Agriculture
Got Milk? How?
Getting the dirt on carbon
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
Amphibians
Toads
Bullfrogs
Newts
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Bee Disease
Navigating by the Light of the Moon
How to Silence a Cricket
Behavior
Giving Sharks Safe Homes
Contemplating thought
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Birds
Cranes
Robins
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Chemistry and Materials
Undercover Detectives
Salt secrets
The memory of a material
Computers
Lighting goes digital
Hitting the redo button on evolution
New twists for phantom limbs
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Meet your mysterious relative
Fingerprinting Fossils
Ancient Critter Caught Shedding Its Skin
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Unnatural Disasters
Surf Watch
Getting the dirt on carbon
Environment
Improving the Camel
A Stormy History
The Birds are Falling
Finding the Past
Fakes in the museum
A Human Migration Fueled by Dung?
Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
Fish
Flashlight Fishes
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Perches
Food and Nutrition
Symbols from the Stone Age
How Super Are Superfruits?
The Color of Health
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. That vs. Which
Who vs. Whom
Capitalization Rules
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Mastering The GSAT Exam
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
It's a Math World for Animals
Math Naturals
Human Body
A Fix for Injured Knees
The tell-tale bacteria
Fighting Off Micro-Invader Epidemics
Invertebrates
Bedbugs
Bees
Dust Mites
Mammals
Aquatic Animals
Lhasa Apsos
Flying Foxes
Parents
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Powering Ball Lightning
One ring around them all
Plants
Sweet, Sticky Science
Getting the dirt on carbon
Plants Travel Wind Highways
Reptiles
Lizards
Snapping Turtles
Cobras
Space and Astronomy
A Very Distant Planet Says "Cheese"
A Family in Space
No Fat Stars
Technology and Engineering
Young Scientists Take Flight
A Satellite of Your Own
A Clean Getaway
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
Adjectives and Adverbs
Pronouns
Transportation
Flying the Hyper Skies
Robots on the Road, Again
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Weather
Watering the Air
Where rivers run uphill
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
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Little Bits of Trouble

If you've kicked around a soccer ball, you may have noticed the pattern on the ball's surface. The ball is stitched together from 12 patches with five sides (pentagons) and 20 patches with six sides (hexagons). About 20 years ago, chemists discovered that carbon can form into molecules with the same shape. They nicknamed them buckyballs. These strong, hollow particles may someday be used to carry medicine or even block the action of certain viruses. Scientists have now found that buckyballs can harm living cells. Research by Eva Oberdörster, a biologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and her team shows that these molecules damage brain cells in fish. Buckyballs belong to a group of materials known as nanomaterials. The prefix "nano" means one-billionth. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter—roughly the width of just five carbon atoms lined up in a row. So, a buckyball is an extremely tiny particle—only a few ten-thousandths of the width of a human hair. To make a nanomaterial, scientists manipulate individual atoms to build molecules of different shapes. Groups of these molecules form materials with particular characteristics, making them suitable for different jobs. For example, some nanomaterials are already being used in makeup and sunscreens. Because buckyballs may someday be used in industry, Oberdörster and her team conducted experiments to find out if the molecules are toxic. The researchers added different quantities of buckyballs to water in a fish tank. After 48 hours, they removed the fish from the tank and checked different parts of the fishes' bodies for damage. Although none of them died, the exposed fish showed 17 times as much damage to brain cells as did fish not exposed to buckyballs. In a separate experiment, Vicki Colvin of Rice University in Houston found that buckyballs damage human cells growing in a lab. But she also found a possible solution to the problem. Coating buckyballs with other kinds of simple molecules appears to make buckyballs safer. Nanomaterial particles come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, so it's not yet known whether they all have the same harmful effects that buckyballs do. It's going to take a lot more experiments to sort out all the possible health effects of these amazing, new materials.—S. McDonagh

Little Bits of Trouble
Little Bits of Trouble








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