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Science and Technology Library Newsletter: January 8, 2002 Edition.
Newsletter Archive > 2002 January 8 Issue

Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


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This newsletter is available to the public at the following locations:

  1. SCIENCE'S TOP TEN: AAAS announces the most important advances in 2001.
  2. NAS CONFERENCES & LECTURES: Free to the public and available on the Internet.
  3. THE SCIENCE & CULTURE QUIZ: Help the EC gather statistics about the state of education . . . and have some fun while you are at it.
  6. INTERESTING WEBSITES AND OTHER NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: Sciart, R&D 2001 Awards, UCTV: University of California Television, Archaeological Research Links; Biological Sciences: Chromosome 20 Sequenced, Science of Aging Knowledge Environment, Big Picture Book of Viruses, Ravens; Computer and Information Science: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs; Geosciences:, Climate Indices for the Economy, Climate of 2001 - Annual Review - Significant US and Global Events, Geology by Lightplane; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Enrico Fermi: Commemorating the Centennial of His Birth, Project Starshine, New Largest Prime Number; Polar Programs: Antarctica: Scientific Journeys from McMurdo to the Pole, Antarctica: Terra Incognita; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: Two on the Euro, who stole the tee pee? [Flash 4], Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative . . . and more . . . plus news items from Edupage


    As reported in Science Daily

    1. Nanoscale Computing Circuits
    2. RNA Revolution
    3. Solar Mystery Solved
    4. Genomes Galore
    5. Sizzling Superconductors
    6. Neuron Traffic Signals
    7. Cancer In The Crosshairs
    8. Cold Atoms Still Hot
    9. Climate Consensus
    10. Missing Sink Found

    Computers & Technology

    Education Secretary Rod Paige, members of Congress and industry leaders will all be part of a national symposium on technological literacy on Jan. 17, 2002. Though the symposium is open to the public and free of charge, registration is required. In addition, a link to the live Webcast will be available.

    Cholera and the World Water Supply

    National Science Foundation Director Rita Colwell will discuss how cholera is affecting the world’s water supply in the 2002 Abel Wolman Lecture. The event will be held on Jan. 25 at 11 a.m. EST at the National Academies building. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. There will be a live audio Webcast for those who are unable to attend.


    Survey - Science and Culture: test your level!

    “A lot is being written at present on the subject of ‘scientific culture’. Results published over recent years indicate that it is at a pretty low level. According to some estimates just 10% of the population can be considered to be scientifically educated. The picture becomes even blacker when you listen to the views of authors such as Lewis Wolpert who argue that little or nothing can be done about it, as contemporary scientific concepts have become so complex that they will remain an unfathomable mystery to the general public.

    Of course, a certain caution is called for here. It is known that the methods used to determine scientific culture among the general public -- essentially surveys during which the person interviewed answers multiple-choice questions -- reveal only certain aspects of it. And, besides, what is culture? What do we know about the average level of culture among the general public (including scientists) in other fields? Is it significantly higher than for science?

    RTD info wanted to make a (small) contribution to this debate. We have therefore compiled a brief questionnaire come quiz concerning factual knowledge in several fields, while differentiating, among the respondents, between those who are deemed to be scientifically educated and the rest. We deliberately limited ourselves to this kind of indicator, which is of course no more than a very simplified approach to culture.

    A pilot test on about 40 respondents indicates that the results could refute certain commonly held ideas -- in particular the notion that ‘scientific culture’ is in some way the poor relation of ‘general’ culture. But such a limited sample is an insufficient basis for reaching any conclusions. That is why we invite RTD info readers to participate in this little survey.

    To enter into the spirit of the game, you should answer the quiz questions quickly and without consulting any references.”

    The quiz has three parts: science, arts, history & current events. Unfortunately, it does not give you your individual test results, but it is fun to take the test in any case. Enjoy!


