Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


Newsletter archive > 2002 April 3 Issue

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  2. ENGINEERING BOOKS GIVEAWAY!: A wonderful promotion available for a short time only!
  3. US FISH & WILDLIFE WEBSITE REAPPEARS: Back from Court-ordered oblivion
  5. INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: Beyond Discovery, SciDev.Net,, Molecular Expressions Photo Gallery, Signs of Spring; Biological Sciences: Crocodilians!, Embryo Images Normal and Abnormal Mammalian Development; Computer and Information Science: Your Personal PLC Tutor Site; Education and Human Resources: Gender and Science Digital Library; Engineering: Black Patents, Waterjet Web Reference, Structurae, Hydroelectric Dams; Geosciences: The Hurricane of ’38, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, NASA Global Change Directory, Earth Today: A Digital View of our Dynamic Planet, Freshwater and Marine Image Bank; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: The Physics Classroom, Mudd Math Fun Facts, The American Meteor Society, Catalog of Spaceborne Imaging: A Guide to NSSDC’s Planetary Image Archives, World’s Largest Math Event, A Brilliant Madness, All about materials; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: Misunderstood Minds, … and more … plus news items from Edupage

    Compendex Chemistry Abstracts is now offering a FREE trial access to Compendex Chemistry until 1st June.

    • Find abstracts and citations from the top journals in applied, analytical, organic and inorganic chemistry
    • Database contains over 250,000 records published from 1998 to present
    • Search or browse by author, journal title or abstract

    Free registration to ChemWeb required.


    Free Engineering Books
    £7,500 worth of NEW engineering, mathematics and computing books are being given away FREE in a joint promotional campaign being run by EEVL, the Internet guide to engineering, mathematics and computing, Engineering magazine, E2 the career guide, Mathematics Today, and Computer Bulletin, plus top publishers Kluwer, Springer, Pearson, Wiley, Taylor & Francis and Butterworth-Heinemann.

    Go to the website, browse the publishers’ catalogues, choose the book you’d like and enter it on the form. No catches. Each entrant will have the chance to win one book of his or her choice from the hundreds being given away. Please forward this message to colleagues or students or anyone else who might want a free book.

    The promotion closes on 31st May 2002.

    EEVL is a free, non-profit service. It is a collaborative service run and hosted by Heriot Watt University, in partnership with Cranfield University, the University of Birmingham and the University of Ulster. It is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) through the Resource Discovery Network.

    EEVL would like to thank the participating publishers and distributors for their contributions to this promotion.

    This offer is available worldwide.


    US Fish & Wildlife Service
    Main DOI Website
    All US Dept of the Interior websites were taken down in December due to a court order. Some of the websites are now started to be made available again, with their wealth of important information.


    Laafia, Ibrahim. R&D expenditure and personnel in European regions 1997–99. Eurostat, 2002.

    Patent Activities in the EU: Towards High Tech Patenting 1990 to 2000. Eurostat, 2002.

    Biological Impacts of the Jessica Oil Spill on the Galapagos Environment. Charles Darwin Foundation, 2002.

    Scientific Inquiry in Education. NAP,2002.

    Future R&D Environments: A Report for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NPA, 2002.

    Cybersecurity Today and Tomorrow: Pay Now or Pay Later. NAP, 2002.

    Pharmaceuticals, Hormones, and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in U.S. Streams, 1999–2000: A National Reconnaissance. USGS, 2002.

    Technology and Assessment: Thinking Ahead — Proceedings from a Workshop. NAP, 2002.

    Scientific Research in Education. NAP, 2002. is offering FREE access to the following Elsevier Science Journals until 1st June, so why not take a look.

    • Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical
    • Talanta
    • Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
    Free ChemWeb registration required.

    Materials Today has now been added to the journals section of Members can access FREE of charge the full text, TOC’s and abstracts.
    Free registration required.

    Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, new journal from The American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Free trial until May 31.

    Free access to 9 materials science and physics journals published by Elsevier Science until 20 May 2002 on Chemweb (Free registration required).

