Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


Newsletter archive > 2001 October 26 Issue

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

  1. November Workshops from the NSF Library
  2. NSF Staff Safety: A new webpage with updated safety information.
  3. Nobel Prizes: The Nobel Prizes have been awarded — as have the IgNobels …
  4. Coming Science Events in the DC Metro Area
  5. New Energy Database
  6. Antarctic & Cold Regions Database Freely Available Until 2002: Free access for a limited time only.
  7. Pentagon Library Update: Restoration proceeds for the facility hit on Sept. 11
  8. New E-Journals
  9. New E-Books and Reports
  10. Interesting Websites and Other News from the Internet: Daypop — News Search Engine; Biological Sciences: Tour of Biomes, Wildlife Resources on the Internet, All Species; Computer and Information Science: text-e; Engineering: Inventor’s Museum, Samuel F.B. Morse Papers; Geosciences: Gulf of Maine Aquarium Home Page, The USGS Learning Web, In the Shadow of Vesuvius, Aurora Gallery; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Quantum Phyiscs Online, The Official String Theory Web Site, Scientists Track “Perfect Storm” on Mars, The Math Nerds, Powers of 10; Polar Programs: Sealab Antarctica, ArcticHealth; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: The Dismal Scientist, SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Business, Labor Research Portal … and more … plus news items from Edupage
  11. INTER ALIA: Two interesting sites on medicine.
  1. November Workshops from the NSF Library

    November Workshops

    • How to Find Reviewers, Friday, Nov 2, 10:30 – 12:00, Rm. 325.09
    • What the NSF Library Can Do for You, Thursday, Nov 8, 10:30 – 12:00, Rm. 325.09
    • How to Search the Internet, Friday, Nov 9, 10:30 – 12:00, Rm. 325.09

    Open to both program and support staff. Send an e-mail to to reserve a space. No further registration necessary. For further information, go to

  2. NSF Staff Safety

    From Linda Massaro: “In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, we have put a great deal of effort into improving safety and security at NSF. Many of you have contributed suggestions and concerns about safety issues, and we are working on them.

    1. The handling of mail has become an issue of concern for all of us. For those of you who open mail and want more information, I am recommending some online training offered by GSA, developed specifically in response to the anthrax threat. The course, Anthrax Threat Training: How to Respond, is available in two levels — basic and advanced — and can be accessed on the GSA website at Click on Anthrax Threat Training How to Respond, listed under Hot Items on the left.
    2. The newly appointed Employee Safety Committee — comprised of ten representatives from throughout NSF — met for the first time this week. The intent of this advisory committee is to discuss current policies and procedures that govern employee safety and to suggest necessary changes and/or improvements.
    3. To find the answers to many of your safety-related questions please visit the new Employee Safety website. It is available at or you can access it from the home page of Inside NSF. The safety website has recently been updated with a new page — Procedures for Handling Suspicious Mail. We are expanding the Frequently Asked Questions feature to include answers to more of your questions.”
  3. Nobel Prizes

    Statement by Dr. Rita R. Colwell On Nobel Prizes in Science and NSF Connection
    NSF-Funded U.S. Based Nobel Prize Winners in Science
    2001 Nobel Prize Winners
    2001 Ig Nobel Prize Winners
    The National Science Foundation is proud to have supported many of the winners of Nobel prizes. (There is no similar NSF connection with winners of IgNobel prizes!) The first two sites document this illustrious connection between the Foundation and scientists on the cutting edge of research.

    The following information is from the Scout Report.

