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Issue 22


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Australian oil — an elusive resource
Oil-fouled beaches: most people think of them as a sign of our time. We hear so much about accidents involving supertankers — and about captains who wash out their tanks at sea — that they, naturally, get the blame.
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Native plants at risk
Understandably, more public concern has been given to the plight of our native animals than to this country's plants. Yet a recent study lists more than 2000 Australian plant species as actually or potentially at risk. This figure — derived by Mr William Hartley and Dr John Leigh, of the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry — is equivalent to about 10% of the total known indigenous flora.
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Melbourne’s ozone pollution
Like any other large city, Melbourne experiences particular days when the concentration of ozone in the air is particularly high. On average, Melbourne exceeds on one day in five the World Health Organization standard of 5.6 parts of ozone per hundred million. What happens on that day? After all, every business day, the same stream of traffic spews out the same pollutants.
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The loneliness of the long-range weather forecaster
A meteorologist getting himself involved in long-range forecasting is frequently regarded in the same light as an astronomer dabbling in astrology. Both individuals are considered as practitioners of black arts that are beyond the scientific pale. Perhaps this is because most meteorologists have shied away from the problem, perceiving that they have enough problems predicting tomorrow's weather, let alone next month's, or next year's.
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Leeuwin Current revealed
Look up the world's ocean currents in an atlas, and you will probably find a northward-pointing arrow indicating the West Australian Current flowing up the Western Australian coast. Look further, and you will observe the Benguela and Humboldt Currents, which also flow northwards, up the western coasts of Africa and South America respectively.
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Dust control in mining towns
Have you ever heard o f mullock? It's waste rock from mining operations. Who would have thought it could be put to use in reducing the dust storms that often afflict some of our old mining towns?
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What does CSIRO do?
Ever wished you could lay your hands on a directory that tells you what research CSIRO is doing? CSIRO Research Programs 1979–80, a new publication, does this most comprehensively.
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A high-country perspective
Last June, the Land Conservation Council of Victoria announced its final recommendations for the future of the State's alpine areas. Publication by the Council of its proposed recommendations 14 months previously had caused quite a furore, with the result that diverse interests within the community bombarded it with no less than 14 013 submissions commenting on these earlier proposals.
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When emus over-indulge
As summer passes, the fruit o f the nitre bush (Nitraria billardieri) ripens in the Riverina of south-eastern Australia. Soon flocks of voracious emus, sometimes 80 in number, will descend upon the cherry-like fruit for their annual feast.
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