    ScienceWeek Free to Students

    ScienceWeek is now free to students worldwide (graduate students and undergraduate students) on a continuing basis, provided the student has a university Email address to which SW can be delivered. The Editors SCIENCE-WEEK,,


    GEBCO Names of Undersea Features. UNESCO and the IHO, 2001.

    Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises. NAP, 2001.

    Science and society in Europe - How to bridge the gaps? EC, 2001.

    Review of EarthScope Integrated Science. NAP, 2001.

    Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium: Panel Reports. NAP, 2001.

    Studies of Welfare Populations: Data Collection and Research Issues. NAP, 2001.

    Investigating the Influence of Standards: A Framework for Research in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education. NAP, 2001.

    Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station. NAP, 2001.

    The Role of Environmental NGOs: Russian Challenges, American Lessons: Proceedings of a Workshop. NAP, 2001.

    Thermionics Quo Vadis? An Assessment of the DTRA's Advanced Thermionics Research and Development Program. NAP, 2001.

    Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Disposal of Liquid Wastes from the Explosive Destruction System. NAP, 2001.

    Transforming Remote Sensing Data into Information and Applications. NAP, 2001.

    Achieving High Educational Standards for All: Conference Summary. NAP, 2001.

    Opportunities to Improve the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment Program. NAP, 2001.

    Signs of Life: A Report Based on the April 2000 Workshop on Life Detection Techniques. NAP, 2001.

    Report of the Committee on Ballistic Acoustics. NAP, 2001.

    Academic Research and Development Expenditures: [Early Release Tables] Fiscal Year 2000. NSF, 2001.

    The Mathematical Education of Teachers. Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, 2001.


    R&D 2001 Awards

    “For 39 years, the R&D 100 Awards program has recognized the developers of the top 100 technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year. This year's selection finds industrial, academic, and government researchers from around the world who have moved the bar another notch higher in their continuing efforts to develop technology-based products that work to improve the human experience.”

    Archaeological Research Links

    A directory of archaeological Web sites, with links to organizations, societies, journals, books, Global Positioning System (GPS) resources, Geographic Information System (GIS) and digital mapping, Cultural Resource Management (CRM), and other online references. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)


    “The marriage of science and art is still in its newlywed stage, and holds great promise. Instead of traditional art media, these new works use the stuff of technology - MRI images and artificial intelligence among them - to make their statements. Glimpses are provided, but there are navigation problems and dead links. Visitors can only hope that more is coming. The interface is minimalist and well done. Under the ‘projects’ heading, there are tantalizing bits and images, but one keeps wishing for more (perhaps that is the intent). There is another ‘projects’ in the links section, and it is here that one is rewarded with some fine examples of the genre, including Pharmacopoeia, which seeks to make the viewer aware of the quantity of drugs out there. The doctor/artist team exhibits ball gowns decorated with birth control pills in place of sequins, tied at the waistline with intrauterine devices.” (From New Scientist Weblinks)

    UCTV: University of California Television

    “UCTV was created ‘to provide the public with informational, educational, and enrichment programming that draws upon the intellectual, scientific, and creative talents of the University of California. It delivers documentaries, faculty lectures, research symposiums, and artistic performances from each of the ten UC campuses.’ Includes a programming schedule and an archive of past shows. Can be viewed via satellite, cable television, and on the Internet.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet) There are some fascinating science programs available on this site -- everthing from sharks to nanotechnology.

    Biological Sciences

    Science of Aging Knowledge Environment

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Science magazine are pleased to announce the launch of SAGE KE, the new Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. Free with registration through September 2002, SAGE KE brings together the best of the myriad scientific disciplines dealing with aging. Registration gives researchers powerful customization features, such as alerts and folders. Anyone involved in the science of aging or related fields will find this resource invaluable. Features include:

    • GENES/INTERVENTIONS DATABASE: A searchable compendium of genes and interventions related to aging. It includes references, functional information, homologs, links to sequence databases, and much more.
    • KNOWLEDGE MAP: A unique search/browse tool exclusive to SAGE KE. It is a taxonomy that organizes aging research by model organisms, experimental approaches, levels of analysis, biological processes, and diseases.
    • SEARCH OPTIONS: The full text is searchable by keyword, and the cited references include hyperlinks to MEDLINE and to the online full text of many other frequently-cited journals.

