[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 4 MARCH 2006

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Wed Mar 1 10:19:26 EST 2006


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE

MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 4 MARCH 2006 (Vol. 189 No. 2541)

EMBARGO: THESE ITEMS BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR
BROADCAST BEFORE:-
04:00 HRS AEST THURSDAY 2 MARCH 2006 
 

NEWS THIS WEEK:


HUNTERS OF THE SEAS BECOME THE HUNTED

A paper last week warned that sharks and rays have not colonised waters
deeper than 3000 metres, making them more vulnerable to fishing vessels.
But new projects such as satellite-tagging in Australian waters and the
monitoring the illegal trade in shark species by researchers in Florida,
will help the development of better protection measures. Page 18


BLEACH BOOSTS POWER OF CANCER VACCINE

Plain old bleach could help the body's immune system fight some cancers.
Previous attempts at boosting people's immune systems by giving them
vaccines based on dead cancer cells have been patchy. Now scientists in
London have found that immune cells taken from healthy volunteers
reacted far more strongly to dead ovarian cancer cells if they had been
killed with bleach. Page 17

STEM CELLS HELP HORSES OVER INJURY HURDLE

Results presented this week suggest that stem cells can help racehorses
with tendon injuries recover faster than those treated conventionally.
The rate of re-injury was also less once they started racing again. The
treatment developed by researchers in the UK involved taking bone marrow
stem cells from the horse's sternum, which were then multiplied in the
lab and injected into the damaged area. Page 17

HUMBLE ORIGINS OF FORCE THAT RULES THE UNIVERSE

Dark energy, that mysterious stuff that fills all of space and causes
the expansion of the universe to accelerate, could have a simple
explanation that has been under our noses all along. A team of Italian
physicists claim that dark energy may be coming from neutrinos, vast
quantities of which were created just after the big bang. Page 14


SAY GOODBYE TO CHEAP CHICKEN

With the first serious outbreak of H5N1 bird flu on a turkey farm in
France, virologists predict it will be endemic in wild birds across
Europe within a few months. Though effective vaccines exist to protect
domestic birds against the H5N1, the European Union prohibits its
general use. They say vaccination masks the spread of the virus.
Instead, any outbreak in the EU will be controlled with culling infected
birds and those nearby. But scientists contacted by New Scientist say
that some poultry farms are now so large and so close together that the
old policies are bound to fail. They say we should be vaccinating
susceptible birds in these areas now.  Pages 8-9

STEALTH SHARKS TO PATROL THE HIGH SEAS

A number of groups around the world have gained ethical approval to
develop implants that can monitor and control the behaviour of animals,
from sharks and tuna to rats and monkeys. A team funded by the US
military have created a neural probe that can manipulate a shark's brain
signals or decode them to tell us more about how the animals interact
with the world. More controversially, the Pentagon hope to use
remote-controlled sharks as stealth spies, exploiting their ability to
move quietly through water. Pages 30-31

WHY WE CAN'T PREDICT SPINNING BALLS

Don't blame professional sports players when they fail to react to a
fast-spinning ball coming towards them. According to a psychologist in
the UK, the human eye is simply not equipped to track the curved course
of balls with side spin. Page 19

GLOBAL WARMING BUBBLES UP FROM THE OCEAN

Researchers from Germany have found an unlikely source of atmospheric
methane - a gas that is responsible for around 15 percent of today's
global warming. The team have found a huge column of methane gas bubbles
rising to the surface from a mud volcano 1250 metres under the Norwegian
Sea. Their research has overturned the assumption that methane from such
volcanoes would oxidise long before it reached the surface. Page 11

FEATURES:

FINAL RESTING PLACE

As concerns grow over carbon emissions from fossil fuels, there is much
talk of a nuclear renaissance. But aren't we forgetting something? Where
to dispose of radioactive waste permanently and safely? While most
countries are struggling to overcome public opinion, Sweden and Finland
have committed firm plans for underground repositories. Here engineers
are already testing a full-scale trial burial site, and are confident
they will be ready for the real thing by 2017. Pages 38-41

SILT ROAD

The Mediterranean's Bronze Age - where Greece rose to become the
birthplace of western civilisation - is perhaps the most studied era in
the world. But we know little about the sea, the ships (that were
clearly important during that time) and their cargoes. A robot called
SeaBED is about to unravel many mysteries by navigating around some
deep-water Roman-era wrecks and imaging the sites and artefacts with
extraordinary precision. And what's more it will accomplish in days what
would have taken previous teams decades. Pages 46-49

ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL

E=mc2 is the equation everybody knows, but it is based on theory. So
what happened when two teams set out to test Einstein's famous equation?
Pages 42-43

- ENDS- 


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