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Science and Technology Library Newsletter: August 20, 2007 Edition.
Newsletter Archive > 2007 August 20 Issue

Sci-Tech Library Newsletter

August 20, 2007

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In This Issue

New E-Books & Reports
Science Policy
Around DC and on the Net
Interesting Web Sites and News
Mop Top the Hip Hop Scientist    ClimateBiz    Quickly Move from Search Tool to Search Tool with Intelways    Maps of Science    ticTOCs Project will transform journal current awareness    The Naked Scientists    Biology: T-Rex Blood?    Memory    Brains Rule    Genome Island (Second Life)    MicrobeLibrary    Education and Human Resources: Welcome to Whyville    Apply Today to Become a NASA Explorer School    News from NSTA    Resource: Teaching High School Science    Exploratorium: Iron Science Teacher    Engineering: Friendly Robots    Mars Exploration Rovers    National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS)    How Bridges Work    Code of Ethics for Robots    International Space Station: An Interactive Reference Guide    Geosciences: Terralook    Dino Directory    Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Galaxy Zoo — Call for Public Participation    ChemxSeer    Origins    Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles    Life in the Solar System    Physics To Go    Meteor Showers    Apollo Moon Project Photographic Record in New Digital Archive    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: The Mysterious Bogpeople    The BigMac Index    Internet Crossroads in Social Science Data    Video in the News: Egypt’s Most Famous Female King Found    Polar Programs: Video in the News — Penguins
Inter Alia

New E-Books & Reports

National Action Plan for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education: Draft for Public Comment. National Science Board, 2007.

Federal support for research and development. CBO, 2007.

Impact of Proposal and Award Management Mechanisms: Final Report. NSF, 2007.

Report of the External Review Committee Assessment of the Inter American Institute for Global Change Research. AAAS, 2007.

The do’s and don’ts: creating a path to impact science and math literacy. ORCAS, 2007.

Satellite tracking reveals threats to Borneo pygmy elephants. Word Wildlife Federation, 2007.

The Power to Reduce CO2 Emissions: The Full Portfolio. Electric Power Research Institute, 2007.

Re-thinking Policies to Cope With Desertification. UN, 2007.

Where Does the Nano Go? End-of Life Regulation of Nanotechnology. Wilson Center’s Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, 2007.

Social Impacts of Heatwaves. Environmental Agency (UK), 2007.

Nanotechnology. FDA, 2007.

Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments: A Report From the NAEP Technology-Based Assessment Project. National Center for Education Statistics, 2007.

An Assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research Program at the National Science Foundation (prepublication). NAP, 2007.

Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. NAP, 2007.

International Benchmarking of U.S. Chemical Engineering Research Competitiveness. NAP, 2007.

The Third Domain. NAP, 2007.

An Assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research Program (prepublication). NAP, 2007.

Assessment of Wingtip Modifications to Increase the Fuel Efficiency of Air Force Aircraft. NAP, 2007.

Improving the Efficiency of Engines for Large Nonfighter Aircraft. NAP, 2007.

Improving the Social Security Representative Payee Program: Serving Beneficiaries and Minimizing Misuse (prepublication). NAP, 2007.

India’s Changing Innovation System: Achievements, Challenges, and Opportunities for Cooperation: Report of a Symposium. NAP, 2007.

Models in Environmental Regulatory Decision Making. NAP, 2007.

A Path to the Next Generation of U.S. Banknotes: Keeping Them Real. NAP, 2007.

Protecting Building Occupants and Operations from Biological and Chemical Airborne Threats: A Framework for Decision Making (2007). NAP, 2007.

Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment (prepublication). NAP, 2007.

Understanding American Agriculture: Challenges for the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (prepublication). NAP, 2007.

Investing in innovation. Pew Trust, 2007.

Prospective Evaluation of Applied Energy Research and Development at DOE (Phase Two). NAP, 2007.

Product innovation by incumbent firms in developing economies: the roles of research and development expenditures, trade policy, and the investment climate. World Bank, 2007.

Review of Chemical Agent Secondary Waste Disposal and Regulatory Requirements (forthcoming). NAP, 2007.

Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education: Status and Issues. CRS, 2007.

Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation (prepublication). NAP, 2007.

Advanced Mathematics and Science Coursetaking in the Spring High School Senior Classes of 1982, 1992, and 2004. NCES, 2007.

International Education and Foreign Languages: Keys to Securing America’s Future. NAP, 2007.

