Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


Newsletter archive > 2001 November 19 Issue

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  3. INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: Intellectual Property, American Field Guide; Biological Sciences: Color Vision — Color Deficiency, Three on Bioterrorism, I can do that!, WWF Expedition to Borneo, National Geographic: SuperCroc, The Dawn of Animal Life, The Barbara McClintock Papers; Computer and Information Science: Biocomputing for Everyone, Computer Ethics & Professional Ethics, Internet Archive Wayback Machine, Internet Archive, Education and Human Resources: Webcast of NAS Education Symposium, Iron Science Teacher!; Engineering: Transatlantic Cable Connections, The Brooklyn Bridge; Geosciences: Virtual Cave, TerraFly, Women Exploring the Oceans: Remarkable Careers in Oceanography, The Earthquake Information Network, The Wind: Our Fierce Friend; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Examining the Evidence for Life on Mars, The Fibonacci Series, Number Patterns Fun with Curves & Topology, United States Virtual Observatory, Solar System Simulator, Water Structure & Behavior; Polar Programs: Polar Bear Invasion; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: American Political Development, The Changing World of Banking, Two on Globalization, Electric Money … and more … plus news items from Edupage
  4. INTER ALIA: 1. Oyez baseball — match your knowledge of Supreme Court Justices with your knowledge of famous baseball players. Really. This is a stitch, folks! 2. Grade school children’s impressions of scientists.
    “ACM-W is pleased to announce an on-line resource for articles on women and computing. This database consists of approximately 275 articles, which can be searched by an author’s name, a keyword, and other appropriate fields. ACM-W will continually update the database. If you know of articles that should be included in the database, please send their full reference information and the keywords that best describes each article to We appreciate any help you provide in making this database an excellent resource for everyone interested in women and computing issues.” From the website.


    From Scarcity to Visibility: Gender Differences in the Careers of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers. J. Scott Long, Editors; Panel for the Study of Gender Differences in Career Outcomes of Science and Engineering Ph.D.s, Committee on Women in Science and Engineering, National Research Council. 340 pages, 6 × 9, 2001.

    U.S. Astronomy and Astrophysics: Managing an Integrated Program Committee on the Organization and Management of Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Space Studies Board, Board on Physics and Astronomy, National Research Council. 94 pages, 6 × 9, 2001.

    Energy Research at DOE: Was It Worth It? Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000. Committee on Benefits of DOE R&D on Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, National Research Council. 240 pages, 8 1/2 × 11, 2001.

    Diffusion Processes and Fertility Transition: Selected Perspectives. Committee on Population, John B. Casterline, Editor, National Research Council. 288 pages, 6 × 9, 2001.


    American Field Guide
    “Over 1400 video clips enable you to experience America’s wilderness firsthand. The database is searchable by keyword, and may be browsed by state and the the following topics: animals, ecosystems, human history, livelihoods, earth and space, plants, public policy, and recreation. Produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting, this resource contains programming content from nearly 30 stations across the United States.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Intellectual Property
    “From Internet content protection to human gene patenting, intellectual property rights in many forms have emerged from legal obscurity to public debate. A new Web site serves as a guide to the National Academies’ extensive work on intellectual property and a forum to discuss ongoing work.”

    Biological Sciences

    The Dawn of Animal Life
    “This Canadian site goes back in time, not to the age of the dinosaurs, but much, much farther. Three billion years, in fact, when things were classified as Archean, and cyanobacteria were the primary living organisms. Layers of cynaobacteria formed stromatolites, and while fossils of these are rare, three areas in Canada have examples. From there, the site moves on to eurkaryotes, then to the Ediacaran fossils of Canada. Pictures of the multicellular fossils found at Mistaken Point in Newfoundland, oldest collection in the world, offer a look at the astonishing diversity of early life forms. They may lack the scale and drama of dinosaurs, but they have the distinction of being here first. AD” (From New Scientist Site of the Day)

    I can do that!
    “This is a great way to introduce your children to the timely scientific issues of cloning and genetic engineering. DNA and RNA come alive as a cast of friendly and entertaining characters at I Can Do That. The site covers the roles of DNA and RNA, as well as DNA polymerase, and also delves into photosynthesis and cellular respiration. There is a small shopping site, where readers can purchase DNA isolation kits, as well as other interactive science-based toys. Despite a somewhat sexist slant in the roles of the characters, this is still an educational site, and a good resource for tools to help children develop their scientific curiosity. SS” (From New Scientist Site of the Day)

    Color Vision — Color Deficiency
    This webpage is primarily pointed at web designers, but the discussion of what causes variations in color perception is detailed, well-illustrated, and fascinating.

