[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 22 DECEMBER 2007

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Tue Dec 18 22:55:58 CET 2007


DOUBLE ISSUE PRESS RELEASE

MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE:  22/29 DECEMBER 2007 (Vol. 196 No's 2635/6)
 
EMBARGO NOTE: 
PLEASE NOTE AN EARLIER EMBARGO FOR THIS DOUBLE ISSUE. THE STORIES BELOW
ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST BEFORE:- 05:00 HRS GMT
WED 19 DECEMBER 2007. (THE NEXT PRESS RELEASE DISTRIBUTED WILL BE FOR
ISSUE 5 JAN 08)
 
BUMPER HOLIDAY SPECIAL - FEATURES:
 
THE SANTA DELUSION
Should Santa be unmasked? It's a long held cultural conspiracy, but one
that's still going strong. Children all around the world write letters
to Santa Claus, visit his grotto and leave a glass of milk and a mince
pie beside the fire on Christmas Eve. So is it a harmless fantasy that
children benefit from or a cruel deception that encourages materialism?
Pages 36-37
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263536.pdf (Graphics
available)
 
DEATH BY CHOCOLATE
For those of us who will soon be gorging on festive chocolates, we can
enjoy doing so happily without fear of poisoning ourselves. But
unfortunately for animals which forage or are fed, a lot of dark
chocolate, it can be a fatal attraction. Substances in chocolate are
highly toxic to animals. Scientists are now studying these toxic effects
of cocoa to control pests. Page 40-41
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263540.pdf
 
SOME LIKE IT HOT
If you can take the heat of spicy food, there may be many health
benefits that go beyond clearing the sinuses. There is tentative
evidence that high doses of capsaicin found in chilli peppers might ward
off cancer and other deadly diseases. Pages 46-47
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263546.pdf (Graphics
available)
 
WATCH OUT BELOW!
What makes huge chunks of ice the size of basketballs fall from a blue,
cloudless sky? A team of planetary geologists in Spain quickly dismissed
overhead aircraft and comet fragments as the source - so where did these
ice monsters come from? Pages 48-50
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263548.pdf
 
EXPLETIVE DELETED
Why do we all swear so much and what makes a good swear word? According
to researchers, swearing could be "a substitute for physical
aggression", or it could be used as a way to promote social bonding.
Many fear bad language is on the increase - what was once scribbled on
the walls of public toilets is now being typed quite casually onto
computers. Pages 51-53
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263551.pdf  
 
THE D'OH! OF TECH
The best laid scientific plans can still go horribly wrong. We all
remember the ill-fated Beagle 2 spacecraft that went missing on its way
to Mars four years go. But New Scientist has picked five other such
accidents that didn't make the headlines. Pages 54-55
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263554.pdf
 
EXTREME OVERHANG
Find out how to impress your dinner guests by building an unfeasibly
large structure out of blocks...or mints...without it toppling over. 
Pages 42-45
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263542.pdf  (Graphics
available)
 
MEGA MOUTHY
Women talk more than men, right? Two recent studies have knocked this
myth on the head. So why have we completely bought in to the stereotype
of gabbling women? Pages 60-61
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263560.pdf
 
THAT SETTLES IT
Isn't rock, paper, scissors (RPS) just a childish way to make decisions?
Not according to many mathematicians. RPS is a game of strategy with
world championships, computer programs and a debate over the optimal
strategy. So how do you win at RPS? Pages 66-67
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263566.pdf  (Graphics
available)
 
NEWS:
 
DOLPHINS HAVE A WORD FOR IT
When dolphins whistle to each other are they having a conversation? One
researcher from Australia is closer to finding the answer after
eavesdropping on 51 different pods of dolphins. The study distinguished
nearly 200 different whistles dolphins make and linked some of them to
specific behaviours. Page 10
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263510.pdf
 
CANNABIS SMOKE BEATS TOBACCO FOR TOXIC CHEMICALS
Cannabis smoke contains significantly more chemicals and carcinogens
that tobacco smoke. A study from Canada found that directly inhaled
cannabis smoke contained 20 times as much ammonia and five times as much
hydrogen cyanide as tobacco smoke. This is the first time a direct
comparison of chemicals and toxins has been made between the two. Page 9
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263509.pdf
 
IT'S ALWAYS THE LITTLE ONES YOU NEED TO WATCH
Small asteroids pack a far mightier punch than previously thought when
they explode before hitting Earth. A computer simulation carried out in
New Mexico suggests that asteroids as small as 30 metres in diameter
could cause "airbursts" similar to the one behind the 1908 Tunguska
explosion in Siberia which levelled 2000 square kilometres of forest. A
worry when objects less than 140 metres across are not currently
detected in our solar system. Page 10
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263510.pdf
 
DEFRA 'IN DARK' OVER PATHOGEN ACCIDENTS
You would expect the organisation that regulates biosecurity in labs
dealing with dangerous animal pathogens, such as foot and mouth, to know
about any accidents that have occurred recently. But freedom of
information requests by New Scientist have revealed that the UK's
Department of Food and Rural and Affairs (DEFRA) has little idea as to
the number and nature of accidents and near-misses at the 68 labs it has
issued licences to in recent years. Page 11
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263511.pdf
 
FASTER, FASTER, TIME IS RUNNING OUT!
So far no one has been able to explain where the 'dark energy' causing
the expansion of the universe to speed up comes from. But a string
theorist from Spain thinks he has the answer: We are fooled into
thinking that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, because
time itself is slowing down. If he's correct, things will seem to get
faster and faster until time finally disappears. Page 8
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2635/263508.pdf
 
IF REPORTING ON ANY OF THESE STORIES, PLEASE CREDIT NEW SCIENTIST AS THE
SOURCE, AND IF REPORTING ONLINE, PLEASE INCLUDE A LINK TO:
www.newscientist.com. 

PLEASE DO NOT REPRODUCE FULL ARTICLES OR GRAPHICS WITHOUT PRIOR
PERMISSION.

 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. The rights to all
stories in the magazine and on our website are owned by our publishers
Reed Business Information. If you are interested in reproducing any of
the full-text articles or graphics you see in the pdfs above, please
email your details and the article in question to:
claire.bowles at rbi.co.uk. We take any breach of our copyright very
seriously.


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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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