Editor's note

Online arguments are nothing new. But the internet, once seen as a kind of global village square, is now home to genuine international conflict as well as cat videos. In the latest in our in-depth Zoom Out essay series, Tom Sear describes how nation states run covert operations and political power plays via the web platforms most of us use every day. And that can even make us unwitting pawns in the game.

Speaking of international conflict, has your Australian accent ever been the butt of jokes from other English-speakers such as Americans? Laugh no longer, say Howard Manns and Kate Burridge. They debunk some of the myths around the evolution of the ‘Strayan twang, and hopefully put the cultural cringe to bed along the way.

While all eyes were on Tasmania’s bushfire emergency in January, you may not have heard of the other blazes that were raging in the remote Tjoritja National Park near Alice Springs. Christine Schlesinger and Barry Allen Judd describe how the fire threat in this and other desert areas is being worsened by the spread of invasive buffel grass.

Michael Hopkin

Editor: Energy + Environment

Top story

There is a vast infrastructure of digital tools that can be used to strategically manipulate behaviour for tactical gain. Shutterstock

The internet is now an arena for conflict, and we’re all caught up in it

Tom Sear, UNSW

Nation states are covertly working against each other on the very same digital platforms they use to collaborate in areas such as trade and manufacturing.

Wes Mountain/The Conversation

Oi! We’re not lazy yarners, so let’s kill the cringe and love our Aussie accent(s)

Howard Manns, Monash University; Kate Burridge, Monash University

The Aussie accent has been lambasted as "lazy", but this view doesn't come from the facts.

Fire has burned through a swathe of the Tjoritja National Park.

The summer bushfires you didn’t hear about, and the invasive species fuelling them

Christine Schlesinger, Charles Darwin University; Barry Judd, Charles Darwin University

Tasmania wasn't the only part of Australia that burned in January. The remote interior near Alice Springs saw a huge blaze, worsened by invasive buffel grass.

Politics + Society

Environment + Energy

  • Curious Kids: what happens when fruit gets ripe?

    Paul Holford, Western Sydney University

    Fruit ripening is all about plants getting animals to eat the seeds that are inside their fruits. This helps the plants get their seeds to somewhere new where they can grow into a new plant.

Health + Medicine

Arts + Culture


Business + Economy

Science + Technology


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