In this issue

Issue 24


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New light on the origins of Australia’s flora
The Australian flora has fascinated science for two centuries. An estimated 80% of its species and more than 30% of its genera are found nowhere else in the world, easily the highest figures for any continent.
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Loss of woodland threatens cockatoos
With their raucous cries and their round-headed, almost hawk-like silhouettes against the sky, cockatoos are among the first creatures to impress the visitor to the Australian ‘bush’.
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Winning more coal from underground mines
As the miners put it, coal irretrievably lost to recovery is ‘sterilized’. It has been left in the mine perhaps because it would have been difficult to extract, because extraction would have destabilized the mine, or because roof falls or outbursts cut off access to it. The result is that, from the time underground coal-mining began in Australia in the early 1800s, more coal has been sterilized than has been brought to the surface.
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What are the best clouds to seed?
Cloud seeding got off to a spectacular start in Australia when the world's first artificially induced rain to reach the ground fell near Bathurst, N.S.W., in 1947. Since then, experiments have shown that, in some areas, well-planned seeding programs can produce useful increases in rainfall. The best results so far are from Tasmania, where CSIRO researchers have found that increases as great as 30% can be achieved in autumn.
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An energy-saving air cooler
In modern telephone exchanges, the electronic equipment is sometimes even more sensitive than the employees to Australia's summer heat. Telecom's exchange at Balranald, in the hot dry south-west of New South Wales, has given problems in the past with trunk lines dropping out during conversations. A new type of air-conditioning system was installed there last year to prevent over-heating.
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Nutritionally better plant proteins
The most abundant protein in the world is one found in plant leaves. It is an enzyme involved in photosynthesis, bearing the name ribulose diphosphate carboxylase.
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Australia’s fishing zone — vast and largely unknown
Australia's north-west shelf, the shallow sea-bed extending 100 km and more off the Western Australian coast north of Exmouth Gulf, has captured a lot of attention in recent years as a promising source of natural gas and, perhaps, oil. Less well known is the fact that it is also one of the country's richest fishing grounds.
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The world’s deadliest snake
South-western Queensland is not the place to suffer snakebite. Apart from its remoteness, it is home to the world's deadliest snake.
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