    National Geographic: SuperCroc
    “With a nickname like ‘SuperCroc,’ you know this guy was one big, bad fish-crushing reptile. The croc’s remains, found in the Sahara, are almost completely pieced together by paleontologist Paul Sereno and are the inspiration for this fascinating web site. ‘As long as a city bus, and weighing in at about ten tons,’ the croc (‘Sarcosuchus imperator’) lived 110 million years ago and most likely consumed small dinosaurs as well as fish. Don’t miss the photo gallery for shots of the six-foot jaws and renderings of what this monster looked like. Crikey! He’s a big one!” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    The Barbara McClintock Papers
    Press Release
    “Scientist Dr. Barbara McClintock had a long career during which she made several important breakthroughs and earned distinguished awards for studying the genomics of maize (corn). In 1983, at the age of 81, McClintock was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her work on so-called ‘jumping genes,’ or genes that change position on the chromosome. The newest addition to the National Library of Medicine’s Profiles in Science online series (last discussed in the May 18, 2001 _Scout Report_) is an exhibit of the Barbara McClintock Papers. This site is divided into sections that focus on Dr. McClintock’s life and major scientific contributions. Each section provides text or images of original materials such as laboratory notes, correspondence, journal articles, unpublished manuscripts, grant proposals, lecture notes, photographs, and illustrations (.pdf). Students of genetics and anyone interested in the history of science should browse this online exhibit. [HCS]” (From the Scout Report)

    Three on Bioterrorism

    Bioterrorism — Nova
    Biosecurity, Bioterror, and the Threat to Agriculture
    Bioterrorism Articles — JAMA
    As you would expect any site from this source to be, this is an excellent site. It has excellent information, attractively arranged. It is a companion site to the Nova program on this topic. It includes FAQs, links and books, agents of bioterrorism, and breaking news from the McNeil Lehrer News Hour.

    “The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has posted this page to help citizens learn more about bioterrorism and agriculture. The page consists of pointers to resources spanning a range of issues related to agriculture and terrorism, including conference proceedings, articles from government branches, government alerts, and contact information. The site is divided into six categories: Alerts, Agency Contacts, U.S. Government & Related Resources, State Governments, Organizations, and Academic & Journal Resources. Some of the sites are annotated briefly and others in a more in-depth fashion. Both researchers and members of the general public with an interest in these issues will find this site a useful gateway to resources. [TK]” (From the Scout Report)

    The Journal of the American Medical Association is offering free access to a large number of its previously published articles related to bioterrorism. Among the articles are five pieces by the Working Group on Civilian Biodefense, which are focused on Anthrax, Smallpox, Plague, Botulinum Toxin, and Tularemia. The remainder of the articles are sorted by subject, including these diseases plus Ebola and Brucella, as well as Clinical Articles, Epidemiologic Investigations, articles on Preparedness, and a section devoted to Policy, Historical, and Editorial Perspectives. Articles are available in HTML or .pdf formats. [TK]” (From the Scout Report)

    WWF Expedition to Borneo
    “Into the Heart of Borneo
    Three biological survey teams will mount an expedition into the rainforests of the Heart of Borneo, some of the most diverse — and endangered — habitats on earth. This survey will be the latest in a series of projects under WWF’s Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS), a cross-cutting action plan to save populations of these endangered species and their habitats.” The website has dispatches from the expedition, maps, information on the wildlife, ask the scientists, and more.

    Computer and Information Science

    Computer Ethics & Professional Ethics
    “This web site was developed as part of CS378 ‘Contemporary Issues in Computer Science’ at the University of Texas at Austin. It contains materials useful for classes and companies researching Computer Ethics and Professionalism.”

    This is an excellent portal to topics in ethics, law, privacy, social issues, and more.

