Sentries in the garden shed

Someday, that potted palm in your living room might go from green to white, alerting you to a variety of nasty contaminants in the air, perhaps even explosives.
The stuff of science fiction you say? Not so, says a Colorado State University bi…

Researchers predict hurricane-heavy 2003

Following a suppressed 2002 hurricane season, researchers in Colorado predict Atlantic basin hurricane activity to be well above average in 2003 – including twice as many hurricanes as in the previous year. For their first extended-range forecast for 2003, they predict that 12 named tropical storms will form in the Atlantic basin between June 1 and Nov. 30. Of these, eight will become hurricanes and three are anticipated to evolve into intense hurricanes (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater.

Bread as cause of acne?

Forget about chocolate and greasy foods. Eating too much refined bread and cereal may be the true culprit behind the pimples that plague many a youngster, reports Britain’s New Scientist magazine. That’s the theory of a team led by Loren Cordain, an evolutionary biologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Highly processed breads and cereals are easily digested. The resulting flood of sugars makes the body produce high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). This in turn leads to an excess of male hormones. These encourage pores in the skin to ooze large amounts of sebum, the greasy goop that acne-promoting bacteria love. IGF-1 also encourages skin cells called keratinocytes to multiply, a hallmark of acne, the team say in a paper that will appear in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology.

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