    “This week, the Nobel Foundation announced the winners of its six awards for 2001, the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize. The United Nations and its Secretary General Kofi Annan were awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. The Prize in Literature went to V.S. Naipaul ‘for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories.’ Three Physics laureates were awarded, and the Nobel prize for Chemistry went to an international team of researchers. (The Nobel Foundation’s online ‘e-museum’ was reviewed in the August 8, 2000 _Scout Report for Social Sciences & Humanities_.) At the official Nobel Website, press releases for these categories, as well as Economics and Physiology/Medicine, can be read in English, French, German, or Swedish, and links to the Curriculum Vitae and publication lists of the laureates are given. Back in the United States, another set of awards were passed out this week: the Ig Nobels. Awarded by humor rag _The Annals of Improbable Research_, the Ig Nobels honor people whose achievements ‘cannot or should not be reproduced.’ This year’s illustrious Ig Nobel laureates include, for Medicine, the publisher of ‘Injuries Due to Falling Coconuts,’ in the _Journal of Trauma_, the founder of the Apostrophe Protection Society (Literature), and the Peace Prize goes to the Lithuanian who built an amusement park known colloquially as ‘Stalin World.’ [HCS]” (From the Scout Report)
  4. Coming Science Events in the DC Metro Area

    New Frontiers of Biomedical Research, 1945–1980
    The National Library of Medicine announces a one-day symposium, New Frontiers of Biomedical Research, 1945–1980, on October 29, 2001, at its Lister Hill Center on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The conference will explore the history of 20th century biomedical research in the United States, through the insights of scientists who have been instrumental in three areas: the administration of the U.S. biomedical research establishment, psychopharmacology, and genetics. Main speakers will be Julius Axelrod, 1970 Nobel Laureate for work in neuroscience; Donald S. Fredrickson, former director of the National Institutes of Health, 1975–1981; and Joshua Lederberg, 1958 Nobel Laureate for work in bacterial genetics. Their work will be explored through dialogue with noted contemporary historians of science, including Nathaniel Comfort, David Hart, David Healy, Ellen Herman, M. Susan Lindee, Stuart Leslie, and Jan Sapp.

    The conference is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested.

    Third annual Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture on Ocean Exploration
    Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute President Marcia McNutt will deliver the third annual Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture on ocean exploration. The event is open to the public and will be held on Nov. 1 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. EST at the National Academies building, 2100 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

    Ten Tales for Technophiles
    Nov. 15, 2001, 7:30 p.m. “A Special Evening with Freeman Dyson: Ten Tales for Technophiles” sponsored by the Office on Public Understanding of Science, NAS.

    Renowned physicist Freeman Dyson will tell ten stories of attempts by well-meaning people to use technology to improve the human condition, some successful and some unsuccessful.

  5. New Energy Database

    Energy Citations Database
    “Energy Citations Database was developed and designed by the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI). It contains citations from 1948 to the present and includes bibliographic records from Nuclear Science Abstracts (NSA) and Energy Science and Technology Database (EDB). Available without charge, Energy Citations provides links to thousands of full-text items from more recent years. Regular updates to the Database will provide continued growth and ensure that results of recent research and development (R&D) are made available. It encompasses information from disciplines of interest to DOE such as chemistry, physics, materials, environmental science, geology, engineering, mathematics, climatology, oceanography, computer science and related disciplines.

    Information in ECD is provided by DOE and its predecessor agencies, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA); the contractors of those agencies; other government agencies and professional societies.

    Citations in the Energy Citations Database are based on Dublin Core metadata. This set of elements was built through interdisciplinary, international consensus around a widely used core set of metadata.

    Patrons may choose to use either the Basic Search or Advanced Search option. Basic Search provides for searching the full citations, the title, the creator/author, or identifying numbers. Advanced Search allows the patron to formulate complex queries by selecting multiple fields and connecting them with Boolean operators. Search results may be sorted by relevance, publication date, system entry date, resource/document type, title, research organization, sponsoring organization, or OSTI identifier. In instances where a Persistent URL (PURL) is provided, the full text is available via a link to the document. For other documents identified by ECD searches, information is provided about full-text availability.

    The Director of OSTI is Dr. Walter L. Warnick, (301) 903-7996. For more information or to provide comments on ECD, please contact:” (Thanks to Hannah King).

