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Issue 2


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A better life up north
Nhulunbuy, a town of 3500 on the north-eastern tip of Arnhem Land, was built because of the bauxite there; its industries, which got under way in 1972, are mining and alumina manufacture. No road leads to Nhulunbuy. It's a new community and one of the most isolated in Australia.
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Recycling comes to tanning
Effluent disposal has become a major problem for tanneries in recent years with the introduction and tightening of controls on what can be discharged into sewers.
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Ozone comes down to earth
Ozone is a form of oxygen with a pungent, refreshing odour, says the Concise Oxford Dictionary. Tell that to a citizen of Los Angeles, Sydney, or Melbourne on a day of photochemical smog. ‘Acrid and irritating’ would be a better description of the smell, and ozone certainly isn't good for you. A concentration of 6 parts per million (p.p.m.) can kill rats in 4 hours.
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Getting away from pesticides
Dr Douglas Waterhouse, Chief of CSIRO's Division of Entomology, doesn't believe that we can solve all our pest problems with pesticides. He and his Division's 109 scientists spend much of their $3-million yearly budget devising non-polluting methods of pest control. In the long run he doubts if it will be possible to defend our crops with a barrage of poisonous chemicals, and the effects these have on our environment make it undesirable anyway. Rather we should be learning to control insect and weed pests by a variety of means.
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Checking on a weed-killer
Submerged water weeds, if they get out of hand, can reduce water flow in irrigation channels to a trickle. If a chemical called acrolein is added to the water in weed-throttled stretches so that a concentration of 3 p.p.m. persists for an hour, most of the weeds die. But what happens to the acrolein, which is extremely toxic?
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Paper as sheep feed
Scientists are finding all sorts of uses for wastes these days as they battle with the ever-growing problems of waste disposal and resources depletion. Dr Barry Coombe of the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry has recently found that paper can be used in sheep feed.
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Stopping the drifting sands
A nagging problem in the Mallee is how to get vegetation to grow on sand dimes once their cover has gone. This particular problem affects many different interests, including road-makers, pipeline authorities, farmers Ô anybody in fact who disturbs the original trees and shrubs growing on the dunes so the sand begins to blow away.
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Preserved pine in children's playgrounds — how safe?
Round posts and rails made of pine treated with a preservative that gives it a greenish tinge are attractive and durable. They're finding many outdoor uses these days; one is in children's playgrounds. The preservative is made of copper, chromium, and arsenic compounds and, although these become insoluble in wood, people have expressed fears that children sucking and chewing the timber could be poisoned. However no adverse effects on health have been reported.
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Polymer beads versus dead diatoms
When diatoms die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean. They're tiny algae, but they have tough two-part shells that survive the rigours of the ocean depths, and they accumulate in thick layers.
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A city's climate — before and after
Canberra is a foggy city in winter; it's not unknown for politicians to be late for Parliament because their planes haven't been able to land until late in the morning. Usually fogs lift over the city and suburbs earlier than they do over surrounding rural areas in the Canberra basin. The heat that cars, and house and office heaters, pour into the atmosphere is probably the cause of the earlier lifting.
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Conserving our wetlands and water-birds
Few people would deny feeling a thrill at the sight of ducks, swans, and other water-birds gathering on our lakes and swamps, or winging their way across the sky. But we have to face the fact that if we are not careful such sights could become a rarity. Nobody has ever surveyed all our wetlands, so we don't know for certain which ones are most important for our water-birds. But we do know that they have become greatly diminished — especially in the southern half of the continent.
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INTERSCAN — less noise near airports
Several recent developments in civil aviation have brought hope of a quieter existence for people living near busy airports. Modern aircraft are becoming quieter. Advances in instrument landing systems for aircraft landing when visibility is poor offer hope too.
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