The farmer wants a hive: inside the world of renting bees

So, turns out you can rent bees.

Airport-dwelling magpies get in less of a flap about planes, and that could be good or bad

Australian magpies are clever enough to tailor their risk-avoidance behaviours to different locations ✈️

Plain, Greek, low-fat? How to choose a healthy yoghurt

Yoghurt is actually more nutritious than milk - but which is the healthiest of them all?

Grattan on Friday: 'Super Saturday' is not so super in Labor's eyes

The ALP just has to suck it up and throw itself into battle, because the stakes are very high.

From Michelle Grattan.

Friday essay: William Ricketts Sanctuary is a racist anachronism but can it foster empathy?

The sculptures of Aboriginal men, women and children at a popular tourist destination in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges are steeped in primitivism.

Expenses authority can't tell Joyce when his travel expenses inquiry will end

The audit has been underway since early this year, sparked by the controversy around his affair with his former staffer and now partner Vikki Campion.

From Michelle Grattan

I read a quote about alcohol and other drug treatment recently that went something like “Nowhere in the field of medicine is treatment less grounded in modern science”. That’s not to say that we don’t use science at all in drug treatment, but it seems much more acceptable to use new approaches that are not tried and tested by proper research, or to continue to use methods that seemed reasonable 50 years ago but have not been updated in line with the evidence since. But we have the science and we know what works, we should use it.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about drugs, especially illicit drugs, and mostly it’s based on a moral position about whether drugs are good or bad. Most people learn what they know about drugs and the people who use them from the media because most people will never come in contact with someone who uses illicit drugs. Or if they do they probably won’t realise it because people who use drugs are by and large just ordinary people, despite what we see in the media. The media loves a good dramatic alcohol and drug story, and the perspective is often skewed by presenting only a narrow view, and usually at the most extreme end.

What I love about writing for the Conversation is the opportunity to inject (yes, intended) some balance into the moral panic about alcohol and other drugs that is often created by the mainstream media. It’s an opportunity to draw all the research on a topic together to show the bigger picture. It’s an opportunity for a broader discussion with the community about drugs that might never happen through the usual research channels, nor through the usual community channels.

A colleague once said to me "I don’t care what you think, I care what you know”. The Conversation’s role in disseminating what we know rather than just anecdotes and opinions is critical to public debate about drug policy, and health more broadly. Especially at a time when funding is being cut to important media outlets, and where social media makes it so easy to spread misinformation.

- Dr Nicole Lee, Professor at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University

What outcomes parents should expect from early childhood education and care

This checklist indicates what a child should be able to do by a certain age, and this is linked to the early childhood education curriculum.

Meghan Markle and why being 'mixed race' matters in Australia

Meghan Markle’s mixed race identity has been the topic of conversation leading up to her wedding to Prince Harry. That’s a good thing.

An armchair, a desk and 4000 books: the Horne family study gets a second life

EXTRACT: The Donald and Myfanwy Horne Room will open today in a gracious space in the State Library of New South Wales. One side of it is adorned with objects from the home where I lived with my family, my father Donald Horne (1921-2005), author of The Lucky Country and numerous other books, and my mother, journalist and editor Myfanwy Horne (1933-2013) who wrote as Myfanwy Gollan.

The rest of the room is set aside for study based on ideals of scholarly curiosity, imaginative inquiry and intellectual creativity. As my father wrote shortly before he died, words like curiosity and imagination help “celebrate scholarship and the marvels of the intellectual life more generally”.

Donald Horne at his desk in 1969. Author provided
The State Library has selected certain objects from my family home to inspire their scholars and fellows program — an upholstered mid-20th century armchair, a large 19th century pedestal desk and a collection of some 4000 books.

The armchair, now upholstered in a dark green material over the original knobbly grey fabric, was acquired by my parents to furnish their first home in 1960, a small, rented two-bedroom garden flat in Sydney’s leafy Double Bay.

It was on this chair, in 1964, that my father sat “pen in hand, pad on knee”, as my mother later wrote, “to write The Lucky Country”. I was too young to remember this act of defiance, as some now see it — after all, surely a serious writer sits at a desk. The act itself was born out of necessity, and only later became symbolic (at least in my parents’ minds) when my father acquired a new string to his professional bow — a writer of books.

