Albert Einstein wrote a letter 72 years ago that showed his curiosity about birds and bees


It turns out he also had a keen interest in the birds and the bees. 

In a previously unknown letter penned by the Nobel prize-winning physicist, Einstein considered whether new physics insights could come from studying how animals sense the world around them.

The short letter was addressed to Glyn Davys, an engineer with the Royal British Navy, in October 1949, and mentioned the prominent bee researcher Karl von Frisch.

Its content suggests that Einstein’s thought processes were ahead of his time, with research on animal sensory systems not emerging for another seven decades. 

The letter, which was studied by a team led by RMIT researchers, was published this week in The Journal of Comparative Physiology A.

Adrian Dyer, a vision scientist at RMIT in Melbourne, said the letter demonstrated that Einstein was curious about science outside of physics and mathematics. 

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Friday news quiz: Will you be named Quiz Commander? Or will you have to give back all the quiz awards you’ve earned?


Let’s see if you widened your news knowledge with our weekly news quiz.

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What’s the economic impact of Ramadan on Muslim businesses?


It can see the majority of their clientele shift not only their eating habits but also how they spend their money.

It’s a month that’s been described by some Muslim businesses in Sydney as a festival of food with options aplenty for the eager foodie looking for a late night meal.

But in Underwood, a hub for the local Muslim community in the south-east of Brisbane, it’s a different story.

Oguzhan Cevik is the owner and manager of Micasa, a Muslim-owned cafe in the area.

He is frustrated whenever customers come into the store to say to him: “You guys must be pumping during Ramadan.”

“When I tell them that actually, it’s our worst month of the year, they’re very shocked.”

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UQ quiet on new green bridges, despite 35 per cent rise in cycling


“UQ encourages active transport and supports Brisbane City Council’s proposal to create a river crossing that provides clean and safe options for staff, students and visitors to travel to campus and better connects the university with other parts of the city.

The two bridges between St Lucia and West End and Toowong and West End each have three options.

The two bridges between St Lucia and West End and Toowong and West End each have three options.

“If the council decides to proceed with the proposed bridge between St Lucia and West End, the university would welcome the opportunity to engage with BCC at the appropriate time.”

The two bridges between St Lucia and West End, and Toowong and West End each have three options.

Council, which is still studying the public submissions, has not yet revealed the community’s preferred options.

“The proposed alignment for each bridge will be subject to further community consultation, technical investigations and feasibility assessments,” a spokesman said.

The preliminary business cases are not expected to be completed until later in the year, however surveys by the Greens on websites run by Gabba councillor Jonathan Sri and state MPs Amy MacMahon and Michael Berkman show two preferred options:

  • between St Lucia’s Guyatt Park to West End’s Orleigh Park (Option A) and;
  • from the former ABC site at Toowong to Forbes Street in West End (Option A).

Cr Sri said the party’s Facebook surveys showed a broad range of views.

“I think there is majority support for a bridge somewhere between West End and St Lucia, and it seems there is a slim majority of support between Orleigh Park and Guyatt Park as the best spot,” he said.

However, Cr Sri added that these surveys were secondary to council’s full consultation process.

“They ran their own surveys, and it will be interesting to see those results.”

Dr David Pincus, convenor of St Lucia’s Save Guyatt Park community group, said the public consultation did not ask residents if they thought a green bridge at St Lucia was even necessary.

“All we were ever asked was, ‘If we have one, where will it be?’ ” he said.

Dr Pincus said cyclists can already use the ferry to cross the river.

“The prospect of having even a free [ferry] service back and forward would be infinitely better than spending the $200 million,” he said.

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Is genetically modified corn the answer to fall armyworm? 


Fall armyworm (FAW) has infiltrated six states and territories and is so hard to control farmers are whispering about a method that’s been off the table for almost two decades — genetically modified (GM) corn.

Maize Association of Australia chairman Stephen Wilson said questions were being raised about whether GM corn could manage the armyworm incursion.

