SETI bioastro: Fw: Print edition e-zine: Hell on Earth

Date: Mon Dec 08 2003 - 13:37:51 PST

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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: New Scientist
    Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 11:54 AM
    Subject: Print edition e-zine: Hell on Earth

    New Scientist Print Edition e-zine: 8 December 2003

    Welcome to the New Scientist print-edition e-zine - our weekly
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    Today we may worry about man-made global warming, but in the long
    term, the Sun will do the warming for us in a major way. Just over a
    billion years from now, it will trigger runaway heating of the
    Earth's atmosphere, boiling off the oceans into space. Eventually
    the sun will loom 250 times larger in the sky than it is today.
    Modelling of the future Earth's climate suggests some pretty exotic
    consequences, such as iron rain, silicon snow and the emergence of a
    giant icecap made of argon...

    Valuable insight may come from sailors' observations of the weather.
    Logbooks are helping to prove that seafarers' observations of wind
    and weather, made long before ships carried reliable meteorological
    instruments, can be used as precise daily records of the weather
    hundreds of years ago. Climatologists and politicians are hoping
    that they can use this information to prove if the climatic change
    the world is seeing now really is unprecedented...

    Biologists generally believe sex to be essential for species'
    long-term survival because species that give it up usually disappear
    within a few hundred thousand years. The standard explanation for
    this is that genetic recombination is essential for purging harmful
    mutations and allowing new combinations of genes to arise with every
    generation. However the fact that the simple rotifer has survived
    for 70 million years without sex and produced more than 300 asexual
    species casts doubt on these assumptions. Leading evolutionary
    thinker Chris Wills take up the story...

    Last month, when 30 giant windmills off the coast of North Wales
    began turning, the UK entered the exclusive club of countries
    operating large-scale offshore wind farms. With no hills or valleys
    to get in the way, the rewards of harvesting the wind offshore are
    much greater than those onshore, and the machines can grow to
    monumental sizes. One new design could even open up deep-water sites
    where it has not been possible before to site wind farms. This could
    make offshore wind farms viable for countries such as the US and

    ----------EDITOR'S CHOICE----------


    Introducing the credit card you simply cannot be parted from.
    Implanted under the skin of its owner's arm, the planned device is
    based on an injectable RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip
    made by Applied Digital Solutions of Palm Beach, Florida. When waved
    over an electronic reader, the chip emits a unique identity number.
    Because the chip is impossible to lose, ADS claims it will help
    eliminate identity theft. But security experts say that criminals
    could easily clone the tag's unique signal by recording it and
    playing it back. Privacy campaigners fear the chip will allow
    advertisers to track people's shopping habits with undreamed-of
    accuracy, or pave the way for government surveillance. ADS argues
    that cloning a signal would be extremely difficult because it is
    encrypted, and that chips could be reprogrammed in situ if needed.
    It dismisses suggestions of government tracking as "far-fetched".
    MasterCard is conducting trials of RFID chips in 16,000 credit cards
    in the US, but says people are "not ready" for implants.

    Alison George, editor of the Insider section of New Scientist, took
    a degree in biochemistry from Bristol University then a doctorate at
    Cardiff University. She then worked as a biologist with the British
    Antarctic Survey and spent a year in the frozen South - which
    toughened her up for when she joined New Scientist in 2002.


    Employers could save money by sterilising ventilation systems, says
    Dick Menzies of McGill University in Canada. Reductions in sick
    leave could more than make up for the cost of installing the
    necessary equipment, his study shows. His team set up ultraviolet
    sterilisation equipment in the heating or air conditioning systems
    on 14 floors of three sealed office buildings in Montreal. The
    researchers found that the ultraviolet killed off 99 per cent of the
    surface microbes within the systems and also destroyed bacterial
    toxins. For nearly a year, the sterilisation equipment was either
    left on or switched off for several weeks at a time, without the
    office workers knowing when. The air in the offices was only about
    30 per cent cleaner, but reports from 771 workers showed a 40 per
    cent reduction in respiratory diseases when the system was on. It
    also reduced other kinds of illnesses The Lancet, vol 62, p 1785).
    Non-smokers and people with allergies benefited the most. At a cost
    per worker of about $52 to install and another $14 per year to
    operate, the system would be cost-effective, the team says. "If you
    reduced absenteeism due to building-related illness by one day per
    year in each worker, this would pay for itself in less than six
    months," Menzies says.

    ----------COMING UP NEXT WEEK----------

    The shape of wings to come
    Aviation's first century has surpassed its pioneers' wildest dreams,
    but it faces a turbulent future. Aerospace engineers hope to fill
    the skies with wing-morphing, unpiloted behemoths, but how will they
    tackle the noise pollution and huge increases in air traffic?

    The case of the mysterious mind
    Like most crime thrillers, Radiant Cool is a whodunit. But it also
    claims to solve a much deeper mystery: consciousness. Psychologist
    and author Susan Blackmore delivers her verdict

    Super pooper
    Some caterpillars propel their faeces like shot from a cannon. Why
    do they hurl their turds so far?

    Mingle bells
    Ordinary ones clash with other instruments and lower the tone of a
    concert. Now there's a way to make bells that ring out in perfect

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