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Science and Technology Library Newsletter: May 22, 2002 Edition.
Newsletter Archive > 2002 May 22 Issue

Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


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

  1. 6TH ANNUAL WEBBY AWARDS - CHOOSE YOUR FAVORITES!: Categories include science and education . . .
  2. SCIENCE HISTORY ON YOUR PC: Download or view streaming from the WWW . . .
  3. COLIN POWELL & BRUCE ALBERTS SPEAK: Science and foreign policy, and the effect of Sept. 11 on science.
  4. GET THEM WHILE THEY ARE HOT!: New NSF documents. Get them on the Web or in print . . .
  5. YOUNG CHEMISTRY WRITERS ALERT!: Enter the ChemWeb contest now . . .
  7. INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: International Union Library Cataloges, Rat Robot; Biological Sciences: Earthpulse, Robber Flies (Asilidae), Genomics and Its Impact on Medicine and Society - a 2001 Primer; Computer and Information Science: Functional Programming in the Real World, Internet Engineering Standards Repository; Education and Human Resources: National Center for Science Education, Teaching Math in America; Engineering: Alternative Fuels Data Center; Geosciences: Feathered Dinosaurs, Discover Our Earth, Geology: Plate Tectonics, The Hydrologic Cycle: Online Meteorology Guide, The Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Virtual Sky, Molecular Universe, Art Restoration: A Chemical Perspective, Fluids, Mars 2001 Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System, The Nobel Prize in Physics: Educational, Levitation, The Integrator, Fear of physics; Polar Programs: Ozone over the Canadian Arctic; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: Aerial Archaeology, Asian Nation: The Landscape of Asian America . . . and more . . . plus news items from Edupage
  8. INTER ALIA: When Worlds Collide


    2002 Nominees

    The list at this website reflects the best 150 Web sites in 30 categories as selected by members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. These nominees exemplify the very best that the Internet has to offer.

    What do you think? Cast your vote for the best in the People's Voice Awards, where you decide the most outstanding site in each category.




    Internet Archive: Movie Archive

    The Internet Archive “contains movies that the Prelinger Archives has digitized (about 956 now online) and donated to the Internet Archive. The films focus mainly on everyday life, culture, industry, and institutions in North America in the 20th century. This is the first time that most of the films have been available to the public. They are ‘open source movies’ -- available for viewing at no cost and with few restrictions. About 956 films are now online.” The movies are a mish-mash of everything, from amateur films, to commercials, to government-produced WWII films, spanning time from the early part of the century up to the 1960s. A fair number of them are on science or engineering topics -- some with an agenda, some purely educational. In any case, these films are a window onto the past. Here are some examples of the classic science offerings available:

    • A is for Atom 1953
      Producer: Sutherland (John) Productions
      Sponsor: General Electric Company
      Animated classic presenting what an atom is, how energy is released from certain kinds of atoms, the peacetime uses of atomic energy and the byproducts of nuclear fission.
    • American Engineer (Parts I - IV) 1956
      Producer: Handy (Jam) Organization
      Sponsor: Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corporation
      Tribute to engineers and their role in improving American life through technology.
    • Arteries of New York City 1941
      Producer: Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
      Sponsor: N/A
      Shows transportation corridors leading into and out of New York City, and efforts at transportation and infrastructure planning.

    Colin Powell

    Bruce Alberts

    Scientific research should continue to play a key role in U.S. foreign policy, said Secretary of State Colin Powell in an address to the 139th annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences. “Science and technology must inform and support our foreign policy making in this challenging world that we live in,” he said. “Whether the mission is supporting the President's campaign against terrorism, implementing arms agreements, creating conditions for sustainable development or stemming the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, the formulation of our foreign policy must proceed from a solid scientific foundation” (audio available, requires free RealPlayer).

    Proposed restrictions on scientific publishing and international research in the wake of Sept. 11 threaten scientific progress in producing a safer, more just world, said National Academy of Sciences President Bruce Alberts in an address to the Academy's 139th annual meeting. “Clearly, the United States would be wise to more actively involve science and technology in its diplomacy,” he said. “Now is the perfect time to begin” (audio available, requires free RealPlayer).

