[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 22 SEPTEMBER 2007
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Wed Sep 19 02:14:28 CEST 2007
NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE
MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 22 SEPTEMBER 2007 (Vol. 195 No's 2622)
THESE STORIES BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST BEFORE:- 03:00 HRS AEST THU 20 SEPTEMBER 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.
THEIR IMMUNE CELLS, FIGHTING YOUR CANCER
Immune cells from "cancer-resistant" people could be used to help other people fight cancer. A scientist in the US has discovered that immune cells called granulocytes can kill cancer, and their effectiveness varies from person to person. The research team have now received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to screen people for their ability to ward off cancer. Immune cells with the best cancer-fighting ability will be transferred to cancer patients, after being matched for blood type. Page 17
BUGS TURN TRANSSEXUAL
African bat bugs show extreme levels of gender bending. Bat bugs are renowned among entomologists for their gruesome method of reproduction. Males never use the vagina, instead stabbing the female's abdomen and inseminating directly into the blood. To avoid being stabbed by the male's penis, the female has evolved a defence mechanism - a structure on their abdomen that mimics female genitalia. And it gets more bizarre: the males also sport female defensive genitalia to avoid being stabbed by other male's penises.
PARALLEL UNIVERSES BORN AGAIN
Experts have hailed it as "one of the most important scientific developments in the history of science". Our world, and you, may be just one version of many. The scientific community have dismissed the idea of parallel universes for decades, but new work could mean we might have to start getting used to the idea. A team from the University of Oxford have used quantum physics to validate the "many worlds" or "multiverse" theory. Pages 6-7
SAFETY WARNING AT NUKE BOMB PLANT
The UK's nuclear bomb factory has been struggling to remedy as many as 1000 safety defects uncovered by the government's official watchdog. The serious problems faced by the nuclear weapons complex at Burghfield, Berkshire, is revealed in 12 internal reports released by the UK's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to New Scientist under freedom of information law. Despite these "shortfalls" bombs are still being dismantled because the Ministry of Defence says the work it does is vital for national defence. Page 8-9
http://media.newscientist.com/data/pdf/press/2622/262208.pdf (Graphics available)
YOU CAN PUT YOUR TRUST IN WIKIPEDIA 2.0
Since its launch in 2001 Wikipedia has grown in size and reputation. But there is still no way to for users to tell whether information is true because anyone can edit entries at any time. In a dramatic shift, the charity who oversees the online encyclopedia says it plans to start a trial of changes this month to boost public confidence in Wikipedia. The changes will ease readers' doubts as only "trusted" editors will be able to implement edits or articles. But they may also risk taking away the freedoms that encourage users to contribute to the site in the first place.
RADIATION CLEARED OF KILLING DINOSAURS
A study of cancer in the fossilised bones of dinosaurs can rule out radiation as a possible suspect for wiping out dinosaurs. An astrobiologist from the US has suggested that past periods of heavy radiation from cosmic rays might have caused mass extinction. And heavy radiation could leave a trace as bone cancer. However, the researchers found no evidence of elevated cancer rates in dinosaurs when compared with today's birds and reptiles. Page 19
CALIFORNIAN FORESTS BEGIN TO FEEL THE HEAT
An increase in tree death in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California could be a warning sign that other forests face the same fate. Ecologists tracking the fate of trees in California since 1983 noticed that the mortality rates of both pine and fir trees had increased at an average of 3 per cent a year - and the signs point to climate change as the cause. Page 16
The following four stories are not available on the press site. For full text articles please contact Melinda Briant at media at newscientist.com.au.
MIND TRICKS: SIX WAYS TO EXPLORE YOUR BRAIN
You don't need to be a neuroscientist armed with the latest high-tech gadgetry to explore the inner workings of the brain. New Scientist details six simple experiments that can be done in the comfort of your own home to reveal some of the stranger secrets of how your brain works. You can experience first-hand the curious consequences of your brain being split in two, the effects of your visual cortex clocking off, our inexplicable blindness to sudden change and the mysterious Pinocchio illusion. Pages 34-41
AS GOOD AS NEW
Unborn babies have incredible healing abilities. Surgeons have performed major surgery on 18 week-old foetuses in the womb, yet unlike an adult subjected to the same surgery, the babies are subsequently born with barely a mark to show for the incisions. Researchers have been exploring this healing ability with the hope that it might lead to treatments that not only boost healing but also reduce the formation of scar tissue in adults. They have identified a family of growth factors that seem to play a key role, and which could transform the field of wound healing. Pages 42-45
TRASH THE AMP!
It's a tough time for metrologists. These keepers of the units by which we measure our world are having weight problems - the lump of metal that defines the universally-accepted kilogram is changing, and nobody knows by how much. This in turn throws many other units, such as the chemistry mole, out of whack. And to add to metrologists' woes, the unit of temperature gets a bit vague above 1000 kelvin, and the official unit of electric current, the ampere, is so impractical, researchers have abandoned it completely. Thankfully, shiny new perfect measurements are on their way to save the day. Pages 46-49
- 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 seriously.
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