New Scientist Magazine - 2/10/04

29-Sep-2004 9:30 AM EDT

New Scientist

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MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 2 OCTOBER 2004 (Vol. 184 No 2467)

UNFRIENDLY FIRETwo British Tornado pilots killed by friendly fire during the Iraq war last year died not because of a fault with their planes' identification system, as claimed by the US Army, but because of a fault with the US Patriot missile defence system that fired on them. This is the alarming conclusion of a new study by a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who goes on to question the whole ideology behind the US's plan for using a missile defence system to defend the whole of the US. COMMENT Page 23

BIRD FLU GOES HUMAN-TO-HUMANThe first confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of Asian bird flu was announced as New Scientist went to press. The authorities in Thailand announced Tuesday, that a girl infected by chickens passed the virus to her mother. If the virus does mutate, the chances of preventing a pandemic look slim. Meanwhile, the US is the only country to have announced plans to produce large-scale supplies of a human vaccine against H5N1. Pages 10-11

SMART CARS READ THE SIGNSIgnore a road sign or drive faster than the speed limit and you'll get a sharp reminder from your built-in driver's assistant. This Australian invention is part of a global effort to make drivers more aware of road signs. The system uses cameras which are fed to a computer system on the dash. Software detects road signs and works out where the driver is looking. If a driver appears to have ignored a sign, and hasn't slowed down, an alert is issued. NEWS Page 25

SPIT FOLLOWS FROM SPAM AND SPIM An American company warns that voicemail spam, or spit, could soon be as much of a nuisance as spam. With the growing popularity of internet telephony, making cheap phone calls via the internet instead of routing calls through fixed phone lines, the company believes it's only a matter of time before internet voice-mail boxes become deluged with salacious spit messages. NEWS Page 26

REBUILDING ROMEA detailed map depicting the entire city of Rome, created in the 3rd century AD, is an unrivalled archaeological treasure. The problem is, this map called the Severan Marble Plan is in pieces, and no one knows how to fit them together. Yet help may be at hand from a team at Stanford University in California by using laser scanning technology to create a 3D image of the gigantic Severan pieces. The idea is that scholars could play with the pieces and fit them together virtually. FEATURE Pages 36-39

Special Supplement - SECRETS OF THE FACE

This week New Scientist's special supplement "Secrets of the Face" reveals a world where altered faces have become the norm, from touched-up faces in magazines to the recognisably human but frankly digital animations used in recent blockbusters like Shrek and The Lord of the Rings. What if the face is no longer shaped by biology or cosmetic surgery, but by humans using technologies? And do we now prefer unreal faces to real ones? Pages 1-3

Darwin suspected in 1872, when he published his book The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals, that facial expressions were universal and not culture-specific. This idea is still being used in a recent line of study which uses technology to teach us how to recognise when people are concealing emotions. The idea is to identify micro expressions in their faces. Pages 4-5

For those who strive for perfection on the operating table, 3-D facial maps can be a useful tool for surgeons. But by comparing facial models of Mr and Mrs Average to male and female models, scientists have found a downside to looking like J-Lo. Page 6

We shouldn't judge people by their appearance should we? But we do it all the time. According to scientists, a person's face can tell us a lot about their health and personality. Page 8

Recreating a suspect's face from memory can be crucial in solving crime. Now, a new electronic composite system can help witnesses produce a much better likeness of a criminal. Page 10

Face-aging technologies can help track children who have been missing a long time. The software allows the artist to merge photos of the missing child with that of their family, to produce a picture of how the child would look today. Page 12

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New Scientist is the world's leading science and technology news weekly, boasting a circulation of 145,000. 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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