Sci-Tech Library Newsletter
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- Research on Science & Math Learning: A new NIH initiative.
- Around DC and on the Net
- New E-Books and Reports
- Interesting Websites and News from the Internet: Fagan Translation Tool, Leonardo’s Notebook; Biological Sciences: T. Rex: The Killer Question, WWF Virtual House, DNA Interactive, Digital Morphology; Computer and Information Science: NASA Future Computing and Communications Technologies; Education and Human Resources: Initiative to Bring Nobel Laureates to Schools, NASA Explorer Schools Program, Do Scientists Spend Time in Your Classroom?, ACT Test Scores for 2003, Smithsonian Education; Engineering: Wright Brother’s Papers at American Memory, NanoStructures Laboratory, Public Comment on DOE Draft Strategic Plan Wanted, How Everyday Things Are Made, iCivilEngineer: Big Project Watch, Spies That Fly, Craftsman/NSTA Honors Young Inventors of 2003, Next Stop: Mars; Geosciences: Links for Palaeobotanists, Imaging Everest, Volcanoes of Canada; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Mars Up Close, The Elegant Universe, Distributed Full Text Search of Math Books, Deep Impact, NOVA: Infinite Secrets; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: Endangered Languages Database, America Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawaii, GenderNet, Remembering the Flint Sit-Down Strike — 1936–1937, Visual Anthropology.net, Images of Native Americans, Discovery Channel: Nefertiti Resurrected, John Stuart Mill Links … and more … plus news items from Edupage
- Inter Alia
Research on Science & Math Learning
New Federal Center Will Study How Children Learn Math and Science
A new federal research center, Mathematics and Science Cognition and Learning Development and Disorders (a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development program), will announce in October the first recipients of more than $18 million in research grants. The money will fund research about math and science learning, development, and cognition in both typical and learning-disabled children. Studies funded by the program will clarify the role that cognitive, linguistic, instructional, sociocultural, neurobiological, and genetic factors play in a child’s development of math and science skills and reasoning abilities. In addition, these studies will attempt to develop better instructional methods for learning math and science skills by identifying differences in individuals’ learning abilities, determining how those differences affect achievement, then developing tools or methods that produce increased achievement. Other studies will attempt to characterize math and science learning disabilities, develop tools to identify these disabilities, and generate ways to counter them. For more information, read an Education Week article (free registration required). (From NSTA Express)
Around DC and on the Net
Hear geophysicist Mary Lou Zoback on the National Academy of Sciences’ “InterViews” Web site, which contains first-person accounts of the lives and work of Academy members. In hour-long interviews (sound files require free RealPlayer), distinguished scientists talk about their research, why they became scientists and other aspects of their careers.
“Emerging Technologies and Ethical Issues” is the subject of an upcoming workshop being held by the National Academy of Engineering. Sustainability, nanotechnology, neurotechnology, and energy are among the fields to be examined. After presentations on the state of the art in engineering ethics, participants will look at how to educate engineers about ethics and how to design teaching of ethics into the engineering curriculum. The one-and-a-half-day event begins at 9 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 14 in the National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C. The workshop is open to the public, but advance registration is required. If you cannot attend, you may participate in the workshop by listening to a live audio webcast and submitting questions using an e-mail form.
Secretary of Commerce Don Evans announced the start of the nominations process to select candidates for the 2004 National Medal of Technology, a prestigious acknowledgement of scientific achievement conferred by the President of the United States. October 30, 2003, is the deadline for submitting 2004 nominations for this important award.
Since 1985 the award has gone to individuals, teams, or companies for accomplishments in the innovation, development, commercialization, and management of technology, that lead to new or significantly improved products, processes, or services.
Questions regarding the 2004 Medal application should be addressed to Mildred Porter, Director, National Medal of Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room 4226, Washington, D.C. 20230, Tel: 202-482-5572, or by e-mail: email@example.com. Nominations for the award may be submitted by e-mail. Nomination forms and guidelines are available on the National Medal of Technology web site. (From ACM Washington Update)
"Reducing Disaster Losses through Improved Earth Observations" is the topic of an upcoming workshop being held by the National Academies’ Disaster Roundtable. The daylong event begins at 8:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 22 in Room 100 of the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St. N.W., Washington, D.C. The workshop is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required.