  6. Antarctic & Cold Regions Database Freely Available Until 2002

    Cold Regions Bibliography Project
    The American Geological Institute (AGI) is continuing the Antarctic Bibliography and the Bibliography on Cold Regions Science and Technology as part of the Cold Regions Bibliography Project. These bibliographies provide coverage of:

    • Antarctic research and exploration
    • Cold Regions engineering and physical science information

    AGI compiles the Cold Regions Bibliography based on sources provided by U.S. and overseas scientists, the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and libraries and polar and research institutions worldwide. In addition, through a cooperative agreement with AGI, the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) provides information on the Antarctic materials housed in the SPRI library at the University of Cambridge.

    The Cold Regions Bibliography Project is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory under NSF Cooperative Agreement No. OPP 9909727.

    Free Access to the Antarctic and Cold Regions Data Bases through 2001! You may search the databases for the Antarctic Bibliography and the Bibliography on Cold Regions Science and Technology free of charge through 2001. Modest subscription rates will apply in 2002.

  7. Pentagon Library Update

    “Progress is slow, but preservation of the Pentagon Library collection is almost over, thanks to be efforts of Jerri Knihnicki, Chief, Research and Information Services. She has fought like a demon to get the monies, arrange for building passes to get the contractors into the building (no mean task when Threatcon Delta was in force), etc. Many thanks go to assistance of Bob Schnare, Naval War College, Susan Tarr, FLICC, Susan Lemke and others at National Defense University Library, numerous people at the Library of Congress Preservation office, NE Documentation Center and others too numerous to mention, as well as those that wanted to volunteer to help us. Your concern was appreciated. But quite frankly, there were literally days when we weren’t even sure we could get into the Pentagon, but less bring in non-Pentagon personnel.

    Our contractor is on the last phase which is cleaning the Technical Services area, that took the brunt of the water, smoke and mold damage. On What’s New of our webpage, you can see some pictures that Jerri and I (mostly Jerri) were able to take once the contractor staff was in place. There is also a video clip at (click on video link at bottom center about damaged pentagon library).” Kathryn L. Earnest, Director, Pentagon Library

  8. New E-Journals

    This new Internet journal has been launched under the auspices of the European Polymer Federation. At present, access to this journal is free for everybody and it will stay free for every library! Editors-in-Chief of this journal are Prof. H. Hoecker and Prof. S. Penczek. Every manuscript submitted to e-Polymers is peer-reviewed. All papers published in e-Polymers will be indexed by Chemical Abstracts.

    Three Photochemistry Journals
    FREE access to the following 3 Elsevier Science journals until 1 January 2002 through ChemWeb.

    • Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry
    • Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
    • Journal of Photochemistry and PhotoBiology Section C: Photochemistry Reviews
  9. New E-Books and Reports

    Projections of Education Statistics to 2011. NCES, 2001.

    Institutional Policies and Practices: Results From the 1999 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty, Institution Survey. NCES, 2001.

    Fertility of American Women. U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2001.

    Testing Teacher Candidates: The Role of Licensure Tests in Improving Teacher Quality. NAP, 2001.

    Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture. NAP, 2001.

  10. Interesting Websites and Other News from the Internet

    Daypop — News Search Engine
    This current events search engine indexes, at least once a day, the latest information from more than 1,000 news sites (online newspapers and magazines) and 4,000 Web logs (personal journals). The default search is all pages, but you can limit to just the news sites or just the Web logs. Advanced search allows limiting by time range (latest three hours to four weeks), language, and country. Excellent tool for finding the latest news, movie reviews, and sports results, or, from the Web logs, the hottest memes. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet) NOTE: This service covers some interesting sources from the sciences as well as standard news sources.

    Biological Sciences

    All Species
    The goal of the All Species Project is overwhelming yet admirable: “within the span of our own generation (twenty-five years), to record and genetically sample every living species of life on Earth.” As biologist E.O.Wilson points out, we know how many stars there are in the Milky Way, yet can’t pinpoint how many species currently occupy our home planet with any degree of certainty. Current estimates range anywhere from 1.4 to 200 million, a wide margin for error. With the help of donations from individuals and foundations, this nonprofit organization hopes to remedy the situation and provide a “roster of our fellow inhabitants.” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    Wildlife Resources on the Internet
    “The Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy has launched a new page that seeks to catalog available wildlife resources on the Net. The resource page is organized into 19 categories, and its initial incarnation contains more than 1400 links. Visitors to the page are encouraged to send suggestions for additional links; the site will ultimately facilitate adding those links automatically.” This is a very well organized portal page.

