Why optimistic people are more likely to be duped

In the first six months of 2015 Australians were fleeced of $45 million. The loss raises questions about how you avoid being scammed and the secret could be to get grumpy.
Sad subjects are better judges of deception than happy ones, according to a University of New South Wales study cited by 100-plus sources.

Read at the Age.

Antarctic researcher still blown away by continent’s beauty

Intrepid marine ecologist Dr Jonny Stark first visited Antarctica aboard Australia’s Aurora icebreaker in 1997. The sensation of sailing the freezing sea as part of his doctoral research felt “completely alien”, says Dr Stark, 46, speaking from his Dodges Ferry home near Hobart.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Money to burn has a rich history

Twenty years ago, British hell-raisers Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond gave the phrase “money to burn” new meaning through a dramatic act: incinerating £1 million.

The two Britons — the stars of the experimental rock group, KLF — committed the act on 23 August 1994, burning the bulk of their funds on a Scottish island.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Why electronic banking transactions can take so much time

On paper, it seems ridiculous. You send some money via electronic banking and the transaction apparently goes into limbo – overseas payments can be especially slow, reaching intended recipients after up to five business days, which can effectively mean a week.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Space junk expert charts fragments to avoid ‘Gravity’-style satellite wipeout

Australia is one of the world’s most space-reliant nations, with satellites delivering security and services to a far-flung population. The vital orbital devices are under threat, thanks to an estimated 300,000 space junk fragments that must be tracked – complex work with an epic precedent, according to the CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Space Environment Management, Dr Ben Greene. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Botanist Margaret Lowman urges children to muddy their boots

Unlike other botanists who plant their feet in the dirt, Dr Margaret Lowman  pursues high adventure. The so-called ‘‘mother of canopy research’’ has designed walkways and hot-air balloons for the purpose, becoming a legend in the process – another of her nicknames is the ‘‘Einstein of the treetops’’.

Read at the Age.

The pleasure of making money for others

Always keen on running, “Forrest Gump-style”, fresh-faced, Top End fund-raiser Tony Burns has channelled his energy into a range of roles: professional tennis player, iron-man, ultra-marathoner, hotelier, even rock-paper-scissors champion after accepting a bar room invitation to try his hand in 2010.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..