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Listen to the News Conference (requires free RealPlayer)
Press conference at the National Academy of Sciences held on June 25. “The United States should take advantage of its scientific and engineering strengths to detect, thwart and respond to terrorist attacks more effectively, says a new National Academies report. An independent homeland security institute should be established to help the government make crucial technical decisions and devise technical strategies for combating terrorism.”
A Metadata Framework to Support the Preservation of Digital Objects.
The Condition of Education, 2002.
US Dept. of Education, 2002.
Meeting the Need for Scientists, Engineers, and an Educated Citizenry in a Technological Society.
Raising Achievement and Reducing Gaps: Reporting Progress Toward Goals for Academic Achievement in Mathematics, by Paul E. Barton.
The economic impacts of inadequate infrastructure for software testing.
The Broadband Difference: How online Americans' behavior changes with high-speed Internet connections at home.
Pew Internet Project, 2002.
Proceedings and Summary Report: Workshop on the Fate, Transport, and Transformation of Mercury on Aquatic and Terrestrial Environments.
Effects of Trawling and Dredging on Seafloor Habitat.
Community and Quality of Life: Data Needs for Informed Decision Making.
New Tools for Environmental Protection: Education, Information, and Voluntary Measures.
(NAS Colloquium) Nanoscience: Underlying Concepts and Phenomena.
Countering Terrorism: Lessons Learned from Natural and Technological Disasters.
The Last Word
People have all kinds of questions about all kinds of phenomena. Why don't identical twins have identical fingerprints? Can you really see the Great Wall of China from space? Is there a difference between shaken and stirred martinis? There is a lot more science in our daily lives than we are likely to ever realize. New Scientist has the answers to these questions. In fact, it has several answers to each of them. And to a great many more questions as well. A fun site to visit!
EarthCam for Kids
EarthCam for Kids lets users search or browse to find web cams located around the world. Arranged by subject, students can locate cameras that are viewing seismographs, mountains, rivers, space, labs, as well as other subjects. Each link brings up the remote camera letting users see what's going on or, as in several cases, what's not going on. [JAB] (From the Scout Report)
Light: A Learning Unit
This website from GE covers Science, Technology, History and Math of light.
“Fun activities await you in the four lessons that are included here. Each lesson includes Read Abouts, Hands-on Activities, and Experiments to help you master each topic. Read Abouts are non-fiction articles about people or scientific ideas about light. Look for the Before, During, and After Reading Helps along the way. Hands-on Activities show you how to make cool scientific stuff (like a pinhole camera) and play around with it to learn new things. Experiments give you the chance to be a real scientist and conduct some of the same investigations that geniuses (such as Thomas Edison and Lewis Latimer) used to invent things we use every day (such as light bulbs). When you're finished learning about the science, technology, math, and history of light, you'll be ready to put your knowledge to work with the GE Lighting Audit (GELA). GELA will help you and your classmates find out how much your school is spending to light your classroom, cafeteria, gym-your whole school building. It will also show how you and your parents, friends, teachers, and school administrators can work together to save energy and reduce the cost of lighting your school.” (Thank to Blue Web'N)
This attractive site brings you weather news, a gallery of weather pictures and photographs, the meteorologist of the month, storm chasers, a link to the weather cam located near the most exciting current weather phenomenon, games, and special stories, such as a discussion of last year's unusually mild winter.
Animal Self Medication
“Scientists from various disciplines are currently exploring the possibility that many species (birds, insects, and mammals) use plants, soils, insects, and fungi as ‘medicines’ in ways that guard against future illness (preventive medicine) and/or relieve unpleasant symptoms (curative or therapeutic medicine).”
Fun with Bacteriology
“Canadian Bacterial Diseases Network produced this website where students can learn about Bacteriology and the importance of microscopy. Photos and text introduce the basics including microscopy and Gram staining, different cell types, and bacterial culture plates. After exploring these topics, students can work through a series of short case studies to test their knowledge.” (From Blue Web'N)
Bald Eagles Come Back from the Brink
A brief and gorgeous slide show with narration, from National Geographic.
