Global climate change may soon make our planet a much itchier place.
Rising levels of carbon dioxide—a so-called greenhouse gas that traps heat within Earth's atmosphere—can fuel booming poison ivy growth, a new study reports.
Even worse, the rash-inducing vines may become more potent.
Working in a Duke Univerity-owned forest near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, researchers used a system of carbon dioxide-pumping pipes to create atmospheric CO2 levels that were some 200 parts per million higher than the current norm.
Many global warming models predict that such levels will be a reality by 2050. (Related: "Global Warming Could Cause Mass Extinctions by 2050, Study Says" [April 12].)
Poison ivy growth surged some 150 percent in the carbon dioxide-rich forest plots.
This afternoon, e-mail from my mother:
Subject: Poison Ivy
That's what I have on my face. First I soak today with milk/water compresses and if it's not better tomorrow, ---prednizone.
On Monday night, at NBC's reception at Rockefeller Center, I asked NBC exec Jeff Zucker if he still gets nervous when he has to go up onstage and present his fall schedule. Zucker said no, wordlessly, wagging his head in a way they only teach in Cambridge, Mass.(Slate.)
Kentucky Derby Prep:
Glad things are going well for the Juice!
The Kentucky Derby experience brings together all types.
For example, there's O.J. Simpson -- a perennial Louisville guest. He says he doesn't bet much, but he's got a hunch play this year.
"I'm a big fan of lawyers. Give me Lawyer Ron," he says with a chuckle. "If his name was 'Lawyer Johnnie,' I'd bet the house."
O.J. likes the scene that comes together at Louisville on the first weekend in May.
"The Kentuckians are so hospitable," he says. "I just have a ball. This is a great week.
"Twenty years ago, when I came here for the various corporations I was working for, it was kind of old and staid. Now, you've got the hip-hop culture here. The parties here are better than they are for the MTV Awards or NBA games."
In referrer-log news, I saw that someone came in from Google and hit my long-standing question about the January 2005 hoax nuclear threat against Boston, while searching on appropriate keywords for the event. What's scary is that this searcher came in from usdoj.gov. No, you tell me.