[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE - ISSUE 26 JULY 2008

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Jul 23 01:37:10 CEST 2008


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE FOR MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE:  26 JULY 2008 (Vol.
199 No. 2666)

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COULD KILLER HORSE VIRUS SPREAD AMONGST HUMANS?
As Australia suffers the biggest outbreak of the highly virulent Hendra
virus since the disease was identified in 1994, a change in its symptoms
in Queensland horses suggests that new strains may have emerged - and
even that a strain capable of spreading from human-to-human could
appear.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14377-could-killer-horse-virus-spr
ead-amongst-humans.html?DCMP=ILC-hmts&nsref=news6_head_dn14377

7 REASONS WHY PEOPLE HATE REASON
The "Enlightenment values", which descended from the 18th century,
described ideas from liberty and democracy to science and reason.
Traditionally, this kind of rational thinking has been opposed by those
who defended the powers of church and monarchy. Now rational thinking is
threatened by everyone from fundamentalists to pseudoscientists. To get
to the bottom of exactly why so many are turning away from science and
reason, New Scientist asks 7 distinguished contributers, including the
Archbishop of Canterbury, why they think people hate reason. SPECIAL
ISSUE ON REASON - PAGES 41-53
Includes: 
Reason stands against values and morals. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of
Canterbury
No one really uses reason. We make all our choices unconsciously.
Neuroscientist Chris Frith.
Reason focuses on the individual and ignores the complex world we are
part of. Bioethicist Tom Shakespeare
Reason is just another kind of rival religion. Philosopher Mary Midgley

ON TODAY'S MENU IS BANANA BREAST MILK
Breast milk provides babies with an abundance of different flavours that
may prime the child to try new foods later on. Researchers in Denmark
confirmed that flavours from a mother's diet were transferred into her
milk. They found that different flavours took varying amounts of time to
appear in breast milk, showing that the milk varies considerably in
flavour over time and between different people. Page 14

DESIGNING STREETS TO HELP DRUNK PEOPLE
A model that mimics the movements of drunken crowds could help ease
congestion around nightspots, and direct late-night revellers home to
their beds instead of into the path of potential conflicts. The team
monitored drinkers in Cardiff by breathalysing people and monitoring
their gait. Their resulting model found that drunks became 'irritants'
because they slowed people's progress towards their goal. Page 14

DON'T PANIC, WE'VE GOT IT COVERED
We've never been safer, according to a meeting held last week to discuss
"mega-catastrophes" that could threaten humans' existence on Earth. In
the first meeting of its kind, threats such as nuclear war, bioterrorism
and asteroids hitting Earth were discussed and considered to be
diminishing, while it was thought we are well prepared for other
catastrophes such as the threat from H5N1 strain of influenza virus.
Pages 8-9

SOIL ORGANICS HELP PIN SUSPECTS TO CRIME SCENES
Criminals beware: soil on your shoe could link you to a footprint at the
scene of a crime. 
Previously, investigators could only analyse the inorganic content of
soil, such as minerals, to compare soil samples over a wide geographical
area. But now the power of forensics has just got stronger with a new
technique developed by UK scientists. Their analysis was able to
identify the unique organic content of soil samples and link them to
small areas such as gardens and parks within the same town. Page 11

TWO FACES BETTER THAN ONE
Google Maps have had to begin obscuring faces of individuals in their
Street View service due to privacy issues. But instead of blurred faces,
they could make use of a new face replacement software, developed by
researchers the US, which gives everyone a face - just not their own.
The software randomly selects faces from photos on sites such as Flickr
and automatically aligns them to the most suitable person on the target
image. Page 23

JUMPY ROBOT MAKES LIGHT OF OBSTACLES
Wheeled robots designed for military or security purposes have
previously been foiled by obstacles. But now a wheeled robot developed
by a team in South Korea could be able to jump up stairs. The technology
behind ScoutRobot is an ultra-light version of the pneumatic ram,
powered by compressed air, which launches the robot to the required
height. It can sense a step a head of it, asses its height and jump on
it. Page 26 (Graphics available)

GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ROCKETS
Spectators at the world's largest annual air show, affectionately called
"Oshkosh" will be in for a thrilling spectacle in August. Rocket-powered
planes will race round a virtual circuit 400 metres up in the air. The
idea is to combine the pioneering spirit of space travel with the
crowd-pleasing thrill of motoring racing. FEATURE Pages 29-31 (Graphics
available)

FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATORS
Clever tracking devices are finally letting us crack the mysteries of
bird migration. Satellite tracking is not only revealing where birds are
flying to, but the exact timetable of the migratory flights, their
airspeeds and energy costs. FEATURE Pages 36-39 (Graphics available)

ENDS
 
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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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