    • Biomaterials
    • Current Applied Physics
    • International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives
    • Journal of Crystal Growth
    • Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids
    • Materials Letters
    • Progress in Materials Science
    • Radiation Physics and Chemistry
    • Science and Technology of Advanced Materials


    This searchable site reports on and discusses “those aspects of modern science and technology that are relevant to sustainable development and the social and economic needs of developing countries.” Articles, news, opinion pieces, and book reviews are archived to the beginning of this site (December 2001). Sponsored by Nature and Science magazines in association with the Third World Academy of Sciences. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
    “A database, as the headline says, of medical, biotechnical, and scientific events. From the front page of the site, you can search by subject (from agricultural and vet science to toxicology), specialty (varies by subject), search keyword, and date.

    Searching Biology/Mutation Research for all of 2002 found two results. Search results list date of the event, title of the event, and location of the event. Click on the date or the event title and you’ll get more information including event URL, contact information, expected attendance, and subjects.” (From Research Buzz)

    Signs of Spring

    Seasonal Rhythms
    Introduction to Phenology
    Environmental Education for Kids: Phenology
    Missouri Botanical Garden: Plants in Bloom
    Operation Migration
    Peterson Online
    The Yearly Life Cycle of the Bumblebee
    “Because Spring has officially arrived, this week’s Topic In Depth focuses on events that occur with the arrival of the new season.

    Offered by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the first Web site (1) focuses on seasonal events like hibernation and migration, and the rhythms behind them. Next is a phenology site (2), where visitors can register to record their observations of Spring online or just learn what phenology is and why it is important. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also has a phenology Web site for kids (3). The Missouri Botanical Garden (4) keeps a record of the plants in bloom each week, with corresponding photos and a choice of either a brief or more detailed description. Plantwatch (5), a site from the University of Alberta that encourages students and volunteers to register and report observations, has recently added a downloadable teacher’s guide. Operation Migration (6), the organization that has successfully led endangered Whooping Crane migration by ultralight aircraft, provides daily updates as the birds begin preparing for their journey north. Users who want to begin identifying the birds that return to their yard this spring may be interested in the Peterson online identification guide (7). The final site (8) traces the life cycle of the Bumblebee, beginning with the queen emerging from hibernation and building a nest. [AL]” (From the Scout Report)

    Beyond Discovery
    The Office on Public Understanding of Science (NAS) is pleased to announce the release of its redesigned Beyond Discovery Web site at Each article, now indexed by subject, reveals the crucial role played by basic research in the development of important technological and medical advances. Improved navigation, timelines, glossaries and summaries now enhance each article in the series.

    Molecular Expressions Photo Gallery
    This is part of a larger site on molecular structure generally. This part of the site has wonderful photographic images taken through microscopes and sorted into subject categories. Especially don’t miss the Silicon Zoo — images taken of artwork engraved into the silicon of computer chips. Incredible!

    Biological Sciences

    This is a wonderful website with plenty of information and audiovisuals about the various members of this fascinating group. You can view film clips of crocodiles fighting, jumping, galloping, and more. You can hear sound clips of baby crocs and hissing crocs. You can explore a list of species with maps and images. You can learn about captive croc care. This site is very well laid out, and has something for every level of interest.

    Embryo Images Normal and Abnormal Mammalian Development
    “Embryo Images Normal and Abnormal Mammalian Development is a tutorial that uses scanning electron micrographs (SEMs) as the primary resource to teach mammalian embryology. The 3-D like quality of the micrographs coupled with selected line drawings and minimal text allow relatively easy understanding of the complex morphological changes that occur in utero. Because early human embryos are not readily available and because embryogenesis is very similar across mammalian species, the majority of micrographs that are utilized in this tutorial are of mouse embryos. The remainder are human.”

