[ASC-media] NewScientist Media Release 28 AUGUST 2004

Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS) Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Thu Aug 26 10:52:28 EST 2004


ISSUE DATE - 28 AUGUST 2004


WORLD WATER CRISIS: ASIAN FARMERS SUCK THE CONTINENT DRY Asian farmers are
now irrigating their crops using electric pumps to draw on underground water
reserves. Water experts say they are sucking the continent dry. Pages
6-7...see also MIDDLE EAST WATER WARS Israel is planning to dig a canal the
Palestinians say will destroy Gaza's last reserves of water. Page 7...and
AFRICA MUST CAPTURE MORE WATER African farmers need to invest in cheap
technologies to catch more rain. Page 8

MARATHON MICE CAN RUN AND RUN Genetically engineered "marathon" mice can run
almost twice as far as normal mice. Drugs that might have a similar effect
are already being tested on people, raising fears that athletes could soon
have yet another way to cheat. Page 12, and Editorial

TV IS A SWITCH-OFF FOR BACK MUSCLES Slumping for hours in front of the
television could deactivate muscles that support and protect the spine.
Brisbane researchers have shown that volunteers who spent eight weeks in bed
experienced similar lower-back pain problems as physical injury. Pages 10-11

HOW OUR BRAINS FEND OFF MADNESS US and German scientists have found that a
cannabis-like substance produced by the brain dampens the psychotic symptoms
of schizophrenia. But cannabis doesn't seem to have the same effect, making
the development of antipsychotic drugs difficult. In fact, people with
schizophrenia who use cannabis have more severe psychotic experiences than
those who do not. Page 13

MESSY HOMES LEAD TO MESSY MINDS Growing up in an organised, tidy household
could be good for a child's developing mind. For the first time, American
researchers have teased apart the influence of genes and environment on
intelligence, to show how chaotic homes influence cognitive skills. Page 15

CROP HEALTH CHECKER STEMS WATER POLLUTION A sensor that calculates exactly
how much nitrogen a crop needs is slashing fertiliser use in US field
trials. The system not only allows farmers to save money, but also reduces
the run-off of fertiliser that ends up polluting rivers. Page 21

EXPLODING STARS ARE KEY TO TRULY RANDOM NUMBERS The cosmic rays that crash
into telescopes are normally just a nuisance to astronomers. But according
to researchers in Brisbane, they may bring an unexpected benefit-they could
be used to generate truly random numbers. Page 13 
 
FALLING ON DEAF EARS Scientists believe cochlear implant technology may be
able to restore the hearing of the deaf in the next decade. But many deaf
people object to the idea that they have a disability that needs to be
fixed. Pages 36-39..see also BLESSED VOICES Molly Brown is one of the first
people to receive a radical implant which tries to recreate hearing by
plugging directly into the brainstem. She talks of her experience. Pages
44-47

AUSTRALASIAN: A FLOWER OF KNOWLEDGE Bob Johnstone tells the story of a
Sydney-based team of horticulturalists who rediscovered the rare purple
camellia deep in the jungles of Vietnam. Page 47 

GOLF BALL POLYMER 'HEALS' BULLET HOLES The same material that makes golf
balls tough may soon "heal" bullet holes in aircraft fuel tanks, say US navy
researchers. See also... New moons, brutal beginnings; Cigarettes pollute
more than diesel; Polio paralyses Africa again. New Scientist's free public
website at http://www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com> 

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