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Science and Technology Library Newsletter: November 29, 2002 Edition.
Newsletter Archive > 2002 November 29 Issue

Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


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  1. NEW MATHEMATICS PRIZE ANNOUNCED: To be presented alongside the Fields Award.
  2. FAREWELL PUBSCIENCE: Will Agricola also be targeted?
  3. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: The first annual celebration of visionaries from the worlds of research, industry and politics whose recent accomplishments point toward a brighter technological future for everyone.
  4. AROUND TOWN & ON THE NET: Science events in the DC area and on the internet.
  6. INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: NLM Digital Library Grants, Engines of Our Ingenuity, The Wayback Machine Officially Launches Document Comparison Tool, The Accidental Scientist: The Science of Cooking; Biological Sciences: Electric Heart (from NOVA Online), Field Expeditions: Mozambique, Ergito, Plant Pathology Image of the Week, Build-A-Prairie; Computer and Information Science: Digital Imaging and Image Processing, An Atlas of Cyberspaces, Top 500 Supercomputer sites; Engineering: Invention at Play, History of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, The Hypercar Concept, Housing In Earthquake Zones; Geosciences: Operational Significant Event Imagery (OSEI), The Missoula Floods, California Coastal Records Project; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: The Zero Saga & Confusions with Numbers, NASA's Origins Program, Einstein, Math for Elementary School Kids, Macalester College Problem of the Week, In Search of the Missing ...e, Leonids: Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign (Leonid MAC), Illuminations; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: Ethnic Images in Toys and Games, Energy and Water for Sustainable Living: A Compendium of Energy and Water Success Stories, The Freud Museum of Vienna, PBS: Borders Virtual Series, Ethnic Images in the Comics, National American Indian Heritage Month, Justice Learning: Civic education in the real world . . . and more . . . plus news items from Edupage
  7. INTER ALIA: Turkey Science ... and Best Inventions.


    SPARC Partner Documenta Mathematica Contributes E-Publishing Savings to New Prize for Mathematicians

    Journal Editor Cites Desire To “Return Science to Scientists”
    Washington, DC - SPARC partner Documenta Mathematica has contributed savings gleaned from electronic publication of a recent special journal edition to the creation of a new prize for the international math community. The prize, known as the Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize, includes a medal and EUR 10,000. It will be awarded by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and administered by the German Math Society (Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung, or DMV). The prize will be given every four years during the International Congress of Mathematicians, alongside the Fields Medal. The first award will be given in 2006.

    “SPARC is founded on the idea of returning science to scientists and Documenta Mathematica has long put that theory into practice,” said Ulf Rehmann, managing editor of Documenta Mathematica. “Redirecting our earnings back into research, rather than giving it to commercial science publishers, is both logical and rewarding. It is our way of illustrating that electronic journals can succeed in returning science to its rightful owners, thus pushing research forward.”

    Documenta Mathematica's ability “to produce two thirds of the Proceedings before the Congress and one third immediately after is a remarkable demonstration of the potential to publish a major book at minimal cost with no commercial assistance,” said David Mumford, the IMU president who presided over the conference.

    Founded by the DMV in 1995, Documenta Mathematica is a free, peer-reviewed electronic journal covering general mathematics. The DMV awarded Documenta Mathematica the contract to produce the ICM'98 Proceedings as an extra volume, with a grant of EUR 25,000 to cover production costs. As an established electronic journal with little overhead, Documenta Mathematica produced the electronic version of the proceedings for only EUR 1,250. It transferred back to the DMV the savings plus EUR 6,500 earned in sales of the edition, for a total contribution of EUR 30,250. The DMV then used this contribution and other savings achieved at ICM'98 to found the Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize, announced earlier this year.

    For further information about Documenta Mathematica: and For further information about the Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize:


    Government Shuts Down PubScience

    The United States Department of Energy shut down PubScience, an Internet site that catalogued government and academic science research, in response to corporate complaints that it competed with commercial services. Searching on PubScience was free, with the service linking either to free full texts or to payment systems for information that was for sale. Two commercial equivalents also offer free searching, with academic literature available for a fee. Researchers worry that commercial companies will control access to and charge fees for information and research that was created with public money. Closing PubScience will save the government $200,000 a year. Washington Post, 21 November 2002 via Edupage.

    Having persuaded the Energy Department to pull the plug on PubScience, a Web site that offered free access to scientific and technical articles, commercial publishers are taking aim at government-funded information services offering free legal and agricultural data. Two in particular rile SIIA members: ‘One is law-related, the other has to do with agriculture,’ LeDuc said. He declined to identify them further. One site the SIIA is unlikely to challenge is PubMed, the National Library of Medicine site that provides free access to millions of medical articles and research papers. PubMed was established much earlier and has a strong foothold, LeDuc said. “We have no intention of going after PubMed.” (From the Article via Resource Shelf (


    The Scientific American 50 Award

    Scientific American is pleased to honor these 50 individuals, teams, companies and other organizations. Through their many accomplishments in 2001-2002, they have demonstrated clear, progressive views of what our technological future could be, as well as the leadership, knowledge and expertise essential to realizing those visions. Congratulations. Fields include:

