New Scientist -- Issue 21-May-2005

18-May-2005 11:50 AM EDT

New Scientist

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MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 21 MAY 2005 (Vol. 186 No 2500)

HEART ATTACK AT 40,000 FEETThe giant Airbus A380, which made its maiden flight last month, can carry twice the number of passengers as many of today's planes. But there seems to have been little mention that this doubles the chances that someone will need urgent medical treatment on any given flight. A fact, New Scientist discovered, the air transport industry appears unprepared for. Few airports are geared up to deal with the giant plane if it is forced to land in a medial emergency.NEWS Pages 8-9

TOURIST HOTTER SPOTSGlobal warming will not drive tourists to new holiday destinations. Researchers in Germany modelled the number of tourists visiting 207 countries in 2025. Their analysis showed that a shift in weather was a minor bother for tourists, while the largest change involved developing nations becoming richer " and therefore more desirable to visit. NEWS Page 18

PATIENT RECEIVES FIRST HEART TURBOCHARGERAn artery-squeezing balloon could one day treat millions of patients who suffer from "moderate" heart failure. The device called C-pulse comprises a balloon pressed against the aorta which inflates after every heart beat to reinforce the pumping action and propel the blood with greater force around the body. The device also avoids complicated surgery and associated risks such as blood clots. The first patient to be fitted with the device is recovering in a New Zealand hospital. NEWS Pages 27-28

APOCALYPSE THENIn 1783, the Laki fissure, now a 25-kilometre crack in the Earth's crust in Iceland, erupted. It was the biggest eruption in recorded history, killing a quarter of Iceland's population. But Laki's devastating influence was to stretch much further afield. In the months that followed, a vast outpouring of sulphur dioxide arrived in England and France cloaking the continent in a persistent fog. Combined with a summer that was the hottest ever recorded, the effect was lethal. Now, a British researcher's new studies of burial records show 30,000 extra deaths in that year. And if a Laki-style eruption happened today, he estimates that the toll in England alone could hit 100,000. HISTORIES PAGES 56-57

PARTICLE SMASHER GETS A SUPER-BRAINWhen the world's most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), fires up in 2007, it will begin to churn out a torrent of information. The data generated each year by the LHC will be enough to fill a stack of CDs three times as high as Mount Everest. So it is little wonder that CERN has opted for an impressive worldwide distributed "grid" of computers to help store and analyse the data. NEWS Pages 10-11

SHORT STORY: FEMME FATALEFemales of several spider and mantis species eat their mate, but only after acquiring sperm to fertilise their eggs. So what about fishing spiders who opt to dine on their suitor before sex? American researchers say these female spiders show an aggressive personality trait, part of a general "voracity syndrome" which spills over to cause precopulatory cannibalism even when it's not necessarily beneficial. NEWS Page 20

ROBOT ARMY WILL THINK FOR ITSELFA postgraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is trying to design robots that will make their own decisions without the need for a central control. If he succeeds, we could one day see swarms of independent, cooperating robots put to work patrolling borders, exploring space or working for the military. Pages 30

DINOSAUR SPECIALIn recent years a string of stunning discoveries have transformed our understanding of dinosaurs and the world they inhabited. In a 16-page special issue, New Scientist reviews the biggest and best new dinosaur finds from around the world. Intro Page 34

EXTREME PALAEONTOLOGYDinosaur hunters are travelling to the ends of the Earth, braving extreme conditions to uncover some bones. And in recent years important dinosaur deposits have been unearthed in almost every corner of the world. Pages 36-37

DINOTOPIAThe Yixian formation in north-eastern China was only discovered in 1990, but in the past 10 years it has been the site of the biggest dinosaur fossil bonanza ever. Beautifully preserved specimens have been astounding the palaeontology world, solving many mysteries and leaving experts to believe anything is possible. It's been the little guys that have attracted the most attention with complete skeletons turning up such as Mei long, the "soundly sleeping dragon" . But one of the biggest surprises was unearthing feathered dinosaurs for the first time when it had previously been believed that feathers were unique to birds. Pages 40-46

REANIMATORSPiecing together the daily life of a dinosaur is difficult when all you've got is a pile of old bones. But now palaeontologists are sending their fossilised dinosaur heads to powerful scanners to bring the dinosaurs back to life. These digital reconstructions are revealing intimate details about their brain size, sense of hearing, their bite and feeding habits and how they cared for their offspring. Pages 47-51

And finally"¦THE END OF AN ERANew Scientist says goodbye to its longest-serving columnist, Tam Dalyell MP, whose final Westminster Diary appears this week. After a long and distinguished parliamentary career, Tam retired last month. This bought to an end 36 years of writing a column for this magazine that sought to bridge the gap between politics and science. Yet, as Tam explains, the column was born by accident"¦ Page 55 plus Editorial

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New Scientist is the world's leading science and technology news weekly, boasting a circulation of 151,000. The magazine is now available to readers worldwide, with US and Australian editions of New Scientist now being published. Visit our public website for further stories with our daily online news service: http://www.newscientist.com


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