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NOTICE: The U.S. Department of Energy proposes to discontinue PubSCIENCE. Since its inception in 1999, PubSCIENCE has provided researchers and science-attentive citizens access to bibliographic records of peer-reviewed journal literature relating to DOE-supported work, addressing the need for a searchable gateway for the Department's Web patrons. Based on an extensive public/private sector collaboration, PubSCIENCE has covered journals of participating science publishers, including hyperlinks to the full text on publishers' servers. More recently, private sector information products have emerged that freely offer bibliographic records to Web patrons. Provider systems such as Scirus and Infotrieve have progressively increased the availability of freely searchable citations, and this trend is anticipated to continue. A recent comparison of the content between PubSCIENCE and Scirus and Infotrieve showed that 90% of the journal literature in the scope of PubSCIENCE was covered by these two products. Taken as a whole, they provide coverage of information for DOE Web patrons. As a result of these findings, DOE is hereby proposing to discontinue PubSCIENCE. Comments on this proposed action will be collected using the comment form available on this Web site for a 30-day comment period to end September 8, 2002. Comments received will be considered in the final decision process for the future of PubSCIENCE.
The Sun to the Earth -- and Beyond.
National Policies on Women and Science in Europe.
All Talk, No Action: Putting an End to Out-of-Field Teaching.
Education Trust, 2002.
Central Banking For A New Era.
Atlantic Conference on Central Banking, 2002.
Chemical Reference Materials: Setting the Standards for Ocean Science.
Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools.
Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools: Report of the Content Panel for Biology.
Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools: Report of the Content Panel for Chemistry.
Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools: Report of the Content Panel for Mathematics.
Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools: Report of the Content Panel for Physics.
Florida Bay Research Programs and Their Relation to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.
Using Human Resource Data to Track Innovation: Summary of a Workshop.
Cancer and the Environment: Gene-Environment Interactions.
Animal Biotechnology: Identifying Science-Based Concerns.
Strange Matters: Undiscovered Ideas at the Frontiers of Space and Time.
nsf02326 Proposed FY 2003 Budget Would Complete Plan to Double Health R&D Funding, Considerably Expand Defense R&D (August 01, 2002)
nsf02325 How Large is the U.S. S&E Workforce? (July 26, 2002)
nsf02322 Half the Nation's R&D Concentrated in Six States (July 15, 2002)
nsf02323 Changes in Federal and Non-Federal Support for Academic R&D Over the Past Three Decades (July 15, 2002)
nsf02327 Science and Engineering Degrees: 1966-2000 (August 06, 2002)
nsf02324 Older Doctoral Scientists and Engineers: Selected Labor Force Characteristics (August 06, 2002)
Report on Maximizing the Contribution of Science and Technology.
Kristina Johnson Congressional testimony on barriers confronting women in technology.
Biological Impacts of the Jessica Oil Spill on the Galapagos Environment.
Charles Darwin Foundation, 2002.
Journal of Biology
Journal of Biology is an international journal that publishes biological research articles of exceptional interest, together with associated commentary. Original research articles that are accepted for publication will be published in full on the web within two weeks, will immediately be made freely available to all, and will also be distributed in a print edition sent to 80,000 life scientists. Articles from the full spectrum of biology are appropriate for consideration, provided they are of outstanding interest and importance. (As a guide, the journal will consider articles of a standard similar to those published in Nature, Science or Cell.)
Small Times - Big News in Small Tech
Free subscription available to qualified requestors.
Announcing the debut of a monthly mini-zine from lii.org, Librarians' Index to the Internet:
Free Range Librarian
Published on the last Monday of the month, FRL will feature brief articles about librarianship written by lii.org staff or guest contributors. In Volume 1, Issue 1, we review a book celebrating the life of Marvin Scilken, a quintessential and eminently quotable librarian, who once observed, “there seems to be no end to the inventiveness of librarians.” Think you can't learn anything from the “old guard?” Read up! Next month: we talk about the impact of this year's budget woes on library technology. Bon appetit!
