[ASC-media] NEWSCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE ISSUE DATE: 17 SEPTEMBER 2005 (Vol. 187 No 2516)

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Sep 14 10:16:13 EST 2005


NEWSCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE ISSUE DATE: 17 SEPTEMBER 2005 (Vol. 187 No 2516)
 
EMBARGO: 
THESE ITEMS BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION BEFORE:- 
04:00 AEST THURSDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2005 
 
NEWS:
 
FLOOD WARNINGS FOR THE YANGTZE WILL SAVE LIVES
While New Orleans comes to terms with massive flooding, a computerized flood management system for China's Yangtze River is set to provide flood forecasts up to seven days in advance, with the aim of saving thousands of lives. The Australian technology will be handed over in October.  Page 9
 
HOW FAR SHOULD PRINTS BE TRUSTED?
A high-profile court case in Massachusetts is once again casting doubt on the claimed infallibility of fingerprint evidence. If the case succeeds it could open the door to numerous legal challenges. The doubts follow cases in which the testimony of the fingerprint examiners has turned out to be unreliable. No one disputes that fingerprinting is a valuable and generally reliable tool in fighting crime, but despite more than a century of use, fingerprinting has never been scientifically validated. New Scientist asks just how far should fingerprint evidence be trusted? Pages 6-7
 
DUNE TUNES...THE GREATEST HITS
It might not reach number one in the music charts but physicists who say that they have cracked the riddle of "singing" sand dunes are compiling a CD of sand music. Sand dunes in certain parts of the world are notorious for the noise they make as sand avalanches down their sides, but the precise mechanism that sets the grains of sand humming has remained controversial. Researchers in France found that they could play notes by pushing sand from Moroccan singing dunes and they have put together a CD of their own dune tunes. Page 11
 
FORGET THE STIFF UPPER LIP
Its bad news for the Brits, it seems that keeping a stiff upper lip during emotional events can impair your memory. Researchers in the US showed volunteers a disturbing film and then asked them questions about their emotional state and how much effort they had put into hiding their feelings. They found people who made the most effort to keep their emotions in check had the worst recall for what they had seen. Pages 13 
 
HOW TO SPOT EARLY SIGNS OF ARTHRITIS
Ever wondered whether the twinge in your knee is a result of overdoing it at the gym or something more sinister like osteoarthritis? Researchers in Michigan are developing a laser-based test that could one day give your GP a quick, cheap answer. The test may be able to identify people years in the early stages of osteoarthritis or before they experience any symptoms and allow people to take measures to mitigate the condition's effects. Pages 24
 
RASTA LENDS ITS NAME TO A THIRD 'RACE' OF CANNABIS
As police and dope smokers know, there are two types of cannabis. One is mainly used to make hemp, while the other is prized for the "high" that it produces. But now researchers in Australia have discovered a third type of cannabis, called rasta. Page 12 
 
METHANE MONSOONS MAY LASH TITAN
Brief but powerful methane downpours may strike Saturn's moon every few hundred years - astronomers think they have already seen thunderstorms. Story on www.NewScientistSpace.com
Click on this link for the full story: http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/dn7975 
 
 
FEATURES: 
 
THE WORLD'S BIGGEST IDEAS
Certain questions define the way we see the world. How did the universe begin? How does it work? What shaped our planet? What is matter made of? We take many answers for granted but perhaps we shouldn't. New Scientist asked ten of the biggest names in science to explain the significance of their discipline and their responses are surprising.  Pages 31-41
 
DIVE
Forty-five years after we first visited the abyss a new generation of explorers are hoping to return and the race is on to build the submarines that will take us there. Designing a sub to withstand the pressures of the deep is no easy feat and with the US, the Chinese, and private investors all trying to build the subs of the future, the race to explore the deep has just started to hot up. Pages 26-30
 
RE-ENTER THE DRAGON
With only 25 wild individuals left, the blue iguana is one of the most endangered reptiles in the world. Without help extinction is certain. Conservationists are trying to bring the species back from the brink, such last-ditch conservation efforts seldom succeed, but thanks to the peculiarities of the blue iguana, things are looking up. Pages 42-43
 
 
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