Agriculture
Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Got Milk? How?
Amphibians
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Frogs and Toads
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Roboroach and Company
Odor-Chasing Penguins
Bee Disease
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GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
Baby Number Whizzes
A brain-boosting video game
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Falcons
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Chemistry and Materials
Smelly Traps for Lampreys
The hottest soup in New York
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Lighting goes digital
Play for Science
It's a Small E-mail World After All
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Big Fish in Ancient Waters
Dino-bite!
Dinosaur Eggs-citement
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
Earth
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
A Volcano Wakes Up
Earth's Lowly Rumble
Environment
Nanosponges Soak Up Pollutants
Watching for Wildfires in Yellowstone
Improving the Camel
Finding the Past
Ancient Cave Behavior
Sahara Cemetery
Meet your mysterious relative
Fish
Electric Eel
Goldfish
Skates
Food and Nutrition
The mercury in that tuna
The Color of Health
Packing Fat
GSAT English Rules
Adjectives and Adverbs
Who vs. Whom
Finding Subjects and Verbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Mathematics
Math of the World
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
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Human Body
Germ Zapper
Music in the Brain
The tell-tale bacteria
Invertebrates
Corals
Nautiluses
Ticks
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Doberman Pinschers
Miniature Schnauzers
Beagles
Parents
How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Physics
Electric Backpack
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Black Hole Journey
Plants
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Fungus Hunt
Fastest Plant on Earth
Reptiles
Caimans
Asp
Chameleons
Space and Astronomy
Sun Flips Out to Flip-Flop
A Planet's Slim-Fast Plan
A Great Ball of Fire
Technology and Engineering
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
A Micro-Dose of Your Own Medicine
Musclebots Take Some Steps
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Verb?
Transportation
How to Fly Like a Bat
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Middle school science adventures
Weather
A Change in Climate
A Dire Shortage of Water
Arctic Melt
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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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