[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 08 DECEMBER 2007

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Dec 5 00:39:47 CET 2007


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 08 DECEMBER 2007

MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE:  8 DECEMBER 2007 (Vol. 196 No's 2633)
 
EMBARGO: 
THESE STORIES BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST
BEFORE:- 05:00 HRS AEDT THU 06 DECEMBER 2007. 

The press site is unavailable this week. For full text articles please
contact Nicole Scott at media at newscientist.com.au or +61 2 9422 2893.

ECOTOURISM CAN PROTECT THE POOR
A review of four marine conservation initiatives in Fiji, Indonesia, the
Philippines and the Solomon Islands has shown that they have helped
reduce poverty and created tourism based jobs. The common factors in
each case were heavy involvement of the local community in the creation
of the protection zone. Page 4

CHIMPS BEAT HUMANS AT MEMORY TASK
Chimpanzees have outperformed humans at a cognitive task for the first
time. When asked to memorise the location of the numbers 1-9 which
appeared at random locations on a touch screen, three 5 year old chimps
remembered the locations more accurately than university students
performing the same task. The study, conducted at Kyoto University
highlights the flexible nature of chimp intelligence and challenges the
assumption that human intelligence is unique. Page 10

COMPUTERS SPOT DRUG SIDE EFFECTS
Computing experts have found a way to spot side effects of drugs missed
in clinical trials. Though not foolproof, it provides an additional
measure that could save lives and money. In one study, the approach
identified a possible side effect that was severe enough for the
development to be scrapped. Page 15

OUR SOLAR FUTURE
It's been a long time coming, but finally we are on the brink of a new
era in power generation - solar power has finally come of age. In parts
of Japan, California and Italy, where the retail price of electricity is
among the world's highest, the cost of solar-generated electricity is
now close to, and in some cases matches, that of electricity generated
from natural gas and nuclear power. While the tried-and-tested method of
using the heat of the sun to generate electricity is already hitting the
big time, the really big breakthroughs are happening in photovoltaic
cells. Pages 32-37

DIARY OF A LAB RAT
How does it feel to spend five days blindfolded? Scientists are
interested in the biological effects, but after years of reporting the
results of neuroscience research such as this, New Scientist reporter
Alison Motluk is more interested in what it's like to be an experimental
subject. She discovers that being deprived of light is a very strange
experience, with a constant light show going on behind her closed lids,
altered sensory perceptions and comes to realise that part of seeing is
knowing what to look for. Pages 38-41

THE ARMAGEDDON FACTOR
When it comes to the impact of a giant asteroid or mega-eruption, the
secret is location, location, location. A number of massive asteroids
have struck earth throughout history with no apparent long term effects
on life, while others, like the asteroid that brought the era of the
dinosaurs to an end, result in mass extinctions. The difference is
whether these events heat up rock rich in carbon, sulphur and chlorine,
which in turn releases vast amounts of climate-altering gases into the
atmosphere. It turns out that global warming is actually the real
killer. Pages 42-45

THE MOTHS OF WAR
For decades, the peppered moth was the poster child for evolution in
action. Generations of students learned how, during the industrial
revolution in England, a dark-coloured mutant appeared and in polluted
areas quickly replaced the normal light-coloured form because it was
better camouflaged against bird predation. But in the 1990s, this theory
was challenged on the basis that the original experiments were flawed,
and the debate was in turn seized on by anti-evolutionists who
campaigned to have the moth removed from textbooks. But thankfully, new
evidence looks like restoring the peppered moth to its pedestal. Pages
46-49
 
 
ENDS
 
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If you'd like to view the above articles in full-text AND/OR for radio &
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-  Australia, Tel: 61 2 9422 2893 or email: media at newscientist.com.au
 
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For breaking science and technology stories everyday visit
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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