Sci-Tech Library Newsletter
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- TIP OF THE MONTH — Think Before You Search: A tiny bit of planning can make your search much more effective.
- SPECIAL FEATURE — GEOLOGY WEBSITES: Great websites! Reprinted from Free Pint.
- THESES ON THE WWW: Help build a portal page.
- NEW E-JOURNALS
- INTERESTING WEBSITES, ETC.: Sci-Tech education and benchmarks, the communications revolution, Try Science, Profile of a Scientist, information growth, women in biology, new CRS reports; Biological Sciences: Atlas of Cellular Structures, “Wake Up, Little Squishy”, biosafety; Engineering: snakebots, metrology, tall buildings, ancient engineering; Geosciences: Permian Reef, “Time and Terrain”, Park Geology; Polar Programs: open boat in the Arctic, Greenlandic culture; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: relativity at Cambridge, physics lecture demos; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: historic political cartoons, Neanderthals, “North by South”, Teotihuacan, evolutionary theories, economics of social violence, and more …
- INTER ALIA: The great library of Alexandria
TIP OF THE MONTH — Think Before You Search
When it comes to searching the web, you can’t get better advice from anyone than from Chris Sherman. He has written a very brief article, with links — a checklist for how to get ready for your search. Included are:
- Figure out the right search terms.
- Choose the best search engine.
- Don’t bumble with Boolean.
- Consider an Invisible Web Source.
- Know When to Hold and When to Fold.
This is really good advice, folks, and it won’t take you more than a couple of minutes to read it. Best of all, there is help on how to get more detailed information on each topic. When it comes to searching, I am truly good at my job, but I can still always learn something more from Chris!
SPECIAL FEATURE FROM “FREE PINT”: TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
Free Pint: Tips and Techniques
The following article is reprinted with permission from Free Pint (ISSN 1460-7239) the free email newsletter with tips and articles on using the Web for your work. More details available at http://www.freepint.co.uk/
“Geology On The Web”
By John Elliot
Geology, the study of the Earth, encompasses a huge amount of knowledge and therefore any article like this will be heavily influenced by the writer’s field of interest. In my case this is the mining industry, more particularly, mineral exploration and this article is directed more to that aspect of geology and web sites which I have found useful.
I sometimes have to access sites from places where connections are slow and where downloading speed becomes important. I am usually seeking text information and slow loading sites with lots of images or PDF pages are a real turn-off. Banner ads which slow downloading are also a nuisance but these can be very easily prevented from loading with the use of WebWasher, a free utility from Siemens: <http://www.webwasher.com/>.
For recent general geological news there are several good sites. The Scripps Institute of Oceanography is one such site; it has a good list of links and also a list of discussion forums. <http://geosciences.org/>
Geology at the MiningCo adopts a magazine style of format and has many topical and interesting articles dealing with current geological news. <http://geology.miningco.com/science/geology/>
Web Surfers Bi-Weekly Earth Science Review (WBESR), by Mike Garrison, aims to keep track of recent geological web sites and review them. The site loads quickly and has an excellent list of links. <http://shell.rmi.net/~michaelg/index.html>.
General Geological Information
A selection of sites dealing with both introductory and more specialised geological information:
Berkeley University’s Geological Time Machine provides detailed information on the changing face of the Earth through time.
A very interesting site dealing with geothermal energy and its uses is produced by the World Bank which has been involved in a number of such energy projects. Links are also provided to other World Bank information:
Earth Science Australia: <http://www.earthsci.org/esa/> This is one of the best sites I have seen for geological information at the general interest and school level and would absorb any curious child up to about the age of 90. The list of links is international in scope and very extensive.
A selection of sites with good portals The University of Leicester: <http://www.geog.le.ac.uk/cti/info.html> These links are more of an academic nature but there are also some links to economic geology.
Belgeol: <http://users.skynet.be/Belgeol/> This site is run by Eric Lemonne in Belgium and has an extensive list of world links.
WWW Links for Geologists: <http://www.plym.ac.uk/services/help-advice/geol.htm> The extensive links on this site tend more to academic interests.
