Science News in Brief – May 12th, 2017

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Representative Image / Source: stock images

Astronomy is one of the few winners in Australia science budget 

The new science budget for Australia is reportedly quite ‘bland’ and hardly remarkable. Les Field, the science policy secretary for the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra, said, “There are no big spending initiatives but no major cuts.” The CEO of Science and Technology Australia in Canberra, Kylie Walker, agreed and said that this budget reflects a ‘business as usual for science and technology) approach.

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Image: CSIRO.

Since the release of the budget on May 9, it has been seen as rather weak in its support of publicly funded science research, especially in terms of the allotment to the Commonwealth scientific and industry research organization which recently suffered major cuts.

The budget does not also allow for private investment to take up the slack, slashing a tax incentive that was designed to stimulate innovation in the public sector. However, that seems to be counterbalanced by an investment in innovation in manufacturing.

Higher education will also not see a boost. While one needs forward estimates to determine how much will be lost or gained, it is clear that the budget favours one branch – Astronomy. Astronomy has received $19 million to take part in major initiatives around the world and has a guarantee for a few more years.

Scientists name dinosaur after “Ghostbusters” villain

Royal Ontario Museum scientists have discovered the fossil of a 75-million-year-old species of armoured dinosaur which was unusually well preserved. It has been termed the ankylosaur in taxonomical, formal biological, classification and will be covered in the prestigious Royal Society Open  Science Journal.

However, it has also been named the Zuuul crurivastator, also known as the destroyer of shins. The destroyer of shins title comes from the movie Ghostbusters – the name is sure to delight many a movie fan.

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Image: Danielle Dufault/Royal Ontario Museum.

A palaeontologist, Victoria Arbour, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the ROM and the University of Toronto, said, “Me and my co-author David Evans were batting around for  ideas for what to name it, and I just half-jokingly said, ‘It looks like Zuul from Ghostbusters’…Once we put that out there we couldn’t not name it that.”

Big Bang celebration from the Vatican

The Vatican has put on a celebration of standard Big Bang cosmology through the Vatican Observatory. The Vatican invited some of the best cosmologists and scientists to discuss gravitational waves, space-time singularities, and black holes.

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Image: CBC/The Associated Press.

It is an event honouring the legacy of one of the great Jesuit scientists ever to have lived named George Lemaitre. The Vatican Observatory was founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 to correct the false notion that the Catholic Church is in some way hostile to science.

This has been a consistent motif of derogatory commentary on the receptivity and acceptance of science by the Catholic Church since the heresy trial of Galileo 400 years or so ago. The current position of the Vatican however, is that science and its explanations can quite harmoniously co-exist with religion. The head of the observatory, Brother Guy Consolmagno emphasised that belief in God and the Big Bang are reconcilable and not necessarily in conflict.


About Scott Jacobsen 318 Articles
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.

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