    Internet Archive
    “The Internet Archive is the ‘parent’ site for two sites previously reviewed in the _Scout Report_, Election 2000 (see the July 13, 2001 _Scout Report_) and (see the October 19, 2001 _Scout Report_). The Archive has been cataloging Webpages since its inception in 1996, and for their fifth anniversary has opened the archive to the public by launching their ‘Wayback Machine.’ To operate the ‘Machine,’ users type a URL into the search box, which will call up dated, archived pages of the site. The Internet Archive holds ten billion Webpages, making it the largest known database. Since announcing public access to the overall database, the site has experienced a great deal of traffic. They are in the process of adding servers, but users should be warned that, in the meantime, access may be tricky. The Internet Archive is a nonprofit, which has received funding from a number of sources including the Library of Congress and the National Science Foundation. [TK]” (From the Scout Report)

    Internet Archive Wayback Machine
    “A searchable archive of more than 10 billion Web pages dating back to 1996, with new sites and new versions of sites added regularly. There are special collections of sites about September 11, Election 2000, the United States Government, and Web Pioneers.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Biocomputing for Everyone
    “An average human scientist is made up of about 2.9 billion (2.9*109) nucleotides! This orgy of reductionism presents problems which only big brother can solve: How do I store all this information in a form which is universally accessible and retrievable? What started as a cartesian dream is turning out to Bill Gates’ satisfaction: Computers are needed! Vast computer data banks accessible to you and me store this vast quantity of information. There are a lot of different data banks where DNA and protein sequence information are stored. A lot of complicated algorithms have been created. There are tools to scan data banks for sequences as FASTA and BLAST are. There are programs like Clustal and MSA for comparing sequences. There are hundreds more. Although the development of new tools is more transparent because of the possibilities of the Internet, it is not easy to keep up with everything. Exploitation of these possibilities requires a new breed of scientist: those versed in information technology AND biology, and they may enable us go where no man has gone before. Through a new surge of interdisciplinarity it may be possible to transcend the limits of reductionism; from the vast quantities of bytes and pieces, the contours of complex structures and relationships might emerge from the genetic alphabet soup as life itself once emerged from the primordial soup.”

    Education and Human Resources

    Webcast of NAS Education Symposium
    Scientific advances ranging from the Internet to the oceans will be discussed in a symposium sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences at the University of California, San Diego at 1 p.m. PST Thursday, Nov. 29. The symposium is open to the public and free of charge, and we extend a special welcome to students and postdocs. In addition, a link to the live Webcast will be available.

    Iron Science Teacher!
    “Every weekend during the summer, crowds gather at San Francisco’s Exploratorium to watch the ‘Iron Science Teacher’ game. Based on the wildly popular Japanese TV show, Iron Chef, in which chefs compete to see who can whip up the most creative and delicious meal with the day’s ‘secret ingredient,’ Iron Science Teacher asks primary and secondary science educators to whip up a science lesson based on a ‘secret ingredient’ — be it PVC pipe, pantyhose, toothpicks or even marshmallow peeps! The goal of the project is to celebrate science education and to demonstrate that teachers can teach the $10 million state science standards on a $10 budget. Web surfers who can’t make it to the Exploratorium can view this wacky yet totally educational program online. An archive of 25 broadcasts from June 1999 to the present is available (RealPlayer). [HCS]” (From the Scout Report)


    Transatlantic Cable Connections
    “In an age of instant messages and the Internet, the use of telegraphs and Morse code seem like ancient history. Yet there was a time when the desire to communicate drove many scientific discoveries and engineering solutions that resulted in the Transatlantic Cable, a milestone in the development of world communications. Discover here the social, business, and scientific thrusts that defined the Transatlantic Cable project, a timeline of events, some of the historic messages passed along its route, and the stories of the people who made it happen. One of the most intriguing aspects of this site is the slice of history it contains, with photos and information about the daily life, along with a list of other inventions during that time which were revolutionizing the world. The Resource Centre includes a self-assessment quiz, a word search game, a glossary and a brief list of online resources, designed to help teachers incorporate the site into lesson plans. The video clips require QuickTime, and the site provides a link for downloading it. CK” (From New Scientist Site of the Day)