New Journal

“CTWatch Quarterly is an online journal that focuses on cyberinfrastructure related research critical to collaboration and information dissemination within the science community as a whole. Each issue of CTWatch centers on a topic with currency and importance to this community with articles written by experts in their field from both academia and industry. CTWatch Quarterly … is a publication of the CyberInfrastruture Partnership (CIP) … a joint effort led by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) to help scientists and engineers take full advantage of the high-end cyberinfrastructure resources funded by the National Science Foundation…”

CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 3, Number 3, August 2007

The Coming Revolution in Scholarly Communications & Cyberinfrastructure

Introduction — Lee Dirks, Microsoft Corporation; Tony Hey, Microsoft Corporation

The Shape of the Scientific Article in The Developing Cyberinfrastructure — Clifford Lynch, Coalition for Networked Information (CNI)

Next-Generation Implications of Open Access — Paul Ginsparg, Cornell University (this article is currently password-protected: this is probably a bug and CTWatch will fix)

Web 2.0 in Science — Timo Hannay, Nature Publishing

Reinventing Scholarly Communication for the Electronic Age — J. Lynn Fink, University of California, San Diego; Philip E. Bourne, University of California, San Diego

Interoperability for the Discovery, Use, and Re-Use of Units of Scholarly Communication — Herbert Van de Sompel, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Carl Lagoze, Cornell University

Incentivizing the Open Access Research Web: Publication-Archiving, Data-Archiving and Scientometrics — Tim Brody, University of Southampton, UK; Les Carr, University of Southampton, UK; Yves Gingras, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM); Chawki Hajjem, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM); Stevan Harnad, University of Southampton, UK; Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM); Alma Swan, University of Southampton, UK; Key Perspectives

The Law as Cyberinfrastructure — Brian Fitzgerald, Queensland University of Technology, Australia; Kylie Pappalardo, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Cyberinfrastructure For Knowledge Sharing — John Wilbanks, Scientific Commons

Trends Favoring Open Access — Peter Suber, Earlham College

Science Policy

Congress Endorses Competitiveness Increases, Adds Funds for Biomedical, Environmental, & Energy R&D

“As of the August congressional recess, Congress is poised to add billions of dollars to proposed budgets for the federal investment in research and development (R&D) for fiscal year (FY) 2008, according to the newly released AAAS August R&D Funding Update. The House and Senate would endorse large proposed increases for select physical sciences agencies in the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) and would continue to support Administration plans to expand development investments for new human spacecraft. But instead of cutting funding for other R&D programs as requested, the House and the Senate would provide increases to every major nondefense R&D funding agency, and would turn proposed cuts into significant increases for the congressional priorities of biomedical research, environmental research (particularly climate change research), and energy R&D. The added billions in FY 2008 appropriations so far would turn a requested cut in federal support of basic and applied research into a real increase, after three years of decline. But these increases depend on an overall congressional budget plan allocating $21 billion more for domestic appropriations than the President’s budget; because the President has threatened to veto any appropriations bills that exceed his budget request, these R&D increases could disappear or diminish this fall in negotiations between the President and Congress over final funding levels.” (From the AAAS Funding Update)

House and Senate Pass Landmark Innovation Legislation
“After two years of discussion, Congress has finally agreed to a comprehensive ‘competitiveness’ legislative package [The America Competes Act (H.R. 2272)] intended to create, expand and bolster programs that foster innovation and domestic talent. The legislation takes two basic approaches to fostering innovation. First, it supports research. It does this largely by authorizing more funding for several key research agencies. The budgets of the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science would be placed on a path toward doubling over the next 7 years. (This doesn’t mean that they will double as the law sets the targets that then must be met by annual appropriation bills.)

Second, it creates and bolster a diversity of STEM education programs. The bill authorizes $43.3 billion over the next three fiscal years for STEM education programs across the federal government. The variety is impressive ranging from new K–12 teacher programs to new opportunities for undergraduate and graduate STEM students.

In addition, the legislation has several provisions that expand outreach to women and minorities in STEM fields. The lack of females and minorities has been a key problem in computing, so this is another welcome effort. …” (From ACM Washington Update)

NAS, NAE, & IOM Presidents Salute Signing of America Competes Act

“The America Competes Act signed by President Bush will help maintain and strengthen America’s position in the global marketplace and pre-eminence in science and technology. On the bill’s passage, the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine thanked Congress, the many public policy and business groups who highlighted the urgent need for action, and the National Academies committee that contributed key recommendations in its report Rising Above the Gathering Storm.”

Patent Reform Legislation Advances in Congress

“Patent reform legislation is making its way through both houses of Congress. The Senate Judiciary Committee considered S. 1145, and, after lengthy consideration, approved it on July 19 on a nearly party-line vote. The previous day, the House Judiciary Committee passed its bill, H.R. 1908, by a voice vote. The bills are largely similar, and represent a major shift in several provisions of patent law. The reforms are, in part, an effort toward international harmonization of intellectual property standards.” (From ACM Washington Update)

Remaking Transportation Infrastructure

“Potholes, rough surfaces, and rusting bridges are manifestations of America’s deteriorating infrastructure, tragically demonstrated with the disaster in Minneapolis. Brookings’s Metropolitan Policy Program has broadly reassessed the nation’s transportation policies, providing options beyond the current hodgepodge of pet projects and earmarks to better address these critical needs.” This website from the Brookings Institution contains full text of numerous documents addressing the US transportation infrastructure needs and policies.

Representative Ehlers Introduces Bill to Strengthen the Department of Education Math and Science Par

Representative Vernon Ehlers introduced the Improving Math and Science Teacher Quality Act, a bill to strengthen the Math and Science Partnerships program. Read more in the fact sheet distributed by his office.

