How come it's never blue?

Normally, the region known as Voronezh is considered part of Russia's Central Black Earth economic district. At least it was, until rain fell on it last week. But not just any rain; this wet stuff was red. Really. Citing local government officials, the Itar-Tass news agency reported that the precipitation was colored by oxide emissions from a nearby paint factory. Not to worry, though: There is no danger to people or animals , the officials insisted. But if the annual sunflower crop ripens to a rusty hue, rather than the normal yellow, we'll be able to guess the cause.

Advice for Nevadans: Get used to more neighbors

Westward (and southward) ho! That's the theme of population projections for the year 2030 by the US Census Bureau. Based on data from the 2000 census, it says 88 percent of growth will occur in those two regions, with Nevada and Arizona both on pace to more than double their populations. California and Texas will remain the most populous states, but if current projections hold true, Florida will move ahead of New York as the No. 3 state, while Arizona and North Carolina will join the Top 10. The fastest-growing states, with the percentage of growth anticipated for each between 2000 and 2030:

1. Nevada 114.3%
2. Arizona 108.8
3. Florida 79.5
4. Texas 59.8
5. Utah 56.1
6. Idaho 52.2
7. North Carolina 51.9
8. Georgia 46.8
9. Washington 46.3
10. Oregon 41.3

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