[ASC-media] 13 MARCH 2004 Media Release

Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS) Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Thu Mar 11 15:51:33 EST 2004


STORIES FROM 13 MARCH 2004 ISSUE

BREAKING THE RULES ON ARTIFICIAL BLOOD Past attempts to produce a blood
substitute have failed because the physical characteristics were wrong, say
US researchers. But an American company  has just announced its artificial
blood, based on their alternative theories, looks promising. Page 8

BITE-MARK EVIDENCE CAN LEAVE A FALSE IMPRESSION In the past forensic experts
have told juries that "a match is 100 per cent" for bite marks. Now two
Californian dentists have conducted a study which they claim validates the
technique. But critics are far from convinced, arguing that the work does
not reflect real-life. Pages 6-7...see also POST-MORTEM DRUG TEST ERRORS ARE
INCREASING Experts say that innocent people are being put in jail because a
technique used to infer how much of a drug is in a body is being incorrectly
applied to corpses. Page 7

PLUGGING INTO SEWAGE POWER American researchers have designed an electricity
generator fuelled by human waste. The device also performs as a
sewage-treatment plant, breaking down the harmful organic matter as it
generates electricity. Page 21

PARAPSYCHOLOGY SPECIAL Failure to replicate the results of paranormal
experiments is enough for sceptics to argue that psychic powers do not
deserve scientific credibility. Yet believers claim you cannot possibly hope
to pin down the paranormal in laboratory conditions. So where do we go from
here? Page 32...THE POWER OF BELIEF In a joint study, a believer and a
doubter are participating in a head-to-head showdown to nail down whether
belief in itself alters results. Their conclusions will be available later
in the year. Pages 34-37...OPPOSITES ATTRACT Researchers from respected
institutions have produced impressive evidence for the existence of
extrasensory perception (ESP), and their results have been replicated. Yet
sceptics believe the findings result from flawed experiments, slip-ups or
fraud. Maybe the same holds true for all scientific findings? Page 39-41

GENE TRAWL REVEALS THOUSANDS OF SPECIES IN EVERY BUCKET OF SEAWATER
Techniques used to unravel the human genome are now being applied to study
marine microbes.  And they have revealed more than a million previously
unknown genes in thousands of organisms. Page 12

BIRDS IN DECLINE AROUND THE GLOBE The world's birds are in crisis, according
to a report compiled by experts in Britain. More than 1000 species face
extinction due to habitat loss, predation by alien species, and climate
change. In Australia, the montane birds are in particular strife. Pages
14-15

I'M WORKING LATE...AT THE CIRCUS (short story) A Romanian company has
developed software to add background sounds to your mobile phone
conversation to support your alibi. So, when you're late for work-just
switch your phone to "traffic jam" and pretend you're stuck in traffic. Page
22

CRABS IN SPACE NASA has recruited one of Earth's oldest creatures-the
horseshoe crab-to keep the solar system free of earthly microbes. It plans
to use the crab's immune system as the basis of efforts to help sterilise
the next generation of Martian probes. Pages 42-43

ANTIPODES: A DEARTH OF TECHNOLOGISTS Australia will need about 85,000 more
scientists by 2010 to service the projected expansion of science-based
industries, says Queensland's chief scientist. But we don't have enough
university places to supply them. Page 47

PRE-ECLAMPSIA MAY INCREASE RISK OF CANCER Women who suffer from
pre-eclampsia, a condition of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure, may
be 30 per cent more likely to develop cancer, a US study suggests. See
also... The cruelty of whaling; War of the "worms"; Desktop fusion. New
Scientist's free public website at http://www.newscientist.com
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