Geoscience Books: <http://www.geosciencebooks.com/catalog.html> This has a wide list of links to professional and government organisations with a bias to North America. Also, not surprisingly, given the name, it deals in out-of-print geological books but in my view a better search site for that purpose, is Bookfinder: <http://www.bookfinder.com/> The Bookfinder site is excellent for locating all types of out-of-print books, and not just geological.
The Virtual Earth used to be run from Macquarie University, Sydney, but has been closed for some months. A mirror site can still be viewed at <http://www.geographie.uni-trier.de:8080/text/v_earth.htm> Although the information has not been updated for some time there are still very useful links with notes to assist in locating geological information.
The Geological Society of Australia has quite a comprehensive list of links to Australian and New Zealand government geological organisations <http://www.gsa.org.au/>.
The Mining Industry
The following are informative mineral industry sites with good lists of links.
Infomine: <http://www.infomine.com/> Has a bias to North America. To make full use of this site a paid subscription is required; this varies from 15 US Dollars to 150 US Dollars per month.
Exploration Central hosted by David Stein, Queens University, Canada: <http://qlink.queensu.ca/~4dms3/minex/> Loads quickly. Lots of company information and links to metal commodity prices.
British Columbia & Yukon Chamber of Mines: <http://www.bc-mining-house.com/> A good list of both North American and international sites.
Australian Mining & Exploration posts industry news and has a very extensive list of links to Australian exploration and mining companies and companies servicing the Australian mining industry. There is also a good list of links to overseas companies. <http://www.reflections.com.au/MiningandExploration/index.html>.
YesResources is another Australian group which has good coverage of mining industry news and wide coverage of links within the Australian industry <http://www.yesresources.com/home.asp>.
Detailed mineral commodity prices, including precious metals, are to be found on Bob Johnson’s Goldsheet which also has good coverage of international mining news: <http://goldsheet.simplenet.com/index.htm>.
Analysis of the trend of precious metal prices, but predominantly gold, can be found at Steven Jon Kaplan’s Gold Mining Outlook: <http://www.goldminingoutlook.com/> This site, which is frequently updated, examines in considerable detail the varying factors influencing the price of gold. There are also a number of good links to other sites concerned with precious metals and investing.
Jim Martindale’s Reference Desk is by no means restricted to geology but is the most incredible source of out of the way information. Convert ells to metres? Want the gestation period for guinea pigs? Ferry timetables? Meaning of the Universe? It is probably all here! Unfortunately there is at present no search facility and you have to scroll through a large list of contents to find the right category <http://www-sci.lib.uci.edu/HSG/Ref.html>.
Climate & Sustainability
The mining industry is frequently at the forefront of criticism in the debates on climate change and sustainability and these issues are of great interest to many geologists. The following sites offer challenging views to current doomsayers.
John Daly’s site on greenhouse warming and why it may be a non-event: <http://www.vision.net.au/%7Edaly/>
Warwick Hughes presents evidence critical of much climate change data and estimates of warming. <http://www.ozemail.com.au/~hughesw7/>
The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) run by Fred Singer examines many claims made by environmental groups and suggests they do not stand up to analysis <http://www.sepp.org/>
John McCarthy of Stanford University offers a much more optimistic view of sustainability, world population, and economic growth <http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/>.
John Elliot is a graduate of the universities of Auckland, New Zealand and Macquarie, Sydney and is based in Bathurst, NSW, Australia from where he works as a contract and consulting geologist in mineral exploration, mainly in silver and gold, throughout Australia. As well as researching exploration data he is active in both regional field work and detailed drilling programmes. He now wonders if there was life before the Internet! His email address is email@example.com
THESES ON THE WWW
Michael Engel is compiling a site which should link to as many as possible sites where doctoral (and other) theses can be searched at:
If you know of more sites, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Royal Society. Philosophical Transactions 1757-1777
A set of these journals are available for browsing. Each page of each journal has been scanned and is displayed as an image. To browse a journal, click on its name.
Scanned and maintained by the Internet Library of Early Journals — an eLib (Electronic Libraries Programme) Project by the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Oxford. It aims to digitise substantial runs of 18th and 19th century journals, and make these images available on the Internet, together with their associated bibliographic data.