    Computer and Information Science Your Personal PLC Tutor Site
    “A programmable logic controller (PLC) is an instrument used for many types of machine control. Instead of having to design complex circuitry, a PLC can be configured with software to do the job more efficiently. is a site with loads of useful tutorials and instructions that make the programming required to use these gadgets much easier. Many of the sections have animations that further illustrate the concepts. In addition to the online tutorials, there is also a very active forum where beginners can ask questions or experienced users can answer them. [CL]” (From the Scout Report)

    Education and Human Resources

    Gender and Science Digital Library
    “A new project from the Gender & Diversities Institute and the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, the Gender and Science Digital Library (GSDL) is a major initiative to create an interactive digital library of high quality gender and science resources. The library will assist K–12 educators in providing equitable science education by raising awareness of the effects that gender has on learning science and sharing teaching methods to address gender differences. The site is currently seeking educators to share resources that they have developed and to review material submitted by others. Teachers can also contribute by responding to a focus group survey on the design of the site. For those users who would like further information, there is also a link to the upcoming conferences in which GSDL will participate. This is an important site to watch for any science teacher concerned about gender equity issues. [AL]” (From the Scout Report)


    Black Patents
    A database of patents granted to Afro-American inventors.

    Waterjet Web Reference
    “According to the Waterjet Web Reference, ‘abrasive waterjets are the fastest growing segment of the machine tool industry.’ This is not surprising when considering how quickly and precisely a tool can be made by using the technology. The site offers a thorough introduction to waterjets, describing how they work and what they can do. Comparisons are made to conventional machining processes, and the advantages of waterjets are outlined. Other sections of the site include an Engineer’s Guide, a video gallery of waterjets in action, free software related to abrasive-jet machining, and frequently asked questions. [CL]” (From the Scout Report)

    “Structurae is the International Database and Gallery of Structures. The information contained on the site is primarily aimed at civil engineers and architects; however, anyone with an interest in modern or historical structures should definitely review it. More than 3,000 structures are listed in the database, including facts about materials used in construction, size, date started, and date completed. Many of the entries also have photographs of the location. You can sort the structures by type, function, construction method, geographical location, or alphabetically; or you can browse a 2,500 year timeline. There are also separate databases of large-scale projects and notable engineers and architects. [CL]” (From the Scout Report)

    Hydroelectric Dams

    United States Society on Dams
    Hydropower Program: U.S. Department of Energy
    Geoguide: Dams!
    Hydroelectric Design Center
    Hoover Dam
    Great Wall Across the Yangtze
    Three Gorges: The Biggest Dam in the World
    Nam Theun 2 Electricity Consortium
    “Although hydroelectric power represents a relatively small portion of the world’s energy resources, it is still an important commodity with great potential. To harness hydropower, civil engineers must design dams that convert the kinetic energy of water into electricity.

    The fundamentals of general-use dams are discussed on the home page of the US Society on Dams (1). Besides providing brief background information, there are a few examples of the benefits of dams to society. For a much more technical perspective, check out the Hydropower Program of the US Department of Energy (2). This site examines (among other things) research and development and turbine systems used in hydropower operations. There are several reports available for download, many of which deal with improved technology that minimizes environmental hazards. A good place for grade school students to learn about dams is at National Geographic’s Geoguide Web site (3). On the main page, the user can learn about different stages of development in dam construction. A section for classroom and family activities suggests many fun, educational projects that are suitable for kindergarten through high school. The Hydroelectric Design Center (see #4 above for URL) is part of the Army Corps of Engineers. The center’s home page has a lot of information about hydropower projects with which it is involved, as well as descriptions of processes and components of a hydropower plant. Possibly the most famous dam in North America is the Hoover Dam (5). History, articles, functional descriptions, pictures, and other media are on the Hoover Dam Web site. A sharp contrast to the glory of the Hoover Dam is the Three Gorges Dam project in China (6). If it is completed, it will be the biggest dam on Earth; however, environmental concerns plague the project with controversy. This Web site outlines the enormous scale of the project and explains the possible benefits and disastrous consequences that may result. The Three Gorges Dam is the subject of a great activity for middle school students at (7). The activity is set up as a detailed lesson plan that lets teachers introduce the problems and benefits of the dam; additionally, basic engineering concepts are discussed. Hydropower could mean more than just electricity for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a small country in Indochina where poverty is widespread. The Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric project (8) could bring substantial revenues from exported electricity. [CL]” (From the Scout Report)


    NASA Global Change Directory
    “NASA’s Global Change Master On-line Directory (GCMD) 2002 provides descriptions of Earth science data sets and services relevant to global change research. This directory will help students and scientists find a wealth of data from NASA’s Earth science program and other organizations.