This Web site exploring the cultural variation among various groups of chimpanzees is a collaboration by a number of primate experts. Its basis is a 1999 paper published in the journal _Nature_, and its main feature is two related databases. The Behaviour Definitions Database includes records of specific observed behaviors while the examples database includes photos, sketches, or video documentation of the behavior type. Both can be searched by a number of fields and are linked to each other. This is a comprehensive site, complete with background information on chimpanzees and research, as well as news and information related to this field of study. [AL] (From the Scout Report)
“We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are.” This quote kicks off the site and sums up the essence of this exhibit from the Exploratorium. No two people see things the same way. Our eyes and brains are different and our unique experiences color our interpretation of what we see. This interactive museum explores the subjectivity of vision in its physical collections, some of which have been adapted for the Internet. These online exhibits bend your mind and tweak your eyes to prove their points. You can even follow activities that show how your eyes play tricks on you when you view the moon in the night sky. To further examine visual illusions, visual arts, and human and animal sight, check out the links page. Seeing is believing. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)
Nothing snazzy at this site, just a basic, succinct, but well written introduction to cryptography.
OAIster Search Interface
OAIster, a Mellon-funded project of the University of Michigan Digital Library Production Services (last reviewed in the March 15, 2002 _Scout Report_), is now up and running. The OAIster search interface allows users the opportunity to freely access and search a wide variety of digital resources from various institutions. The database currently contains 274,062 records from 56 institutions, with each record leading to an actual digital collection hosted at an institution. Users can view each collection separately or search the database by keyword, author, title, or subject. This user-friendly interface is valuable to students, teachers, researchers, and other information professionals needing simultaneous access to a variety of digital resources. [MG] (From the Scout Report)
Sharp, pointy objects and inflatables generally don't coexist happily, and results are predictable. Or are they? When a magician passes a metal skewer through a balloon, he accomplishes the seemingly impossible, and an explanation is given for the illusion. Hint: There is prep work involved with the skewer, and the balloon has to be just so. But still, gasps are in order. And perhaps more than a few explosive pops till the trick is perfected by eager youngsters. Teachers' guides provide ideas for student discussion and further activities. There are six demos in all, including the egg in the bottle trick and disappearing milk. For those who don't want to endure the download times, there is a slide show option. Students will learn about air pressure, polymer elasticity, superabsorbent polymers, conversion of energy, and magnetic sheeting. And they will need several balloons. Rating: 9 out of 10. AD (from New Scientist Weblinks)
Distributed Energy Generation
Solar power, fuel cells, wind power and all of the growing family of alternative energy producing devices are becoming daily fare in the media. However, there hasn't been too much thought about how the energy produced will be distributed. What distinguishes alternative power sources now emerging from the large generating plants of the past is that they are often small, do not produce much more power than an home or a small business needs, and can be sited quite close to where the energy is actually required. A whole new concept of energy generation, “Distributed Energy Generation” has arisen as a result. In DEG the energy sources serve either as alternative energy outside the grid, or supplement it. The recent energy crises in California have turned it into a leading exponenet of DEG, and this site by the California Energy Commission in DEG is perhaps the most comprehensive treatment of it on the web. The demonstration sites covered on this site are often particularly interesting, as in some cases, such as microturbines and UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) they are some of the few non-commercial Internet pages available. Although aimed primarily at California residents, many non American firms are also covered, and there are links taking one to not only the sites of all major manufacturers concerned with DGE, but also many organizations. Despite being organized in the usual stiff style you would expect from a web page put up by a government organization, there is a wealth of useful information available. Rating 8 out of 10 WTS (from New Scientist Weblinks)
“The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently unveiled a major new resource for energy efficiency in developing countries, the eeBuildings website. The site allows building owners and managers in developing countries to tap into resources from EPA's long-running domestic energy-efficiency programs, such as Energy Star(r).
eeBuildings (energy-efficient buildings) puts Energy Star lessons, experiences and materials into an international context. The site introduces building owners and managers to international use of the Energy Star Benchmarking Tool, giving them the ability to measure the total energy consumption of a building in terms of how it compares to similar buildings. Benchmarking is an excellent complement to existing green buildings projects. Benchmarking can also be the foundation of an internal energy management program.
