Upfront March 14, 2011 : Page 4

NEWS & TRENDS B ask etball S cienc e Hoop dreams: 7-foot Satnam Singh Bhamara, 15, and seven other Indians are playing basketball at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. BOMB-DETECTING PLANTS Don’t be surprised if five years from now you go through airport security and are told, “Please have your photo ID and boarding pass ready, and walk past the hydrangeas.” Scientists at Colorado State University say they’ve created technology that makes plants subtly change color when they’re exposed to small amounts of TNT, the most commonly used explosive. After they detect TNT, the plants’ leaves drain off chlorophyll—the stuff that makes them green—and turn white. Plants seem to be uniquely suited by evolution to analyze chemicals in their environment and can react to levels 1/100th of what bomb-sniffing dogs can. The next step: making the plants respond within minutes instead of hours. That technology is about five years off, the researchers say, but if developed, it could be used to protect troops from explosive devices as well as civilians from terrorist threats at home. • News & Trends was reported by Kirk Johnson, Jesse McKinley, Jeremy Kahn, Sabrina Tavernise, and Dennis Overbye of Th e Ne w York T ime s ; and Veronica Majerol. Searching for India’s LeBron Is India ready for basketball? The N.B.A. thinks so. In a country where cricket is a national obsession, basketball and other sports, like baseball, soccer, and auto racing, have joined the chase to become the No. 2 sport in India, which has a growing middle class and a population of 1.2 billion. The N.B.A. has set up youth leagues in India to give its teens more opportunities to dribble, shoot, and dunk. It’s also taking a page out of its playbook in China, where hundreds of millions of people became fans in 2002, after 7-foot-6 Yao Ming was drafted by the Houston Rockets. The key to getting Indians hooked may also be identifying a homegrown star. Among the most promising is Satnam Singh Bhamara, 15, a 7-foot player who’s now at a basketball academy in Florida. • Food Why Buffalo Meat Is a Lot Less Rare B eef may be what’s for dinner on many American tables, but demand for buffalo, also known as bison, is breaking records. The Great Plains animal, which once numbered 100 million, was hunted to near extinction beginning in the late 19th century. But today, they’re raised on ranches by the tens of thousands. In an era of growing concern over where food comes from, what animals eat, and how it all affects the planet, grass-fed bison fits the bill perfectly: A grain-free diet is more natural for the animal and also produces a low-fat, environmentally sustainable meat. Along with the meat’s popularity, Buffalo prices are soaring, up 28 percent last year for a rib-eye steak cut. That has some bison dealers worried that growth will come too fast, or prices could surge so much that buyers will back away. Bison, however, still have a long way to go before they pose a challenge to cows: According to the National Bison Association, the average American ate about 65 pounds of beef last year but not even a Quarter Pounder’s worth of bison. • 4 UPFRONT • UPFRONTMA G AZINE. C O M Headed to a bun near you? GRANT HALVERSON/U.S. PRESSWIRE (BASKETBALL); INGO ARNDT/MINDEN PICTURES (BUFFALO)

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