[ASC-media] STORIES FROM 31 JANUARY 2004 ISSUE

Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS) Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Thu Jan 29 10:47:34 EST 2004


STORIES FROM 31 JANUARY 2004 ISSUE

FORENSIC EVIDENCE STANDS ACCUSED Despite a century of use in the courts,
doubts remain over the reliability of basing convictions on fingerprints.
According to a US report published last month, the only research ever
commissioned to validate the fingerprint technique is based on flawed
assumptions and an incorrect use of statistics. And it has never been openly
peer reviewed. Pages 6-7

TEA STRAINER IN THE NECK 'STOPS STROKES' Hundreds of thousands of strokes
could be prevented each year by a simple mesh tube that stops blood clots
travelling to the brain, according
to researchers at an Israeli company. The "Diverter" is placed in the two
carotid arteries in the neck
at the point where they fork. Blood clots cannot pass through the mesh, and
instead are diverted
to the face area, where they are harmless. Page 12 

BIRD FLU OUTBREAK STARTED A YEAR AGO Health experts have told New Scientist
that the current outbreak of bird flu began as early as the first half of
2003, probably in China. Official cover-ups and questionable farming
practices have allowed it to turn into an epidemic. Pages 10-11  

CLEVER ANTENNAS STAY CONNECTED Antennas that communicate with each other can
reduce the number of masts needed for 3G mobile phone networks, as well as
ensuring no "dead" spots in coverage. The system will be tested inside
Athens International Airport during the Olympics, so that passengers can be
informed via their mobiles of flight delays or time left before departure.
Page 21

'GREEN' CALCULATOR COUNTS COSTS OF BUILDING A Melbourne-based research
centre has developed a "green calculator" which weighs the environmental
performance of building materials-such as the energy used or chemicals
emitted in manufacture-against their cost. Page 23 

INTERVIEW: FOR WANT OF A WORD Imagine if political debates were conducted in
Tariana, a dying Amazonian language in which it is a grammatical error to
report something without saying how you found it out. La Trobe University
linguist Alexandra Aikhenvald talks about the value of languages, and the
race to record them. Pages 44-47

TECHNOLOGY SPECIAL REPORT: THE MOON AND MARS Is President Bush's ambitious
vision of living and working on the moon and a manned mission to Mars just
electioneering? Is NASA up to the job? New Scientist examines the
technologies that will be needed, and finds NASA's best option may be to
revive the ideas of the 1960s and 1970s. The astronauts could live in
bagel-shaped settlements eating blue-green algae burgers. Pages 26-31...see
also THE LONELIEST LAB On the moon, scientists are eager to investigate
impact craters, build a telescope and do a spot of mining. Pages 32-33...and
DESTINATION MARS How does NASA plan to propel a crew to Mars? Pages 34-37  

IN THE REALM OF YOUR SENSES The world you see, smell and taste is unique to
you. Geneticists have shown that individuals rarely have the same set of
sensory genes. Some even believe these individual sensory differences have a
profound effect on your life and personality. Pages 40-43 

AUSTRALASIAN: FINDING DRUGS IN NATURE Bob Johnstone looks at how
Australian-Japanese collaboration can come up with new pharmaceuticals. Page
45

NEW BRAIN DISEASE COULD BE AFFECTING MANY THOUSANDS A newly discovered
neurodegenerative disease could be affecting ten of thousands of men
worldwide, American researchers say. See also...  Quarantining infected
computers; Prenatal screening for all; Saving Hubble. New Scientist's free
public website at http://www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com> 

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