UK Science Advisor Urges Global Emissions-Reduction Pact

“Speaking to an audience at AAAS headquarters on 13 July, Sir David King stressed the urgency of a carbon dioxide emissions-reduction global agreement among wealthy and developing nations by 2009 to come into force by 2012, calling for a leadership position from the United States. King, the UK’s Chief Science Advisor and head of the UK Office of Science and Innovation, cited UK experience demonstrating that environmental and economic goals need not conflict. Watch a video of the talk, see the PowerPoint presentation, and access a comprehensive file of AAAS climate change resources.” (From AAAS)

House Panel Considers Bayh-Dole Act

“On July 17 the House Science and Technology Committee’s Technology and Innovation Subcommittee held a hearing assessing the 27-year-old Bayh-Dole Act — formally PL 96-517, Amendments to the Patent and Trademark Act of 1980 — that enables universities to retain title to inventions made through federally-funded research. The five witnesses, all with backgrounds in universities and industry, testified to the positive impact of the legislation but acknowledged some concerns. Specifically, witnesses noted that universities focus too much on rare home-run patents, and that IP considerations have made private-sector collaborations with universities increasingly difficult and time-consuming, leading businesses to seek out more partnerships with foreign universities. However, all witnesses seemed to prefer institutional or administrative reforms over legislative changes. The subcommittee plans to further explore this topic, as well as the Stevenson-Wydler Act, which governs collaborations between industry and federal laboratories, in future hearings. — Erin Heath” (From AAAS “Science and Technology in Congress”)

Nanotech News: Small Particles, Big Questions

“Government regulation of nanoscale particles has recently come under scrutiny, leading to action on Capitol Hill and by federal agencies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public meeting on August 2nd to discuss and obtain feedback the agency’s draft plan for addressing the tiny science. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a nanotechnology task force report that recommends the agency improve its scientific knowledge of nanoscience in order to improve its oversight and regulation. Meanwhile, in Congress, Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) introduced legislation encouraging nanotechnology research and commercialization.” (From AAAS “Science & Technology in Congress Newsletter”)

House Energy Debate Concludes During Rare Weekend Session

“After extending the session into the weekend, House members tackled the energy debate on Saturday, August 4th, passing the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act (H.R.3221) and the highly contested Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act (H.R. 2776). The conference between the House and Senate energy bills will be a challenge, as the two differ in key provisions.” (From AAAS “Science & Technology in Congress Newsletter”)

Around DC and on the Net

Apply for NSTA’s Teacher Awards and Recognitions

NSTA and its sponsors recognize and reward exemplary teachers (pre-K–College), principals (middle level and high school), and students (K–12) with cash, trips, workshops, science program materials, and more. These awards offer opportunities to receive professional and personal recognition and to share your school’s science education success stories. Don’t miss the application deadline for NSTA’s Awards: October 15, 2007. Applications for the SeaWorld Outstanding Environmental Educator Award has a November 30 deadline.

Faces of Science Exhibit at NAS Aug. 1 – Sept. 30

Photographer Mariana Cook turns her camera on some of the most prominent men and women of the scientific community. The portraits together with the texts that accompany them offer a look at the remarkable qualities of an extraordinary group of people. The exhibit will be on view to the public from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30 at the National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St., N.W.

National Geographic All Roads Film Festival — October 4–7

National Geographic All Roads Film Project showcases breakthrough film and still photography from indigenous and under represented minority cultures around the globe. Launched in 2004, All Roads supports diverse cultural perspectives with an international film festival, funding, networking, and distribution opportunities to bring together voices that celebrate the vibrant cultural stories of our world.

Also Los Angeles, CA: September 27–30 and Santa Fe, NM: November 28 – December 2

Can We Compete? Trends in America’s Scientific and Technical Workforce Nov. 2007

Save the Date! The Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology will host a national conference on November 1–2, 2007 in Washington, DC. The conference will bring together policymakers, higher education administrators, corporate hiring mangers, non-profit and business executives, workforce analysts, and others to address major issues impacting America’s scientific and technical workforce. Plenaries and panel presentations featuring experts on science and engineering data, policy and practice will focus on innovation and the STEM workforce, scientific workforce trends, skills and the global market, and cross-national supply and demand. The conference will draw in part on data derived from CPST’s Alfred P. Sloan Foundation-funded STEM Workforce Data Project.

There is no charge to attend the conference, but registration is required. To register online, or for more information, visit the CPST website.

Conference Venue

Please mark your calendars now and plan on attending in November!

Electronics on Plastic: A Solution to the Energy Challenge or a Pipe Dream?

“As urgency to address climate change mounts, there’s ever greater interest in harnessing the unlimited potential of the sun to replace fossil fuels. This tantalizing prospect has inspired a raft of new scientific ventures, reports Stephen Forrest. A theoretical field of silicon solar cells that is 120 miles on one side and 120 miles on the other, plunked down in a temperate zone, has the capacity to generate 20 terawatts of power. While such a solar array could more than address the needs of today’s global population, the scheme is impractical and the costs prohibitive. … So scientists are exploring how organic materials — not living cells, but carbon-containing compounds — might make solar power more economical. Organic photovoltaic cells, made of thin layers of fluorescing molecules, seem to hold out hope of an inexpensive alternative to silicon. But so far, these cells don’t offer the same kind of power efficiency as silicon-based technologies.”

