[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 3 MAY 208

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Wed Apr 30 01:26:56 CEST 2008


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 3 MAY 208

MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE:  3 MAY 2008 (Vol. 198 No. 2654)
 
EMBARGO: 
THESE STORIES BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST
BEFORE:- 04:00 HRS AEDT THU 31 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.
 
CAN FETAL CELLS FEND OFF BREAST CANCER?
Fetal stem cells that cross the placenta into the mother's bloodstream
may fight off breast tumours, which could explain why women with
children have a lower risk of developing breast cancer than childless
women. A team in the US had previously noticed that mothers who develop
breast cancer have fewer fetal cells in their bodies than those without
cancer and wondered if fetal cells were helping fight the tumours. Now,
a new controlled study by the same team seems to support the hypothesis,
and suggests that fetal cells might be acting as immune cells. Page 10
 
FERTILE WOMEN BETRAYED BY VOICE
A woman's voice becomes more attractive when she is most fertile,
according to US researchers. The results are in line with evidence that
the female voice box is under the influence of sex hormones. It also
adds to increasing evidence that women experience "oestrus", which
remains controversial because the effects are more subtle than other
female mammals "in heat". Page 14

BEARLIKE SUPER-PREDATOR TERRORISED FIRST HUMANS
A ferocious sabre-toothed cat with hyper-carnivorous teeth and the
strong body of a bear was a 'super-predator', according to a team in
Australia. While studying how extinct mammalian predators lived, the
team found two species that didn't fit in to known predator groups, but
did have a lot in common with each other. The team think the combination
of huge slicing teeth and robust bodies evolved to kill very large,
cumbersome prey. Page 15
 
CARBON LOCKDOWN
Could burying trees and plants save us from the worst of global warming?
An atmospheric scientist in the US has calculated that if we could
sequester the carbon locked up in trees and then bury the wood in such a
way that carbon doesn't get released, enough C02 would be removed from
the atmosphere to offset all of our fossil-fuel emissions. He envisages
small-scale wood burial schemes, paid in carbon credits. FEATURE Pages
32-35(Graphics available)
 
SIN CITIES
What makes some city districts so dangerous? Apparently it has less to
do with criminal psychology and more to do with mundane human habits and
the physical environment. Criminologists are using mathematical analysis
to reveal patterns in criminal activity, and even predict where it might
happen next. Understanding these patterns is transforming the way police
are trying to counter crime. FEATURE Pages 36-39 (Graphics available)
 
HACKERS LEARN TO DO IT THE HARD WAY
Computer viruses and worms are nasty enough, but soon hackers could up
the ante even further by threatening computer hardware. Computer
scientists in the US have shown that hackers could gain control of a
computer by adding malicious circuits to its processor. However,
sneaking malicious hardware onto a chip is not as easy as installing a
virus, as it would have to be done during the design or manufacture
process. Page 26
 
WE NEED BETTER FORECASTS - AND FAST
Many climatologists are losing confidence in the ability of existing
climate models from the Intergovernmental Policy for Climate Change
(IPCC) to predict regional changes. Next week climate modellers from
around the world will meet to try and improve our forecasting abilities,
which includes measures to allow us to predict how the climate will be
affected locally as well as globally. Pages 8-9 (Graphics)
 
EMERGENCY 2.0 IS COMING TO A WEBSITE NEAR YOU
Online social media tools have been helping out in times of crisis.
Tools developed for online socialising such as blogs, photo sites and
instant messaging are proving to be well suited to disaster response,
despite not being designed for that purpose. Researchers are now meeting
in the US to discuss how emergency services as well as locals can make
the most of these tools. Pages 24-25

 
DO BIRDS SEE WITH QUANTUM EYES?
A quantum effect may be behind birds' ability to navigate using Earth's
magnetic field lines. 
Some researchers believe an ion reaction theory is responsible for how
birds "see" magnetic fields via photosensitive proteins in their retina.
But there seems to be a lack of time for the Earth's magnetic field to
have an effect on the eye. Now, a team in Greece say that a known
quantum effect is likely to be responsible for ramping up the impact of
the Earth's magnetic field on the birds' eyes. Page 12
 
ENDS

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