Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


Newsletter archive > 2000 August 24 Issue

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This newsletter is available to the public at the following locations:

  1. DIVERSITY IN SCIENCE: Links on women and minorities in science and engineering.
  2. BILL NYE IN CONGRESS: Brought to you on the web by the ACS.
  3. DOE PRESENTS TWO NEW DATABASES: Grey literature and R&D project summaries.
  4. NEW CHEMISTRY PREPRINT SERVER: Can’t let the physicists have all the fun …
  6. INTERESTING WEBSITES, ETC.: Science literacy, publishing, Nobel Prizes, sounds, translations, ethics, Australians; Biological Sciences: ecological footprints of nations, cloud forest, atlas of the body, protocols, genetics, stalking the mysterious microbe, Australian biodiversity; Computer Sciences: computer vision; Engineering: a power plant, time, mining environments, the Hunley; Geosciences: atmospheric quiz, earthquakes, paleomaps; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: fluid dynamics, heat transfer, materials, Preistly, Kurchatov, physics of tsunamis, space educators handbook; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: geography, policy books, … and more …
  7. INTER ALIA: Physics limericks, peer review, the grease car …

    I have been promising to redo a webpage on women and minorities in science and engineering, and it is finally ready for release. It is divided into the following categories:

    • Event Calendar
    • WWW Directories
    • Historically Black and Minority Universities
    • Databases and Directories with Minority Characteristics
    • Organizations
    • History, Biography, Etc.
    • Specific Disciplines
    • Reports, Articles, Books

    My webpage is behind a firewall, but if you would like the HTML code for this page, please contact me at If you have asked me for HTML code before, and haven’t gotten it, ask again. I make mistakes.

  2. BILL NYE AND THE US CONGRESS — May 10, 2000

    Congress Project
    “The ACS Science & the Congress Project proudly presents streaming video of Bill Nye the Science Guy on Science Education & You.

    “This is an experimental project for the ACS Science & the Congress Project. We would appreciate your feedback on the quality and usefulness of these video files. Please click here to send us your comments.

    “To view the program you must have either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player.

    “Pre-college science, mathematics, and technology education is imperative to enabling young people to understand and evaluate today’s headlines, gain basic work skills, and succeed in today’s competitive, technological economy. People experience science and technology as integral components of everyday life — using computers at home and work, driving automobiles controlled by computer chips, watching weather reports with satellite images, and taking medicines based on biotechnologies unknown a decade ago.

    “Attendees joined Bill Nye the Science Guy, as well as Representatives Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) and Rush Holt (D-NJ). For the past several years, Bill’s television show has won acclaim for teaching children science and making it fun. The discussion centered around instilling passion, beauty, and joy of science in our young people and the importance of good science education to our future.”

    Additional presentations available at the ACS site are:

    • An Interactive Exploration of Science
    • MTBE Alternatives: Environmental and Health Implications

    “Two innovative new Internet tools have been created in collaboration with several government agencies that improve access to scientific and technical research information across the Federal Government. Developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), GrayLIT Network ( Federal R&D Project Summaries ( provide the capability to search documents with a single query across databases of many Federal agencies to find and combine information regardless of where it happens to reside. With these new tools, it is no longer necessary for a user to know which agency is working in a particular area or discipline.

    “GrayLIT Network provides a portal for over 100,000 full-text technical reports located at the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Collections in the GrayLIT collaboration include the DOE Information Bridge; the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) Report Collection; the EPA National Environmental Publications Internet Site (NEPIS); the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Reports; and the NASA Langley Technical Reports.

    “Federal R&D Project Summaries includes more than 240,000 research summaries and awards by three of the major sponsors of research in the Federal government. The Federal databases available via this tool are the Department of Energy R&D Project Summaries; the National Institutes of Health (NIH) CRISP (Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects) Current Awards; and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Award Data.

    “These tools support an interdisciplinary view of science by providing scientists and engineers the opportunity to look beyond their Agency’s specializations and to access relevant information from other disciplines. They are the early successes of a new information infrastructure in the physical sciences. From a recent workshop of distinguished experts in science and information held at the National Academy of Sciences, a vision emerged of a future information infrastructure for physical sciences that will benefit not just the scientific community but the national good (

    “GrayLIT Network and Federal R&D Project Summaries are being made available to the public in partnership with the Government Printing Office through GPO Access (”

    From Hannah King,
    US DOE Energy Library


    Preprint Server
    We are officially launching The Chemistry Preprint Server (CPS) on the 21st August at the ACS. As a member you can get a sneak preview today of one of our newest features.

    CPS is a major new initiative for the chemistry community, powered by It is a freely available and permanent web archive and distribution medium for research articles in the field of chemistry.

    Submission to the CPS is open to all and can include fully prepared articles or works in progress. Even if you don’t have a paper to submit, you can use the CPS to gain access to some of the latest chemistry research.

    If your submission is one of the first 1000, you will become a “Preprint Pioneer” and be awarded a commemorative certificate in recognition of your contribution in making the Chemistry Preprint Server a success and revolutionizing chemistry communication.

