[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 25 MARCH 2006

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Mar 22 10:25:30 EST 2006


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE
MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 25 MARCH 2006 (Vol. 189 No. 2544)

EMBARGO: THESE ITEMS BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR
BROADCAST BEFORE:- 04:00 HRS AEST THURSDAY 23 MARCH 2006 

IN THE MAGAZINE THIS WEEK:

ONE DRUG, SIX MEN, DISASTER...
As New Scientist went to press, two of the young men who took part in
the safety trial for a drug called TGN1412 are still in a critical
condition, while four no longer need organ support. New Scientist
contacted some experts to ask how such a horrific reaction could have
occurred. A clue to why TGN1412's effect was so different on humans and
animals could come from a study by researchers in London. In humans, 15
amino acids on the CD28 receptor come into contact with TGN1412. The
study found that in some animals at least two of these amino acids on
the CD28 receptor are different, which could reduce binding of the
antibody to the receptor, and possibly dampen the effect of the drug.
NEWS Pages 10-11 

HOW TO TELL A FENDER BENDER FROM A PILE-UP
Automatic crash notification systems that broadcast alerts to call
centres when a car has crashed need to get much smarter, according to
researcher in Boston. Such systems risk wasting paramedics' time who
could arrive to the scene only to find a scraped fender. The team say
it's possible for on-board computers to process information during a
crash to find the likelihood of head injury. This should be information
that is sent in the broadcast alerts. NEWS Page 30

OZONE HITS MEN WHERE IT HURTS
Smog is not only bad for the lungs but appears to be linked to decreased
sperm count too. A survey of men who donated to a sperm bank in Los
Angeles found that ozone was the only pollutant in the air that had a
damaging effect on sperm production. NEWS SHORT STORY Page 21

RIDE THE CELESTIAL SUBWAY
Science fiction writers have imagined a future where people travel to
different planets through a system of faster-than-light tubes, or
wormholes. We don't yet have wormholes, but NASA engineers have
discovered that we do have an invisible Interplanetary Superhighway
through which spacecraft can travel to reach different destinations in
the solar system. And this natural tube network is already being used to
plan more efficient space missions. FEATURE Pages 32-36

AND LIFE CREATED CONTINENTS
Life on Earth may have driven the evolution of the planet itself. A team
of geologists from Denmark believe that the appearance of ancient
photosynthetic life 3.8 billion years ago may have provided the chemical
energy to create the Earth's continents. The theory would solve the
puzzle of why the Earth's continental crust appeared when it did, and
explain the presence of granite, which is unique to Earth. NEWS Page 12

MARCH OF THE QUIBITS
Attempts from researchers so far to build a quantum computer have
resulted in little progress and many headaches. But cluster states could
solve all the major hang-ups and see a practical machine arriving within
10 years. FEATURE Pages 42-45

20-SIDED FREAKS
The traditional view of viruses is that they are smaller than bacterium
and non-living. But then came the discovery of the Mimivirus, a giant
virus larger than many bacteria and with a genome containing an
astonishing 911 genes. And almost half of Mimivirus's genes are new to
science. The mysterious virus has biologists scratching their heads
whilst raising some questions about the evolution of cells. FEATURE
Pages 37-41

EVERLASTING POWER
It began with a gloopy slug-like liquid on a lab bench. Researchers soon
realised that the ferrofluid (nanoscale flakes of iron suspended in a
liquid) that they were looking at was the beginning of a new technology
that could be used for anything from an electricity generator to
executive office toys. FEATURE Pages 46-47

- ENDS -                                     

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Kitty Timpson 
Media Manager Australia 
New Scientist 
Tel: +61 2 9422 2893

 

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