[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 21 APRIL 2007

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Apr 18 01:52:39 CEST 2007


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 21 APRIL 2007


 
MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE:  21 APRIL 2007 (Vol. 194 No's 2600)


 


EMBARGO: 


THESE STORIES BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST
BEFORE:- 03:00 HRS AEST THURS 19 APRIL 2007. 


 

CREEPY-CRAWLY ROBOT TO MEND A BROKEN HEART

Robot caterpillars, 20-milimetres long could soon be let loose to crawl
over the surface of a beating heart to deliver drugs or other
treatments. The device, called HeartLander, can be inserted using
minimally invasive keyhole surgery, and can attach onto the surface of
the heart using suckers for feet. The team in the US have carried out
tests on live pigs where HeartLander fitted pacemaker leads and injected
dye into the heart. Page 26

 

SOYBEAN BOOM SPELLS BAD NEWS FOR CLIMATE

Clearing the Amazon rainforest to grow soybean crops is more detrimental
to the climate than clearing space for grazing cows. Researchers from
Brazil looked at the different land use and its effect on the climate.
Clearance of any kind caused a drop in rainfall, but soybean dried up
the skies much more than pastureland. But there is no sign of soybean
production abating due to its popularity as a food and as a biofuel.
Page 12

 

SCHOOLS URGED INTO DIVISIVE CRACKDOWN

The US is seeing an increase in the number of students facing random
drug tests since a Supreme Court ruling in 2002. Proponents say that
drug testing in schools can have a major impact in discouraging drug
use. However, scientists are repeatedly calling into question the
effectiveness and safety of such testing, saying that tests often give
incorrect results. Meanwhile other countries are looking on with
interest, and some have already followed suit. Pages 8-9

 

PERFECT CLONES

It's getting harder and harder to tell real live actors and actresses
from computer-generated look-alikes. Teams of researchers are already
working on reconstructing 3D faces that reflect light in the same way as
the real face, right down to every pore and wrinkle. They can then use a
"library" of hundreds of other scans to change the way the person looks:
by giving them a suntan, making them look white with fear, or making
them appear older or younger. The goal is to create perfectly realistic
digital doubles to stand in for actors during dangerous scenes. 

Pages 24-25

 

PROVING FOOD'S ETHICAL ORIGIN

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the ethical origin of the
products they are buying. The Fair Tracing project established in the UK
is exploring techniques to store information in the barcodes of goods
which consumers can read with hand-held readers. Products would be
tagged to provide consumers with an entire product history such as where
the goods were made, and if it was a fair trade. Page 23

 

QUESTIONS FOLLOW REPORTS OF STEM CELL DIABETES CURE

Last week the media excitedly reported on a trial in Brazil that
suggested stem cells cured people with type 1 diabetes. New Scientist
asks whether this risky stem cell treatment, which took place in Brazil,
would have been given such ready approval in the US or Europe. 

Page 13

 

The following four stories are not available on the press site. For full
text articles please contact Nicole Scott at media at newscientist.com.au.

 

FINGERPRINT EVERYTHING

The global trade in counterfeit goods is worth $500 billion a year, and
researchers are engaged in a constant battle to outwit the
counterfeiters. The latest weapon is "physically unclonable features" -
an item's unique physical fingerprint of irregularities, such as the
microscopic imperfections on the surface of a computer screen or the
orientation of paper fibres on a cigarette packet. These may help
distinguish real from fake, and beat the pirates. Pages 28-32

 

MIND-ALTERING MEDIA

We spend most of our waking hours interacting with technology in one
form or another, whether it's computers, televisions, mobile phones or
video games. But is all this techno-stimulation dumbing down the human
brain or brightening and broadening our minds? The answer seems to be a
bit of both, but whether we're cleverer or dumber, technology is making
us more violent. Page 33-37

 

CASSAVA PLAGUE

A virulent new plague is devastating cassava crops across Africa,
threatening the staple food source for one third of the population. This
insidious virus destroys cassava crops from the inside, so farmers don't
know their crop is lost to the cassava brown streak virus until harvest
time comes. In some places, cassava yields have dropped by up to 80%.
After neglecting cassava research for so long, science is scrambling to
the rescue, with notable success. Page 38-39

 

TEEN TRANSEXUALS

What happens when a little boy insists he really is a little girl?
Gender reassignment surgery is a relatively well established procedure
in adults, but support groups and some experts are now lobbying for
treatment to be given much earlier in life - even to pre-pubescent
children. Doctors in the Netherlands are pioneering new
puberty-suppressing treatments but it's an emotive area fraught with
ethical and social dilemmas. Page 40-43

 

- ENDS -

 

 

IF REPORTING ON ANY OF THE STORIES ABOVE, PLEASE CREDIT NEW SCIENTIST AS
THE SOURCE, AND IF REPORTING ONLINE, PLEASE INCLUDE A LINK TO:
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NOTES TO EDITOR:

*	New Scientist magazine is the world's leading science and
technology news weekly, boasting a worldwide circulation of over 175,000
(ABC Audit March 2007). 

 

*	The magazine is complimented by NewScientist.com, your ultimate
science and technology website. It includes breaking news updated
throughout the day by our global network of specialist correspondents
providing comprehensive coverage of science and technology news. 

 

*	New Scientist offers a syndication service. If you are
interested in reproducing any of our full-text articles or graphics,
please email your details and the article in question to:
claire.bowles at rbi.co.uk. 

 

 

PRESS CONTACT IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND:

If you'd like to view the above articles in full-text AND/OR for radio &
TV interviews, please contact Nicole Scott, Marketing and PR Coordinator
-  Australia, Tel: 61 2 9422 2893 or email: media at newscientist.com.au

 

PRESS CONTACT IN EUROPE: 

If you'd like to register for our Online Press Site, please contact
Claire Bowles, New Scientist Press Officer Europe, Tel: +44 (0)20 7611
1210 or email: claire.bowles at rbi.co.uk

 

PRESS CONTACT IN THE US:

New Scientist Boston: Tel: +1 617 558 4939 or email:
kyre.austin at newscientist.com

 

 

For breaking science and technology stories everyday visit
www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com/> 

 

Nicole Scott

Marketing and PR Coordinator - Australia

New Scientist 

Tel: 61 2 9422 2893

Email: media at newscientist.com.au

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