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We've all had it happen; you're sitting in class, hopelessly unprepared because you've been writing a D&D campaign or plotting ways to take over the world when, out of nowhere, the teacher calls upon you to come to the front the room and solve a math problem. In front of everyone.

How you respond to that says a lot about you, and 'math anxiety' may be a real phenomenon, according to a new report in Current Directions in Psychological Science.  University of Chicago psychologist Sian L. Beilock examines some recent research looking at why being stressed about math can result in poor performance in solving problems.
Imagine tiny cracks in your patio table healing by themselves, or the first small scratch on your new car disappearing by itself. This and more may be possible with self-healing coatings being developed at the University of Illinois. 

The new coatings are designed to better protect materials from the effects of environmental exposure. Applications range from automotive paints and marine varnishes to the thick, rubbery coatings on patio furniture and park benches. 
We all know how infants can act up during their terrible twos, but when these behaviors are accompanied by developmental setbacks, they could point to something more serious.

Researchers are currently learning more about regressive autistic spectrum disorder (RASD), which describes children who have been diagnosed with autism who demonstrate a history of a regression. The regression refers to a marked loss of previously acquired developmental skills such as language or social ability.
In 2006, astronomer Alice Quillen of the University of Rochester predicted that a planet of a particular size and orbit must lie within the dust of a nearby star. That planet has now been photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope, making it only the second planet ever imaged after an accurate prediction. The only other planet seen after an accurate prediction was Neptune, discovered more than 160 years ago. 

"It's remarkable," says Eugene Chiang, associate professor of astronomy at the University of California at Berkeley, and part of the team that imaged the new planet. "Alice saw the way the inner edge of the dust ring cut off sharply and recognized that a planet likely orbited just inside. The orbit we found was amazingly close to Alice's prediction." 
University of Oregon sociologist Aliya Saperstein and sociologist Andrew M. Penner of the University of California, Irvine have a new twist on race - it isn't just appearance but socioeconomic status, they say.   Their new study says that Americans who are unemployed, incarcerated or impoverished today are more likely to be classified and identified as black, by themselves or by others, regardless of how they were seen -- or self identified -- in the past.
With the aid of a straightforward experiment, researchers have provided some clues to one of biology's most complex questions: how ancient organic molecules came together to form the basis of life. 

Specifically, this study, appearing online this week in JBC, demonstrated how ancient RNA joined together to reach a biologically relevant length.