    Additional events at NAS include:

    The National Academies release “Oil in the Sea: Inputs, Fates and Effects” at a one-hour public briefing on Thursday, May 23, 2002. There will be a live audio webcast (requires free RealPlayer) of the event, which begins at 11 a.m. EDT. During the briefing, questions can be submitted using an e-mail form. The webcast and the e-mail form will both be accessible on the home page (


    The Political Science Program of the SBE Directorate at NSF has recently published “EITM: Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models”. This 61 page document is available for free on request to Jim Granato at

    The NSF has recently also published the 2002 edition of “National Science Indicators” in hard copy and also in CD-ROM format. All NSF documents are free of charge. Ordering instructions are available at NSF's Publications page (

    Remember that NSF documents are also available full text on the WWW through the Online Document System (


    International Young Chemistry Writer of the Year Award 2002

    Are you 16-30? Do you want a chance to win a trip to the Spring ACS 2003 meeting in New Orleans and $2500 prize money? Why not try your hand at writing a feature length article, of between 1000-2000 words,on a chemistry-related topic of interest.

    This is the 5th year for the International Young Chemistry Writer of the Year Award from the alchemist which has kick-started careers in scientific journalism.

    The winning articles will be published in the alchemist - but that's not all! The winning author will travel to New Orleans on an all expenses paid trip to the ACS Spring National Meeting 2003 and collect $2500 - all thanks to BioSpace, the competition sponsor. Two runners up will each win $1000.

    Entries can be submitted from 1 March until 30 November 2002 at:


    Gaining Independence: A Manual for Planning the Launch of a Nonprofit Electronic Publishing Venture. SPARC, 2002.

    Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos: Eleven Science Questions for the New Century. NAP, 2002.

    From Certainty to Uncertainty: The Story of Science and Ideas in the Twentieth Century. NAP, 2002.

    Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools: Report of the Content Panel for Physics. NAP, 2002.

    Typical Starting Salaries for Physics Bachelors, Classes of 1999 & 2000. AIP, 2002.

    Where do Physics Masters Go? AIP, 2002.

    New Foundations For Growth: The U.S. Innovation System Today And Tomorrow. Authors: Steven W. Popper and Caroline S. Wagner. RAND, 2002.

    Information Technology Research, Innovation, and E-Government. NAP, 2002.

    (NAS Colloquium) Self-Organized Complexity in the Physical, Biological, and Social Sciences. NAP, 2002.

    Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos: Eleven Science Questions for the New Century. NAP, 2002.

    From Certainty to Uncertainty: The Story of Science and Ideas in the Twentieth Century. NAP, 2002.


    International Union Library Cataloges

    Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog

    CSIRO Library Network Catalog

    The University of Karlsruhe brings you the first site, designed to run a simultaneous search on several important German library catalogs. It will also do a simultaneous search on a variety of foreign library catalogs, including the Library of Congress, the British Library, and National Library of France.

    The second site is provided by CSIRO. It simultaneously searches a number of Australian library catalogs and will also do some international catalogs, including the Library of Congress and CISTI. When I tested it on start of title “environmental health”, however, it did not bring forth results from these institutions. It seemed to choke on the search.

    Rat Robot

    Boston Globe: Scientists Produce 'Ratbot' -- First Radio-Controlled Animal

    New Zealand Herald: New York Scientists Unveil Robo-rat

    Considerations for the 2002 Farm Bill

    Farm Bill Network Information on Use of USDA Conservation Programs

    Intro to Jose Delgado

    Dr. Jose M. R. Delgado

    Scientist have created the world's first radio-controlled animal by wiring a computer chip directly into the brain of a living rat. The rats, each wired with three hair-fine electrical probes to their brains, can be directed by remote control by an operator typing commands on a computer up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) away. Developed by Sanjiv Talwar at the State University of New York and colleagues, this latest discovery in machine-based mind control not only responds to a user's commands, but also transmits a sense of touch. “The animal is not only doing something -- it's feeling something,” said Talwar, who also suggests the rats might be used as scouts for sniffing out hidden land mines or for search and rescue teams that look for survivors amid rubble. Unlike clunky machines, Talwar reveals that rats have the ability to travel adeptly over rough terrain and, therefore, might be more easily deployed in chaotic environments. Last year, the US Department of Agriculture adopted regulations that might someday limit such experiments if they're shown to cause unnecessary harm or stress to laboratory rats and mice. However, an amendment to the Farm Bill, now pending in Congress, would repeal these protections. Sen. Jess Helms (R-SC) inserted the amendment in February that would scuttle any protections for laboratory rodents or birds. Helms asserted the regulations would only lead to cumbersome paperwork. “Isn't it far better for the mouse to be fed and watered in a clean laboratory than to end up as a tiny bulge being digested inside an enormous snake?”

