Protein in deadly spider venom blocks “death signal” after heart attack

By Nick Lavars As unlikely as it may seem, the venom of the deadly funnel web spider could prove a valuable source of a number of life-saving medicines, including drugs that kill skin cancer and reduce brain damage in stroke victims. Adding to these possibilities is new research demonstrating how a drug candidate built off a molecule in this spider venom can stop the “death signal” that results from a heart attack, potentially providing first responders with a powerful new way to intervene. The work was carried out by scientists at the Australia’s University of Queensland and actually builds off a previous study in which … Continue reading Protein in deadly spider venom blocks “death signal” after heart attack

This Ancient Memory Technique Could Be Better Than The ‘Memory Palace’, Study Finds

by CARLY CASSELLA There once was a time when humans held everything we knew in our heads. That might sound impossible these days when the internet is at our fingertips, but for millennia, it was our only way of passing on knowledge. Now, some researchers want to remind us that there is still place for ancient memory techniques to be taught in the modern world. And there is more than one such technique, too. In ancient Greece and Rome, people would construct mental maps with a technique known as a memory palace or method of loci. As their mind walked from room to … Continue reading This Ancient Memory Technique Could Be Better Than The ‘Memory Palace’, Study Finds

Hugo Weaving: Why the Alt-Right’s Got ‘The Matrix’ All Wrong

The Australian screen star opens up to Marlow Stern about Trump’s narcissism, Guy Fawkes masks, and how men’s rights activists have co-opted “The Matrix.” by Marlow Stern Every so often, Hugo Weaving will slip into soliloquy—and when he does, it’s hard not to picture his Agent Smith, the AI-antagonist of The Matrix. “It’s fascinating in this time of COVID, where we can’t travel and can’t be in community, we can’t be in large groups, how those sorts of needs really do highlight that we are social animals in search of understanding and illumination,” he tells me. “Because we’re not traveling and … Continue reading Hugo Weaving: Why the Alt-Right’s Got ‘The Matrix’ All Wrong

How Long Will Australia Be Livable?

Facing a future of fire, drought, and rising oceans, Australians will have to weigh the choice between getting out early or staying to fight. by BIANCA NOGRADY When tiny flakes of white ash started falling like warm snow from a sky sullen with smoke, we left. We had lived for weeks with the threat of two huge bushfires hanging over our small Australian town, advancing inexorably toward us from the north and the south. My hometown of Blackheath, perched at the top of the Blue Mountains, surrounded by stunning but drought-parched Australian wilderness, was in the center of this flaming … Continue reading How Long Will Australia Be Livable?

When Fire Weather Becomes the Norm

The fires in Australia are a case study in the realities of climate change. by Christine Kenneally Writer based in Australia I met Claire Yeo, a fire meteorologist at Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, more than 10 years ago when I covered the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia’s southeastern mainland state. The February 2009 fires were the most destructive and deadly the country had seen—shocking even to Yeo. At the time, she thought those fires would be a defining—and singular—event in her career.       Since then, global temperatures have steadily increased and the continent has become drier, leading Yeo to worry about … Continue reading When Fire Weather Becomes the Norm

Courageous Border Collie Leads 900 Sheep to Safety During Australian Bushfires

By Jessica Stewart  When tragedy strikes, communities pull together and this is exactly what has been happening across Australia due to the devastating bushfires. Among some of the biggest heroes, particularly when it comes to protecting and rescuing animals, have been some incredible working dogs. Now, a new story is emerging about Patsy, a 6-year-old border collie and kelpie mix who was essential in helping save her owner’s farm and livestock. Collies are known for their incredible drive and work ethic, which is being put to good use in this urgent time of devastation. Just like Bear (another border collie mix who has helped … Continue reading Courageous Border Collie Leads 900 Sheep to Safety During Australian Bushfires

Practicing in Hell

An Australian chaplain warns fellow Buddhists not to give up their meditation practice in the face of devastating wildfires. By Pema Düddul Every morning I step outside my home in New South Wales, Australia, to check if it’s safe to open the doors and windows. What I find is burnt orange dawns, blood red sunsets, searing wind, and palls of smoke that blot out the sky. For weeks the smoke from nearby fires has been so bad that the air quality in my small town is worse than in the world’s most polluted cities. Often I wake with a dry, sore throat … Continue reading Practicing in Hell

Australia's Smoke-Filled Air Is Quietly Killing People

For weeks Australian cities have been experiencing air pollution worse than Beijing’s. This is harming far more people than the actual fires. By Gavin Butler This article originally appeared on VICE AU. There are parts of Australia where it’s currently a health risk to step outside and breathe. One is the nation’s capital, which last week boasted the most heavily polluted air in the world. At 1 AM on New Year’s Day, an air monitoring site in Canberra recorded levels of pollution more than 25 times higher than what’s considered “hazardous”. Two weeks earlier, the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) issued a joint … Continue reading Australia's Smoke-Filled Air Is Quietly Killing People

As Bushfires Rage, Australia Faces Another Challenge: Protecting National Mental Health

BY JAMIE DUCHARME   As wildfires continue blazing a deadly path through Australia, leaving destroyed homes and landscapes in their wake, people and countries around the world are coming together to offer financial and firefighting assistance. But with months of burning likely still to go, and 18 million acres of destruction already recorded, along with 24 lives lost, it’s clear that reconstruction will be a long process—both in terms of physical rebuilding, and psychological recovery. “Their national psyche will change,” says California-based psychotherapist Diane Ross-Glazer, who has counseled disaster survivors and lived through wildfires herself. “You’re not only grieving what you lost; you’re grieving for … Continue reading As Bushfires Rage, Australia Faces Another Challenge: Protecting National Mental Health

Australia ‘On Brink’ of ‘Apocalyptic’ Weather Conditions

by Soren Dreier The Arctic is on fire. Now, Antarctica is suddenly experiencing a heatwave. And that means a looming rainfall apocalypse for Australia. According to a recent report by senior researchers from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, we’re in for higher than normal spring temperatures. And less rain. It’s all because of record warm temperatures in the air swirling above Antarctica. It’s producing a domino effect. The stratospheric “polar vortex” has been disrupted. It could even reverse direction. It’s pushing stormy Southern Ocean wind streams over Tasmania, New Zealand’s South Island and South America’s Patagonia. This is away from … Continue reading Australia ‘On Brink’ of ‘Apocalyptic’ Weather Conditions