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Stories From 31 May 2003 Issue

Stories From 31 May 2003 Issue

DON'T READ THIS IF YOU ARE A WORRIER A study in Norway involving more than 60,000 subjects suggests people prone to anxiety are more likely to get cancer. One theory is that psychological stress or depression lowers immune activity, allowing pre-malignant tissue or cancerous cells to carry on growing undetected. Page 10

VEHICLE FUMES INCREASE ASTHMA RISK IN CHILDREN Children exposed to traffic pollution are more likely to suffer from coughing, wheezing, asthma and allergic rhinitis, according to two huge studies in Germany and Taiwan. The findings suggest vehicle fumes can sensitise children's airways to the agents that trigger allergies and inflammation. Page 7

BSE CROSSES THE ATLANTIC The discovery of a BSE-infected cow in Canada confirms warnings three years ago by European scientists that cattle in North America could carry the disease. And if Canadian cattle are infected it is likely the disease is also present in the US. But so few animals in the US and Canada are tested that low levels of BSE would not even be detected. Pages 6-7

BACK TO THEIR ROOTS The UK is in a quandary about returning bones held in museums to their rightful owners. At least they have the US and Australian experience upon which to draw. Pages 12-13

THE THERMAL HISTORY OF LIFE IS REVEALED By colouring the tree of life according to the highest temperature at which creatures can thrive, astrobiologists from the US and the University of New South Wales have revealed a thermal pattern of evolution which may underlie the development of life elsewhere in the universe. Page 20

BIZARRE 'HORNED' KANGAROO FOSSILS UNEARTHED The first complete skulls of a bizarre "horned" kangaroo have been found in a cache of fossils unearthed from caves in the Nullarbor Plain. Researchers suspect that the bony horn-like protrusions might have served to guard the eyes. New Scientist's free public website at

UNCHARTED TERRITORY To be truly autonomous, a robot has to be able to find its way around without access to GPS or navigational aids. British and Australian researchers have found a way for robotic aircraft to build their own map of the environment, and use it to make sense of their surroundings. Pages 38-42

AMERICA'S HOME-GROWN RADIO REVOLUTION STALLS Digital radio was all set to hit America this September. But the US National Radio Systems Committee last week decided that the system's sound quality is not good enough to broadcast. Page 9

AUSTRALASIAN: BROADBAND DREAMING Bob Johnstone contrasts the different attitudes of the Australian and Korean governments regarding high-speed Internet. Page 53

FILE SHARING PROGRAM IS 'MOST DOWNLOADED EVER' The Kazaa program of Australian company Sharman Networks has become the most downloaded piece of software ever. The free program lets users locate and download music and video files from each other. See also... SARS vaccine being tested; Euro navigation; Shuttle redesign. New Scientist's free public website at

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