    Mind control research projects is nothing new to the scientific world. In the 1960s, Yale physiologist Jose Delgado proved he could influence the mood and actions of animals through remote control. In one famous demonstration, Delgado stood, unarmed, in front of a charging bull. As the bull bore down on him, Delgado flicked a switch on a small radio transmitter that sent charges to electrodes implanted inside the bull's brain, causing the animal to immediately brake to a halt and meekly walk away. Delgado also experimented with monkeys and cats, and generated horror when he suggested the technology could be used to limit obsessive and criminal behavior in human societies. For recent press releases on the rat robot phenomenon, viewers may access the first two links listed above. The third link gives information on the status of the 2002 Farm Bill, as well as other major bills. The fourth link provides information from the US Department of Agriculture Farm Bill on use of USDA conservation programs. Finally, the last two links provide information on Jose Delgado's research and practices. [MG] (From the Scout Report)

    Biological Sciences


    “The conservation section of the National Geographic site covers a wide range of environmental issues. Organized under topics that include climate, energy, oceans, fresh water, ecosystems, wild species, and populations, the information is well-organized and handsomely presented. Iinteractive explorations include a one-man submersible journey deep into the kelp forests of Monterey Bay, accompanied by an appropriate soundtrack. Webcasts, interviews, and impressive video footage provide a variety of experiences. If your processor power is is up to it, the site can be a visual and audio treat. However, depending on which browser is used, there may be some frustration. For example, in the Earthpulse Expeditions section, trying to access Belize proved a bewildering exercise. For those who use Netscape, it can be somewhat claustrophobic; once the narration begins, there is no quick way to exit. The Stop button did not seem to function, and I had to force quit to get out. This problem could be limited to Mac users with older operating systems. Do turn off your sound applications, or your mp3s will play along with the site narrations. Minor glitches do not detract too much from the overall excellence.” (From New Scientist Current Picks)

    Genomics and Its Impact on Medicine and Society - a 2001 Primer

    This website from DoE is also available in PDF format. It is a nice review of the Human Genome Project (focusing on DoE projects), with links to related projects. It also includes a glossary.

    Robber Flies (Asilidae)

    This website is brought to you by Fritz Geller-Grimm and Torsten Dikow. It is well arranged and attractive. The Robber Flies, because of their predatory habit of feeding on other insects and their voravious appetites, contribute to the maintenance of the natural balance among insect populations. The site has an introduction to the asilidae, a bibliographaphic database, addresses, projects, links, and more.

    Computer and Information Science

    Functional Programming in the Real World

    Not a glitzy website, just a nice set of links to functional programs (a style of programming that emphasizes the evaluation of expressions, rather than execution of commands) in real-world tasks (written primarily to perform some task, not primarily to experiment with functional programming).

    Internet Engineering Standards Repository

    A searchable site with documents related to internet engineering from any standards organization (ietf, iana, ripe, w3c, . . .).

    Education and Human Resources

    National Center for Science Education

    NCSE is a “nonprofit, tax-exempt membership organization working to defend the teaching of evolution against sectarian attack. We are a nationally-recognized clearinghouse for information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom and ‘scientific creationism’ out.”