Ensuring a safe water supply to meet the nation’s health needs is the topic of an upcoming event sponsored by the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research and Medicine. The workshop will look at the issues that are most likely to be critical for protecting the water supply from source to drinking water. The daylong event begins at 8:30 a.m. EDT Thursday, Oct. 16 in the auditorium of the National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C. The workshop is free and open to the public.
Listen to presentations from the ninth annual German-American Beckman Frontiers of Science symposium (requires free RealPlayer). Lectures from this year’s event include talks on coral reef, nanomaterials, polymers and the biology of aging. Audio files are accompanied by the relevant slide presentations.
“In this visually dramatic lecture, photographer, author and research scientist Felice Frankel discusses the power of imagery, and how images can be vital tools to communicating complex ideas in science and technology. She shows many striking images from the book, Envisioning Science and raises questions about color, time, scale and alteration. She also tells some behind the scenes stories about the development of cover photography for journals such as Science and Nature.”
The Institute of Medicine holds its two-day annual meeting beginning at 8 a.m. EST Monday, October 27 in the auditorium of the National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Presentations on day one will address “Science and Public Policy to Improve Mental Health” while the topic of day two will be “Protecting the Public’s Health.” Events on both days are free and open to the public. Registration is required. Those who cannot attend may participate by listening to a live audio webcast (requires free RealPlayer) and submitting questions using an e-mail form, both accessible on the National-Academies.org home page during the event.
The National Academies’ Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Internship Program is now accepting applications from graduate and postdoctoral students for its winter, summer and fall 2004 sessions. The program is designed to engage science, engineering, medical, veterinary, business and law students in the analysis and creation of public policy and to familiarize them with the interactions of science, technology and government. The application deadline for the winter 2004 session is Saturday, Nov. 1.
Goddard Library Annual Event: “Preserving the Past, Navigating the Future”
Come see a variety of resources and tools that help us preserve the past and prepare for the future. The Staff of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Library invite you to their Open House on October 15, 2003, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
At 11:00 a.m. Center Director Al Diaz will introduce the first speaker Ed Rogers, Goddard’s newly appointed Knowledge Management Architect. Mr. Rogers will present "Knowledge, People and Value." And at 1:00 p.m. Dr. Howard McCurdy, professor of public affairs and chair of the public administration department at American University, will speak on “The Influence of Low-Cost Initiatives on the NASA Space Flight Program.” Dr. McCurdy is an expert on space policy; he recently authored Faster, Better, Cheaper, a critical analysis of cost-cutting initiatives in the U.S. space program. In addition, there will be demonstrations of exciting new technologies, services and projects. Demonstrations will feature:
- The New MyLibrary Portal
- The New Web of Knowledge
- Library One Search
- Website Capture Project
- Digital Video Technologies
- Interactive Technical Handbooks
- Semantic Search Engine for Technical Information
- James Web Space Telescope Next Generation Integrated Network
- IMAGES (Image and Movie Archive of Goddard’s Earth and Space Sciences)
Refreshments and giveaways will be available throughout the day.
R.S.V.P. by October 10, 2003 to Charlene.T.Malloy@nasa.gov or by phone at 301-286-5869. *Your R.S.V.P. is essential so that we may coordinate entry on the Center through security.
In labs around the world, mice learn to navigate complex mazes, locate chocolaty rewards, and after an interval, run the mazes again with maximum efficiency, swiftly collecting all the sweets. But in Susumu Tonegawa’s lab, the mutant mice he has created cannot perform these tasks. Tonegawa "knocks out" a gene that impairs a specific part of the mouse hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for spatial memory, among other things. Mutant mice struggle to acquire and recall information about their surroundings. Tonegawa’s work involves manipulating genes to explore memory and learning from the most basic biochemical and cellular levels, up to the most complex behaviors. One of Tonegawa’s goals in designing defective mice is to simulate profound human disorders, like schizophrenia.