    The Brooklyn Bridge
    The Brooklyn Bridge
    The Brooklyn Bridge
    Brooklyn Bridge Engravings
    The Brooklyn Bridge was the dream of civil engineer John Roebling, although he died of lockjaw resulting from an accident while checking out possible locations for the bridge’s tower. Although he did not live to even see the beginning of bridge construction, the bridge stands as a monument to his vision. The Brooklyn Bridge was the first suspension bridge to use steel for its cable wire. It was the first bridge to use explosives in a dangerous underwater device called a caisson. At the time it was built, the 3,460-foot Brooklyn Bridge was also crowned the longest suspension bridge in the world. These websites introduce you to the interesting history of this remarkable feat of 19th century engineering and include pictures, photographs, FAQs, poetry, even a free screen saver.


    The Earthquake Information Network
    “This site offers a searchable subject index of information related to earthquakes. Categories range from Earthquake Information Services to Archives (news and photos of significant earthquakes since 1999.) At the end of the list of categories there’s an option to see all site alphabetically; nice touch.

    Though some of the information is only peripherally related to earthquakes (disaster preparedness, etc.) everything I looked at was well annotated. The index can be searched with a keyword search on the front page or a slightly more intricate advanced search.

    Also on this site is a clickable US map that organizes earthquake organizations and Web sites by state. (It’s at; it’s rather well hidden.) The organizations listed here do not seem to be annotated at all, but there are a lot of them.” (From Research Buzz)

    Virtual Cave
    This is a terrific site from which to explore all the different kinds of caves in the world and their features. (Particularly great for folks that have claustrophobia — I have missed a lot of neat caves in my time!) It is neatly divided into sections by the type of cave — solution caves, lava tube caves, sea caves, and erosional caves. Each section is lavishly provided with photographs and well-written text. It also includes a directory to U.S. “show caves” with added information on topics such as cave photography tips and how to make the most of your cave visit.

    “This site was developed by the High Performance Database Research Center to ‘aid in the visualization of remotely sensed and spatial data via the Internet.’ Sounds serious, huh? However, in layman’s terms, it means you can virtually fly over any part of the United States. How cool is that? Try typing in the address of your childhood home and see what’s happening in the old ’hood. Now you can explore the entire country without ever logging off.” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    Women Exploring the Oceans: Remarkable Careers in Oceanography
    “This site features women in the field of marine science; the aim is to encourage young women to pursue science careers. About a dozen profiles and interviews of women in oceanography are presented, with their backgrounds, what led them to pursue their careers, what they enjoy about their jobs, and images of them at work.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    The Wind: Our Fierce Friend
    “Part of the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), The Wind is an online museum exhibit, complete with background information, classroom activities and contributions from students around the USA. Starting out, ‘Blustery Beginnings’ provides photographs and video clips that show the effects of the invisible winds. Online resources cover wind energy, wind weather effects and even wind recreational activities. Books with wind themes, poetry about the wind, and wind creations to make round out this section. The site also includes classroom activities and a place where you can post your student’s wind related creations such as photographs, music, poetry, research and art work. One of the most interesting parts of the site is the results of the 1995 collaboration involving schools across the country on the topic ‘Wind: Our Fierce Friend’ which includes links to the classroom projects and websites, showing a wide range of student work. CK” (From New Scientist Site of the Day)

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    Examining the Evidence for Life on Mars
    As a web extra celebrating NASA’s recent successful orbit of the Odyssey spacecraft around Mars, the National Academy of Sciences has created this website of information about the gathering of samples and quarantine procedures. It also includes a section on why Mars is of such intense interest.

    United States Virtual Observatory
    “Astronomers from 17 research institutions have been given a five-year, $10 million Information Technology Research grant from the National Science Foundation to start an online observatory. The observatory declares that its purpose is to ‘maximize the potential for new scientific insights from the data by making them available in an accessible, seamlessly unified form to professional researchers, amateur astronomers and students.’ There is not yet a lot available on the site. You can get papers and other materials related to the creation of the observatory at, and there are a couple of presentations available at Stay tuned — I’ll try to keep an eye on this one.” (From Research Buzz)

    The Fibonacci Series
    This ThinkQuest website explores the Fibonacci series, the Golden Ratio, the Golden Sprial, and their interrelationships and applications. The website is both clearly and entertainingly constructed.

