[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 9 SEPTEMBER

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Wed Sep 6 02:02:04 CEST 2006


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE

 
MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 9 SEPTEMBER 2006 (Vol. 191 No. 2568)

 
EMBARGO: THESE ITEMS BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR
BROADCAST BEFORE:- 04:00 HRS AEST THURS 7 SEPTEMBER 2006. 


NEWS:
 

KEEP SLAPPING ON THAT SUNSCREEN

When out in the sun, make sure you apply the sunscreen regularly, or you
might be better off not using it at all. So says a chemist at the
University of California, who studied human skin samples exposed to
sunlight while covered with sunscreens. The experiments found that
sunscreen sinks into the skin after about an hour, reaffirming the need
to reapply regularly to keep a protective effect. But more startling was
the finding that skin samples with sunscreen contained more damaging
free radicals, than skin exposed to UV with no sunscreen. Page 16 

 

THE MEDICINES THAT COULD KILL MILLIONS

A trade in fake medicines is claiming countless lives every year, mostly
among the world's poorest. Experts worry that these ineffective or toxic
counterfeit drugs kill more than illegal narcotics and could undermine
efforts to combat major diseases. Strengthening drug regulatory
authorities is key, as well as trying to get companies developing the
real life-saving drugs to price counterfeiters out of the market. Pages
8-9

 

WHERE TO FIND THE FRESHEST AIR IN TOWN

It started with a cyclist in London carrying a carbon monoxide sensor in
his backpack to find out how polluted the air was on his commute to
work. This work has since inspired a network of cheap sensors used by
volunteers in cities around the world, which could revolutionise
pollution monitoring. Doctors hope the network could be a more accurate
way of measuring people's exposure to toxic chemicals over the course of
the day, allowing them to use the information to minimise any
respiratory problems they might suffer. 

Pages 26-27

 

TAILORED MEDICINES FOR RICH AND POOR ALIKE

A guide to which drugs work best in different populations across the
world aims to spread advances in pharmacology and genetics to the
developing world. Pharmacogenetics for Every Nation Initiative (PGENI)
will be a database of information collected on gene variants that affect
the efficacy or toxicity of drugs on the WHO's essential medicine list.
Page 13

 

WHY SLIMY SNAILS FALL TO THE BACK OF THE PACK

If you ever bet on a snail race: put your money on the least slimy one.
According to American mathematicians, who modelled the locomotion of
snails and other gastropods, it takes energy to produce mucus, so the
creatures slither best while using the thinnest layer of mucus possible.
SHORT STORY - Page 19

 

DARK MATTER 'PROOF' CALLED INTO DOUBT

When a researcher from the University of Arizona in Tucson announced on
21 August that his team had "direct proof of dark matter's existence",
it seemed the issue had been settled. Now proponents of alternative
theories of gravity, who explain the motion of stars and galaxies
without resorting to dark matter, have hit back and are suggesting that
the conclusion was premature.

Page 12 

 

AFGHANISTAN RISK EXPOSED

According to the UK's Royal Statistical Society, the fatalities among
coalition forces in Afghanistan, as reported by governments, does not
give a true picture of the risks faced. Analysis shows that since May,
on average five coalition soldiers have been killed per week by the
Taliban - making it one of the fiercest campaign since the "war on
terror" began in 2001. Page 6

 

 

FEATURES:

 

FLY BY LIGHT

New Scientist meets a man who wants to end mechanised travel, and
replace wings and wheels with pure radiation. The respected British
spacecraft engineer has built a working prototype and has persuaded the
British government to fund his work. The device that has sparked their
interest, as well as the Chinese government and US air force, is an
engine that generates thrust using microwaves instead of moving parts,
and that releases no noxious emissions. Pages 31-34 

 

LOOK OUT BELOW!

How do you write a message to people 10,000 years in to the future when
there is no guarantee their language will bear any relation to ours?
This is the problem facing a group of scientists and historians who want
to leave warning signs to people in our future about where we've buried
nuclear waste. Pages 44-45

 

MEET YOUR ANCESTOR

Earlier this year American fossil experts struck gold. What they found
in the Canadian Arctic fills the gap between early fish and the first
land vertebrate - the first fish to drag itself out of water 400 million
years ago. The fossils of Tiktaalik are so well preserved that they show
hints that the fish may have been able to prop its body up on its front
fins to support itself in shallow water. Page 35-39

 

IN SEARCH OF ALPHA

Why are physicists racing to pin down the precise numerical value of
alpha - one of nature's constants - to the umpteenth decimal place?
Electromagnetism - the force responsible for everything we see and touch
- is dictated by the number alpha. And measuring alpha to the most
precise value yet could lead to the discovery of new physical laws and
phenomena.  Pages 41-43

 

- ENDS-

 

 

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