My job is to help stop Australians falling ill from mosquito-borne disease. The best way to do that is to share safe and effective tips on preventing mosquito bites. If you don’t get bitten in the first place, hopefully you won’t get sick. Writing for The Conversation has been a game changer, both in the way I communicate these public health messages but also how I can engage with the community and learn what they want to know about mosquitoes and the prevention of mosquito-borne disease.

Since 2012 I’ve written over 40 articles for The Conversation. More than 3 million people have read my articles on mosquitoes, bed bugs, ticks, head lice and flies.

The opportunity provided by The Conversation is unique and your continued support to maintain this resource is essential. Without it, there would be few options for scientists to share their research directly with the community and foster an appreciation of the science behind these public health messages. If you have the capacity to contribute, please make a donation now: donate.theconversation.com/au

- Dr Cameron Webb, Clinical Lecturer and Principal Hospital Scientist

View from The Hill: Hastie and Turnbull – what you don't know, you can't stop

There’s one logical reason why ambitious young Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie didn’t tell Malcolm Turnbull he was about to drop a bombshell...

From Michelle Grattan.

Welcome to Beating Around the Bush, wherein we yell about plants

Are you stressed? Of course you are. Read about awesome plants instead.

Israel is prioritising PR over peace-building in the Middle East

The international condemnation of Israel's violent response to the Gaza protests shows how misplaced its "Brand Israel" campaign has been.

Why our editors value The Conversation

Here in the newsroom we know there's incredible value in what we do - the need for evidence-based, trustworthy information has never been more important in Australia.

If you agree, please make a tax deductible donation to The Conversation so we can continue this work: https://donate.theconversation.com/au

View from The Hill: With apologies to Mathias, Hanson blows away government hopes on company tax

"Although some argue the measure should be ditched, which is the superficially attractive course, that would potentially bring fresh difficulties. Not only would it open a brawl with business, but it would undermine the economic argument the government has been making for two years. Killing an albatross can be a dangerous business."

From Michelle Grattan

In landmark ruling, Archbishop Philip Wilson found guilty of covering up child sex abuse

Yesterday’s verdict will ensure that Catholic clerics who knew child sexual abuse was occurring but did nothing to report it are no longer beyond the reach of the criminal justice system.

Bunya pines are ancient, delicious and possibly deadly

Journalists pride themselves on getting straight to the point, but just for once we’re taking the time to meander, with our new series Beating Around the Bush.

Forcing immigrants to work in regional areas will not boost regional economies in the long run

Actually, binding migrants on temporary 457 visas to the country is largely ineffective in boosting regional economies in the long run.

An expanding universe and distant stars: tips on how to experience cosmology from your backyard

Want be a backyard cosmologist? You can.

Tip 1: Look up and imagine
Tip 2: Capture the stars
Tip 3: Watch star positions
Tip 4: Watch star brightness
Tip 5: Measure shifted light

We need your help to support The Conversation

Evidence-based journalism is critical for a healthy democracy, and increasingly under threat. We need your help to raise a quarter of our annual budget to continue producing just that.

Please give what you can.

How does being overweight affect my fertility?

Women who are overweight or obese are much less likely to conceive.

NSW's no-cull brumby bill will consign feral horses to an even crueller fate

Actually, research suggests there is no “safe number” of brumbies that will avoid harm to mountain ecosystems.

From The Conversation's editor Misha Ketchell:

Over the past seven years we have worked with academics to make their ideas and expertise accessible to a broad audience. Along the way we’ve created an entirely new way to deliver trusted journalism, at a time when fake news and disinformation have made people hungry for sources they can trust.

Our approach is simple: we only publish academics and researchers who know their subject and want to share their knowledge. It is working brilliantly. Our audience has almost doubled in the past year, to more than 10 million unique visitors to our site each month. We have more than 20,000 media outlets that republish our content, including a close collaboration with the ABC.

Our rigorous journalism is having a positive impact on public debate in Australia. Articles have been quoted in parliament. Peer-reviewed FactChecks have made politicians and public figures more circumspect about making outlandish claims (they’ve told us so). Our Curious Kids articles are teaching primary school age children about the wonders of the world, and connecting them with some of our leading academic thinkers.

Meanwhile, independent teams in the UK, US, Africa, France and Canada have joined us and taken up our unique approach. A pilot is underway in Indonesia and an editor is working with universities in New Zealand. Over time, The Conversation can become a knowledge network of true global significance.

But this editorial success is only one part of the equation and on its own it is never enough. Unless we can find a way to replace project based funding that is coming to an end, we will need to do less. We need your help to raise a quarter of our annual budget over the next two weeks.