Speaker: Stephen R. Forrest, Vice President for Research, University of Michigan

Workshop Presents Cutting-Edge Science Education to US School Boards

“A day-long workshop held in June for nearly 100 elected school board members from Kansas and Missouri was the latest phase in a historic three-year national project to help develop policies and support for state-of-the-art science, technology, and mathematics (STM) curricula. The project, co-sponsored by AAAS and the National School Boards Association (NSBA), targets the improvement of STM capability as schools begin testing students’ science proficiency under the US No Child Left Behind law. The findings from extensive interviews and surveys, a website, and training materials from the project are to be delivered to state school board associations in all 50 states during February 2008.” (From AAAS). Website includes 12 minute video.

Podcasts from the National Academies

The National Academies provides podcasts on subjects in all areas of science, engineering, medicine, and technology. Includes:

National Academy of Engineering Annual Meeting: Public Events

The National Academy of Engineering’s 2007 Annual Meeting public events will be held in Washington, D.C., on September 30 – October 1. Highlights on September 30 include the new NAE member induction, the Founders Award and Bueche Award ceremonies, the Gordon Prize Recipient Lecture, and other special guests. Participants at the Oct. 1 NAE symposium, “Engineering Health Care as an Adaptive Enterprise,” will explore the promise, dynamics, and implications of converging revolutions in bioengineering and the life sciences, which will impact the future of health care and engineering research, education, and practice in the United States. This public event will be held at the National Academies building in Washington, D.C. Advance registration is required, as space is limited.

Interesting Web Sites and News

Mop Top the Hip Hop Scientist

“Description: The ‘Hip Hop’ Science Shop provides basic biographical information about a dozen or so African Americans in the science profession. Designed for younger students, there is some interactivity and the interface is colorful and easy to use. Two different links were not working (alphabetic navigation under ‘and more scientists’ and Links); however the working content was useful. Some links lead to content and activities on other sites.“ (From Blue Web’N)


“In recent years, people in the fields of business and technology have developed a keen interest in creating products that are socially responsible. As a partnership between two nonprofit organizations (Business for Social Responsibility and the Green Business Network), the ClimateBiz website is a place for such persons to come together and learn from each other. The section titled ClimateBiz 101 is a good place to start, as it offers an overview of the interactions between the world of business and climate change, and also provides insights into how to best utilize the entire site. Other sections are more self-explanatory, and include background articles (such as Who’s reviving the electric car? and an Ask the Climate Expert feature. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

Quickly Move from Search Tool to Search Tool with Intelways

Intelways (Formerly CrossEngine & MrSapo)
“Having the best name possible for your site or service is so important. Let’s review this point by reviewing three name changes (in about 3 years) at a useful web research tool? First, in 2004, there was MrSapo, a site that allowed users to quickly move around and search various databases organized by categories. The service was developed and maintained by Juan Sosa. Note that the page is copyright Intelways. Second, in early 2007, MrSapo changed its name to CrossEngine. This SEL report documents the change. During this time, the site was constantly under construction with new looks and new search tools being added. Now, the name has changed again to IntelWays (the name of its parent company).

Search Tools are Listed in 11 Categories:

Btw, also note the box in the upper right hand corner to have results pages open in a new browser window and icons for the most popular engines now remain constant on the interface. Look for the icons directly to the right of the search box. We’ve become regularly users of Intelways. It can not only make comparison searching and web search training easier but it also is useful to learn about new specialty tools. Kudos to the Intelways team and keep up the good work.

Update: It’s important to remember that Intelways is NOT a meta or federated search engine where results from disparate databases are merged together into one results list. Vivisimo’s Bio-Meta Cluster would be an example of a meta/federated search tool.”

Maps of Science

Ever wonder how the various disciplines in science interconnect? This beautiful website has just been updated with a ‘globe of science’, showing the connections, through journal article citation analysis, of all the fields of science.

“These maps were constructing by sorting more than 16,000 journals into disciplines. Disciplines, represented as circles, are sets of journals that cite a common literature. Links (the lines between disciplines) are pairs of disciplines that share a common literature. Links are treated as rubber bands (attempting to bring two disciplines close to each other). The lack of a link is similar to a repulsive fource (pusing two disciplines apart). A mathematical model, using the attractive-repulsive fources, generates the visualizations shown below directly from the data.”

The maps are interactive, allowing you display the funding patterns of several agencies, and to drill down through “disciplines” and “paradigms”. A most interesting way to look at the connections and interconnections in science.

ticTOCs Project will transform journal current awareness

“ticTOCs is a project to develop a freely available service which will transform journal current awareness. The ticTOCs service will make it easy for academics, researchers and anyone else to find, display, store, combine and reuse journal tables of contents (TOCs) from multiple publishers in a personalisable web based environment. JISC is the primary funder of the ticTOCs project, which will run for two years from April 2007. A consortium of fifteen partners are involved in the project. Lead by the University of Liverpool Library, the consortium includes Heriot-Watt University, Cranfield University, CrossRef, ProQuest, RefWorks, Emerald, Nature Publishing Group, SAGE Publishers, Institute of Physics, Inderscience Publishers, MIMAS, Directory of Open Access Journals, Open J-Gate and Intute.

