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“The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) has introduced a major breakthrough in making scientific information available to researchers in a more timely and comprehensive manner.
The PrePRINT Network (http://www.osti.gov/preprints) (PPN) is a new Web-based tool that provides access to the papers, draft journal articles, and other electronic materials produced by researchers. At numerous sites throughout the country, databases and Web sites exist on servers that contain this information for specific projects or disciplines; the PrePRINT Network, in effect, combines those dispersed servers into a comprehensive set of energy research information and makes them all searchable via a single query.
Using this valuable asset, researchers can browse or search one specific preprint site, a selected set of sites, or all of the listed sites. With a single query, users can search one or a collection of existing preprint servers. The PPN facilitates access to and searching of preprints by linking to preprint servers wherever they exist on the Web. The PPN pulses the search engines of such servers, compiles the results, and returns them to the users.
In this manner, the PPN provides links to 250 preprint sites housing over 215,000 documents, and over twenty heterogeneous preprint databases are available for distributed cross-searching via a single query. Collections and resources included on the PPN are provided by academic institutions, government research laboratories, scientific societies, private research organizations, and individual scientists and researchers.
The PPN is the latest in a series of Web-based services developed by OSTI and made available to the public through EnergyFiles (http://www.osti.gov/EnergyFiles) DOE's virtual library of energy science and technology. With the addition of PPN, EnergyFiles captures the three main ways by which researchers disseminate their findings: grey literature (the DOE Information Bridge); journal literature (PubSCIENCE); and preprints.
For more information, please contact R. L. Scott, Director for Project and Program Development, Office of Scientific and Technical Information, at (865) 576-1193.”
1. Ice and Snow Database
“SPRILIB Ice and Snow is a new resource covering glaciological topics worldwide with 32,000 references. There is no charge for access. Most but not all items are in SPRI Library. This database is maintained by World Data Centre for Glaciology, Cambridge.”
“The ASTIS database, containing 46,000 records describing publications and research projects about northern Canada, is now available on the Web. ASTIS (the Arctic Science and Technology Information System) is maintained by the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary and is made available on the Web for free with support from the Canadian Polar Commission.
ASTIS includes all subjects, and covers all of Canada north of the southern limit of discontinuous permafrost as well as adjacent marine areas. The publications cited in the database include both gray and peer-reviewed literature published from 1978 to the present. The 10,800 research project descriptions in ASTIS cover the period from 1974 to the present and are based on information supplied by the organizations that liscence field research in northern Canada.
ASTIS can be searched from a Simple Search page, an Advanced Search page and by clicking on hyperlinks in database records. Searchable fields include words from titles and abstracts, broad subject and geographic codes, detailed subject and geographic terms, personal and corporate authors, year and record type.
Your comments and suggestions on ASTIS would be appreciated by Ross Goodwin.”
3. SPRILIB Russian North
“There are currently 19,024 records, listing works published from 1671 through to 1999 concerning northern Russia and Siberia. Search SPRILIB Russian North by subject term (in the uppermost search box), author, place, general field or date of publication.”
AAAS has made the following available:
Clinton Proposes Jump In Federal IT Research (http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB20000128S0004)
“President Clinton in his State of the Union address Thursday night proposed nearly a $3 billion increase in science and research initiatives that are designed to extend Americans' lives and their booming economy.” (From CMP's TechWeb News).
For the entire budget full text, see
2001 U.S. Federal Budget (http://w3.access.gpo.gov/usbudget/index.html).
The text of the proposed budget is available at this web address, and also linked from the NSF Library “Finding Government Information” page!
I have revamped my webpage on Ethics in Scientific Research. Broken links have been repaired, new links have been added, and the page has been reorganized so it is more logical and easier to use. It is a relatively short webpage with links to directories, publications, organizations, policy statements, etc. If anyone is interested in receiving the html for this webpage, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, if you have asked me for webpages or information in the past and I have not responded, please ask again. I sometimes get swamped and lose requests …
7 Materials Chemistry titles from Elsevier Science are now availalble in the ChemWeb.com Library (http://chemweb.com/library):
All are available completely FREE of charge for 3 months! Free registration to ChemWeb required.
