[ASC-media] Media Release - 24 APRIL 2004

Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS) Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Fri Apr 23 09:59:59 EST 2004


DAWN OF A NEW KIND OF PARENTHOOD The birth of one mouse, announced in this
week's Nature, shatters the notion that two same-sex mammals cannot have
healthy offspring. New Scientist takes a detailed look at how a Japanese
research team achieved a feat once deemed impossible, and asks the question:
"Is there any chance of two women producing babies in a similar way?" Pages
8-10, and Editorial

SPEAK TO YOUR CREDIT CARD A credit card that cannot be used unless it hears
a password spoken in the owner's voice could help prevent fraudulent use of
stolen cards. A prototype built by engineers in California is the first
attempt to pack a loudspeaker, microphone, battery and voice-recognition
chip onto a standard size card. Page 23

REPAIRING SIGHT BY NIGHT Contact lenses, worn only at night, can temporarily
correct long-sightedness by altering the shape of the cornea, a pilot study
in Sydney suggests. The approach could be an alternative to surgery for
people who do not want to wear contacts during the day. Page 14

IS EMPATHY AN ANIMAL QUALITY? The ability to empathise is often thought to
be uniquely human, requiring abstract thought. Now researchers in the
Netherlands have concluded that empathy might in fact be an incredibly
simple brain process-meaning there is no reason why monkeys and other
animals can't empathise too. Page 15

EAT LESS AND KEEP DISEASE AT BAY Eating less can dramatically reduce the
risk of heart disease. "Caloric restriction" could also prevent other
diseases such as diabetes, stroke and even cancer, according to a long-term
American study. Pages 12-13

LAST OF THE GREAT MIGRATIONS New Zealand was the last place on Earth to be
colonised. Yet there is still much debate about when the first inhabitants
arrived and where they came from. Did the colonisers drift there in huge
canoes from other Pacific islands, or was it part of a large-scale migration
plan? One researcher believes New Zealand's ancestors came from Taiwan, and
that the Maori have separate male and female lineages. Pages 38-41

WRAPPERS SMARTEN UP TO PROTECT FOOD Smart, active food packaging is emerging
as companies realise the benefits to consumers. Some active packaging
includes indicators as to whether the food has been stored correctly, while
others will interact with the product to improve it. Page 26

IT'S A JUNGLE IN THERE Your gut is teeming with microbes-bacteria, viruses
and yeasts-which play a pivotal role in several chronic human diseases.
Researchers are turning their attention to the precise links between gut
bacteria and disease in the hope of manipulating the odds to our favour,
encouraging the beneficial bacteria to grow while decreasing the harmful
ones. Pages 43-45

AUSTRALASIAN: RICE RELATIONS Bob Johnstone looks at how Australian
researchers are assisting Asian farmers to grown their traditional crop,
rice. Page 49

WORLD'S MARINE LIFE IS GETTING SICKER For years, apparent increases in
illness among marine creatures have left marine scientists with the uneasy
suspicion that the seas are increasingly plagued by disease. US researchers
have now uncovered the first good evidence that they are right. See also...
Paper DVDs; Fire fighting fluid; Runaway stars form black holes. New
Scientist's free public website at http://www.newscientist.com

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