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Science and Technology Library Newsletter: March 19, 2004 Edition.
Newsletter Archive > 2004 March 19 Issue

Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


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  5. INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: GET IN THE RHYTHM, Gender & Science Digital Library, ESA: Aurora Programme, Leonardo Da Vinci, Excellence in Science Communication Awards, eScholarship Repository, Virtual Knee Surgery (COSI), Searching the Internet for Images, The Science of Football [Soccer]; Biological Sciences: Exchange Program for Biomedical Scientists, New York University: A World Community of Old Trees, Raintree: Tropical Plant Database, Animal Planet: Jane Goodall-40 Years at Gombe, BBC Wildfacts; Education and Human Resources: Accessibility in Distance Education (ADE); Engineering: The Black Inventor Online Museum,, Engineering is a Dream Career, First Flight, First Fabric; Geosciences: Stormtrack, Whirlpools: Experiencing Naruto Whirlpools, Walking with Dinosaurs, CLIWOC: Climatological Database for the World's Oceans, Wonderful World of Weather; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Sedna (2003 VB12), ESA: European Space Agency, University of Cambridge : Relativity Public Home Page, Math Cats, Animated Guide to the Rosetta Mission, Ideas: The Higgs Boson, Heavens Above: Art and Actuality; Polar Programs: Serco TransArctic Expedition; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: Sample Size Calculator, The Population Research Center at NORC & The University of Chicago, English Accents and Dialects, Campfire Stories with George Catlin: An Encounter of Two Cultures . . . and more . . . plus news items from Edupage


    UK Science & Technology Committee Invites Evidence on Open Access Publishing

    “The Committee will be looking at access to journals within the scientific community, with particular reference to price and availability. It will be asking what measures are being taken in government, the publishing industry and academic institutions to ensure that researchers, teachers and students have access to the publications they need in order to carry out their work effectively. The inquiry will also examine the impact that the current trend towards e-publishing may have on the integrity of journals and the scientific process.”

    Assn. of American Publishers on HR 2613

    A brief statement from this organization giving their position on the proposed open access to federally funded sci-tech research.

    Noam Chomsky: The Militarization of Science and Space

    “Chomsky launches a savage, two-pronged assault on national economic policies and efforts at ‘global domination....By now the stakes are so high that issues of survival arise,’ says Chomsky.

    The basic principle underlying our current economy is ‘to make rich people happy and make everybody else frightened.’ Chomsky lays particular blame for this doctrine on Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan -- ‘Saint Alan’ -- who claims the economy is working well because of private entrepreneurial initiative and expanding consumer choice. Chomsky disagrees. He claims that in the last 30 years, it has been public spending on such technologies as computers, satellites, the Internet and lasers that has fed the economy. And the wealth derived from these technologies has gone primarily into the hands of corporate masters, who represent a fraction of the American people. The government has used a succession of bogeymen -- the Soviets, Communist insurgents around the world, and now global terrorism -- to scare taxpayers into supporting core defense programs whose technologies ultimately spin off into private hands. The current administration advocates not merely controlling space, but owning it, with a new missile-based system and satellite-guided unmanned drones. This expensive strategy, combined with the doctrine of striking first at perceived enemies, may well bring global calamity.”



    “Vaccinology: Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century” is the subject of the fourth annual Sackler Lecture being given by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The 90-minute event begins at 6 p.m. EST Thursday, April 1 in the National Academy of Sciences Building auditorium, 2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public.

    Enhancing the Postdoc Experience

    Enhancing the postdoctoral experience for scientists and engineers is the topic of the second convocation being held by the National Academies' Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy. The daylong event, which begins at 9 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 15 in the National Academy of Sciences Building, 2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C., will aim to assess progress on the recommendations set out in its September 2000 report. The workshop is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required.

    Career Opportunities for Undergraduate Students in the Geosciences

    Career opportunities for undergraduate students in the geosciences is the topic of an upcoming forum being hosted by the National Academies. The daylong event begins at 9 a.m. EST Tuesday, March 30 in the National Academy of Sciences Building auditorium, 2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Presenters at the forum include a television meteorologist, a top ocean scientist, a volcano expert, hurricane specialists and an astronaut. 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 during the event.


