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4 | NewScientist | 23 July 2011 DANIEL LECLAIR/UPI/EYEVINE MUD may be the least of your worries at festivals across Europe this summer: food poisoning may lie in wait. The outbreak of a rare strain of E. coli in Germany in May seems to have subsided, with no new cases since 11 July, after 3918 people fell ill and 42 died. The outbreak was traced to Egyptian fenugreek seeds used to grow sprouts, a frequent source of food-borne bacteria. The European Union has banned the seeds. The trouble is that the bacterium has been knocking around Germany for a decade, and may still lurk in people who are symptom-free. Earlier this month German health authorities tested stool samples from a school in Paderborn, where there were four known infections. They found 18 of the 30 children tested carried the strain, but had Wash your hands no symptoms. Worse, three kitchen workers at the school and three at a catering company supplying it were also carriers. The survey continues. This “substantial proportion of subclinical infections is the main reason for concern at this stage”, says the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm, Sweden. “Considering the large number of summer festivals in the EU, with sometimes inadequate food hygiene standards”, people should remember “the need for proper hand washing”. Big dish challenge A RUSSIAN plan to create the world’s biggest telescope has finally got off the ground. The RadioAstron space telescope, which was conceived during the cold war, successfully launched from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday. After it has travelled most of the way to the moon, the 10-metre telescope will sync up with radio antennas on the ground, effectively forming a “dish” spanning almost 30 times the Earth’s diameter. That will give it a resolution about 10,000 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope. But collecting the huge volume of data the telescope will produce will be a challenge. “The data needs to be transported continuously to the ground,” says Ken Kellermann, who co-chairs RadioAstron’s International Advisory Committee. So far, only one 22-metre dish in a town south of Moscow has been set up to receive signals. Unless other receiver stations can be found, a good fraction of the telescope’s data will be lost. Impractical law PARENTS should go to jail if they fail to report the death of their child within 2 hours. That is the proposal gaining support in the US after Casey Anthony, a mother charged with murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, was found not guilty two weeks ago. Yet scientists approached by New Scientist say such a law could not be feasibly upheld. Much public outrage hinges on the fact that Anthony did not One way to cool off Feelings running highJapan is feeling the heat EARTHQUAKE, tsunami, nuclear disaster… now heatwave. Across Japan, 35 people have died from heatstroke since June, prompting fears that people are putting their lives at risk by cutting back on air conditioning. With 35 of its 54 nuclear power stations shut down, Japan is struggling to conserve power – and to stay cool in the sweltering summer. In June the number of people taken by ambulance to hospitals for heatstroke tripled compared with June last year. The number of people taken by ambulance for heatstroke in July is predicted to be up 20 per cent on last year, says Hasegawa Manabu of the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. However, Nobuyuki Miyatake at Kagawa University in Takamatsu says it’s unclear whether energy- saving is responsible for the extra deaths, since summer came early this year, with temperatures soaring after 21 June rather than in early July. Nevertheless, the government is concerned. Last week, prime minister Naoto Kan advised people “to save electricity to the extent that the efforts are reasonable and people do not suffer from heatstroke”. The Japan Meteorological Agency says temperatures this summer are unlikely to match last year’s, which were the highest since records began in 1898. The US is also sweltering in a heatwave, with temperatures predicted at over 45 °C in places. Mostly focused on the Midwest, the heat is heading east with some 40 states expected to be affected. “Fatal E. coli has been in Germany for a decade and may still lurk in people who are symptom-free” ITSUO INOUYE/AP PHOTO UPFRONT

Space telescope to create radio ‘eye’ larger than Earth

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4 | NewScientist | 23 July 2011

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MUD may be the least of your worries at festivals across Europe this summer: food poisoning may lie in wait.

The outbreak of a rare strain of E. coli in Germany in May seems to have subsided, with no new cases since 11 July, after 3918 people fell ill and 42 died. The outbreak was traced to Egyptian fenugreek seeds used to grow sprouts, a frequent source of food-borne bacteria. The European Union has banned the seeds.

The trouble is that the bacterium has been knocking around Germany for a decade, and may still lurk in people who are symptom-free. Earlier this month German health authorities

tested stool samples from a school in Paderborn, where there were four known infections. They found 18 of the 30 children tested carried the strain, but had

Wash your hands no symptoms. Worse, three kitchen workers at the school and three at a catering company supplying it were also carriers. The survey continues.

This “substantial proportion of subclinical infections is the main reason for concern at this stage”, says the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm, Sweden. “Considering the large number of summer festivals in the EU, with sometimes inadequate food hygiene standards”, people should remember “the need for proper hand washing”.

Big dish challengeA RUSSIAN plan to create the world’s biggest telescope has finally got off the ground. The RadioAstron space telescope, which was conceived during the cold war, successfully launched from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday.

After it has travelled most of the way to the moon, the 10-metre telescope will sync up with radio antennas on the ground, effectively forming a “dish” spanning almost 30 times the Earth’s diameter. That

will give it a resolution about 10,000 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope.

But collecting the huge volume of data the telescope will produce will be a challenge. “The data needs to be transported continuously to the ground,” says Ken Kellermann, who co-chairs RadioAstron’s International Advisory Committee.

So far, only one 22-metre dish in a town south of Moscow has been set up to receive signals. Unless other receiver stations can be found, a good fraction of the telescope’s data will be lost.

Impractical lawPARENTS should go to jail if they fail to report the death of their child within 2 hours. That is the proposal gaining support in the US after Casey Anthony, a mother charged with murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, was found not guilty two weeks ago.

Yet scientists approached by New Scientist say such a law could not be feasibly upheld.

Much public outrage hinges on the fact that Anthony did not

–One way to cool off–

–Feelings running high–

Japan is feeling the heatEARTHQUAKE, tsunami, nuclear disaster… now heatwave. Across Japan, 35 people have died from heatstroke since June, prompting fears that people are putting their lives at risk by cutting back on air conditioning. With 35 of its 54 nuclear power stations shut down, Japan is struggling to conserve power – and to stay cool in the sweltering summer.

In June the number of people taken by ambulance to hospitals for heatstroke tripled compared with June last year. The number of people taken by ambulance for heatstroke in July is predicted to be up 20 per cent on last year, says Hasegawa Manabu of the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. However, Nobuyuki Miyatake at Kagawa University in Takamatsu says it’s unclear whether energy-

saving is responsible for the extra deaths, since summer came early this year, with temperatures soaring after 21 June rather than in early July.

Nevertheless, the government is concerned. Last week, prime minister Naoto Kan advised people “to save electricity to the extent that the efforts are reasonable and people do not suffer from heatstroke”.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says temperatures this summer are unlikely to match last year’s, which were the highest since records began in 1898.

The US is also sweltering in a heatwave, with temperatures predicted at over 45 °C in places. Mostly focused on the Midwest, the heat is heading east with some 40 states expected to be affected.

“Fatal E. coli has been in Germany for a decade and may still lurk in people who are symptom-free”

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