ENC Focus: A Magazine for Classroom Innovators
From the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, located at The Ohio State University, Focus is a free “electronic magazine for K-12 classroom teachers striving to improve mathematics and science education.” In the current issue, a variety of articles and Web resources explore topics like The Reality of Change (about the challenges of change math and science teachers face), Integrating Technology in the Classroom, Inquiry and Problem Solving (about how teachers around the country have attempted to foster the desire for inquiry and problem solving in their students), and Innovative Curriculum Materials (includes articles on how educators are “creating, choosing, and using, unconventional and innovative science and math resources”). With a grants section, an Internet resources section, and free subscription to the print version, this site is a useful and informative source of ideas for science and math educators at the K-12 level. [KR] (From the Scout Report)
International Journal of Molecular Sciences [.pdf] (Free registration required)
Single Molecules [.pdf]
Published online by MDPI (Molecular Diversity Preservation International), the International Journal of Molecular Sciences has posted its first issue as of January 2000. This peer-reviewed quarterly aims to provide “an advanced forum for chemistry, molecular physics (chemical physics and physical chemistry) and molecular biology,” while also publishing reviews and short notes. The first issue is brief, and currently, the journal is calling for papers. The journal is free for the time being. To gain access, users are required send in an email to obtain a free user-ID and password. Also, another new journal, Single Molecules, from Wiley Interscience, “will provide researchers with a broad overview of current methods and techniques, recent applications and shortcomings of present techniques in the field of single molecules.” With temporary free access, the journal's latest issue contains a few full-text articles, with more articles being regularly added. This journal is also currently calling for papers. [KR] (From the Scout Report)
Reactive Reports Webzine
“David Bradley, Science Writer, and Advanced Chemistry Development are proud to announce the release of Reactive Reports, a new web-based Chemistry Magazine. Reactive Reports will provide the chemistry community with cutting edge reports of exciting developments in the world of the chemical sciences and related fields.
David Bradley is an award-winning science journalist based in Cambridge, England. He is a chemist by training and was, for several years, deputy editor for the RSC's primary research journal Chemical Communications. He writes a weekly column for ChemWeb's The Alchemist and has contributed to a wide variety of other publications including Science, New Scientist, Chemistry in Britain and Chemistry & Industry. He can be reached through his Elemental Discoveries web site at www.sciencebase.com.“
Athena Review is a journal of archaeology, history, and exploration published quarterly by Athena Publications, Inc. Articles on both Old and New World archaeology are written by a variety of archaeologists, journalists, and other investigators, aimed at a general audience with readership in a number of countries. Each issue combines fully-illustrated feature articles on selected major archaeological regions with coverage of recent finds, plus reviews of books, videos, and internet sites. The website at www.athenapub.com, free to all, provides on-line articles from each issue along with a growing image archive with photos, maps, and site plans. The larger, more inclusive printed issue costs $16 for a 4-issue subscription, with back issues available at $5 each (email for subscriptions is email@example.com).
Policy.com: In the Tanks
Policy.com, a policy news and information center, has just published online volume one, issue one of a monthly newsletter that will update readers on recent research and publications in political and social policy from American think tanks. This first issue provides a history of the origins and evolution of this fundamentally American invention. [DC] (From the Scout Report)
AAAS Evaluation of Middle School Science Textbooks
Not one of the widely used science textbooks for middle school was rated satisfactory by Project 2061, the long-term science, mathematics, and technology education reform initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). And the new crop of texts that have just entered the market fared no better in the evaluation.
The in-depth study found that most textbooks cover too many topics and don't develop any of them well. All texts include many classroom activities that either are irrelevant to learning key science ideas or don't help students relate what they are doing to the underlying ideas.
Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) [.pdf]
ETD Digital Library [.pdf]
Based at Virginia Tech, one of the first universities to require students to develop and submit electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs), the NDLTD works internationally to make student research more available to scholars, reduce the cost of submitting and maintaining manuscripts, and advance digital library technology more generally. At the homepage, users will find a number of resources and news items regarding these efforts. The project's digital library provides access to the full text (most in .pdf format) of a large number of ETDs via the list of University Nodes and related sites. Most of the linked sites allow users to both browse and search for dissertations. Users can also try a working prototype of a federated search engine that performs parallel queries across several dozen search sites provided by participants in the project. Please note that some ETDs are only available to campus users. [MD] (From the Scout Report)
WebExhibits provides a handy directory of online exhibits presented in a friendly interface. Browse the categories or search the database for an open learning experience. The site is frequently updated to check back often. (From Blue Web'n) Also check the Online Exhibits Hotlist.