Efficient journal current awareness services are of the highest importance to researchers and academics, whatever their discipline. Ensuring efficient and easy access to the contents of the latest journal publications is also important for publishers of scholarly journals, a business which is estimated to be worth $5 billion per annum. Authors of articles in scholarly publications also want their output to be available to as wide an audience as possible, as soon after publication as possible. The ticTOCs project will develop a freely available service which will benefit not only academics and researchers, publishers and authors, but also service providers such as libraries, aggregators, discovery services and journal directories. As such, ticTOCs is likely to become a very important component of the scholarly communications process. ticTOCS will develop a service to enable academics, researchers and anyone else, without having to understand the technical or procedural concepts involved in the process, to discover, subscribe to, search within, be alerted to, aggregate, export and re-use standardised Table of Contents RSS (really Simple Syndication) feeds and their content for thousands of journals and numerous publishers. In addition, it will facilitate the re-use of aggregated journal TOC content on a subject basis by gateways, subject-based resource discovery services, library services and others, where it can act as a showcase of the latest research output. It will also make it easy for users of library and information services, commercial and open access journal publishers, online gateways, content aggregators and journal directories to subscribe to journal TOC RSS feeds of interest, with one click, via a freely available personalisable web-based interface. ticTOCs will encourage the production of standardised journal TOC RSS feeds, and thereby facilitate their interoperability and improve the quality of their data.

A prototype service is expected to be up and running by April 2008. The project has been named ticTOCs because part of the service will involve the ticking of selected TOCs (Tables of Contents) of interest, from an easy to use online directory of thousands of feeds.

More information about ticTOCs is available at the ticTOCs project website ( A ticTOCs news blog ( is also available.

Contact: Joe Hilton, ticTOCs Project Manager, Sydney Jones Library, University of Liverpool, Chatham St, PO Box 123 Liverpool, United Kingdom, L69 3DA. Email:”

(From Roddy MacLeod MA, DipLib, MCILIP)

The Naked Scientists

“Ever wonder exactly how thunderstorms work? What about genetic fingerprinting? Do you have nightmares about getting stuck in quicksand? This group of (thoroughly clothed) Cambridge University researchers and physicians wants to answer your questions and help you have fun with science. Try an experiment, such as using simple kitchen objects to measure the speed of light, figuring out how to tell if an egg is raw, or discovering the simple magic required for making sugar cubes glow. Already think you’re an Einstein? Test your knowledge of science with their quiz. Tune in to a podcast or read an article. Ask a question on their radio show or get it answered right now in the forums. Just think how all this new wisdom will impress your friends and family. They might start calling you ‘Doctor.’” (From Yahoo’s Picks)


T-Rex Blood?

“In 2005, Mary Schweitzer and her team shocked the paleontological world when they reported, in the journal Science, that they had come upon soft tissue surviving deep within the fossilized thigh bone of a 68 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex. The tissue included transparent, stretchy, and still-soft structures that looked like blood vessels, along with possible red blood cells. Surprised as anyone by the discovery, Schweitzer, a paleontologist and research curator at North Carolina State University, decided she had to see if it was a fluke. Did other ancient fossils harbor such prizes? Here, see what Schweitzer and her team brought to light from bones as old as 78 million years.” NOVA Science Now brings this companion site with video and images.


Watch the dissection of a sheep brain to show us “the anatomy of memory.” on this website from the Exploratorium. See works of an artist who paints entirely from memory. (Compare his paintings to photos of places.) Play interactive games that test your memory — learn ways to improve it. Discover why some things are easier to remember than others (droodles game). Which facial features help us remember a face? Which image of the penny is correct? Try a mnemonic device called “elaborative encoding.” (From EdInfo Resources)

Brains Rule

A simple website with a lot to offer. “Games” about the brain for kids, interviews with neuroscientists, spotlighted teachers, newsfeeds and grant opportunities for researchers — something for everyone. is a collaboration between The University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Genome Island (Second Life)

“Genome Island includes the Abbey of St. Thomas, historic displays about Mendel, scientific slideshows and games, cell models, DNA models, and much more. The Tower has a nice poster that describes major sections of the sim and a lab notebook that you can take away. There are teleporters all over to move you around. It’s a large sim so take your time and explore.” (From Blue Web’N)


“The MicrobeLibrary is an online collection of peer-reviewed resources for teaching microbiology supported by the American Society for Microbiology. Its contents include visual images and animations; curriculum activities for both classroom and laboratory; articles from Focus on Microbiology Education, Microbiology Education journal, as well as feature articles from microbe (formerly ASM News); and reviews of educational resources such as websites, software, videos, and books.” About 40% of the content is available free, the rest requires a subscription.