INTERESTING WEBSITES AND OTHER NEWS FROM THE INTERNET
Before It’s Too Late: A Report to the Nation from The National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century [.pdf, MS Word, RealPlayer]
Released on September 27 by the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, this 48-page report presents “a comprehensive plan to ensure that every American student receives excellent instruction in math and science.” The report sets three goals and action strategies for meeting those goals. These are: establish an ongoing system to improve the quality of mathematics and science teaching in grades K–12, increase significantly the number of mathematics and science teachers and improve the quality of their preparation, and improve the working environment while making the teaching profession more attractive for K-12 mathematics and science teachers. At the site, users can read an executive summary and the official press release, view an archived Webcast, and download the full text in .pdf and Word formats. [MD] (From the Scout Report)
Benchmarks is a follow-up report of “Science for All Americans” and specifies how students should progress toward science literacy, recommending what they should know and be able to do by the time they reach certain grade levels. (From Blue Web’n)
Fast Forward: Science, Technology and the Communications Revolution
Thirty libraries have been selected nationwide to participate in the pilot “Fast Forward: Science, Technology and the Communications Revolution” viewing, reading and discussion series. The project is organized by National Video Resources (NVR) in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and funded by the National Science Foundation and the Albert P. Sloan Foundation.
“Fast Forward” uses documentary films to involve the public in a study of the impact of science and technology in the 20th century. The project encourages participants to examine the hopes and anxieties associated with revolutions in movement, communications and knowledge.
“Try Science is your gateway to experience the excitement of contemporary science and technology through on and off line interactivity with science and technology centers worldwide. Science is exciting, and its for everyone! That’s why TryScience and over 400 science centers worldwide invite you to investigate, discover, and try science for yourself!”
New interactive content is added regularly to:
- Adventure: Thematic, interactive experience.
- Experiments: Hands-on (offline) activities with an online component.
- Field Trips: Interactive science center features, plus a science center locator.
- Curious?: Short polls based on a hot topic question, plus related news links.
- Live Cams: Live views from webcams at science and technology centers worldwide.
Profile of a Scientist
The three quests linked to this site were designed to give students an awareness of the roles that scientist play in the courts, workplace, and in their daily lives. Students take the roles of ACLU lawyers, defending all scientists from gross stereotyping. Or, they are part of a human resources team looking for specific traits needed in the scientist the company is looking to hire. Although these quests were designed for high school students, middle school students could also benefit from these activities. (From Blue Web’n)
CIESE Online Classroom Resources
The New Jersey Networking Infrastructure in Education Resource page lists some of the finest projects and lesson ideas created for K-12 science education. To particpate in science projects that can only be done using Internet resources, take a look at “The Gulf Stream: A Global Investigation” or a past Blue Web’n pick, “The Morgan Tutorial,” which investigates the field of genetics. (From Blue Web’n)
How Much Information?
A team of researchers at U.C. Berkeley’s School of Information Management has published a study that attempts to measure how much information is produced annually worldwide. The analysts examined a variety of media including print, film, optical, broadcast, and Net, and summarized their findings at different levels of detail. We went for the heavy overload version: “The world’s total yearly production of … content would require roughly 1.5 billion gigabytes of storage. This is the equivalent of 250 megabytes … for each man, woman, and child on earth.” Anyone remember when PCs had less than 1MB of storage? (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
Women in Biology Internet Launch Page
Not just for biologists. This is an extensive links page with all kinds of resources for women in science. “This page is a starting point for finding information about biologists who happen to be women; essentially, it is a list of bookmarks to the ample original content already available on the web. Many of the links are aimed towards women who are graduate students, postdocs, or more senior scientists, but there are also sites relevant to undergraduates or even high school students who may be contemplating a career in biology. These are intended to help women biologists with practical aspects of busy professional lives, and to provide food for thought in those quieter moments.”
New CRS Reports
The NCSE has been overhauling the Congressional Research Service section of its online environmental library. Abstract retrieval and searching was added to the CRS Search Engine in September. A slide show explaining the layout of the CRS database site and the search strategies available was added in October.