The Cordis Document Library
“CORDIS, the European Commission's research and development information service, is providing a new searchable service dedicated to research and innovation documents and publications. The library brings together R&D documents, publications and magazines. The service covers articles, conference papers, projects reports, scientific publications and European Commission's innovation-related magazines. Highlights and search features provide quick means to access downloadable official documents or to consult references and abstracts.” Thanks to El.Pub for the news tip. (From the Virtual Acquisition Shelf and News Desk)
The David Suzuki Foundation
People today are become more aware of environmental issues than ever before, and yet, most of the time we don't know enough about the underlying science to evaluate the real impact of political and economic decisions facing our governments. Thankfully, the David Suzuki Foundation is here to help sort through these issues by promoting the ongoing work of Dr. David Suzuki who is known to millions of people through his work on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation science series, The Nature of Things, as well as numerous science documentaries, including The Brain and The Secret of Life. An internationally known geneticist retired from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Dr. Suzuki continues his work, educating individuals and governments about solutions to environmental issues, in part through this website, including weekly columns about science issues in the news. The site also distributes information about key issues, including climate control, Canadian rainforests, and Pacific salmon forests. Dr. Suzuki's passion for these issues is apparent, but he doesn't resort to emotional pleadings. Instead, he writes about scientific issues for a general audience, and provides logical explanations for his scientific reasoning and political positions. For issues with pending political decisions, primarily in Canada, the site alerts visitors and email newsletter subscribers with the information they need to contact their government leadership to express their position. Many of his reports are available in PDF format, and the organization sells other items to generate funds to continue the work. The website design is clear and professional, making the site easy to use. If you are looking for a voice of reason in the often confusing interaction of environmental, political, and economic issues, the Suzuki Foundation website will become your trusted advisor. Rating: 9 out of 10 CK (From New Scientist Current Picks)
Science for Peace
“We call upon the members of the world scientific community -- many of whom we know share our concern -- to actively support scientific exchanges, collaborations, and education as a wise and humane investment for peace in the future,” the council of the National Academy of Sciences said in a statement earlier this week. Expressing concern about recent developments in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, the council urged scientists to work together to build bridges of understanding between cultures.
BioVisa.net is an online community developed and maintained by life science researchers with the intent to promote information sharing among fellow researchers. The site contains links to research protocols where users can search or browse 1,774 procedures used by other scientists. Registered users can also post comments about any particular protocol. Other site features include online biological journals and forums where researchers can discuss various research topics. After the free registration, users can customize BioVisa.net to their specific interests. [AL] (From the Scout Report)
Virtual Fish Tank [Shockwave]
Adventures of Echo the Bat
The Missing Link: Evolution in Action [Flash]
The first is a virtual exhibit from the Boston Museum of Science and Nearlife, Inc. allows you to build your own fish based on characteristics like its fear of predators, preference for deep or shallow habitat, and whether it is attracted to bubbles or shiny objects. You can name your fish, watch it interact with others in your own personal tank, and release it into the museum's virtual tank. A simple registration allows users to access the site fully, which includes viewing what happened to your fish when it was released into the online tank. This is a unique site that allows users an opportunity to learn about behavior and interaction; in addition, it's just plain fun. [AL]
The second is from NASA, the US Geological Survey, and the National Biological Information Infrastructure, which have partnered to create this interactive multimedia adventure to teach grade school children about remote sensing. The Adventure of Echo is an interactive story about a young bat that introduces students to the ideas of remote sensing, habitat, and biodiversity. Available both online and in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format, the teacher's guide gives introductions and lesson plans under the headings of Understanding Light, Remote Sensing, and Biodiversity. Although remote sensing is a subject that some teachers may not be familiar with, the ideas are presented in a way that can be easily understood. This is a unique site that provides an interdisciplinary learning opportunity designed to capture students interest. [AL]
The third is an interactive game from PBS's NOVA Online which allows students to observe a population of virtual creatures as they evolve under changing conditions. Background color, controlled by the student, represents environmental conditions, while the color of the organism indicates certain adaptations and mutations. Students are able to see how changes in environmental conditions support some colors of organisms, while others become extinct. The game includes instructions and an explanation of the game's purpose, but it is most useful when used in conjunction with supplementary evolution lessons. [AL] (From the Scout Report)
Red Gold: The Epic Story of Blood
A companion piece to the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) special, this site “delves into the facts and myths about human blood and its impact on everything from religion and medicine to commerce and popular culture throughout history.” It offers information on the circulatory system, blood's physical properties, transfusions, donating blood, scientists, and bloodletting, as well as lesson plans for teachers and a discussion guide. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Tool Use in Corvids
Discussion of tool use and tool making by crows is illustrated with movies of Betty, a captive New Caledonian crow; one movie shows her shaping and using a wire hook to retrieve food. The Behavioral Ecology Research Group investigates “the biology of decision-making with the tools of evolutionary biology and experimental psychology.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
The Butterfly Farmer
This site, selected by the SciLinks Program sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association, is a wonderful resource for learning about butterflies. It contains a photo gallery and a student resource guide containing units such as butterfly physiology, pupa stage and the difference between moths and butterflies. The site can be used in English or in Spanish. (From Blue Web'N)
Peregrine Falcon Restoration in the National Parks
Several national parks, including Harper's Ferry, are participating in efforts to restore the Peregrine falcon to its original range. This website links you to the individual park projects and to additional information about this spectacular bird.