    Tour of Biomes
    This site has basic information on six biomes for elementary school students. Learn about the tropical rain forest, tropical savanna, desert, Arctic tundra, deciduous forest, and subarctic taiga and their plants, animals, and climate. It also shows how to read a climograph for average temperatures and precipitation of a particular location during the year. Part of the Exploring the Environment (ETE) online series from NASA’s Classroom of the Future Program. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Computer and Information Science

    The Bibliotheque publique d'information (BPI), Centre Pompidou, the Institut Jean Nicod (CNRS), and EURO-EDU have combined forces (with the help of and UNESCO) to bring us the first entirely virtual symposium. Launched this week, the symposium concentrates on the impact of “New Information and Communication Technologies (NICT)” and their effects on “our relationship with information and the written word.” A new paper will be published online every two weeks, with the symposium consisting of ten papers altogether. Each paper will be discussed by the ten contributors and 30 guests, and interested members of the public can register to receive papers via email and participate in a forum. The first paper in the symposium, published Monday, is Roger Chartier’s “Readers and Reading in the Age of Electronic Texts.” The full program, a moderated forum, a bibliography, a registration form, and other resources are all available at the text-e site, which is available in English, French, and Italian. [TK] (From the Scout Report)


    Samuel F.B. Morse Papers
    “Through the generous support of the AT&T Foundation, a selection of 6,500 library items, or approximately 50,000 digital images from the collection is now available. The Morse Papers consist of correspondence, letterbooks, diaries, drawings, clippings, printed matter, maps, and other miscellaneous materials documenting Morse’s invention of the electromagnetic telegraph and his participation in the development of telegraph systems in the United States and abroad, as well as his career as a painter, family life, travels, and interest in early photography and religion. The online collection, dating from 1793–1919, offers a well-rounded portrayal of the life of Samuel F.B. Morse.” Part of the American Memory collection of the Library of Congress.

    Inventor’s Museum
    Sponsored by the Kessler Corporation, this fun website has information about inventor’s classified in all kinds of different ways. Examples: colonial inventors, women inventors, Earth Science inventors, African American inventors. There is also an “Inventor IQ Test” where you can test your knowledge about historical inventors.


    Aurora Gallery
    Those living in lower latitudes might not have been aware of the recent solar and geomagnetic activities that triggered a spectacular aurora borealis the week of September 30. Two interplanetary shock waves, spawned by solar coronal mass ejections, swept past our planet September 28–29. Then on October 1, the interplanetary magnetic field around Earth turned south, causing geomagnetic storms to rage off-and-on for the next 48 hours. Luckily for those who missed the excitement, SpaceWeather,com features a page of beautiful, color .jpeg photographs of the auroras from such places as Finland, Quebec, and Alaska during September 29-October 3. Along with the images are the photographers’ names, comments, and camera setting specifics. [HCS] (From the Scout Report)

    In the Shadow of Vesuvius
    “Welcome to the companion Web site for the NOVA program, ‘Deadly Shadow of Vesuvius,’ scheduled for rebroadcast on October 16, 2001, which tells the story of the Roman city of Pompeii and the risk that Vesuvius presents today. Then visit NOVA Online for a global view on living with volcanoes:
    ‘Planning for Disaster’
    See how a successful large-scale emergency plan was carried out in the 1994 eruption of the Rabaul volcano in Papua New Guinea.
    ‘Can We Predict Eruptions?’
    Have a look inside the volcanologist’s toolkit, and find out how good scientists are at foretelling a volcano’s next eruption.
    ‘Volcano SWAT Team’
    Discover what a mobile crisis team of U.S. volcanologists does when invited to respond to an emergency outside the United States.
    ‘The World’s Deadliest Volcanoes’ (Hot Science)
    Find out how scientists measure the size of an eruption and then try your hand at rating an actual eruption in this online activity.”

