Kidney disease linked to air pollution, Cosmos Magazine, September 2017
A cure for peanut allergy? Cosmos Magazine, September 2017
Plant molecules stop worker bees from ascending throne, Cosmos Magazine, September 2017
A body-wide map of gene switches active in different cells, Cosmos Magazine, August 2017
Adult brain’s fear HQ can grow new cells, Cosmos Magazine, August 2017
The next generation of weapons against antibiotic superbugs, Cosmos Magazine, June 2017
Free software tool aids doctors diagnosing rare genetic disorders, Cosmos Magazine, June 2017
A deep dive into the genomes of penicillin fungi reveals a trove of potential drugs, Cosmos Magazine, April 2017
Fruit, not friends, the key to ape intelligence, Cosmos Magazine, March 2017
Gender-bending virus grants insect-killing wasps longer life, Cosmos Magazine, March 2017
Bad news on bowel cancer for the young, Cosmos Magazine, March 2017
Rain Man gene identified, Cosmos Magazine, February 2017
Neanderthals’ DNA makes its presence felt, Cosmos Magazine, February 2017
Four new frog species found in India, Cosmos Magazine, February 2017
Cocaine-addicted brains stockpile iron, Cosmos Magazine, February 2017
Extreme fire weather forecast for Australia and the Mediterranean, Cosmos Magazine, February 2017
How acid warps your thoughts and feelings, Cosmos Magazine, January 2017
Killer whale menopause evolved from mother-daughter conflict, Cosmos Magazine, January 2017
How microbes affect you from brain to bowel – a five-part series, Cosmos Magazine, September 2016
~Microbes and you: a partnership millions of years old
~How bugs in your gut can make you fat (or thin)
~Microbe tenants help – and hinder – your immune system
~Mood, mind and memory – can gut bacteria meddle with the brain?
~Bugs as drugs – medicine’s next frontier
Tails gave early land animals a leg up, Cosmos Magazine, July 2016
Is immunotherapy a cancer game-changer? Cosmos Magazine, June 2016
Is brain training a sham? Cosmos Magazine, June 2016
Jawbone and teeth reveal Hobbit’s 700,000-year-old ancestors, Cosmos Magazine, June 2016
Where did we come from? A primer on early human evolution, Cosmos Magazine, June 2016
Antibiotics may play havoc with your memory, Cosmos Magazine, May 2016
Shark snouts contain conductive jelly, Cosmos Magazine, May 2016
Zika virus causes birth defects in mice, Cosmos Magazine, May 2016
Chubby waistline? Blame your big brain, Cosmos Magazine, May 2016
Do plants form memories with shape-shifting proteins? Cosmos Magazine, April 2016
Antarctic midge trades junk DNA for life in the extreme, Cosmos Magazine, August 2014
Unveiling an ‘invisible’ gut virus, Cosmos Magazine, August 2014
Have your pets inherited a cuteness gene? Cosmos Magazine, July 2014
How to make national parks more efficient at saving animals, Cosmos Magazine, July 2014
Battlefield Genome, Cosmos Magazine, April 2014

The Monthly

Bait and Switch, November 2019


An Identity Crisis for the Australian Dingo, August 2019 (republished in The Atlantic)

The Guardian

Stormy waters: the salmon farmer trying to limit fishing and save the ocean, The Guardian, June 2017
‘Recycling in Australia is dead in the water’: three companies tackling our plastic addiction, The Guardian, May 2017
Biofuels: could agave, hemp and saltbush be the fuels of the future? The Guardian, May 2017
Cool roofs: beating the midday sun with a slap of white paint, The Guardian, April 2017
Salt, silicon or graphite: energy storage goes beyond lithium ion batteries, The Guardian, April 2017
Stressed street trees: mapping the urban forests to save them – and us, The Guardian, March 2017
While governments dither, companies step up with environmental targets, The Guardian, March 2017
How an Indigenous renewable energy alliance aims to cut power costs and disadvantage, The Guardian, March 2017
Energy positive: how Denmark’s Samsø island switched to zero carbon, The Guardian, February 2017
Silverton windfarm’s output will be equal to taking 192,000 cars off the road, The Guardian, February 2017
Solar cooling systems take heat out of summer’s hottest days, The Guardian, December 2016
Will the internet of things sacrifice or save the environment? The Guardian, December 2016