    • Research Leaders of the Year
    • Business Leader of the Year
    • Agriculture
    • Chemicals & Materials
    • Communications
    • Computing
    • Defense
    • Energy
    • Environment
    • Manufacturing
    • Medicine
    • Transportation
    • General Technology

    Differential Susceptibility of Older People to Environmental Hazards's_New.html

    The National Academies hold a workshop on “Differential Susceptibility of Older People to Environmental Hazards.” The meeting features the Environmental Protection Agency's Christie Whitman along with many other experts. Participate by listening to a live audio webcast (requires free RealPlayer) and submitting questions using an e-mail form, both accessible on the home page beginning at 9 a.m. EST Thursday, Dec. 5. More workshop information available on the Web at:'s_New.html

    AAAS Luncheon Seminar

    Seminar Dec. 2 (Mon.) Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs The Washington Science Policy Alliance is pleased to invite you to a luncheon seminar entitled “The Economics of Science for Sustainable Development,” featuring Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, world-renowned economist and Director of the Columbia University Earth Institute. The seminar will be held in the AAAS Auditorium (1200 New York Avenue, NW, 2nd floor, Washington, DC at Metro Center) on Monday, December 2, 2002. Dr. Sachs' talk with begin promptly at 12:00 noon, and following questions and discussion, lunch will be served. The event should wrap up by about 1:30 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, please go to

    PCAST Technology Transfer Forum

    PCAST Technology Transfer Forum Thursday, December 12, 2002
    RAND Washington Office (directions)
    1200 South Hayes Street, Arlington, VA
    Room 4204
    This PCAST forum will discuss technology transfer of federally funded R&D. To preregister to address the panel during the Open Forum, complete and submit the information requested below before midnight December 6, 2002. Note that all preregistered speakers will address the panel in the order in which their online registrations were received. Those wanting to speak who do not preregister online before midnight December 6, 2002, will be allowed to address the panel after all preregistered speakers have made their presentations. All speakers will be allowed between 3 and 5 minutes to address the panel, with the exact amount of time allotted to all speakers announced on the day of the meeting.

    Institute of Medicine Annual Meeting Presentations
    Audio and slide presentations are available from the Institute of Medicine annual meeting held October 14 and 15. Day one of the annual meeting addressed “Genomics and the Future of Health and Society” and day two focused on “Organizational Change and Leadership.”


    Protecting America's Freedom in the Information Age, Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. Markle Foundation, Oct. 2002.

    Preparing for the Revolution: Information Technology and the Future of the Research University. NAP, 2002.

    Who Will Keep the Public Healthy? Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century (prepublication). NAP, 2002.

    Frontiers in High Energy Density Physics: The X-Games of Contemporary Science (prepublication). NAP, 2002.

    An Assessment of Precision Time and Time Interval Science and Technology. NAP, 2002.

    An Assessment of Non-Lethal Weapons Science and Technology (prepublication). NAP, 2002.

    Toward New Partnerships In Remote Sensing: Government, the Private Sector, and Earth Science Research. NAP, 2002.

    The End of Stress As We Know It. John Henry Press, 2002.

    Down to Earth: Geographical Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. NAP, 2002.

    Research Opportunities in Geography at the U.S. Geological Survey. NAP, 2002.

    Immunization Safety Review: SV40 Contamination of Polio Vacccine and Cancer. NAP, 2002.

    Immunization Safety Review: Hepatitis B Vaccine and Demyelinating Neurological Disorders. NAP, 2002.

    Scientific and Policy Considerations in Developing Smallpox Vaccination Options: A Workshop Report. NAP, 2002.

    Discouraging Terrorism: Some Implications of 9/11. NAP, 2002.

    The Common Thread: A Story of Science, Politics, Ethics, and the Human Genome. NAP, 2002.

    Lehigh University has launched Digital Bridges at Digital Bridges is a collection of thirty representative 19th century American bridge engineering monographs, manuals, and documents from the Lehigh University Libraries' Special Collections.

    An Introduction to Stem Cell Research. Department of the Parliamentary Library, Australian Parliament.

    Key Ethical Issues in Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Department of Parliamentary Libraries, Parliament of Australia.

    The Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006). European Union, 2002.

    Fostering Rapid Advances in Health Care: Learning from System Demonstrations. NAP, 2002.

    The Internet Under Crisis Conditions: Learning from September 11. NAP, 2002.

    Freight Capacity for the 21st Century -- Special Report 271. NAP, 2002.

    Animal Biotechnology: Science Based Concerns. NAP, 2002.

    The National Plant Genome Initiative: Objectives for 2003-2008. NAP, 2002.

    Scientific Data for Decision Making Toward Sustainable Development: Senegal River Basin Case Study -- Summary of a Workshop. NAP, 2002.

    Improving the Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT). NAP, 2002.

    Theoretical Foundations for Decision Making in Engineering Design. NAP, 2002.

    The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Lectures--2001: Exploring Complementary and Alternative Medicine. NAP, 2002.

    Terrorism: Perspectives from the Behavioral and Social Sciences. NAP, 2002.

    Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence. NAP, 2002.

