Image pinpoints all 5 million atoms in viral coat

full story @
Researchers decipher protective shield used by hundreds of viruses

Rice News staff

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Rice University’s precise new image of a virus’ protective coat is seriously undervalued. More than three years in the making, the image contains some 5 million atoms — each in precisely the right place — and it could help scientists find better ways to both fight viral infections and design new gene therapies.

The stunning image, which appears online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals the structure of a type of protein coat shared by hundreds of known viruses containing double-stranded RNA genomes. The image was painstakingly created from hundreds of high-energy X-ray diffraction images and paints the clearest picture yet of the viruses’ genome-encasing shell called a “capsid.”

“When these viruses invade cells, the capsids get taken inside and never completely break apart,” said lead researcher Jane Tao.

Scientists Discover A Nearly Earth-Sized Plant

full story at

By JENNIFER QUINN, Associated Press Writer
HATFIELD, England – In the search for Earth-like planets, astronomers zeroed in Tuesday on two places that look awfully familiar to home. One is close to the right size. The other is in the right place. European researchers said they not only found the smallest exoplanet ever, called Gliese 581 e, but realized that a neighboring planet discovered earlier, Gliese 581 d, was in the prime habitable zone for potential life.

Today’s Problem: Cylinder Volume

Take a piece of letter-sized paper and tape the short ends to make a tube. Label this tube A.

Take another piece of letter-sized paper and tape the long ends to make another tube. Label this tube B.

Place each tube on a flat surface, so that they stand up on end.

Using the formula for the volume of a cylinder, find out which tube will hold more stuff (like popcorn or candy)?

Letter-sized paper is 8.5 inches wide by 11 inches tall.
To find the radius of each tube, use the circumference formula, C = 2πr

NASA Program Shows Math & Science Can Be Fun

full story @

NASA Program Shows Math & Science Can Be Fun
Job opportunities in the science and math-related fields are expected to grow five times faster than other sectors over the next decade.
But the number of students pursuing those types of careers continues to decline.
In response, NASA and Honeywell have developed an inter-active program to get students excited about careers in those fields.

Today’s problem: Simpsons Math

On an episode of The Simpsons, another boy trades 1000 picoliters of his milk for 4 gills of Bart’s milk.

Use this Volume Convertor to see why this was a bad trade for Bart.

1000 picoliters = 0.001 microliters
Convert 4 gills into microliters.

Did you know? The Great Garbage Patch

full story @

Much of our plastic ends up floating in the North Pacific

In 1997 Captain Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, set sail from Hawaii and discovered, in a remote part of the North Pacific, an island…made of plastic.
Moore measured about 300,000 tiny pieces of plastic per square kilometer back then, but a decade later there are approximately 2.3 million pieces of plastic per square kilometer. What is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now the size of the United States, according to Moore.

Wind and ocean currents sweep up this garbage and deposit it in this slow-moving gyre.

Today’s Problem: Circle Time

Mr. Sutton’s class sits in a circle, each student spaced equally apart from each other.

If the 4th student sits directly opposite the 13th student, how many students are in Mr. Sutton’s class?


If the entire 4th grade at the school sits in a larger circle, how many students are there if the 11th student sits directly opposite the 49th student?

If the entire school sits in a larger circle, how many students are there if the 34th student sits opposite the 76th student?