Relocating Australian tortoise sets controversial precedent, Science, August 2016
Small mammals vanish in northern Australia, Science, September 2014
Heat wave forecasts debut in scorching Australia, Science, February 2014

Smith Journal

Satellite of Love, Smith Journal, December 2016
Great balls of fire, Smith Journal, March 2016
Super models, Smith Journal, December 2015

Book reviews

The Songs of Trees by David George Haskell, Cosmos Magazine, October 2017
Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony by Kevin N. Layland, Cosmos Magazine, July 2017
The Confidence Game by Maria Konnikova, Science Book a Day, April 2016
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, Science Book a Day, June 2014

Older stuff

What is good mental health? ABC Health & Wellbeing, September 2014
Morning sickness: what works? ABC Health & Wellbeing, June 2014
Why do we daydream? ABC Health & Wellbeing, May 2014
Battlefield Genome, Cosmos Magazine, April 2014
Epigenetics: the ever-changing genetic landscape within us, ABC Health & Wellbeing, April 2014
Breast cancer — to screen or not to screen? ABC Health & Wellbeing, March 2014
Can technology curb loneliness? ABC Health & Wellbeing, February 2014
Heat wave forecasts debut in scorching Australia, Science, January 2014 [paywall]
The human experience of loneliness, ABC Health & Wellbeing, February 2014
Why does alcohol make some people violent? ABC Health & Wellbeing, January 2014
Living with HIV in 2013, ABC Health & Wellbeing, November 2013
World Aids Day: Stigma of living with HIV strong inside gay community, as experts battle ‘epidemic’, ABC News, November 2013
What gets checked in a sexual health check-up? ABC Health & Wellbeing, November 2013
Do older mums deserve their ‘bad press’? ABC Health & Wellbeing, October 2013
Dads’ biological clocks tick too, ABC Health & Wellbeing, October 2013
Antioxidants: not the superfood ingredient they promised to be, ABC Health & Wellbeing, October 2013
Making sense of stress and its effect on your health, ABC Health & Wellbeing, September 2013
Cycling to chemo: exercise during cancer treatment, ABC Health & Wellbeing, August 2013
HPV: a virus that causes cancer, ABC Health & Wellbeing, July 2013
Faecal therapy back in vogue to treat superbugs, ABC RN, February 2013

Blog posts etc...

Coley’s toxins and the birth of cancer immunotherapy, Blog post, July 2016
Have we got sepsis wrong? Blog post, June 2016
Is this tiny Australian bird and ecosystem engineer? Blog post, May 2016
Can people with amnesia learn? MICCN, October 2015
How do people justify killing? MICCN, October 2015
Can working memory training improve children’s maths skills? MICCN October, 2015
Can a tablet app help children with attention difficulties? MICCN, October 2015
How the fruit fly got its stink, United Academics, February 2014
Sloth hair: a potential treasure trove of bioactive compounds, United Academics, January 2014
Why living with dogs protects against allergies, United Academics, December 2013
Using Twitter to track the flu, United Academics, December 2013
Humpback whales share songs over lunch, United Academics, November 2013
Speaking from the gut for immune health, United Academics, November 2013
Why the plague is so deadly, still, United Academics, October 2013
Sex without seed, Australasian Science Magazine, September 2013
Infants give a helping hand, even when you look like an egg, United Academics, September 2013
Not too much perfume, please, United Academics, September 2013
A silent epidemic comes into the limelight, Cosmos Magazine, August 2013
Bubbles and bite: why fizzy drinks taste so good, United Academics, August 2013
Empathic pooches catch yawns from their owners, United Academics, August 2013
Aspirin keeps stomach cancer at bay, United Academics, August 2013

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