    The USGS Learning Web
    Here is a new, rich resource for K–12 teachers and students from the US Geological Survey (USGS). The Learning Web provides online lesson plans, activities, tutorials (some downloadable and printable in .pdf), and links to references dealing with interdisciplinary studies of natural science. For example, the Exploring Caves section (1–3 level) covers the basic geology of caves, life habits of cave-dwelling organisms, and cave safety and conservation. Other topics explored on the Learning Web include maps, climate, wildlife, earth processes, and more. Learning Web culls pages appropriate for K–12 instruction from the USGS’s vast online collection of factsheets, data, and program sites, allowing teachers and students to spend time learning rather than searching. However, because this site is so full of information, it can be tricky to navigate and important sections can be missed, so try using their search engine to find specific topics. Note also that elementary content is much more abundant here than secondary. [HCS] (From the Scout Report)

    Gulf of Maine Aquarium Home Page
    “While this site for the Gulf of Maine Aquarium has plenty of useful content on marine biology — particularly pertaining to the Gulf of Maine area — almost nothing is said about the aquarium itself. The site also suffers from a lack of any indicators as to which sections appeal to which audiences — and the intended audiences vary widely. Having said that, the site’s seven sections offer a wealth of knowledge for those willing to dive in. ‘Space Available’ could scarcely hold any more information on remote sensing, ocean soundings, satellite imaging, as well as cetacean studies, meteorology, Antarctica and human impact on aquatic environments. While the information in this section is predominately presented in lesson plan format, most of the material should be digestible to most high school students. The ‘Marine Mammals’ section is more student-friendly, with cetacean profiles that include behavior, communication, and social structure. ‘All About Lobsters’ is certainly an appropriate topic for an aquarium in Maine. While it does go into extraordinary detail — did you know, for instance, that the lobster has three stomachs, the first of which has teeth? — it suffers from a lack of illustration and a bit of internal redundancy. ‘All About Turtles’ may take second, but is a good destination for younger readers, despite its opening with a snapping turtle that shouts ‘I’m a mean, green fighting machine!’. ‘Katahdin to the Sea’ gives junior high school-level overviews of various water systems and their ecosystems and, finally, ‘On Location’ covers projects involving Alvin, a manned deep ocean research submersible. This section includes a link to the official site, which has a webcam and an extensive photo database from various dives. The latter is notable for its professional scientific descriptions of images, such as ‘rock with critters’. MN“ (From New Scientist Weblinks)

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    Powers of 10
    October 10, 2001, the second international Powers of Ten Day, has come and gone, but don’t let that stop you from exploring the universe of decimals. Based on a nine-minute 1977 film by Charles and Ray Eames, noted designers and visual thinkers, the Powers of Ten CD-ROM and companion web site explore and illustrate the concept of scale in space and time. The web pages present a dense and diverting grid of ideas, woven from images, facts, and links to people, patterns, and relevant tools. We clicked on the close-up of a strand of DNA, and found ourselves at miniscule 10 nanometer scale (0.00000001 meters), another click and we were 100,000 light years out, looking back at the Milky Way’s starry spiral of stars. That’s powerful stuff! (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    Quantum Phyiscs Online
    “The undulating applets that populate this site demonstrate many of the perplexing results of quantum physics, starting with tunneling and reaching such rarefied heights as the quantum states of the buckyball. They may not explain the weirdness of quantum mechanics, but they will help you grasp the underlying mathematics that generates it. A rudimentary understanding of quantum mechanics is nice for the more advanced demos, but not necessary for much of the site. AS” (From New Scientist Planet Science)

    The Official String Theory Web Site
    “Claiming to be the ‘official’ web site of an entire scientific discipline is a bit odd, but this one does a good job by being both well-written and well-researched. It’s written by an insider in the field of string theory with support from many of the top researchers, and it covers all the exciting ideas and results of string theory. As with any discussion of string theory, a little physics background is needed, but most of the site can be understood after reading a good popular account of modern physics. The discussions of black holes and cosmology as related to string theory are particularly good, and make a strong case for all the excitement about string theory. AS” (From New Scientist Planet Science)