“It’s a major discussion point for the industry as a whole because for the last three decades we, as an industry, as the Maize Association, have been working uniformly to say we do not need GM in Australia.” 

Since arriving in Australia in February 2020, fall armyworm has been detected in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and, most recently, in Tasmania. 

Fall armyworm is native to the United States, where it has devastated multiple agricultural crops, but growers there have different tools to fight it. 

North Carolina State University professor and extension specialist Dr Dominic Reisig said in their industry, corn was genetically modified to produce insecticidal proteins that naturally occured in a bacteria found in soil. It is known as BT corn.

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Vehicle pile-up closes northbound lanes of Pacific Motorway


A crash involving up to seven vehicles on the Pacific Motorway at Coomera on Tuesday morning caused lengthy delays around the Dreamworld theme park and one man was taken to hospital.

Northbound lanes were closed and police advised motorists to avoid the area after the crash about 4.50am.

Motorists on the Pacific Motorway face lengthy delays after a crash heading northbound at Coomera. 

Motorists on the Pacific Motorway face lengthy delays after a crash heading northbound at Coomera. Credit:Nine News

A single vehicle was believed to have crashed, with a further six cars becoming involved in an accident at the scene.

One man was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital with head and neck pain and in a stable condition.

Gold Coast senior operations supervisor Adam Flory said it appeared one of the occupants of the vehicles had a medical episode.

He said ambulance staff were also stuck in delays caused by the crash.

“We’ve got staff stuck in that accident, we’ve been told they’ve been sitting stationary for 45 minutes, so there are some significant delays,” he said.

“As a result of that accident there’s significant delays northbound at Coomera, which has resulted in all lanes of the northbound blocked.”

As of 9.30am, all lanes were reopened.

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What is Australia’s space division, and why is it in the military?


It was announced over the weekend that Royal Australian Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts will lead the division from January.

The newly created military space command, which will draw on all aspects of the Australian Defence Force, will “allow us to establish an organisation to sustain, force-generate, operate space capabilities and assign them to a joint operation command if needed”, according to RAAF chief Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld.

The RAAF chief has said previously that unlike other nations like China and Russia, Australia would not seek to develop technologies to attack enemy satellites.

But what does that mean? Why is the proposed Australian space division in the military? And how does it compare to others around the world?

As far as international movers and shakers in space defence go, you may think Australia is a bit player.

But while we may seem like small fry when compared to the likes of the US, Australia already has an impressive track record in communications and observation satellites, said Cassandra Steer, space law lecturer and mission specialist with the Australian National University’s Institute of Space.

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Three-vehicle crash closes Milton Road, paramedics on scene


Up to three people were being treated by paramedics and Milton Road was blocked after a multi-vehicle crash in Auchenflower on Tuesday morning.

Police advised motorists to avoid Milton Road, which was blocked in both directions, after three vehicles were believed to have crashed about 9am.

A man with chest injuries was being treated by paramedics, while a woman was expected to be taken to hospital.

A child was also believed to be involved in the crash.

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New laws help Queensland’s first responders experiencing PTSD as MPs recall painful pasts


WARNING: This story contains graphic details that readers may find distressing.

During the session, several MPs detailed their own exposure to trauma as frontline workers before entering politics.

A 2018 report by Beyond Blue found one in three emergency service workers have high or very high psychological distress, and one in four ex-first responders had PTSD

Queensland government minister Craig Crawford was among the MPs who shared a story of “lived experience”.

Mr Crawford was a paramedic for 20 years, as well as a volunteer firefighter in Victoria.

“I saw more cardiac arrests and more fatalities than I can poke a stick at,” Mr Crawford told Parliament.

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SES search Brisbane property after woman’s death


State Emergency Service personnel were searching a Brisbane property on Wednesday after a woman’s death at the weekend.

Police are investigating the death at the home in Taigum, on Brisbane’s northside, after emergency services were called to the Muller Road property just after midday on Saturday.

Police said the 53-year-old woman was found collapsed inside the home by a relative.

Emergency services responded and tried to revive the woman, but she died at the scene.

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