New reports are available in the following categories:
- Agriculture & Food — 3 reports
- Air — 5 reports
- Climate Change — 2 reports
- Energy & Transportation — 7 reports
- Federal Agencies — 2 reports
- Lands, Forests & Natural Resources — 8 reports
- Marine — 1 report
- Water — 2 reports
A Web Atlas of Cellular Structures Using Light and Confocal Microscopy
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) hosts this Web Atlas of Cellular Structures, created by UIUC’s Imaging Technology Group. Cellular structures are featured in glorious detail in both light and Confocal micrographs, and include multiple images of Nucleus and Microtubules, Actin and Microtubules, Nucleus and Actin, Endoplasmic Reticulum, The Golgi Apparatus, and Stages of Mitosis. In addition to the images, brief summaries give viewers a clear idea of what they are looking at and its significance to a cell. As a learning tool, these Web images and accompanying summaries will be welcome additions to any introductory biology course. [LXP] (From the Scout Report)
Wake Up Little Squishy, Wake Up…
“Methuselan Microbes” — Nature [.pdf]
“Pa. scientists say they awakened some very old bacteria” — Philadelphia Inquirer
“Alive … after 250 million years” — BBC News
“Oldest Known Creatures Reawaken” — Discovery News
“ ‘World’s oldest living life form’ brought to life” — CNN
“Scientists Rouse Bacterium from 250-million-year Slumber” — Chicago Tribune
“Oldest Living Bacteria Revived” — Washington Post
“Spores provide intimations of immortality” — Christian Science Monitor
“Bacterial find supports theory life fell to Earth” — Irish Times
“Reviving Bacteria” — All Things Considered [RealPlayer]
Department of Biology — West Chester University
Professors Russell H. Vreeland and William D. Rosenzweig say they have awakened a 250-million old bacteria found inside a salt crystal retrieved from deep underground in New Mexico. The bacteria was identified as a strain of Bacillus and a relative of another salt-loving bacteria, B. marisomortui. The findings, published in yesterday’s Nature, easily surpass all previous longevity records for organisms revived from apparent suspended animation. The discovery has captured the imaginations of the press and the scientific community, and possibly lends support to those who argue that life fell to earth after drifting across space for countless millennia. There are also skeptics, of course, including those who argue that the bacteria the scientists grew in the lab were simply contemporary microbes that somehow got into their sample.
Readers can begin with a summary or the full text of the scientists’s letter to Nature, available at the journal’s site. Print reports on the discovery are available from the Philadelphia Inquirer, BBC News, CNN, Discovery News, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Irish Times. An audio piece can be found at National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, which featured a report on the bacterium on Wednesday. Finally, the homepage of the West Chester University Department of Biology offers a brief press release and more information on the scientists. [MD] (From the Scout Report)
Biosafety Database: Genetically Modified Organisms
This resource is a bibliographic database on biosafety and risk assessment in biotechnology. It is updated monthly and contains references (and abstracts) to scientific articles published in international scientific journals from 1990 onwardsThese are selected and classified by ICGEB scientists for the main topics of concern: the environmental release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
All the records (over 2,000) have been extracted from the database CAB ABSTRACTS and AgBiotechNet, the online service for Agricultural Biotechnologists from CABI Publishing. (From InfoMine What’s New)
Two on “Snakebots”:
Serpentine Robotics Project [.mpeg, QuickTime]
Snake Robots.com [.mpeg, QuickTime]
One of the latest developments in robotics is flexible, snake-like machines that could be used for such activities as Martian landscape exploration because they are highly flexible, adaptable, and maneuverable into tight spaces and over relatively large obstacles. NASA’s Serpentine Robotics Project page furnishes detailed text on assembly, surface exploration, and collective robotics of serpentine robots. The highlight of the site is the movie page, where users can view .mpeg and QuickTime movies of these slithering, sidewinding robots. The second site, Snake Robots.com, comes from robotics engineer Gavin Miller who developed his own “snakes” with inspiration from his work on physically-based computer animation at Alias Research, Inc. and Apple Computer, Inc. (Note: this private site is not affiliated with those corporations.) Visitors to Miller’s site can see color videos, with audio, of his incredibly life-like serpents (.mpeg). Links to other snake robot sites are provided along with information about upcoming museum exhibitions and articles. [HCS] (From the Scout Report)
“The Metrology Forum … Offering enlightenment to the uninitiated and soul-food for practitioners of this ancient art.” This well-designed website from Agilent Technologies is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in measurement and calibration. Sections include: Articles, Basics, Just for Fun, Metrology News, Standards, Links and more … The sections are thorough and clear. It’s fun, too! (Thanks to EEVL)
Worlds Tallest Buildings
WTB / World’s Tallest Buildings is dedicated to traditional buildings over 1000 feet/305 meters in height, a category we call “Very Tall Buildings”. Of the thousands of high-rise buildings in the world, only 25 fall into this category. The Very Tall Buildings club is very prestigious — quite literally the pinnacle of the world of architecture and engineering. Navigation of this site is a bit of a puzzle, but as you surf you are rewarded with lists of the worlds tallest buildings, news stories, interviews, and photographs. (Thanks to EEVL).