    Scientists Track “Perfect Storm” on Mars
    The latest release from the Space Telescope Science Institute’s site (last reviewed in the August 3, 2001 _Scout Report_) provides a unique look at a global dust storm on Mars using images from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Hubble Space Telescope. Offerings include photographs, illustrations, and animations of the dust storm as well as a press release, background information, fast facts, and additional links. [JAB](From the Scout Report)

    The Math Nerds
    “In its own words, MathNerds provides ‘free, discovery-based, mathematical guidance via an international, volunteer network of mathematicians. … [It] does not supply answers to homework, take home tests and the like; rather, [it provides] hints, suggestions, and references to help our clients understand and solve their mathematical problems.’ Made up of a team of unpaid volunteers, mostly maths teachers, professionals or those retired from similar, but also some laypersons (you can view a list of the volunteers), MathNerds looks like the kind of excellent service that would have been a huge help when I was taking (and struggling with) Calculus myself — in those days, we had to rely on buttering up the smart kids in the class to get any pointers… There is also an extensive searchable archive of previous answers — you might find what you need to know without going any further than that. We very much approve of their clear policy differentiating between help and doing the work for you, too, particularly the E.M. Forster quote (‘Spoon feeding, in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.’) And for those who don’t need help at the moment but are simply interested in mathematics, there is also a ‘best’ section, which showcases some interesting maths problems and puzzles (and their answers). Highly recommended. KN” (From New Scientist Weblinks)

    Polar Programs

    Sealab Antarctica
    “For 44 days,’s Mark Christmas bunked aboard an icebreaker in some of the stormiest seas on Earth, assisting an intrepid research team studying krill, a small creature key to life in Antarctica. To show what it’s like to be on expedition off Antarctica, Mark sent back dispatches, video, audio, and photos — thankfully, his equipment didn’t freeze.” As always, this National Geographic site is visually arresting and comes with classroom ideas and additional links and resources.

    ArcticHealth, from the National Library of Medicine, provides access to evaluated health information from hundreds of local, state, national, and international agencies, as well as from professional societies and universities. The new site has sections devoted to chronic diseases, behavioral issues, traditional medicine, environment/pollution, and environmental justice.

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    The Dismal Scientist
    The Dismal Scientist, a great resource for economic news, has redesigned their website and incorporated the following new features:
    “Today’s Economy” will keep you current on economic developments throughout the business day, with commentary on releases, major speeches, monetary and legislative actions, and more.
    “Watchlist” gives you an advance peek at the most watched releases for the current and next business day and their expected impact on the markets.
    “How Strong is Your Local Economy?” gives you’s proprietary leading indicators for states and major metropolitan areas.
    We’re also expanding our release coverage, recently adding the ABC News/Money Magazine Consumer Comfort Index, plus other indicators for major countries around the globe.

    Labor Research Portal
    A collection of Web guides about labor. They are arranged topically and include Alternative Forms of Ownership, Labor Education, Globalization, Labor Libraries, government agencies pertaining to labor, Labor Unions, Work and career, and Labor Culture. Many are briefly annotated. From the Institute of Industrial Relations Library, University of California, Berkeley. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Business
    The Service Corps of Retired Executives gives small business owners guidance in establishing and maintaining successful enterprises. The Web site offers disaster advice; locations of local chapters; links to calculators, free software, business plans, trade shows, and other business resources; news and informational articles; and free, confidential counseling by e-mail. Counselors representing more than 600 skills are available to assist in locating investors, setting goals, veterans’ business issues, and other matters. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)


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

    The federal government is considering creating its own Internet. Called GovNet, the proposed network would provide secure government communications. Spearheading the effort is Richard Clarke, special advisor to President Bush for cyberspace security. With the help of the General Services Administration (GSA), Clarke is collecting information from the U.S. telecom sector about creating an exclusive telecom network. The GSA Web site features a Request for Information (RFI) on the project. GovNet is intended to be a private, IP-based voice and data network with no outside commercial or public links, the GSA said. It must also be impenetrable to the existing Internet, viruses, and interruptions, according to the agency. GovNet should be able to support video as well as critical government functions, according to the RFI.
    (, 11 October 2001 via Edupage)

