Helix @ CSIRO

Get your hands on science

4 September 2015
by David
0 comments

Stick insect comeback

A large insect on a person's hand

The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect.
Image: Rohan Cleave / Melbourne Zoo

For millions of years, stick insects roamed the beautiful Lord Howe Island. Then one fateful day in 1918, a ship ran aground and fleeing rats decided to make the island home – and stick insects their dinner. Within a few years, people believed the insects were extinct.

Eighty years later, an expedition was sent to a nearby island. Ball’s Pyramid is a harsh and remote rock, 562 metres high and only 300 metres across. In a protected area on the rock, the expedition found a few stick insects living under a melaleuca tree. The Lord Howe Island stick insect was not extinct after all! Continue Reading →

3 September 2015
by David
0 comments

Win a trip to the zoo!

The cover of a book: Phasmid Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick InsectTo celebrate the launch of CSIRO Publishing’s book, Phasmid – Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect, we’re giving away five family passes to Melbourne Zoo.

Phasmid tells the amazing true story of one of the world’s most critically endangered insects, beautifully illustrated as a picture book.

One winner will go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the stick insect breeding project at the zoo.

For your chance to win, email us a poem about the Lord Howe Island stick insect to sciencemail@csiro.au. Entries close at midnight on Friday, 18 September 2015. Entrants need to be able to get to Melbourne Zoo.

Continue Reading →

31 August 2015
by David
0 comments

New tessellation discovered

Image: Wikimedia commons/Tomruen, by permission from www.jaapsch.net

Image: Wikimedia commons/Tomruen, by permission from www.jaapsch.net

If you wanted a really cool bathroom, what shape would you use for the tiles? Squares will work, or rectangles, or even hexagons. But can we use five-sided tiles? You may not know them, but there are a whole range of pentagonal tiling shapes. And a few weeks ago, mathematicians found a new one to join them. Continue Reading →

21 August 2015
by David
0 comments

Ebola end in sight

A green squiggle.

This green squiggle is an image of the Reston subtype of the Ebola virus.
Credit: CSIRO

It looks like the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for over a year may soon be under control. Last week, there were only a handful of new cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Meanwhile, scientists are getting closer to a vaccine to prevent these outbreaks from occurring again. Continue Reading →

27 July 2015
by David
0 comments

Budgies catch a yawn

A budgerigar with its beak open.

Warning: this picture might make you yawn!
Credit: ©iStock.com/vitalsss

Sometimes watching someone yawn makes you want to yawn yourself. And sometimes, watching a yawning video or even just reading the word yawn will do it. Feel like yawning now? It seems a very human reflex, but it turns out that budgies do it too. Continue Reading →