In my last newsletter I mentioned a couple of websites that will generate machine translations from various languages (usually English) into various other languages (usually Western European) and vice versa. Several folks sent me their favorite links, and I reproduce them here. (Forgive me if I miss a few attributions! I try to be good, but alas, I am not perfect …)
Translation Services Directory – Lists 3,000 translators. [This link sent to me by Kate Creegan]
The following are recommended by Caryn Wesner-Early:
The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports
Sponsored by the World Education Forum and UNESCO, the Education for All (EFA) 2000 Assessment is an extraordinarily in-depth evaluation of basic education in some 180 countries. The substantial report posted for each country contains data and analysis concerning fundamental issues of education, including statistics on enrollment, literacy, educational levels of teachers, and academic and vocational education; as well as an overall evaluation of early childhood, primary, and secondary instruction; and much more. Eventually, the reports will be listed by region and a search engine will be available; currently though, users must browse by country. More countries's reports are to be added as they are completed. [DC] (From the Scout Report)
Global Water Sampling Project
Join Students around the World in this Environmental Study! For the fifth year, students are teaming up around the globe to test fresh water. Join us in this collaborative project and compare the water quality of your local river, stream, lake or pond with other fresh water sources around the world. The project has three specific purposes:
Sponsored by the Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education (CIESE)
National Resources Inventory [.pdf, 703K]
From the National Resources Conservation Service and the US Department of Agriculture, the recently released 1997 National Resources Inventory provides a statistically-based account of “conditions and trends of soil, water, and related resources” on US non-federal lands, including data on wetlands, conservation practices, farmland, land use, and more. The makers claim, “it is the most comprehensive database of its kind ever attempted anywhere in the world.” The site provides the complete report (.pdf format), as well as links offering discussion in the form of an introduction, background, data gathering, statistical design, statistical estimation, a glossary, and results and analysis. Individual sections contain additional documentation. This is an unusual and comprehensive resource for those in need of national resources statistics. [KR] (From the Scout Report)
Virtual Field Trips
Take your students on nature field trips through the Web. Each field trip covers a single topic such as salt marshes or volcanoes. Sites are arranged in sequential order to build a story and include a series of “trail markers” or stops, that describe each site on the field trip to guide students' learning. If logs or journals are required, every field trip has a set of prepared documents that you can print out for each person on the trip. Also included are short teacher's guides and selected other Web sites that provide background or curriculum guidance. (From Blue Web'N)
Texas Information Literacy Tutorial
To familiarize a large number of students with fundamental research skills, the Digital Information Literacy Office at the University of Texas at Austin developed this online tutorial. TILT is a Web-based, educational site designed to teach undergraduates fundamental research skills. In each module students will learn concepts and practice them through interactions. At the conclusion of each module, they can test their comprehension and receive immediate feedback. Each module takes less than 30 minutes to complete. (From Blue Web'N)
Subtitled “A Global Information System on Fishes,” this site does indeed seem to offer everything you ever wanted to know about fishes. The heart of the site is two databases, FishBase and LarvalBase, the first containing information on over 23,000 species (91,000 common names), 41,000 synonyms, 18,000 pictures, and 17,000 references; the latter featuring 400 species, 500 pictures, and 700 references. Both databases can be keyword searched or browsed by common name or scientific name. Entries include family, order, class, English name, distribution, biology, environment, climate zone, and additional information. Entries also offer a number of links for more species-specific data such as synonyms, countries, key facts, pictures, FAO areas, spawning, reproduction, predators, diet composition, and more. The search page for each database features a searchable glossary and reference database, and information by topic. In addition, the main FishBase page offers downloads, a Fish Forum, a biodiversity quiz, and a link to the expanded LarvalBase at the University of Kiel. [MD] (From the Scout Report)
Secrets of the Ice – An Antarctic Exploration [Quicktime, RealPlayer G2]