    SAGE KE was funded by a generous grant from the Ellison Medical Foundation. After the free trial period, SAGE KE will be available by institutional license or by individual subscription.


    Site contains both scientific information and folklore on the raven and related birds in the crow family. Extensive section on the intelligence of this group of birds, plus links to other Web sites with information on ravens, a list of suggested books, lesson plans for teachers, a video clip, and a screensaver. Companion site to an episode of the PBS television program Nature. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Big Picture Book of Viruses

    “The Big Picture Book of Viruses is intended to serve as both a catalog of virus pictures on the Internet and as an educational resource to those users seeking more information about viruses,” claims the site's founder, Dr. Robert F. Garry of Tulane University School of Medicine. From the left-hand column of Big Picture Book's homepage, you can access color images of viruses by name, structure/genome, host, or associated disease (the images are held on external Websites from a variety of research institutions). Many of the images are from electron microscopes or x-ray diffractors, and others are computer-generated simulations or prepared specimen slides. Along with mug shots of Nucleopolyhedrovirus, Lipothrixvirus and Chlamydiamicrovirus, to name just a few, comes a wealth of text and links. Links take users to sites on virus structure, viral taxonomy, Web courses, tutorials, and much more. Besides The Big Picture Book of Viruses, Dr. Garry maintains a Website entitled All the Virology on the Web, that Scout Project editors discovered and reviewed in its infancy in the November 17, 1995 Scout Report. [HCS] (From the Scout Report)

    Chromosome 20 Sequenced

    Scientists Sequence Largest Human Chromosome -- Reuters

    British Scientists Map Chromosome 20 -- AP (via Yahoo!NEWS)

    Third genetic ‘chapter’ published -- BBC

    The DNA sequence and comparative analysis of human chromosome 20

    The human genome: Part three in the book of genes [.pdf]

    Nature's Genome Gateway


    Human Genome Project

    “Scientists announced Wednesday that they had deciphered chromosome 20, the largest of the three chromosomes to be sequenced thus far. Researchers hope that this latest advance by the Human Genome Project will help explain why some people are more susceptible to diseases such as diabetes or obesity. Also the gene that seems to make some a higher risk for Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease, the human version of Mad Cow Disease, is found on chromosome 20. The Human Genome Project is an international research effort to map and sequence the human genome. Scientists at The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, England completed the sequencing, and their work is published in Nature magazine. Users can read about the discovery in lay-person's language at Reuters, AP, or the BBC. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's publication of their findings is available in the most recent issue of Nature magazine, as is a shorter piece on the breakthrough. Nature's Genome Gateway bills itself as a free ‘comprehensive web resource devoted to genomics,’ and users looking for more information on genes should look here or at GenomeWeb. The Human Genome Project Website explains the project as a whole in greater depth and contains links to a span of genome-related Web resources. [TK]” (From the Scout Report)

    Computer and Information Science

    Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

    This site is a companion to the influential computer-science text Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, by Abelson, Sussman, and Sussman. Its purpose is to demonstrate the Web's potential to be a channel for innovative support for textbook users. The material on this site is aimed at instructors using SICP as a course text, and at people using the book for self-study.

