[ASC-media] RADIO EXTRA - 20 MARCH 2004

Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS) Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Thu Mar 18 11:37:38 EST 2004


RADIO EXTRA: STORIES FROM 20 MARCH 2004 ISSUE


HOW THE MOON GAVE LIFE ON EARTH ITS FIRST BIG BREAK When life on Earth began
four billion years ago the moon was much closer, and caused massive tides to
ebb and flow every few hours. According to a British biologist, this led to
dramatic cyclical changes in coastline salinity which drove the evolution of
early bio-molecules. If his theory is right, life could not have evolved on
Mars. Page 16

VIBRATING PEDAL SAYS 'EASE OFF GAS' A vibrating accelerator pedal that tells
drivers when to ease off the throttle could save motorists hundreds of
dollars a year in fuel. The computerised device monitors the road ahead and
is able to judge the optimum moment for drivers to slow down, alerting them
to take their foot off the accelerator much sooner than usual. Page 24

BOTTLED HOT WATER Hungarian researchers have found so much natural
radioactivity in some brands of bottled water that regular drinkers could
exceed the WHO's safety limit. Page 7

OBESITY TO SURPASS TOBACCO AS TOP US KILLER Americans are eating themselves
to death. According to a US government study, if the present trends
continue, poor diet and inactivity will overtake tobacco as the leading
cause of preventable death in 2005. By then, deaths attributed to obesity
will top 500,000 annually. New Scientist's free public website at
http://www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com> 

ROBOT BUILDER COULD 'PRINT' HOUSES A robot developed in California for
"printing" houses is to be trialled by a construction company in Germany.
The machine takes instructions directly from an architect's computerised
drawings, and then squirts successive layers of concrete on top of one
another to build vertical walls and domed roofs. New Scientist's free public
website at http://www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com> 

IT'S WHAT THE COWS EAT THAT COUNTS British researchers have developed butter
that not only spreads easily when cold, but also contains a healthier
balance of fats. They added rapeseed oil to the diet of cows. Page 18, and
New Scientist's free public website at http://www.newscientist.com
<http://www.newscientist.com> 

HOW GREEN TEA CAN COMBAT CANCER Many studies suggest that green tea can
protect against a range of cancers. Now, Japanese researchers have shown
that this is because it contains an antioxidant  which inhibits tumour cell
growth by binding to a receptor involved in the spread of cancer. Page 19 

RUNNING ON EMPTY For almost a century, scientists and athletes have presumed
that fatigue originates in the muscles-they either run out of fuel or
oxygen, or drown in toxic by-products. But a new theory suggests fatigue is
a response which begins in the brain. When the brain decides it's time to
stop, it paces the muscles to keep athletes well back from the point of
catastrophic exhaustion. Pages 43-45

BAD OR MAD? When someone commits a premeditated violent act, and shows
complete control, you cannot call them mentally ill. But while the cognitive
part of the brain may work normally, other neural centres do not, says a
pioneer of brain imaging. The defect lies in the amygdala, a region of the
temporal lobe associated with emotion and empathy. Should psychiatrists be
compelled to identify people with these abnormalities and detain them for
their own good and that of society? Pages 39-41

INTERVIEW: NATURAL DESIGNS American William McDonough wants to reinvent
everything from tennis shoes to cars, so we can consume as much as we wish
without harming the planet. He takes nature as a perfect model for human
design. Pages 46-49

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