[ASC-media] Media Release - 20 MARCH 2004

Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS) Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Thu Mar 18 11:36:53 EST 2004


STORIES FROM 20 MARCH 2004 ISSUE

MAKING BOMB-BUILDING HARDER FOR TERRORISTS The widespread fertiliser
ammonium nitrate was used to make the bombs responsible for the terrorist
attacks in Bali in 2002 and Oklahoma City in 1995. But now an American
company has developed a coating which may make it harder for terrorists to
turn fertiliser-grade ammonium nitrate into an explosive. Page 9

BLOOD TEST HERALDS SPEEDY STROKE DIAGNOSES A quick, cheap blood test could
help doctors tell if a patient is having a stroke and allow them to
prescribe the right treatment as quickly as possible. The test, developed by
a company in the US, works by detecting a set of six brain proteins released
into the blood during strokes. Page 11

SOFTWARE AGENT TARGETS CHATROOM PAEDOPHILES A program developed in the UK
can detect paedophiles who pose as children in internet chatrooms. The
software convincingly passes itself off as a young person and, during
conversations, it looks out for classic signs of grooming-where paedophiles
attempt to set up meetings with the children they befriend. Page 23

THE DATING GAME GOES WIRELESS Is wireless dating the future of romance?
Would-be daters subscribe to a service which stores their personal profile.
When there are enough similarities between two people, and they happen to be
within metres of each other, the service rings their mobile phones with
crucial details and photos. The developers of the system at MIT's Media Lab
in Boston say they hope to make technology-assisted dating more spontaneous.
Page 26

FARM RUN-OFF SPARKS INVASION OF CORAL CRUNCHERS Researchers at the
Australian Institute of Marine Studies near Townsville say they now have
clear evidence that nutrient run-off from farmland-rather than overfishing
or natural causes-is triggering invasions of the Great Barrier Reef by the
crown-of-thorns starfish. Page 17

PREPARING FOR THE WORST Experts fear terrorists are trying to create
thermobaric or fuel-air bombs which can be more devastating than
conventional bombs. A thermobaric bomb can send a deadly shock wave through
enclosed spaces, such as tunnels or buildings, without collapsing them.
Researchers in Canada and the US are trying to develop defences against
these bombs. Pages 8-9

STEM CELLS GENERATE HAIR AND HOPE FOR THE BALD New hair has been grown from
stem cells plucked from the follicles of one mouse and implanted into
another. The work should stimulate further research into ways to treat
baldness. Page 17, and New Scientist's free public website at
http://www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com> 

THE WORLD TURNED INSIDE OUT Einstein's theory of relativity and astronomical
observations leave little doubt that the Big Bang happened. But was it
really the first moment in time? In the 1990s a new theory surfaced which
suggested an entire universe was on the other side of time zero. This
looking-glass world looked remarkably like our own-except it was inside out.
Pages 35-37

ANTIPODES: THE RESEARCH BUSINESS Ian Lowe looks at how the relationship
between science and industry has come under scrutiny in the US, and also at
corporate English. Page 49

NUTRIENT DURING PREGNANCY 'SUPER-CHARGES' BRAIN A nutrient known as choline
taken during pregnancy could 'super-charge' children's brains for life, an
American study of rats suggests. Offspring born to pregnant rats given the
supplement are faster learners with better memories, and develop bigger
brain cells in vital areas. See also... Drug resistant TB; Amazonian change;
The 100-metre nanotube. New Scientist's free public website at
http://www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com> 

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