    Inclusion of Women in Clinical Trials: Policies for Population Subgroups. NAP, 2002.

    Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ground Beef: Review of a Draft Risk Assessment. NAP, 2002.

    Touch the Universe: A NASA Braille Book of Astronomy. NAP, 2002.

    Defining the Mandate of Proteomics in the Post-Genomics Era: Workshop Report. NAP, 2002.

    National Security and Homeland Defense: Challenges for the Chemical Sciences in the 21st Century. NAP, 2002.

    The Future of the Public's Health in the 21st Century. NAP, 2002.

    Speaking of Health: Assessing Health Communication Strategies for Diverse Populations. NAP, 2002.

    Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. NAP, 2002.

    Information to Measure Compliance with International Labor Standards: Summary of a Workshop. NAP, 2002.

    Preparing Our Teachers: Opportunities for Better Reading Instruction. NAP, 2002.


    Engines of Our Ingenuity

    The Engines of Our Ingenuity is a radio program that tells the story of how our culture is formed by human creativity. Written and hosted by John Lienhard, it is heard nationally on Public Radio and produced by KUHF-FM Houston. Among other features, this web site houses the transcripts for every episode heard since the show's inception in 1988. Streaming audio is available on each of the posted episodes.

    The Accidental Scientist: The Science of Cooking

    This site explores cooking as a science, from the challenge of high-altitude baking to creating sculptures from table salt. “Here you'll find recipes, activities, and Webcasts that will enhance your understanding of the science behind food and cooking and may even make you a better cook!” The first Webcast, The Science of Cooking Your Holiday Turkey, will be held Wednesday, November 20, 2002. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    John Sulston, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in medicine, will speak about the race to sequence the genome in a lecture at 7 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 14 at the National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Sulston is the author of “The Common Thread: A Story of Science, Politics, Ethics and the Human Genome,” a new book from the National Academies' Joseph Henry Press. A reception and book signing will follow the lecture, which is open to the public and free of charge. (

    The Grammy-nominated Eroica Trio performs at 3 p.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 17. The program, sponsored by the National Academies' Office of Exhibitions and Cultural Programs, features pieces from Beethoven, Loeillet and Arensky. The concert, which takes place at the National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C., is open to the public and free of charge. (

    The Wayback Machine Officially Launches Document Comparison Tool

    About two months ago, the VAS&ND ran a post about a beta of a page comparison tool available on The Wayback Machine. Yesterday, Docucomp, the developer of the software, announced that the Internet Archive has officially licensed the software. From the announcement, “With the new DocuComp capability, Wayback Machine visitors can instantly identify the differences between any two historical web page versions in the website archive of more than 10 billion pages.” Here's a quick example. 1) Go to the Advanced Wayback Interface 2) Select the Comparison Box 3) Make Sure the “List All Pages That Match Search Criteria” is Selected in the URL Matching Section 4) Enter a Web Page URL in the Search Box (Example: A search and comparison of the AOL Privacy Policy) 5) Check the Two Pages You Want to Compare (I've Selected 4/29/99 & 1/25/02), Click The “Compare Two Dates” Button 6) Your Results Appear in A Matter of Seconds! Removed Text will be in Red, New Content in Green. Link Directly To This VAS&ND Post posted by g price on Wednesday, November 06, 2002 (From the Resource Shelf)

    NLM Digital Library Grants

    “The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces 52 awards in its new Internet Access to Digital Libraries (IADL) grant program. The purpose of the IADL grants is to help health-related organizations provide consumers, health professionals and health staff with access to digital health information resources and information services of the highest quality. These projects will use computers linked to the Internet to give access to published articles and books, electronic health records, curriculum materials and scientific knowledge bases.”

    Biological Sciences

    Electric Heart (from NOVA Online)

    One of many online resources at NOVA, this ebsite program tells the story of the pursuit of a practical artificial heart. Here's what you'll find online: 1) Map of the Human Heart: how the human heart works with an automatically changing color graphic of a heart in cross-section; 2) Amazing Heart Facts; 3) Artificial Human; 4) Pioneering Surgeon: O. H. Frazier: O. H. Frazier has done more heart transplants than anyone else alive, well over 700. He talks about his work, his thoughts, and his hopes; 5) Operation: Heart Transplant: try your hand as a heart-transplant surgeon in this simplified online procedure; 6) additional resources. (added 10/18/02, reviewed 10/18/02) (From Blue Web'N)

    Field Expeditions: Mozambique

    Rich with tribal cultures, a diverse terrain, and wild animal life, Mozambique is described as Africa's hidden jewel. Join a team of conservationists from the World Wildlife Fund as they help establish new national parks in the country, while battling illegal fishing and watching for rampaging wildlife. Learn about the animals of the region, including elephants, wild dogs, whales, dolphins, and dugongs -- sea cows that are related to manatees. Watch video of coconut crabs and whale sharks, then read the expedition's daily dispatches about everything from community development to beekeeping to “no-go” zones. Ask the scientists about relations between environmentalists and locals and how the new parks came into existence. Finally, get the big picture with maps of the region. It's a fascinating safari and important environmental lesson, all in one package. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)

    Plant Pathology Image of the Week

    Ever wonder what Ergot looks like? Or Cedar apple rust gall? At this site you will not only find pictures of these plant diseases, but the pictures will be breathtaking!