IBM: Microelectronics 101
This IBM Web site does an excellent job of describing the microelectronics technology used in making computer chips. It starts with semiconductor fabrication, leading the user through each step of the process. The painstaking work is explained in simple terms, using analogies and illustrations while still being very informative. The next topic is interconnect, or the connection between chips and the outside world. There are several sections for this as well, which explain the purpose of interconnect and why it is such an integral part of the finished product. Lastly, some of today's most significant breakthroughs in computer chip design are outlined. [CL] (From the Scout Report)
Gender and Science Digital Library
A new project from the Gender & Diversities Institute and the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, the Gender and Science Digital Library (GSDL) is a major initiative to create an interactive digital library of high quality gender and science resources. The library will assist K-12 educators in providing equitable science education by raising awareness of the effects that gender has on learning science and sharing teaching methods to address gender differences. The site is currently seeking educators to share resources that they have developed and to review material submitted by others. Teachers can also contribute by responding to a focus group survey on the design of the site. For those users who would like further information, there is also a link to the upcoming conferences in which GSDL will participate. This is an important site to watch for any science teacher concerned about gender equity issues. [AL] (From the Scout Report)
The Learning Matrix Digital Library Presents the Education Headline News Service
The Learning Matrix Digital Library Presents the Education Headline News Service This service provides direct links to articles about higher education, mathematics, science, or technology from news sources around the nation. Laura Brendon, ENC reference librarian, gathers articles and news of interest during the week and launches the news each Friday. The news can be viewed on the Learning Matrix web site or delivered via email directly to your inbox. The email service requires registration with the Learning Matrix. Please email Laura Brendon with news sources or ideas on how to improve this service. The Education Headline News for K-12 is available through the ENC website. (From the Whiteboard)
Aerospare Robotics Laboratory
The home page of this site is refreshingly simple and welcoming. The laboratory in question is at Stanford University, California and the site is about the experiments being carried out there by the university's department of aeronautics and astronautics. It explains that the research focuses on improving robotic performance through application of feedback control, integrated sensing systems, and autonomy, and that the work is done by means of experimental robots, which are described in detail on the site. The robots are designed for use in all environments, and include air-cushioned robots gliding on a granite slab to simulate movement in space, a helicopter with computer vision designed to do various tasks such as object-tracking and station-keeping, and an underwater robot. The descriptions of the experiments are simple and clear, with good pictures, but there is more detail about some than others. There are useful links to other relevant sites and an extensive list of publications, some of which can be downloaded. There are also some movies, in MPEG format, but these don't seem to have commentaries (unless my sound card was faulty in some way - always a possibility) and can be slow to download. There are details of the personnel, together with links to other places involved in similar work. A few of the links didn't work properly for me. Rating: 8 out of 10. MDH (From New Scientist Current Picks)
21stcentury.co.uk: Your Portal to the Future
This fascinating Web site explores many new technologies that seem like they came from a science fiction movie. All of the features are real, and, while they are not all guaranteed successes, they are certainly interesting to read about. One of the innovations that is generating the most attention is wearable computing. The detailed article defines the characteristics of wearable computers and describes their operational modes and attributes. Another remarkable item is the solar powered race car built by engineering students at the University of Michigan. All technologies covered on this site include links to additional related information. [CL](From the Scout Report)
International Design Contest 2002
The 2002 International Design Contest, held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, concluded on August 16. All information pertaining to the robot building competition is posted on this Web site. A standard component kit was given to each team to design their robots. An inventory of this kit, CAD models of the parts, and an overview of the control systems are given online. Many video clips can be viewed, including one that shows “the entire contest from beginning to end.” Other material not directly related to the IDC is also given, like lecture notes from a recent MIT design class. [CL] (From the Scout Report)
Purely a links website, with links to sources of seismic data and links to seismic research instutions across the US and around the world.