In addition to the site, eeBuildings has in-country activities that include training, conferences and addressing specific market barriers. Recent in-country activities have included a workshop on lighting retrofits in Manila, the Philippines and pilot use of the Benchmarking Tool in Shanghai, China.
All tools and materials on the site are free and available to the public. Visit the eeBuildings Homepage (http://www.epa.gov/eeBuildings/) or e-mail email@example.com for more information.” (Thanks to Fred Stoss)
K-19: the Widowmaker
“When meltdown threatens the first Soviet nuclear ballistic submarine in 1961, its crew must devise a way to survive - or die trying”. This webiste introducing the history behind National Geographic's first feature length movie is an interesting display of the history of submarines and of submarine disasters. It is a visual and audio feast with links to the movie trailer and website.
Great Projects: the Building of America
“From the men who blasted through a mountain of rock along the Colorado River, to those who hammered 475,000 rivets into each tower of the George Washington Bridge, learn how the greatest engineering feats in American History were accomplished”. Tour the projects, read the interviews, test yourself and more at this website from PBS.
Engineering the Impossible
The Discovery Channel brings you this website about three engineering projects:
The site includes “Ask the Experts” and “The Visualization Gallery”.
Cloud Physics - The Basics
Hey! Give Me Back My Rain!
Does Weather Modification Really Work?
Aircrew Pictures 2001
Weather as a Weapon?
Atmospheric Resources -- Photos and Videos
The Physical Basis for Seeding Clouds
Cloud Seeding -- Frequently Asked Questions
This Topic in Depth begins with a Web site from the Oklahoma Weather Modification Program called Cloud Physics - The Basics (1). Students are encouraged to initiate a debate on the controversy surrounding the issue of inducing or enhancing precipitation. Next, the Texas Water Resources Institute Web site, Does Weather Modification Really Work? (3) provides a more basic description of cloudseeding. The site offers several categories including The Science of Cloud Seeding, A Brief History of Weather Modification in Texas, Legal and Policy Issues, Current and Future Activities, and more. The Western Kansas Weather Modification Program offers the next site, Aircrew Pictures 2001 (4). The page contains pictures of the planes and crew involved in the program as well as pictures from the plane during a mission. Other links on the site contain radar, data, and other information. The next site from ABCNEWS.com is an article entitled Weather as a Weapon? (5) The piece explorers what might happen “on some battlefield of the future where the US military could gain a tactical advantage by changing the weather.” A discussion on the possibilities of changing the weather, an Air Force research paper and several other links are provided to learn more. The 6th site maintained by the North Dakota State Water Commission is entitled Atmospheric Resources-Photos and Videos (6). Here, visitors can find more photographs of cloudseeding equipment and most notably three videos of cloudseeding planes in action. Atmospherics Incorporated, an operations and research company in the field of applied meteorology, provides the next site, The Physical Basis for Seeding Clouds (7). The page describes techniques for cloud seeding and has a link to photographs of pyrotechnic seeding devices. The last site provided by North American Weather Consultants, Inc. is titled, Cloud Seeding -- Frequently Asked Questions (8). The site briefly answers questions such as When did application of modern cloud seeding technology begin?, Is cloud seeding effective?, and Do the commonly used seeding materials pose any direct health or environmental risks? [JAB] (From the Scout Report)
UN Atlas of the Oceans
“The UN Atlas of the Oceans is an Internet portal providing information relevant to the sustainable development of the oceans. It is designed for policy-makers who need to become familiar with ocean issues and for scientists, students and resource managers who need access to databases and approaches to sustainability. The UN Atlas can also provide the ocean industry and stakeholders with pertinent information on ocean matters.”
The UN says the atlas will provide strategic data on the state of the oceans, together with maps, development trends and threats to human health from the deteriorating marine environment and will help negotiations of future marine-related agreements. It will also provide information on ice cover, links to real-time maps and tracking data.