    The prairie is one of North America's great ecosystems and a vital habitat for many plants and animals. The prairie once spread across 1.5 million square kilometers of the Great Plains! Today, only two percent of native prairie remains. Build-A-Prairie is an interactive game which lets you restore the prairie. In addition to the game, you have access to a Field Guide of prairie plants, birds, insects, and mammals as well as Quicktime movies and VR panoramas of prairies. Brought to you by Bell LIVE! 1999 and the University of Minnesota. (added 10/25/02, reviewed 10/25/02) (From Blue Web'N)


    (Free registration required)
    This site-in-progress hopes to present an integrated approach to the biological sciences at several levels. When complete, the site will contain sections on biochemtistry, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, etc, each with the scope of a major text on the subject. The first chapters of several modules are now available. In addition, there are several new essays in the Great Experiments series, in which scientists write about the significance of their discoveries. We are also about to introduce two new series, dealing with Techniques and with Protein Structures. Some parts of the site require a paid subscription, but there is a fair amount of interesting free pages available, including a glossary, several of the book chapters, and the Great Experiments series listed above.

    Computer and Information Science

    An Atlas of Cyberspaces

    “CyberGeography is the study of the spatial nature of computer communications networks, particularly the Internet, the World-Wide Web and other electronic 'places' that exist behind our computer screens, popularly referred to as cyberspace.” The Atlas of Cyberspaces highlights many efforts from around the world to visualize this type of information. Some of the features have links to download software tools, like an experimental browser that portrays Web sites as three dimensional buildings (the bigger the building, the more popular it is). Other features are more abstract; one project at Harvard University developed a visualization tool that depicts users' online behavior. [CL] (From the Scout Report)

    Digital Imaging and Image Processing

    Kodak Digital Learning Center

    Digital Imaging

    HIPR2: Image Processing Learning Resources

    Introduction to Metric Pattern Theory

    Journal of Electronic Imaging Online

    Mathematics Experiences Through Image Processing (METIP)

    Philips: Making 3-D TV Possible

    Technology Review: Holograms in Motion

    Applications for image processing exist in many of today's top technologies. Embodying many elements from computer science and mathematics, the science is used in digital cameras, photo editing tools, and much more. The first site is an excellent introduction to digital imaging from the Eastman Kodak Company (1). There are five lessons with review questions and competency exams, covering fundamentals, image capture, and processing. A more technical introduction is found at the Digital Imaging Glossary (2). This educational resource has several short articles about compression algorithms and specific imaging techniques. The Hypermedia Image Processing Reference (3) goes into the theory of image processing. It describes operations involving image arithmetic, blending multiple images, and feature detectors, to name a few; and several of the sections have illustrative Java applets. The Center for Imaging Science at John Hopkins University (4) offers two chapters from a book on “metric pattern theory.” A brief overview of the material is provided on the main page, and the chapters can be viewed on or offline with special plug-ins given on the Web site. The Journal of Electronic Imaging (5) is a quarterly publication with many papers on current research. The final issue of 2002 has a special section on Internet imaging that is quite interesting. A research project at the University of Washington (6) focuses on the role of mathematics in image processing. Besides a thorough description of the project, there is free software and documentation given on the Web site. Philips Research (7) is working on a product that seems like something from a science fiction movie. Three dimensional television and the technologies that make it possible are described on the site. Related to this is a November 2002 news article discussing holograms and 3-D video displays (8). The devices are being studied by the Spatial Imaging Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. [CL] (From the Scout Report)

    Top 500 Supercomputer sites

    For the first time ever, 2 PC-based clusters were able to gain a top 10 spot. At position 5 is a cluster at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory built by Linux NetworX and Quadrics. At position 8 is a cluster at the Forecast Systems Laboratory at NOAA built by HPTi with a Myrinet interconnect. The new TOP500 list, as well as the former lists, can be found on the Web at Gaining entry into the top 10 positions on the new list now requires achieving a Linpack performance of more than 3.2 Tflop/s. Already 47 systems are reported to exceed Linpack performance of 1 Tflop/s. Clearly, Teraflop-level systems are in widespread use now. The list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany, Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee.


    Invention at Play

    Remember the halcyon days of finding shapes in clouds, doodling on paper, creating cities from building blocks, and just letting your imagination run free? That same childlike wonderment and imaginative play is what inspired many past and present-day inventors. This Smithsonian exhibition invites you to tinker around an invention playhouse and see if you can spur any creative juices. In the case of Alexander Graham Bell, a few paper doodles were the first imaginings of the indispensable telephone. Drug pioneer Gertrude Elion likened her important experiments to playing with a jigsaw puzzle. Through the inventors' stories, you may notice a running theme of recognizing the unusual, borrowing from nature, and asking countless questions. You'll discover that necessity is not always the mother of invention. Sometimes, you just have to think like a kid. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)

