[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 15 DECEMBER 2007

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Dec 12 00:43:28 CET 2007


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 15 DECEMBER 2007

MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE:  15 DECEMBER 2007 (Vol. 196 No's 2634)
 
EMBARGO: 
THESE STORIES BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST
BEFORE:- 05:00 HRS AEDT THU 13 DECEMBER 2007. 

All FULL-TEXT articles together with artwork, photos and graphics shown
on the PDFs below are not to be reproduced without prior permission from
New Scientist. The articles are distributed in advance of publication to
those authorised media who may wish to report on our stories, quoting
extracts as part of fair dealing with this copyrighted material.  Please
remember to credit New Scientist Magazine - thank you.

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.
NO STAR UNTURNED
Forget Google Earth - a far more ambitious project is underway to map
the heavens, ticking off and cataloguing every asteroid, star and galaxy
visible to ground-based telescopes. Using the world's biggest digital
camera, with 1.4 billion pixels, researchers with the Pan-STARRS 1
project will collect more than 40 petabytes of data, enough to fill more
than 8.5 million standard DVDs. Pan-STARRS 1 and other surveys like it
hope to also find millions of new asteroids, and even new planets in our
solar system. Pages 26-28

FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS
Wandering attention is an occupational hazard for the modern office
worker. Email notifications, colleagues gossiping, telephone calls and
other interruptions can steal up to 2 hours from a working day. But if
you have the attention span of the average gnat, help is on the way.
Researchers have devised a simple computer test that provides an
objective measure of an individual's ability to concentrate in the face
of a visual distraction. Their research also suggests that the best way
to keep people's minds on the job is actually to make their workstations
more visually challenging rather than simpler. Pages 30-33

THE THIEF OF TIME
Author Douglas Adams was the poster boy for procrastinators everywhere,
avoiding one deadline for a decade and was once quoted as saying; "I
love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
Procrastinators make their own hell, and then have to deal with it but
new research has shed some light on this most frustrating habit. The
most serious procrastinators tend to be impulsive, easily distracted
people who lack self-control and have little confidence that they can
see a task to completion.  Pages 34-37

THE PHARAOHS' PHARMACISTS
Far from the image of ancient Egyptian physicians managing their
patients' ailments with little more than spells and prayers, a study of
12 medical papyri has revealed something surprising - ancient Egyptian
doctors were prescribing far more effective remedies than first thought.
One researcher has teased out around 1000 prescriptions from the pages
of these ancient scripts, analysed them pharmacologically and compared
them with contemporary standards and protocols. Her research suggests
that at least 60% of Egyptian remedies were likely as therapeutically
effective as drugs today. Pages 40-43

INDOOR 'SAT-NAV' COULD SAVE FIREFIGHTERS
The risks firefighters face could be significantly reduced if they, and
their commanders, knew exactly where they were in a smoke-filled
building at all times. A tracking system that has been developed by a
French aerospace company can now do just that. Their Indoor Positioning
System (IPS) uses radio pulses to establish the positions of the
firefighters inside a building with respect to each other and to
firetrucks outside. The IPS could help guide the firefighters inside a
blazing building or help to have them rescued quickly. Page 24
FULL STORY: http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2634/263424.pdf
 
BEER GOES A LITTLE GREENER
You may soon be able to drink beer and reduce your carbon footprint at
the same time. A UK company has developed a technique that slashes both
the energy required to brew beer and the amount of waste produced.
During the process, steam is blasted at supersonic temperatures into the
vat of brewing liquid. This speeds up brewing reactions, and reduces
energy consumption. Page 21
FULL STORY: http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2634/263421.pdf
 
DEATH OF THE BIOFUEL DREAM
Biofuels are supposed to save our planet from climate catastrophe, but
they could be doing more harm than good. 12 million hectares are
currently devoted around the world to biofuel cultivation - such as
maize, rapeseed and palm oil. This figure will grow as oil becomes more
costly and biofuels supposedly emit fewer greenhouse gases. But new
studies are beginning to question the logic of jumping wholeheartedly on
to the biofuels bandwagon. Pages 6-7
FULL STORY: http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2634/263406.pdf
 
BEWARE, BOTNETS HAVE YOUR PC IN THEIR SIGHTS
While all countries face the same computer security problems - such as
spam, viruses and botnets - experts worry that it is those in the poorer
nations who are becoming increasingly vulnerable to attacks by hackers,
due to a lack of laws and a lack of funds for countermeasures to protect
themselves. Help is at hand however by the International
Telecommunications Union in Geneva who are launching a global initiative
to bring the security measures used in the industrialised world to the
developing world. Pages 22-23
FULL STORY: http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2634/263422.pdf

(Graphics available)
 
WAITER! MY PHONE IS READY TO ORDER
You are ordering from a foreign menu that you don't understand. What can
you do? Take a picture of the menu of course. If you take a photo of a
menu item with a new Nokia cameraphone, (which plans to launch next
year) the phone will recognise characters and translate the words in a
few seconds. Short Story Page 21
FULL STORY: http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2634/263421.pdf
 
 
ENDS
 
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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
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providing comprehensive coverage of science and technology news. 
 
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the full-text articles or graphics you see in the pdfs above, please
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claire.bowles at rbi.co.uk. We take any breach of our copyright very
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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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If you'd like to register for our Online Press Site, please contact
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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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