    The Global Change Master Directory now holds more than 10,600 descriptions of Earth and environmental science data, with information on how to obtain the data and/or direct links to data sources. The individual data set descriptions were contributed by more than 1,300 data centers, government agencies, universities, research institutions and private researchers around the world.

    New data set descriptions are added daily, and others are updated on an ongoing basis.

    The directory is organized by topics: Agriculture, Atmosphere, Biosphere, Human Dimensions, Hydrosphere, Land Surface, Oceans, Paleoclimate, Radiance/Imagery, Solid Earth, Snow and Ice and Sun-Earth Interactions.

    There are also listings for Earth science data-related services, Earth science conferences, an actively maintained list of Earth science web resources and an education area called the Learning Center.

    Users can click on any topic to explore data sets of interest. For example, to search for data sets on Methane, users would go to the topic, Atmosphere; scan the list under Atmospheric Chemistry, and then click on Methane. All associated data sets then appear on the left side of the web browser in alphabetical order. Clicking on the data set of choice displays a summary of the data set, its content, its geographic coverage, when it was collected and the data center information. Direct links to the data are provided whenever available.

    The directory content is shared and available as part of NASA’s contribution to the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites’ (CEOS) International Directory Network (IDN). The content is also available through the National Spatial Data Infrastructure’s (NSDI) Federal Geographic Data Committee’s (FDGC) Clearinghouse.

    If you have any questions, contact: Lola Olsen, Project Manager, Code 902, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. 20771 Phone: 301-614-5361 E-mail:

    Birch Aquarium at Scripps
    “Terrific information in the dive in … to science section at this interpretive center for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Watch a Webcast of a shark dissection, a video of coral spawning, and streaming video of the Kelp Forest. Also learn about sea horses, jellies, gray whales, cuttlefish, climate change, and red tides. There is museum information (history, hours, directions, etc.) and the Scripps Pier SurfCam (along with wave conditions!) in the info area.” (From the Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Freshwater and Marine Image Bank
    “Over 2600 images dating from 1735 to 1924 ‘related to freshwater and marine topics, in all their diversity.’ Searchable, and browsable by subject (aquaculture, coasts and seas, fisheries, expositions, dams, fish species, fish hatcheries, limnology, maps, marine mammals, Panama Canal, shellfish, sport fishing, stereoscopic views, vessels). Includes bibliography. From the University of Washington Libraries, Digital Collections.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Earth Today: A Digital View of our Dynamic Planet
    “This exhibit contains many impressive views of Earth taken from space. Our Dynamic Planet contains information about the atmosphere, geosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere. Near Real-Time, containing the same topics, utilizes the many satellites to show views of the atmosphere, oceans, and earthquakes. There are a few related links. From the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum.” (From the Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    The Hurricane of '38
    The PBS series American Experience recalls this unnamed, catastrophic hurricane which slammed against the New England shore, destroyed over 8,000 homes, and resulted in over 700 deaths. Users can catch a glimpse of “the lives of fishermen, residents and vacationers on the day before the storm, and follow their stories through one of the greatest natural disasters to befall the eastern seaboard.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    Mudd Math Fun Facts
    “Fun Facts are designed for, and work best in, lower-division college courses where the typical student is not a math student. The point of Fun Facts is to generate interest, arouse curiosity, and cause such students to look at mathematics differently!” Includes tidbits from algebra, calculus, geometry, probability, number theory, and other areas, of varying levels of difficulty. From a mathematics professor at Harvey Mudd College. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    The Physics Classroom
    The Physics Classroom Tutorial is an online physics tutorial written for high school physics students. The tutorial was originally developed for physics students at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois. The site has:

    Physics Tutorial
    Learn basic physics concepts and review them in the Physics Tutorial. Check Your Understanding quizzes let you know you got it.
    Multimedia Physics Studio
    Is physics difficult for you to visualize? Do you need to see it to understand it? Then visit the Multimedia Physics Studio.
    Physics Help
    Practice your skills in Physics Help. Hone your skills by graphing problems, recognizing forces, identifying vector magnitude and direction, and practice vector addition.

