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Issue 18


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Next year’s weather — the largest experiment ever
Experiments are the stuff of science. And for meteorologists seeking to comprehend the fickle ways of the weather, their laboratory is no less than the entire atmospheric mantle of our globe.
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PCBs make an unexpected appearance
Among the least pleasant of the Man-made chemicals that have spread widely through the environment in recent decades are the PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).
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On the trail of the rabbit
Few things done in the 200 years of European settlement of Australia have been as destructive as the introduction of the rabbit. The settlers who brought it here for food and sport, and as a reminder of the English countryside, made a terrible mistake, which rapidly became apparent.
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Turning sunshine into electricity
It was in the wonderful heady days of the infant space age, when people would turn their heads heavenwards and look amazed at the moving speck of light in the night sky, that solar cells first gained public notice.
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Building an insect data bank
To entomologists, Australia is one of the most interesting parts of the world. We have a lot of insects — probably well over 100 000 species — and many are unique to this country. Like our marsupials and native plants, they have evolved over millions of years in virtual isolation from the rest of the world.
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A decoy for toxic heavy metals
Why are heavy metals poisonous? Basically, reasoned Dr George Winter of the CSIRO Division of Mineral Chemistry, it is because they react with animal proteins. He therefore searched for a cheap animal protein that would remove heavy metals from industrial effluents before they are discharged.
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An expedition to the source of the pine
Australia has more than 400 000 ha of radiata pine (Pinus radiata) plantations, and tens of thousands of hectares are planted each year. So, to an Australian, it can come as a surprise to learn that, in its native territory — coastal California and two small islands off the coast of Mexico — the species is restricted to five pockets totalling only about 6000 ha. The largest is near the city of Monterey — hence radiata?s other name, Monterey pine.
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Getting out of the quicksand problem
Many of our sand-washing plants are in a spot of trouble. They are slowly being surrounded by a growing body of quicksand of their own making. Since the plants are usually in the fringe of our metropolitan areas, their problem is also one of more general concern.
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What cause the ‘southerly buster’?
A ‘southerly buster’ is the colloquial name given to a particularly strong southerly wind change along the coast of New South Wales. It is an important feature of Sydney's weather, and the novice yachtsman soon learns to look out for it.
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An alternative to taller chimneys?
Tall chimneys are meant to get smoke up and away from principally ground-dwelling creatures, such as Man.
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