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Wednesday 19 May 2010

Science magazine this month features an article on the extinction of lizards, attributing their demise to global warming. Up to a fifth of the world’s lizards could disappear by 2080 with a horrific ripple effect across the food chain as birds and insect numbers will be impacted.

ABC Science pointed out that although cold-blooded reptiles should thrive in a warmer climate, increased temperatures will be too hot even for lizards because the heat will reduce their activity “including limiting their efforts to find food”.

Biologists' models project 6% falls in lizard populations by 2050 and 20% by 2080.

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With Cristos Tsiolkas hailed by The Times as a “literary rock star” and The Slap storming Britain this month, it’s easy to forget a generation of Australian authors who first broke into Blighty.

One such writer is Patrick White. His novel The Vivisector is remembered though by being in the running for the Lost Booker announced later today. The prize is based on a popular vote with White posthumously in the running, along with fellow Aussie Shirley Hazzard for The Bay of Noon.

Over at The Guardian they’re giving White short odds as his novel is “ugly, loaded with implausible love affairs and often plays out in the toilet”, yet it “would do credit to any shortlist”. They were blunter about Hazzard’s chances: “It doesn’t deserve to win.”

The award was announced on Wednesday.

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Ever wondered how a crossword maker’s brain ticks? Word whiz David Astle (aka DA to puzzlers everywhere) scrambles words before your eyes.

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19 May 2010

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As the cleanup continues in the Gulf of Mexico, reports of underwater “mushroom clouds… [that] portend more dangerous long-term fallout for the Gulf of Mexico’s wildlife and economy". Experts say that a deep water spill will destroy the ecosystem of the gulf because oil “dispersants themselves are toxic” with over 2.1 million litres of chemicals used.

President Obama has expressed his “anger and frustration” both at the cleanup and the way BP, Haliburton and other companies have shifted blame for the spill. The US ABC news saw the sacking of Chris Oynes, an Obama government official in charge of overseeing offshore oil as a political casualty of Obama’s anger.

Closer to our own shores, Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has announced 31 new offshore petroleum exploration zones despite a recent spill near the Barrier Reef.

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19 May 2010

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