[ASC-media] Media Release - 22 NOVEMBER 2003

Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS) Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Thu Nov 20 15:28:52 EST 2003


BRITISH PLAN FOR ID CARDS New Scientist has learned that the proposed
British plan to introduce biometric ID cards to the UK will fail to prevent
fraudsters acquiring multiple identity cards. The problem, according to an
expert in information systems, is the limited accuracy of iris scans
combined with the sheer number of people to be identified. Such a large
database will fail to match two scans of the same iris taken under different
conditions. Page 13

SMOOTH APPROACH CUTS NOISE POLLUTION Noise pollution around airports is
expected to triple by 2030. But changing the way the planes come in to land
could make a significant difference, say an international research
consortium. They found that if an aircraft lines up with the runway as far
as 70 kilometres away and makes a continuous steady descent to ground, noise
pollution can be more than halved. Page 26

THE SHAPE OF NOZZLES TO COME Triangular nozzles will produce the tiniest
drips, according to mathematicians from Harvard University. There are many
technologies that need nozzles to squirt out miniscule droplets of liquid,
which could benefit from triangular nozzles. They say their tap could
increase the resolution of ink-jet printers and make biochips more accurate.
Page 21

TIME WARP If we just used atomic clocks to keep time, our watches would
gradually get ahead of the motion of the Earth - which is gradually spinning
more slowly. So the authorities slip an extra leap second into our
calendars, a little less than once a year, to compensate. But what about all
the automatic systems which began after the introduction of leap seconds,
like air traffic control, the internet and GPS? Could a computer system's
confusion over leap seconds cause disaster? Pages 30-33

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY Astronomers have created the first ever map showing
everything observable in a slice of the universe - and New Scientist has
published the result as a pull-out map at the centre of this week's issue.
Moving away from the Earth, the map shows 8,420 satellites, 14,183 asteroids
and 126,625 galaxies outside our own Milky Way. It is a stunning
achievement. Pages 36-39

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