    The site has a roundup of current news stories, an extensive list of policy statements by organizations involved in this issue -- scientific, religious, and educational -- and a rich variety of articles and other publications. (Thanks to Netsurfer Science)

    Teaching Math in America

    “The National Museum of American History presents an online exhibition looking at the ‘tools used to teach math across American history, from the 1800s to the present.’ Resources accompanying the exhibit include links to web sites with mathematics problems to solve, links to web sites on mathematics education, links to web sites on the history of American math teaching, and a bibliography of printed works.” (From Infomine)


    Alternative Fuels Data Center

    Student Vehicle Competitions

    “The Alternative Fuels Data Center is a one-stop shop for all your alternative fuel and vehicle information needs. This site has more than 3,000 documents in its database, an interactive fuel station mapping system, listings of available alternative fuel vehicles, links to related Web sites, and much more.” It includes the second link above, which is a brief, annotated listing of competitions for students from elementary through university and beyond. (Thanks to Librarian's Index to the Internet).


    Discover Our Earth

    “Information about the earth sciences -- earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, topology, and sea level change -- along with images, graphs, maps, and movies. Additionally, there are ‘two Java-based, interactive data analysis and mapping tools that will allow customized access to a large variety of Earth science data sets that are used by research scientists.’ There are student and teacher guides. From the Institute for the Study of the Continents (INSTOC), Cornell University.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Feathered Dinosaurs

    “Images and brief information on fossils of ‘Sinosauropteryx, Caudipteryx, and Protarchaeopteryx, and one early bird, Confuciusornis,’ discovered in northeastern China, that ‘bear remnants of feathers -- revolutionary new evidence that birds are descended from dinosaurs.’ Also includes information on the Liaoning fossil beds. From the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Geology: Plate Tectonics

    This site has a description of the mechanisms driving plate tectonics and animated files demonstrating the positions of the continents during various geologic time periods. There is also a history of plate tectonics theories, including information about Alfred Wegener and his theory of continental drift. From the University of California (Berkeley) Museum of Paleontology. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    The Hydrologic Cycle: Online Meteorology Guide

    The Hydrologic Cycle: Online Meteorology Guide Web site is maintained by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. The guide describes the various aspects of the hydrologic cycle, such as the water budget, evaporation, precipitation, runoff, etc. Each page contains very well done illustrations and animations of these phenomena in action, making it easy to understand and fun to learn about. [JAB] (From the Scout Report)

    The Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History

    “A real find for anyone interested in prehistoric life, the American Museum of Natural History's Division of Paleontology site brings the ancient to life. Easily accessible, the site presents numerous materials, from images of the fossil record to artists' representations of the prehistoric world and its wilder inhabitants, the dinosaurs. For those interested in the people behind the scenes, as well as in the sites of prehistoric exploration themselves, the resource presents a wealth of information on paleontologists at the front line, including slide shows on specific voyages of discovery. One in particular takes visitors to a rich site in Mongolia's Gobi Desert. Also not to be missed is the presentation of one of the best preserved specimens of what just might prove to be a missing link -- a curiously feathered, earth-bound reptile some 130 million years old. [WH]” (From the Scout Report)

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    The Nobel Prize in Physics: Educational

    “The Nobel Foundations online Nobel e-Museum Web site (last mentioned in the October 12, 2001 Scout Report) contains some very informative and fun physics pages. These interactive activities and games include topics on tools used by physicists, transistors, microscopes, and the exploration of the interior of matter. These well done pages, although best viewed with a higher speed modem, contain high quality material presented in a fresh and exciting way for young adults and lifetime learners. [JAB]” (From the Scout Report)

    Mars 2001 Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System

    Nearly 30 years ago, NASA's unmanned Voyager probes beamed the first grainy images of Mars back to Earth. Today, an even bolder mission takes place quietly and methodically above the red planet. It's called the Mars 2001 Odyssey, a project using thermal imagery to create detailed maps for future missions. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) systematically orbits Mars and captures never-before-seen peaks and valleys of our lonely neighbor. A new image taken by a visible light camera will be posted Monday through Friday, so check back often for a sightseeing trip to Mars. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)

    Art Restoration: A Chemical Perspective

    Emma Sharp's page is brought to you by the Royal Society of Chemistry. It succintly explains the challenges and techniques for the use of chemistry in the restoration of works of art, and gives case studies that illustrate the intricacies of this process. The site is clear, easy to navigate, and lovely. (Thanks to Netsurfer Science)

