Fire v. shrubs in the semi-arid rangelands
The firestick is an ancient tool. It was central to the Aborigines' way of life, and they used it regularly to set fire to the country. In contrast, European settlers feared the effects of fire on life and property, and disapproved of the apparently casual use of fire by Aborigines. Ironically, we can now see that the early colony's vital pastoral industry depended upon the grasslands that these countless fires created.
Dietary supplements: why do we take them?
In the 1990s, the era of jogging, mineral water, work-outs, bean sprouts, and food faddism, we have become increasingly single-minded about attaining perfect health and vitality. The burgeoning health food industry is the visible evidence of the proliferation of what some call 'health food junkies'.
Search for improved salt tolerance
Some people like to take tequila with lemon in one hand and salt in the other. On the whole, though, citrus and salt never pair happily - either in the bar or in the kitchen - and nor do they in the field. But in the Sunraysia and Riverland districts of the Murray Valley, salinity is forcing the citrus and grapevine industries into a search for new plant varieties that can cope with salt.
The Murray: more salt coming?
Each time they turned on a tap during the 1978-79 South Australian drought, the residents of Adelaide were reminded of what the Murray River carries to the sea - not fresh, but salty water.
How fats and oils affect the heart
'Epidemic' is a word usually associated with transmitted diseases like 'flu or cholera. But this century has witnessed an epidemic of an illness not caused by either bacteria or viruses - coronary heart disease.
Blasting near buildings
Peace-loving citizens are apt to become annoyed when engineers begin blasting operations nearby. The explosions create two startling effects: a loud noise, and tremor of the ground underfoot.
Natural food colour from algae
Carotenes give oranges, carrots, tomatoes, apricots, egg yolk, corn, and lobsters their colour. The most common form is beta-carotene; food companies pay about $400 a kilogram for synthetic beta-carotene, which is used to colour margarine, cheese, fruit juice, soft drinks and many other products.
A way to pump lumps of coal
In the United States, a pipeline carries more than 4 million tonnes of pulverised coal a year from a mine in Arizona to a power station 439 kilometres away. In Tasmania, a pipeline carries finely crushed iron ore 85 kilometres from a concentrator at Savage River to Port Latta on the north coast.