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Women employed in casual and contract jobs are up to ten times more likely to experience unwanted sexual advances than those in permanent full time positions, a University of Melbourne study has found.

The research by Associate Professor Anthony LaMontagne of the McCaughey Centre, VicHealth Centre for the Promotion of Mental Health and Community Wellbeing will be presented at the From Margins to Mainstream Conference: 5th World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and the Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders.

Associate Professor LaMontagne's study examined the likelihood of sexual harassment in different types of employment.

Microbes that break down oil and petroleum are more diverse than we thought, suggesting hydrocarbons were used as an energy source early in Earth's history, according to a presentation at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting.

These microbes can change the composition of oil and natural gas and can even control the release of some greenhouse gases. Understanding the role of microbes in consuming hydrocarbons may therefore help us access their role in the natural control of climate change.

University of Chicago scientists have discovered how to make magnetic sensors capable of operating at the high temperatures that ceramic engines in cars and aircraft of the future will require for higher operating efficiency than today's internal combustion technology.

The key to fabricating the sensors involves slightly diluting samples of a well-known semiconductor material, called indium antimonide, which is valued for its purity. Chicago's Thomas Rosenbaum and associate Jingshi Hu, now of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have published their formula in the September issue of Nature Materials.



University of Chicago physicist Thomas Rosenbaum, with the helium dilution refrigerator in his laboratory, where he observes the quantum behavior of materials chilled to temperatures approaching absolute zero. (Photo: Dan Dry)

A narrow region on chromosome 15 contains genetic variations strongly associated with familial lung cancer, says a study conducted by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and other institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The researchers found a more than five times higher risk of lung cancer for people who have both a family history of the disease and these genetic variations. The risk was not affected by whether the study participants smoked or didn't smoke.

Last month a Pew Research Institute survey reported a decline in the number of Americans who want churches and other houses of worship involved in political matters.

The survey also found that most of the drop in the past four years comes among conservatives.

Although Sarah Palin's entry into the 2008 presidential race has energized the religious right within the Republican Party, don't expect religion to be a major issue in this year's election, says University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) political communications expert Larry Powell, Ph.D.

The move away from overt religious appeals may be due to an effort to avoid what Powell calls the "Pharisee Effect",

With a nationwide shortage of science teachers and plummeting student test scores,school districts have the option of hiring people with science degrees but little training in education. Without proper support, research shows that 66 percent of new teachers will quit the profession within three years and new research from George Mason University's New Science Teachers' Support Network (NSTSN) has identified the most vital forms of support for new science teachers—providing them with in-classroom support and quality courses in how to teach science.

Working with middle and high school science teachers, the NSTSN research revealed that students enrolled in the classes of teachers who received the support of in-class mentors who were retired science teachers and a science teaching course performed significantly better on standardized tests and had better science grades than students enrolled in the classes of a comparable set of new science teachers who did not receive the in-class support from retirees or a science methods course. Also, by enlisting the help of retired science teachers, new science teachers were able to perfect their teaching and enhance student learning.