Susumu Tonegawa has received the highest honors for his work, including the 1987 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
WEBCAST/WEBCHAT: "Exploring Earth to Prepare for Mars" October 9, 1:30 p.m. PDT or 3:30 p.m. PDT. Do you ever wonder about the similarities between the Earth and its nearby neighbor, Mars? Then tune in for our webcast and webchat on Thursday, October 9.
New E-Books and Reports
Kammen, Daniel M. The Future of University Nuclear Science & Engineering Programs. US House, Comm. on Science, 2003.
Ocean and Coastal Activities: Information on Federal Funding. GAO-03-1070R, August 12, 2003.
Swango, Jill C., et al. Help! I’m teaching middle school science. NSTA, 2003.
Atkin, Mike. Everyday assessment in the science classroom. NSTA, 2003.
Trautmann, Nancy M. Decay and renewal. NSTA, 2003.
Robertson, Bill. Stop Faking It! Finally Understanding Science So You Can Teach It: Light. NSTA, 2003.
Kwan, Terry, et al. Inquiring safely: a guide for middle school teachers. NSTA, 2003.
Neuschatz, Michael et al. Broadening the base: high school physics education at the turn of a new century. AIP, 2003.
Walsh, Kathleen. Foreign High-Tech R&D in China: Risks, Rewards, and Implications for U.S.-China Relations. The Henry L. Stimson Center, 2003.
Seeds of Prosperity: Public Investment in Science & Technology Research. Morrison Institute for Public Policy, 2003.
The Future of Supercomputing: An Interim Report. NAP, 2003.
Non-native Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. NAP, 2003.
Patents in the Knowledge-Based Economy. NAP, 2003.
Interesting Websites and News from the Internet
Pages from a Leonardo da Vinci Notebook Can Now Be "Virtually Turned" On the Web. From the announcement, "One of the rare notebooks belonging to Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), which show many of his scientific discoveries and designs, has been digitised using the British Library’s remarkable new 3D Turning the Pages technology. Internet users can now experience Leonardo’s notebook close up from the comfort of their own homes. Twenty-eight pages have been digitised and can now be ’virtually' turned and viewed online on the British Library’s website." (From ResourceShelf)
Tired of visiting all the online translation sites to find the one you need? Michael Fagan’s Translation Wizard gathers up over 40 tools and puts them all together through one interface. If you’ve ever used Babelfish or Google’s translator this will look familiar to you. Enter text or an URL choose the languages (the languages go from Afrikaans to Yiddish and include Arabic and traditional and simplified Chinese) and choose translate. There’s also a neat link called "switch," which will switch your from and to languages. Another interesting feature is the "identify language" button, for when you know you want to translate it but you don’t know what it is. When I tested it I discovered you had to use a critical mass of words; I couldn’t just put in one phrase and get a language listing back. Instructions for using the Wizard and a list of sources drawn on by the Wizard are available. (From Research Buzz)
Fifty years ago, one of the most important landmarks in the history of science was reached when James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double-helical structure of DNA. Developed by the Dolan DNA Learning Center at the legendary Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, this Web site provides a host of interactive exhibits and background material about DNA, the human genome project, and the various applications that are gleaned through an intimate and detailed knowledge of human DNA specifically. From the home page, visitors can traverse an interactive timeline, complete with biographical profiles of different scientists and information about preliminary experiments that helped provide some of the fundamental groundwork leading up to the work of Watson and Crick, and which continues to the present. One other section that should not be missed is the Genome area, where visitors can explore the features of the genetic landscape, learn more about the methods used to map and sequence the entire human genome, and learn how genomes are utilized. Finally, there is a section for teachers which includes helpful learning guides and lesson builders. [KMG] (From The Scout Report)
