Author: Jen Martin

The perils of seeking happiness: why our fixation on happiness might be bad for us

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Health / Myths / Psychology

It’s easy to imagine that if you live in one of the world’s happiest countries, your life is probably pretty good. But it turns out that the relationship between social expectations around happiness and our mental health is not so simple. Share the love: this post was written by University of Melbourne Science Communication student Spencer Clark. Do we overvalue happiness? Every March, in the lead-up to the International Day of Happiness, the Sustainable Development […]

The soles of your feet can tell us where you call home

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Biology / Environment / Evolution

A step above GPS, the individual microbiomes of a city can be as unique as a fingerprint and more diverse than a rainforest. Share the love: this post was written by University of Melbourne Science Communication student Morgan Spencer. But I thought the microbiome had something to do with your gut? Microbiomes are the communities of microorganisms that exist in a particular environment and they may be helpful or harmful to the place they call home. […]

A black box for the planet?

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Anthropology / Environment / Health

What happens if we don’t address the climate crisis? If the harm that comes from human greenhouse gas emissions goes on to irreversibly and catastrophically change the planet? Will there be a record of what came before? And of what went wrong? Share the love: this post was written by University of Melbourne Science Communication student Spencer Clark. In the aftermath of a horrific plane crash, one of the top priorities is the recovery of the […]

Taking the plunge into cold water immersion

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Health / Myths / Psychology

Can 30-seconds of cold water change your life? Let’s dive into the age-old topic of whether being immersed in cold water can bring you better health and wellbeing. Share the love: this post was written by University of Melbourne Science Communication student Talia Oates. What is cold water immersion? Have you ever heard of ‘The Iceman’? He’s a famous Dutch motivational speaker and founder of the ‘Wim Hof Method’. His method aims to achieve an […]

The art of climate change conversations

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Environment / Myths / Psychology

With recent reports of the hottest day ever recorded in Antarctica and Australia’s summer of extreme bushfires, it’s hard not to feel anxious and overwhelmed by the climate crisis.  If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering what personal action you can take that will actually make a difference. There are many things we can all do, and research shows simply having conversations about climate change is one of them. How we feel about climate change […]

Time flies, but why?

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Health / Myths / Psychology

Time is meant to be one of the few completely reliable and objective things in life. But it seems to slow down when we are afraid — think of a slow-motion car crash. And time flies when we’re having fun. Why is it that time seem to pass more quickly the older we get? Does our ability to assess the passing of time change as we age? I remember vividly as a child the last […]

Blame it on the full moon

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Astronomy / Health / Myths / Psychology

Tomorrow is Halloween, which leads to thoughts of ghosts, witches, vampires and scary pumpkin faces. But year round, many people believe a full moon is linked with other spooky stuff. Crime rates, psychiatric hospital admissions, emergency room visits, dog bites, sporting injuries and hyperactivity in kids are all said to increase during a full moon. Is there any truth to the rumours? Bad moon rising Also known as the Transylvania Effect, the idea that people […]

Why you (probably) can’t multitask

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Myths / Psychology

How many different things are you trying to do right now? Reading this blog post while listening to a podcast, posting on Instagram and checking email? It’s easy to think you’ll be more productive by doing lots of things at once. But it turns out for almost all of us, effective multitasking is an illusion. You’re not really multitasking With the possible exception of texting while driving, you probably think multitasking is something to aspire […]

The who, why and how of Stonehenge

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Anthropology / History / Myths

Legend has it Stonehenge was created by the wizard Merlin with the help of giants. Meanwhile, scientists have been studying the monument for centuries. What do we know about who built Stonehenge, and why? Giants and aliens Stonehenge, located on Salisbury Plain, is the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe.  It was built around 5,000 years ago by people who left no written record. As a result, it’s become one of our favourite mysteries: there are […]