This new site from the Museum of Science in Boston offers an introduction to the environment of Antarctica and research being conducted there. Inspired by a four-year Antarctic expedition currently underway by a group of scientists based at the University of New Hampshire, the site will follow their progress and report the latest findings. At the site, visitors can learn about the climate and environment of the frozen continent, read about ice core research, view background information on the expedition, browse the latest reports and photos from the research team, and listen to archived broadcasts. Users can also send in questions or suggest experiments to the team. The site includes a number of animations, illustrations, photos, related links for more information, and some learning resources for educators. [MD] (From the Scout Report)
State of the Cryosphere
From the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the new State of the Cryosphere Website discusses the cryosphere and its close relationship to “climate variability.” Cryospheric regions, or areas where water is found in solid forms, are highly sensitive to changes in temperature. This is because snow and ice “exist relatively close to their melting point and frequently change phase from solid to liquid and back again.” The implications of climate change and fluctuations in Northern Hemisphere snow cover, sea ice, mountain glaciers, and sea level are explored here. The site contains helpful links, an introduction, a glossary, and references. [KR] (From the Scout Report)
Inuit and Englishman: The Nunavut Voyages of Martin Frobisher
Sponsored by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, this site explores the voyage of Englishman Martin Frobisher to the New World in his efforts to find the Northwest Passage to Asia. Instead, he found Baffin Bay in the Canadian Northwest and its Inuit natives. The site is rich with both archaeological and historical information gleaned from sites on and near Kodlunarn Island where Frobisher and his men set up camp, and from historical documents held in British museums. Included here are historical and contemporary maps of the area, photographs of the archaeological sites, extracts from the logs of Frobisher and his men, and more. The site's objectivity makes the ironies and injustices that resulted from this encounter of European explorers with native peoples all the more apparent. [D] (From the Scout Report)
This has links to a vast number of resources on Reindeer and Caribou, from basic educational links to photo galleries, managing herds, cultural perspectives, research, and more. The Report and Research Plan of the recent Reindeer/Caribou Systems Workshop (Feb 1999) is found at the “Development of a Research Plan” section on the web site, where it can be downloaded as a PDF file or reviewed on-line.
You are also invited to join the newly established Human-Reindeer/Caribou Systems listserv by going to the “Join the Discussion” section of the home page.
Voyage to the Deep
This is a great site presented by the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies and Sea Grant College Program and WHYY-TV with financial support from the National Science Foundation. It requires the Quick-Time Plug In (free). It represents dives of Alvin, the deep-sea exploring vessel. Covered are:
Douglas Henderson's Earth History Illustrations
This fabulous website by professional illustrator Douglas Henderson provides rich images of past geologic eras. The drawings, following the geologic timeline, are breathtaking, and are accompanied by helpful text. They include animals and plants as well as geologic features.
“The story science has uncovered asks us to imagine distant realms, places and events: ancient forests, seas, landscapes and a parade through time of amazing creatures, all both strange and yet familiar.
Scientific illustration is one means of exploring this past, combining some measure of appreciation for the scientific work and data with the curious foible we have to want to see what we haven't seen.”
The venerable Smithsonian celebrates 150 years of scientific and cultural research in Latin America with this elegant, bilingual multimedia presentation. The exhibit depicts a variety of explorations and the people who made them happen – including an 1838 voyage for mapping and collecting on the South American coastline, the late 19th century digs of archaeologist William Henry Holmes in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest, and botanist Agnes Chase's 1924 travels in Brazil on behalf of the U.S. National Herbarium. In addition to images, maps, and diary excerpts, you'll find biographical essays about the intrepid travelers. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)
I-Crank – Portal page for mechanical engineering
This is a very nicely done portal page and search engine for mechanical engineering on the web. It includes links to reference sources (Reference books, Design codes & specifications, Material data, Machining data, Units conversion, Physical constants), technical knowledge resources (General, Design processes, Materials, Patents, Component technology, Manufacturing process technology, Industry specific), jobs, conferences, professional associations, and more! It also presents one of those very useful special search engines that will limit your search to only portions of the web that specifically address mechanical engineering. However, be sure to “check the specs” as this search engine is NOT very flexible (no Boolean operators allowed, for instance).