    Currently at this site you will find:

    • Full text! - The complete text in HTML.
    • Sample programming assignmentsn - This is a collection of assignments, developed for the course at MIT, which instructors can download and modify. Each assignment contains an extensive write-up and all necessary source code.
    • Code from the book - These files contain all source code from the book, in a form suitable for loading and running.
    • Instructor's Manual - Contains discussions of exercises and other material in the text as well as supplementary material, additional examples and exercises, and teaching suggestions. An appendix summarizes the Scheme programming language as used in the text, showing at what point in the text each element of Scheme is introduced.
    • Errata last posted 08/09/99
    • How to get Scheme - SICP uses the Scheme dialect of Lisp. Scheme implementations are available for most common platforms. From MIT, we supply free implementations of the MIT Scheme programming environment. This page provides information on how to obtain copies of MIT Scheme as well as other implementations.
    • A note on our course at MIT - This note describes the organization of our course as MIT, as well as an overview of the educational approach underlying the course and SICP. There is also a sample syllabus for the course.
    • Schools using SICP - A partial and growing list of universities and colleges that are using SICP for either an introductory or an advanced course.


    Climate Indices for the Economy

    In a fascinating use of meteorological science to enhance economic prediction and measurement, the Climate National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) established the Indices for the Economy program. For example, the temperature, rainfall, snowfall, and sunshine greatly affect American agriculture and energy industries (both supply and demand), and also impact on human health and quality of life. These Climate Indices seek to develop objective tools that use weather observations to explain seasonal and year- to-year changes in economic performance. Index development is ongoing, but two indices currently provide information related to crop yield and energy usage. The crop Moisture Stress Index reflects the influence of severe drought and catastrophic wetness on annual crop yield for corn and soybean crops, and the Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index provides quantitative information on the impact of seasonal temperatures on residential energy demand. [DJS] (From the Scout Report)

    “ is an index of information related to cretaceous fossils (hereafter referred to as ‘fossils.’) The site is a mix of links and information. For example, there's an invertebrate subsection that provides information on corals, jellyfish, belemnites, etc. Information includes taxonomy index, picture gallery, and bibliographic references. They have a similar section for vertebrates that seems more extensive (at least the dinosaur section is.) There are additional sections for plants, minerals, pearls, and amber (those last two are small sections.) I could be here all day describing the entire site, but let me also mention the section devoted to the cretaceous geology of six different states and the introduction to paleontology. I also can't write-up this site without a mention of the reference library at The library is set up by author, with about 4,500 citations. Click on an section of the alphabet and you'll get a page of citations. Citations which are not in English have translations. Very extensive -- you can tell someone loves their fossils! The whole site is worth a look.” (From Research Buzz)

    Climate of 2001 - Annual Review - Significant US and Global Events

    Fires, droughts, floods and more. Map and summaries of the significant events are offered by NOAA.

    Geology by Lightplane

    Louis J. Maher, Jr. took these pictures from a small plane and has used them as illustrations for his geology classes. They contain stills of various geographic features, principally from U.S. locations. He makes them available free for educational use. Besides that, they are just plain fun to look at!

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    New Largest Prime Number

    GIMPS Website

    The largest prime number yet to be documented has been discovered by Michael Cameron, a participant in the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS). The project, founded in 1996 by George Woltman, aims to uncover new Mersenne primes through distributed computing. With the help of Entropia's PrimeNet system, participants such as Cameron can employ their computers to search for the numbers. Cameron's number was found by an 800 MHz AMD T-Bird PC, running part time for 45 days. There are 4,053,946 digits in the number, which is expressed as 2(13,466,917)-1. Some 130,000 volunteer home users, students, schools, businesses, and institutions of higher learning currently participate in Gimps, according to Woltman. Invulnerable codes and message encryptions could be developed thanks to research into Mersenne primes.

    Enrico Fermi: Commemorating the Centennial of His Birth

    “Fermi was a physicist's physicist whose legacy was one of style as well of substance -- a style so attractive and so productive for science that it became substantive in itself.” This webpage from DOE is loaded with information, including audio and video clips and full text documents.