This is the companion Web site to a new Tyrannosaurus rex exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London. The exhibit explores evidence that this famous dinosaur may have actually been a scavenger, not the ferocious predator we all know and love. Virtual visitors can weigh some of the evidence for themselves with Predator or Scavenger? — a multimedia feature located in the Activities section. Likewise, T. rex Trumps lets players have a "battle of the facts" with an online card game. The cards may also be printed out, and new cards will be made available over the coming weeks. The Web site also provides an interesting image gallery that lets visitors also explore how our ideas about T. rex have changed over the past century. This site is also reviewed in the August 22, 2003 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [RS] (From The Scout Report)
This site "is a dynamic archive of information on digital morphology and high-resolution X-ray computed tomography of biological specimens. Browse through the site and see spectacular imagery and animations and details on the morphology of many representatives of the Earth’s biota." Includes images and information about living and extinct plants and animals. Searchable, and browsable by scientific name, common name, or classification. Part of the National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
This site from the World Wildlife Fund invites users to "come in and make yourself at home -- and learn about our connections to biodiversity" through answering questions related to touring a house. This interactive game features facts and statistics on topics such as forests, toxic chemicals, wildlife, and global warming. Also includes links to detailed topical information. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Computer and Information Science
A series of NASA Webcasts on Future Computing and Communications Technologies, broadcast live in April and May 2003, are now archived and viewable at this site. Each Webcast was approximately an hour in length and featured notable scientists and technology experts from NASA projects and laboratories. Originally intended for high school juniors and seniors, the presentations addressed issues such as spaceborne communications, nanotechnology, artificially evolving systems, and more. These Webcasts are an excellent resource to learn about NASA research from a high level perspective. This site is also reviewed in the September 26, 2003 NSDL MET Report. [CL](From The Scout Report)
Education and Human Resources
Imagine being given the keys to the world’s largest museum. What secrets would you uncover? What exhibits would tickle your fancy? Smithsonian Education lets students, educators, and families alike indulge their curiosity with creative learning materials designed to engage eager minds. Teachers can take younger pupils for a walk on the moon, join an archaeological dig, then go west with Lewis and Clark without ever leaving the classroom. Older students can take a stab at art criticism and interpreting artifacts, all while creating their own classroom museum. On their own time, kids can poke around human anatomy, make a sculpture, or see what’s new at the National Zoo. Even parents can get in the act with some excellent suggestions for eye-opening vacations. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
"According to the 2003 ACT test results released last week, few college-bound high school seniors who take the yearly test are prepared for college biology. Only 26 percent of the test-takers earned a score of 24 or higher on the science test, which is the established benchmark indicating a high probability of completing first-year college courses with a grade of C or higher. In addition, only 5 percent of African American test-takers, 10 percent of Mexican American students, and 14 percent of Hispanic and American Indian students scored at or above the college readiness benchmark for college biology." (From the NSTA)
Many teachers agree that working with scientists can help students better understand science content and provide them with positive role models and solid information about science as a career. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is working with NSTA to explore a potential new program to expand the use of volunteers, such as scientists, engineers, or others with science backgrounds, in the classroom. Take a minute and fill out a brief questionnaire about how you find or can’t find the volunteers you need.
