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News & Politics Podcasts


'Futuring' can help us survive the climate crisis. And guess what? You're a futurist too

When we are imagining this time, next year, are we limiting our thinking to how we avoid the conditions we faced in this summer? Or are there bigger questions we can ask?ShutterstockEditor’s note: Today, on Trust Me, I’m An Expert, we hear from Clare Cooper, design lecturer at the University of Sydney, on how futuring techniques can help us think collectively about life under a drastically hotter climate. Her accompanying essay is below. Australians, no matter where we are, are coming...


The Dish in Parkes is scanning the southern Milky Way, searching for alien signals

The Parkes radio telescope can detect extremely weak signals coming from the most distant parts of the Universe.ShutterstockFor John Sarkissian, operations scientist at the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope, astronomy has been his life’s passion – starting from the age of six. “When I was six years old, I watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon,” he says of the radio telescope made famous in the film The Dish. “In fact, on the cover of my year nine mathematics textbook was a...


'The size, the grandeur, the peacefulness of being in the dark': what it's like to study space at Siding Spring Observatory

Today we hear about some of the fascinating space research underway at Siding Spring Observatory – and how, despite gruelling hours and endless paperwork, astronomers retain their sense of wonder for the night sky.ShutterstockHow did our galaxy form? How do galaxies evolve over time? Where did the Sun’s lost siblings end up? Three hours north-east of Parkes lies a remote astronomical research facility, unpolluted by city lights, where researchers are collecting vast amounts of data in an...


Antibiotic resistant superbugs kill 32 plane-loads of people a week. We can all help fight back

Antibiotics can be a wonder for treating bacterial infections – but we need to be cautious in how we use them.From shutterstock.comYou might think antibiotic resistance is something to worry about in the distant future. But it’s already having a deadly impact today. The number of people dying globally every week from antibiotic resistant infections is equivalent to 32 Boeing 747s full of people. And if that sounds scary, the projections for the future are even scarier. On today’s episode...


Nearly all your devices run on lithium batteries. Here's a Nobel Prizewinner on his part in their invention – and their future

Lithium ion batteries revolutionised the way we use, manufacture and charge our devices. They’re used to power mobile phones, laptops and even electric cars.ShutterstockBritish-born scientist M. Stanley Whittingham, of Binghamton University, was one of three scientists who won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work developing lithium-ion batteries. L-R: John Goodenough; Stanley Whittingham; Akira Yoshino, the three scientists who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry this year for...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: forensic entomology, or what bugs can tell police about when someone died

Maggots are a major part of the puzzle when it comes to collecting forensic evidence. ShutterstockA few episodes ago, we heard from forensic scientists at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) – that’s the official name for what, in books and movies, they would call a body farm. It’s there, at a secret bushland site, researchers are making some surprising discoveries about how donated human bodies decompose in Australian conditions. One of the researchers...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: what science says about how to lose weight and whether you really need to

Have you been told by your doctor to consider dropping a few kilos? The good news is that often even a small amount of weight loss can improve your health outlook.shutterstockEverywhere you turn these days, there’s a diet ad, or family member or friend raving about some new diet that apparently works wonders. But what does the research actually say about how to lose weight - and if you even need to lose it in the first place? To find out, The Conversation’s Alexandra Hansen interviewed...


Trust Me, I'm An Expert: Queensland still mystifies too many politicians but its needs are surprisingly simple

Are southern-born politicians talking about a state they essentially don't understand?ShutterstockThe dust has well and truly settled on Scott Morrison’s surprise victory in this year’s federal election but opinion is still divided on exactly what happened in Queensland. Why did Labor perform so poorly in the Sunshine State? Is Queensland an inherently conservative part of Australia? During the campaign, were southern-born politicians talking about a state they essentially didn’t...


Trust Me, I’m An Expert: Why the Hong Kong protesters feel they have nothing to lose

Protesters holding umbrellas amid heavy rain march in an anti-government rally in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.AAP/EPA/VIVEK PRAKASHLast weekend, hundreds of thousands of people again took to the streets in Hong Kong to protest against the government – the 11th straight weekend of demonstrations that began in June over a proposed extradition bill. But after more than two months of increasingly violent clashes between demonstrators and the police, this protest was peaceful. No tear gas was...


What's the next 'giant leap' for humankind in space? We asked 3 space experts

Today, we're asking two astrophysicists and a planetary scientist: what's the likelihood we'll be living on Mars or the Moon in future?Pixabay/WikiImages, CC BYYou’ve probably heard that this week marks 50 years since humans first set foot on the Moon – a feat that still boggles the mind given the limitations of technology at the time and the global effort required to pull it off. If you’re as fascinated as we are about the history and future of space exploration, check out The...


