[ASC-media] Media Release - 3 APRIL 2004

Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS) Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Thu Apr 1 12:31:47 EST 2004


THE GENIUS MACHINE Allan Snyder and his team at Australia's Centre for the
Mind believe we all have amazing mental skills, like those of autistic
savants, hidden inside us. Snyder believes you can use these skills by
switching off part of the brain. With that in mind, he has designed and
tested a magnetic mind-zapper, which he claims can give any one of us a
creativity boost. Page 30-33

DETECTIVES MUST RETHINK MAGGOT THEORY A new Australian investigation into
the way insects colonise decomposing corpses casts doubt on the accuracy of
a method used in court to estimate how long a murder victim has been lying
dead. The study has shown unexpected variations
in the way blowfly maggots infest pig carcasses left in the open. Page 13

WHAT LIES BENEATH Methane has been detected on Mars by three independent
groups of scientists. One team even claims that the most likely source is
bacteria, making this discovery the strongest signal yet of the possibility
of life on Mars. Pages 8-9

CARBON 'FOOTBALLS' HARM FISH Buckyballs-the synthetic carbon molecules that
show such promise in nanotechnology-can cause brain damage in fish, and kill
other aquatic animals. This seems to support the suggestion that
nanomaterials could cause harm if released into the environment.  Page 11,
and New Scientist's free public website at http://www.newscientist.com

HEARTBEATS WARN OF SUDDEN DEATH RISK You can tell the difference between a
healthy heart and one that could stop without warning by measuring
variations in the length of heartbeat, Greek researchers say. They looked at
samples of ECGs from a database of people with healthy hearts and also with
a range of heart conditions, and found that the more random the variation in
heartbeat, the higher the risk of sudden cardiac arrest. Page 10

MOSQUITOES COULD HELP STOP MALARIA A German team has discovered two mosquito
genes which code for proteins that attack malaria parasites. But they are
normally blocked by other genes. If the blocking genes can be disabled, 97
per cent of the parasites in the gut will be killed. Page 18, and New
Scientist's free public website at http://www.newscientist.com

WHERE'S THAT FUNNY SMELL COMING FROM? A new device that squirts enticing
aromas at customers as they walk through stores is so accurate it can
actually track a target person and aim the smell directly at his or her
nose. Is this ingenious in-store advertising or will customers object to
having scents forced upon them? Page 22

NOWHERE TO HIDE Twenty years after its discovery, HIV is still a devious
enemy. Some even think  that a cure for AIDS is impossible. But in the past
few years researchers have been making progress by designing new drugs to
flush out the virus from its many hiding places. Pages 34-39, and Editorial

SCIENCE ESSAY WINNER: SUNBURNT SEA SLUGS The winner of the British Council
and New Scientist Australian Science Writing Competition, Rachel Przeslawski
of the University of Wollongong, tells how future sunscreens may be based on
snail slime. Page 47

NET MUSIC PIRACY 'DOES NOT HARM RECORD SALES' Internet music piracy is not
responsible for declining CD sales, the American researchers behind a major
new statistical study claim. See also... Cool nanolightning; Child abuse
signs misleading; Monkey virus cancer link. New Scientist's free public
website at http://www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com/> 

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