[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 05 JUNE 2010

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Wed Jun 2 03:08:04 CEST 2010


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE

NEW SCIENTIST MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE 05 JUNE 2010 (Vol. 202 No. 2763)

THESE MAGAZINE STORIES ARE EMBARGOED FOR PRINT OR BROADCAST UNTIL: 04:00
HRS AEST (06:00 HRS NZST) THURS 03 JUNE 2010. 

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PACIFIC ISLANDS DEFY SEA-LEVEL RISE
There's no doubt that sea-levels are rising but are islands in the
Pacific Ocean actually sinking? For years, these islands have been
warned they could be wiped off the map by rising sea-levels. But
research by Paul Kench at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and
Arthur Webb at the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission in Fiji
shows otherwise. Using historical aerial photos and high-resolution
satellite images to study changes in the land surface of Pacific islands
for 60 years, Kench and Webb discovered that while sea-levels have
risen, the area of most islands have either stayed the same or grown.
Page 10 

QUIT THE BOTTLE TO QUIT THE CIGARETTES
It turns out drinking and smoking are linked in more than just a social
setting. Traute Flatscher-Bader at the University of Queensland in
Brisbane, Australia and colleagues have found a link between drinking
and smoking in the area of the brain involved in creating pleasurable
feelings. This could lead to new ways to treat addiction. Page 15 

ICE AGE ENDED WITH A HUGE BELCH FROM THE OCEANS
Stewart Fallon of the Australian National University in Canberra and
colleagues have collected samples of tiny marine fossils that help prove
why atmospheric carbon dioxide levels shot up at the end of the last ice
age. Will Howard of the University of Tasmania, Australia, believes
these findings could help predict atmospheric CO2 levels in the future.
Page 15 

DO NATURE'S CONSTANTS WOBBLE?
New measurements of the radio spectra of a distant gas cloud have
suggested scientists may need to one day rethink the standard model of
particle physics. The measurements, recorded by the National Centre for
Radio Astrophysics in Pune, India, have shown that some fundamental
quantities of physics might not be fixed at all. Recent research at
Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne has also suggested a new
theory of particle physics might be needed. Page 8

WORLD CUP HIGHS AND LOWS 
The 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa will be the first in 24 years
to be played at altitudes significantly higher than sea level. How will
this affect the tournament? Most players will acclimatise to the higher
altitude but what about when they come back to a lower altitude for the
semi-finals and finals? And what will happen to the flight of the ball?
Feature pages 35 - 37 

ME AND MY AVATAR
Do you want to live forever? Create an avatar and it could be possible.
The technology is not quite at a stage where perfect replicas can be
produced but it's getting closer with a number of companies working to
make avatars look, sound and even think like you. Feature pages 28 - 31 

HIGH FLYERS
Think you have trouble navigating? Some moths have to find their way
across continents in the space of a one or two week lifespan. How do
they accomplish this? Results published this year give a clear
indication of how their in-built navigation systems work. Feature pages
32 - 34 

DEEPER IMPACT
Geology is all about what happens beneath our feet, isn't it? Support is
growing for the notion that impacts from space are responsible for
volcanic activity that occurs away from the tectonic plate boundaries.
Feature pages 39 - 41

OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM'S SHADOW
A new discovery into the world of how certain immune cells work could
change the way we treat a complex diseases such as cancer, diabetes and
multiple sclerosis. Pages 6-7 

DNA LOGIC GATES HERALD INJECTABLE COMPUTERS
The future of medicine might soon involve injecting patients with
carefully programmed biocomputers to target disease. Scientists at the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel have programmed injectable
computers with biomarkers that react to diseases when they arise by
releasing specific counter-agents. Programming of the biocomputers
involves using logic gates formed from short strands of DNA and their
complementary strands. Page 9

EARLY HUMANS HAD A TASTE FOR AQUATIC DIET
Archaeologists who have been excavating the remains of a lake in Kenya
since 2004 have come across a cache of two-million year-old aquatic
wildlife. The butchered turtles, crocodiles and catfish found near the
eastern banks of Lake Turkana are some of the earliest evidence of
meat-eating in our ancestors. The findings also suggest that early
humans might have got the majority of the protein in their diets from
aquatic rather than land animals. Page 9 

STEM CELLS TO SEEK AND DESTROY CANCER
The US Food and Drug Administration have approved a human trial allowing
genetically modified stem cells to be injected into the brains of 20
cancer patients. The stem cells will convert an inactive cancer drug
into a strong, targeted, tumour-killing agent. Tests of this treatment
in mice with an aggressive form of brain tumour showed a 70 percent
reduction in the size of the tumour compared with untreated animals.
Page 12 

THUMBS UP FOR GESTURE-BASED COMPUTING
Interest in gesture-based computing is building, particularly in light
of the upcoming launches for Microsoft and Sony gaming systems that
replicate players body movements on screen. However, the reproduction of
detailed hand movements for these systems is still beyond reach. Robert
Wang a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
hopes to change this. Pages 18 - 19 

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ENDS

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Rita Mu
Marketing and PR Assistant - Australia/NZ
New Scientist 
Tel: 61 2 9422 2556
Email: media at newscientist.com.au



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