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Radio Extra Stories From 14 June 2003 Issue

Radio Extra Stories From 14 June 2003 Issue

EVEN 'SAFE' MERCURY LEVELS HARM BRAIN A study in Brazil suggests that adults may be just as sensitive to mercury as children, and that levels currently regarded as safe could in fact be impairing brain function. But some researchers dismiss the study as too small. Page 7

SHOPS ARE SELLING MERCURY-RIDDLED DOLPHIN FLESH An international anti-whaling group claims that much of what is labelled whalemeat in Japan is actually dolphin. Furthermore, two thirds of these products exceed the government's legal limit for mercury. Page 7

WOULD YOU TRUST A PHONE TO SPEND MONEY? A consortium of companies is to fund development of a new generation of 3G mobile phones that can spend money on your behalf. Programs called software agents will monitor how you use your phone and anticipate your next moves. Researchers say the agents will be able to make travel plans such as booking flights and hotels. Page 17

IT'S THE TURN OF THE CARBON SCREW Sea trials have shown that replacing a conventional metal ship's propeller with one made of a carbon composite can help reduce corrosion and maintenance, and even make warships stealthier. Page 12

WATCHING HIM, WATCHING YOU When the Pentagon announced its Total Information Awareness data-mining project in January, it raised fears of a Big Brother-style society. But there is a way to use computers to spot terrorists without losing civil liberties. Pages 45-47

WHEN JEEP MEETS JUMP-JET The idea of cruising to the office in your own personal flying pod is very appealing, but will it ever take-off? Test flights of prototype air-cars are already in progress. But then there's the huge cost of owning one, the pilot's licence needed to fly one, not to mention the air control required to handle the increase in traffic. Pages 40-43

PARK RANGERS ON TRAIL OF GPS GEEKS Some US national parks are starting to prohibit an oddball technocentric activity called "geocaching", which involves using a GPS receiver to find troves of useless junk others have hidden. Page 8

SPAM EMAIL PLAGUES CHILDREN TOO Pornographic spam is received by half of all children who use email, a new American survey has found. And four out of five receive junk email enticing them with apparent commercial offers. New Scientist's free public website at

DEADLY SPREAD OF CANCER HALTED US researchers are confident that the spread of cancer through the body can be halted by targeting a protein that helps cells latch onto each other. New Scientist's free public website at

EARLY HUMANS LOST HAIR TO BEAT BUGS Humans may have lost their body hair to reduce their vulnerability to fur-loving parasites, say British researchers, and may thereby have increased their attraction to the opposite sex. New Scientist's free public website at

SONS MAKE MUMS EAT MORE IN PREGNANCY Expectant mothers have bigger appetites on average if they are carrying a boy, a US study suggests. New Scientist's free public website at

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