Water Balloons in Space
Summer is the season for many things, including water balloon games. But there is a serious side to water balloons, believe it or not. NASA conducted experiments to find out the effect of bursting water balloons under low gravity conditions “to develop the ability to rapidly deploy large liquid drops by rupturing an enclosing membrane”. The results are displayed at this site in Quicktime and mpeg videos.
Molecular Expressions - Exploring the World of Optics and Microscopy
“Welcome to the Molecular Expressions Website featuring our acclaimed photo galleries that explore the fascinating world of optical microscopy. We are going where no microscope has gone before by offering one of the Web's largest collections of color photographs taken through an optical microscope (commonly referred to as ‘photo-micro-graphs’). Visit our Photo Gallery for an introductory selection of images covering just about everything from beer and ice cream to integrated circuits and ceramic superconductors.”
The Extragalactic Database
The NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) “is built around a master list of extragalactic objects for which cross-identifications of names have been established, accurate positions and redshifts entered to the extent possible, and basic data collected.” The main page has links to objects by name and position, data, literature, tools, additional information, and more. Although a bit confusing to use, the database provides an excellent resource for those interested in data of this sort. [JAB] (From the Scout Report)
Celebration of 100 Distinguished European Chemists from the Chemical Revolution to the 21st Century
Presented by the European Network for Chemistry, the Celebration of 100 Distinguished European Chemists from the Chemical Revolution to the 21st Century is a celebration of distinguished European Chemists spanning a period of over two hundred years. The chemists are listed by century and include such notables as Louis Pasteur and Amedeo Avogadro. Each page consists of a portrait, a short biography and links to further information. [JAB] (From the Scout Report)
Anglo-Australian Observatory Astronomical Images
The extraordinary wide-field images taken by David Malin with the telescopes of the Anglo-Australian Observatory are iconic and out of this world. Astronomer/photographer Malin pioneers spectacular techniques for photographing the colors of the stars, galaxies, and nebulae. By digitally re-mastering 3-color separations, amplifying faint image information, and combining images to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, Malin is able to create detailed high-resolution photographs. From the whimsically named nebulae Trifid and Fox Fur to the comets Halley and Hyukatake, you'll marvel at the mysterious worlds so many light years away. But don't just gawk at the pictures -- the accompanying text will increase your understanding and enjoyment of this pictorial journey around the universe. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)
Antarctic Ship Rescue
Frequently updated news and bulletins about the Russian ship Magdalena Oldendorff currently icebound off Antarctica, where it was returning from a research station.
With the recent announcement that American students are falling further and further behind in their knowledge of the world, the Geoexplorer site is truly a sight for sore eyes, especially to those attempting to impart geographical and geophysical knowledge to young minds. Alive with information of all sorts, Geoexplorer supports research and learning at all levels, with maps, images, instructional modules, statistical data and much, much more. Particularly strong in links and references, the site is literally networked to the rest of the world and any source that might prove helpful to those studying our planet. Especially fun, and sure to please, are the site's links to resources on rocks and rock collecting, with tours of every kind of rock and how they were created. However deeply you might want to delve, Geoexplorer can get you there. [WH] (From the Scout Report)
Pyramids, Mummies and Tombs
This site from the Discovery Channel is content rich and loads of fun. It has information on pyramids, mummies and tombs from all over the world, including quizzes, virtual tours, forensics, and ask Dr. Bob. Well worth a visit.
