Snapshot Issue12.17

01 Customers

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Calorie chameleons

Did you know it can take around a litre of water to produce a single calorie of food? While it might not rate a mention on your next burger run, many people have to grow their own food to survive or rely on crops to make a living, which means they have to think long and hard about how much water they require. Quite often the only way of knowing if their crops are getting enough, or too much, water is to wait until the plant shows physical signs of stress. To combat this problem, a team of our agricultural scientists has invented a digital device called the Chameleon, which offers a simple new way to measure how moist the soil is under the crops. It only costs a few dollars to manufacture, making it a truly viable solution for farming communities around the world.

02 Research

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Hydrogen's bright future

What’s colourless, odourless, the most abundant element in the universe and has the potential to fuel your car with only water as the by-product? If you didn’t guess hydrogen you need to read on. There is a real opportunity for Australia to produce low or zero emission hydrogen, either as an export or to be used domestically in transport, power generation and to offset more carbon-intensive processes. All we need to do now is work out the best way to move it.

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Sibling rivalry: El Niño and La Niña

In Spanish they mean 'little boy' and 'little girl' respectively. But what do these two global weather events mean for the Australian climate? The sometimes trouble-making siblings are responsible for changes in our weather patterns every two to seven years. El Niño and La Niña make tweaks in the Pacific Ocean temperatures, wind and clouds that have enormous effects on Australia. But it's not just a simple hot vs cold affair.

03 Discoveries

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04 People

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Toni tops Tassie biz

'As I came to a stop on my borrowed pushbike, hundreds of shipyard workers – also on bikes – crossed my path on their way to the lunchroom. I couldn’t help but wonder: how did I get here?’ 'Here' was the shipyard in Singapore where we were building our blue-water research vessel back in 2012 (now known as RV Investigator) and those musings were from Toni Moate, our Director of National Collections and Marine Infrastructure. And now, 2017 Telstra Tasmanian Business Woman of the Year.

JOBS

It's a tough gig...

... but somebody has to do it. Working on Bribie Island in Queensland as a Research Technician in aquaculture biology, you will undertake a wide range of operational aspects of both seawater and freshwater experimental systems including: system monitoring and control, animal rearing, risk identification, problem solving, managing complex data sets. You will also need a pair of steel-toe thongs.

Taking it to the market

Data61 has a new role for a Product Manager to help design and deliver innovative products built from cutting-edge technologies. We are currently building a graph analytics platform and are looking for creative people to help shape the product direction, to define the product design and market strategy, and to collaborate with all stakeholders to provide the best possible outcome.

05 Participate

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Dwarf galaxy quest

The Small Magellanic Cloud, one of the closest galaxies to our own Milky Way, can actually be viewed with the naked eye on a clear night. But it's safe to say you've never seen it like this before. Our new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope has just made the most detailed radio image of the dwarf galaxy yet. Unlike optical telescopes that collect visible light, radio telescopes use radio waves to form a picture and reveal otherwise hidden details in space. The new image shows that the Small Magellanic Cloud’s very dynamic past can be used to predict its future. Which isn't very promising - it appears likely to be gobbled up by our Milky Way.

2017 on the fly: our top science stories

Magnetic mysteries on the Nullarbor Plain. Deep sea squid attacks captured on video. The shady world of VPNs and mobile data privacy, and why this magpie might remember your face. No, we're not talking about season four of Black Mirror - these vaguely menacing but entirely interesting topics are just some of our top blogs of 2017. As well as internet pirates and birds with personal vendettas, this momentous year has also given us 3D printed chests, interplanetary space missions decades in the making, and top food myths debunked. Come and take a swoop.

Extras

Watch Colvera bowel cancer test wins CSIRO award
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