Become a NASA Explorer School, and your school or school district enters into a unique three year partnership with NASA to bring exciting opportunities to your educators, students, and their families. The NASA Explorer Schools (NES) program is sponsored and implemented by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through a cooperative agreement with NSTA. Educators and students in a NASA Explorer School will become involved in the excitement of NASA research, discoveries, and missions through participation in engaging learning adventures and scientific challenges. The 2004 program will focus on content at the 4 9 grade levels. Materials will be grade specific in appropriate concepts from national education standards. NASA Explorer Schools receive grants of up to $10,000. The NASA Explorer Schools program will be accepting applications through an online application process starting September 15, 2003. (From NSTA Express)
A program co-sponsored by the philanthropic NEC Foundation of America and the education advocacy organization Science Service will bring hundreds of Nobel Laureates and other distinguished scientists into middle school classrooms during the 2003-2004 school year and will award thousands of dollars to teachers seeking funds to realize their vision of a perfect classroom. The first component of the NEC Extreme Science program, titled Give a Day, Make a Difference, will enlist distinguished scientists to volunteer a portion of their day to working one-on-one with a middle school class in their local community. The second segment of the NEC Extreme Science program, the NEC Perfect Classroom Competition, will award grants to three teachers who submit via video essay the most creative ideas for an ideal classroom. First- through third-place winners will each receive $5,000; $3,000; and $1,000 respectively. (From NSTA)
Companion site to the PBS NOVA special about "a new generation of pilotless planes [that] fly, spy, and bomb in places too risky for human pilots." Includes an illustrated timeline that explores the history of unmanned aerial vehicles from Civil War hot air balloons to miniature flying robots. Site also includes historical spy photos, information on radar imaging, a program transcript, and a teacher’s guide. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
If you’re still convinced little elves secretly create and manufacture the products we use and consume every day, Stanford’s Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing is here to burst your bubble. Their innovative tour of factories and the complex processes within them provides a glimpse into the intriguing, often overlooked world of manufacturing. Take a sugary-sweet jaunt through the Jelly Belly factory to see how these tempting treats end up in your candy dish. Or aim higher and learn how a giant airplane is created from thin air. With friendly narration, fun video tutorials, and easy navigation, the die is cast for you to immerse yourself in the scintillating science of how stuff works. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
The NanoStructures Laboratory (NSL) has two primary missions: first, to develop new nanotechnologies for fabricating structures substantially smaller, better, and cheaper than current technology permits; and second, by combining cutting-edge nanotechnology with frontier knowledge from different disciplines, to explore innovative nanoscale electronic, optoelectronic, and magnetic devices. This site includes information on NSL projects in nanofabrication, nanoelectronics, nano-optoelectronics, and nanomagnetics as well as the NSL gallary of images. (From InfoMine)
The Department of Energy has released a draft strategic plan outlining priorities for the next 25 years. Entitled "Protecting National, Energy, and Economic Security with Advanced Science and Technology and Ensuring Environmental Cleanup," the plan outlines strategic goal related to defense, energy, science, and the environment. Public comment is invited with a deadline of Sept. 11 for responses. (From IEEE-USA Eye on Washington)
What will the next Mars exploration vehicle look like? You may be thinking in terms of a futuristic nuclear-powered craft, but the first Mars airplane was recently tested — and it performed flawlessly. Check out this neat kids webpage from NASA.
The Library of Congress is pleased to announce the release of the online collection of the Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers. The online presentation of The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers at the Library of Congress, comprising about 10,121 library items or approximately 49,084 digital images, documents the lives of Wilbur and Orville Wright and highlights their pioneering work which led to them making the world’s first powered, controlled, and sustained flight. Included in the collection are correspondence, diaries and notebooks, scrapbooks, drawings, printed matter, and other documents, as well as the Wrights’ collection of glass-plate photographic negatives. The Wright Brothers’ letters to aviation pioneer and mentor Octave Chanute, from the Octave Chanute Papers, were also selected for this online collection. The Wright Papers span the years 1881 to 1952 but largely cover 1900 to 1940.
This new RSS feed is just what it sounds like, information and news on BIG engineering projects. Big like what? Big like the Big Dig, like the Central Japan International Airport, and like the Strait of Messina Bridge Project. Modest descriptions but many items. (From ResearchBuzz)
Two national winners and 10 national finalists were honored yesterday at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for their winning entries in this year’s Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program. Congratulations to national winners Max Wallack, a second grader from Wayland Academy in Framingham, Massachusetts, for his invention, "The Great Granny Booster Step," a wooden step that helps an elderly person enter a minivan, and Chandler Macocha, a seventh grader at Oxford Middle School in Oxford, Michigan, for his invention, the "Wheelchair Backpack Holder," a device that conveniently swivels a backpack on a wheelchair forward via a lever. Both students will receive $10,000 savings bonds. More than 8,000 students in grades 2 8 entered this year’s contest. (From NSTA)
Natural Resources Canada has launched yet another impressive and educational Web site. At this site you can learn all you wanted to know about Canadian volcanoes and volcanology. The site offers an introduction to volcanoes, in- depth sections on types, eruptions, hazards, and risks. You can also discover interesting facts, such as how eruptions in Alaska and the Western coast of the US impact agriculture and air travel in Canada. In addition to text, the site offers a wonderful interactive Map of Canadian Volcanoes. The Catalogue of Canadian Volcanoes is also an excellent reference tool. Available in English and French, this site is easy to understand and ideal for science students as well as anyone interested in volcanology. This site is also reviewed in the August 22, 2003 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [TJS] (From The Scout Report)
Take a deep breath and rise above the clouds to enjoy some of the most elusive snapshots ever captured. Veiled in mist and riddled with glaciers and pitfalls, Everest has captivated throngs of climbers for over half a century. Spanning 70 years and nine expeditions, this robust gallery from the Royal Geographic Society takes you back to the early days — before Tenzing and Hillary first summited the ultimate peak. With images of Buddhist monasteries — Rongbuk on the north side and Thyangboche on the south — the spirituality of Tibet and Nepal resonates in these photos. The sacred mountain is home to devout Sherpas whose prayer flags and Mani walls signify devotion to their Lamas. Beyond Everest’s notable names and would-be conquerors, maps, lithographs, and early reconnaissance missions lend a grander context to the most sought-after summit. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
This is a nicely organized, thorough page of links to all fields of palaeobotany, from mass extinctions through quizzes. The author confesses to bias toward the upper triassic, but the breadth of the links goes far beyond that. Very useful for anyone interested in this field.
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Mars Up Close
This August, Mars got as close to the earth as it has been for eons. Here are a variety of websites about the red planet.
NASA sure knows how to do a webpage! Everything you ever wanted to know about Mars, for every level of investigator, complete with multimedia, webcasts, images, news stories. If you can’t find it here, you probably can’t find it anywhere!
NASA’s present program of science-driver exploration of Mars involves an intensive robotic campaign of increasingly sophisticated missions. While funding for Mars exploration has increased dramatically, Garvin gives an overview of what to expect in the next decade with great hope that human beings will be the agents of the great discoveries about the Red Planet. He shows a brief animated film at 1:26:00 that shows how we may land on Mars, with an air bag delivery system for a Mars exploration land rover and exploratory aircraft as well. Simply put, this is a must-see 6-minute film. (from MIT World)
If you look deeply into the night sky, you’ll see Mars glowing brightly. The red planet is making its closest pass to the Earth in 60,000 years. For millions of years, the planet has rocked and rolled with six different geological processes, all of which are examined on this site. Start with a whirlwind tour of the planet as the Viking Landers experienced it in 1976. Once you learn the basics of the warrior planet, it’s time to brave the dust storms and fierce winds of the Aeolian processes that create streaks and dunes across the land. Then it’s on to discover the Tectonic forces warping the planet, craters pitting the surface, and landslides furrowing the valley floors. The surface of Mars is riddled with massive volcanoes, the largest being Olympus Mons, a behemoth that would span across the entire Hawaiian island chain if on Earth. This engaging site offers a rare glimpse into the history and structure of our neighboring planet, raising as many questions as it answers. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
What were you doing at midnight on August 27? We stayed up with Exploratorium scientist Ron Hipschman at the Lick Observatory in San Jose, California, for the best view we’ve had of Mars in a long, long time. At midnight on August 27, Earth and Mars passed closer to one another than they have in 60,000 years. Astronomers were on hand to tell us all about our nearest neighbor -- its geography, orbit, and why both NASA and the European Space Agency have chosen this time to launch robotic missions to Mars. Hope you didn’t sleep through it! You won’t get another chance for 284 years. (From The Exploratorium)
Mars is only about one-half the size of Earth and yet has several volcanoes that surpass the scale of the largest terrestrial volcanoes. Meet them all at this website, along with images and animations.
The American Museum of Natural History brings you a fun and attractive webpage, with everything from travel advice to a brief discussion of the possibilities of life on Mars. Fun activities are included as well. A nice site for kids.
