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

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Jul 18 02:16:41 CEST 2007


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 21 JULY 2007
 
MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE:  21 JULY 2007 (Vol. 195 No's 2613)
 
EMBARGO: 
THESE STORIES BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST
BEFORE:- 03:00 HRS AEST THURS 19 JULY 2007. 
 
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.
 
MEAT IS MURDER ON THE ENVIRONMENT
The production of a kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse
gas emissions and other pollution than driving a car for 3 hours while
leaving all the lights on back home. These are the conclusions of
researchers in Japan who studied the effects of beef production on
global warming. The team focused on calf production and the effects of
the production and transportation of the animals' feed. Page 15
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2613/261315.pdf
 
SUPERHEROES BATTLE THE FORCES OF JUNK
Can superheroes called "Food Dudes", who get their superpowers whenever
they eat their greens, really get children to eat more fruit and
vegetables? Governments and child nutritionists in Europe, US and Canada
think so, and plan to roll out pilot trials of the Food Dudes programme
to schools. Children get to watch episodes of the Food Dudes at school
which convince them to try fruit and vegetables they don't normally like
over and over again. The results from pilots carried out in 150 primary
schools in Ireland have been so overwhelming that the government plans
to roll out the programme nationwide in September. Pages 8-9
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2613/261308.pdf
 
THE CYBER-BULLIES ARE ALWAYS WITH YOU...
As more and more children log on to social networking sites, chatrooms
and instant messaging services, it's becoming clear that online bullying
is also on the increase. What's more, because of the always-on culture
of the internet, it doesn't stop when the playground bell rings. It's
becoming clear that cyber-bullying has a far worse effect on the victim
that physical bullying, and the lack of face-to-face contact with the
victim may mean cyber-bullies go to an extra level of cruelty. So what's
to be done? Researchers are developing software which helps children to
empathise with a victim of bullying, while some governments have started
to take legislative action. Pages 26-27
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2613/261326.pdf
 
A PLUM A DAY KEEPS THE BABIES AWAY
By eating plums, female baboons are consuming a natural contraceptive
which lowers their chances of getting pregnant. Researchers from the UK
found high levels of phyto-progestogens in the faeces of female baboons
in Nigeria at certain times of the year - during the plum season. From
August to October each year baboons feed on progestogen-rich black
plums. The more progestogen excreted, the less the females' rumps
developed pink sexual swelling - which is what attracts male attention.
Short Story Page 19
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2613/261319.pdf
 
SPEED-OF-LIGHT COMPUTING
Researchers say they have developed the first workable suggestion for
building an optical computer, which would be hundreds of times faster
than today's supercomputers. The team from Harvard University have come
up with a technique that uses a semiconducting nanowire as the optical
equivalent of an electrical transistor, and uses a single photon to
control the beams of light going down it. Page 28
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2613/261328.pdf
 
WHY WAIT MILLIONS OF YEARS FOR GAS?
Rather than waiting millions of years for conventional natural gas to
form under intense heat and pressure, geologists are looking to extract
"biogenic" gas, a huge energy resource that could potentially be
renewable. Biogenic gas deposits have been created during the past
18,000 years by methane-making microbes devouring carbon locked in
deposits of black shale. This summer, researchers are hoping to learn
the full extent of these biogenic gas deposits across parts of the US
and Canada. Their goal is to understand how methanogens make methane,
and ultimately how to speed up the process by introducing the microbes
into deposits of shale to produce clean-burning natural gas. Page 17
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2613/261317.pdf
 
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.

REMOTE CONTROL BRAINS
A brave new world of neuroscience is dawning, led by light. Scientists
have developed a way to control individual brain cells, using pulses of
light to switch them on and off. This technology could open the way for
neuro-modification of conditions such as Parkinson's disease or
depression. Instead of using chemical sledgehammers or clumsy
electrodes, doctors may be able to treat patients using pin-pricks of
light to stimulate individual neurons in specific areas of the brain.
Unfortunately, human heads are not transparent, so one challenge is how
to get light inside the skull in the first place. Pages 30-34

WEST KNOWS BEST
In 1996 an epidemic of the deadly Ebola virus swept through parts of
Gabon, in central West Africa. However international medical teams
arriving to help with the outbreak were met with outright and often
armed hostility from villagers whose previous experience of western
medical teams was less than ideal. The incident identified the problem
of cultural chauvinism on the part of western aid workers and
researchers. There is now a growing awareness that indigenous people
have their own strategies for disease control and prevention. Many are
coming to realise that combating disease in regions such as Africa could
be far more successful if western aid agencies find ways to merge
western ideas with traditional ones. Pages 35-37

FROM E TO ETERNITY
It plays a key role in describing how populations reproduce and grow,
and how radioactive decay progresses, yet the transcendental number e
remains enigmatic and perplexing. Unlike tame, predictable integers such
as 2 or 3 that we are familiar with from everyday activity,
transcendental numbers such as e and pi are bafflingly complex.
Manipulate them by multiplication or division as much as you like, yet
you will never be able to transform a transcendental number into a
conventional integer. Yet these mysteries must be explored, as
transcendental numbers are offering new insights into the equally
mysterious quantum world. Pages 38-41

GLOBAL SHADES
Even if we take the most drastic steps now to curb our greenhouse gas
emissions, the uncertainty in climate models means we could still be
facing major climate change and sea level rises. But climate scientists
have a few unusual, last-resort ideas up their sleeve. In particular,
some are considering the approach of geo-engineering - large-scale
projects that could help tackle global warming. One idea is best
described as applying sunscreen to the whole planet, with the aim of
deflecting just enough sunlight to counteract the warming from climate
change. Pages 42-45

-	ENDS -
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.
 
 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
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Nicole Scott
Marketing and PR Coordinator - Australia
New Scientist 
Tel: 61 2 9422 2893
Email: media at newscientist.com.au

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