'This is going to affect how we determine time since death': how studying body donors in the bush is changing forensic science

Research underway at the University of Technology, Sydney's AFTER facility is yielding some surprising new findings about how bodies decompose in the Australian bush.Supplied by UTS, Author provided (No reuse)On the outskirts of Sydney, in a secret bushland location, lies what’s officially known as the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER). In books and movies, it’d be called a body farm. Maiken Ueland at the AFTER facility run by UTS.Supplied by UTS, Author...


'People felt totally trapped': what it's like to be a pensioner renting privately as Australia's housing costs soar

Older private renters are far more likely to experience loneliness than their counterparts in social housing and that loneliness can be acute.ShutterstockA growing number of older Australians don’t own their homes. And whether they are private renters or live in social housing can make a big difference to their risk of loneliness and anxiety. That’s the key finding of research led by Alan Morris, a professor at the UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance, who interviewed older...


India election 2019: millions of Indian youth are underemployed and going to the polls

Indian general elections begin April 11.vepar5/shutterstockHere’s an astonishingly large number. Around 900 million Indians are heading to the polls to decide if they want to reelect the current government of Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). India Tomorrow is a seven-part podcast series by The Anthill (produced by The Conversation UK), exploring some of the major issues facing India – identity politics, the rise of Hindu nationalism, Kashmir, the role...


Nimbin before and after: local voices on how the 1973 Aquarius Festival changed a town forever

A scene at the Aquarius Festival, Nimbin, 1973. Flickr/Harry Watson Smith, CC BY-SA, CC BY-SAToday, Trust Me, I’m An Expert brings you a special episode carried across from another Conversation podcast, Essays On Air. In the north-east corner of Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales is a small former dairying and banana farming community. Today, however, that village is unrecognisable. Nimbin is now widely acknowledged as Australia’s counter-cultural capital, a sister city...


'Labor will win this election. I think that's virtually unquestionable': political scientist Andy Marks on #AusVotes2019 and the key issues in NSW

Political scientist Andy Marks says: ‘I’d suggest the momentum is with Labor and it hasn’t substantially shifted’. AAP Image/NIC ELLISWe are but a few weeks from a federal election, and the way the wind is blowing may depend on what state you’re in. Trust Me, I’m An Expert – along with Politics with Michelle Grattan – is bringing you state-focused podcast episodes as polling day approaches. To catch up on all the political drama unfolding in NSW, I spoke to political scientist (and...


The myth of 'the Queensland voter', Australia's trust deficit, and the path to Indigenous recognition

Today we're asking: what Queensland seats are the ones to watch on election night? How to give Indigenous Australians a true voice in politics? And how can we improve trust in the political system?ShutterstockToday we’re bringing you a special discussion about the federal election that took place at the launch of a book of Conversation essays, Advancing Australia: Ideas for a Better Country. Recorded at Avid Reader bookshop in Brisbane on April 17, the discussion featured Indigenous...


Mukurtu: an online dilly bag for keeping Indigenous digital archives safe

Mukurtu is a Warumungu word meaning “dilly bag” or a safe keeping place for sacred materials. Nina Maile Gordon/The Conversation CC-NY-BDReader advice: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article may contain images of people who have died. A few years ago, the State Library of NSW was working with Moree’s Dhiiyaan Centre to pull together archival photographs of the 1965 Freedom Rides, an Aboriginal-led protest against racist segregationist policies in...


PODCAST: Michelle Grattan, Peter Martin and Tim Colebatch on the election-eve budget chock full of sweeteners

Today on Trust Me I'm An Expert, we're bringing you a special episode carried across from The Conversation podcast Politics with Michelle Grattan.Mick Tsikas(AAP)/The Conversation/ShutterstockToday’s federal budget, as predicted, was chock full of sweeteners designed to woo voters on the eve of what promises to be a bitterly fought election. We’ve got loads of analysis and at-a-glance graphics over here but if you’re just looking for the short, sharp version – what was announced, who’s...


It's your money they're spending in this election-eve budget. Here's how we're covering the story

In Tuesday night's budget we can expect a last ditch attempt to woo voters ahead of the election in May.AAP Image/Mick TsikasNext Tuesday night is budget night, and it’s happening on the eve of a federal election where the Coalition is in for the fight of its life to hold onto government. The Conversation’s team of editors and experts will be in the budget lockup at parliament house next Tuesday, where they’ll have early access to what the government plans to do with our money this...


Mark Latham in the upper house? A Coalition minority government? The NSW election is nearly upon us and it's going to be a wild ride

It's a fight for a rapidly vanishing centre, which will make passing bills difficult for whoever wins.Chris Pavlich/Dean Lewins(AAP)We are but weeks away from an election in New South Wales – polling day is on March 23 – and it will be eagerly watched. Not just for the outcome but for the implications for the looming federal election. That’s according to Dr Andy Marks, a political scientist from Western Sydney University, who tells us on the podcast today that this state election outcome...