[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE APRIL 5 2008

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Apr 2 00:49:37 CEST 2008


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE APRIL 5 2008

MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE:  5 APRIL 2008 (Vol. 197 No. 2650)
 
EMBARGO: 
THESE STORIES BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST
BEFORE:- 04:00 HRS AEDT THU 3 APRIL 2008. 

All FULL-TEXT articles together with artwork, photos and graphics 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 END OF CIVILISATION 
There is a widespread belief that our civilisation is of such a scale
and complex level of innovation that we are immune to collapse. However,
a growing number of researchers are coming to the conclusion that our
society is becoming ever more vulnerable. New Scientist looks at whether
a nightmare pandemic - such as a plague like ebola or smallpox - could
be devastating enough to wipe out our entire civilisation. 
Cover Feature - Pages 28-31
 
ARE WE DOOMED?
We also consider another chilling possibility: what if the very nature
of our civilisation means that ours, like every other civilisation in
history, is destined to collapse sooner or later. Disturbingly, some
believe that our complex, tightly networked society could amplify any
shocks and failures. Cover Feature - Pages 32-35 (Graphics available)
 
NEVER SAY NEVER
Time travel, teleportation, invisibility... All are scientifically
impossible right now. Or are they? A theoretical physicist from the US
explores these "impossibilities" and categorises them into those that
violate the known laws of physics and those that may be possible with
technologies that lie decades or centuries away. FEATURE Pages 34-37
 
BONES MEND FASTER WITHOUT MARROW
A new study suggests that removing bone marrow from fractured or broken
bone could encourage new bone growth and speed up recovery. A team in
the US drilled into the thigh bones of rats before syringing out the
bone marrow. They found that new bone formed in the marrow cavity if
followed with injections of a drug to encourage bone growth. The study
suggests that bone marrow normally inhibits the formation of new bone.
Page 12 (Graphics available)
 
WHY HAPPY-WRAPPERS FESTOON THEIR WEBS
Why do some spiders decorate their webs? Is it to lure pattern-loving
insects or to prevent birds from flying into the web? A team in Germany
believe that arachnid artwork may help to exercise the silk glands at a
time when they're not being used, to ensure they can make plenty of silk
when it is needed to wrap up prey. Page 13
 
SINGLE GENE FOUND FOR 'VIRAL OBESITY'
We're now closer to understanding how adenovirus-36 (Ad-36), thought to
be responsible for some cases of obesity, causes fat cells to grow. The
researcher who last year discovered that Ad-36 causes precursor cells to
differentiate into fat cells, and promote obesity in humans and mice,
has now shown that a single viral gene is responsible for fat cell
differentiation. Researchers may someday be able to block this single
gene in humans to prevent this type of obesity. Page 15
 
WHEN A SQUEAL AND A WAIL WON'T DO
There is now a way to free music of squealing feedback during gigs
without the need for a sound engineer. Researchers in the UK have
developed software that prevents feedback from occurring. The software
could free-up sound engineers to focus on music quality while offering
those bands who can't afford engineers feedback-free performances. Page
26
 
DID SOUND ONCE TRAVEL AS FAST AS LIGHT?
The speed of sound might have been quicker just after the big bang.
That's the suggestion of one physicist who says speedy sound could help
explain the longstanding mysteries of how galaxies formed and why the
universe's background temperature is the same all over. Page 11
 
BUMPER HARVEST MAY GET ENDANGERED PARROTS LAYING
Researchers may have the key to the survival of the kakapo - New
Zealand's endangered flightless parrot. A team found that chemicals in a
fruit that kakapo feed on, contain chemicals that trigger the birds' sex
hormones. If their theory is right, the chemical could be used to
increase the number of kakapo eggs. Page 14

 
ENDS
 
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*	New Scientist magazine is the world's leading science and
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(ABC Audit March 2007). 
 
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Nicole Scott
Marketing and PR Manager - Australia/NZ
New Scientist 
Tel: 61 2 9422 2893
Email: media at newscientist.com.au

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