Tunneling Under the Hudson River
Though we rarely call our readers' attention to pages sponsored by individuals (rather than institutions), Tunneling Under the Hudson River, by S.D.V. Burr, A.M., originally published by John Wiley and Sons in 1885, is a fascinating historical record of an engineering feat. The illustrated, online book, made available on Terrence M. Kennedy's Consulting Page, provides a first-hand account of the engineering challenges, difficulties, and experience gained from undertaking a tunneling venture of such magnitude in the late 1800s. [KR] (From the Scout Report)
It's worth the trip just for the illustrations!
Smart Road Pavement Research HomePage
Roanoke Times Smart Road Page
Dubbed “the Smart Road” by Virginia's Department of Transportation, this full-scale facility for pavement research and evaluation of high-tech transportation systems uses computers, electronics, and satellites to create a realistic environment for collecting traffic and environmental data under controlled conditions, “and should advance the general understanding of the engineering behavior of pavement systems.” The first of these two sites, from the Virginia Tech Civil Engineering Materials Program, provides information from the researchers who have designed the Smart Road. The page contains a description of the project's current status, an explanation of objectives, construction photos, a detailed description of the instrumentation used, and data. Note, the research plan and testing links are still under construction. The next site, from the Roanoke Times, features a Smart Road Page with good reference information on the project. The site contains FAQs, links, news clips, maps, and more. These sites introduce an interesting project for highway and transportation engineers. [KR] (From the Scout Report)
International Chindogu Society
Derived from the Japanese words dogu (“tool”) and chin (“weird”), the International Chindogu Society celebrates useless but clever inventions, or “weird tools.” An automatic noodle cooler, a cat tongue soother (don't ask, we have no idea!), a portable zebra crossing – they're all here, and then some. There's also a membership application form, because we know you're dying to join the club. Enjoy. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)
This site is a bit heavy on the hype and slow to load, but who can resist a peek at the endless creativity of the human race …
Links for Chemists (frames)
This is an excellent portal page for all things chemistry. The page is well arranged, it provides links to just about every topic or category of information you can imagine, it is incredibly thorough. Wow!
This site by Phil Plait is an absolute gem! Since the majority of Americans (if not the majority of all the world's citizens) get most of their science notions from the entertainment media, which really does not make much of an effort to get its science right – or even plausible – it is always a treat to find a site that sets us all straight – even if most of us “are not listening”. Phil Plait points out specific instances of bad astronomy from the movies, tv, news stories, etc., and sets the record straight. This is fascinating reading, and an excellent teaching tool, besides! (Thanks to Netsurfer Science for pointing me to this site)
Yahoo recently acquired the Broadcast.com webpage, which is a listing of streaming audio/video sites. The “Science and Space” subcategory under the Children's category (aren't adults interested in this stuff, too?) appears to be in its infancy, heavy on “Space” and very light on “Science” other than space, but it is still a neat place to look for multimedia presentations!
Hawaiian Astronomical Society
The Deepsky Atlas, containing monthly sky charts, is “the product of a long term effort to provide a good online atlas of the heavens, combined with photographs of significant objects, and their descriptions.” Included is an alphabetical list of constellations. Each has an object description, the myth associated with it, a map of its location in the sky, and images. Listings of Messier's, Caldwell's, Bennett's, and additional objects, are available. There is also a background of Charles Messier, a link to sunrise and sunset tables for the Hawaiian Islands (see Bishop Museum Sky Maps page), and related links. – dl From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Hubble Reopens Eye on the Universe [.pdf, .tiff]
Hubble Opens its Eye on the Universe and Captures a Cosmic Magnifying Glass [.pdf, .tiff]
The Hubble Telescope has reopened for business following the successful December 1999 servicing mission, and the first images to come back are magnificent. The first of these sites offers images and explanatory text related to the “Eskimo” Nebula, “the glowing remains of a dying, Sun-like star.” The nebula is called the “Eskimo” because, when viewed from a ground-based telescope, it resembles a face surrounded by a fur parka. This parka is actually “a disk of material embellished with a ring of comet-shaped objects, with their tails streaming away from the central, dying star.” Users can read about the nebula and view some beautiful images at the above URL. The second significant new view from the Hubble is of a huge cluster of galaxies called Abell 2218. This cluster is so massive that it actually deflects light passing through it, magnifying and distorting images from distant objects. Thus, “the cluster's magnifying powers provides a powerful ‘zoom lens’ for viewing distant galaxies that could not normally be observed with the largest telescopes.” Text and photos in several formats can be accessed from the introductory page. [MD] (From the Scout Report)
Russian Space Agency
History of the Russian space program, current projects, international cooperation, photo and video archives, and more! Some parts of the site are in Russian only, but most are also in English.
