How healthy? Are organic foods richer in beneficial compounds like polyphenols? Scientists are unsure.Blow hot, blow cold

Cool weather can make female butterflies disobey courtship rules. Entomologists have found that in a sexual role reversal female Bicyclus anynana exposed to cool, dry temperatures as caterpillars actively court males as adults. The females use reflective eye spots on their wings to attract potential mates. On the other hand, raised in moist and warmer season as larvae, males take up the traditional roles of suitor, displaying their wing designs to attract females. The study is the first to show that butterflies develop sexual ornamentation in response to the temperatures of the environment.

How healthy is organic?

Absence of toxic chemicals might be the only advantage that organically grown vegetables have for consumers. Health benefits of organic food consumption are still controversial and not scientifically well-documented. Earlier studies have shown that organic foods are richer in beneficial compounds like polyphenols. But when researchers analysed the antioxidants in two separate samples of onions, carrots and potatoes—one grown using organic methods and the other grown using fertilisers and pesticides, they did not find any difference in polyphenol levels. Polyphenols are chemicals that protect against common health problems and some effects of aging.

BP finds its way to the Arctic

After its failure to impress Greenland, energy giant British Petroleum has struck a deal with Russia’s state-run company Rosneft to explore 125,000 square km in the Russian Arctic.

Last year Greenland had denied BP an Arctic drilling license citing the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in US history. The US has called for an inquiry into the deal on national safety grounds to know Russia’s global oil ambitions.

Known to contain threefourths of the world’s untapped reserves of oil and natural gas, the Arctic is currently at the centre of an oil rush due to melting of ice because of global warming. Besides Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the US want to control the vast reserves.