Volvo Ocean Adventure
The Volvo Ocean Adventure is a free web based environmental, education programme for young people world-wide, designed to educate, excite, stimulate and motivate them to see how they can have a positive impact on the environment through their own actions. This neat website has information on all aspects of the ocean, including weather, biodiversity, human impact, and much, much more. It is presented in an attractive and interesting display, although navigation is a bit subtle. A good site, Volvo!
Number Patterns, Curves & Topology
If you enjoy math, are intrigued by puzzles, teach math at any level, or love to learn about the interconnections between math and other disciplines, this site is like a box of chocolates. Jill Britton has collected and annotated links to a wide range of mathematical topics from tangrams, fractals, mazes and cycloids to the abacus, cryptography, the mobius strip, and Fibonacci Numbers, along with a mathematical perspective on the map of the London Underground, and provides links to websites with text, illustrations, animations, interactive learning tools, audio and video clips. Her annotations are brief and helpful, and she has selected links that contribute to understanding the concepts. While this site lacks some of snappy, commercial graphic feel common on sites today, it has a beautifully clear and simple design with an Escher-like graphic background. It's only shortcomings are the lack of a table of contents and a search feature, as both would make browsing easier. I wish I had access to this site when I was teaching middle school mathematics because it would have helped me to create compelling and interesting examples for my students. Rating: 8 out of 10 CK (From New Scientist Current Picks)
Beagle2: The British led exploration of Mars
What links Charles Darwin, the band Blur, and artist Damien Hirst? The answer is “Beagle 2”, the British led effort to land on Mars as part of the European Space Agency's Mars Express Mission. This is the official website of that project, which will examine conditions on Mars and search for traces of life. It is named after H.M.S. Beagle, the ship on which Darwin voyaged, leading to his writing of “On the Origin of Species”. This authoritative and elegantly designed site covers the historical background to the mission, the scientific aims, and the technology behind the lander, which is described as “a sophisticated miniature chemistry laboratory”. The site is a pleasure to browse through, with well written text and plenty of photographs and computer simulations. The “resources” section is relatively bare, with a few photographs and press releases, but this will be expanded as the project progresses. Beagle 2 is not scheduled for launch until June 2003, but the site lets you feel like you are part of the mission preparations thanks to regular updates. And what about the Blur and Damien Hirst connections? Well, Blur have composed an original piece of music called “Beagle 2” which will be played back from the surface of Mars to signal the lander's safe arrival. Artist Damien Hirst will provide an image on the lander based on his “Spot Paintings”, which will act as a colour calibrator for the on-board cameras. A true case of British ingenuity! Rating: 9 out of 10 DP-P (From New Scientist Current Picks)
The KnotPlot Site
“Here you will find a collection of knots and links, viewed from a (mostly) mathematical perspective. Nearly all of the images here were created with KnotPlot, a fairly elaborate program to visualize and manipulate mathematical knots in three and four dimensions.” The diagrams are in color and are exceptionally clear. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
The Satellite Site
The Satellite Site from the Tech Museum of Innovation is a wonderful resource for teaching satellites and also walks students through the process of building a satellite, part by part. Text is written simply and is easy to read. These explanations and descriptions of satellites are supplemented with very clear graphics. Students can use this site as a resource or as guidelines for a project building a satellite. (From Blue Web'N)
Galileo's Battle for the Heavens
This site speaks of Galileo's struggles to convince church authorities of the validity of his scientific discoveries. Also features a brief chronology of his life; articles on his experiments; an interactive section explaining his theories on falling objects, incline planes, and more; a directory of external links; a bibliography; and a teacher's guide. A companion to a NOVA episode scheduled to be aired on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in October, 2002. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Mu Alpha Theta
Mu Alpha Theta is a national mathematics honor society encompassing 55,000+ students in more than 1,300 high schools and community colleges. This site includes articles of interest to math students, challenging math problems, a scholarship program, an interactive calendar of nationwide math events to be released in August, and other items of interest to avid math students. (From Blue WebN)
AIP Statistical Research Center Presentations
“Each year, the staff of the Statistical Research Center are invited to give 15 or more talks at scientific conferences and physics departments. Many of these talks provide an overview that spans both education and employments issues. In addition, these talks often place the trends exhibited by physics within the context of data on related fields. We have been encouraged to post many of these talks on our web site. The following are the first two talks posted.