OK, ok, math was my weakest subject. I don't understand what a Steiner Surface is, exactly, but I know a good webpage when I see it … at least, I think I do.
“Let p0, p1, p2, p3 be quadratic polynomials in two variables u, v. This means they're of the form pi(u,v)=Au2+Buv+Cv2+Du+Ev+F for constant coefficients A, B, C, D, E, F. If you plot the parametric graph (x,y,z)=(p1/p0 , p2/p0 , p3/p0) for some range of input values u, v, the image should be a two-dimensional surface in (x,y,z)-space. It's called a Steiner surface patch, but what does it look like? This web site lists all the different geometric types of Steiner surfaces. Usually, graphing polynomial quotients only gives a patch – a part of the whole surface. The mathematical setting for describing the entire surface is projective geometry.”
This one has descriptions, discussion, and graphics of Roman surface, cross-cap, real projective plane, Whitney's Umbrella, Plücker's Conoid, Boy Surface.
The Titanic: What Can Numbers Tell Us About Her Fatal Voyage?
“One of today's hottest topics is the discussion of ‘The Titanic’ – the movie – and its stars. But what do you know about the REAL Titanic? its passengers? its crew? This webquest will help you … to explore these topics and look at them from a mathematical perspective. In the process, you will find not only interesting facts and dramatic stories, but also numerous statistics related to the event. The statistics tell stories of their own. It will be your job to discover some of these stories and share your results.“
Billing itself “the net's most comprehensive source of information about the Internet,” this site from computer scientist Bill Stewart offers an excellent overview of the Internet and its six main technologies. The site is divided into seven sections, covering the Internet, E-Mail, the World Wide Web, Usenet Newsgroups, Internet Relay Chat, Multi-User Dimensions, and Mailing Lists. “Each section describes how the technology was invented, how it works, advanced usage, help resources, and other useful and entertaining information.” In addition, each section also features links to authoritative and useful related sites. This clear and concise guide offers a balance of basic and advanced information that will appeal to both new and experienced users alike. [MD] (From the Scout Report)
Native American Basketry
Examples of Nipmuc splint, coil, and pine needle basketry are on this site, which details the work of the Native Americans of the eastern woodlands of the United States. Includes illustrations, instructions, history, and basket designs. From NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art. – msc (From Librarians Index to the Internet)
One only wishes the illustrations were in color, and were larger. They are accompanied by helpful text and instructions, however, as well as by links to other basketry sites.
Encyclopedia of Law and Economics
Publishers: Edward Elgar and the University of Ghent
General Editors: Boudewijn Bouckaert (Univ. Ghent), Gerrit De Geest (Univ. Ghent and Univ. Utrecht)
The Encyclopedia of Law & Economics attempts to provide a survey of the whole law & economics literature, with a total number of pages of approximately 3,000.
Each subject or geographical entry contains two elements: a review of the literature, written by an authority in the field, followed a quasi complete searchable bibliography (not just a selection).
