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Trust Me, I'm An Expert: the science of sleep and the economics of sleeplessness

You know you're not supposed to do this -- but you do.ShutterstockHow did you sleep last night? If you had anything other than eight interrupted hours of peaceful, restful sleep then guess what? It’s not that bad – it’s actually pretty normal. We recently asked five sleep researchers if everyone needs eight hours of sleep a night and they all said no, you don’t. Read more: We asked five experts: does everyone need eight hours of sleep? In fact, only about one quarter of us report...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: Food fraud, the centuries-old problem that won't go away

What is in these products? And if additives don't affect your health, would you care? ShutterstockWhat have you eaten today? And how much do you know about how it was produced, what was added to it along the way, and how it made its way to your plate? Even as most of us grow increasingly removed from actual food production, many consumers still take food fraud and perceptions of food purity incredibly seriously. Scandals around “meat glue” or milk and honey contamination, and the...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: Cyclone season approacheth, but this year there's a twist

The Bureau of Meteorology's tropical cyclone outlook is out today.AAP Image/Bureau of Meteorology, Japan Meteorological AgencyAustralia has just had its driest September on record, and the second driest month ever: the only drier month was April 1902. The Bureau of Meteorology’s tropical cyclone outlook is out today. It’s predicting a weaker-than-normal tropical cyclone season this year but if one hits – and it’s likely one will – it’ll bring water to rain-starved soil that will soak it up...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: Australia's extreme weather

Australia's cyclone season lies ahead.NASA / ESRSU / Seán Doran, CC BY-NC-SAIt’s easy to write off Australia’s extreme weather as business as usual. We deal with floods, droughts, cyclones and other wild events every year. But as climate change raises global temperatures, are the droughts happening more often? Are the floods getting worse? The October episode of Trust Me, I’m An Expert looks back through colonial evidence and prehistoric records, and forward to the Bureau of Meteorology’s...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: How augmented reality may one day make music a visual, interactive experience

Could music one day be something we experience through augmented reality, responding to the way we move through the world? Sound supplemented with colours and shapes? Mavis Wong/The Conversation NY-BD-CC, CC BY-SAYou probably heard your first strains of music when you were in utero. From then on it’s helped you learn, helped you relax, hyped you up, helped you work, helped you exercise, helped you celebrate and helped you grieve. Music is ingrained in so many aspect of our lives, but it’s...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: what the huge HILDA survey reveals about your economic well-being, health and family life

The enormous Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey tells the stories of the same group of Australians over the course of their lives.Mavis Wong/The Conversation NY-BD-CC, CC BY-SAOn today’s episode of the podcast, we’re talking about what one of Australia’s biggest longitudinal surveys and richest data sets, released today, says about how the nation is changing. And some of the trends may surprise you. The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: What is sport worth?

Alvaro Mendoza/Unsplash, CC BY-SAEven if you’re no great sports fan, you may have noticed a lot of it around lately. There were the Winter Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, and now we’re halfway through the 2018 FIFA World Cup. What isn’t always so obvious is the money and the diplomatic power plays lingering just below the surface of every big sporting meet. But a growing body of academic research is examining those elements and their complex interplay. So today we’re talking about...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: The explainer episode

After this episode, you'll be able to explain how quantum mechanics affects everything from the way your jeans are cut to the headphones you use.Cindy Zhi/The Conversation NY-BD-CC, CC BY-SAToday on Trust Me, I’m An Expert, we’re bringing you the explainer episode - where we ask researchers to unpack some truly tricky topics. The University of Queensland’s James Sherlock explains what psychology can reveal about why people like pimple popping and ingrown hair removal videos. They’re more...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: 'Dancing out of depression' – how Syrian refugees are using exercise to improve mental health

