[ASC-media] EXTRA NewScientist Radio Release 1 February

RBI - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Thu Jan 30 13:41:10 EST 2003


RADIO EXTRA STORIES FROM 1 FEBRUARY 2003 ISSUE


GETTING TO GRIPS WITH MYSTERY SPACE BUGS Dangerous mutants on the bridge are
not merely the stuff of Star Trek. On long space flights normally harmless
bacteria can mutate in unforeseen ways and threaten the crew's health. So
NASA is developing a 'gene chip' to identify such menacing microbes en
route. Page 20

LAKE TO LOSE ITS SILENT KILLER Cameroon at last has begun to make safe one
of its deadly lakes. Engineers have started installing pipes to remove
carbon dioxide which builds up in the depths 
of Lake Monoun, and which can erupt at any time suffocating people nearby.
The pipes should make the lake safe within 18 months. Page 9

REGENERATING THE RETINA Experimental surgery involving the transplant of
foetal retinal cells seems to have improved the vision of two out of four
people with degenerative eye disease. It is too early to be sure that the
results are real and lasting but they suggest the technique might halt and
even reverse loss of sight in millions of people. Page 14

HUNGRY FOR THE RIGHT ADVICE Famine-struck Zambia's decision to reject
American maize on the grounds that it contained traces of GM strains was
influenced primarily by doubts over the safety of GM foods voiced by the
British Medical Association. The revelation is a significant admission in
the face of 
a looming trade war over GM crops between the US and Europe. Page 4

ARCTIC FACES TOXIC TIME BOMB Fragile ecosystems like the Arctic could face
many more years 
of contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) despite international
treaties banning their use. An investigation funded by the European Union
has failed to locate hundreds of thousands of tonnes 
of the chemicals made between the 1930s and 1990s. If these PCBs leak into
the environment, it could prove disastrous. Page 9

WORMS BEATEN BACK IN THE BATTLE FOR THE BANANA The banana has won a possible
reprieve. British researchers have genetically engineered strains of banana
resistant to the nematode worms attacking them. The new bananas await field
testing. Page 15

NO SECRET WILL BE SAFE FROM QUANTUM CODE BREAKERS A computer that doesn't
yet exist is giving cryptographers sleepless nights. British experts say
quantum computers will become a reality in 10 or 15 years, and they pose a
threat to the encryption keys which secure digital activities from mobile
phone calls to e-transactions. Page 16

ZIP UP YOUR FLAT-PACKS (short story) Drop that screwdriver, do-it-yourself
could be about to get easier. The days of despairing when your self-assembly
furniture is missing a vital screw could be at 
an end thanks to flat-packed furniture that can be assembled simply by
zipping the components together. Page 19

LIVER CELLS PRODUCE INSULIN A British research team has switched on a gene
in frog embryos which allows liver tissue to develop the capacity to produce
insulin. The work suggests it might one day be possible to turn part of a
diabetic person's liver into a replacement pancreas. Page 16

BUGS' BREATHY SECRETS REVEALED American researchers have used powerful,
high-intensity 
x-rays to reveal that insects do not breathe in quite the way we thought. In
fact, we may have to rethink our ideas about how insects work. Page 21

For information on how to view these articles on our Internet Press Site OR
for contacts and interviews, please contact Claire Bowles, New Scientist
press officer. Tel: +44 20 7331 2751 or Email: claire.bowles at rbi.co.uk
<mailto:claire.bowles at rbi.co.uk> 

IN AUSTRALIA - Jo Garman 02 9422 2897or media at newscientist.com.au
IN NEW ZEALAND - Monica Dwyer: 09 625 3075 or mdwyer at gordongotch.co.nz



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