Virtual Library on the Information City
This Website, based at New York University's Taub Urban Research Center, is part of a project dedicated to expanding “the body of knowledge on information technology and urban development.” The site currently offers over 100 annotated links to sites organized under the headings Architecture and Urban Design, Economic Development, Geography of Communications, History, Modeling and Simulation, Politics and Government, Telecommunications, and the Information Society. The site offers simple and advanced search mechanisms, a listing of newly added sites, and an opportunity to suggest sites to the academic team responsible for the project. A current research section also features an as-yet modest collection of working papers in .pdf format on related topics. The Virtual Library is supported by funding from the National Science Foundation. [DC] (From the Scout Report)
Tracking Major Economic Indicators on the World Wide Web
This site from the Methodist College, Fayetteville, NC has a brief definition of each of the types of economic indicators and then provides links to news and data sites on the web. Indicators covered include:
Evolution of Alphabets
“This eloquent and informative exploration of early alphabets uses animation to demonstrate the transformation of written characters over time. We watched ancient Sumerian pictograms morph into cuneiform characters that resemble bird tracks on a beach – and Phoenician characters emerge as a shorthand from the ancient representational writing of the Sinai desert. We watched these Phoenician characters rotate and flip as the Greek alphabet reversed direction from left to right, and morph before our eyes into familiar ABCs. Cool stuff.” (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)
Note that the animations are complete and ready for viewing, but the text is still under construction, so it is not obvious what you are seeing. Still worth a look, even at these early stages!
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SUPERCOMPUTER IS NEW KID ON WEATHER BLOCK
The new IBM SP computer at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction in Bowie, Md., is helping scientists better predict snow storms like the one that descended on the East Coast Thursday morning. “It has put us closer to our goal of being America's no-surprise weather service,” says John Kelly Jr., director of the U.S. Weather service. The computer, one of the world's two fastest, is currently capable of performing 690 billion calculations per second. Once it has been adjusted to its full potential in September, it will be 28 times faster, capable of 2.5 trillion calculations per second. The IBM SP replaces an older Cray C-90 and is on lease until 2002 for $35 million.
(Washington Times, 20 Jan 2000 via Edupage)
WEB CHANGES DIRECTION TO PEOPLE SKILLS
Computer-automated indexes that once ruled Web search engines are now more often listings that depend on human minds to classify the information on the Net. Yahoo! editor in chief Srinija Srinivasan spends her days figuring out the difference between what matters to people and what does not and how to form directories. The top five search sites are based chiefly on human-generated directories as of December. In the past, search engines dispatched software “spiders” to collect and index reports. However, sites gathered by hand have proven to be more popular and relevant for the user. NewHoo, the first man-powered search, was bought by Netscape and thus AOL, and was renamed the Open Directory Project. It has cataloged 84,000 sites, done mostly by volunteers. Most Web users are not aware of the shift to using human directories, and today most sites use both methods to search, combining them to form a hybrid search.
(USA Today, 24 Jan 2000 via Edupage)
START-UP PLANS EDUCATION MARKETPLACE
EduPoint.com is trying to aggregate most of the educational courses offered by North American institutions, both public and private. The start-up intends to create an Internet marketplace for education, and EduPoint.com already claims over 1.5 million courses available at roughly 3,000 institutions. The company is offering free access to corporations for their employees. EduPoint President Jeff Creighton says educational providers are happy to pay the commission of 6 percent to 12 percent of the course fee because they get access to thousands of potential students, without spending more on marketing. EduPoint.com is also offering course providers tools that will permit them to upload their course catalogs to EduPoint.com's database more easily. The company is also offering course providers and companies data capabilities so companies can discover what courses their workers are taking and how they are doing.
(Interactive Week, 24 Jan 2000 via Edupage)
INTERNET RAISES STICKY QUESTIONS ABOUT OWNERSHIP OF IP IN ACADEMIA
Debates over the ownership of intellectual property are mounting as the Internet creates opportunities to capitalize on writings, lecture notes, and inventions developed by university faculty members. One especially controversial issue relating to intellectual property is the online sale of professors' class notes. Professors can obtain copyright protection by scripting their lectures, and students can take notes without violating the copyright because of fair use laws, says Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, DePaul University College of Law professor of intellectual property. However, copyright issues arise if the notes are sold, Kwall says. The sale of class notes is part of the larger issue of whether professors or universities own the materials created by professors. Universities have traditionally given faculty members the intellectual property rights to their own work, but with the possibility of profiting from creations such as computer inventions, schools are now more likely to claim property rights, says New York University law professor Rochelle Dreyfuss. Federal copyright law says academic institutions own the copyrights on their professors' lectures, but the ownership of articles and books is more complicated, says Lewis and Clark College of Law professor Lydia Loren. Copyright law is rooted in the idea that employers have the right to control an employee's work – a notion that is contrary to the concept of academic freedom, Loren says. The American Association of University Professors has formed a special group to review intellectual property issues such as the sale of class notes and create policy proposals.