Current and Historic Trends in Physics and Related Fields. This talk was given at the conference on Unattended Radiation Sensor Systems for Remote Applications convened at the Carnegie Institute of Washington on April 15-17, 2002. It provides a statistical overview of the supply side in physics, astronomy, engineering, and related fields. Data on current and historic trends are presented at both the bachelor's and PhD levels, and several of the factors driving enrollment patterns in higher education are discussed. The conference focused on the critical role played by physicists, astronomers and engineers in anti-terrorism and the detection of weapons of mass destruction. All of the talks during the 3-day conference are scheduled to be published by the American Institute of Physics in October 2002 as Conference Proceedings #632.
Enrollments and Faculty in Physics. This talk was given at the Department Chairs Conference convened by APS and AAPT in College Park on June 7-9, 2002. It provides a statistical overview of the current and historic trends in physics enrollments from high school through to the PhD. It also provides data on physics faculty in universities and 4-year colleges, including their numbers and age distribution, as well as characteristics of new faculty hired during academic year 1999-2000.”
Shackleton on His Antarctic Expedition
A brief speech recorded in 1910 of Ernest Shackleton talking about his South Polar Expedition.
A Multimedia History of Glacier Bay, Alaska
“This web site is based on the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) video, ‘Glacier Bay, Alaska, from the Ground, Air and Space,’ which brings glaciers to life with spectacular ‘fly-bys’ of scenic rides over 3-dimensional glaciers, live video footage of ice fronts calving into the sea, dramatic picture sequences of historic and satellite data, and more.”
Dateline Moon: The Media and the Space Race
Explores the “roles that the media and news technology played in the space race.” Includes information on the Lunar TV Camera (Stan Leber, Westinghouse Electric Corporation) and its impact on television news reporting (satellites, live coverage), front page newspaper headlines of the walk on the moon, “fun facts” and discussion questions, and timelines of the space race (1957-1969) and space program (1975-1997). From the Newseum. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Migration Information Source
Recently introduced by the Migration Policy Institute, the Migration Information Source Web site offers visitors a fantastic opportunity to stay on top of trends and changes in global migration. Looking at migration from many levels and on many planes, the site considers migrations on both national and international fronts. With a dropdown menu of the countries for which data is available (currently western European countries, Australia, and the US), the database is fully searchable, with more options on the way. Perhaps most interesting to those directly working in statistical, sociological, or ethnographic analyses of migration, the resource is broadly accessible and offers compelling glimpses of migrant populations, their reasons for moving, and their rates of assimilation into host countries. For those unfamiliar with field-specific terms employed in the site's reports, there is a detailed glossary of common terms and phrases. Closer to home, the Migration Information site presents an elaborate array of reports and studies on US-Mexico relations, with an emphasis on the ever-broadening trend toward northward migration in the Americas. [WH] (From the Scout Report)
The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. brings ancient Egyptian art to life with this rich multimedia site. The elaborate funerary art focuses on the afterlife that was crucial to ancient Egyptian beliefs. Coffins, canopic jars that held a mummified body's organs, exquisite artworks, and even practical furniture were all buried with the bodies of the rich and famous. Step into a QuickTime VR version of the tomb of Thutmose III from the 1400s B.C. to view the paintings describing the journey the dead king must make to be reborn. Examine objects up close while listening to RealPlayer narratives of experts describing each item. Or simply view 18 beautiful pieces from the exhibition. The map of ancient Egypt provides a geographic context, while two PDF brochures flesh out the exhibit. This may be the next best thing to a trip down the Nile. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)
Mi'kmaq Portraits Collection
Hundreds of “portraits and illustrations in various media, of the Mi'kmaq [L'nu'k] of Atlantic Canada.” Searchable by keyword in bibliographic record, and browsable by date and geographic location. Includes video. Available in English and French. From the Nova Scotia Museum, Canada. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Theban Mapping Project
For the past year, the staff of the Theban Mapping Project has labored to create this incredible archaeological web site. Their efforts have paid off. The breadth and depth of the site is extraordinary. They've compiled a comprehensive database of information about each tomb in the Valley of the Kings, including nearly 2,000 photographs of tomb walls and 65 narrated tours. And that's just the beginning -- the interactive atlas allows you to view dozens of pictures, watch short movies, and zoom over detailed maps and sections of each tomb. The 3D tour of KV-14 provides an amazingly detailed look at the tomb and is unlike anything we've ever seen on the Web. The site's richness is sure to astound, so dig in and start exploring the Valley of the Kings. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)
“...The Times They Are A-Changin' ”: Political Protests -- Iowa State University -- May 1970
Political Protests -- Iowa State University -- May 1970 I am pleased to announce the availability of a new Virtual Exhibit from the Special Collections Department of Iowa State University entitled: “...The Times They Are A-Changin' ”: Political Protests -- Iowa State University -- May 1970 A Photographic Essay and Oral History PREFACE “In early May 1970, thousands of Iowa State University students gathered to protest the expanding war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia and the killing of four unarmed students on the campus of Kent State University. This photographic essay seeks to document significant events of the first week in May 1970 on the ISU campus and in Ames, Iowa, utilizing photographs selected from the archives of the Iowa State University Library, Special Collections Department, excerpts of reports from the university newspaper, the Iowa State Daily, and summaries from a chronological account of these and other events presented in a masters thesis that analyzed the newspaper and its portrayal of events during the 'radical' decade, 1966-1975. In addition, selected quotes and excerpts from the university yearbook, Bomb, for 1970, have been incorporated. These accounts are augmented by links to the full text of interview transcripts of select key individuals who were directly involved in the events of May 1970.”
