[ASC-media] NEWSCIENTIST RADIO EXTRA: 22 MAY 2004 ISSUE

Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS) Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Thu May 20 12:07:47 EST 2004


NEWSCIENTIST RADIO EXTRA: STORIES FROM 22 MAY 2004 ISSUE


FOUR-WINGED BIRDS WERE FIRST TO TAKE TO THE AIR The first birds were
probably four-winged gliders. This idea is supported by a new study of the
famous bird fossil, Archaeopteryx, which confirms it had feathers on its
back and legs as well as on its wings. Page 8

LIFE BEGAN WITH A KNACK FOR COPYING Scientists have long been divided over
how life first emerged. Was it through replication or by processing
nutrients for energy? The latest contribution, by Israeli scientists,
suggests replication was the essence of life, and everything else,
secondary. Page 15

COSMIC DARK AGE FOUND IN SHADOWS The earliest structures in the universe may
be visible by the shadows they cast in the afterglow of the big bang. These
objects have been hidden before now because they formed in the dark age
before the first stars were switched on. Researchers believe that hydrogen
gas absorbed radiation left over after the Big Bang and created shadows
which astronomers should be able to detect today. Page 9

WI-FI NETWORKS CAN BE JAMMED FROM PDAs Students at Queensland University of
Technology have demonstrated Wi-Fi (wireless) networks can be jammed using
nothing more sophisticated than a palmtop computer (PDA) and an
off-the-shelf wireless networking card. New Scientist's free public website
at http://www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com> 

NAME THOSE YEARS The first multicellular animals in the fossil record
finally have been assigned their own geological period. And that age, 580
million years ago, has been named the Ediacaran-after the Hills in South
Australia where the first traces of these organisms were found.  Page 5

DRINKING SODA LINKED TO GULLET CANCER RISE The steep rise in some cancers of
the gullet in developed countries can be explained by a massive increase in
the consumption of fizzy soft drinks. But although the correlation is
strong, so far there is no verified causal link between the two. New
Scientist's free public website at http://www.newscientist.com
<http://www.newscientist.com> 

OUT OF ASIA The general consensus on the ancestors of modern humans is that
they almost certainly evolved in Africa. But the discovery of a few teeth
set in a jaw, claimed to be from a higher primate, has led one scientist to
believe our roots may lie elsewhere-in Asia. Pages 36-39

PASSIVE SMOKING KILLS ONE BAR WORKER A WEEK Secondhand tobacco smoke kills
at least 3600 people a year in the UK., according to a British study. Seven
hundred of them die from exposure to smoke in their workplaces, including
one pub or bar worker a week. New Scientist's free public website at
http://www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com> 

RED OR WHITE, GRAPES ARE BLACK AT HEART (short story) The white or red
grapes used in winemaking were produced by the mutation of a single gene,
Japanese researchers say. The original grapes were black, probably to entice
animals and birds to eat them, and spread their seeds. Page 15

COMMENT AND ANALYSIS: BUCKING THE BIG BANG The dominance of the Big Bang
theory as an explanation of the formation of the Universe relies more on
funding decisions than on the scientific method, according to Eric Lerner,
president of Lawrenceville Plasma Physics. Page 20


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