Dr Simon Rosenbaum in Gaziantep, Turkey, with participants in an exercise program for Syrian refugees. Simon Rosenbaum , Author provided (No reuse)A growing body of research is drawing a link between mental and physical health – and the connection is much stronger than you might realise. Simon Rosenbaum, a senior research fellow in school psychiatry at UNSW, had been researching the role of exercise in mental health treatment for years when he teamed up with a colleague, Ruth Wells. Wells...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: Brain-zapping, the curious case of the n-rays and other stories of evidence

Evidence isn't always as straightforward as it might first seem. Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC, CC BY-SAYou’ve had an x-ray before but have you had an n-ray? Of course not, because they’re not real. But people used to think they were. Scientists had shown they were. And the weird history of n-rays, explored in today’s episode of Trust Me, I’m An Expert, tells us a lot about people’s willingness to believe wrong information – but also how well-designed studies can debunk myths, reveal...


Trust Me I'm An Expert: The science of pain

Pain lets us know when there is something wrong, but sometimes our brains can trick us. Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC, CC BY-SAAs many as one in five Australians suffer from chronic and recurring pain. But despite its prevalence, it’s not always easy to find the help you need to manage it. “When I went through medical school, we had about one hour on acute pain. And the whole concept of chronic pain and how it’s so very different from acute pain was not something that was ever on our...


Trust Me I'm An Expert: Why February is the real danger month for power blackouts

There are ways we can stay cool in a heat wave without blasting air con at peak times.AAP Image/TRACEY NEARMYIt’s been hot – and it’s going to get hotter. Australia has experienced some record hot days in recent weeks and scientists say Sydney and Melbourne need to prepare for 50℃ days by the end of the century, or sooner. In today’s episode of Trust Me I’m An Expert, we’re unpacking the research on why some of the most disadvantaged parts of our cities cop the worst of a heatwave. And...


Trust Me, I'm an Expert: Risk

A time of change is upon us. How do you balance risk and reward?REUTERS/Laurent DubruleAh, the new year. A time for throwing off your shackles, following your bliss, quitting your job and abandoning your family to finally start the artisinal yak-butter-sculpture studio of your dreams. But big choices come with big risks. In this episode of Trust Me, I’m an Expert, Hassan Vally, an expert in epidemiology from La Trobe University, talks about “microlives”, which measure how much your life...


Marrying across Australia's Catholic-Protestant divide

John and Helen Haynes on their wedding day in 1962. John, a Protestant, was cut out of three wills after marrying Helen, a Catholic.Siobhan McHugh, Author providedThese days, when Australians of Irish Catholic descent have occupied the highest positions in the land, it may seem hollow to talk of them as marginalised. But right up to the 1970s the Catholic-Protestant divide was deeply entrenched – with painful and often lasting social consequences for those who dared to marry across...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: Competition

Sibling competition may have played a bigger role in human evolution than you thought.Flickr/Dmitry Boyarin, CC BY-SADid you fight with a brother or sister when you were little? Do you still? According to Rob Brooks, professor of evolutionary ecology at UNSW, sibling competition has played a more important role in human evolution than many of us realise. “Siblings compete with one another for the love and affection of their parents but even more importantly for the investment of their...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: a lawyer, a biblical scholar and a fact-checker walk into the same-sex marriage debate...

Our first episode of Trust Me, I'm An Expert tackles the debate unfolding as Australia contemplates changing the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couple to marry. Axel Heimken/dpaWhere should the line fall between protecting people’s right to hold religious beliefs and the right to be free from discrimination? It’s a question that’s emerged several times as the same-sex marriage debate has unfolded in Australia. “Freedom of religion is not absolute. And neither is anti-discrimination law....


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: a new podcast from The Conversation

On this podcast, academic experts separate the signal from the noise, the data from the anecdotes, explain the science, look at the peer-reviewed evidence and ignore the media hype. The Conversation, CC BY-NDTrust Me, I’m An Expert is a new monthly podcast from The Conversation, where we bring you the most fascinating, surprising stories from the academic world. On this show, we ask the experts to bust the myths, explain the science and put the news headlines into context – and to do it in...