From: LARRY KLAES (ljk4_at_msn.com)
Date: Mon Feb 16 2004 - 12:37:11 PST
>From: New Scientist <newscientist_at_processrequest.com>
>Reply-To: "New Scientist" <newscientist-e2-22940632_at_processrequest.com>
>Subject: Print edition ezine: Do fruit flies dream of electric bannas?
>Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2004 07:44:17 -0600
>New Scientist Print Edition e-zine: 16 February 2004
>Welcome to the New Scientist print-edition e-zine - our weekly
>online newsletter bringing you content highlights from the latest
>issue of New Scientist.
>All of the content featured in this e-zine is available in our
>online archive which is free to subscribers of the magazine.
>Non-subscribers can sign up for a free seven-day trial of this
>service, and the issue is on sale at Newsagents now. Learn more
>about the benefits of archive access at:
>If you would prefer not to receive this new service, you can
>unsubscribe by visiting:
>DO FRUIT FLIES DREAM OF ELECTRIC BANANAS?
>A fruit fly hovers in mid-air. Its bulbous eyes capture a panoramic
>view of the world, but it ignores most of what it sees. Instead, it
>is captivated by one small thing: a bright green stripe that just
>zipped by. It’s worth a closer look, worth landing on. The fly
>chases after it. This might not sound that impressive. What is
>important is that the fly is paying attention. Investigate the
>brainwaves of a fly and they look uncannily like the ones you see in
>a human brain when it is paying attention. This is a tantalising
>discovery. Exactly how the brain filters out irrelevant information
>is one of neuroscience’s biggest questions, and for good reason:
>attention is intimately associated with consciousness. Could
>studying their brains open a new window on the human mind?
>Perhaps romantic love is not in fact an emotion, but a motivational
>state designed to make us pursue a preferred partner. Being rejected
>in love is among the most painful experiences a human being can
>endure. Emptiness, hopelessness, fear, fury. Why do we suffer so?
>Sorrow and anger are metabolically expensive and time consuming. Why
>didn’t humanity evolve a way to shrug off romantic loss and easily
>renew the quest to find a suitable reproductive partner? There may
>be good evolutionary reasons why failed romance is so painful…
>COSMIC BIRTH RITE
>In the last few years, astronomers have found that all the ordinary
>matter we are familiar with is only a trace component of a cosmos
>dominated by “dark matter” and equally strange “dark energy”.
>Nevertheless, ordinary matter is proving surprisingly useful in the
>study of the stuff that makes up most of the universe. Brian D.
>Fields of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign describes
>how accurately modelling the composition and density of ordinary
>matter in the universe is paying off. His results could provide
>answers to questions about those more mysterious kinds of matter and
>ROBOT, MAKE THYSELF
>Mila Boncheva is one of many researchers worldwide who are striving
>to master the production of microscale 3D designs, with the eventual
>aim of mass-producing micromachines. With complex moving parts and
>their own embedded circuitry, such devices could have myriad
>applications, from tiny “smart dust” surveillance motes to nanobots
>that could be sent into the human body to deliver medicine or make
>repairs. Although Boncheva’s structures are still a long way from
>this ideal, they display already the exciting principle of
>AMBUSHING ADDICTION ON THE BRAIN’S ‘PLEASURE PATHWAY’
>A DRUG that might block cravings for drugs is being tested in
>recovering addicts after successful animal trials, Peter Kalivas of
>the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston told a
>meeting of the Australian Neuroscience Society in Melbourne last
>Most work on addiction focuses on the "pleasure centre" in the
>brain. This is what gets people hooked on drugs, but brain imaging
>suggests a pathway running from the frontal cortex to the pleasure
>centre triggers the cravings. "By targeting the craving pathway you
>have a chance of selectively blocking that incredible desire that
>addicts have for the drug," says Kalivas.
>When rats once hooked on cocaine are stressed or given a single shot
>of the drug, their interest normally revives. But rats injected with
>a substance called N-acetylcysteine, which blocks the release of a
>neurotransmitter in the craving pathway, do not relapse, Kalivas has
>found. An "antisense" drug that blocks production of a protein
>called AGS3 involved in the craving pathway also prevents relapse in
>rats. Kalivas is now giving N-acetylcysteine pills to 20 recovering
>cocaine addicts in South Carolina to see if it helps people, too. If
>it does, it might also work for other drugs.
>Michael Le Page, the Deputy News Editor, studied molecular biology
>at Cambridge University. He gave up a distinguished career doing odd
>jobs like cleaning hospital floors to become a journalist, working
>in Brussels for a while before returning to London to join New
>Scientist in 1998.
>SEARCH AND MAGNIFY…
>Finding what you want on the web would be far easier if your search
>engine returned more than just a couple of lines of each page it
>finds. But how can you do this while still leaving enough room on
>your screen for you to view a useful number of search hits
>Software called Wavelens developed by Microsoft Research of Redmond,
>Washington, has managed to do both at the same time. Initially, it
>displays each hit as just a couple of lines, like a normal search
>engine listing. But when you move the mouse cursor to hover over one
>of the results, Wavelens fetches a longer sample for the page
>containing your keywords, without you having to download it. The
>rest of the search hits are automatically condensed to make space
>for this magnified view. Moving the cursor over another hit pulls up
>and magnifies the relevant material from that page instead.
>Tim Paek, the software engineer who created Wavelens, says that the
>prototype is already reducing average search times by over 25 per
>cent. Users much preferred the lensing approach to another prototype
>using animated zooming. Having dominated the market for PC operating
>systems, Microsoft is now thought to be targeting search engines as
>its next major market.
>----------COMING UP NEXT WEEK----------
>FLASH AND BURN
>It's the blank page in our history of the cosmos: just as things
>were settling down after the big bang, a blinding heat fried
>everything in sight. But where did it come from?
>WHAT MAKES US HUMAN
>When the chimpanzee genome sequence is published sometime in the
>next few weeks, the most intriguing revelation will be how it
>compares to ours. But, as this special issue of New Scientist shows,
>a simple gene-for-gene comparison will provide only part of the
>answer to what makes humans so special.
>The great inventors
>We've got the ancestor of all apes and monkeys to thank for the
>quirk in our genome that makes us uniquely creative.
>HUSH HOUR ON THE HIGHWAY
>Driven mad by traffic noise? Unroll the quiet road or try a
>revolutionary new tyre on a car and you won't have to put up with
>the roar of passing vehicles much longer.
>To subscribe to New Scientist magazine go to:
Choose now from 4 levels of MSN Hotmail Extra Storage - no more account
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.6 : Mon Feb 16 2004 - 12:43:44 PST