    The world’s second-most powerful computer, the Terascale Computing System (TCS), was launched this week. Capable of 6 trillion teraflops per second, TCS will be used to conduct public scientific research that former President Clinton said would “accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering — allowing us to better predict tornadoes, speed up the discovery of life-saving drugs, and design more fuel-efficient engines.” The National Science Foundation, which funded the system’s creation and maintenance, acts as an underwriter. Over the next six months, TCS will be involved in numerous projects, including a global simulation of the magnetosphere, cosmological structures studies, and cancer drug testing. TCS is housed in the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. The center’s scientific director, Mike Levine, expects testing to continue for a few more months before the system is completely operational.
    (Wired News, 4 October 2001 via Edupage)

    IBM is preparing to invigorate the computer science field with its vision of “autonomic computing,” an idea defined in a recent paper by IBM researcher Paul M. Horn. The goal is to fund 50 university research projects that would push the development of a computer that would need minimal human assistance. Horn saw the need for a solution to computer systems’ increasing complexity as he worked with IBM’s growing services arm. He said the industry will stagnate unless it finds a way to engineer computers so that they function perpetually without human programming intervention. Although Horn did not provide a specific solution, IBM is already working on several key areas key to autonomic computing, such as artificial intelligence, self-healing computers, and adaptive algorithms.
    (New York Times, 15 October 2001 via Edupage)

    President Bush on Tuesday issued an executive order to create a new panel designed to protect essential information systems from cyberterrorist attacks. The President’s Critical Infrastructure Board will consist of cabinet members and top presidential aides. In the order, Bush said that protecting these networks will ensure the safety of “the people, economy, essential human and government services, and national security of the United States.” The president identified utilities and services that depend on information networks, such as health care and emergency services, financial and transportation systems, telecommunications, water, and manufacturing.
    (Associated Press, 16 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Virginia education officials are planning to create a new, state-run online university based on the state’s private and public colleges and universities. The project, dubbed Virginia Virtual University, or V2U, would allow students to link credits from different schools, as well as certification courses offered by Microsoft and other businesses. V2U would not create any of its own courses, but would expand the opportunities for the rapidly growing number of university students in the state. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia hopes the bare-bones infrastructure will help V2U keep costs low, but complications could arise in transferring credits from the different schools within the state, say experts. Professionals who want to go part-time would also be likely to enroll through V2U, since it would allow them to apply for financial aid usually reserved for full-time students.
    (Washington Post, 17 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Seti@home will enlarge the band of electromagnetic spectrum it analyzes because the service is running low on data to send to its three million users. Although Seti@home formerly had more data than could be analyzed, the current number of users means there is potentially a shortage of raw data. To address the situation, the company has installed a Linux-based digital recorder donated by Hewlett-Packard that records information 10 times faster than their old machine. Seti@home will now be able to analyze a larger portion of the microwave region, said Dan Werthimer, the chief scientist at the University of California at Berkley, which manages the Seti@home project.
    (Wired News, 6 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Canada’s indigenous people wanting to take part in the knowledge economy are turning to Web-based learning, e-conferencing, bulletin boards, e-mail, and self-paced learning, the Conference Board of Canada reported. The board’s report identified 10 projects in which technology was used to boost learning for indigenous people. In New Brunswick, the Tobique Information and Technology Learning Center provided Microsoft certification training to 26 indigenous students. Members of the Musqueam First Nation in British Columbia learned about restaurant operations using a blended approach. The report is the board’s most recent study on indigenous people’s attitudes towards education. Just three months earlier, the Canadian government had announced its plans to deploy high-speed connectivity for its residents.
    (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 8 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Intel, under the auspices of its Philanthropic Peer-to-Peer Program, will support Stanford University’s Folding@Home project, a distributed computing initiative that uses the spare computer cycles of home PCs to simulate protein folding. Intel will promote the project, host software downloads, contribute back-end equipment, and answer technical inquiries. The program is designed to demonstrate Intel’s desire to be philanthropic and to showcase its chip technology. The Folding@Home project is coordinated by assistant professor Vijay Pande, along with six volunteer graduate students. The simulation vehicle is a special screensaver that runs on the participating computers. Folding@Home is significant in that it has beaten supercomputers in the race to successfully simulate a complete protein folding cycle.
    (Wired News, 18 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Typically, online college education lacks the social interaction of traditional colleges, such as football games and concerts. And that is problematic, said John Seely Brown, co-author of “The Social Life of Information.” Since online universities focus mainly on educational issues, Brown argued, they do not provide the social context that makes learning meaningful. Students need to converse, argue, have discussion groups, and so on, he said. Internet courses at colleges, businesses, and other places are slowly becoming more socially interactive. Many institutions have substituted a number of social elements in their online classes. They include e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, and threaded discussion boards, which provide more intimacy among students, said John Flores of the U.S. Distance Learning Association. He added that tools such as streaming media, videoconferencing, and other multimedia technologies will help make e-learning more like campus learning.
    (CIO, 15 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Students at the Universities of Alaska, Montana, and New Mexico can participate in an online parallel computing course using the Access Grid, a system developed under the aegis of the National Computational Science Alliance. The grid was originally created as a collaborative tool for collegial scientists and colleagues. The system uses the high-speed data network created by the Internet2 consortium. Three professors coordinate the course, using a blend of videoconferencing and remote-controlled computers. In each classroom are three video projections, two of which show images from the other university Web sites, while the third is a computer display replete with visual aids. Don Morton, associate professor of computer science at the University of Montana, wishes student interactivity was higher and is considering adding a “gossip session” at the end of each class. Brigham Young University and the University of Utah plan to run a joint e-learning course using the Access Grid next semester.
    (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 19 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Web traffic to U.S. government sites has soared since last month’s terrorist attacks, as the Web sites of the FBI, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Justice Department strive to meet new needs. Nielsen//NetRatings said the CDC site, for example, has registered 118 percent more visitors as people log on to find information about anthrax. NetRatings’ Allen Weiner said these government sites play an important role in disseminating correct information at a time when hoaxes and rumors abound. He warns that their network infrastructure may not be able to handle the sustained level of increased traffic and that third-party contractors could help mirror and provide bandwidth for the sites. The FBI has launched two separate sites specially for the attacks, one for reporting information and another for victim assistance.
    (NewsFactor Network, 19 October 2001 via Edupage)