    Catalog of Spaceborne Imaging: A Guide to NSSDC’s Planetary Image Archives
    “The imaging catalog contains a collection of over 500 images of the solar system bodies, including the sun, earth, moon, planets, and other astronomical objects taken by various space flight missions. The images are browsable by the individual missions, Hubble Space Telescope, and earth-based radar, providing information on the image’s location, time, and imaging details.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    World’s Largest Math Event
    “April is Mathematics Education Month, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics will celebrate with the eighth annual World’s Largest Math Event (WLME). The WLME Web site has activities from all eight of the events, which are suitable for grade school teachers to introduce in their classes. This year’s WLME theme is Entertaining Mathematics; previous years’ themes include Animals As Our Companions, The Power of Nature, and Math Olympics. The activities given on the site use mathematics to address various aspects of everyday life. This lets students realize the importance of good math skills by demonstrating connections to real-world issues. [CL]” (From the Scout Report)

    A Brilliant Madness
    From PBS, a website on John Nash, the Nobel prize winning mathematician who is the subject of the current movie.

    All about materials
    “Let’s say that you want to know what the thermal properties of Invar (a type of steel) are, who makes it, what some of the brand names are and also who sells it. This is the place to go. With the number growing every day, the Materials Web now has extensive details of the mechanical properties of 26,023 types of metals, plastics, ceramics and composites. They are also actively adding many types of semiconductors, fibers and other engineered materials. A particularly useful point of this site is that it allows you to look up material properties by brand name, so you can compare different maker’s versions of the same material to find the one most suitable for your work. When it actually comes time to buy metals, one frequently encountered problem is that minimum orders that are often in far greater quantities than an experimenter or hobbyist could use in a lifetime. For small quantities of almost any metal, particularly those suitable to horology or experimental use, try either or If you are actually going to use metal to make something then check out Marv Klotz’s fine collection of mathematical and home shop software (mostly freeware in the form of .zip files) at Materials web rating: 8 out of 10 WTS” (From New Scientist Site of the Day)

    The American Meteor Society
    “Supporting the efforts of amateur and professional astronomers, the American Meteor Society website serves as a clearinghouse for meteoric astronomy, including information about meteor and fireball observations. In addition to providing information about meteor showers and their causes, the site allows observers to report their own sightings and findings, and provides a weekly update on observation opportunities. The site is well organized, with menu options for meteors, fireballs, visual observing and radio observing. Within each section, what the page lacks in style and easy readability it makes up for with its rich content, including links to other portions of the site. You can also learn more about the AMS, its staff, membership categories, and technical publications, although online ordering and membership are not offered. One of the greatest tools it offers is an listing of links organized by categories with descriptions. In a field where serious amateurs make significant contributions, the AMS site provides a valuable service to the meteoric astronomy profession. Rating: 8 out of 10 CK” (From New Scientist Site of the Day)

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    Misunderstood Minds
    “The Misunderstood Minds project consists of three elements: the PBS documentary, the companion Web site on PBS Online, and the Developing Minds Multimedia Library. A co-production of the Kirk Documentary Group, Ltd., and WGBH Boston, the documentary is a 90-minute film that examines several learning problems and disabilities by following five families who try, together with experts, to solve the mysteries of their children’s learning difficulties. Produced and directed by renowned ‘Frontline’ filmmaker Michael Kirk and narrated by ABC’s ‘Nightline’ correspondent and guest anchor Chris Bury, Misunderstood Minds is scheduled to air Wednesday, March 27, 2002 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). In correspondence with the documentary, the Misunderstood Minds’ Web site contains profiles of the students in the documentary, as well as sections on attention, reading, writing, and mathematics. In addition, the site contains an interactive feature entitled Firsthand that provides a sense of what it may be like for a student struggling with a learning disability. The multimedia library of videos and print guides is designed to help parents and teachers of elementary and middle-school children explore differences in learning through the approach and conceptual framework of developmental-behavioral pediatrician, author, and professor Dr. Mel 0. Ordering information may be obtained by downloading the brochures on the order videos page of the Web site. [MG]” (From the Scout Report)
    “Background information about more than 40 ancient languages, writing systems, graphics of their alphabets, phonetics, and a discussion of historical linguistics.” (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:

    A project to help researchers get the most out of their high-speed network links is providing free software through a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Developers at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and other academic supercomputing centers around the country have developed the Web100 application for the Linux platform. The software maximizes the way the operating system makes use of its network connection and is freely available for download from the Internet. Potentially, the software could boost performance by a factor of 300, and already it has helped to keep Web-based tools working smoothly at the Visible Human Project at the University of Michigan. Web100’s creators said they started with the Linux operating system because it is an open-source operating system, making it easier to write new software for it.
    (Chronicle of Higher Education, 6 March 2002 via Edupage)

    The creators of the All Species Inventory project have set a 25-year deadline to catalog all living species on the planet using the latest technology, thus closing a serious gap in human knowledge, according to project co-founder Stewart Brand. The project has an ambitious goal: to provide a Web page for every species. Project directors envision tools such as pattern recognition software, the Internet, global positioning systems, and DNA analysis speeding up the identification and classification of species. There are currently only about 10,000 taxonomists active around the world, so directors are hoping that All Species will swell their ranks with amateur naturalists by making classification technology available to them. Others say the technological aspects of All Species could help retool the field’s old-fashioned image, which has led to a cooling of public and private support.
    (Wired News, 13 March 2002 via Edupage)

    The Gelato Federation will use Intel’s 64-bit Itanium processors to develop Linux software for scientific, academic, and research projects, according to a March 12 announcement. Gelato founders include Hewlett-Packard and seven scientific and academic institutions. The organization will apply its work to research with a heavy emphasis on technology, such as the life and physical sciences. The Itanium/Linux platform’s usefulness and capabilities will be enhanced through software downloads, technical data, information forums, and other services supplied to researchers by Gelato. “We are building a community of users and a virtual space where they can come together to share open-source code, develop computing solutions, and address real-world problems,” stated Dan Reed, director of the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), a Gelato co-founder.
    (Computerworld Online, 13 March 2002 via Edupage)

    Researchers from Iowa State and Penn State universities claim in the February issue of “Decision Sciences” that they have devised a trio of data-mining methods that could be used to detect network intrusions with greater accuracy than current techniques. The classification methods — neural nets, inductive learning, and rough sets--mimic the way humans learn and judge, making them “expert” or “smart” systems, according to Chao-Hsien Chu of Penn State. He noted, “The major problem with the traditional statistical method is that all its analyses need to be based upon some restricted assumptions, which may not be true for the available intrusion data.” Researchers list the accuracy rates for inductive learning, neural nets, and rough sets as 51 percent, 70 percent, and 76 percent, respectively. They said that such techniques could help detect denial of service attacks and help uncover intrusions on federal government computers.
    (E-Commerce Times, 4 March 2002 via Edupage)

    Several Australian universities are participating in the Liberated Learning Project, using speech recognition technology to instruct students who are either hearing-impaired or unfamiliar with spoken English. Lecturers use cordless microphones linked to software that translates speech into text, explained Sunshine Coast University’s Liberated Learning Project manager Di Paez; the text is displayed on a screen for students to view. Paez said a transcript of the lecture is also posted on the university’s Web site. The research that formed the basis of Liberated Learning was conducted at St. Mary’s University in Canada, said Paez. She added that her university is part of a global consortium that has been collaborating on speech recognition technology with researchers at IBM’s T.J. Watson Speech Science Laboratory. Other Australian members of the Liberated Learning Project include Murdoch and Central TAFE. The Department of Education, Science, and Technology will earmark $500,000 in funding so that six higher education institutions can participate in the project by the end of next year.
    (Australian IT, 6 March 2002 via Edupage)

    The planet’s biosphere is structured according to power law distribution, the phenomenon of smaller animals being more numerous and diverse than larger animals. This principle of self-organization also pertains to the Web, according to research carried out by Gary Flake of the NEC Research Institute in Princeton. He discovered that large search sites, such as AOL and Yahoo!, are relatively few in number, while smaller-sized sites are more populous. Searches based on sites’ inbound and outbound links produce more accurate results than those based on key words. For example, Flake found that locating computer scientist Michael Jordan, as opposed to basketball player Michael Jordan, was easier by entering the individual’s biographical details rather than more general data. His research helped him create a link-based search algorithm that could prove very useful for both corporate and individual users. Filters that use this relationship-oriented program could more accurately screen pornography, and NEC plans to develop such a filter for businesses.
    (InformationWeek Online, 19 March 2002 via Edupage)

