Issues Magazine

Issues Magazine 101

This year, Issues celebrates 25 years of publishing public debate on contemporary scientific issues. In this edition, some of our past authors have revisited a range of issues, highlighting new ideas or developments – and sometimes setbacks.
How can natural DNA, something no person invented, be patented? James Watson, John Sulston, Baruch Blumberg and Joseph Stiglitz think it shouldn’t be.
What are the privacy issues around digital identity and how can we protect our privacy in the digital age?
In the past 10 years there has been no increase in the fatness of kids either in Australia or in many developed countries. At the other end of life, fatter adults are living longer than lean adults. What can be going on?
Public health policy is a science with very clear outcomes, but the current state of partisan politics makes weighing up the evidence harder than ever.
"Influenza is an unvarying disease caused by a varying virus." (E.D. Kilbourne, The Influenza Virus and Influenza, Academic Press, N.Y., 1975). We now know that this statement, made at a time when memories of the great pandemic of 1918–19 were beginning to fade, is true of most seasonal influenza epidemics. However, caution is needed when making sweeping generalisations about influenzal disease and influenza viruses.
Live pig cell transplants for the treatment of human diseases seemed improbable and risky but the risks have not eventuated, and evidence of clinical benefit is accruing. Despite the Australian moratorium on xenotransplantation being recently lifted, it looks as if Australians who want to try such treatments will have to wait.
The development of induced pluripotent stem cells overturned conventional thinking and removed the ethical issues associated with the destruction of embryos.
Recent moves to improve the regulation of alternative medicines looked promising until the Therapeutic Goods Administration caved under pressure from the industry.
A campaign to raise awareness among Aboriginal women about the risks of drug and alcohol consumption during pregnancy was launched earlier this year by NSW Minister for Mental Health and Healthy Lifestyles, Kevin Humphries.
In October 2012 the Australian government announced it will send mental health specialists into secondary schools in the aftermath of a student suicide.
Despite the Fukushima disaster, Australian uranium miners are confident the growing demand for electricity in a carbon-constrained world will drive an increase in nuclear power generation.
If two of the world’s biggest economies are any guide, the energy future will not be clean.
A survey by Nature has found that scientists are satisfied with their work but are disturbed by the way the global financial crisis (GFC) has affected research budgets.
Biodegradable materials are still one of the buzz words of plastics developers, but are consumers really interested in biodegradable plastics packaging or is it a niche industry without a growing market? What are the recent product developments and does the commercial return justify the effort?
Climate change is expected to have dramatic effects on Australia’s biodiversity, and we need to allow species and natural communities to adapt. We can assist evolutionary resilience by increasing genetic variation and the exchange of genetic material.
As salinity researchers have learnt, many funding programs in science move at speeds and in trajectories that leave the performers of science in their wake, with integration the last hope for survival.
The accelerating pace of change has placed new strains on the globe and made more urgent the search for sound evidence-based policy and investment in education and science to ensure that the world can feed an extra two to three billion people without irretrievably damaging the planet.
Major changes in fisheries and aquaculture over recent decades have affected women and men differently. In the myriad activities that bring fish onto people’s plates, women’s and men’s agency, as well as needs for support, is starting to become clearer.
"Influenza is an unvarying disease caused by a varying virus." (E.D. Kilbourne, The Influenza Virus and Influenza, Academic Press, N.Y., 1975). We now know that this statement, made at a time when memories of the great pandemic of 1918–19 were beginning to fade, is true of most seasonal influenza epidemics. However, caution is needed when making sweeping generalisations about influenzal disease and influenza viruses.