    Number Patterns Fun with Curves & Topology
    Investigating Patterns: Symmetry and Tessellations
    Investigating Patterns: Polyhedra Pastimes
    “Educational consultant and textbook author Jill Britton is the author of these metasites listing Web resources for grade 5-8 mathematics. Each metasite revolves around a certain topic. For instance, the first site, Number Patterns Fun with Curves & Topology, is an index of eighteen subtopics such as prime numbers, the golden ratio, Pascal’s Triangle, mazes and maps, etc. Under each subtopic, an annotated list of Web resources (from other authors and organizations) points to tutorials and fun activities for students as well as printable activity sheets and lesson plans for teachers. The second metasite, Investigating Patterns: Symmetry and Tessellations, contains subtopics such as soapbubbles and honeycombs, Islamic tessellations, M.C. Escher, symmetry by paper folding, and more. The third metasite listed here focuses on polyhedra with activities ranging from creating three-dimensional polyhedra with gumdrops and toothpicks to examining Ernst Haeckel’s nineteenth-century sketches of polyhedral structure of Radiolaria (a plankton). Other types of links given on these pages are to merchants selling educational materials, sites on the history of mathematics, and activities with holiday themes. [HCS]” (From the Scout Report)

    Water Structure & Behavior
    “Water (H2O) is the most remarkable substance. … Because of its clear importance, water is the most studied material on Earth. It comes as a surprise, therefore, to find that it is so poorly understood, not only by people in general, but also by scientists working with it everyday.” Martin Chaplin has put together this remarkable page on this remarkable substance.

    Solar System Simulator
    “This superb site aims to be a ‘spyglass on the cosmos’. It allows you to create stunning simulated images of the planets and their moons, just as they would actually be seen from another body or spacecraft, at your chosen date and time. This virtual Solar System uses many scientific databases for planet and star positions, as well as images of planet surfaces and rings derived from spacecraft missions, to make the views as accurate as possible. A set of test images shows the accuracy of the simulation, allowing you to compare generated images with the real views from spacecraft, or to see a virtual lunar eclipse. A page of technical background explains how it’s all done. There are plenty of options to help you create your own image of the Solar System by choosing a specific viewpoint, target, date, and time. However, if you’re feeling lazy, just take a look at the beautiful sample scenes which the site author has already created! Highly recommended. DP-P” (From New Scientist Site of the Day)

    Polar Programs

    Polar Bear Invasion
    This companion site to the PBS Nature show details the annual polar bear incursions to the town of Churchill on Hudson Bay. Sections of the website include the TV schedule, a discussion of the town’s unique relationship with the bears, what scientists are learning about the bears, the tourist industry, and links and resources.

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    Electric Money
    “Following the PBS series, this program explores how the digital revolution has transformed financial activity since the 1950s. Written in simple and clear language, it reviews the use of credit cards, e-pay, Internet purchases, electronic banking, electronic trading, and the future of electronic finances. There is information about the development of money and a timeline of money in the United States since 1600.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    The Changing World of Banking
    “The history of the interaction between American banking and American government is the subject of this web-based exhibit. It focuses on the rise of the national banking system and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which was established to supervise it. Coverage is from the late 18th century through the start of the 21st century; includes information on major bank crashes and the creation of federal deposit insurance.“ (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    American Political Development
    “This new site for scholars of American political development, ‘the interdisciplinary study of the deep historical roots of politics in the United States,’ is in its nascent stages but promises to grow. The site is a collaborative venture between the Miller Center for Public Affairs’ American Political Development Program and the scholars of the American Political History Initiative and hopes to function as a gateway to resources in the field for scholars and researchers. The main section of the site at present is the APD Town Square section, which offers categorized links to new publications, journals, announcements, and reviews. This section will also feature periodic live Webcasts, the most recent of which was Tuesday’s ‘Battle for the Ballot Box: National Election Reform in American Political Development,’ The site also offers a page of links to related sites and a section entitled Who We Are, which gives a brief overview of the field and information on the site’s developers. In the future, the Electronic Classroom section will be a boon to instructors as it will contain syllabi, exam questions, assignments, and other teaching resources. [TK]” (From the Scout Report)