Education and Human Resources

Welcome to Whyville

“Whyville is a virtual world of over 1.7 million citizens (membership is free). It’s where tweens can learn about science and business through games and roleplay as well as communicating with other students from around the world. You can earn clams by playing educational games, go to town events at the Greek Theater,learn about phytoplankton blooms, get involved in the simulated government, and more. Whyville is also working in conjunction with other content providers to provide educational materials; for example the Getty Museum ( Numedeon, Inc., Whyville’s parent company, develops virtual worlds that promote learning through interactivity and engagement. Numedeon’s founders are scientists, who combined research experience with education expertise to conceive an innovative way to harness the power of the Internet for the purpose of engagement and education. Take a tour of Whyville (” (From Blue Web’N)

Apply Today to Become a NASA Explorer School

Applications are now available for educators interested in joining NASA Explorer Schools (NES) during the 2008–2009 school year. Schools from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands may apply for the NES 2008–2009 school year. NES offers unique opportunities designed to engage and educate the future scientists who may someday advance U.S. scientific interests through space exploration. Teams composed of full-time teachers and a school administrator develop and implement a three-year action plan to address local challenges in science, technology, and mathematics education for grades 4–9. During the three-year partnership, the chosen schools are eligible to receive funding to purchase technology tools. The project also provides educators and students with content-specific activities that can be used within the curricula to excite students about science, technology, engineering, and math. Applications are due Jan. 31, 2008. (From NSTA)

News from NSTA

75 Fewer Minutes for Elementary Science Per Week as Result of NCLB Says CEP Report

The Center on Education Policy (CEP) released a survey last week that examines the amount of time spent during the school week on core academic subjects and how the allocation of time across subjects has changed since the 2001–2002 school year, when NCLB was enacted. The report finds that approximately 62% of school districts increased the amount of time spent in elementary schools on reading and language arts and/or math, while 44% of districts cut time on science, social studies, art and music, physical education, lunch, and/or recess. According to the new survey, the average change in instructional time in elementary schools since the law’s enactment has been 140 additional minutes per week for reading, 87 additional minutes per week for math, 76 fewer minutes per week for social studies, 75 fewer minutes for science (emphasis added), 57 fewer minutes for art, and 40 fewer minutes for gym, writes New York Times reporter Sam Dillon.

Student Results Show Benefits of Math and Science Partnerships

The National Science Foundation is reporting that students’ performance on annual math and science assessments improved in almost every age group when their schools were involved in a Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program. MSP-participating school districts found that a significantly higher proportion of students scored at the “proficient” level or higher on state math and science assessments in the 2004–2005 school year than they had in 2003–2004. Progress among elementary math students was particularly noteworthy, with student proficiency rising by more than 15 percentage points from one school year to the next. The MSP currently supports 52 such partnerships around the country that unite some 150 institutions of higher education with more than 550 school districts, including more than 3,300 schools in 30 states and Puerto Rico. More than 70 businesses, numerous state departments of education, science museums, and community organizations are also partners.

Students in Rural Areas Do Better in Science Says New NCES Report

Last week, a new report issued by the National Center on Education Statistics on rural schools found that students in rural areas do better in science than their counterparts in urban schools. The Status of Education in Rural America provides a series of indicators on the status of education in rural America, including the findings that in 2003–2004 more than half of all operating school districts and one-third of all public schools in the United States were in rural areas, yet only one-fifth of all public school students were enrolled in rural areas. A larger percentage of rural public school students in the 4th and 8th grades in 2005 scored at or above the proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading, mathematics, and science assessments than did public school students in cities at these grade levels. However, smaller percentages of rural public school students than suburban public school students scored at or above the proficient level in reading and mathematics.

Resource: Teaching High School Science

“Both new and experienced science high school teachers will find something of interest within this six-part series created by WGBH Boston. The creation of the program was supported by the Annenberg Media organization, and visitors can view all of these programs in the comfort of their home (or classroom). As the program site notes, The Teaching High School Science library will help teachers integrate national science standards and inquiry learning into their curricula. The programs include classrooms investigating chemical reactions, expereiments involving crickets, and explorations into how the Mars landscape may have formed. After viewing these programs, visitors can also view a list of related programs that are also made available as part of the Annenberg Media’s online video library. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

Exploratorium: Iron Science Teacher

“People in the Bay Area love to cook, and that can mean mixing up everything from home-grown arugula to free trade pumpkins. The good folks at San Francisco’s Exploratorium have cooked up the Iron Science Teacher presentations in an attempt to bring together the worlds of science and the culinary arts. To no one’s surprise, they have succeeded, and the results include a fine mix of science activities that are both fun and enlightening. Visitors can dive right in by looking over some of their recent endeavors, which have included such items as candy, apples, chocolate, fruit cake, pumpkins, and marshmallow peeps. There are other areas of the site that bring together previous webcasts that have covered kitchen items, common household items, and even things one might find in a recycling bin. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)


Friendly Robots

A daring engineer designs robots to communicate and interact the way people do. Listen and watch while Cynthia Breazeal shows off her friendly robots.