    Molecular Universe

    “It's not often that scientists themselves come up with a decent introductory pitch into their subject than can be caught by lay people and students alike, but Richard Catlow, the Director of the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory at the Royal Institution in the UK, has come about as close as you can get. He introduces the topic of molecular and materials science. There are some wonderful pictures showing the inner structure of plastics, metals, gemstones, minerals and medicines and providing just enough background information and explanation on each to keep your attention. From a chemist's point of view, the detail might be a bit simplistic but it will be more than enough for most visitors. I liked the short timeline that offers a whirlwind journey from 1869's Periodic Table to the first enzyme structure determined in 1965, although why it stops almost forty years ago I don't know.” (From New Scientist Current Picks)

    Fear of physics

    “Those of us who are physics-challenged will find this upbeat site to be an engaging way to brush up on the subject. The authors have set out to dispel the notion that physics is forbiddingly difficult, filled with equations and incomprehensible stuff. Using video sequences, animations and stick figure drawings, they clarify concepts in a highly accessible, fun manner. The Theory of Relativity is illustrated with flybys of famous structures, such as the Eiffel Tower and the White House, at nearly the speed of light. Flying through a house at those speeds can be an eye-opening experience. You can play with the physics of roller coasters by choosing the kind of track and the height at which to begin the ride, or try the two ride simulations. Check what happens to a swinging pendulum in a weightless situation. Sound, the Doppler effect, earthquakes, friction, collisions, atoms, and basketball shots are among the other topics. If only we had such entertaining assistance during our school days.” (From New Scientist Current Picks)

    Virtual Sky

    The Virtual Sky Viewer is sponsored by The Center for Advanced Computing Research at the California Institute of Technology and the Microsoft Corporation. The Web site allows users to view “stunning, seamless images of the night sky; not just an album of popular places, but the entire northern sky at high resolution”. Although reading the help link before attempting to use the viewer is recommend, the powerful application gives fascinating and unique views of the sky that most people have never seen. This site is also reviewed in the May 17, 2002 _Scout Report_.[JAB] (From the Scout Report)


    Liquids and their Vapors

    Floating Log


    Gallery of Fluid Dynamics

    Fundamental Fluid Mechanics Movies

    Fluid Properties Calculator

    Physics of Fluids

    “This Topic in Depth explores the Web's offerings on the physics of fluids. By an educational Web site called School for Champions, the first site is the Fluids lesson plan (1). Here, students or anyone interested can read about the basics of fluids and then take a short interactive quiz on the topic. The second site is maintained by Steve Lower of the Department of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University called Liquids and their Vapors (2). This Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file contains an eighteen-page document that covers topics such as properties of liquids and changes of state. The next site contains an interactive multimedia activity presented by called Floating Log (3). The site allows users to explore how a fluid can affect buoyancy by letting them change the mass of the log and the fluid's density. The next site from Purdue University's Chemical Education Web site is called Liquids (4). This page describes the structure of liquids, what kinds of materials form liquids, vapor pressure, and more. The fifth site, offered by Professor M.S. Cramer at the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, is entitled Gallery of Fluid Dynamics (5). It contains movies, animations, photographs, and descriptions of various fluid mechanics topics such as condensation, shock waves, and supersonic cars. Next comes the Innovative Technology Solutions Corporation's Fundamental Fluid Mechanics Movies Web site (6). Over thirty short films show how fluids move in various conditions including gravity waves, fire, material transport, and hydraulics. From the University of Waterloo's Department of Mechanical Engineering-Microelectronics Heat Transfer Laboratory comes the next site, called the Fluid Properties Calculator (7). This online tool allows users to select a fluid and enter a temperature to calculate various parameters such as density, viscosity, specific heat, and thermal diffusivity. The last site is the online journal Physics of Fluids (8), which is published monthly by the American Institute of Physics with the cooperation of The American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics. The journal is ‘devoted to the publication of original theoretical, computational, and experimental contributions to the dynamics of gases, liquids, and complex or multiphase fluids’ and provides free full-text articles for online viewing. [JAB]” (From the Scout Report)


