[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTSIT PRESS RELEASE 12 APRIL 2008

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Wed Apr 9 01:39:53 CEST 2008


NEW SCIENTSIT PRESS RELEASE 12 APRIL 2008

MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE:  12 APRIL 2008 (Vol. 198 No. 2651)
 
EMBARGO: 
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BEFORE:- 04:00 HRS AEST THU 10 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
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New Scientist Magazine - thank you.

CRASH-TEST SKULLS
Stephen Wroe and his team from the University of New South Wales have
refined finite element analysis (FEA) modelling techniques to create
highly realistic 3D virtual models of skulls that can be stressed and
pulled to determine how real predators kill prey. Knowledge gained from
these tests will tell us how species compete for food and give insight
into whether existing predators would be able to handle a change in
their environment. In the future, FEA could allow surgeons to improve
their treatment of facial fractures. Pages 22-23

WHEN KIDS GO BAD
What goes wrong when teenagers turn to criminal behaviour? A new
generation of science is beginning to illuminate the debate. Researchers
are beginning to unravel how a biological predisposition to aggressive
behaviour combined with social factors, such as poor nutrition or abuse,
interact to produce changes in the brain that can influence emotional
control and lead to kids who become life-long criminals. Armed with this
knowledge, it could become possible to intervene with treatments at a
very early age, before these kids get caught up in trouble. 
Feature Pages 38-41
 
I'LL SING IT, YOU PLAY IT
If you don't own an instrument, and want to test out your new melodies,
new software will provide backing chords to go with your song. Just sing
into a microphone and MySong, created by Microsoft, will play it back to
you with a piano accompaniment. Short Story Page 21

HOW THE COSMOS WAS CONQUERED
14 million years ago, the big bang forged equal amounts of matter and
antimatter. They should have annihilated each other, but matter won out
and our universe was filled with stars, planets and gas. Physicists are
now picking up clues as to how this happened, and why our universe is
filled with something rather than nothing. Feature Pages 26-29
 
GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF IRRITABLE BOWELS
Researchers in Canada may have found a biological mechanism for
irritable bowel syndrome.  With its symptoms of intense contractions of
the colon, IBS was once thought to be a psychosomatic condition. The
finger of suspicion now points at raised levels of digestive enzymes
called serine proteases. Determining the source of this protease
activity could one day lead to better treatments. Page 13
 
NUCLEAR SUPER-FUEL TOO HOT TO HANDLE
For decades nuclear operators have been using progressively enriched
uranium as fuel to increase the "burn-up" rate and boost efficiency. But
US scientists are warning that the next generation of reactors planned
for the UK and US, using the latest high burn-up fuel, may pose safety
and waste-disposal problems. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is
having to rewrite its safety criteria to guard against the threat. Page
8-9
 
CURIOUS CLOUDS LINKED TO QUAKES
Could unusual cloud formation offer a warning of an impending
earthquake? This is the question being asked following the discovery of
distinctive gaps in clouds in satellite images above an active fault in
Iran, before two large earthquakes struck. The geophysicists from China,
who noticed the clouds, suggest an eruption of hot gases from inside the
fault could have caused water in the clouds to evaporate. Page 12
 
WHAT THE UNIVERSE BEFORE OURS WAS LIKE
It may be possible to see an imprint of the universe before ours printed
on the sky. According to theoretical physicists, the pattern of the
seeds of large-scale structures that were present pre-big bang might be
preserved in the cosmic microwave background radiation - the radiation
left behind after the big bang. Page 10
 
THE UPSIDE OF A CRISIS
Economic crises have health benefits. When Cuba was hit with a food and
fuel crisis in the 1990s, it may have made life miserable in the short
term, but it led to long-term improvements in Cubans' health. By walking
more and eating less, the population's obesity rate halved and the
deaths from potentially fatal diseases fell dramatically. Short Story
Page 6

 
ENDS
 
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