[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 12 JUNE 2010

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Jun 9 03:13:11 CEST 2010


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 

NEW SCIENTIST MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE 12 JUNE 2010 (Vol. 202 No. 2764)

THESE MAGAZINE STORIES ARE EMBARGOED FOR PRINT OR BROADCAST UNTIL: 04:00 HRS AEST (06:00 HRS NZST) THURS 10 JUNE 2010. 

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For full-text versions of the stories below please email media at newscientist.com.au or call 61 2 9422 2556 

SPECIES COUNT SLASHED
For almost three decades we've overestimated the number of species which share our planet. A study by Andrew Hamilton of the University of Melbourne has revealed that the total number of species on Earth is around 5.5 million, a figure much less than the 30 million first suggested in 1982 by Terry Erwin at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Hamilton's estimate was based on observations of beetle species in a variety of tree species in Papua New Guinea. Page 4

STRESS DETECTOR CHECKS YOUR TONE
Bo Yin at National Information and Communications Technology, Sydney, Australia has developed a voice-based stress detector that could identify which job candidates will perform better under pressure. Page 19 

WHAT'S UP SUNSHINE?
What do we actually know about our sun and its influence on Earth's climate? Recent results hint that something profound is happening inside the sun. With the climate change debate in full swing, now more than ever, scientists need to understand the changeability of the sun and how it could influence the weather patterns on Earth. Feature pages 30 - 35 

DREAM CATCHER
Have you experienced a lucid dream - a dream where you are aware you are dreaming and can control your actions? Neuroscientists are using lucid dreamers to gather information about how our brains produce conscious experiences. With research into this field we could one day help schizophrenics achieve greater lucidity whilst awake or simply enable anyone to enjoy a lucid dream. Feature pages 36 - 39 

WOLF FAMILY VALUES
Human hunting is destroying the social structure of wolves, causing harm not only to the wolves but the wider ecosystems. Research from Canada shows intact wolf packs, where wolves have not been culled based on numbers alone, can boost the diversity of surrounding plants, songbirds, beavers and amphibians. Feature pages 40 - 43 

WONDERFUEL GAS
Natural gas could be the solution to the world's energy crisis. Over the last decade techniques have been developed to extract "unconventional" gas deposits, gas trapped in impermeable hard rock or sandstone. The unconventional gas stores could be enough to supply the world for another century. Using natural gas to generate electricity could also halve the greenhouse gas emissions produced compared to traditional coal-fired power plants. Feature pages 44 - 47 

THE STEM CELL WARS - SPECIAL REPORT
With a Nobel prize up for grabs, New Scientist investigates how scientists across the world compete for such a prestige award and how the race to publish stem cell research, a notoriously competitive field, is leading to publications of truly original findings being delayed or rejected. Page 12 - 14 

BURN PARADOX
A recent study by Luiz Aragao of the University of Exeter, U.K, and Yosio Shimabukuro at the National Institute of Space Research in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has revealed that reducing the rate of deforestation often makes the number of forest fires go up. The study involved the analysis of satellite images of Amazonia. Page 5

GO OUT WITH AN ECO-FRIENDLY BANG
With increasing shortages of land to bury corpses, scientists are inventing new kinds of funerals - they're eco-friendly and save land space. The U.K company, Resomation, has developed a piece of technology that involves dissolving corpses in sodium hydroxide at 180ºC. Page 8

FIND ME ANOTHER TRACK JUST LIKE THAT
Software is being developed to give computers a course in musical appreciation. Your computer could soon develop playlists based on similarities in the music itself rather than based on sales figures and purchasing patterns. Pages 20 - 21 


The following article is for IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Please click on the link below to view the full-text article. 

SNAKE POPULATIONS PLUMMET
Research into snake populations in several countries, including Australia, suggests snake populations may be in serious decline. 11 of the 17 snake populations studied plummeted between 1998 and 2002, with little sign of recovery since then. The number of regions with sufficient data is limited so researchers are not yet prepared to say there is a worldwide decline. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19020-snake-populations-plummet.html  

CHILDREN OF LESBIAN PARENTS DO BETTER THAN THEIR PEERS The longest-running study of same-sex families has shown that children of lesbian parents outscore their peers on academic and social tests, confirming the view long-held by developmental scientists that children growing up in same-sex families fare just as well children of heterosexual parents. The results could have a significant impact in the fight for adoption rights of same-sex couples. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19014-children-of-lesbian-parents-do-better-than-their-peers.html
LATER MENOPAUSE FOR WOMEN WITH POLYCYSTIC OVARIES Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has an upside. Women with PCOS have just as much chance at conceiving as other women but they also have a better chance of conceiving later in life. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19012-later-menopause-for-women-with-polycystic-ovaries.html  

GUT BACTERIA MAY CONTRIBUTE TO AUTISM
Children with autism appear to have a chemical signature in their urine that supports a link between gut bacteria and autism. This finding could lead to early diagnostic testing and may also lead to a clearer understanding of the causes of the condition. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19011-gut-bacteria-may-contribute-to-autism.html 
 
FORGET NOISY BLIMPS...SAY HELLO TO THE AIRFISH If you've had a few drinks at a music festival or a sporting event and you see a giant fish swimming across the sky, you might be more together than you think. The Airfish moves in a similar way to a fish propelling itself through water and is much cleaner and quieter than a conventional blimp. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19006-forget-noisy-blimps-say-hello-to-the-airfish.html

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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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