Created and sustained by Kirsten Foot, assistant professor of communication at the University of Washington, and Steven Schneider, associate professor of political science at the SUNY Institute of Technology, politicalweb.info monitors political candidates' use of the Internet throughout the 2002 campaign season. Offering a glimpse into the US electoral Web sphere, this site tracks the emergence and development of House, Senate, and Gubernatorial campaign Web sites and provides weekly analysis regarding the content and features available on these sites, as well as whether or not the candidates are encouraging or deterring public involvement. [MG] (From the Scout Report)
The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame
Explore the Mesoamerican world and the history of this ancient ball game from over 3000 years ago. Learn about the culture, artwork, game in nine cultures including the Olmec, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec. There is a timeline displaying what was simultaneously occurring around the world. There is also information about the game, uniform, court, and ball as well as an opportunity to experience the game either by watching or playing. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)
CIS “is a non-profit, non-partisan research institute which examines and critiques the impact of immigration on the United States.” The site publishes news, articles, reports, and publications on immigration issues, and lists a variety of immigration topics which reflect concerns of the U.S. government, such as terrorism and national security. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
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COPYRIGHT LEGISLATION WOULD LIMIT RIGHTS
Reps. Howard Coble of North Carolina and Howard Berman of California have drafted a bill that could potentially put severe limits on fair use while giving Webcasters something of a reprieve. Currently, the doctrine of fair use allows consumers to make copies of copyrighted content for specific purposes, including educational and other nonprofit activities. The bill, as currently drafted, would end the exemption that allows this copying. But the bill would make legal the temporary copies that Webcasters must use to broadcast files over the Internet. Some groups have complained that these temporary copies violate copyright. Civil rights and academic groups oppose the restrictions on fair use in the bill, and some noted that the exemption for Webcasters would be moot if Congress enacts a royalty schedule, which could force many Webcasters out of business.
CNET, 11 July 2002 via Edupage
ONLINE PEER REVIEWS GAIN MOMENTUM
Among the 25,000 peer-reviewed journals worldwide, an increasing number are abandoning the traditional, mail-based process for reviewing and editing articles, turning instead to electronic systems. According to Rick Johnson, enterprise director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, “Journals sink or swim based on whether they attract the top authors.” The significant time savings from conducting the peer-review process electronically, he said, puts journals that make the change at a competitive advantage over those that do not. Money saved on postage can also be substantial. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology expects to save 80 percent of its postal budget, $60,000 to $70,000 per year, by switching to an electronic system. Other advantages include convenience and reduced risk of errors and lost mailings.
New York Times, 12 August 2002 (registration req'd) via Edupage
HOUSE PASSES BILL TO FUND STUDY IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed the Tech Talent Act, the goal of which is to increase the number of students pursuing undergraduate educations in science and technology. The Tech Talent Act would provide about $390 million in grants over five years to fund programs in math, science, engineering, and technology at U.S. colleges and universities. Those institutions, then, would be expected to produce more graduates in these fields. The money, which would come from the National Science Foundation, would also be used to cover faculty training and equipment purchased for the program. The bill now goes to the Senate.