    “I approached this site with a little trepidation. Were they about to reveal a new ‘natural law’ that would allow me to take to the air, perhaps? Or, was it simply a scientific look at that story about the boy wizard? Thankfully, the site is neither. It's a great introduction to the properties of diamagnets from a physics team at the University of Nijmegen. Diamagnetic materials ‘exclude’ a magnetic field and as such provide a repulsive force that can lift objects, such as a frog or a sumo wrestler standing on a slab of diamagnet, and all with no external power supply. The site ties in with superconductor research, superconductors being the archetypal diamagnetic materials, totally excluding a magnetic field at low temperature. The site's layout is rather old-school and they could do with bringing some of the material up to date -- a bit of topical levitation news would not go amiss for instance. Rating 7 out of 10 DB” (From New Scientist Site of the Day)

    The Integrator

    Enter any function and integrate it automatically. “Mathematica's Integrate function represents the fruits of a huge amount of mathematical and computational research. It doesn't do integrals the way people do. Instead, it uses powerful, general algorithms that often involve very sophisticated math. There are a couple of approaches that it quite often takes. One involves working out the general form for an integral, then differentiating this form and solving equations to match up undetermined symbolic parameters. Even for quite simple integrands, the equations generated in this way can be highly complex and require Mathematica's strong algebraic computation capabilities to solve. Another approach that Mathematica uses in working out integrals is to convert the integrals to generalized hypergeometric functions, and then to use collections of relations about these highly general mathematical functions. The internal code that implements the Mathematica integrate function is about 500 pages of Mathematica code and 600 pages of C code.” Includes history of integration, FAQ, and more.

    Polar Programs

    Ozone over the Canadian Arctic

    “Ozone Over the Canadian Arctic Canada's northern geography makes it one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to the effects of ozone depletion in the Arctic region. The YES I Can! Science team has prepared a curriculum guide to be used with grades 6 and 7 students to develop a basic understanding of the importance of stratospheric ozone. It is recommended for use in conjunction with field data gathered this spring by an expedition team skiing across Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. It may be used as a ‘real-time’ event this spring, (e.g. as part of Earth Day activities), or as an archived event at a later point in time.”

    Brought to you by York University through its Yes, I Can Science program, this webpage has brief and well done explanations of the ozone problem at the poles, and an introduction to the expedition.

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    Asian Nation: The Landscape of Asian America

    “Information about culture, religions, history, demographics, immigration, assimilation, and issues in the diverse Asian American community. The author, a Vietnamese American sociologist, also provides discussion boards, many links, and a section with history and photographs of Viet Nam. Searchable.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Aerial Archaeology

    Aerial Archaeology by Jacques Dassie

    Aerial Archive of the Institute for Prehistory and Early History of the University in Vienna

    Aerial archaeology Site by Francesca Radcliffe: Dorset

    Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East

    AARG: Aerial Archaeology Research Group

    Guide to Good Practice

    Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeology

    Aerial Archaeology: Czech Republic

    Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. That which is around us in archaeological sites can be enriched by standing back and viewing with a different perspective, and that is what aerial archaeology is all about. It is also one of the many means of non-destructive archaeology. Most of these sites use aerial photography from planes, but a further, deeper perspective is gained by the use of satellite imaging. In addition there are links to even more sites on this fascinating topic. (Thanks to Netsurfer Science).


    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:


    A research center at the University of Washington has been named one of six finalists for an award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Center for Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research, headed by UW chemistry professor Larry Dalton, has been working on opto-chips for several years. These devices could bring data transmission up to the speed of light. Opto-chips convert electronic signals into light, require as little as one volt of energy, and offer up to a terahertz of bandwidth. According to Dalton, opto-chips have application in industries including defense, telecommunications, and all forms of computing. Dalton said the NSF award could mean as much as $100 million over ten years for the university.
    NewsFactor Network, 6 May 2002 via Edupage


    Researchers at Columbia University are developing graphics technology applications that work in conjunction with the real world rather than replacing it. The technology involves a display worn on the head and a computer in a backpack. Users can see through the head piece, while the computer adds information that can augment the user's perception and understanding of his surroundings. For example, a construction worker might wear the device working at a construction site to “see” locations of pipes and wiring that are behind walls or underground. Funding for the research comes in part from the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation.
    NewsFactor Network, 14 May 2002 via Edupage