Secrets of Lost Empires
An exploration of the “long-forgotten secrets of early architects and engineers.” Medieval Siege contains information about early weapons and daily life in castles. Pharaoh’s Obelisk demonstrates how these large objects were shaped, transported, and erected. Easter Island looks at the moai statues and how they were moved. Visit the communal Roman Bath and its sophisticated plumbing. China Bridge demonstrates the use of bamboo to make the Rainbow Bridge. Each section contains Hot Science, an interactive approach to the concepts contained within. There are also teacher’s resources. — dl (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
An Introduction and Virtual Field Trip to the Permian Reef Complex, Guadalupe and Delaware Mountains, New Mexico-West Texas
Dr. Peter Scholle, a professor of geology at New Mexico Tech, oversees this site showcasing the geology of the Permian reefs of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The Salado Formation, part of this sequence, has been in the spotlight lately because it contains the newly discovered, 250 million-year-old, salt-dwelling bacteria (see this week’s _Scout Report_’s In the News). The classic sedimentary sections of the Guadalupe and Delaware mountains have been well studied because of their magnificent exposures of Permian aged carbonate platform and slope deposits. Each year, geology students flock to the region to learn about sequence stratigraphy, sedimentology, and tectonic history, among other things. At this information-rich, well-illustrated site, everyone gets a chance to see and learn about these rocks. Sections of the virtual guidebook feature text with links to the bibliography, and color diagrams and photographs. The site is divided into the following sections: General Settings, Previous Studies, Structural History, Stratigraphic Setting and Nomenclature, Depositional Patterns, Diagenetic Patterns, Recent Models, Oil and Gas Production, and Field Trip and Safety Notes. Especially useful to those planning a field trip are road logs and field stop descriptions of road cuts between El Paso and Carlsbad, McKittrick Canyon, Walnut Canyon, and Dark Canyon-Sitting Bull Falls-Rocky Arroyo. Take a moment to discover the beauty and amazing geology of these classic Permian Reefs. [HCS] (From the Scout Report)
A Tapestry of Time and Terrain
Subtitled The Union of Two Maps — Geology and Topography, this site contains information about the topography and geology of the continental United States along with geologic time. There is a digital map that contains the description for each geologic feature along with information for the eras in which it was formed. The Rock of Ages is a time line providing information about each geologic era linked to the regions of the map. Boundaries shows two more maps: one with geomorphic, or physiographic, regions, the other with state boundaries. - dl (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Park Geology Tour
This is an excellent site. Produced as a collaborative effort between the USGS and National Park Service, information is presented at a variety of technical levels. The pages are organised into two categories, general geology topics and individual parks. The park side provides a virtual tour of US national parks with attractions from glaciers to volcanoes. The pages are easily navigable with categories and indices providing links to further information. These can be further drilled down to the individual parks themselves, combining breathtaking photography with factual detail. Furthermore, several pages are dedicated to the unique geological history of specific parks. There are also education resource pages for several parks, geological maps and glossaries. The information content is as big as the parks it tries to present. Absolutely worth a visit. LGC (From New Scientist Planet Science)
Polar Passage — “an adventure best experienced vicariously.”