Distributed Full Text Search of Math Books
The university libraries of Cornell, Göttingen, and Michigan are pleased to announce the first public availability of a significant body of mathematical monographs with access provided through a distributed full text search protocol. The virtual collection, comprising more than 2,000 volumes of significant historical mathematical material (nearly 600,000 pages), resides at the three separate institutions and is provided through interfaces to the three entirely different software systems.
These two public interfaces reflect different development efforts at Michigan and Cornell, each with their own perspective on how to best mediate the search through the protocol, and each based on the protocol. The protocol for this distributed search was developed by the three participating institutions over the last two and a half years, with generous support provided by the National Science Foundation. Working from the roots of the DIENST and the then-emergent OAI protocols, the project team focused on creating a new protocol — dubbed CGM, for "Cornell, Göttingen, Michigan" — that was consistent with OAI, borrowed from DIENST, and added mechanisms for full text searching. The protocol and more project information are available. While our testing has found that network latency and the vicissitudes of different production environments do present challenges, our results indicate that a distributed full text search is certainly viable. We believe that the CGM protocol is relatively unique in providing production-level full text access to distributed collections.
We invite feedback on the effectiveness of the protocol from both users of the materials and from digital library developers. Although essentially a first prototype with significant needs for extension and refinement, we believe that our progress to-date should be encouraging for digital library developers interested in federating collections. And, further, the collection itself is a rich resource for the study of mathematics history and a number of related disciplines. The collections at Cornell and Michigan are both fully searchable, and while the Göttingen collection currently includes bibliographic information and page images, Göttingen is actively seeking funding to create full text for its volumes.
We welcome all feedback. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope that the documentation on the protocol will spur others to add CGM-capability to their systems. The software created through this NSF-funded grant will be made available in a number of ways. The API developed by Göttingen, allowing them to provide access through the Agora software, will soon be available to other Agora sites. The functionality developed by Michigan will be included in release 11 of the DLXS digital library software (September, 2003). And Cornell is exploring distribution and support models for its electronic publishing software, DPubS, the system also behind Project Euclid. If you are interested in using the raw protocol mechanisms at Cornell, Göttingen and Michigan in your development efforts, please contact: Andrea Rapp, Göttingen RAPP@MAIL.SUB.UNI-GOETTINGEN.DE; David Ruddy, Cornell DWR4@CORNELL.EDU; John P. Wilkin, Michigan JPWILKIN@UMICH.EDU (From John Price Wilkin, Associate University Librarian, LIT)
In 2005, NASA scientists will crash a spaceship into a comet in order to study the effect of the impact and to provide "first-ever views deep beneath a comet’s surface." Find background information, news, a mission timeline, general information about comets and comet missions, and technological details of the flight system. Includes educational materials and activities for children. Searchable. From the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
During the 3rd century BCE, the scientist Archimedes began to explore the emerging field of mathematics (including the concept of infinity), along with developing elaborate war machines for use by his native Syracuse against the Romans. This new Web site (along with its accompanying NOVA television program) explores his life and the recent discovery in a Parisian apartment of his manuscript, called The Method -- the document in which scholars believe he came quite close to discovering calculus. The site includes a number of interviews, short articles, interactive features, and a teacher’s guide. One of the most compelling interviews on the site is the one with Stanford University classics historian Reviel Netz who talks about the concept that underlies the idea of infinity. A particularly nice interactive feature is the Approximating Pi demonstration that illustrates how Archimedes calculated pi around the year 250 BCE. [KMG] (From The Scout Report)
This elegant website is the companion to the upcoming NOVA program. "Eleven dimensions, parallel universises, and a world made out of strings. It’s not science fiction, it’s string theory". This extensive website contains information and activities on multidimensional math, elementary particles, imagining other dimensions. You will find interviews, a tour of the making of the program, transcripts, and eventually, the program itself. Don’t miss this exciting and beautiful website from NOVA.