IDG, 10 July 2002 via Edupage
SENATE POSTPONES VOTE ON CYBERSECURITY BILL
The Senate has postponed voting on a bill that would fund research on network security because of an amendment requiring federal agencies to adopt computer-security standards. Industry groups oppose the requirement because they worry it will impose limits on which technologies government agencies could use, preventing relationships with some businesses. A spokesman for the Senator who added the amendment, though, said it was intended to be technology neutral. Observers noted that requiring standards of government could lead to the imposition of security standards for colleges and universities, also. This worries some who otherwise support the bill. Eugene H. Spafford of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security at Purdue University said that although security is very important, no one should prescribe how networks are made secure.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 11 July 2002 via Edupage
SOME LIBRARIES MOVING AWAY FROM BOOKS
Many libraries, particularly those on college campuses, increasingly face the question of whether technology will replace books as their primary means of distributing information. Some institutions such as the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities have thoroughly renovated their libraries, moving stacks to the basement and installing computer labs and other technology resources in the main areas of the building. Many colleges and universities similarly are updating their libraries with network access, multimedia facilities, and wireless technology. Critics of this trend worry that a focus on technology and tools will replace genuine learning. Many defend books as being as useful and relevant as computers and information technology. Some institutions try to address the concerns of both groups, preserving a focus on books while adding technology to their facilities.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 8 July 2002 via Edupage
DIGITAL DIVIDE PERSISTS
A new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation indicates a persistent and wide gap in access to technology for households of different incomes and races. For those with household incomes of at least $75,000, computer access is 95 percent and access to the Internet is 63 percent. For households with less than $15,000 annually, those numbers drop to 33 and 14. Despite significant jumps in the access for black and Hispanic groups, 46 and 47 percent respectively, they still lag far behind the 83 percent access of whites. Wide differences in access also exist from one state to another, and the study shows significant gaps for access among suburban, rural, and urban households.
Wall Street Journal, 5 July 2002 (sub. req'd) via Edupage
GOVERNMENT WANTS TO REINVENT INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES
A new project from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has as its goal the “total reinvention of technologies for storing and accessing information.” The Total Information Awareness (TIA) system, which will be funded by grants from DARPA, is an attempt by the federal government to construct a highly data-intensive system that can spot clues to terrorist plans long before they come to fruition. Grant applicants are warned that no money will be invested in “research that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to existing technology”; officials are committed to a fundamental redesign of technology. TIA plans call for unprecedented amounts of data, measured in petabytes, to be stored and accessed. Civil liberties groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation find the prospect of such a system very worrisome without strict rules to prevent it from becoming a powerful secret spy machine.
Wired News, 7 August 2002 via Edupage
CELL PROGRAM PROMISES SUPERCOMPUTER ON A CHIP
IBM, Toshiba, and Sony have teamed up on a project to develop a processor reportedly 100 times faster than a 2.5 GHz Pentium 4. The project, called Cell, could lead to a single processor capable of one teraflop, or one trillion calculations per second. The Cell chip has an architecture comprising several cores -- effectively having multiple processors -- on the same chip, allowing it to execute data-heavy communications while running high-end media. The result is a processor that is expected to significantly improve the experience for video games, DVDs, and other processor-intense applications. Analysts said the challenge will be writing applications that can take full advantage of the flexibility and power of the new chip.
NewsFactor Network, 7 August 2002 via Edupage
THREE VIRGINIA SCHOOLS PARTNER IN NEW TECHNOLOGY CENTER
Virginia has started construction on an $18 million, 90,000-square-foot academic technology center called the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, in Danville. It will be jointly run by Averett University and Danville Community College, both located in Danville, and Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg. All three plan to offer joint degree programs in technology areas, with classes face-to-face and online in nature. The center will provide equipment and facilities, including supercomputers, for student research. High-speed Internet cables are being installed for the institute and to attract technology companies to the area. The center is scheduled for completion in 2003.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 20 August 2002 (sub. req'd) via Edupage
REPORT SAYS EMPLOYEES LACK TECHNOLOGY SKILLS
A report issued by the National Policy Association says that despite the current slump in technology jobs, the real problem is a shortage of skills. According to James Auerbach of the association, when the economy picks up, “we will have the same shortage we did two to three years ago.” The report notes that although employers can be more selective in the current market, there remains a greater demand for applicants with certain skills than are available. Jack Scott, a technical adviser on curriculum for the School of Technology at Claremont Graduate University and vice president and CIO at The viaLink Company, said the skills gap is in part a result of declining numbers of computer science graduates from U.S. higher education. Scott said that unlike the '80s and '90s, when computer science was a “sexy” field to enter, many U.S. students today are opting instead for business career paths. Technology skills, he said, have shifted to countries such as China and India, which have invested in developing home-grown technical expertise.
