Online Gamers Solve Science’s Big Problems

January 18th, 2014
If you thought online gaming was nothing but a waste of time, perhaps it’s time to change your perspective. An increasing number of gamers are helping scientists unravel the secrets of the universe, thanks to a new wave of games that merge science and fun in surprising and useful ways. Whether it’s an unsolved medical puzzle or an astronomical challenge, some of the biggest problems in science are being solved in virtual environments by people with no scientific training. Scientists started to recognise the potential of online gaming in 2011, when an online puzzle game called Foldit helped to resolve the structure of an enzyme that causes an Aids-like disease in monkeys. Even though scientists from the University of Washington had been baffled by this problem for 13 years, a group of untrained online gamers managed to break the code in three short weeks. Since this amazing feat, a wide range of games have been released on the Internet by scientists hoping to solve other big problems. An online game called Planet Hunters has also enjoyed success, with gamers already discovering 40 planets missed by professional astronomers since its release in 2012. Planet Hunters is offered through the Zooniverse website,…

How Low Can the Aussie Dollar Go

January 17th, 2014

The Australian dollar is at its lowest level in over three years, now sitting well below 90 US cents. In mid-January, the Aussie suffered its weakest weekly performance in over six months, with some commentators forecasting even lower levels for the months ahead. With a number of domestic and international factors continuing to undermine the local currency, just how low […]

Positive Expectations for 2014

January 10th, 2014

Expectations are high for a bumper 2014, after massive growth in the Australian property market over the last 12 months. House prices are forecast to rise throughout the year, with regional centres and country areas expected to join capital city hotspots. While disparity between investors and first home buyers will still be a problem for people trying to enter the […]

Household Tech

January 3rd, 2014

The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has just finished up in Las Vegas, with companies from around the world showing off a wide range of new products. Alongside the TV innovations and new tablet designs that get so much attention, the show also highlights a growing number of household tech products designed to transform your domestic environment. Smarter homes are […]

Holiday Hotspots

December 27th, 2013

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2014, with Aussies and Kiwis ready to travel both overseas and at home this year. While the low Aussie dollar may keep some people at home and the relative strength of the Kiwi will boost the Aussie tourism industry, the draw of an overseas holiday is as strong as ever. From quiet […]

Biggest Events in 2013 According to Google

December 20th, 2013

With 2013 nothing more than a memory, it’s time to look back at the last 12 months according to Google. Each year the Internet search giant publish an overview of the previous 12 months, based on search pattern trends from around the world. Whether its celebrities, technology, or something else entirely, Google know exactly what the world was looking for […]

Investment Finance Drives Mortgage Approvals

December 12th, 2013

Low interest rates and growing confidence continue to strengthen the property market, with mortgage approvals rising for the ninth time in ten months. However, fi rst home buyers were under-represented in the latest figures, with the vast majority of new money coming from investors. While this imbalance is causing concern in some quarters, there is evidence that current investment will […]

How the Big Four Banks Share the Mortgage Market

December 5th, 2013

The big four Australian banks have long held a dominant position in the mortgage market, but even among them, things are far from equal. According to a recent assessment by investment bank Nomura, based on figures released by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, NAB and ANZ continue to dominate the home lending market, with Commonwealth steady and Westpac falling behind. […]

Households Ready to Spend this Christmas

November 29th, 2013

Strong Christmas sales are expected on both sides of the Tasman, with consumer confidence growing in Australia and steady in New Zealand. According to the latest figures from Roy Morgan Research, an increasing majority of households believe now is a good time to purchase white goods, entertainment products, electronics, and other major household items. The Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Rating […]

Why Fat is Good for you

November 22nd, 2013

After being told for almost half a century that fat is bad for us, a number of health experts are doing an abrupt about-face. Surprisingly, the consumption of heal thy fats can actually help to lower the risk of heart disease, along with boosting the immune system, regulating weight, and decreasing the chance of diabetes. However, it is important to […]

Christmas Around the World

November 15th, 2013

Christmas is an important part of global culture, both as a secular holiday and a defining element of the Christian religion. However, even though this special time of year is celebrated by millions of people around the world, not all Christmas traditions are the same. From pagan celebrations based on pre-Christian holidays through to strange European and Asian customs, Christmas […]