We do have generous financial support from many universities and institutional supporters who care as much about the public interest as we do. But these contributions aren’t enough to fully cover our costs, so we rely on you, our readers.

For the next two weeks we will be holding our annual donor drive and asking that you support our work to improve the quality of public information in Australia and beyond. With your help we can check more facts, report more research and provide more informed explanations of complex problems.

Please help us serve the public good by making a tax deductible donation of $30 a month, or whatever you can. We’ll be indebted to you. And so will everyone who is dismayed by the rise of fake news and wants access to clean information they can trust.

Here's what's on the horizon for a male contraceptive pill – but don't hold your breath

It takes two to tango - so why don’t we have a male contraceptive pill yet?

Why I support The Conversation

In the next two weeks we need to raise a quarter of our annual budget so we can continue to improve the quality of public information in Australia and beyond. Donate here: https://bit.ly/1OrkjD2

Here's what some of our current donors had to say about why they support The Conversation.

New 'virtual kidnapping' scam targeting Chinese students makes use of data shared online

A new scam tricks families based overseas into paying a ransom for Chinese students in Australia who have supposedly been kidnapped.

We have no idea how much microplastic is in Australia's soil (but it could be a lot)

Microplastic in the soil is extremely difficult to track (or remove).

The live export trade is unethical. It puts money ahead of animals' pain

From Peter Singer: "Even those who think that human interests normally override the interests of animals can see that what happened on the Awassi Express was wrong and ought not to be allowed to happen again."

How to choose the right contraceptive pill for you

There are more than 30 types of oral contraceptive pills, so choosing one isn't always an easy choice.

The Liberals have a serious women problem – and it's time they took action to change it

The Liberals have a serious women problem, and it's time they did something about it.

Going Down finds hilarious satire in migrant identity

Going Down is a vibrant, layered comic exploration of stereotypes, from piccolo-quaffing urban Melbournites to migrant memoirists from ethnic minorities.

If we can't recycle it, why not turn our waste plastic into fuel?

Could this be turned into fuel, instead of just more plastic?

How information warfare in cyberspace threatens our freedom

This article is the fourth in a five-part series exploring Australian national security in the digital age.

We asked five experts: is it ok to give children pain killers?

Parents worry about giving their kids pain relief. Four out of five experts say it's OK.

Grattan on Friday: Fixing citizenship imbroglio is not just a matter of better paperwork

According to the committee more than half of all Australians would have to reorder some aspect of their affairs if they wanted to nominate for parliament.

Your weekly #auspol wrap from Michelle Grattan.

Finkel: overcoming our mistrust of robots in our homes and workplaces

What is it about AI that unnerves us? Alan Finkel suspects it’s a combination of things.

The Conversation UK

Experts on comic strips are explaining what they know.

Australia needs a better conversation about religious freedom

We must protect people from harmful speech. But the cause of freedom must exceed the creation of religious exemptions

The latest health data breach is one reason why I’ll be opting out of MyHealthRecord

"This data breach, and the rate at which they are occurring throughout the healthcare sector, further reinforces my intention to opt out."

Women are less likely to be replaced by robots and might even benefit from automation

Research shows women are better positioned than men to resist the automation of work and possibly even benefit from it.

Why are 'feminine' crafts like basket weaving disparaged by politicians?

"Oh, you're such a basketweaver..." Why are 'feminine' crafts like basket weaving used as insults?

It's OK to skip your period while on the pill

Many women think they have to "let themselves bleed" every month, but actually the period you get when you're on the pill isn't a real period, and it's OK to skip it.

Long-running battle ends in a win for residents, koalas and local council planning rules

A victory for residents and koalas as court upholds rights of local councils to protect neighbourhood amenity from developments.

What happens to small towns whose water becomes big business for bottled brands?

Groundwater being pumped from a highland aquifer, only to be whisked away in tankers and sold in little plastic bottles by a multinational corporation – it’s a difficult concept for a small farming town to swallow.

Acupuncture during IVF doesn't increase chances of having a baby

Just look online and you'll see a plethora of clinics offering acupuncture to coincide with IVF. A new study has found it doesn't increase your chance of having a baby.

Let’s abandon NAPLAN – we can do better

Getting rid of NAPLAN would remove a distraction from the classroom and allow teachers more time to understand and address the needs of the students.

Big Wednesday: four decades between surfing and myth making

Contemporary surfing culture and iconography have been deeply influenced by the legacy of Big Wednesday.

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