[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE - 23 SEPTEMBER 2006

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Sep 20 01:43:30 CEST 2006


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE

MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 23 SEPTEMBER 2006 (Vol. 191 No. 2570)

EMBARGO: THESE ITEMS BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR
BROADCAST BEFORE: 04:00 HRS AEST THURSDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2006. 
 
IN NEW SCIENTIST THIS WEEK: 
 
THE GOOD THE FAD AND THE UNHEALTHY
We try our best to watch our diets and improve our health by eating the
right foods. Yet the advice on the perfectly balanced diet is full of
mixed messages, fads and confusing studies debunking our rock-solid
beliefs. In the last few months the benefits of eating a low-fat diet
and the benefits of eating oily fish have both been called into question
by nutritional studies. No wonder we're confused. In this special
report, New Scientist digests the facts and explodes a few myths along
the way. FEATURE Pages 42-49
 
FUELS GOLD
With their clean, eco-friendly image in a time of soaring oil prices,
"biofuels" are being hyped as the green fuel source of the future. But
it's not that simple, says Fred Pearce. Half of the green community are
celebrating that biofuels will slash our greenhouse gas input, while the
other half are casting serious doubts about whether they can meet such
high hopes. Dissenters say that the production of biofuels not only
trashes rainforests, but creates just as much greenhouse emissions as
burning fossil fuels. FEATURE Pages 36-41
 
SNOOZE YOUR WAY TO HIGH TEST SCORES
If you are trying to revise for an exam, take a nap. A good night's
sleep, especially REM sleep when you dream a lot, is known to improve
people's ability to learn actions. But now researchers in the US have
found that daytime napping improves volunteers' ability to commit
something to memory - even without REM sleep. NEWS Page 17
 
IS HE THINKING WHAT YOU'RE THINKING?
Our inability to see things from an animal's perspective means that we
often provide them with inappropriate housing and medical needs,
according to a meeting last week in London on how animals interpret the
world. Only by accepting that animals do not see things the way we do
will we learn to properly care for our pets and livestock. A set of
tests are being devised on animal health and welfare so that pet owners
and vets can make objective decisions on how to care for them free of
subjective human assumptions. NEWS Pages 6-7

TOXIC SPILL ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
Astronauts on the orbiting outpost were forced to deal with an
unexpected difficulty today. NASA says toxic potassium hydroxide may
have been released from an oxygen vent on the station's oxygen
generator. When inhaled, the chemical can cause a burning sensation,
cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.
The crew responded by shutting the oxygen generator down. Fortunately,
the station has back-up oxygen reserves in canisters and tanks, so the
crew can breathe easy on that front. WWW.NEWSCIENTIST.COM READ THE FULL
STORY HERE: http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/dn10104

ROBOT INFANTRY GET READY FOR THE BATTLEFIELD
Machine-gun equipped robots were certified safe for use by the US forces
in June. The two machines currently being developed will always have a
human in control. But New Scientist has found out that there are
military robots on the drawing board that may eventually help to decide
who is friend and who is foe. NEWS Page 28
 
REVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
When Dutch merchant Jan Teerlink pocketed some exotic plant seeds from
the Cape in 1803 and took them back aboard his ship, the Henriette, he
could never have imagined that they would spring to life two centuries
later. The seeds had lain forgotten in the UK's National Archives among
documents seized from the Henriette when captured by the British navy.
To the utter surprise of scientists at the UK's Millennium Seed bank,
and despite the harsh conditions they'd travelled in 203 years ago,
three of the 32 species of plant germinated this year. HISTORIES Pages
52-53
 
TOXIC WASTE BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT
According to reports from the Ivory Coast, a shipment of petrochemical
sludge that was dumped in tips around Abidjan in August has caused at
least seven deaths and 40,000 illnesses. In 1989, numerous countries
signed a treaty banning the dumping of toxic waste, but an amendment in
1995 to ban rich countries from dumping their waste on to poor ones was
never voted into force. This latest incident has at least put the
amendment back on the agenda when the 134 treaty countries meet in
November. NEWS Page 8
 
LISTENING FOR BREAKING BONES
A technique used to pinpoint the origin of an earthquake could be
adapted to predict an impending injury to dancers, athletes or even
racehorses. The tiny cracks that appear in stressed bones emit
ultrasound. An engineer at Purdue University in the US has built a
wearable device that detects this telltale ultrasound and warns athletes
before a series of small cracks turn into a fracture.  NEWS Page 23
 
A REALITY CHECK FOR CONSERVATIONISTS
Conservation managers should follow the medical profession's lead on how
to ensure their decisions are objectively based. Conservation journals
are simply not delivering, according to a UK study which compared
conservation reviews with medical studies. It found that too often
conservation reviews weren't thorough enough, often failing to include
literature outside the academic mainstream. NEWS Page 14
 
 
- ENDS-
 
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