Published: Monday 31 March 2003

bold is beautiful: Anyone can become happy by behaving in extroverted ways. During three studies carried out in the US, about 150 randomly selected university students were asked to make records about their mood swings and activities for 10 weeks. The researchers found that the subjects invariably felt happier when they were involved in outgoing activities, ranging from jogging to simply singing aloud while working.

light-struck: A rise in the level of ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth's surface has caused a major decline in Hong Kong's barnacle populations since the 1970s, shows a study by the City University of Hong Kong. The radiation is damaging the retinal cells of the larvae, preventing them from foraging for food. Their deaths could be affecting the entire foodchain, because they supply nutrients to snails, crabs and small fish.

genetic messages: Scientists can now get genome information anytime and anywhere, thanks to a database that sends genetic information to mobile phones. Bjrn Ursing of the Sweden-based Karolinska Institute has complied a wireless application protocol (WAP)-accessible database of all the 117 organisms whose genome has been sequenced. WAP allows internet access from a mobile phone.

cinderella's new carriage: An improved pumpkin variety has been given clearance for commercial cultivation by the Kerala Agricultural University of India. The pumpkin has a high yield of 39 tonnes of fruits per hectare. Christened 'Saras', this variety produces elongated fruits that have a high carotene content. Each plant yields about four fruits.

another warmonger: Vast stockpiles of unstable frozen methane on the seafloor may also be causing global warming, claim researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in USA. The researchers examined the sediments of the Santa Barbara Basin in the US. They found evidence that methane trapped in the sediments was released 44,000 years ago. At the same time there was a rapid rise in global temperatures.

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