Mars Exploration Rovers

Mars Exploration Rovers tells the story of Spirit and Opportunity, two rovers that are investigating the hills and craters of Mars. See an animation of Spirit’s journey from launch pad to Mars. Learn about its instruments. See a slide show of the most detailed images of Mars’ surface ever captured. A lesson on the distance and relative size of other planets is included. (From EdInfo Resources)

National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS)

“Documents related to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) bridge inspection program regulations, which were ‘developed as a result of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968,’ and were revised with the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS; took effect in January 2005). Includes the full text of the NBIS regulation, a FAQ, documents related to the National Bridge Inventory (NBI), and related material. From the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

How Bridges Work

“This site describes the engineering of bridges in general and looks at the beam, arch, and suspension bridge, illustrating different types of bridges, factors such as ‘how each bridge type deals with two important forces, compression and tension,’ and related details. Includes links to other engineering articles. From HowStuffWorks.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

Code of Ethics for Robots

“The government of South Korea is drawing up a code of ethics to prevent human abuse of robots — and vice versa. The so-called Robot Ethics Charter will cover standards for robotics users and manufacturers, as well as guidelines on ethical tandards to be programmed into robots, South Korea’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy announced last week.”

Same story covered by the BBC News (

International Space Station: An Interactive Reference Guide

“NASA can really put together a website, and the dramatic visual and audio introduction to their online interactive guide to the world of the International Space Station (ISS) is worth sitting back and watching in its entirety. After the introduction, visitors can listen to Commander Mike Fincke talk about the various scientific endeavors that are part of the Station’s mission. The rest of the materials on the site are divided into three sections: ‘How the Crew Lives’, ‘How it Works’, and ‘ISS 360 Tour’. While all of the sections are equally interesting, the ‘How the Crew Lives’ is quite a treat, as visitors can watch videos demonstrating how the crew eats, sleeps, and exercises. Of course, visitors with a penchant for engineering technology should definitely not miss the ‘How it Works’ area, which contains explanations of how the ISS is operated and supported. Finally, the site also contains a music video which blends together what sounds like early 1990s-techno music with in-flight scenes of space scientists at work and play. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)



The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is pleased to announce the release of the TerraLook data product. A TerraLook product is a user-specified collection of JPEG images created from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) images from the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center, and Tri-Decadal Global Landsat Orthorectified images from the USGS archive. TerraLook will serve GIS, natural resource management, education, and other communities, and provide easily accessible remotely-sensed data. TerraLook images are designed for visual interpretation and display, and are of value to anyone who wants to see the changes to the Earth’s surface over the last 30 years.

Dino Directory

“Do you know your Gallinimus from your Barosaurus? If not, it may be high time to take a close look at The Natural History Museum’s Dino Directory. Updated regularly, the Dino Directory provides basic information on 229 of the most well described dinosaurs. Complemented by 933 images, the dinosaurs can be searched by scientific name, body shape, or by time period. One very nice feature of the site is the Living Together area, which allows users to discover which dinosaurs could be found on different continents during each era. For those concerned with locating dinosaurs by the contemporary boundaries of such countries as Argentina, Brazil, and others, that option is also available. For each dinosaur, visitors can look at various speculative renderings, and also learn about their diet and habitat. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Galaxy Zoo — Call for Public Participation

“A new project known as Galaxy Zoo is calling on members of the public to log on to its website and help classify one million galaxies. The hope is that about 30,000 people might take part in a project that could help reveal whether our existing models of the Universe are correct. Computer users undergo a three-minute online tutorial and are then allocated a series of images and asked to decide whether each one shows a spiral or an elliptical galaxy. If it’s a spiral galaxy, they’re asked to decide which way it appears to be rotating. The images come from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope in New Mexico, US.” (From the BBC Science & Nature Newsletter)


“ChemxSeer, the first publicly available search engine designed specifically for chemical formulae, can sort out when He refers to helium and a person more than nine times out of 10, according to the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) researchers who created the tool. With the new engine, scientists searching for research on CH4 or methane no longer have to wade through search results about Channel 4 or Chapter 4 as ChemxSeer will only return documents with references to the chemical formula. Results from our search engine are much more relevant than results returned by popular search engines, Gil said. It is one of several tools under development in our lab which will enable better access to and sharing of information and data among scientists and scholars.”


This gorgeous and informative site is from NASA. “In the first few decades of this new century astronomers will largely complete the study of cosmology: the description of the universe on the largest scales and how it works. With the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (Spitzer) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) we will also begin to write the final chapter of the story of galaxies, witnessing the actual birth of these continents of stars.”

Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles

“Created by Alexander Bogomolny, this site is a clearinghouse of fun and engaging mathematics exercises, puzzles, and other such activities that teachers can utilize in their classrooms. Of course, students might happen across the site and they might become math converts along the way. First-time visitors might wish to read Bogomolny’s manifesto for the site, and then they can dive right into the material offerred here. The offerings are divided into a number of sections, including Visual Illusions, Algebra, and Probability. One particularly nice feature of the site is that many of the exercises and activities here are accompanied by helpful Java applets that include charts, graphs, and other such dynamic elements. Finally, visitors shouldn’t leave without visiting the Mathematical Droodles section as it’s both engaging and thought-provoking. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

Life in the Solar System

“Over the next few years, space probes will be visiting alien worlds looking for life. Our first contact with extraterrestrials could be just around the corner.” The main candidates in the Solar System to harbour life are Mars, Europa and Titan. This attractive website from the BBC explores these possibilities and links to related BBC websites.