    Project Starshine

    “NASA Mission Specialist Dan Tani successfully deployed Starshine 2 from the Space Shuttle Endeavor into its own orbit. What exactly is Project Starshine? Its name stands for Student Tracked Atmospheric Research Satellite, a cooperative project producing an 85 pound sphere-shaped satellite with a surface covered by 845 aluminum mirrors. The mirrors were polished by 30,000 students in 660 schools in 26 countries. A nitrogen gas system will spin Starshine 2 so that, students hope, it will cast solar reflections onto Earth at certain times. At this Website you can read about Starshine 1 and 2, learn how the middle school students polished and assembled the mirrors, and download forms for teachers who want their classes to participate in Starshine 3/4, the next cooperative satellite launch. Visitors to the Starshine site can also link to pages giving information on how to catch a glimpse of the gleaming, space disco ball from their backyards. [HCS]” (From the Scout Report)

    Polar Programs

    Antarctica: Terra Incognita

    “At once handsomely designed and filled with lively, thoughtful writing, this treatment of Antarctica features stark photographs of a most forbidding environment, which happens to hold 70% of the earth's freshwater. The courage of its first explorers is documented, along with attempts to keep the continent from exploitation through treaties, such as the Madrid Protocol. Despite the harshness of its climate, Antarctica still attracts those who would plunder its resources, harvesting the animals who make their homes here. This site serves to heighten awareness of the fragility of the region, which impacts the world's climate. Well-prepared adventurers also find it inviting, and an account of a kayaking trip in waters below 0 degrees C. is suitably chilling. AD” (From New Scientist Weblinks)

    Antarctica: Scientific Journeys from McMurdo to the Pole

    “As a “continent devoted to science,’ Antarctica offers countless opportunities for researchers from around the world to learn about the history and mechanics of the earth. Exploratorium's latest offering highlights the ice-covered continent and the scientists who have and are studying it. The site includes simple descriptions, exceptional photographs, maps, and learning tools. One unique highlight is an interactive animation of continental drift and breakup of the once super-continent Pangaea, which led to the formation of Antarctica. Other features include a field notes section and schedule of live online Webcasts with scientists straight from the South Pole. Everyone from students to professionals will find something on this site worth discovering. [JAB]” (From the Scout Report)

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

    The Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) is an international group of Assyriologists, museum curators and historians making available cuneiform tablets dating from the beginning of writing, ca. 3200 B.C., until the end of the third millennium. Led by a team at the University of California at Los Angeles, with initial National Science Foundation funding, this ambitious project seeks expose the collections within the US, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, to a broad audience of specialists, scholars and advanced students. The presently limited (but growing) data set consists of text and image (current library entries offer high quality images), combining document transliterations, text glossaries and digitized originals and photo archives of early cuneiform. To promote discussion and scholarship, CDLI established two, English language, electronic journals which are currently accepting submissions, Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin (for the rapid distribution of short notes) and the Cuneiform Digital Library Journal (more substantive scholarly contributions). The initial contributions will be made available in March 2002. This collection can be somewhat difficult to navigate, but offers a great opportunity to interested scholars and students. [DJS] (From the Scout Report)

    Two on the Euro

    Everything you want to know about the new Euro!

    Countdown to E-Day -- Financial Times

    The Financial Times presents a FAQ, notes and coins, history, glossary, chronology and more!

    The Euro Homepage

    The Euro Homepage is a “Vast, frequently-updated site that ‘provides links to news, analysis and opinions regarding the European Monetary Union from many available sources on the Internet.’ Somewhat scholarly focus, but good pickings for students and anyone else seeking information about the Euro.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    who stole the tee pee? [Flash 4]

    who stole the tee pee? is a phrase coined by artist George Littlechild, as a way of asking how contact and coexistence with White culture during the last 300 years has altered Native American traditions and beliefs. Organized by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and Atlatl, an organization that promotes the work of contemporary Native American Artists, this exhibition combines historical artifacts from NMAI's collection and works by living Native American artists to seek answers to this question. The show has four main galleries: changing reservation realities, school bells and haircuts, tolerating tourists, and beyond smoke and mirrors. Each of the galleries includes an introduction explaining its focus (e.g., tolerating tourists talks about the commodification of Indian culture) and “gallery space,” a view that presents historical artifacts surrounded by related modern works. The exhibition makes heavy use of mouse- overs and animation to present information, but plainer alternatives are offered: from the index, users can select contemporary artists' names to see their works (albeit by mouse-over), view historical objects selected from a list, and read plain ASCII text versions of all the exhibition label copy. There are also convenient back to main menu links throughout the exhibition to aid the lost. [DS] (From the Scout Report)


