[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE - ISSUE 27 SEPT 08

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Sep 24 01:43:55 CEST 2008


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE FOR MAGAZINE ISSUE:  27 SEPTEMBER 2008 (Vol.
199 No. 2675)

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EMBARGO: 
THESE STORIES BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST
BEFORE:- 04:00 HRS AEST THU 25 SEPTEMBER 2008.

ARE ANTIDEPRESSANTS HARMING MALE FERTILITY?
Antidepressants taken by millions of men could be impairing their
fertility by causing damage to the DNA in their sperm.  Researchers in
New York gave 35 healthy men paroxetine, sold as Seroxat or Paxil, over
five weeks.  Examining the men's sperm four weeks into the trial found
that, on average, the proportion of sperm cells with damaged DNA had
risen to levels that have been linked to impaired fertility. Page 11

YOU THOUGHT CLUSTER BOMBS WERE SCARY? TRY THESE ...
The US air force is seeking to develop a cluster weapon that releases a
swarm of bomblets that could each pursue and destroy targets many
kilometres away.  The US Department of Defense revealed its requirements
for the weapon in an online research request. The request says the
bomblets should be equipped with sensors capable of locking on to
targets up to 5 kilometres away, and should have enough onboard power to
chase a moving target for up to 5 minutes. Page 26

A TOUCH MORE SENSITIVE
Unlike human hands, existing artificial hands lack a built-in reflex
mechanism to judge the force needed to hold on to an object.  Users are
left with the difficult task of consciously estimating the required
force.  Now, gel-filled fingertips could give prosthetic hands greater
sensitivity, even allowing them to react "instinctively" to objects
slipping from their grasp. Page 23

THE BLUNDERS THAT LED TO CATASTROPHE 
Banks pay enormous sums to lure researchers away from other areas of
science and instead build complex statistical models that supposedly
tell them about the risks that they are running. From Northern Rock in
the UK last year to the Lehman Brothers last week, why didn't they see
what was coming?  How did the risk modellers get it so wrong?  And what
can they do to prevent similar crises in future? Page 8-9

UNKNOWN EARTH: OUR PLANET'S SEVEN BIGGEST MYSTERIES
It's the place we call home, but there is much about planet Earth that
remains frustratingly unknown. How did it form from a cloud of dust? How
did it manage to nurture life? And just what is going on deep within its
core? New Scientist investigates these and other fundamental questions
about our beautiful, enigmatic world.  Feature, Page 28-35 (Graphics
available)

US ELECTION SPECIAL REPORT: THEIR WILL BE DONE
US presidential candidates are vying for the evangelical vote. Where
does that leave science and science education? Page 14-15


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CHIMPS CAN RECOGNISE FRIENDS BY THEIR BEHINDS
Can you tell your friends apart just by sneaking a peek at their
backsides? Perhaps not, but chimps on the other hand easily match the
faces of chimps they know with photos of their rear ends. Such talent
suggests chimps carry around "whole body" mental representations of each
other that permit them to assign different body parts to the same
individual.  Page 10
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14783-chimps-can-recognise-friends
-by-their-behinds.html


ENDS
 
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New Scientist 
Tel: 61 2 9422 2893
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