“Four men, a 19-foot open boat and unforgiving Arctic waters. This is one adventure perhaps best experienced vicariously. You’re in luck. Altrec.com is proud to sponsor Polar Passage 2000, an expedition to circumnavigate the Arctic Ice Cap in four consecutive summers.
Traveling in the manner of modern Eskimos, the expedition members are undertaking this journey to bring attention to the varied and vibrant cultures of the Arctic region’s indigenous people. Join Altrec.com in the exploration of this remote, but by no means barren, world.”
Contemporary Greenlandic Culture in International Perspective
“The purpose of the project is to provide an understanding of the abstraction “Greenlandic culture”, on an internationally compatible basis, so organisation of people and tasks can be adjusted to fit given local values, beliefs and behavioural patterns.” This website provides a 10,000 item annotated bibliography on Greenlandic Inuit culture.
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Cambridge Relativity Public Homepage
These pages have excellent brief, non-technical discussions, pictures, and movies of the following phenomena:
- Black Holes
- Cosmic Strings
- Quantum Gravity
Also Steven Hawkings webpages, and a tour of the UK National Cosmology Supercomputer. Neat site!
U.C. Berkeley Physics Lecture Demonstrations
This site is an effort to make available an on-line source of information and pictures used for preparing and performing undergraduate lecture demonstrations at the University of California Physics Department at Berkeley. This site deals with demonstrations for the subjects of:
- The Properties of Heat and Matter
- Electricity and Magnetism
- Modern and Contemporary Physics
- Astronomy and Perception
The site contains many of the old, classic, well-known favorite demonstrations. It also contains an assortment of new and also less well-known ‘demos’. This collection of demos is intended to give a brief idea of what is available. It is not, however, totally complete. Some older and less popular demos have not been included, and new demos are always being developed. Years after taking a class, the demos are often what a student remembers with the greatest clarity. A lot of the demos are fun!
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
Political Cartoons at the Library of Congress
Political cartoons say more about the political scene and the sociological scene than do volumes of newspaper articles. This collection spans 1766 to 1876. “HarpWeek is pleased to provide Internet access to one of the most important collections of American political prints. The Library of Congress collection has been catalogued and extensively annotated by Bernard F. Reilly, Jr. This catalog, which HarpWeek has the privilege of bringing to the public in electronic format, is an unmatched source of information on American political prints. Warning: Website visitors should be warned that several of the words, descriptions, and images in these 19th-century caricatures are considered racially offensive by today’s standards. The materials are presented in order to give an accurate historical picture of American political prints in the 19th century.” The collection is browsable and searchable, but the search engines may freeze your browser.
National Archaeological Database
National Archaeological Database “is an expanded bibliographic inventory of approximately 240,000 reports on archeological investigation and planning, mostly of limited circulation. This ‘gray literature’ represents a large portion of the primary information available on archeological sites in the U.S. NADB-Reports can be searched by state, county, worktype, cultural affiliation, keyword, material, year of publication, title, and author.”
