A simple discussion of lung capacity appears to double the rate patients follow a doctor's advice to quit smoking.

With less than a year to go in office, President Bush has begun offering valedictory courtesies to favored foreign leaders, including a much coveted ranch visit this weekend to the Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Despite his obvious delight at being invited to Mr. Bush's ranch, Mr. Rasmussen wanted the president to reciprocate his loyalty, providing support for Denmark's efforts to negotiate a new global warming treaty when it is the host of a conference next year in Copenhagen. Mr. Bush told reporters on Saturday, "We talked about climate change, more than once, as I showed him my ranch and how we're conservationists in Crawford.' Mr. Rasmussen, in turn, described Mr. Bush as "a convinced environmentalist' and world leader on the issue. But it remained unclear whether Mr. Bush was offering anything beyond a rhetorical blessing. The administration has long been at odds with many European countries that would like to forge a new treaty with mandated limits on greenhouse gas-causing emissions. Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton professor who has called attention to the issue of global warming, said in an interview that a Bush administration pledge about reducing global warming would lack credibility because the administration had opposed many domestic programs to save energy and cut oil consumption. "No one will take this as anything meaningful,' he said. Professor Oppenheimer also noted that Mr. Bush would be long gone from office when dozens of nations meet in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. Mr. Bush offered a favorable interpretation of Denmark's decision to withdraw most of its forces from Iraq, saying the action was based on "the policy of

A group of pioneers in the "green business' were getting back to their roots with a two-day hike through a pristine rain forest in Costa Rica when they hit Fer-de-lance Hill. "They' were aggressive and deadly snakes. "Sure enough, we round this bend and this fer-de-lance is rattling away at us,' recalled Mr. Newmark, the chief organizer of the hike and co-chief executive of the organic vitamin and supplement maker New Chapter. "It was about as thick as Albert Pujols's baseball bat.' One hiker, Stephen Brooks of Kopali Organics, was attacked, but his boot kept the snake's fangs from digging into skin. The trouble did not stop there. The hike was so physically taxing

The study is the first compilation of clinical trial data

Forgotten but not gone, the waste from more than 100 nuclear reactors that the federal government was supposed to start accepting for burial 10 years ago is still at the reactor sites, at least 20 years behind schedule. But it is making itself felt in the federal budget. With court orders and settlements, the federal government has already paid the utilities $342 million, but is virtually certain to pay a total of at least $7 billion in the next few years and probably over $11 billion, government officials said. The industry said the total could reach $35 billion. The payments come from an obscure and poorly understood government account that requires no new Congressional appropriations, and will balloon in size, experts said. The payments are due because the reactor owners were all required to sign contracts with the Energy Department in the early 1980s, with the government promising to dispose of the waste for a fee of a 10th of a cent per kilowatt-hour. It was supposed to begin taking away the fuel in the then far-off year of 1998. Since then, the utilities have filed 60 lawsuits. The main argument

Panamanian investigators have concluded that at least 174 people were poisoned, 115 of them fatally, by counterfeit cold medicine linked to an unlicensed Chinese chemical plant.

Genetically engineered agriculture is spreading worldwide, and its biggest growth in 2007 was in the developing world, according to a report released Wednesday. Farmers in 12 developing countries planted biotech crops in 2007, and for the first time these countries outnumbered the industrialized countries where such crops are grown, according to the report from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.