Springing forward
Making the most of a meal
Silk’s superpowers
Tree Frogs
Awake at Night
Jay Watch
Mouse Songs
When Darwin got sick of feathers
How Much Babies Know
Pollution at the ends of the Earth
Tropical Birds
Chemistry and Materials
Sticky Silky Feet
Lighting goes digital
Big Machine Reveals Small Worlds
Galaxies on the go
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Tiny Pterodactyl
Some Dinos Dined on Grass
Meet the new dinos
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Drilling Deep for Fuel
The Rise of Yellowstone
Groundwater and the Water Cycle
A Change in Time
Sounds and Silence
A 'Book' on Every Living Thing
Finding the Past
Big Woman of the Distant Past
Salt and Early Civilization
Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
Basking Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Chocolate Rules
In Search of the Perfect French Fry
Yummy bugs
GSAT English Rules
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Adjectives and Adverbs
Who vs. That vs. Which
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Mastering The GSAT Exam
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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A Sweet Advance in Candy Packing
Detecting True Art
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Human Body
Nature's Medicines
A Fix for Injured Knees
Sleeping Soundly for a Longer Life
Praying Mantis
Golden Retrievers
Great Danes
Spectacled Bear
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
How children learn
IceCube Science
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Fastest Plant on Earth
Stalking Plants by Scent
Fungus Hunt
Garter Snakes
Boa Constrictors
Space and Astronomy
Ringing Saturn
Mercury's magnetic twisters
Zooming In on the Wild Sun
Technology and Engineering
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Riding Sunlight
Young Scientists Take Flight
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Noun
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Charged cars that would charge
Flying the Hyper Skies
Where rivers run uphill
A Dire Shortage of Water
Science loses out when ice caps melt
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How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut

The blink-of-an-eye closing of a Venus flytrap's leaf on a hapless fly is one of the fastest movements in the plant kingdom. Now, after more than a century of wondering how these flesh-eating plants do it, scientists have come up with a possible explanation. The secret isn't muscle; it's geometry. The shape and structure of a Venus flytrap's leaf allows it to snap up juicy insect morsels in just a tenth of a second, say researchers from Harvard University, Rockefeller University, and the University of Provence. Lots of plants move, but their movements are usually very slow. It can take days for flower buds to open and hours for leaves to respond to sunlight. Flytraps snap shut much more rapidly. Mathematician Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan had long wondered how flytraps are able to react so quickly. Then, a researcher he works with gave him one of the plants for his office, and he decided to find out what's going on. Mahadevan and his colleagues painted fluorescent dots on the curved leaves of a group of flytraps and measured the leaves using a microscope. The researchers also took high-speed videos of the plants in action. The pictures and measurements showed what happens after an insect or some other object lands on a leaf and triggers it. First, cells on the outside surface of the plant's leaves get longer, while cells on the inside surface don't change. This makes the leaves want to curl inward. The oppositely curved shape of an open leaf, however, causes it to resist the inward push. The team's measurements showed that pressure builds up for about a second, until the leaf can't take it anymore. Then, the leaf takes just a fraction of a second to snap shut. Scientists suspect that the same mechanism may trigger rapid motion in other plants. Engineers could also try taking advantage of this effect when they're designing new sensors, valves, or other devices.—E. Sohn

How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut

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