(IP Law Weekly Online, 28 Jan 2000 via Edupage)
CLINTON UNVEILS $2 BILLION PROPOSAL FOR ONLINE ACCESS
President Clinton yesterday revealed the details of his multibillion-dollar proposal to ensure that all Americans have equal access to the Internet. Clinton's plan to bridge the digital divide offers $2 billion in tax breaks to tech companies in exchange for their participation in the effort, $150 million in technology-training funding for teachers, $100 million for the creation of 1,000 tech centers in low-income areas, $50 million to help low-income families purchase computers, and $45 million to fund the creation of tech projects in low-income areas. In addition, Clinton's plan asks for $25 million to help the industry provide broadband service to rural and other areas, and $10 million to help train Native Americans for careers in technology. Clinton says he hopes the plan will make Internet access as common as telephone access in America.
(Investor's Business Daily, 3 Feb 2000 via Edupage)
COLLEGES GET NEW TOOL TO TRAIN TOMORROW'S TEACHERS IN TECHNOLOGY
School administrators' new challenge is finding teachers who know how to use new computer equipment in the classroom. The CEO Forum on Education and Technology last month announced a new component of its plan to address this problem. The latest version of the School Technology and Readiness (STaR) Chart, called “Teacher Preparation,” aims to provide teacher colleges and universities with a self-rating tool to help programs produce technology-skilled teachers. The forum has challenged teacher colleges to make the data that they gather public within six months. U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley, who helped announce the StaR Chart, cited a recent study indicating that only about 20 percent of new teachers feel very well prepared to integrate education technology into classroom instruction. The study also found that fewer than half of U.S. teacher-preparation programs require their students to take classes on technology-based instruction, and only Virginia, Idaho, and North Carolina require teachers to be proficient in technology integration.
(eSchool News, February 2000 via Edupage)
SECURING A MULTICAMPUS NETWORK
George Mason University has succeeded at the difficult task of providing Internet and intranet access to a mostly unsecured multicampus network by making users accountable for their own IP addresses, relying on proven technology, and forming strategic alliances. GMU has over 24,000 students at three separate campuses and remote locations, and the school must provide access to its own intranet and the larger Internet to this distributed population. In order to solve the problem of various LAN technologies, multiple protocols, and a lack of compatibility, GMU embarked on the Infrastructure Project in 1994 to 1995, with the goal of providing uniform access to all campus resources. After seamlessly connecting the campuses, the school addressed the issue of Internet access and eventually joined Net.Work.Virginia, which allowed GMU to buy as much bandwidth as necessary at a monthly rate. Later the school deployed its own DS3 lines to each campus. To secure the network, firewalls are used to protect sensitive networks and systems, although the school could not configure a firewall to protect the campus network as a whole. The school wanted to keep users accountable for their network use and decided to assign each student a permanent address for which they are responsible, rather than using DHCP to share IP addresses.
(Network Magazine Online, Feb 2000 via Edupage)
“Some say that Y2K simply came and went. Others say that it was a hoax. We just find it funny that, even after months of preparation by the entire world, some sites have had date and year-related follies. We're chock full of screenshots of other sites that have had Y2K problems (and some parodies, too!)”
How to Say No in 400 Languages
“What can I say? I have a two year old son. A highly skilled, ruthlessly *professional* two year old son. The word ‘no’ slips out of his mouth faster than jello slips out of his hands onto the floor. So I don't get mad, I get even: Whenever he says ‘No!’ I respond in kind, but in a language he's never heard before.” (From Web Search News)
The site also has some annotations, but I would welcome more of them. Pronunciation hints would also be helpful. But, frankly, it is linguistically fascinating and I wish I had had this resource when my kids were two … The site also has guides to a few other simple and useful words and phrases.
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Finger Searcher Science Seeker. The weekly newsletter of science and science education resources on the internet direct from Canada. “ © Martin H. Badke 2000 unless otherwise noted. Reproduction in whole or in part is to be done only with written permission.”