    The following items are from Edupage. To subscribe to Edupage: send mail to: with the message: subscribe edupage Anonymous (if your name is Anonymous; otherwise, substitute your own name). To unsubscribe send a message to: with the message: unsubscribe edupage. (If you have subscription problems, send mail to:

    Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, will conduct a public test of sophisticated, Internet-streamed, remote-control technology. The aim is to develop software that will let thousands of users control exclusive scientific equipment, in this case a human lab technician in Berkeley's Microlab Clean Room, simultaneously. Each participant votes according to a list of options, with users able to change their votes as they are being cast. Eventually, the democratic Tele-Actor system is supposed to let everyone get something of what they want out of the experiment. People wanting to be involved log in at a Berkeley Web site and then sign in on the specified day to observe and control the lab technician, who will be equipped with a head-mounted video camera. Project director Ken Goldberg said the technology is significant in light of the Sept. 11 attacks because it can be used for security and safety purposes, and avoid long-distance travel. (Los Angeles Times, 13 December 2001 via Edupage)

    Bush cybersecurity advisor Richard Clarke said the government will create a map of the Internet to better understand how critical IT infrastructures in power grids, transportation, and telecommunications affect each other, and how to respond to cyberattacks more efficiently. The initiative calls for increased cooperation between the public and private sectors and is one of many steps the government has taken to secure IT in light of the Sept. 11 events. Congress is currently debating a bill that would provide nearly $1 billion to be used for researching Internet security, and another bill would give six federal agencies an increase of $7 billion over the next five years to be used on IT security. Congress is also considering legislation that exempts companies from the Freedom of Information Act when sharing information about computer breaches with the government in hopes of prompting more openness between government and industry. (NewsFactor Network, 7 December 2001 via Edupage)

    IBM will build the world's fastest supercomputer for weather prediction. The European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) will be able to make four-day weather forecasts as accurate as three-day forecasts, according to European experts. IBM said the computer, dubbed Blue Storm, will be 1,700 times as fast as Deep Blue and will be capable of processing 7 trillion calculations per second when it debuts next year. By 2004, that peak rate will have surged to 20 million. ECMWF needs such formidable computing power in order to handle data gathered from 21 million grid points, as well as satellite imagery with higher resolution. ECMWF director David Burridge expects forecasting improvements to be gradual; the aim is to lengthen the forecast period by one day every decade. University of Oklahoma's Kelvin Droegemeier said efforts to use computers to predict the weather have been ongoing since the dawn of the Manhattan Project during the 1940s. (USA Today, 21 December 2001 via Edupage)

    Washington, D.C., could make better use of the Web, concludes a survey of five cities and their use of the Internet to improve businesses and local lives, conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The cities studied included Austin, Cleveland, Nashville, and Portland, which were chosen because of their various demographics. The study found that the amount of education a population has and the presence of high-tech businesses in a city are the largest influences on Internet use, followed by population growth, income, and age. Although Washington, D.C. has the second-highest Internet access rate in the country, its government has not sufficiently backed local programs that teach Internet skills to low-income constituents. On the positive side, it has initiated several programs designed to increase high-tech business development in poorer neighborhoods. (Washington Post, 21 November 2001 via Edupage)

    Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center researchers have started to collect data for a project to provide fast, affordable Internet connections for distance education using small-dish satellite technology. The project is part of a larger effort from the American Distance Education Consortium to use Internet-satellite technology to extend distance education to poor, rural areas. These connections can only be established through “hybrid networking” that integrates several technologies, according to consortium CEO Jane K. Poley. The National Science Foundation has earmarked $4 million for the consortium's research. The Internet2 Evaluation Center is focusing on problems such as developing reasonably priced satellite dishes and 24-hour Internet satellite service, noted director Pankaj Shah. He also said the center is devising a way to make broadband Internet2 technologies such as multicast videoconferencing function in a medium characterized by signal delays and bandwidth limitations. (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 17 December 2001 via Edupage)

    Media Lab Europe (MLE), the counterpart of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, has set up its own venture capital arm to help distribute the benefits of research evenly between inventors and corporate sponsors. Companies provide the cash for the new Media Lab Ventures group and share in the rewards. But, by providing open access to funds, researchers have more freedom in their projects and do not feel they must shield research that could potentially be the base of their own startup company. As a result, MLE chief executive Rudolf Burger expects more licenses to come from the laboratory and fewer spinoffs that drain talent. MLE was launched in 2000 by Nicholas Negroponte, who also set up the U.S. Media Lab. He set up shop in Dublin, in return for a $32 million grant from the Irish government, which is eager to bolster foreign investment. (Financial Times, 17 December 2001 via Edupage)

    A research team has successfully transmitted the first high-definition television signal at 1.5 Gbps, which represents an important step toward the creation of ultra-high bandwidth IP-based optical networks that can send voice, data, and video traffic. The signal was sent from the University of Washington in Seattle to the SuperComputing 2001 conference in Denver. The University of Washington developed the transmission technology, along with the USC's Information Sciences Institute and Tektronix. Amy Philipson of the University of Washington said the technique could be used to transmit numerous bandwidth-heavy applications, including sophisticated medical, scientific, and defense-related images. The new method allows the HDTV transmission to be sent over an IP network all at once, without being fragmented. (InformationWeek, 17 December 2001 via Edupage)

    Speakers at a homeland security meeting held in Washington, D.C., agreed that the United States was ill-prepared for a major cyber-attack sponsored by an enemy state or terrorists. At the forum, the National Security Agency's director of information assurance, Michael Jacobs, said the government was not properly organized to identify and recover from a serious Internet-based attack. Panelists discussed how the nation's growing reliance on technology means that a targeted network attack could crash telephone systems, cause trains to collide, destroy oil refineries, and wreak havoc with air traffic control. Lack of coordination between various law-enforcement and intelligence agencies is primarily responsible for this glaring weakness in homeland defense, they said. Iraq was mentioned as having been working on cyber-weapons, such as distributed denial of service attacks, since the mid 1990s. (, 19 December 2001 via Edupage)

    Columbia University sociologists are working to create algorithms that could speed peer-to-peer networks by modeling them after complex personal connections. Based on the popular “six degrees of separation” theory developed in the 1960s, Dr. Duncan Watts plans to prove that everyone on the globe is connected by six personal connections at most, via e-mail. Whether or not it is true, Watts said his research will help scientists understand how people form connections based on social links, and hopes that the research will also help computer network developers pioneer new, more efficient file-sharing systems. Cornell University associate professor of computer science Jon Kleinberg said the experiment will help researchers in his field capitalize on the strategies people use to locate others through personal links. (New York Times, 20 December 2001 via Edupage)

    Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have succeeded in building a computer chip that transmits data as light rather than electricity, thus promising much faster data transfer rates. Using a synthetic sapphire base, the researchers can speed data between parts of the chip up to 100 times, and at lower power, than with conventional methods, via microscopic lasers installed on the chip. Optical receiver circuits change incoming electric signals into light and back. John Hopkins doctoral student Alyssa Apsel predicted commercial applications for the technology in a few years in the optical processing and local-area networking sectors. (IDG News Service, 2 January 2002 via Edupage)


    Fred Stoss created this delightful list!

    Holiday season and time for gift giving is fast approaching. Here are some ideas to answer the questions, “What will I get?” and “What can I give?”