    The Collaborative Learning at a Distance (CLD) program at Bryant College in Rhode Island crosses the political, economic, and cultural lines that restrict Belarus’ academic, research, and business sectors. Bryant uses a diverse array of inexpensive Internet technologies and techniques — roundtable discussions by e-mail, software training and development, and Microsoft NetMeeting conferencing among them — to forge bonds between American and Belarusian students, faculty, and entrepreneurs and to foster collaborative, student-centered learning. Human interaction is also an important component, one that is offered through faculty exchanges and on-site visits. International Virtual Roundtable discussions, used in all CLD courses, have proven to be particularly useful in educating Belarusian students about the organization of environmental and business policy.
    (Syllabus, 1 October 2001 via Edupage)


    Islamic Culture and the Medical Arts
    An online exhibition in honor of the 900th anniversary of the transcription of “an Arabic treatise by one of the most important medieval physicians and clinicians — Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya’ al-Razi, who worked in Baghdad in the previous century and was later known to Europe as Rhazes.” This site traces the history and development of Islamic medicine. Included is a bibliography of additional readings. A transcribed interview about Islamic calligraphy is accompanied by several video clips. From the National Library of Medicine. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Who Named It?
    This biographical dictionary of medical eponyms is an attempt “to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person. Eventually, this will include more than 15,000 eponyms and more than 6,000 persons.” There are currently more than 4,000 eponyms described, with biographical material on close to 2,000 people. The site can be searched or browsed by person’s last name, category of medical condition, or eponym. There is also a list of women whose names have been used to name medical conditions. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)