    A new administrative information system in North Dakota will be shared by the state's public institutions of higher education and the state government. The system will replace aging systems that have become expensive and time-consuming to maintain and keep compliant with changing regulations. Government and higher education will use the system to manage financial, human resource, and student information. Officials said they already are close to having uniform “charts of accounts,” the records of information and associated codes, which is necessary for the system to work for all participants. The South Dakota Board of Regents, which is beginning its own migration to a central database for the campuses in its system, is closely watching the North Dakota project as an example for some aspects of its project.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 14 May 2002 via Edupage


    The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has begun a new portal initiative, working with seven of its major member libraries on the initial release. The goal of the effort, called the Scholars Portal Project, is to develop and distribute software that allows users to leverage electronic library services through portal software. Initially the tools are expected to serve primarily as a library channel for existing university-wide portals. The ARL tool allows users to search across digital resources from multiple institutions and receive aggregated results, much like Google. Developers plan to add features including 24 x 7 online access to reference librarians and integration with e-learning and course environments.
    Information Today, 13 May 2002 via Edupage


    Despite having the signatures of more than 30,000 academics, a group pushing for more access to academic content has so far had little impact on the publishing of journals. The Public Library of Science in April 2001 called for academics to boycott jourals that do not put their content online after six months without a fee to access it. But according to directors of the project, few of the signatories have stopped sumbitting to those journals, subscribing to them, or acting as editors. The group now plans to begin publishing its own set of scholarly journals, allowing academics to continue publishing but ensuring that content will be available online within six months.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 16 May 2002 via Edupage


    Researchers at IBM have created carbon nanotubes that can carry more electrical current at a faster rate than silicon, the material current computer chips are based on. This development could usher in a new generation of computing. Current methods for making chips have led to such dense circuits that the process could, according to some, become economically unviable in 15 or 20 years. Theoretically, at least, transistors made from carbon nanotubes could replace chips on the market today with ones that require much less energy or that offer much greater performance for the same amount of energy. Because carbon nanotubes are very long and thin compared to traditional circuitry, electrons in nanotubes cannot be deflected sideways and can only be reversed with a great amount of energy. The technology is very much in its infancy though. Creating the nanotubes is slow and difficult, and research has shown an energy “barrier” at the ends of the tubes, further complicating their use as transistors.
    CNET, 19 May 2002 via Edupage


    Researchers at the University of Buffalo have created new semiconducting alloys that could allow spintronic devices to function at room temperature. Spintronics uses the spin and the charge of electrons to process information, allowing for millions of simultaneous bits of data. The new material potentially makes possible devices that can read and process data using infinite combinations of spin states. The research also opens the door for a kind of computer chip capable of processing and storing data on the same material.
    NewsFactor Network, 20 May 2002 via Edupage

    SECURITY TAGS HELP LIBRARIANS,1282,52493,00.html

    Some libraries have started using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in their books to streamline check-in, check-out, and inventory tracking, as well as helping to minimize theft. RFID tags contain information about the book, like bar code tags that have become common in libraries. Unlike bar code tags, though, RFID tags can be read without being visually scanned. With RFID tags, librarians can check books in or out without ever opening them or looking for the bar code. Inventory can be taken simply by walking through the stacks and passing a wireless reader wand over the books. Rockefeller University Library uses the tags, which set off alarms and activate video cameras when the system detects a non-checked-out book passing out of a library exit. At 50 cents or more, however, RFID tags are significantly more expensive than bar code tags, which cost about 2 cents.
    Wired News, 20 May 2002 via Edupage


    The Washington Post has announced that it will consolidate the content of and under the Web site, resulting in the layoff of several employees of Newsbytes. The move is the latest in a series of steps reducing technology coverage among major news outlets, including Knight-Ridder and Dow Jones. A spokesman for Washington Post said the merger was a “natural evolution” of the different editorial structures currently in place. TechNews will cover national technology news and trends, including legislation, and will still offer a regional technology section specific to the Washington, D.C., area.
    Wall Street Journal, 17 May 2002 (sub. req'd) via Edupage


    The Space Ark

    George Pal

    The Legacy of George Pal

    The first website is a drawing and photo of the Space Ark rocket featured in the movie. The second site is a brief biography, with photos, of George Pal. The third site is a discussion of the legacy of George Pal on film-making.

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