    Two on Globalization

    The fourth WTO Ministerial Conference
    Globalization in Focus
    “Important new developments at the fourth World Trade Ministerial Conference held this week include a statement that intellectual property rights (patent rights) cannot stand in the way of public health for developing countries and the admission of China into the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This site brings users summaries of the meetings, declarations, and proposed procedures. Users can also watch archived Webcasts of the proceedings. The second site comes to the Web courtesy of Foreign Policy in Focus (FPIF, see the September 8, 1998 _Scout Report for Social Sciences_). Here users will find a more critical look at the WTO as well as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). FPIF here collects links to articles, event announcements, reports, and other resources. Be sure to scroll down the page to see all of the offerings. [TK]” (From the Scout Report)


    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 Democratic Leadership Council has suggested that in the event that Congress is prevented from physically convening by an emergency, a Web site “could easily be built” where congressional members can meet, debate, draft legislation, and vote. To ensure security, the DLC suggests that a biometric identification system be set up, while far-flung members would gain access through kiosks located at the nearest state capitol or city hall. The DLC recommends that the public have access to the site on “a read-only basis,” but associate director for the Center for Democracy and Technology Ari Schwartz said that fear of hacker intrusion may mean a complete lockout of public access. However, there are members of Congress who are opposed to the idea of convening remotely, according to New America Foundation analyst James Snider.
    (Wired News, 25 October 2001 via Edupage)

    University of Pittsburgh public health professor Ron LaPorte now has the ear of government intelligence officials for his concept of an Internet-based, citizen-run bioterrorism defense network. The idea comes from the neighborhood captain system set up during the Cold War in case of nuclear attack. Basically, trusted leaders in virtual communities would disseminate the latest information about bioterrorism to their members as well as watch emerging incidents and report them to authorities. LaPorte compares the network to the antivirus segment of the tech community that speedily identifies new software viruses, traces their origin, and works on solutions — all the while using the Internet to coordinate their efforts.
    (USA Today, 24 October 2001 via Edupage)

    The Bush administration wishes to create an Internet-independent virtual private network for critical national services called GovNet, but former CIA director James Woolsey said the idea is doomed to failure. Addressing the plan at a WebMethods conference in Washington, D.C., Woolsey argued that the network could fall prey to threats from within as well as without. “There is a huge premium for Iraqi intelligence or Osama bin Laden to find some American who is willing to help him and be a clever hacker,” he warned. “Once you get into the network, you have pretty much free access. So you haven’t really solved the problem.” The increasing sophistication of terrorists and hackers is an Achilles’ heel for GovNet. The private sector has until Nov. 21 to make recommendations for GovNet, which will then be analyzed by the government. A timeline for proceeding on the recommendations will be posted by the end of January 2002.
    (Computerworld, 26 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Florida International University researchers have introduced TerraFly, new software that supplies users with topographical maps via satellite images of the United States. Florida International University will use the new technology in its High Performance Database Research Center for commercial as well as educational uses such as real estate, tourism, and urban development. FIU’s Todd Martinez-Padilla Simmons said the software does not, in any way, compromise the national security of the United States during its war on terrorism, and all TerraFly information is cleared with U.S. law enforcement officials before it is released to the public and students at FIU. FIU received funding for TerraFly from IBM, the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.
    (Miami Herald, 27 October 2001 via Edupage)