    To submit or view go to


    Journal of Turbulence
    A new, peer-reviewed electronic-only title from Institute of Physics Publishing

    Journal of Turbulence (JoT) is a digital forum for theoretical, numerical and experimental concepts aimed at understanding, predicting and controlling fluid turbulence. It is essential reading for those interested in turbulence arising in aero- and hydrodynamics, acoustics, hydraulics, aeroelasticity, combustion, turbo-machinery, heat transfer, two-phase flows, MHD and fusion, internal geophysics, oceanography, meteorology and astrophysics.

    Benefiting from all of the value-added features that our award-winning Electronic Journals service has to offer, JoT includes impressive multimedia functionality (computer simulations, video clips, data sets etc), reference linking to other publishers’ online content and handy personalization options such as E-mail Alerting and online Filing Cabinets.

    A number of free Featured Articles have been made available on the JoT website to give both readers and authors an insight into the type of high-quality papers that the journal is already attracting. Visitors to the site can also take a look at examples of turbulence-related multimedia enhancements free of charge. Additionally, they can benefit from related links to other publications and conference websites and gain access to relevant news stories.

    Temporary Free Access to Elsevier Biochemistry Titles (free registration required) is pleased to announce the addition of 31 Elsevier Science Biochemistry titles to the Library at All of the journals listed below are FREE to members until 30 September 2000.

    • Antiviral Research
    • Biochemical Education
    • Biochemical Pharmacology
    • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta/Bioenergetics
    • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta/Biomembranes
    • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta/Gene Structure and Expression
    • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta/General Subjects
    • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta/Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
    • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta/Molecular Basis of Disease
    • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta/Molecular Cell Research
    • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta/Protein Structure and Molecular Enzymology
    • Biomolecular Engineering
    • Biotechnology Advances
    • Chemistry and Physics of Lipids
    • Clinica Chimica Acta
    • Clinical Biochemistry
    • Enzyme and Microbial Technology
    • Free Radical Biology and Medicine
    • Gene
    • The International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
    • International Journal of Biological Macromolecules
    • Journal of Biochemical and Biophysical Methods
    • Journal of Biotechnology
    • The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    • Mutation Research/DNA Repair
    • Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
    • Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environment Mutagenesis
    • Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research
    • Peptides
    • Process Biochemistry
    • Steroids

    For JSTOR participants:

    JSTOR General Science Collection Update

    The third release of General Science Collection titles is now available! This release includes the years from 1960 through 1979. A list of the titles with up-to-date coverage information is included below.

    Note: Titles in JSTOR’s General Science Collection are being released in chronological increments rather than on a title-by-title basis. The more recent increments will be made available first; increments of older material will follow in later releases.

    Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences
    Current coverage: Vols. 329–351, 1990–1996
    Moving Wall: 5 years (starting in 2002)
    Journal URL:
    Publisher: Royal Society
    (continues: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London: Series B, Biological Sciences)
    Current coverage: Vols. 242–328, 1960–1990
    Journal URL:

    Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
    Current coverage: Vol. 354, 1996
    Moving Wall: 5 years (starting in 2002)
    Journal URL:
    Publisher: Royal Society
    (continues: Philosophical Transactions: Physical Sciences and Engineering)
    Current coverage: Vols. 332–353, 1990–1995
    Journal URL:
    (continues: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London: Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences)
    Current coverage: Vols. 252–331, 1960–1990
    Journal URL:

    Proceedings: Biological Sciences
    Current coverage: Vols. 241–263, 1990–1996
    Moving Wall: 5 years (starting in 2002)
    Journal URL:
    Publisher: Royal Society
    (continues: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Series B, Biological Sciences)
    Current coverage: Vols. 151–240, 1960–1990
    Journal URL:

    Proceedings: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
    Current coverage: Vol. 452, 1996
    Moving Wall: 5 years (starting in 2002)
    Journal URL:
    Publisher: Royal Society
    (continues: Proceedings: Mathematical and Physical Sciences)
    Current coverage: Vols. 430–451, 1990–1995
    Journal URL:
    (continues: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences)
    Current coverage: Vols. 254–429, 1960–1990
    Journal URL:

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Current coverage: Vols. 46–94, 1960–1997
    Moving Wall: 2 years
    Journal URL:
    Publisher: National Academy of Sciences

    Current coverage: Vols. 131–266, 1960–1994
    Moving Wall: 5 years
    Journal URL:
    Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science

    More information about the new journals may be found on their journal information pages.

    The moving wall for Demography, published by the Population Association of America, has been reduced from 5 years to 2 years. Issues of Demography are now available in the JSTOR database through 1997.

    Current coverage: Vols. 1–34, 1964–1997
    Moving Wall: 2 years

    Current Anthropology has been updated so that there is now no gap in coverage between the content currently available in JSTOR and the content available through University of Chicago Press.

    Current Anthropology
    Current coverage: Vols. 1–40 (Issue 4), 1959–1999
    Fixed Wall: JSTOR coverage of this title presently ends with Vol. 40 (Issue 4), 1999.


    Project 2061: Science Literacy for a Changing Future
    The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s effort to reform science, mathematics, and technology education. Online publications include Science for All Americans, recommendations on essential understandings and ways of thinking in a world shaped by science and technology; Benchmarks for Science Literacy, recommending what all students should know and be able to do by the time they reach certain grade levels; Blueprints, an examination of educational issues involved in instituting reform; Evaluations of Science & Mathematics Textbooks On-Line; and Dialogue on Early Childhood Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education. Portions of the site are available in Spanish. Searchable. — rs (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Create Change: Reclaiming Scholarly Communication
    Subtitled “a resource for faculty and librarian action to reclaim scholarly communication,” this polemical but academically credible Website serves as an educational and resource center dedicated to issues of scholarly publishing in an environment characterized by increasing commercialization of traditional publishing and decreasing institutional support. For those uninformed about this current quiet crisis, the site provides plenty of facts and analysis, starting with statistics about increasing costs and decreasing library acquisition of scholarly publications and journals. The Website also addresses the issue of electronic publishing, inveighing against naive assessments of it as a panacea. The site has separate information for librarians and scholars; it includes both a webliography of resources on the subject and an advocacy kit, which features tools for presentations and on-campus advocacy of the issue, as well as advice on intervening in the scholarly publishing process. An online version of a pamphlet is also posted; it gives a concise outline of the problem and advises librarians and scholars how to advocate for change in the current system. Create Change is sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition with support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. [DC] (From the Scout Report)

    Nobel E-Museum [RealPlayer]
    In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Foundation in June, the Foundation has redesigned and renamed its official Website. The main feature of the site is its archive of Nobel Prize Laureates. Complete listings of the winners in the six categories of economics, English, physics, chemistry, medicine and peace are provided at the site, as are profiles, detailed press releases summarizing the Award Committee’s rationale, bibliographies, autobiographical statements, photographs of winners receiving their Nobel “diploma,” and, in the case of recent winners, video files of their Nobel lecture or exclusive interview. There is also an interesting piece on Peace Prizewinners whose selection generated political controversy, including Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and Carl von Ossietzky in 1935, a German prisoner of conscience under the Nazis. Background information in text and video form about the history of the Foundation, its prize, and the Nobel Museum is also posted. We encourage users to visit the site map for the clearest source of an overall directory to this valuable Website. [DC] (From the Scout Report)

    This easy to use search engine looks for sound files on the web. Not limited to science sites, it will find all kinds of (relatively short) sound files. Any number of animal calls, including bird calls, and other nature sounds can be found with this easy engine. Unfortunately it does not direct you to the sites describing the sound files, but with a little manipulation of the URL you can get there on your own.
    This online machine translation service has a few things going for it that make it the first choice for this type of translation. Rather than doing word-for-word translating, it attempts to translate entire phrases. It’s very fast. It also completely translated a Web page with more than 15,000 words. In contrast, AltaVista’s Babel Fish translated only about the first 1,500 words and Go Translator did about 4,400. Remember, though, machine translation is just to provide basic comprehension of text or Web pages. Currently translates English to French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Norwegian and French, Spanish, and German to English. — cl (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Ethical Legal and Social Issues in Science
    Aimed at middle and high school students and teachers, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s ELSI in Science program is a pilot project designed to stimulate discussions on the implications of selected areas of scientific research. Onsite you will find information on the issues surrounding the likes of breast cancer screening, genetic patents, personal medical privacy and sustainable development. Don’t let the outdated web page styling put you off — content is still king after all. (From New Scientist Planet Science)

    Search Engine Targeted Toward Academic Resources
    “This search engine catalogs free (only free) academic publications on the Internet. The search interface looks rather standard but there are a couple of vital differences. Beneath the search box you’ll see the words:

    Search by: Keyword, Author, Publication Title, Article Title

    Each of the words after ‘search by’ are clickable and lead to other search interfaces. The page you’re on is the keyword search. The Author, Publication Title, etc. look exactly the same. (It would be nice if this were not the case. Perhaps you’d be less likely to lose track of which search page you were on.) There’s also a separate search for MLA citations only.

    No matter what search interface you choose, the results are nicely presented. Search results include the name of the paper found, name of publication, publication type and description, and some information about the author. There’s also a direct link to the paper itself.

    The engine appears to be rather small at the moment, but its hosts are willing to host academic papers which are not yet online (this is a free service.) They also are willing to host journals and convention papers. (This appears to be a paid service.) A nice idea; it’ll be interesting to see how/if it grows. Worth a look.” (From Research Buzz)

    This database is really small as yet. I searched for several keywords and got no hits, so I then switched over to an author search for “Smith”. There were only four hits. The resources were all high quality, but the sample size very small …

    Bright Sparcs
    “A register of over 3,000 people involved in the development of science, technology and medicine in Australia, including references to their archival materials and bibliographic resources. Explore the roles these people played. Find out where they worked, who they worked with, what they worked on and what they achieved.” Very brief biographies of historical and current Australians.

    The Last Word
    Did you ever wonder … if you did, this site is for you. Readers of NewScientist Magazine, a weekly publication from the UK, write in with unanswered science questions. Have you noticed brown bread toasts more quickly than white bread … several reasons are suggested. If your students are in search of interesting science fair projects, this may be the place to begin. (From Blue WebN)

    Biological Sciences

    Ecological Footprints of Nations [RealPlayer, .zip]
    In the wake of the 1997 Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development), Dr. Mathis Wackernagel and other experts wrote this report comparing the ecological impact (“footprint”) of 52 large nations containing 80 percent of the world population. The report, featured on this Webpage, shows the extent to which each nation’s consumption can be supported by its local ecological capacity. One key finding is that “today, humanity as a whole uses over one third more resources and eco-services than what nature can regenerate.” This site contains all sections of the report, and includes (in addition to the detailed methodology and results) a glossary, a RealAudio interview with lead author Mathis Wackernagel, and the capacity to download (.zip) the text portion of the report. [LXP] (From the Scout Report)

    Cloud forest alive
    A great site from the Central American Commission for Environment and Development. Colourful, informative and easy to navigate, it includes ornithological webcams of hummingbirds and the fabulously named Resplendent Quetzal. There’s something for everyone — identify ‘The Monday Insect’, listen to the sounds of the cloud forest, learn about current scientific research or try out the quiz. (From New Scientist Planet Science) Folks, this is a great website. They also offer stunning cloud forest wallpaper for your computer screen, a field guide to Costa Rican hummingbirds, a newsletter, and more. Truly a fun and interesting site!

    Atlas of the Body
    This site from the American Medical Association will help you get to know the back of your hand like, well the back of your hand.and chart any other part of your body for that matter. All the usual cutaways are here — male and female reproductive systems, muscles, nerves, the whole body in fact. The site navigates upwards to the wider AMA Health Insight, which discusses health and disease and, for US visitors, provides a means to finding medical resources such as doctors and hospitals. (From New Scientist Planet Science)

    iProtocol — A free service to publicize research protocols used in bioscience
    This site put online by MIT provides protocols in the fields of:

    • Animal Studies
    • Biochemistry
    • Bioengineering
    • Bioinformatics
    • Biophysics
    • Cell Biology
    • Genetics
    • Molecular Biology
    • Miscellaneous

    “Launched in the summer of 1999, iProtocol has become an innovative solution for bench-top researchers to enhance their scientific exploration. Serving as an open platform for researchers to share their protocols and expertise, iProtocol is positioned to stimulate global scientific collaboration.”

    Genetic Science Learning Center
    Although the name perhaps sounds rather daunting, the Genetic Science Learning Centre is a great place to start if you want some up-to-date info on any aspect of genetics, with a strong educational flavour. Whether you’re a teacher wanting teaching aids, a student looking for career information, or a parent interested in knowing how genetic diseases could affect a family, the information presented is clear and helpful. Under the “Most Requested” link, you can discover how to extract naked DNA from virtually anything greenish living in your fridge. They use green split peas, a blender, and some washing-up liquid — Jamie Oliver eat your heart out! (From New Scientist Planet Science)

    Stalking the mysterious microbe
    A simple introduction to microbes from the American Society for Microbiology. Pay a visit to find out, with the help of “Sam Sleuth” all about the microbes on your hands and in the Himalayas, the world of landfills and oilspills and what you need to know about common colds and uncommon cures. There are lots of amateur microbiology experiments that can be carried out with readily available materials such as your teeth, where biofilms of bacteria form, and a loaf of bread, on which the most outrageously colourful moulds can grow, given time. It is also available in Spanish. (From New Scientist Planet Science)

    Australia’s Biodiversity [RealPlayer]
    From Australian Museum Online comes this informative presentation on biodiversity. This searchable site allows visitors to learn fun biodiversity facts (such as the evolutionary history of the platypus and the secret life of kelp forests), how to conserve biodiversity through sustainable living practices, and what’s happening at the Australian Museum in Sydney. Many of the pages can also be downloaded in .pdf format. Features of the site include RealMedia films on such topics as the Lizard Island Research Station and Sydney’s Coastal Reefs; a page about the interpretive strategies of the museum’s exhibition, Biodiversity: life supporting life; and biodiversity and forestry case studies in Australia. Well organized and readable, this site will be enjoyable for both Aussies and non-Aussies interested in the science and wonder of life’s diversity. [HCS] (From the Scout Report)

    This site is filled with bio activities and tools for students of all ages. For younger children, choose “Cool Science for Curious Kids.” For older students, especially AP students, access the latest virtual tools for the geneticist, physician, and immunologist in the virtual labs. Take 20 minutes to be introduced to the tools of the trade (Flash required). Take part in a sequencing a strand of DNS, and identify the virus it belongs to. Request FREE CR Roms of these activities if you are bandwidth challenged. (From Blue Web’n)

    AgBiotechNet publishes current information about biotechnology and biosafety for researchers and policy makers world-wide. The site provides rapid and convenient access to research developments in genetic engineering and updates on economic and social issues. The site’s creators also claim that their resources tackle the very limited access of scientists and policy makers in the developing world by providing critical information about biotechnology and biosafety. AgBiotech itself has been around for about ten years but the site now provides news updates, information on books and conference proceedings via the Web. (From New Scientist Planet Science)

    Computer Sciences

    The Computer Vision Handbook
    A work in progress, this site outlines resources for computer vision techniques, including societies and funding; general references and lab procedures; and indices and programs for mathematics, computer science, graphics and physics. The goal of this electronic handbook is to provide graduate students and others new to computer vision research with a useful tool because, “…the computer vision literature is vast and diverse. Furthermore, computer vision research depends on techniques from a wide range of other fields. Therefore, it is difficult for newcomers (e.g. graduate students) to assimilate enough background material to do their research,” says the site’s collaborative authors, scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Harvey Mudd College, and the University of Iowa. This metasite is well-organized into subheadings: The Computer Vision Community, Computer Vision, Mathematics, Computer Science, Hardware, and Allied Fields, and a glossary is also available. Because it collects so much of the literature and so many Websites, the Computer Vision Handbook is an indispensable tool for graduate students and faculty in the field. [HCS] (From the Scout Report)

    Dictionary of Storage Networking Technology
    The dictionary contains almost 1,000 terms used in the storage industry.

    … and this page loads like a snail, so click the link and go get a cup of coffee. When you come back, you’ll see that its loading was snaillike because the entire dictionary is on this page! That means you can browse the whole dictionary in one spot, from 8B/10B encoding to Zoning. Each definition includes the word, context, and definition. There is some hyperlinking from within the definitions, and some cross-referencing, but not a lot. (From Research Buzz)


    Virtual Tour of the MSU Power Plant
    There is nothing fancy about this site, it is simply a description, heavily illustrated, of the power plant that provides electricity for Michigan State University. Some of the pictures are pretty slow loading, so it takes some patience to view the site, but the pictures are eerily beautiful and the text is very readable. A nice example of a very simple website that manages to be both classy and informative.

    On Time
    This new exhibit from the Smithsonian “explores the changing ways we have measured, used, and thought about time over the past 300 years.” Periods include:

    1700–1820 — Marking Time
    1820–1880 — Mechanizing Time
    1880–1920 — Synchronizing Time
    1920–1960 — Saving Time
    1960–Now — Expanding Time

    The exhibit is brief and has a US bias, but it is visually stunning and quite interesting.

    Mining Environment Database
    “The database provides references and abstracts to over 20,000 journal articles, books, and government reports dealing with abandoned mines, acid mine drainage and land reclamation. Topics include reclamation planning, design and costs; tailings, heavy metals; disposal of hazardous wastes, including acid mine drainage, sulphide-based tailings and asbestos particles; chemical reactivity and oxidation affecting pyrite and pyrrhotite tailings; leaching; radioactive hazards of uranium tailings soil and water contamination; soil stabilization; liming; fertilizers; seeding techniques; mine closure techniques; and other related topics. Subject coverage focuses on hard rock mining topics and is international in scope.” I tried the WEB catalog which is available in English, French and Spanish. The interface was very user-friendly.

    The Official Site of the Hunley
    Site describes the tragic history of the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship in battle (Charleston, South Carolina, February 17, 1864), and the people who developed it and lost their lives in it. It also discusses and illustrates the ongoing efforts to recover and preserve the wreck. Includes an animation of the raising of the Hunley (in QuickTime format), pictures, and archived articles. Searchable. — nbh (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)


    Atmospheric Science Quiz
    “Just as an organ has a unique structure and function, so does our atmosphere … There is a real possibility that the health of this organ has been compromised,” by the thinning of the ozone layer and the accumulation of greenhouse gases. The Environmental News Network provides this educational and inspirational quiz about our precious atmosphere. Each question comes with an explanation of the answer, fantastic related links, and statistics about the percentage of participants who answered correctly. For example, only 30 percent of the quiz takers knew which layer of the atmosphere contains the most ozone! This quiz is a unique way to learn about the science of global warming and other human-influenced environmental threats. [HCS] (From the Scout Report)

    Life Along the Fault Line
    The Exploratorium (San Francisco, California, USA): Life Along the Faultline is a multimedia website dedicated to the well-documented history of seismic activity in the state of California. The website contains six webcasts and interactive multimedia reports about specific catastrophic earthquakes. Be sure to see “1906 — The Great Shake”, which contains many excellent photographs of the 8.3 Richter magnitude earthquake that destroyed much of San Francisco. There are also educational subpages about the basics of seismology and geotechnical engineering within an active fault zone. (From Websurfer’s Weekly Earth Science Review)

    The goal of the PALEOMAP Project is to illustrate the plate tectonic development of the ocean basins and continents, as well as the changing distribution of land and sea during the past 1100 million years. This website contains a lot of interesting paleogeographic images, but my favorites are the “Future Maps”, which are predictions of how the continents will be arranged 50 million years from now and 250 million years in the future, and animations of the continent’s future movements. (From Websurfer’s Weekly Earth Science Review)

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    Computational Fluid Dynamics — Computational Technology Area (NRL)
    “The Computational Fluid Dynamics CTA employs digital computers and numerical methods to solve the equations describing fluid and gas motion. CFD is used for basic studies of fluid dynamics, for engineering design of complex flow configurations, and for predicting the interactions of chemistry with fluid flow for combustion and propulsion. It is also used to interpret and analyze experimental data and to extrapolate into regimes that are inaccessible or too costly to study.” The project type described include:

    • Global, rectilinear, structured gridding
    • Local block structured/overset gridding
    • Unstructured grid software attributes

    Student Guides to Physics
    David Harris at has put together lists of websites in the various areas of physics and linked them to the appropriate educational level, from primary grade students through professional resources. The sites are well chosen. always has a nice list of high quality sites on any topic under the sun, but this is the first one I have seen that has them divided by such a nice layout of appropriate level of expertise and interest. Definitely worth looking at!

    Heat Transfer Picture Gallery — A Visualization of Heat Transfer Phenomena
    “The motivation for publishing these photographs is to draw attention to, and illustrate, the aesthetic qualities of thermal processes. The accompanying explanatory text for each photo display is kept to a minimum to focus attention on the visualization. The photographs include phenomena of natural and forced convection, boiling, and combustion.” Some are lovely, all are interesting.

    Materials Subject Center
    “The Materials Subject Centre hopes to become a valuble resource for all teachers of materials, whether they be in a specific materials department (for example materials science, ceramics, textiles, paper or polymer technology) or in one of the many other science or engineering departments which teach materials as part of their core curriculum.” The ‘Resources’ link on this page provides you with links to a variety of interesting materials science teaching resources.

    A New Historic Chemical Landmark
    The Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society have declared Joseph Priestley’s UK home an Historic Chemical Landmark to commemorate his discovery of oxygen on 1 August 1774. (From The Alchemist — free registration required.)

    Additional links on Joseph Priestly, provided in the Alchemist article, are:

    Joseph Priestley Biography
    Another JB Biography
    Bowood Estate
    American Chemical Society
    The Royal Society of Chemistry

    Citizen Kurchatov
    Citizen Kurchatov is the story of the physicist who became the driving force behind the Soviet Union’s race to develop the atomic bomb. It is the story of Igor Kurchatov, born in 1903, who believed the Russian revolution would lead to the bright future of scientific socialism. Stalin’s bomb-maker ultimately invested his time in the promotion of peaceful uses for nuclear energy and even shared Soviet information about nuclear fusion with the West. He died an “old man” at the age of only fifty. (From New Scientist Planet Science)

    The Physics of Tsunamis
    This succinct website describes the mechanisms of tsunami generation and propagation and includes Quicktime animations.

    Space Educator’s Handbook — One Small Click for All Mankind
    The SPACE EDUCATORS’ HANDBOOK site features more than 2,000 files. Jerry Woodfill of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas developed this program for educational use. You will find everything here, from a space coloring book, to microgravity effects on the human body, to debates about space, to sports on the moon, and more! A listing is provided indexed by appropriate grade level. What a site!

    UFO Document Index
    From NSA, this website contains full text of “The documents listed on this page were located in response to the numerous requests received by NSA on the subject of Unidentified Flying Objects. In 1980, NSA was involved in Civil Action No. 80-1562, Citizens Against Unidentified Flying Objects Secrecy v. National Security Agency.” Documents from that civil action are so identified.

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    NESSTAR: Network Social Science Tools and Resources
    The long awaited NESSTAR system, dubbed the “Social Science Dream Machine” by some (see the September 10, 1999 _Scout Report_), has moved from a beta version into operational mode. Currently, NESSTAR has three main components: 1. NESSTAR Explorer, a search engine for social science data and resources that allows users “to find data across organisational and national boundaries” and browse and download both data and metadata; 2. NESSTAR Publisher, a “collection of tools and resources that enables data publishers and distributors to disseminate data via the Internet;” and 3. an overview of the NESSTAR System Architecture, showing how NESSTAR builds on “state-of-the-art technology like Java, XML, CORBA, etc.” Most researchers will be interested in the Explorer, which currently allows users to retrieve descriptions of data and, in many cases, the data and metadata from the Danish Data Archive, the Finnish Social Science Data Services, the Norweigan Social Science Data Services, and the UK Data Archive. Search options include simple, field, and advanced, and results contain information on location, description, and accessibility of the data. When data are available they display in HTML with a framed table of contents. A User Guide is available to help researchers navigate the Explorer. Already, NESSTAR is an excellent resource for instant access to a wide range of social science data, particularly on European topics, and plans are to add more major archives in the future. Caveat: The Macintosh version of NESSTAR Explorer requires a Java 2 virtual machine, but unfortunately, none are currently available for the Mac OS. [DC] (From the Scout Report)

    Geography Network
    The Geography Network bills itself as “a global network … [that] provides the infrastructure needed to facilitate the sharing of geographic information between data providers, service providers, and users around the world.” With a roster of some two dozen participating members that includes both private firms and government agencies, the site allows access to a wide variety of geographic materials, including basic maps as well as more sophisticated map data intended for use with GIS software. A tool called the Geography Network Explorer allows users to browse the maps and data by publisher or content, or to search the collection by location, type of content, and/or data theme. Some of the maps are designed for dynamic viewing online, with zoom-in capabilities and other features, while other static map images are available for download. The site also offers a discussion forum and a map exchange service, as well as instructions for providers who wish to include their own geographic information in the network. Both serious users of GIS information and more casual map buffs are likely to find this site interesting and useful. [SW] (From the Scout Report)

    Intimate Partner Violence — Bureau of Justice Statistics [ASCII]:
    Spreadsheets [.zip]
    .pdf format (11 pages):
    Released earlier this summer, this report on intimate partner violence from the Bureau of Justice Statistics “provides information on violence by intimates (current or former spouses, girlfriends, or boyfriends) since the redesign of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).” “The report covers trends in intimate violence, characteristics of victims (race, sex, age, income, ethnicity, and whether the victims live in urban, suburban, or rural areas), type of crime (physical assault, verbal threats), and trends for reporting to police. Intimate victimizations measured include rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. Data on murder by intimates are also given.” Data for the report came from the NCVS and the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports. [DC] (From the Scout Report

    The 50 most influential policy books of all time
    These are the 49 classics chosen by the staff of, and an invitation to readers to nominate the 50th. Each book is illustrated with a brief description of its time and influence, and includes links, if available, to full text (and a link to should you wish to order from them.)

    7 August 2000 EPA Back On Line, More Security Minded
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose site has been down since February due to security problems, is coming back on line with a new stance on security. While the agency once considered all information public unless there was a compelling reason to secure it, now the reverse it true: information is considered sensitive unless officials deem otherwise. (From Government Computer News)


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    Scientists at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, where the World Wide Web was created in 1989, are now working on the next level of computer interconnection — the Grid. As with the Web, the CERN scientists are building the Grid to meet the data-processing needs of a specific project, in this case, the data that will result from the Large Hadron Collider, which will recreate conditions immediately after the Big Bang. The Grid will distribute this data among a network of computers through a system of multiple tiers connected through fiber-optic cables. Data will move from the main laboratory to regional and sub-regional centers to universities and departments and finally to individual researchers. What makes the Grid so revolutionary is that a university researcher, even using a standard PC, would have access to data from the original supercomputers. That much data would overwhelm a computer downloading it from today’s Web. The CERN scientists admit that the Grid is still a project very much under development — the Large Hadron Collider itself is not due to begin work for another five years — but they are very optimistic about its potential.
    (International Herald Tribune, 14 Aug 2000 via Edupage)

    The Internet is playing a vital information-providing role to the consumers, companies, and lawyers involved in the recall of 6.5 million Bridgestone/Firestone tires used on Ford SUVs. Research organization says it has recorded 2 million hits over the past two weeks. “The promise of the Internet for issues is much greater than for e-commerce,” says Safetyforum founder Ralph Hoar. The rush for information about the recall was so great at Firestone’s Web site that the site crashed the day the recall was announced. The site, which normally averages no more than 90,000 hits on a daily basis, was swamped with 6.9 million visitors on Thursday. Firestone’s Christine Karbowiak touched on the Internet’s role of information disseminator, noting that consumers who go online can view Firestone’s comments in unedited form.
    (Wall Street Journal, 16 Aug 2000 via Edupage)

    Scientists are still working to fully understand light, particularly its enigmatic ability to exist as both a wave and a particle. Waves and particles display contradictory behaviors, for example, in terms of interference patterns, which make it seemingly impossible to exist in both states. Yet quantum physics dictates that light behaves as a particle when treated as a particle, and as a wave when it is handled as a wave. Investigating this phenomenon known as quantum weirdness, a team of researchers in Geneva recently divided a beam of light into two identical parts, transmitting the beams via fiber-optic cables to detectors that were over 10 kilometers apart. By forcing one of the beams to polarize in a certain direction, the researchers found that they could force the other beam to immediately assume the opposite direction. Although much work remains to be done in this field, inventors are already imagining the potential of technology such as quantum encryption. Another potential application for quantum weirdness is in quantum computers, which would use the superposed particle/wave states to carry out vast numbers of calculations at a tremendous speed.
    (Forbes ASAP, 21 Aug 2000 via Edupage)

    Scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles are using organic molecules called catenanes to build an electronic switch with reversible on/off capability. The scientists will detail the project in the issue of “Science” to be published today. The molecular switch is a major breakthrough in the emerging field of nanotechnology, a focus of corporate research and a $500 million a year initiative of the Clinton administration. Nanotechnology could produce faster, less expensive computers and other machines with the ability to assemble and repair themselves. UCLA scientists James Heath and J. Fraser Stoddart chose to work with catenanes because of their structure. Each molecule is two interlocked rings of atoms. The scientists were able to change the state of one ring in relation to the other by stimulating it with either electricity or light. The use of light as a stimulant may lead to the development of optical computers, the scientists proposed. The next step for nanotechnology researchers is to discover how to control each molecular switch individually rather than in unison.
    (New York Times, 18 Aug 2000 via Edupage)

