[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 19 NOVEMBER 2005

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Nov 16 09:43:53 EST 2005


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE
 
MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 19 NOVEMBER 2005 (Vol. 187 No 2525)
 
EMBARGO: 
THESE ITEMS BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION BEFORE:- 04:00 HRS AEST THURSDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2005 
 
NEWS:
 
THE FOOD YOU EAT COULD CHANGE YOUR GENES FOR LIFE
A simple food supplement could change your behaviour for the better, or even potentially halt the genetic effects that predispose people to diseases such as schizophrenia or Huntington's. It may sound futuristic, but thanks to a new American study, such treatments are now looking increasingly plausible. A team have shown that normal rats can be made to behave differently just by injecting them with a specific amino acid. The amino acid altered the way the rat's genes were expressed, and the effect was permanent.  Page 12
 
FORESTS PAYING THE PRICE FOR BIOFUELS
The rising demand for "green energy" to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is having a devastating effect on tropical rainforests. The global demand for biofuels such as palm oil and soybean oil, used to fuel cars and power stations in Europe and North America, has accelerated the destruction of rainforests in south-east Asia and the Brazilian Amazon. Page 19
 
CAN EARTH'S SEISMIC RADIO HELP PREDICT QUAKES?
So far, earthquake prediction has proved an elusive art. But there may be hope. Strange electromagnetic pulses emanating from the ground and electromagnetic disturbances in the ionosphere have been detected prior to some recent earthquakes. A geophysicist in Israel speculates that as underground stresses build up in rocks, ultra-low-frequency radio waves are generated as the rocks are torn apart. Detect these radio waves and you could have the makings of a prediction system. Pages 28-29
 
WHY A LOOSE TOOTH NEEDN'T MEAN A SORE JAW
Every wondered why your jawbone doesn't get infected when we lose a tooth, even though our mouths are teeming with bacteria? German researchers have found out that bone cells have an immune system all of their own. Doctors may be able to exploit this finding to encourage the body's immune defences during bone grafts or to treat gum disease. Page 19
 
WHY STARS ONLY GO BANG AFTER A BOOM
Researchers think they have found what causes the supernova explosion after a massive star collapses. A star detonates when its core can no longer withstand gravity, and it implodes. But how does an implosion turn into an explosion? A team in the US, who simulated the collapse of a star, say that it could be sound waves that create the massive bang. Page 16
 
THE LAND OF THREE RISING SUNS
There may be more than a thousand planets in our galactic neighbourhood with multiple suns. That is the conclusion of astronomers who have come up with a simple explanation for the genesis of a recently discovered giant gas planet in a triple star system. Page 14
 
UR R@ IS IN THE TRAP
UK pest control firm, Rentokil, have built a hi-tech vermin trap. The novel trap not only kills the animals humanely, but cleverly sends a text message to summon the nearest pest controller - so you won't need to keep checking your traps or remove the dead rat or mouse yourself.  Page 25
 
ECSTASY MAY DAMAGE THE BRAIN'S PHYSICAL DEFENCES
The drug MDMA reduces the brain's defences, reveals a new study of rats, leaving it vulnerable to invasion by viruses and other pathogens. The researchers behind the study warn of "clinical considerations which may apply to the treatment of people who abuse MDMA". And they say infections could cause permanent damage to brain cells or alter the ability of the brain to function normally. 
Read the full story at NewScientist.com: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8314
 
FEATURES:
 
MY ENEMY'S ENEMY
Injecting people with live mutated viruses may sound crazy, but it could be the latest weapon in the war against cancer. The goal is to engineer a virus to target and kill only cancer cells - and killing is what viruses excel at.  Researchers around the world are equipping viruses with various weapons that when injected can do anything from making the cancer cells commit suicide to encouraging the immune system to turn upon a tumour. Pages 43-46
 
MOMENTS OF TRUTH
How do scientists arrive at their discoveries? Is it after years of hard, steady work, pure inspiration, availability of a new technology, or just plain old-fashioned luck? Physicist and novelist Alan Lightman explores some of the great discoveries of science in the 20th century, and categorises them into ten different styles of working or creative processes that led to scientific progress. Pages 36-41
 
DRIVER NOT INCLUDED
This year, five self-automated cars finished a race across a 212-kilometre course as part of the Grand Challenge - the ultimate race for robot cars. Last year, none of the entrants managed to complete the course. So have there been dramatic advancements in artificial intelligence?  Pages 48-49
 
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Kitty Timpson 
Media Manager Australia 
New Scientist 
 
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