Rosetta Stone WebQuest
“In this WebQuest you will investigate the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, learn of its history, and how the eventual deciphering of the stone unlocked the mysteries of Ancient Egypt. You will also become involved in a simulation in which the rightful ownership of the Rosetta Stone will be debated.” (Thanks to Blue Web'N)
A Web project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Tolerance.org encourages people from all walks of life to “fight hate and promote tolerance.” For educators, there are curriculum packages that can be ordered at no cost, as well online lesson ideas. For Kids has online activities and games that promote multiculturalism and tolerance. (From Blue Web'N)
Anthropology Collection Database
Published and produced by the Department of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences, this rich collection contains approximately 17,000 objects consisting of ethnographic and archaeological materials of indigenous cultures of western North America (exclusive of Mexico), the Pacific Rim (including all Pacific islands and East Asia), the US Southwest and the Pacific Islands, East Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Central and South America. Although a work-in-progress, the database also includes 7,000 digital images, and is searchable by category, object name, materials, maker's name, collection, culture, global region, country, state, or county. [MG] (From the Scout Report)
The History of Eating Utensils
Presented by the California Academy of Sciences, this online history of eating utensils is both stimulating and educational, with brief presentations on individual utensils and their evolution, as well as images of specimens from various cultures and periods. Learn, among other things, what Louis the XIV had to fear from the knife and what he did about it, and how it changed the shape of that instrument forever. Equally worth considering, chopsticks have also evolved over the course of five millennia. Called “kuai-zi” in Chinese, for quick little fellows, chopsticks were first joined together and only gradually came to be separated and made of less and less precious materials. Learn all about them and the rest of the instruments used by humans to eat gracefully in this brief online history. Better yet, if you are fortunate enough to be in the Bay area, visit the exhibit in person at the California Academy of Sciences. [WH] (From the Scout Report)
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ALZHEIMER'S PATIENTS GET HELP FROM TECHNOLOGY
Researchers at the University of Washington are developing so-called assisted cognition systems to help Alzheimer's patients care for themselves over the course of an average day. The program combines GPS and handheld technology with artificial intelligence to create a device that “learns” how to help people through their day. The Activity Compass part of the system learns where a patient typically goes and is able then to offer directions or even suggest intended destinations to those who have forgotten. The Adaptive Prompter assists patients in remembering how and when to do more home-oriented tasks, like taking medication or making and eating meals.
Wired News, 24 June 2002 via Edupage
NPR'S LINK POLICY PROTESTED
National Public Radio has roused public protest in response to its policy on Web linking, which requires prior written consent to link to, or frame, any material on the NPR Web site. A form on the site requests the linker's name, e-mail address, physical address, phone number, information about the linking site, how long the link will remain on the site, the proposed wording, the U.S. state in which the linking site is incorporated, and whether the site is commercial. Although the permission form was updated in March 2002, the policy began to attract attention on Web logs June 19 after a blog owner posted a link to the form. NPR established the policy to support its noncommercial, journalistic nature, according to an NPR spokesman, and to track use.
Wired News, 20 June 2002 via Edupage
NEW CHIP-MAKING PROCESS MAY OUTPACE MOORE'S LAW
Stephen Chou, a researcher at Princeton University, said he has developed a procedure for making computer chips that could increase their capacity 100-fold. The process, called laser assisted direct input (LADI), involves pressing a quartz mold onto a piece of silicon and shooting it with a laser for a very short time. The silicon melts and quickly rehardens into the new shape. The result is imprinting silicon with features as small as 10 nanometers, significantly smaller than current methods allow. The process is also claimed to produce chips much more cheaply, more quickly, and without the environmentally unfriendly chemicals required of traditional chip-making methods. Some observers noted that the process is in the very early stages of development and is probably not “inherently useful in the near term.”
NewsFactor Network, 28 June 2002 via Edupage
NEW TOOLS CAN BUILD A COMPREHENSIVE ARCHIVE
Some institutions, including MIT, are developing tools for professors and other researchers to add resources including data sets, notes, research reports, and otherwise unpublished papers to large, searchable, digital archives. Testing of DSpace, MIT's archive project, will begin this summer, and officials at the school hope that eventually nearly every professor will contribute to the body of work. Submission to the archive is voluntary, so developers have tried to make the system as simple as possible. Metadata will be included to aid in the organization and searching of the content, though submissions will not be actively filtered or moderated. Other archives have been established at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California system. Critics say that institutional repositories will fail because effective dissemination depends on the publishing process and editorial filtering that journals provide.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 1 July 2002 via Edupage
STUDY PUTS A NUMBER TO LOSSES FROM BUGGY SOFTWARE
A new study from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) says that the U.S. economy loses almost $60 billion annually as a result of buggy software. According to the study, better testing could eliminate about one third of that loss, but much of the rest will remain. The study addressed the problem as it affects three major industries, automotive, aerospace, and financial services, and extrapolated those results to the nation as a whole. Authors of the study did not present specific actions to resolve the problem, but they did suggest that current methods for testing software are “fairly primitive” and that significant improvements could be made in that area.
