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Willie Wonders Why

‘The Braggs’ are a big deal in South Australia. There are busts on the main street, a very fancy, new building named after them at the University of Adelaide and even a beautiful children's book about their accomplishments. Even RiAus gets caught up in Bragg Fever every year and honours them. But that doesn’t really tell us much, yes, they’re famous and apparently important to science, but why?

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Native Title

Native title claims in Australia are met with a number of reactions; fear, confusion, misunderstanding, support or admiration, it is a tricky area with a lot of legal and social implications to the greater public. But, that doesn’t really explain what they actually are and the process. So settle in, here’s a breakdown of Native Title in honour of NAIDOC week 2015.

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Ophidiophobia

One of my parent’s favourite stories is of when I was a child and they took me to the reptile park. We followed the nice reptile man around and watched him feed all of the snakes. And then we got to the Death Adder. I was two, twenty years on and I still can’t even handle looking at a picture of a snake without freaking out. Thanks Mum and Dad! It’s only in the last few years that I realised this fear was actually a phobia. Ophidiophobia to be more specific.

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What is COP21?

Today marks 150 days until COP21, and the start of RiAus’ journey with Tim Jarvis; 25zero. Needless to say, we’re all REALLY excited about the next few months as we go on a virtual journey with Tim across the equator. But it does raise the question, what is COP21 and why should we care?

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Pompeii

Volcanoes are such astonishing works of nature, in a moment they can completely recreate the world around us. Volcanic eruptions destroy the land around them and can relocate thousands of people in a day. And they are erupting all of the time; just here in Australia we’re not really aware of it thanks to our lack of large, active fiery mounds of doom. But, these eruptions are also the creation of new life, volcanoes are the way in which islands are created (and destroyed), after years and years, the volcanic ash that has been scattered across the land helps new plants to colonise the land. Just think of Hawaii! But there is one thing that a volcano has given us that was unpredictable and completely unexpected. A greater insight into the Roman Empire in 79AD.

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Cars on Mars

Mars has been in the media a lot lately, whether it’s because there are plans to fly people to Mars in the next 20 years, or because of the chance that Mars may be hospitable to humans, The Red Planet has gained a fair bit of attention. And so it should, it is a fascinating planet and the next frontier of space exploration. But, how do we know so much about this fascinating place? The Mars Rovers.

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The Six Stages of Life

Every animal, from the smallest insect to humans travels through life on a journey from birth to death. We all go through it, but there are six major stages that are familiar across all groups on land and under the sea. Last year’s BBC series, ‘Life Story’ takes you through this exact journey, so does their latest exhibition at Vivid in Sydney, also conveniently called ‘Life Story’. Anyone who loves David Attenborough (as I do) will know that he also focuses on these six stages of life throughout many of his tales. So here are the six stages of life, and some really fascinating animals to match.

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A Little Long in the Tooth

Marine mammals are beautiful and, like most of the ocean and its inhabitants, mysterious. It’s also hard to tell how old they are. But the South Australian Museum has a wonderful laboratory that has helped us to unlock that mystery. But why? Why do we need to know how old a whale, dolphin, porpoise or sea lion is? Other than just being interesting, what’s the point?

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