    2 New Open Access Journals from Biomed Central
    BMC Medicine

    BMC Biology

    BMC Medicine publishes original research articles, technical advances and study protocols in any area of medical science or clinical practice. To be appropriate for BMC Medicine, articles need to be of special importance and broad interest. BMC Medicine (ISSN 1741-7015) is covered by PubMed.

    BMC Biology publishes original research articles and methodology articles in any area of biology but with a focus on the biomedical sciences. To be appropriate for BMC Biology, articles need to be of special importance and broad interest. BMC Biology (ISSN 1741-7007) is covered by PubMed.

    New at Highwire Press


    “Reproduction publishes high quality original research and topical reviews on the subject of reproductive biology. The journal focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms of reproduction, development of gametes, embryos and reproductive tissues, reproductive physiology and reproductive endocrinology. New and emerging topics in more applied areas of reproduction, including assisted reproductive technologies, cloning, and stem cell biology are encouraged. Reproduction is the official journal of the Society of Reproduction and Fertility (SRF).

    There is currently a free trial period for access to Reproduction, which will be available until April 30, 2004. Subsequent to the free trial, access to the full text of articles will be available by institutional license, which comes with all institutional subscriptions. Review articles are freely available to all immediately upon release. Other full-text content will be free one year after publication.”

    Free Back Issues at HighWire
    Additional journals working with Stanford University's HighWire Press have begun to participate in the “Free Back Issues” program; some publications have changed their Free Back Issue policies. This note covers both.

    The Free Back Issues program now has 168 journals participating (21 of these are entirely free), making over 690,000 full-text articles free to the community; two-thirds of all online full-text articles produced by publishers working with HighWire Press are now free. These publishers comprise the largest archive of free full-text articles in the sciences.

    The new participating publishers and publications:

    • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, IOVS (, free after 12 months, rolling
    • Cold Spring Harbor Labs Press, Protein Science (, and RNA (, both free after 12 months, rolling
    • American Psychiatric Press, American Journal of Psychiatry (, free after 12 months, rolling

    Changes in publications' free back issue policies:


    Essential Elements of Effective Science Instruction for English Learners (pdf). California Science Project, 2004.

    James H. Bigelow, Paul K. Davis. Implications for Model Validation of Multiresolution, Multiperspective Modeling (MRMPM) and Exploratory Analysis. RAND, 2004.

    Terrence Kelly, et al. A Review of Reports on Selected Large Federal Science Facilities: Management and Life-Cycle Issues. RAND, 2004.

    Hazards Watch: Reducing the Impacts of Disasters Through Improved Earth Observations -- Summary of a Workshop, October 22, 2003, Washington, DC. NAP, 2004.


    Gender & Science Digital Library,4079,,00.shtm

    “The Gender & Science Digital Library (GSDL) is a collaborative project between the Gender & Diversities Institute at EDC and the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse at Ohio State University, with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The GSDL is an interactive collection of high-quality, gender-equitable science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) resources for K-12, higher education (community college and university), women's studies, teacher preparation programs, and informal learning environments.” Includes a news service of articles pertaining to women and minorities in science.

    ESA: Aurora Programme

    “The primary objective of Aurora is to create, and then implement, a European long-term plan for the robotic and human exploration of the solar system, with Mars, the Moon and the asteroids as the most likely targets.” The site presents news, describes the Aurora program and its missions, and provides related information. Includes documents and artist images. Searchable. From the European Space Agency (ESA). (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Leonardo Da Vinci

    “Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519. Italian artist, scientist, engineer. An all-round genius whose paintings and inventions changed the world. Take an interactive journey through his life and works to discover what made him a true Renaissance man.” This website from the BBC asks “what kind of thinker are you?” (take the personality test to determine the answer), a visit to Leonardo's studio, a picture gallery, and more!