    People will be able to view and research the history of the Internet as far back as 1996 through the Internet Archive, a free repository of more than 10 billion Web pages (those still in use and defunct) that is five times the size of the Library of Congress. “It will allow researchers to study the evolution of the Web in a way that is unprecedented,” declared Ed Chi of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. The archive is the brainchild of former supercomputer technologist Brewster Kahle. The archive, which is updated every two months, uses bots to probe the Web for pages to add; pages that require passwords are ignored, while page owners can request that their pages not be captured if they so desire. However, Stanford University’s Lawrence Lessig warned that Kahle could be sued for copyright infringement because of the repository. The Internet Archive was funded by the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Science Foundation, and Compaq Computer.
    (Los Angeles Times, 25 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Internet2 is expanding its reach into community colleges, where it can help those institutions reach a much broader community through quality Internet courses. Ronald L. Hamberg, VP for instruction at Seattle Central Community College, said his school is pioneering the use of Internet2 at the community college level. Seattle Central, with help from the nearby University of Washington, was one of the first community colleges on Internet2’s Abilene network and is a leader in distance education. Hamberg said Internet2’s high-speed network means a higher quality distance education and greater chance for diversity at his school. Because facility space is limited, Internet2 can expand Seattle Central’s reach into the surrounding community, especially as PC and Internet use penetrates into poorer demographics. Hamberg also sees the potential for overseas participation in Seattle Central’s Internet programs.
    (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 31 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Colleges’ spending on IT is growing at a faster rate than spending on other initiatives, according to data from the Cost of Supporting Technology Services (COSTS) project. Project co-director David L. Smallen of Hamilton College reported that median IT budget increases for the 2000–2001 school year were 11 percent, while the median amount earmarked for IT spending accounted for approximately 5 percent of the total budget. On average, colleges polled allocate about 25 percent of their IT budgets to hardware purchases and about 7 percent to software purchases. Smallen and co-director Karen L. Leach, also of Hamilton, indicated that about half of colleges’ IT budgets goes toward personnel expenses such as salaries, benefits, and staff development.
    (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 30 October 2001 via Edupage)

    The National Science Foundation has earmarked $10 million for the development of a National Virtual Observatory (NVO), a single, searchable database of astronomical knowledge culled from observatories. The current total volume of astronomical information comprises roughly 100 terabytes, and scientists predict this number will swell to over 10 pentabytes by 2008. Caltech computer scientist Paul Messina said that a single repository for this vast amount of data is essential, otherwise, “we will end up like shipwrecked sailors on a desert island, surrounded by an ocean of salt water and unable to slake our thirst.” The goal of the project is to be able to conduct intricate computations by using the NVO to leverage the computing power of 17 research databases.
    (Newsbytes, 30 October 2001 via Edupage)

    Carnegie Mellon University has a new research center that high-tech leaders are referring to as the first software industry center in America. Industry, academia, and government will share the facilities to further the development of software products, according to Amitava Lahiri, regional manager for TATA Consultancy Services (TCS). He said that researchers will study trends affecting the software industry, including economics, management, and technology. At the same time, more specific issues such as call center technology, security, and privacy will be addressed. Innovation and competition, software development practices, talent, workforce and human capital, and globalization also will be among the issues examined. Faculty and staff experts from a number of disciplines throughout the university will staff the Software Industry Center.
    (CC News, October 2001 via Edupage)

    The ALL Species Foundation of San Francisco has undertaken a formidable challenge: classifying all known species on Earth within 25 years. The total number of species is estimated to be between 7 million and 100 million. One of the problems with the project is bringing taxonomy into the digital age, noted foundation CEO Brian Boom. For one thing, the naming criteria have yet to be brought up to date, he said. Taxonomy usually takes months, but Boom believes the Internet can cut that time substantially. The Web would allow amateur taxonomists spread throughout the globe to communicate their discoveries and answer questions so that a thorough picture of the species they are describing is presented.
    (USA Today, 1 November 2001 via Edupage)

    San Jose’s Tech Museum, along with Santa Clara University and Applied Materials, handed out the first Tech Museum of Innovation Awards to five recipients. The awards honor those individuals or organizations that develop technological innovations that help poor and underdeveloped peoples. Tech Museum President Peter Giles likens the awards to the Nobel Prize. “We want to see it develop to the point where it could stimulate people from all over the world to use technology in a way that will address humanity’s greatest challenges,” he said. The winners were Freeplay Foundation, a South African organization that developed wind-up and solar-powered radios that help Africans access educational material; Fabio de Olivera Rosa, a Brazilian who founded IDEAAS, a low-cost electrification project that helps provincial Brazilians convert barren land into fertile soil; UC San Francisco biochemistry professor Joseph DeRisi, who was honored for his microarray technology research designed to increase access to malaria treatments in Africa; Audubon Nature Institute director Dr. Betsy Dresser in the category of Environment; and CZBioMed President Chaz Holder, who won in the category of Equality. Each winner received a $50,000 prize.
    (Wired News, 2 November 2001 via Edupage)

