[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 14 JULY 2007
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Wed Jul 11 02:35:41 CEST 2007
NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 14 JULY 2007
MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 14 JULY 2007 (Vol. 195 No's 2612)
These articles below are distributed in advance of publication to those
authorised media who may wish to quote extracts as part of fair dealing
with this copyrighted material. If reporting on any of the stories
below please credit New Scientist Magazine.
THESE STORIES BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST
BEFORE:- 03:00 HRS AEST THURS 12 JULY 2007.
SPECIAL REPORT: CLIMATE MYTHS
Despite the claims made in "The Great Global Warming Swindle" (to be
aired on ABC TV tomorrow (Thursday) evening at 8:30pm AEST), there is
now an overwhelming amount of evidence that the world is warming, and
that this warming is due to increased levels of greenhouse gases caused
by human activity. Although there are still uncertainties, there are
many more confusing arguments and theories about the cause of the
warming, the impacts it will have on the planet, and whether it is
indeed a man-made phenomena. So New Scientist has put together a guide
to climate change myths and misconceptions. Decide for yourself.
* MYTH: Ice-core levels show rising C02 levels did not trigger the
warming at the end of the ice-ages, therefore CO2 did not cause global
* HALF-TRUTH: It has been far warmer in the past, so what's the
* HALF-TRUTH: C02 emissions due to human activity are tiny
compared with natural sources.
* MYTH: It's too cold where I live. Warmer winters will be great.
* MYTH: Cosmic rays and sun activity are responsible for global
warming not humans.
* HALF-TRUTH: Antarctica is getting cooler and the ice sheets are
* MYTH: It was warmer during the Middle Ages.
These and many more myths and misconceptions appear on
www.newscientist.com/climatemyths including: "Is it all just a
conspiracy?" and "We can't trust climate computer models".
WAITING FOR THE NEXT CHERNOBYL
An Iranian-born nuclear safety expert, now living in the US, is worried
that the Russian technology and human error that led to the Chernobyl
disaster may cause a similar catastrophic accident at Iran's nuclear
facilities. He also tells New Scientist that international sanctions are
only increasing the risk. Iran has not been able to hire qualified
western contractors to carry out safety analyses, which leaves Iran's
nuclear reactors at the mercy of the same Russians who were in charge of
Chernobyl. INTERVIEW Pages 46-47
DOGS SPARED ULTIMATE INDIGNITY
The days of removing dogs testicles to stop them breeding or to curb
aggressive behaviour may be numbered. A contraceptive implant that halts
testosterone and sperm production for months at a time is expected to
gain European approval within weeks. The implant, which makes dogs
temporarily infertile, has already been in use in Australia. Page 15
NANOPARTICLES THAT CANCER CELLS JUST CAN'T RESIST...
A technique that turns cancer cells into miniature magnets could make
biopsies more efficient by retrieving more cancer cells for testing.
Researchers in Alburquerque have come up with the idea of using magnetic
nanoparticles. The particles are encased in a biocompatible material and
then coated with antibodies that bind to chemicals found only in cancer
cells. When injected into the body, thousands of the particles stick to
cancer cells, turning them into miniature magnets. These cells can than
be drawn towards magnets encased in the end of a biopsy needle. Page 28
SWELL TEST CAN WEED OUT THE DUFF SPERM
Scientists in South Korea have found a better method to select the best
sperm for use in IVF techniques such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection
(ICSI). Part of the method includes a hypo-osmotic swelling test. If
sperm cells are put in a solution that is more dilute than the fluid
inside them, water moves into the cell causing it to swell up. The team
found that this swelling looks different in healthy sperm than in sperm
with an abnormal number of chromosomes, and can be used as an indicator
for healthy sperm. Page 13
AMBIGUOUS AVATARS A NO-NO
According to US researchers, we find androgynous-looking avatars less
trustworthy and less human, than those who are clearly male or female.
People often use avatars - a computer generated image used to represent
themselves - to chat to others or explore virtual worlds. Companies also
use avatars to interact with their customers. Short Story - Page 25
US NUCLEAR MISSILES 'POSED SAFETY THREAT'
Between 1983 and 1991, the US stationed 96 nuclear missiles at Greenham
Common in England, sparking the UK's biggest nuclear protests against
nuclear weapons. Now, previously top secret reports released by the UK's
Ministry of Defence, show that the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment
at Aldermaston had estimated that 10 million people, including the
population of London, could have been exposed to radiation from
plutonium if warheads exploded or caught fire. But despite the report,
the risk was still considered then to be "acceptable". Page 17
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.
A HORMONE TO BANISH SHYNESS
It was hailed as the "trust" hormone, then the "mind-reading" hormone.
Now it seems oxytocin may also help people with social phobia to
interact, according to new work presented at the World Congress of
Neuroscience in Melbourne this week. Page 18
LINES OF ATTACK
String theory is the theory everyone loves to hate. It is accused of
being untestable, disconnected from reality and unscientific. But the
tide is turning for this theory, which attempts to unite quantum
mechanics with Einstein's general theory of relativity using the notion
of oscillating strings about a trillionth of a trillionth of an atom in
size. String theory advocates may have come up with ways to detect the
so-far undetectable strings, such as looking for strings that formed
just after the big bang and have since stretched to astronomical size.
THE BORN CONSPIRACY
Modern culture is rife with conspiracy theories offering the 'real'
story behind every event from Armstrong's walk on the Moon to the death
of Princess Diana. And belief in these theories is on the rise, partly
because the internet allows these theories to be created quickly and
spread rapidly through a global audience. But what makes one person
accept the government line, and another believe a conspiracy theory? One
researcher believes our social origins help shape us to become
believers, or non-believers. Pages 35-37
THE GREAT NANOTECH GAMBLE
Nanotechnology is turning up in everything from baseball bats to
sunscreens. But while many hail these billionths-of-a-metre sized
developments as the next big thing in science, the extraordinary size of
nanotechnology presents unique health and safety issues we have yet to
come to grips with. There are significant gaps in our understanding of
what happens to materials at the nano-scale, and already concerns have
been raised about the potential toxicity of such widely-used
nanotechnology as carbon nanotubes. Pages 38-41
- 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
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
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