    Sid Bell Originals ( is a company started in 1965 by geologist turned artisan Sid Bell (aka The Alaskan Silversmith). Click the catalog links for an assortment of tie-tacks, belt buckles, lapel pins, etc. of wildlife (wolves, bear, deer, upland game birds, waterfowl, sportfish) and other designs (pets, Native American symbols, hiking, and geology tools).

    Scientists and engineers are known to wear clothes expressing their disciplinary leanings. One of the more popular ways to do this is by wearing T-shirts and neckties. Here are a few places to find science-theme items:

    Whatdidyoubringme? ( gives you T-shirt designs for mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles (herps), fish, invertebrates, and plants. If looking for neckties, you will find designs for the chemist, molecular biologist, physicist, science historian, and book lover.

    USABEST ( provides the treasure chest of science-oriented T-shirts with categories for geology, dinosaurs, chemistry, biology, computer-geekology, other ..ologies (anthrop...paleont...etc.), and miscellaneous science.

    Jim Morris ( designs some of the worlds most recognized nature and environmental T-shirts.

    AbsurdiTees ( has paleo-geology T-shirts among some other interesting designs.

    MathImage ( T-shirts with artistic math graphs and equations.

    THE SCIENCE TeeCHER ( collection of math neckties and scarves.

    ComputerGear ( IT--Nuff said!

    Happy Holidays to you all!

    Fred Stoss
    Science and Engineering Library
    Arts and Sciences Libraries
    University at Buffalo--SUNY

    InnoCentive Scientific Challenges

    This is a rather unique idea.

    “The impetus for InnoCentive was to create a new paradigm for scientific research and collaboration. By breaking down the traditional laboratory doors, we're opening up an exciting new world of scientific collaboration. A dynamic open-source approach where solution Seekers -- well respected global corporations -- can reach beyond their traditional R&D facilities and tap into more of the brightest scientific minds in the world. Yes, it's groundbreaking. Sure, it'll cause a stir. And true... scientific R&D as we know it will change. Where did InnoCentive come from? InnoCentive is a new business venture of Eli Lilly and Company, a leading innovation-driven pharmaceutical corporation. Through its e.Lilly division, Eli Lilly and Company is exploring new models of scientific innovation that use the power of the Internet to create and enhance networks. In some important ways, InnoCentive represents a return to the Internet's roots: an open-source approach to scientific collaboration and innovation. How does InnoCentive benefit me? Take a look: For solution Seekers, it enhances current research initiatives and encourages faster, more innovative solutions within established timeframes. For solution Solvers, it provides an esteemed opportunity to solve scientific challenges from leading corporations and receive a financial award for doing so. Okay, what's the catch? There is none. InnoCentive is here to foster a new avenue of R&D that's efficient and thought provoking. Of course, there are rules and regulations that apply. And our FAQs will answer most questions that you might have. So, take advantage of the newest research initiative in the world and discover all the benefits of InnoCentive . . . Minds Over Matter. InnoCentive LLC phone 866.812.7339 fax 617.812.6339”

    Entities (companies, etc.) submit scientific problems, and you are free to send in a solution. If is is accepted, you are awarded a financial prize. There are other conditions as well, including “Upon submitting a Proposal, you hereby grant to InnoCentive a non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, copy, distribute and create derivative works of the Work Product, including the right to assign the foregoing license to Seekers, which license shall survive termination of this Agreement. In this circumstance, you will retain ownership of the Work Product. Upon Acceptance of your Proposal by a Seeker and payment of a Award to you, you hereby assign and convey to InnoCentive all right, title, and interest in and to any Work Product and you retain no rights to the Work Product. Furthermore, you agree that you will, during the term of this Agreement and thereafter, execute all papers and do all things deemed necessary by InnoCentive to ensure that InnoCentive acquires full title to the Work Product, including the rights to all Intellectual Property embodied therein. Such cooperation and execution shall be performed without additional compensation to you; provided, however, InnoCentive shall reimburse you for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred at the specific request of InnoCentive.”

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