NewsFactor Network, 19 August 2002 via Edupage
IBM RESEARCHER TRIES TO BUILD AN ETHICAL COMPUTER
A scientist at IBM is working on a “Hippocratic database” that he says is based on a code of responsibility for the data it holds. Rakesh Agrawal's idea was influenced by his brother, a doctor, who pointed out that the Hippocratic Oath is a strong foundation for people's trust in their doctors. Agrawal's database goes beyond basic rules for handling data, including reasons why each piece of data is collected and limits on how long those data should be kept. Data that are no longer needed are deleted from the database. Rules in the functioning of the database allow enforcement of the underlying policies for what data are collected, how they are used, and how long they are kept. According to Agrawal, a World Wide Web Consortium standard that aims for the same level of trust lacks any provision for enforcement.
PCWorld, 27 August 2002 via Edupage
NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR FLAT-PANEL MONITORS
A group of researchers at Penn State University said that light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs) might prove to be a viable alternative to using LEDs (light-emitting diodes) in color flat-panel monitors. Weaknesses of LEDs in such monitors include speed, stability, and longevity. The researchers said the LECs they have created, by placing luminescent polymers between two electrodes, address these problems, while using less power to function. Not all of the necessary colors have been developed, but the Penn State researchers said they are in process. The result of this work with LECs could be simple, low-cost flat-panel monitors.
NewsFactor Network, 27 August 2002 via Edupage
HIGHER EDUCATION GRAPPLES WITH ONLINE LEARNING VENTURES
A series of setbacks and difficulties have kept for-profit, online higher education spin-offs from realizing success. Ventures at schools including Columbia University and New York University have been scaled back or dropped. UMUC Online, the online project of the University of Maryland University College, was scrapped last fall. But many involved in such initiatives still believe in the potential for online higher education. Gerald A. Heeger, the president of UMUC and champion of UMUC Online, thinks that online learning can actually be better than traditional, residential education. Matthew Pittinsky, chairman of Blackboard, said that for every failed venture there are five that succeed. Adam Newman of Eduventures said that the industry has seen a “retrenchment” that focuses online initiatives where they can succeed, such as in supplements to traditional classes.
Washington Post, 27 August 2002
PERCEIVED LACK OF QUALITY STILL HAUNTS ONLINE DEGREES
Despite an increase from 12 to 30 last year in the number of institutions offering degrees that can be earned entirely online, graduates of those programs still face the perception of having a second-rate degree. Robert Tucker, the president of InterEd, a company that tracks online education programs, said the reason is that people making hiring decisions usually come from traditional, resident programs and that they are generally skeptical of online education. Indeed, a representative of the American Bar Association, which refuses to accredit online-only Concord Law School, said that “Someday, [proper] training may be online, but it's not there yet.” Supporters of online programs say the medium of instruction is inconsequential to the quality of education. The University of Maryland University College offers both residential and online programs, but transcripts from the school do not indicate which medium was used for the degree.
Wired News, 28 August 2002 via Edupage
Sizzling Organic Chemistry Dramas
“Offered here for your enjoyment are four short organic chemistry plays that illustrate reaction mechanisms. These were performed in an actual organic chemistry class.” There are no girl parts or boy parts, just atom parts, but there are plenty of atomic shenanigans ... A very creative offering here, although definitely off Broadway.
Turning the Pages
Even if you visit the British Library in person, you aren't allowed to turn the pages of the valuable, historic manuscripts in the library's collection. But thanks to this site, you can flip through page after page of the 15th-century Sherborne Missal, the largest, most lavishly decorated service book to survive Britain's Protestant Reformation. Leaf through the pages to admire the artistry, and listen to audio describing this masterpiece of Gothic style. Zoom in on select graphics to get a close-up of the exquisite calligraphy and painting. The Turning the Pages project has digitized eight treasures, including a 7th-century Gospel, a 1st-century Buddhist text, and one of Leonardo da Vinci's mirror-writing notebooks. Only the Sherborne Missal is currently online, but it's such a tantalizing treat that you'll yearn to experience the other treasures in a similar fashion. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)
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.
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