AQ – Volume 86, Issue 2

AQ Journal86.2 COVER

Getting Science in the Spotlight – AusSMC and Scimex

For a decade the Australian Science Media Centre has been critical in raising the standard of evidence-based reporting in Australia’s print, online and TV media. Since first opening its doors in 2005 the media landscape has changed beyond recognition, including the loss of specialist journalists and the implosion of the mainstream media’s business model. This year AusSMC launches Scimex, a brand new platform to connect scientists and journalists that could revolutionise how the press engages with, understands and report science.

Susannah Eliott, Melanie Bagg and Joseph Milton


Robbing Peter to Fuel Paul

When the Australian National University decided to sell its shares in companies that it deemed caused ‘social harm’, the move was widely criticised by community and business leaders, politicians and academics. The logic behind the fossil fuel divestment campaign has been both superficial and inconsistent, and their simplistic understanding of financial markets could be detrimental to the Australian economy without actually achieving any reduction in carbon emissions. Systematic pressure to make institutes, such as the ANU, make personal judgements with public money could well verge on stock market manipulation.

Sinclair Davidson


Strand or be Stranded: The Growing Case for Divestment

In only a couple of years, the fossil fuel divestment movement has grown from a few scattered campus campaigns into global momentum attracting an astonishing level of public attention and debate. In 2013, an Oxford study argued fossil fuel divestment was the fastest growing divestment movement in history. Since then the movement has found commitments from groups as diverse as the Rockefellers Brothers Fund, The World Council of Churches, the British Medical Association and Stanford University. The world is sitting up and taking notice; a change is in the air.

Richard Denniss and Tom Swann


Magic Beans and Dragons 

In a world of mass-information and insatiable media there is little we can do to stem the drip, drip, drip of published ‘studies’ that persist in eroding our knowledge base with abominably bad science and illogical conclusions. Bad science is all too often captivating for people in search of easy answers. Why is pseudoscience so contagious? And what does Nicholas Cage have to do with the number of people who drowning in the US?

Lauren Wright