    The field of archaeology will receive a big boost from 3D computer modeling techniques. Thanks to a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, researchers at Columbia University are building digital tools that will enable archaeologists to examine the details of sites without having to dig or damage structures. The new 3D modeling techniques will also allow archaeologists to take virtual tours of sites. The digital tools include a mobile robot equipped with a laser scanner for taking high-detail shots aboveground, and a radar sensor for taking shots deep underground. A 3D model of sites can be produced once the data is scanned into a computer. Initial tests already have been completed, but there are plans to test the digital tools at the Amheida site in the Dakhla Oasis, in the western desert of Egypt, and to put the computerized data of the site online.
    (InformationWeek, 29 October 2001 via Edupage)

    A congressional conference committee approved a bill that allocates more than enough money for the National Science Foundation to moderately increase its spending budget in information technology research, according to NSF officials. The bill earmarks $4.78 billion for the foundation, $319 million more than the original request. NSF director Rita R. Colwell said the IT research the agency plans to carry out with this money will benefit many academic disciplines. NSF research initiatives include super-fast computer networks, atomic-level alternatives to silicon chips, and better human-computer interfaces. The bill is awaiting approval from the Senate and the House.
    (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 8 November 2001 via Edupage)

    IBM and Sun Microsystems this week made announcements concerning their grid computing initiatives, while Compaq Computer announced a program of its own. IBM said it will collaborate with North Carolina-based MCNC to create the North Carolina Bioinformatics Grid, a system to be used for genomic research. Sun announced that it has issued a beta version of its Sun Grid Enterprise Edition 5.3 software, designed to simplify connections among computer resources within companies. Meanwhile, Compaq said it has organized a Grid Computing Solutions Program, an initiative to provide clients around the world with grid computing hardware, software, and support. Compaq also announced the creation of an Advanced Center for the Study of Grid Computing, in New Hampshire.
    (Computerworld Online, 14 November 2001 via Edupage)

    Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) say the future Internet will be much more interactive, enabled by a framework for computers to understand the data they display. The research has the backing of such luminaries as Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web and W3C director. Software agents would help computers find and understand what their human users are looking for by scouring and interpreting the Web. A new coding protocol, Resource Description Framework (RDF), would tag data to make it intelligible by computers. Such tagging involves inference rules and common definitions, something the area of artificial intelligence has been working on for some time.
    (NewsFactor Network, 13 November 2001 via Edupage)

    Attention will focus on e-learning on Dec. 4 when many physicians will take an online bioterrorism intervention course. The University of Tennessee and the Detroit Medical Center are collaborating to provide a free, real-time course featuring 20 emergency medical practitioners. The University of Tennessee teamed up with Centra Software to develop the course. The university has been working with Centra for the past four years to offer its online MBA program for physicians. Michael Stahl, a professor at the university and director of the online MBA program, said such a relationship allowed the course to be deployed quickly. Participants in the program will be able to hear the instructors in real time, ask questions, and hear the questions of other participants via a VoIP connection. Some 10 percent of America’s 30,000 emergency-room physicians are expected to take the course.
    (InformationWeek Online, 9 November 2001 via Edupage)


    Oyez Baseball
    “Hear ye, hear ye, the Flash mavens and legal scholars at The Oyez Project and FindLaw score big with this educational game about the Supreme Court Justices. Oyez Baseball draws parallels between the powerful Supremes, who sit on the major-league bench of our Judicial Branch, and the heroes of baseball history. Inspired by “The Law-Baseball Quiz” published in 1979 by the “New York Times”, the updated web version adds real ballpark ambiance and effects. We struck out on Justice David Souter, a Bret Boone kind of a player, but hit a home run with Benjamin Cardozo, a brilliant early 20th-century Justice whose written eloquence matched up with Ryne Sandberg’s skill on the field. Play ball!” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    Who’s the Scientist?
    7th graders ideas about scientists before and after a visit to Fermilab. Out of the mouths of babes … (Thanks to Liz Bryson).