    History of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

    The Department of Special Collections at the University of Washington has created an excellent online exhibit documenting the rise and (literal) fall of the Tacoma Narrows bridge in Washington State, an event referred to as the Pearl Harbor of engineering. The massive structure was built between 1938 and 1940 and, at the time of its completion, was the third longest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge displayed some notable wavelike motions during the final stages of construction, but no one was prepared for what happened on November 7, 1940, when the entire structure began to buckle, and shortly collapsed into the water below. Amazingly, the only fatality was a dog that was trapped in one of the vehicles on the main span of the bridge. The online exhibit documents this amazing event, with numerous photographs of the bridge under construction, and most incredibly, dramatic shots of the bridge buckling and its fall taken by several bystanders. This exhibit will be of particular interest to engineers, particularly those working in the field of bridge construction. [KMG] (From the Scout Report)

    The Hypercar Concept

    The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) introduces the Hypercar vehicle on this Web site. Focusing on environmentally friendly operation, lightweight construction, and streamlined, aerodynamic design, the Hypercar attempts to maximize fuel efficiency. While it is still in the research and development phase, RMI hopes to make it the dominant vehicle on the road by 2020. A great deal of information is given on this site, addressing issues of safety and performance, advanced composites, hydrogen fuel cells, and hybrid- electric drivetrains. There are technical publications on different design aspects of the Hypercar, as well as analyses of possible effects on different industries resulting from the Hypercar's deployment. [CL] (From the Scout Report)

    Housing In Earthquake Zones

    Wondering about the kinds of houses are built in earthquake zones? The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) encyclopedia describes the types of housing used in several different countries which are susceptible to earthquakes.

    To use this site you'll have to use IE, enable ActiveX, and have Shockwave player installed. The front page has a Shockwave world map. Click on an area of the map and that area comes into focus with a list of countries available. (Areas include Asia, North America, etc.) Click on a country and you'll get detailed information on it, including a hazard map (possibilities of earthquakes across that country), general country information (such as urban indicators and human settlement indicators) housing reports (available in PDF and HTML format) and a list of country specific links. The housing reports provide extensive information on housing types in the country, though each country varies on how many reports it has. India is a good country to look at -- a report on the bhonga, a traditional construction type of the Kutch district of Gujarat state in India, provides pictures and background on how such structures did during the 7.6 Bhuj earthquake in 2001. There are several other housing reports for India in addition to this one.

    If you don't want to browse this site, you can also use the search engine to search by geographical area, building function, urban or rural construction, period of practice (how long that kind of building has been built), load bearing of structure, building materials, and other variables. (From Research Buzz)


    Operational Significant Event Imagery (OSEI)

    Here are “high-resolution, detailed imagery of significant environmental events which are visible in remotely-sensed data.” Satellite time lapse and still images, often visually appealing, display major dust storms, fires, floods, icebergs, ocean events, severe weather, snow, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, volcanoes, and “Unique Imagery.” Includes current events and a daily report (Monday through Friday). There are links to further information. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    The Missoula Floods

    Overview of the cataclysmic Ice Age floods from glacial Lake Missoula that defined the landscape of Oregon and Washington. Describes the formation of this unique geology of channeled scabland, ripple marks, coulees, cataracts, and the Columbia River gorge. Includes maps, glossary, and links. Companion Web site to the Oregon Public Broadcasting documentary, Ice Age Flood. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    California Coastal Records Project

    This project “is intended to create a permanent record of the California coastline as it is today” using digital color photography. Updated photographs will reflect environmental changes, deterioration, and development. Photos are taken from a helicopter. Click on the map, or enter coordinates of longitude and latitude to search for a specific site. From environmental activists Kenneth and Gabrielle Adelman. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    NASA's Origins Program

    NASA focuses its biggest telescopes on galaxies, stars, planets, and life itself. The Origins Program addresses two defining scientific questions: “Where do we come from?” and “Are we alone?” Using both ground-based observatories and space-based missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA scans the skies. Scientists want to find out how galaxies and planets evolved and created the right chemical conditions to support life on Earth. Knowing how our own planet developed helps scientists pinpoint other planets capable of sustaining life. For a look at planned spacecraft, check out the Origins video. Learn about ultra-lightweight telescopes and other new technology being developed for the project. The timeline of the universe gives a refresher course on the Big Bang and what came after. If an extraterrestrial is out there, the Origins Program may be the first to find it. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)

    Math for Elementary School Kids

    Teach R Kids Math is a Web site with a large assortment of interactive lessons that demonstrate basic mathematical concepts. The material ranges from basic counting for preschoolers to more advanced topics for elementary school students. Online worksheets help children practice multiplication, division, rounding, fractions, number sequences, and much more. Some of the activities are timed, which allows the child to see his/her improvement. The site “has been designed by children and adults,” making it especially tuned to the most efficient ways of conveying information. This site is also reviewed in the November 8, 2002 _NSDL MET Report_. [CL] (From the Scout Report)

    Macalester College Problem of the Week

    The Macalester College Problem of the Week (MacPOW) is a tradition that began in 1968 as a fun, challenging activity for freshmen college students. It continues to this day, and about 200 problems are archived on this Web site (out of nearly 1,000 total). All of the unique conundrums are mathematically oriented, and most are word problems that require visualization and critical thinking skills. There is a mailing list to which users can subscribe and receive solutions to each problem at the end of the week. However, because MacPOW is maintained by a professor who regularly uses these problems in class, solutions only remain on the site for the duration of each semester. [CL] (From the Scout Report)

    In Search of the Missing ... e

    Just goes to show you that a regular teacher can create interesting web-based content! This site is based on the standard webquest formula which includes an Introduction, Task, Process, Resources, Evaluation, and Conclusion. The premise: 'Captain Anti-Math' has stolen the number 'e' from your hometown. Many local businesses cannot FUNCTION (as in mathematical function). Using Resources provided, students must design an 'e' problem/solution related to their chosen business. Each problem should be a mathematical function or formula utilizing the number 'e'. The solution steps must be clearly mathematically documented. The findings should be presented using a professional looking visual aid (poster, graph, model, etc). (From Blue Web'N.


    It's hard to think of him as anything other than a brilliant and quirky genius. However, the man with the world's most famous brain faced personal struggles just like everyone else. He grew up poor, wasn't the best of students, and lived through an adulthood with a series of marriages and love affairs gone sour. Despite his trials and tribulations, Einstein never frittered away his powers of observation or his passion for unraveling nature's ultimate secrets. The most famous equation ever, E=Mc^2, and his breakthroughs on gravity, the speed of light, time, and special relativity all came in his twenties while he clerked at a rather boring patent office in Bern, Switzerland. Later in life, as Einstein realized the effect his atomic research had on the outcome of WWII, his guilt led him to champion nuclear disarmament the rest of his years. Einstein was not always at ease with his celebrity, yet he used it to better humanity and show how intelligence isn't just about an IQ, but choosing to live a productive life with no excuses. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)


    Designed to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. Offers interactive lessons for students, lesson plans for teachers, and math applets, all arranged by grade level. Includes a large collection of Web resources, arranged by concept and grade, and the standards for teaching math. From the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Leonids: Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign (Leonid MAC)

    Find news, scientific information, and technical images of Leonid meteor showers and missions back to 1998. Offers brief biographies of scientists helping on the current study, information on cooperating organizations, and announcements of annual “storm watching parties.” Searchable. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    The Zero Saga & Confusions with Numbers

    This site explains the history, value of the concept, and symbol of zero, and its role in mathematics. From a professor at the University of Baltimore. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    Energy and Water for Sustainable Living : A Compendium of Energy and Water Success Stories

    “Case studies of energy and technology applications demonstrate how sustainable development can flourish in developing countries when principles of good government are present.” The Compendium of Energy and Water Success Stories was prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Department of State and Agency for International Development for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2002. (From Infomine)

    PBS: Borders Virtual Series

    Through video, audio, and text stories, this web-only series from PBS explores the literal and metaphysical borders in our lives. A 10-week interactive drama told through the eyes of three teenagers near the U.S./Mexico border, Leaving Elsa uses the border between the countries as a metaphor for the borders between childhood and adulthood. The snapshots section is full of short digital meditations on the idea of borders -- some snapshots are commissioned for the site, other are submitted by viewers like you. Journey follows a family of migrant farm workers as they travel between California and Texas and chronicles the struggles they feel. The site also features weekly talks with writers, academics, and artists who chat about how border issues affect their work and their lives. Links to webcams around the world let you travel across borders yourself. Once again, PBS pushes the borders of the proverbial envelope with this thought-provoking site. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)

    Justice Learning: Civic education in the real world

    Justice Learning is an innovative approach for engaging high school students in informed political discourse. The web site uses audio from the Justice Talking radio show and articles from The New York Times to teach students about reasoned debate and the often-conflicting values inherent in our democracy. The web site includes articles, editorials and oral debate from the nation's finest journalists and advocates. All of the material is supported by age-appropriate summaries and additional links. In addition, for each covered issue, the site includes curricular material from The New York Times Learning Network for high school teachers and detailed information about how each of the institutions of democracy (the courts, the Congress, the presidency, the press and the schools) affect the issue. Grade Level: Middle School, High School, College (From Blue Web'N)

    Ethnic Images in the Comics

    A collection of essays exploring representations (“both positive and negative”) of Jewish, Chinese, Irish, and African-Americans in comics. Includes bibliography. From the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, Philadelphia. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    The Freud Museum of Vienna

    “In 1925 the Hollywood film producer Samuel Goldwyn offered Freud $100,000 if he would collaborate on a love film...” Psychoanalysis may not be the box office draw it once was, but anyone with an interest in Sigmund Freud or the evolution of psychotherapy in the 20th century will want to explore this fine offering from the Vienna-based Sigmund Freud Society. Visit the Media Library to watch early film clips of the original celebrity shrink or listen to a 1938 London interview with Freud, who had just escaped Austria's Nazi regime. Other features on the site include: a photo tour of Freud's apartment in the heart of Vienna; images of the famous man's couch and his collection of antiquities; and a profile of Anna Freud, his youngest child, herself a renowned psychoanalyst and advocate for children. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)

