[ASC-media] NEWSCIENTIST Media Release - 22 MAY 2004

Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS) Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Thu May 20 12:07:12 EST 2004


NEWSCIENTIST CONTENT FROM 22 MAY 2004 ISSUE


ARE NANOBACTERIA ALIVE OR JUST STRANGE CRYSTALS? After four years' work, an
American team has come up with the best evidence yet that nanobacteria-a
possible new life form-actually exist. The team isolated nanobacteria-like
structures from diseased human arteries and say it observed them
self-replicating in culture. The particles have been implicated in a range
of human diseases, but many researchers have dismissed them as too small to
contain the machinery of life. Pages 6-7

IT'S A SMALL WORLD INSIDE YOUR HEAD An American team of scientists have
built a computer model that reproduces the simple network of neurons used
for short-term memory. The key, they say is adding in short cuts to form
what is known as a "small world" network. Page 12

THE ID CARD THAT DOES NOT PUT YOUR DATA AT RISK Most proposed biometric
ID-card schemes store digital measurements of a unique feature, such as an
iris, in a central database as a reference. Security experts have always
feared that criminals could easily capture and use someone else's reference.
A British group has now devised a technique which avoids having to match
biometric characteristics to data stored either on a card or in a database.
Page 23

CLIMATE CHANGE HERALDS THIRSTY TIMES A new climate model suggests that as
temperature rises with global warming, the world will be in shorter supply
of fresh water. US researchers found that both precipitation and evaporation
would significantly increase with climate change. They say the net effect,
however, will be to take water away from where people are. Pages 16-17

TOXIC CHEMICALS FROM ICE-BREAKERS The ice-breaking ships which cut paths for
tourists and scientists are polluting Antarctica's seas with toxic
chemicals. Researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences in
Townsville have found high levels of a key component of antifouling paints
in samples collected from the ocean floor. Page 18

A FATHER'S SHOCK LEGACY A man suffering from muscle weakness is living proof
against two dogmas in human genetics-that all the cellular energy production
centres known as mitochondria are inherited from the mother, and that they
are unchanged genetically in the process. Page 14

LIGHT SALVE (short story) A light-emitting sticking plaster can help cure
dermatitis, according to British researchers. The patch uses light emitted
from an impregnated polymer to activate ointments next to the skin. Page 25

FANNING THE FLAMES Inflammation is the body's first line of defence after an
injury or infection, but it is also known to be implicated in a whole array
of diseases such as asthma, allergies and rheumatoid arthritis. So how does
a healing response help to perpetuate disease? Pages 40-43

ANTIPODES: A BREATH OF FRESH AIR? Ian Lowe considers several public health
issues, and takes another look at the looming shortage of scientists. Page
47

LONGEST SCIENTIFIC STUDY YET BACKS ATKINS DIET The claimed benefits of the
controversial low-carbohydrate Atkins diet have been reaffirmed in two new
studies, one of which is the longest to date. But the studies have failed to
silence critics. See also... Dark energy confirmed; First space tug; Wi-fi
on planes. New Scientist's free public website at
http://www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com> 



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