science

2019 higher education selection list out

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Click on this link to access the full intake list:

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The Department has reminded citizens that the national selection is administered online through a highly transparent and accountable system – the National Online Selection System (NOSS).

Why is it so hard to swat a fly?

But how on Earth do these tiny creatures - with their minuscule brains - outwit us so easily?

You've probably pondered it after chasing a fly around your house and flailing your shoe with repeated, unsuccessful swats. How does it move so fast? Can it read my mind?

It was the question put to the BBC World Service CrowdScience team for our most recent episode addressing the apparent super powers of tiny animals. The answer is that, compared with you and me, flies essentially see the world in slow motion.

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GM pigs take step to being organ donors

The scientists successfully rid 37 pigs of viruses hiding in their DNA, overcoming one of the big barriers to transplanting pig organs to people.

The team at eGenesis admits preventing pig organs from being rejected by the human body remains a huge challenge

But experts said it was a promising and exciting first step.

The study, published in the journal Science, started with skin cells from a pig.

Tests identified 25 Pervs - porcine endogenous retroviruses - hidden in the pig's genetic code.

Getting milk out of an almond

On the surface almond milk is a pretty innocuous, even healthy, alternative to dairy milk.

But the name - those two words 'almond' and 'milk' - raise all sorts of questions. For example, how do you milk an almond? Even the best Kiwi cockie wouldn't be able to tell you where to put the cups.

The fact is, almonds make up less than two percent of the average carton on the supermarket shelf.

What's more, technically it can't even be called milk.

Liggins Institute chair David Cameron-Smith says almond milk is, instead, a manufactured product.

Australian researchers using silkworms to repair damaged eardrums

Who would have thought silkworms could be used to repair damaged eardrums?

A team with researchers based in Perth and Melbourne is moving towards clinical trials of a device that incorporates silk in an ear implant.

Named "ClearDrum", it looks like a contact lens, but is instead a device on which the patient's cells can grow.

Perth-based surgeon Professor Marcus Atlas said silk was the preferred choice because it was flexible.

Kids turn their hands to making 3D-printed prosthetics

Ivanhoe Grammar School has partnered with e-NABLE, a community of online 3D designers, so students can learn how to make and produce prosthetics.

Steve Brophy, the school's director of information and communication technology and eLearning, said the school had used 3D printers for years but was looking for more meaningful projects.

"We wanted to move past the kids just printing knick-knacks and thinking that things like bobble heads and little toy cars were good enough.

STEM enrolments hit 20-year low, but scientists have an idea to stop the slide

The National Scientific Statement, released last week, found participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in Australian schools was declining, with enrolments in these subjects at the lowest level in 20 years.

It also reported that performance in these STEM subjects had slipped and if the decline continued, "Australia may be unable to supply the skills required for the future workforce".

Drug 'reverses' ageing in animal tests

They have rejuvenated old mice to restore their stamina, coat of fur and even some organ function.

The team at Erasmus University Medical Center, in the Netherlands, are planning human trials for what they hope is a treatment for old age.

A UK scientist said the findings were "impossible to dismiss", but that unanswered questions remained.

The approach works by flushing out retired or "senescent" cells in the body that have stopped dividing.

They accumulate naturally with age and have a role in wound healing and stopping tumours.

Self-repairing heart tissue breakthrough brings hope for cardiac patients

Doctors James Hudson and Enzo Porello from the University of Queensland worked with German researchers to create the samples in a laboratory, and will use them to study cardiac biology and diseases.

"The patented technology enables us to now perform experiments on human heart tissue," Dr Hudson said.

Up until now researchers have had no "living" tissue to study, but now scientists have a viable, functioning heart muscle to work on.

Dr Hudson said it would help them model the cardiovascular disease, screen new drugs and investigate heart repair.

Can sweat patches revolutionise diabetes?

But rather than a gym-soaked t-shirt, it needs just one millionth of a litre of sweat to do the testing.

The team - in South Korea - showed the sensor was accurate and think it could eventually help patients with diabetes.

And in extra tests on mice, the sensor was hooked up to a patch of tiny needles to automatically inject diabetes medication.

The team at the Seoul National University were trying to overcome the need for "painful blood collection" needed in diabetes patients.