Physics To Go

“Many things in this world are offered on a ‘to-go’ basis. Some might not immediately think of ‘Physics To Go’, but thank goodness the talented people at the American Physical Society and the National Science Digital Library have done just that. Essentially, this site is an excellent collection of websites where visitors can learn physics on their own through a variety of formats, including webcasts, online exhibits, and games. Educators will enjoy these materials a great deal, and they may wish to recommend the ‘Physics in Your World’ section to fellow travelers and students. In this section, visitors can learn about centripetal force through the world of water-skiing and the principles behind optical microscopy. There’s also the ‘Physics at Home’ archive which brings together information on building a telescope at home and ways to learn about diffraction with just a few pencils and a miniature light. [KMG]“ (From the Scout Report)

Meteor Showers

A brief introduction to meteor showers from the BBC. This site is heavily linked. Go from meteors to comets, for example, where you can play games like “The solar system jigsaw”, “Alien invaders game” or “Asteroid attack game”. Find video clips, vote on whether life arrived on a comet, or go further and explore recommended sites from NASA, and SEDS.

Apollo Moon Project Photographic Record in New Digital Archive

“Arizona State University and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston have teamed up to make high-res scans of original Apollo flight films available online. There is a minimum amount of content available on the Web site at the moment, the project has just started and will take about three years to complete. About 36,000 images in total will be scanned, including about 600 35mm frames and about 4,600 panoramic camera frames. You can see a preview of how the pictures are going to be scanned ( Each frame has a Web page, with several different sizes of images to download (I saw one original scan that was over a gig.) The frames have extensive details about where and when they were taken as well. This is just the beginning for this archive, but one to keep an eye on.” (From ResearchBuzz)

Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

The Mysterious Bogpeople

“Despite the seemingly spooky title of this site, visitors should not be afraid of entering and exploring around the contents of this very interactive site. Created through a collaborative partnership between organizations such as the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Drents Museum, this site concerns itself with the artifacts and material world created by the so-called bogpeople of northwestern Europe who lived approximately 10,000 years ago. Visitors can explore their world through sections that include Science, Timeline, Profile and Mediatheatre. The Mediatheatre section is a good place to start as visitors can view short film clips that cover the mysteries of the bog, fishing with a harpoon, and the fabled Ubbena wheel. Moving along, the Timeline area gives some nice chronological context to the events and transformations covered by the site, and the Science area includes some insights into what archaeologists do in the field. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

The BigMac Index

Brought to you by The Economist, this website uses the cost of a Big Mac around the world to examine which currencies are undervalued and overvalued. Tongue in cheek, perhaps, but pretty accurate as well. Included is a video clip that explains the theoretical underpinnings, as it were.

Internet Crossroads in Social Science Data

From the University of Wisconsin a plain vanilla but very useful portal to social science data.

(From U of Michigan Document Center)

Video in the News: Egypt’s Most Famous Female King Found

Brought to you by National Geographic is a variety of videos in the news, this one on the identification of Hatshepsut’s mummy. “Watch as archaeologists reveal how they identified the long-lost mummy of Hatshepsut, an Egyptian ruler famous for donning the male garb of a pharaoh.”

Polar Programs

Video in the News — Penguins

National Geographic brings you a range of videos in the news, this one about the problems faced by Antarctic penguins dealing with climatic changes.

Inter Alia

  1. NSTA Salutes Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan — First Science Teacher to Go into Space.

    “The National Science Teachers Association salutes NSTA member Barbara Morgan, a former Idaho elementary science teacher, and her upcoming launch aboard the space shuttle Endeavor. Morgan is one of seven STS-118 crewmates selected for the 11-day construction mission to the International Space Station (ISS), scheduled to launch Wednesday, August 8.

    In addition to leading in-orbit educational activities, Morgan’s duties will include operating the shuttle’s and station’s robotic arms during spacewalks and other activities and overseeing the transfer of 5,000 pounds of supplies and equipment between the shuttle and station. Additionally, Morgan and her crewmates will be transferring a set of plant growth chambers, as well as 10 million basil seeds, to the ISS. Expedition 15 astronaut Clayton Anderson will cultivate some of the seeds over 20 days as part of a NASA Engineering Design Challenge. The remaining microgravity-exposed basil seeds, along with a control set of seeds, will later be distributed to students across the U.S. to grow in their own home-built growth chambers.” (From NSTA Express)

  2. The Late James “Scotty” Doohan to Make a Space Journey, But Not Quite to the “Final Frontier”

    “The television show Star Trek, while not tremendously popular during its initial run in the early 1960s, soon garnered a following that could, at the very least, be described as thoroughly devoted. Over the past forty years, the show has been shown in syndication almost continuously, and has also served as the inspiration for a movie franchise, several additional television series, dozens of books, and the requisite merchandise and memorabilia industries. Many famous characters were created as part of the original series, including Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott. James Doohan, who played the chief engineer of the crew’s hardy vessel, the Starship Enterprise, passed away last July at the age of 85. He had always expressed a strong desire to travel into space, and it seems that he will now get his wish, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale. Earlier this week, it was announced that several grams of Doohan’s ashes would be placed on a 15-minute suborbital flight that will leave from southern New Mexico this coming fall. His widow commented, ‘It’s a way to honor something he would have loved to have done.’ As of this writing, it is not known whether William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, or any of the other original cast members have a similar wish for their own ashes. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

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