    National American Indian Heritage Month

    “To promote awareness of and appreciation for the history and culture of American Indians during National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month,” this National Park Service site presents monuments, buildings, and other places associated with the prehistory and history of Native Americans. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Ethnic Images in Toys and Games

    A collection of essays exploring “ethnic stereotyping in toys and games.” Includes a historical overview and information on the psychological aspects of ethnic dolls, African-American imagery in games, and representations of Native Americans in toys. From the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, Philadelphia. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)


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    The CyberCemetery is a project at the University of North Texas (UNT), in Denton, to archive the Web sites of defunct federal agencies, including the National Bankruptcy Review Commission and the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, an initiative of then-Vice President Al Gore. Several years ago, Congress ordered the Government Printing Office (GPO) to shift its storage to more electronic media, and Cathy Nelson Hartman of UNT suggested that colleges and universities had the necessary computer resources to aid that effort. UNT paid for the development of the CyberCemetary site ( and pays for its maintenance. The GPO identifies materials for archiving. So far, the site includes materials from 15 federal agencies and receives 20,000 to 30,000 visitors each month. The National Partnership for Reinventing Government is the most visited agency at the site.
    Washington Post, 21 October 2002 via Edupage


    Some have predicted that between 50 and 90 percent of the world's languages will disappear within the next hundred years. An initiative called the Rosetta Project aims to create an archive of more than 1,400 languages facing extinction. According to Doug Whalen, founder of the Endangered Language Fund, no digital technology has “a ghost of a chance of being taken as seriously archival” for the long term. The Rosetta Project will use technology created by Los Alamos Laboratories and Norsam Technologies that micro-etches text on a high-density storage disk. The disk is expected to last for 2,000 years and can be read with a 1,000 power microscope, ensuring that it will be useful and accessible for many future generations. For each language, the disk will contain vocabulary lists, grammar, numbering systems, and sample texts.
    Wired News, 4 November 2002 via Edupage


    A demonstration organized for a meeting of Internet2 showed how the sensation of touch can cross an ocean over high-speed networks. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University College London used haptic devices attached to a robotic arm and a computer for the demonstration. One researcher in Boston and another in London each held a stylus attached to a robotic arm, which they manipulated in tandem to pick up a virtual box displayed on the computer screen. The same researchers demonstrated haptic touch over a long-distance network in May. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have conducted similar experiments across the Pacific, but the technology remains primitive.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 30 October 2002 via Edupage


    A report from the U.S. Department of Education confirms the notion that distance education appeals to working parents, especially women, more than to other groups. The report is based on a study of distance education during the 1999-2000 academic year. The study data show that of women who took college courses, 8.5 percent did so through distance education, versus 6.5 percent of men. Nine percent of college students over 24 years old took distance courses, compared to 6 percent of those under 24. The results confirm what many have noted: distance education offers those with work and family responsibilities the flexibility to advance their education when they are able.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 21 October 2002 via Edupage


    The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation opened this week at MIT to facilitate connections between academic innovation and the commercial sector. Charles Cooney, a professor at MIT, said a gap exists between nascent ideas and those which are sufficiently developed to attract investors. The center is funded by a $20 million donation from Desh Deshpande, co-founder of Sycamore Networks, and his wife, Jaishree. The center will award ignition grants, for projects at the conceptual level, and innovation grants, for more mature projects that have mapped out strategies for research and development. The center has already awarded 9 grants, selected from 47 proposals, totaling $1.25 million.
    Wired News, 17 October 2002 via Edupage


    The Library Technology Access (LTA) initiative, led by Hewlett-Packard, aims to increase library computer accessibility for users with disabilities. The goal of the program is to design “template” solutions that libraries can implement easily to improve access for users with visual, hearing, mobility, or learning disabilities. The first part of the initiative launched recently with installations at several libraries around the nation. The workstations at the test sites will record how users interact with the technology, providing data that will be used to generate models of how assistive technology and accessibility tools can best serve library patrons., 29 October 2002 via Edupage


    A national initiative designed to provide community-based technology centers to bridge the digital divide will end this week, leaving the nearly 1,000 centers to arrange their own financing. The PowerUP program was started in 1999 by Stephen Case, then chairman of America Online. A group of financial backers provided roughly $100 million for the project, but many of them have ended their support. According to a spokesperson for PowerUP, the plan was always for the centers to become self-sustaining and that this “seems like a natural transition time.” The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which operates 434 of the centers, will keep many of them running. Others will be forced to find financial support. Supporters of the centers say they are important resources in many communities that otherwise would be unable to have such access. At least one critic said the program's “top-down franchise” style of operation is a poor model for community development.
    New York Times, 30 October 2002 (registration req'd) via Edupage


    A new Web-based application created by Alan Zelicoff of Sandia National Labs aims to collect information from doctors around the world in an effort to identify outbreaks of disease much faster than current methods. According to Zelicoff, a former physician who is now a researcher, disease reporting today is a slow, inefficient process of disjointed efforts that “is exquisitely designed to fail.” Zelicoff designed the Rapid Syndrome Validation Project (RSVP) to coordinate data about reported symptoms, even before diagnosis, and to correlate those data geographically. With RSVP, doctors enter information about patients' symptoms using a touch screen. The application then reports those symptoms, without any personal information about patients' identities, and seeks to identify patterns. Sixteen hospitals in New Mexico and Texas recently installed RSVP, and Zelicoff hopes it will be expanded to become a worldwide system.
    Wired News, 25 November 2002 via Edupage.