    Excellence in Science Communication Awards

    The National Academies and the W.M. Keck Foundation announce a call for nominations for communication awards recognizing excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering and medicine to the general public. The Academies will present a $20,000 prize to one individual in each of the following three categories for significant contributions to the public's understanding of science in 2003: a book author; a newspaper, magazine or online journalist; and a TV/radio producer or reporter.

    eScholarship Repository

    “OAKLAND - To address the economic unsustainability of high pricing for scholarly journals, the University of California is providing alternatives to the traditional scholarly communication model through the eScholarship program at the California Digital Library. Now, UC faculty in all departments, research units and centers can use the eScholarship Repository to provide free, open access to peer-reviewed journals online at

    Since 2002, the eScholarship Repository has offered UC faculty a central, online location for depositing working papers, technical reports, research results and conference proceedings from a wide range of disciplines. Scholars around the world have benefited from the free access to this faculty research. With the eScholarship Repository's new peer-review capability, UC faculty have an alternative to publishing their research in for-profit journals, whose rising costs have become a burden to universities and libraries with shrinking budgets.

    The first peer-reviewed journal in the eScholarship Repository is San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science, published by the John Muir Institute of the Environment at UC Davis.

    Other peer-reviewed materials in the eScholarship Repository include papers and edited volumes from the UC International and Area Studies Digital Collection.

    The California Digital Library (CDL) expects the number of peer-reviewed papers and journals to grow substantially in coming months, with the addition of scientific monographs and other content from the University of California Press, as well as new journals sponsored by departments at several UC campuses, including InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies. Additionally, Comitatus, a 34-year-old journal sponsored by the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, will be migrating to the eScholarship Repository this spring.”


    “Explore how and why music affects us all. Discover provocative questions, interactive sound exhibits, and short films exploring the world of musical instruments on our new Accidental Scientist: Music Web site. Whether it's classical, jazz, or rhythm and blues, all music is rooted in physics, biology, and psychology. Get in tune with the science of music!”

    Virtual Knee Surgery (COSI)

    “This totally Flash-driven tutorial allows users to conduct a virtual knee replacement. You will be guided step by step throughout the procedure and will have opportunities to interact with various tools such as the bone saw, a tool for cauterizing veins, and so forth. Also includes real photos of the procedure in a separate section which are not too gross. Produced by COSI Columbus.” (From Blue Web'N)

    Searching the Internet for Images

    “Specific and simply worded guidelines and links for searching for pictures, photographs, and other images on the Internet. Provides suggested sources for stock photos, historical images, art images, and scientific images. From the United Kingdom's Technical Advisory Service for Images (TASI).” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    The Science of Football [Soccer]

    “Nowadays scientists, nutritionists and physiologists all have a part to play in the beautiful game. Find out how to bend it like Beckham and why Arsene Wenger likes to look at your urine.” This terrific BBC website introduces you to many scientific aspects of the sport, including why watching the World Cup is good for your health, are you a natural footballer, and why the referee is blind. Enjoy!

    Bring your lunch to the Library Tuesday, March 23 and/or Wednesday, March 24 for our latest feature “Jurassic Park”. You may have seen the movie already, but you didn't see it with the critical eye of BIO's own Sam Scheiner. Sam is ready to fill you in on the science (or lack thereof) underlying this modern classic. If you can't stay for the movie, at least don't miss Sam's presentation!

    Tuesday, March 23 at 12:30
    Wednesday, March 24, at 11:30

    As usual, the popcorn is on us!

    Biological Sciences

    Exchange Program for Biomedical Scientists

    The National Research Council is sponsoring an international exchange program for American biomedical scientists at institutes in the former Soviet Union. The program, which will allow successful applicants to spend two weeks in July 2004 at research institutes in Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, is supported by the Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Applications are due by Thursday, April 15.

    Raintree: Tropical Plant Database

    “Hosted by Raintree, the Tropical Plant Database is authored and maintained by Board Certified Naturopath, Ms. Leslie Taylor to provide accurate information about rainforest plants and to help promote rainforest conservation. Including over 300 pages of documentation on rainforest plants and very well-organized, the Tropical Plant Database lists plants by Common name, Botanical name, Ethnic uses, and Action/disorder. The Database File for each plant includes an illustration and information about family, genus, species, common names, plant description, and more. Visitors can link to great illustrations and photos as well as web resources for each plant including Medline Abstracts, W3 TROPICOS Database, Ethnobotany Database, and Phtyochem Database among others. Plant Database File pages include references as well. This site is also reviewed in the March 19, 2004 _NSDL Life Sciences Report_. [NL]” (From the Scout Report)

    BBC Wildfacts

    Choose your animal and this BBC website provides you with pictures, videos, and brief facts about the species. You can also browse groups of species, sorted by such factors as habitat, diet, etc.

    New York University: A World Community of Old Trees

    “Hosted by New York University, this innovative website entitled ‘A World Community of Old Trees’ was created by art educator and exhibiting visual artist, Dr. June Julian. This collaborative art project provides opportunities for students in grades K-12 to research a tree in their community, create art work about that tree, and submit the information and artwork for inclusion in the Tree Gallery section of the website. The Tree Gallery section also includes background for the project, examples of Dr. Julian's art, and other artists' representations of trees (including work from K-12 students from around the country and Ohio University students). The site links to Project Instructions for Students in Grades K-12 and printable Permission Forms. The site also links to the Tree Museum containing art history for tree images, and Tree Talk which provides a forum for sharing ecological information about ancient trees. [NL]” (From the Scout Report)

    Animal Planet: Jane Goodall-40 Years at Gombe

    “Hosted by Animal Planet, this Jane Goodall-40 Years in Gombe multi-media website shares stories, high-quality video clips, and photographs about the experiences of Jane Goodall, the chimpanzees of Gombe, and other information. A special feature of the site is the On Location: From the Field videos that are sent in every other month from Bill Wallauer, who has been video-documenting Gombe chimps since 1992. Additionally, site visitors can learn about Jane Goodall's life through a brief biography with photos, view an interview with Jane Goodall, join the Discover Roots and Shoots online discussion, and more. This site also hosts an Earth Alert section, and even provides family trees with photos for selected chimpanzees. [NL]” (From the Scout Report)

    Education and Human Resources

    Accessibility in Distance Education (ADE)

    “This site ‘focuses on helping [university] faculty develop accessible online learning materials for people with disabilities.’ It features an overview of accessibility and sections on legal issues, understanding disabilities, accessible Web design, and best practices. Includes a glossary. From the Center for Accessibility in Distance Education (CADE) at the University of Maryland University College.” (From the Librarian's Index to the Internet)


    The Black Inventor Online Museum

    This commercial site presents brief information about dozens of Black inventors from the United States. Some entries include portraits and images. Also includes a browsable timeline covering 1721-1988. Searchable. Note: Does not include bibliographic information. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    First Flight, First Fabric

    “On the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight, Deborah Douglas manages to tease several story strands out of a one-inch-square piece of fabric. The object at the center of her lecture is a sacred aviation relic, part of the wing covering used in the famous 1903 Wright Brothers flyer. Douglas turns back the clock to 1916-when the Institute was celebrating its new campus in Cambridge. This ‘Pageant of Progress’ featured the 1903 Flyer, and dozens of alumni attended, including some who went on to illustrious careers in aviation. After Orville Wright died, he bequeathed fabric from the Flyer to Lester Gardner (B.S., MIT 1898), founder of what was to become Aviation Week & Space Technology. Gardiner mounted pieces of the fabric on certificates, and, according to Douglas, created a shrine for them in his library.

    By mid-century, airplanes dominated the imagination of the American public, symbolizing modernity and progress. Speed was emerging as a central cultural value. Douglas details all that we owe ‘to the huge communities of people that work together to keep a small number of vehicles in the air.’”

    Engineering is a Dream Career

    The National Academy of Engineering's EngineerGirl! Web site announces its essay contest, “Engineering is a Dream Career,” for boys and girls in grades 4-12. Entries are due by Wednesday, March 31 and winners will be announced on Saturday, April 24.

    “Engineers employed within the aerospace industry formed this site to ‘provide information regarding a wide range of aerospace-related fields, including aircraft design, spacecraft design, aerodynamics, and aerospace history.’ Features pictures and data on international aircraft, and an ‘Ask a Rocket Scientist’ section for questions about aviation and aerospace.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)


    CLIWOC: Climatological Database for the World's Oceans

    “The primary aim of this project funded by the European Union ‘is to produce and make freely available for the scientific community the world's first daily oceanic climatological database for the period 1750 to 1850.’ Data has been obtained primarily through ships' logbooks ‘held in British, Dutch, French, Spanish and Argentinean archives.’ Site includes a database of transcribed weather information, maps, and a multilingual dictionary of wind force terms.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)


    “This site celebrates the storm chaser (‘defined as a person who pursues imminent or existing severe thunderstorms, for any reason, and operates independently or as part of a research effort’). It features annotated images of recent extreme weather conditions in the United States as well as a forum, information about Skywarn (the U.S. National Weather Service program for volunteer skywatchers), and links to related sites. Note: Some portions of the site are not updated regularly.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Whirlpools: Experiencing Naruto Whirlpools

    “A short, scholarly discussion of whirlpools in general, and the whirlpools of Japan's Naruto Strait in particular. ‘In coastal zones, whirlpools are produced by the interaction of rising and falling tides.’ Contains photographs and related links. From a fluid mechanics and water engineering professor at the University of Queensland, Australia.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Walking with Dinosaurs

    “Could you guard a Tyrannosaurus nest from predators? What if you encountered an angry Ankylosaurus? Start exploring the dinosaurs' world.” This is a great interactive page from the BBC as a companion to the BBC-produced TV series. It includes a timeline, a screensaver, fact files, games and quizzes, news, science focus and more, with wonderful graphics.

    Wonderful World of Weather

    “Created by the Stevens Institute of Technology, the Wonderful World of Weather is a standard-based real time data module for elementary students to explore weather phenomena locally and globally. Teachers can find many fun classroom activities divided into three sections: introductory activities, real time data activities, and language arts activities related to weather. The website features an abundance of links to real time weather data. Students can learn how to have their work published on the website. Users can find additional materials about children's books related to weather, guidelines for data collection, and curriculum standards. [RME]” (From the Scout Report)

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    ESA: European Space Agency

    “Made up of 15 nations and headquartered in Paris, ESA seeks to ‘shape the development of Europes space capability.’ The site includes information about ESA and its programs, news, press releases, news from member countries, and multimedia galleries with audio, video, and photographs. Also features the home page for the Mars Express project. Searchable. Available in multiple languages.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Animated Guide to the Rosetta Mission

    From BBC News, a website with a brief animated guide to the Rosetta mission, which will land instruments onto a comet for the first time. Also included are numerous news stories about the mission.

    University of Cambridge : Relativity Public Home Page

    “A very detailed site for the layperson or student interested in learning about relativity, cosmology, black holes, quantum gravity, and theories of the universe. Categories are divided into multiple sections, and the text is supported by multiple images and diagrams. There are computer models, simulations, and graphics within the sections as well. Site links to the homepage of Professor Stephen Hawking and COSMOS, the National Cosmology Supercomputer page.” (From InfoMine)

    Math Cats

    “It is at times very difficult to get children excited about math, but Math Cats (designed by Wendy Patti, a teacher) is an online archive of fun and informative activities that will help young people learn about a number of math topics, including geometry, arithmetic, and other topics. As one might expect, much of this is achieved by a number of virtual cats who explain various features of the site, and the different math concepts that are explored within. The site is divided up into a number of sections, including one that is particularly well-thought out, MicroWorlds. Here visitors may download a number of interactive projects, such as Coin Flipper (a way to learn about probability) and Multiply It, which allows users to learn about multiplication. The Math Crafts section is also quite ingenious, providing plans for different fun projects, such as the Number City and a Polygon Airport. Finally, visitors may sign up to receive an electronic newsletter and learn about the various accolades that the site has received. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

    Heavens Above: Art and Actuality

    “‘An online exhibit that compares the 19th-century chromolithographs of astronomical observations made by artist/astronomer Etienne Trouvelot with comparable images photographed by NASA as part of its space program.’ From the New York Public Library.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Ideas: The Higgs Boson

    “‘What determines your mass ... [is] one of the most-asked, most-hotly pursued questions in physics today.’ This site provides background information about this question and an overview of the Higgs boson, ‘a particle, or set of particles, that might give others mass.’ Includes illustrations and links to research on the Higgs boson. From the Exploratorium.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Sedna (2003 VB12)

    “‘On 15 March 2004, astronomers from Caltech, Gemini Observatory, and Yale University announced the discovery of the coldest, most distant object known to orbit the sun.’ This site provides background information about Sedna, and details about the findings of the team. Includes images and related links (such as to the legend of Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the sea). From a member of the team that discovered Sedna.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Polar Programs

    Serco TransArctic Expedition

    “In our time, it would seem that all of the boundaries of exploration have been pushed to the limits here on terra firma. With the notable exception of the world's oceans, every mountain peak has been successfully conquered, every inhospitable landscape traversed and so on. Stepping into the grand tradition of exploration is Ben Saunders, a long distance skier from Devon, England, who is currently seeking to become the first person to ski solo more than 1200 miles across the Arctic from Siberia to Canada via the geographic North Pole. On the website dedicated to his expedition, visitors can learn more about his previous expeditions, view a map of his route, and view statistics on his progress on a daily basis. Of course, visitors will also want to read his daily dispatches, and perhaps send along a word of encouragement via email. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    Sample Size Calculator

    “Want to take a survey but not sure how many responses to collect? This calculator gives you the number for any given population size and desired confidence level. A reverse calculator lets you enter characteristics of an existing survey and gives the confidence interval (plus-or-minus number) to apply to the results. This site, sponsored by a survey software company, also gives clear explanations of statistical significance, survey design, and related concepts.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Campfire Stories with George Catlin: An Encounter of Two Cultures

    “‘Take a virtual journey to meet American Indians of the 1830s with artist, ethnologist, and showman George Catlin. This site compiles paintings, historical documents, and commentary from contemporary experts so you can explore the intersections of two cultures, both in Catlin's time and today.’ Also includes lesson plans and curriculum standards. Searchable by keyword or tribal affiliation. From the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Note: Use search button on main page.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    The Population Research Center at NORC & The University of Chicago

    “‘The Population Research Center at NORC [National Opinion Research Center] and the University of Chicago . . . is an interdisciplinary research center designed to facilitate high-quality population research conducted by its researchers -- economists, sociologists, and other population scientists.’ The site features browsable discussion papers (on topics such as education, marriage, and racial equality), information about and data from research projects and surveys, and related links. Note: Some data files require special programs or conversion.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    English Accents and Dialects

    “‘All languages change over time and vary according to place and social domain, as is perfectly illustrated by these extracts taken from two large audio resources held in the British Library Sound Archive. . . . Together, they provide a fascinating overview of spoken English during the second half of the 20th century.’ Includes dozens of browsable sound clips and a glossary. A part of the British Library Collect Britain project.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)


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


    Internet2 has completed an upgrade to its Abilene network, raising the network's speed to 10 billion bits of information per second. Abilene's capacity for data transfer is four times as fast as it was prior to the upgrade and 15,000 times faster than a typical dial-up connection. According to Internet2, hardware and services for the upgrade were provided by Indiana University, Juniper Networks, and Qwest Communications. In addition to speed increases, the new network is capable of using IPv6, the newest version of the protocol used to transmit information. Officials from Internet2 said researchers are already working on projects that can take advantage of extremely high speeds of data transfer, including a project last year that transferred data from a particle-physics laboratory in Switzerland to the California Institute of Technology at seven billion bits per second.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 27 February 2004 (sub. req'd) via Edupage.


    Native American tribes in Oregon are working on plans to establish an entirely online college to serve the state's nine reservations, none of which currently has a college. The Oregon Virtual Tribal College would develop an infrastructure to allow students on all nine reservations to interact with each other and instructors. All of the instruction planned would take place online, unlike some other tribal colleges that provide online programs as well as in-class instruction. Responsibility for the various parts of the curriculum would be spread across Oregon's Native American tribes, and other higher education institutions in the state would provide course content and instructors. Organizers of the project believe it will cost less than a physical institution and hope to fund the virtual college with state and federal grants. Wendell Jim, who is heading the project, said he expects the program to begin with about 100 students and to become an accredited, degree-granting institution.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 January 2004 (sub. req'd)via Edupage


    A group of 18 Native American tribes in Southern California is using wireless techology for Internet access where wired connections remain unavailable. Because of the high cost of running cables, Internet carriers have chosen to build infrastructure in urban areas and areas with substantial numbers of prospective customers. The 18 tribal reservations included in the Tribal Digital Village (TDV) project include only 15,000 people total. The TDV wireless network covers a mountainous region 150 miles long by 75 miles wide and was built in large part using funds from a grant by HP. The network has more than 900 computers connected to it so far. One of the applications the network serves is educational, with 25 learning labs offering high school and postsecondary courses.
    BBC, 3 March 2004 via Edupage


    A new supercomputer at the University of California at Irvine may strengthen arguments made by researchers involved in climate-change studies. Detractors of climate-change research have often pointed to variables not accounted for in computer simulations, according to UC Irvine's Charles Zender, an assistant professor of earth system science. The new computer, dubbed the Virtual Climate Time Machine, has enough processing power to add many of those variables into simulations, potentially providing researchers with stronger data supporting theories about global warming and its causes. The new computer will not only make predictions about future changes but will also examine historical data, looking for clues about changes that have already happened.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 March 2004 (sub. req'd) via Edupage.


    The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has added the University of California at Los Angeles to four other universities participating in the Focus Center Research Program, which conducts research on semiconductor projects with support from 25 other universities. The SIA also announced that the research scope for the other four members would be expanded. The four original members of the program are Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California at Berkeley. The SIA also called on the government to increase the funding it provides to the program. Currently, government funds account for about one-third of the program's $29 million budget. George Scalise, president of the SIA, said the government should double its contribution, to $20 million annually.
    CNET, 16 March 2004 via Edupage


    In an effort to close a growing technology-skills gap with a number of other countries, China began a program three years ago of creating software colleges at 35 Chinese universities. Unlike most universities in China, the software colleges take advantage of significant funding from companies outside China. The School of Software at Peking University, for example, boasts cutting-edge computer labs funded by U.S. companies including IBM, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Motorola, Oracle, and Intel. In addition, many of the faculty at the school are from the United States. The Chinese software colleges aim to combine training in technical skills and practical experience (many students are involved in internship programs with U.S. technology firms) with a focus on Western-style management. According to one student, Chinese management structures are based on personal connections rather than merit.
    San Jose Mercury News, 17 March 2004 via Edupage


    The General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report this week on a Department of Education pilot project designed to test the necessity of the 50-percent rule. The rule says that for students to be eligible to receive federal financial aid, they must be enrolled at institutions that offer fewer than half of their courses as distance courses or that have fewer than half their students enrolled as distance students. The rule was intended to discourage fraud in distance education programs, but the GAO said the pilot project showed no increase in the level of fraud at institutions that were exempted from the rule for the purposes of the pilot. The report also said that eliminating the 50-percent rule without instituting other measures to prevent fraud might result in higher incidence of fraud and that eliminating the rule could draw significant numbers of students into distance education programs, increasing the potential cost of federal financial aid for those students.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 27 February 2004 (sub. req'd) (via Edupage)


    The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) said it will begin a series of discussions aimed at “restructuring” the UK e-Universities Worldwide (UKeU), which has failed to meet expectations. The UKeU was launched last spring, with the backing of 12 colleges and universities as well as that of government and industry, as a project to develop Internet-based education that would attract students from around the world. The HEFCE cited several problems with UKeU, including the fact that many UK universities offer online education outside the scope of UKeU. The council also noted that many of the students expected to take advantage of the online courses have instead gone to the UK and enrolled at colleges and universities. According to the HEFCE, “The new arrangements will place greater emphasis on public good rather than commercial objectives.”
    BBC, 27 February 2004 via Edupage.

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