Neanderthals and Modern Humans: A Regional Guide
Created and maintained by Scott J. Brown, this Website offers the clearest, best explanation for the layperson that we’ve seen of the contemporary, competing evolutionary theories explaining the relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals. Currently, a lively debate goes on over whether modern humans supplanted (and perhaps even killed off) the Neanderthals, or whether Neanderthals evolved alongside other early human ancestors, one implication of which would be that their descendants are now among us. The unusually well-organized site is structured around discussions of the archaeological and paleoanthropological evidence concerning Neanderthals as they have appeared in regions of Eurasia, namely, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and Central Asia and Siberia. Each section discusses the fossil remains of that region and offers a review of the scholarship with hypertext links to Websites posting this research. In addition, the site “also provides hundreds of links to books, journals, magazines, museums, universities, and other places where you can obtain further information” about the topic. Scott J. Brown is an independent anthropological researcher and writer with a lifelong interest in human evolution. He holds a graduate degree in anthropology from George Washington University. [DC] (From the Scout Report)
North by South
This intriguing Website is part of a three-year, NEH-sponsored study of African-American migrations from the South to the North during the century following the Civil War. Through a series of sections accessed by graphic icons, the site provides insight into the great migration of African-Americans from mostly rural Southern areas into the large urban centers of the North, such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Detroit. There are sections on art, education, music, health practices, the cultural influences of the South that migrants brought with them, community rituals (e.g., the handling of death in Charleston vs. Harlem), Black urban journalism, and more. Each section presents substantial text and documentary images to dramatize the far-reaching consequences of the migration for both Blacks specifically and America as a whole. However, a page giving the fundamental demographic facts of the migration and its causes would have been helpful. We should also note in passing that, while the materials themselves are very informative, the use of graphic icons sans titles means that users will only know where they are going after they have got there. [DC] (From the Scout Report)
Archeology of Teotihuacan, Mexico
An exploration of this historic site in Mexico. Included are a description, chronology, maps, and photographs. There is extensive information about the Feathered Serpent Pyramid (Templo de Quetzalcoatl). Additionally, there is information about the Templo Mayor. Some information from the Centro de Estudios Teotihuacanos is available only in Spanish. Brief films (require QuickTime) are also provided. From the University of Arizona. - dl (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Evolutionary Theories in Social Sciences
With the stated mission of serving “as the premier information site for scholars interested in evolutionary thought in the social sciences,” this site offers materials relating to a broad interdisciplinary field that includes sociobiology, management, evolutionary biology, business history, anthropology, and even mathematics and engineering, among others. The site includes an extensive, discipline-indexed bibliography, book reviews (with authorial replies), abstracts of working papers, a discussion list, conference and symposium news, a listing of researchers with contact information, a listing of links to relevant print and e-journals, and PhD syllabi, including links to course texts from the Kellogg School of Management and the European Doctoral Training Programme on the Economics of Technological and Institutional Change. Note: authors may be contacted through the site for copies of working papers (there is no mention of a fee for these copies). The site is maintained by two social scientists from Northwestern University, Johann Peter Murmann and Joe Fleischhacker. [DC] (From the Scout Report)
The Economics of Civil War, Crime, and Violence [.pdf]
This project from the World Bank and Development Economics Research Group was created in 1999 as a response to the “devastating economic consequences of violence in developing countries.” In the 1990s, 90 percent of all war-related deaths were civilian, as opposed to only 50 percent in the eighteenth century. The violence of worldwide civil wars in the 1990s also created nearly 13 million refugees and 38 million internally displaced persons. Along with detailed information about the motivation and analytical approach behind the project, the site includes brief synopses of three topics: Civil War, Crime and Violence, and Policy Dimensions. Finally, a resource bank presents working papers and presentations, related links, and upcoming events related to this issue. [EM] (From the Scout Report)
Maintained by Stefan Helders, an amateur demographer, this Website provides data on the current population of cities, towns, and regions all over the globe. Users can view population data listed alphabetically of all countries or click on a particular nation in the sidebar and see the total population and total area of the country as well as the population and area of its states or recognized regions. (These data may also be examined by continent.) Population data are also provided on all cities of one million or more, listed in descending order with Mumbai in India currently the most populous city on the planet (New York is fourteenth). Extensive information about the Website’s data sources and data organization is offered in the Information about this Site section. [DC] (From the Scout Report)
It’s never too early for economic literacy. Created and maintained by Jefferson Road Elementary School in Pittsford, NY, the Economics Website is a wonderful introduction to the most basic economic concepts. The site contains fourteen sections, including short lessons on socialism and capitalism, stocks, goods and services, and interdependence. Each lesson includes a small multiple choice quiz on the concepts covered. The Economics Website also contains an economics glossary, links to other economics sites geared towards kids, and an enlightening list of fun economics activities including creating an Economists Hall of Fame, learning about federal income tax, and designing a imaginary company’s Website. [EM] (From the Scout Report)
This online version of the magazine published by the Archaeological Institute of America is a must for anyone with an interest in the subject. As well as providing the latest news and feature articles, the site makes good use of hyperlinks and multimedia to flesh out the archaeological material and present it in a much more dynamic and contextualized way than is possible on the page. Best of all, you can take part in an interactive dig — this month you can explore Maya caves, search for shipwrecks in the Black Sea, visit a colonial home in Brooklyn or a temple in Petra — and share in the thrills and spills of actual fieldwork as it unfolds. Each dig has a number of sections, such as ‘Field Notes’, ‘Oral Histories’, ‘Faunal Analysis’, ‘Tools of the Trade’, ‘Mystery Objects’, and a bulletin board where you can post questions to the team. The site has its own search engine for archived editions of the magazine, and a good section on links and wider web resources. DD (From New Scientist Planet Science)
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INSTRUCTORS TRY OUT UPDATED MOOS AS ONLINE-COURSE CLASSROOMS
The academic community is experimenting with revamped multiple user object oriented environments (MOOs) as virtual classrooms. As one of the earliest online meeting places, MOOs required users to navigate via written commands. However, educators are bringing user-friendly interfaces to MOOs that allow users to click on icons to move from room to room and let professors incorporate video clips and other images. Scholars at the University of Texas at Dallas created a MOO called enCore Xpress, which is free to users who agree to share any changes they make to the system. Jan Rune Holmevik, who helped develop enCore Xpress, estimates that the software has led to the creation of 100 to 150 educational MOOs. Professors who have used MOOs say the systems promote more open discussions than would take place in a physical classroom, and some say MOOs foster a stronger sense of community.
(Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 24 October 2000 via Edupage)
MORE BLACK AMERICANS USING WEB, REPORT SAYS
African Americans increased their online presence at nearly twice the rate of whites over the past two years, helping to bridge the digital divide, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Study. The report shows that 36 percent of the African-American population now uses the Internet, up 13 percent from 1998. By comparison, 50 percent of whites are online, an increase of only 8 percent since 1998. In the last year 3.5 million African Americans went online for the first time, and 61 percent of the new users were women. The African-American online population has more women, lower incomes, and fewer college degrees than the white online population, according to the report. The report also shows that 71 percent of African-American Internet users have access at home, while 84 percent of white users have home access.
(Los Angeles Times, 23 October 2000 via Edupage)
CONGRESS INCREASES SPENDING ON IT RESEARCH FOR 2001
Congressional spending bills for the 2001 fiscal year will boost funds for some areas of information technology research while cutting back on others. The Clinton administration’s Information Technology for the 21st Century program, which aims to promote technological advances among federal agencies, will receive only $1.28 billion — less than the $2.14 billion that was requested. However, the Senate approved a compromise bill that gives the National Science Foundation (NSF) $215 million for IT research, which is $125 million more than the agency received last year. The bill also gives the NSF a separate $45 million to build a supercomputer. Meanwhile, the defense spending bill provides $386.7 million for computing research projects at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DARPA will get the $15 million requested by the administration for next-generation networking projects.
(Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 19 October 2000 via Edupage)
PAINTING A PORTRAIT OF DOT-CAMARADERIE
The Internet promotes social interaction and family bonding, a new study from the University of California at Los Angeles claims. The study, conducted by UCLA professor Jeffrey Cole, looked at Internet use in 2,096 homes. Internet use is now a “shared household activity,” Cole said. The survey found that two-thirds of Americans now use the Internet, and they average 9.4 hours per week online. Cole noted that many users surveyed spend that time online with someone else present. According to the survey, parents do not think that the Internet has changed how their children relate to their school friends, while a quarter of those surveyed say they have formed new friendships online. Also, the survey found that use of the Internet causes less friction within the household than the television does. The results of the UCLA survey do not jibe with a Stanford University study from earlier this year. That study concluded that Internet use is reducing social interaction and leading individuals to value work above their family and friends.
(Washington Post, 26 October 2000 via Edupage)
Rebuilding the Worlds First Great Library — Bibliotecha Alexandrina
Few events in the history of mankind have been as devastating to learning as the destruction of the great library in Alexandria, which, through time, was repeatedly looted and burned. Now a new library is being rebuilt on the site of the ancient library.
“The principal objective of reviving the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is to establish a comprehensive research library of a unique collection and intention. The new library is designed as a modern state-of-the-art translation of the old, adequate for crossing the frontiers and meeting the challenges of the 21st century. It will certainly contribute to excellence in research and advancement of human knowledge.”
Additional information on the ancient library can be found at: