[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 5 FEBRUARY 2011

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Feb 2 01:07:06 CET 2011


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 

NEW SCIENTIST MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE 5 FEBRUARY 2011 (No. 2798)

THESE MAGAZINE STORIES ARE EMBARGOED FOR PRINT OR BROADCAST UNTIL: 05:00 HRS AEST (07:00 HRS NZST) THURS 3 FEBRUARY 2011. 

Reports on stories must credit NEW SCIENTIST as the source.

Reports online must include a link to www.NewScientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com/>  

AFTER THE FLOOD
What are the environmental repercussions of the recent Queensland flood devastation? Experts explain that though nutrient-rich sediment washed in by the deluge may benefit mangroves, the resulting increase in algae production may endanger coastal water habitats. Page 5 

THE GREATEST MAP OF ALL
The US National Institutes of Health has embarked on the "human connectome project", the purpose of which is to roughly map the neural connections in the human brain. Several techniques will facilitate this project, with likely advances in technology hastening the research. Feature Pages 32 - 35 

INSTANT EXPERT: DARK MATTER
Not all that long ago cosmologists thought they understood the substances that made up the universe, but we now know around 80% of the universe is made up of the elusive "dark matter". So how do we know dark matter is there and where is the search for dark matter taking us? Feature Pages i - viii 

GHOSTS OF THE ARCTIC
The Arctic fox presents an array of mysteries for wildlife researchers. With the ability to stay on ice sheets for months at a time, travelling for thousands of kilometres in the blistering cold, how do these animals survive and what drives them to the ice? Feature Pages 36 - 39 

GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY
If life does not exist on other planets and all life on Earth is facing annihilation, is it our duty to send life to other planets so existence can continue? If interstellar expeditions are not possible for humans, the perhaps we should try sending micro-organisms instead? Feature Pages 40 - 43  

SNIFFER MICE HAVE A NOSE FOR EXPLOSIVES
Interest in new methods of keeping travellers safe has peaked since the Domodedovo airport bombing in Moscow and mice could hold the answer. Mice have more olfactory talent than dogs and according to Israeli company BioExplorers; trained mice can work better than full body scanners and pat downs when it comes to detecting passengers carrying explosives. The first field test of the explosive sniffing mice ran in December last year. Page 19   

WOODPECKER'S HEAD INSPIRES SHOCK ABSORBERS The structures in a woodpecker's head that allow it to avoid brain damage while experiencing rapid deceleration have inspired shock absorbing systems that can protect flight recorders, be used in bomb bunkers and even as crash protection in motorsport. Page 21 

BREATH SENSOR CAN PREDICT AN ASTHMA ATTACK THE DAY BEFORE A handheld breath sensor, developed by Siemens, can warn someone of an imminent asthma attack by measuring the rise in levels of nitrogen monoxide in the breath. The device is likely to be most useful to people with unstable asthma that experience frequent, unexpected attacks. Page 22 

SMART KNIVES AND BOOSTED BIOPSIES
Technology is changing the face of surgery. A cutting edge machine developed by Imperial College London evaluates smoke diverted from vaporized tissue for instant identification which could previously have taken up to 40 minutes. The breakthrough could signal a future of robot surgeons.   Pages 6 - 7 

FIRST HUMANS SET TO LAND ON 'MARS'
Six astronauts are making a mission to the Mars without leaving Earth in a simulation that will last 520 days. Experts believe that the Mars500 experiment, taking place in Moscow, will pave the way for a future journey to the Red Planet. Pages 10 - 11 

RACE A NEANDERTHAL AND YOU WILL WIN
A breakthrough discovery may explain why Neanderthals went extinct as humans thrived. New research from the University of Arizona found the heel bones of Neanderthal skeletons to be significantly longer than those of humans - leaving us able to outrun them for food in a changing environment. Page 12 

The following articles are for IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Please click on the links below to view the full-text articles. 

FINGERPRINTS ON FABRICS COULD NOW SOLVE CRIMES A technique developed by scientists at the University of Abertay in the UK can detect fingerprints on fabrics as well as hard surfaces.
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/01/fingerprints-on-fabrics-could.html <http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/01/fingerprints-on-fabrics-could.html> 

VIKINGS' CRYSTAL CLEAR METHOD OF NAVIGATION The Viking's answer to GPS relied heavily on the sun, so how could they find their way on a cloudy day? New evidence from the Eötvös University in Budapest shows that 'sunstones' similar to those the Vikings used can in fact reveal the sun's location through a pattern of light. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20052-vikings-crystal-clear-method-of-navigation.html <http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20052-vikings-crystal-clear-method-of-navigation.html> 

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ENDS

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Lucy Dunwell
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New Scientist
Tel: 61 2 9422 2893
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