ComputerWorld, 25 June 2002 via Edupage
CARNEGIE MELLON CREATES CYBERSECURITY RESEARCH CENTER
Carnegie Mellon University has become the latest of several universities to recently create research centers to study information security. The Center for Computer and Communications Security joins other projects at schools including Dartmouth College and Johns Hopkins University to try to address the myriad and emerging challenges to computer security. According to Pradeep K. Khosla of Carnegie Mellon, the new center will study methods for using robots to monitor security and report problems. The center will also address security issues for fiber-optic and wireless networks, disk drives, network cards, and computer processors.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 25 June 2002 via Edupage
MIT WORKING ON NEW KIND OF COMPUTING ENVIRONMENT
The two-year old Project Oxygen Alliance, a project at MIT, is working to develop a new, “smart” environment for computing and communication. Ken Steele, a research scientist at MIT, said the goal is to have computers that understand and communicate with people as if the devices were also people, similar to having a personal assistant for everyone. For example, in this new environment, a person could tell the computer to make plane reservations. The computer would understand speech, know the person's seat preference, and handle the entire process with no further input. Steele admitted that researchers don't have a clear vision of exactly what the completed project might look like, though some observers compare the project to the technology in the recent film “Minority Report,” a science fiction thriller.
NewsFactor Network, 25 June 2002 via Edupage
CRYPTOGRAPHY BASED ON RANDOM NUMBERS
Jason R. Kauffman, a sophomore at the University of Dayton majoring in mechanical engineering, has developed a new encryption technology based on random-number generation. Kauffman first thought of the idea while working on a science-fair project to improve computer animation. He extended a mathematical technique used in Disney's “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” which assigned pseudo-random numbers to body movements for a crowd scene in the film. While studying number generators, he found references to theories that the technique could be used in encryption technology, but no details. He then thought of a unique way to use random numbers in a math equation to encrypt data. He and his father, Robert Kauffman, formed a partnership with the University of Dayton to patent the idea.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 3 July 2002 (sub. req'd)via Edupage
INDUSTRY AND EDUCATION PARTNER TO TRAIN TECHNOLOGY WORKERS
An effort in Florida hopes to bring more input and influence from technology firms to the curricula of colleges and high schools. The project was started by Hugh Moore, vice president of IT and CIO at Siemens Information and Communications Networks Inc. in Boca Raton. Moore noticed that many new graduates were not ready to meet the needs of his and other technology firms. He began urging industry to work with education, in concert with other businesses, to address the gaps. They hope to coordinate statewide technology education with local business needs so that firms can avoid having to hire from out of state. The Florida effort is part of a recent trend that brings industry and education closer in aligning training of students with prospective responsibilities in the workplace.
ComputerWorld, 3 July 2002 via Edupage
“This explosive NOVA website presents the colorful history of pyrotechnics and reveals how hi-tech firing systems are transforming public displays into a dazzling, split-second science.” July stuff at its finest!
All items from the Scout Report are copyright Susan Calcari, 1994-2002. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the Scout Report provided the copyright notice and this paragraph is preserved on all copies. The InterNIC provides information about the Internet to the US research and education community under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation: NCR-9218742. The Government has certain rights in this material.
Blue Web'n is a searchable library of Blue-Ribbon Web sites categorized by grade level, content area, and type. Visit Blue Web'n online at http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/bluewebn/.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this newsletter are those of the participants (authors), and do not necessarily represent the official views, opinions, or policy of the National Science Foundation.