    University of Arizona, Tucson optical sciences department assistant research professor Ghassan Jabbour is attempting to develop a display screen so thin and flexible that it can be folded and unfolded repeatedly. The technology is in its early stages, but Jabbour and his team are already able to fabricate screens 1,000 times thinner than a human hair on plastic film using simple, inexpensive printing techniques. Using a frame, a fabric, a design stencil, and a squeegee, the team deposited an “ink” of carbon-based molecules on the plastic film; these molecules comprised three diodes that emit blue, green, and red light when activated by an electric current. The diodes make up single pixels that form a monitor image. Jabbour’s program is part of a Defense Department-funded consortium that plans to apply the technology to the marketplace. The plastic film monitors differ from liquid crystal displays in that they emit their own light, and can be viewed from almost any angle. The foldable monitors will be cheaper to produce and more efficient, Jabbour believes.
    (Los Angeles Times Online, 14 Aug 2000 via Edupage)

    Several companies are offering PC users screensaver programs that analyze scientific data while their computers are idle. For the companies, the advantages are clear. For example, Distributed Science, which is studying the storage of nuclear waste, boasts that its Process Tree network of over 100,000 users is more powerful than the ASCI White supercomputer, which can complete 12 trillion calculations per second. Parabon’s screensaver simulates the interaction between cancer cells and possible treatment drugs, while Popular Power’s program tests drugs for influenza. Parabon CEO Steven Armentrout, explaining why users should consider joining the network, says, “It allows individuals to directly contribute to cancer research and may lead to important discoveries.” Most of the companies are also offering some form of payment. These companies have based their programs on the remarkably successful Seti@home project. That project, which uses a screensaver program to process data from the Arecibo telescope on idle PCs, has more than 2 million users.

    Most Americans support an increase in online government services and would feel comfortable voting over the Internet, according to a recent survey from Andersen Consulting. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they would vote online in the upcoming presidential election if an Internet-based voting system were available — a significant increase over the 49 percent of eligible voters who actually cast their votes in the 1996 election. In addition, at least half of the respondents said they would be comfortable using the Internet to renew driver’s licenses, register for classes, register to vote, pay fines, and apply for jobs, says Andersen’s David Wilkins. The survey also reveals that 69 percent of respondents favor face-to-face or online interaction with government agencies over communicating via phone or U.S. mail. By increasing online services, governments could better serve citizens, cut costs, and increase efficiency, the survey says. Still, 93 percent of respondents cite privacy and “the protection of my information from unauthorized access” as major concerns relating to online government services.
    (MSNBC, 7 Aug 2000 via Edupage)

    Computer science departments at colleges and universities across the country are encountering staffing problems as more professors move on to lucrative positions at high-tech companies. Although the turnover has not reached the crisis level, smaller schools and schools that are not situated in markets with high-tech corridors are suffering the most. Industrial research labs were the big lure 10 years ago, says Ed Lazowska, chairman of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Washington in Seattle. “Now it’s the lure of startups,” he says. Although schools can offer computer science professors tenure, Peter Freeman, the John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, acknowledges that they cannot compete with stock options. He says schools can offer a newly minted computer science Ph.D. about $100,000 a year, counting summer research grants, which should be “within striking distance for IBM and Intel.” However, Internet startups offer the potential for dot-com millions. Still, some professors find their way back to the classroom after giving industry a brief try. Some schools, such as University of Texas at Austin, are fortunate to have companies such as Dell Computer and Motorola nearby so they can have local professionals serve as adjunct professors.
    (New York Times Online, 9 Aug 2000 via Edupage)

    Abilene and other high-speed research networks in the U.S. and other countries will reach Latin American universities and research organizations by mid September as the result of a $30 million backbone network project. Americas Path, a new consortium created by the Florida International University in Miami and Internet communications firm Global Crossing, is supplying fiber-optic cable and high-speed circuits to link over 250 Latin American universities and research facilities to the high-speed networks. The project will benefit researchers around the world by facilitating the flow of information. For example, the Gemini South telescope in Chile, which generates some of the best images available to astronomers today, will be easily accessible to scientists from any location. Without the high-speed networks, researchers have been forced to conduct scientific exchanges via satellite and standard Internet connections that lack sufficient bandwidth. To complete the Internet gateway to Latin America, Global Crossing is providing 10 high-speed circuits and installing fiber-optic cable along most of Latin America’s coast. Meanwhile, Lucent and Cisco are providing high-speed switches and routers.
    (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 14 Aug 2000 via Edupage)


    APS Physics Limerick Contest
    “A total of 190 limericks were received since the contest was announced in the December issue of APS News. … Some are acknowledged ‘groaners’ — but punsters have to live too; some don’t scan so well, but had other redeeming qualities.” These can be pretty esoteric …

    Top Ten Reasons for Peer Review
    HMS Beagle’s editors say, “In our previous issue, we asked you to give us your opinion in favor of the peer review process. Many thanks to our voters. Here are your randomly ordered top ten responses, in your own words.” Biting and tongue-in-cheek replies from the scientific community.

    Grease Car
    “In the proud tradition of the Veggie Van comes the Grease Car, a converted VW Westfalia van that runs entirely on used cooking grease. As it turns out, the first diesel engine exhibited in the 1900 World’s Fair ran on peanut oil. Who knew? Your intrepid hosts Justin Carven and Skip Wrightson are currently on a grease-fueled road trip across the United States. Check out photos from the road (including some nifty engine shots), read diary entries in the trip tracker (they just did a segment for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not), or learn how to create your own bio-engineered, four-wheeled wonder.” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)