Beware Spice Abuse

While you're busy putting finishing touches on the holiday meal, your teenagers and pre-teen kids might have other ideas about how to use the season's aromatic spices and other ingredients. And the results could be dangerous.

CO2 Output Hits Record High

Around the world, we are emitting more carbon dioxide than ever. For 2012, according to new projections by the Global Carbon Project, there is likely to be a 2.6 percent rise in global CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels compared to the year before. That puts emissions of the gas at 58 percent higher than 1990 levels.

Mortality Rates Are Underestimated

Despite great medical advances that have lengthened human life spans, your chances of living a very long life may be lower than you'd hoped. That's the conclusion of a study by two longevity experts who reviewed the standard models that predict mortality rates and turned up a major error. Instead of confirming that death rates drop once people reach their 80s or 90s – as experts have assumed for many decades -- results showed that the risk of dying continues to increase each year, no matter how old people are.

Frankincense May Be Doomed

Frankincense has a long history as an ingredient in incense and perfumes, with references dating back to ancient Egypt. In the Bible, the Magi brought the fragrant resin as a gift to the baby Jesus, along with gold and myrrh -- and it remains part of the classic Christmas story. But frankincense, whose smell is sometimes described as sweet or spicy with a mix of lemon and pine, will soon become only a relic of the past if nothing is done to protect the trees that produce it, according to a new study.

The Amazing Decline of Deaths From Extreme Weather

With climate change, the world is generally getting warmer –- but not in a slow and straight line. Instead, many models show that weather is simply becoming more unpredictable and possibly more volatile, with more severe storms, more severe droughts and more peaks in all kinds of weather extremes. All of that volatility raises its own fears. With more extreme weather events, are we getting set up for a rise in related injuries and deaths? A new study offers some comforting news.

Woman Hiker Breaks Appalachian Trail Record

Jennifer Pharr Davis has hiked the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail twice before. She has even written a book about the long slog and its endless rewards and challenges. This summer, she hit the trail yet again with the goal of going even faster than her 2008 time of 57 days and some hours. (Most through-hikers take six months or more). But that's not all. She also wanted to beat the official record of 47 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes, set by Andrew Thompson in 2005. The New York Times caught up with her part-way through the trek with an encouraging report. This week, she succeeded in her record attempt, finishing in 46 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes. That translates to an average of 47 miles a day.

Earth Now a Windier World

The world is getting breezier, according to a new study, which found a slow but steady increase in top wind speeds across the oceans over the last 23 years. Although global warming is a suspect, researchers can't say for sure whether climate change is behind the growing gusts.

Climate Changes Linked to Fall of Roman Empire

Think small variations in temperature and precipitation levels don't have much of an impact? Guess again. A prolonged period of wet weather spurred the spread of the Bubonic plague in medieval times, according to a new study. And a 300-year spell of unpredictable weather coincided with the decline of the Roman Empire.

Drinking Water Proven to Help Weight Loss

It's a popular dieting secret: Drink more water, and you'll shed more pounds. Finally, science is adding weight to the practice. After about three months, a new study found, obese dieters who drank two cups of water before each meal lost 5 pounds more than a group of dieters who didn't increase their water intake. A year later, the water-drinkers had also kept more of the weight off.