    Colleges and universities are undertaking more practical technology research, while the federal grants they have enjoyed in the past have decreased. These trends aid industries looking to campus research for competitive advantage through industry liaison groups and offices of technology licensing (OTLs). This academic-industry collaboration typically takes three forms: company-funded research, the licensing of school-produced technology, and startup funds for graduates and professors. There is an increased concentration on applied research in colleges and universities because legislation such as the Bayh-Dole Act allows schools to license technology developed with federal funding, which has become an important source of revenue, noted Katherine Ku, Stanford University’s OTL director. Commercializing such technology takes a considerable reengineering effort but is cheaper than other methods. Funding startups is relatively expensive, but companies do not have to be as involved, as is the case with Ford’s decision to provide startup funds to MIT Assistant Professor Matt Wall so he can develop design-sharing technology into a viable product for the automotive industry.
    (CIO, 15 March 2002 via Edupage)

    IBM and the Mayo Clinic will develop a new database and information system to assist doctors in making accurate, fast diagnoses and carrying out effective treatments. The system will include patient information from public and private sources, but only from patients who consent to the use of their information. Doctors at the clinic will be able to access vast amounts of archived data, which will be used to see correlations between patients and test results. The system will also be used to analyze genomic data, allowing better courses of treatment.
    (Cnet, 25 March 2002 via Edupage)

    IBM is working with the Department of Energy (DOE) to connect three of the agency’s most powerful supercomputing research facilities in what is the start of a huge research computing grid. DOE scientists will have real-time access to shared computational power, huge databases, and other computing resources necessary to perform their functions better. Although the grid will at first link only three sites belonging to the DOE’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, it will be expanded to the entire organization by 2004, and then possibly to other research and academic centers. Grid computing, or utility computing, would allow companies to tap into vast computing resources without having to invest in the infrastructure themselves. Rather, they would pay providers such as IBM for their use on a pay-as-you-go basis.
    (NewsFactor Network, 22 March 2002 via Edupage)

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has entered into an alliance with the Pentagon to develop high-tech armor for soldiers that would incorporate nanotechnology. The United States government will put $50 million into the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology at MIT, while the school will put 35 of its professors on the project in return. Defense contractors Raytheon and DuPont are also contributing $40 million over a period of five years. Some of the applications planned for development include a fabric with nano-engineered liquid molecules that would stiffen when subjected to a magnetic field. Soldiers could use their clothing as a cast if bones are broken, or as protection against penetration by bullets. Nanotechnology could help to significantly reduce the weight soldiers currently have to carry, upwards of 125 pounds. The research initially will be unclassified, but that could quickly change should the Defense Department find any dramatically valuable military technology.
    (Financial Times, 25 March 2002 via Edupage)

    A Rutger’s University mathematics professor is confident that the new version of his search-engine technology will outshine Google, which many regard as the best available search engine. Apostolos Gerasoulis, the man behind Teoma, has been working on his search engine since 1999 and received the financial support to take on Google when he sold Teoma to Ask Jeeves for $4.4 million last year. Since then, new tools have been added to Teoma that Gerasoulis believes make his product more effective at finding Web resources than Google. The algorithms that Teoma uses divide the Web into clusters of online communities. Rob Lancaster of the Yankee Group said that one of the benefits of Google is its simplicity and that Teoma will have to educate users about how to get the most from its site.
    (Associated Press, 1 April 2002 via Edupage)


    Tax Humor
    We can all use some, this time of year!

    Einstein E-Cards
    Send them to your friends!

    Money Origami
    Here you go, a site for both art fans and economics devotees. What more could you desire?


    One of my favorite tools, NetMind, has gone from free to subscription. I used it to monitor a lot of science sites, and alert me when they had new content, which I would then tell you about via this newsletter. Since this newsletter is a labor of love, I would rather not spend my hard earned cash … I have investigated a couple of websites of bots, but have been unsuccessful in finding a replacement. Anyone out there know a good, free equivalent software? What I am looking for is something that will periodically visit specific websites and alert me if they have changed since the last visit.