    The U.S. Department of Defense has created the Information Awareness Office (IAO) and appointed John Poindexter as its head. The new office, part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), aims to develop systems that collect and share information on a huge scale to combat terrorist threats. The IAO covers 13 programs, including Total Information Awareness, and Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery. According to DARPA, the new office will work to develop technological capabilities for the collaboration and sharing of information across agency boundaries; real-time learning, pattern matching, and anomalous pattern detection; and foreign-language machine translation and speech recognition. ComputerWorld, 25 November 2002 via Edupage.


    Speaking at a lecture organized by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, U.S. Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner warned of an “enormous expansion” of intellectual-property law. Posner criticized a 1998 law extending the duration of U.S. copyrights and attacked the Patent and Trademark Office for granting what he called “very questionable” business method patents. Posner is known for applying economic analysis to the law and for mediating settlement talks in the Microsoft antitrust case.
    CNET, 20 November 2002 via Edupage.


    President Bush signed the Cyber Security Research and Development Act, allocating more than $900 million to cybersecurity research over the next five years. The funding will support National Science Foundation programs at colleges and universities and National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) grants promoting collaborative research among universities and the private sector. Under the law, NIST will also develop a security checklist for all federally purchased technology.
    Reuters, 27 November 2002 via Edupage


    A researcher at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in Bristol, U.K., claims to have found a way to slow the spread of computer viruses. Dr. Matthew Williamson said his method works by limiting the number of connections at any one time from an infected computer, thus slowing the spread of the virus and giving technicians time to spot and eradicate it. Williamson's approach is novel in preventing viruses from infecting other computers. He tested the theory on computers infected with the Nimda virus, with the result that the rate of infection slowed dramatically. Moreover, he observed that his method had a minimal impact on normal computer use. Attackers could get around Williamson's method by writing slower viruses, but doing so would give technicians more time to find and eliminate the intruding code.
    BBC, 26 November 2002 via Edupage


    The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology will use optical connections to build a supercomputer in which communications lines are faster than the processors -- the opposite of traditional supercomputing designs. The idea for the new computer came from the San Diego Supercomputer Center, a research partnership between the University of California at San Diego and the University of California at Irvine. The “optiputer,” which will be located at the University of California at San Diego, will initially consist of 500 processors connected with the optical router, which is a product of Chiaro Networks in Richardson, Texas. The system is based on Intel processors running the Linux operating system.
    New York Times, 17 November 2002 via Edupage (registration req'd)


    Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new form of quantum cryptography that sends encrypted data at speeds of 250 megabits per second and is, according to the reasearchers, unbreakable. Whereas other methods of quantum cryptography work by sending individual photons, the new technique sends large bundles of photons. According to Paul Kwiat, a professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a leading authority on quantum cryptography, the technique is extremely secure because “an eavesdropper can't tap into it without disturbing the photons.” If the photons are disturbed, he said, they're gone. Quantum technologies remain a long way from commercial use, but some observers say cryptography could be the first of the quantum technologies to enter real-world applications.
    ZDNet, 15 November 2002 via Edupage.


    Two professors, Doris R. Kimbrough of the University of Colorado at Denver and Jimmy Reeves of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, have created an online science course that includes lab work that students do in their kitchens. According to the professors, the lab work is safe and can be done with readily available materials and a good-quality scale. Students in the online course are reportedly able to gain an understanding of basic chemistry comparable to that of in-class students. Each of the two institutions offers the course, though at the University of North Carolina the class is entirely online, while the University of Colorado version includes in-person lectures. Development of the course was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 November 2002 Via Edupage


    Turkey Science on the Web

    Explore the science of cooking your holiday turkey at a live Exploratorium Webcast! Join us as chefs and scientists discuss how turkeys are raised and examine the physical processes that turn your Thanksgiving dinner a delectable golden brown. This is also an opportunity to share cooking tips and tricks! It's all part of the first Webcast associated with our new Accidental Scientist Web site. Log on to at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 20, or join us at the Exploratorium in the Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio. See how a pinch of curiosity can improve your cooking!

    2002 Best Inventions

    If you ever wonder what your dog is thinking, you can now tap into his inner canine with a nifty dog translator. And if you're tired of toting around your mobile phone, use the ultra-cool tooth phone to answer your phone with a tap of your canine tooth. These gadgets are just a couple of the best ideas of 2002 that wowed tech editors from “TIME”. Are household chores stressing you out? Hire the Frisbee-like Roomba vacuum to do your dirty work while you bask under chic color therapy lamps. For stylish alone time, pitch a Yurt-like Icopod. Socially relevant innovations geared toward women include a date rape drug spotter and the discreet birth control patch. Moving beyond everyday life, some prototypes reach lofty heights -- a solar tower promises clean energy, while a Martian rover tackle roads never traveled. For the just plain cool, check out the solid and spectacular Aerogel and ultra-bubbles. (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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