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
The long-lost queen of Egypt may have finally been found, thanks to the detailed detective work of Egyptologist Joann Fletcher. Though Nefertiti was renowned for her striking beauty, as depicted in her famous bust, little is actually known about her demise. This groundbreaking documentary follows Fletcher’s quest to identify a trio of unwrapped mummies found in a forgotten tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Fletcher painstakingly gathered the evidence — from a Nubian wig to a double-pierced ear and other telling tidbits — that led her to conclude that one of the mummies was none other than Nefertiti. Yet the most compelling clue of all was the reconstructed face of the mummy. Is this defaced visage all that’s left of Egypt’s most beautiful woman? Examine the evidence and draw your own conclusions. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
Tucked in the Bancroft Library’s collection devoted to the history of California and the American West, you’ll find this exhibit showcasing somewhat controversial portrayals of Native Americans by Europeans. These depictions featured in these rare books, photos, portraits, and documents raise several questions. Are these just misinterpreted views of Native Americans by a foreign society? Do these images tell us more about the creators of such works than they reveal about the subjects shown? The hand-colored portraits of James Otto Lewis in 1835 helped give birth to a whole "noble savage" ideal of Native Americans prevalent throughout 19th-century art. For a contextual overview, a timeline helps break down the various artists and styles. From amusing dishes to staged photos, this exhibit gives a historical look at how certain perceptions of Native Americans in our society were formed. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
This companion to the PBS show explores the rich traditions of hula. Included is history, video clips, interviews and more, covering both traditional and modern hula and its revival.
Over 100 languages are included in this database, which represents "endangered languages with which the members of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) have worked or are working." Searchable; browsable by country. Includes a brief but well-selected reading list. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Considered one of the most important philosophers of the 19th century, John Stuart Mill was born in 1806 to one James Mill, part-time philosopher and economist, and full-time official in the East India Company. Educated by both his father and the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, Mill learned Greek by age three, Latin shortly thereafter, and was a competent logician by age 12. After suffering a mental breakdown at the age of 20, Mill decided he would commit himself to persuading the general public of the need for a scientific and rational approach to understanding social, political, and economic change. Mill penned some of the most powerful statements on the behalf of utilitarianism during his life, including one of his most enduring works, Utilitarianism. This Web site (offered in numerous different languages) is a compilation of links to works by and about Mill, including full-text versions of such works as On Liberty, Principles of Political Economy, and his Autobiography. Equally compelling are the works about Mill also to be found here, most notably Isaiah Berlin’s 1959 article, John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life. [KMG] (From The Scout Report)
This site from the World Bank "describes how the Bank seeks to reduce gender disparities and enhance women’s participation in economic development through its programs and projects. It summarizes knowledge and experience, provides gender statistics, and facilitates discussion on gender and development." Includes policy documents, practical examples in topics such as agriculture and infrastructure, and related links. Searchable. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Developed with the assistance of the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for Humanities, this online multi-media digital exhibit examines one of the most celebrated strikes in American history, the Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1936-1937. The idea for the project had its origins in 1978, when Neil Leighton (a political science professor at the University of Michigan-Flint) was at a professional conference and another scholar recommended that he begin to create an oral history of that historic event in American labor history. The fine interactive facets included here include an engaging audio timeline, a detailed map of the strike-related activities (such as the various locations of the General Motors plants accompanied with brief descriptions of when workers began to strike at each location), and a slideshow. Each section on the strike itself contains a brief essay about such topics as the preexisting conditions in the plants, the organization of the various strikes, and the aftermath of the events that took place during those two years. The audio reminisces are quite dramatic, and address such topics as the union demands, the nature of the piecework system in the plants, and the unequal wage system. Overall, this online exhibit is a thorough introduction to one of the most important events in the history of the American labor movement. [KMG] (From The Scout Report)
Over the past several decades, the practice of visual anthropology has come into its own, and has spawned a number of academic programs around the world, and more than a few scholarly journals. Designed as a clearinghouse and focal point for the field, this Web site (developed by Dr. Francesco Marano) is a well-organized place that contains a host of material for people intimately familiar with the field, and for those who seek to become better acquainted with it. The homepage begins with a listing of the latest news from the field, material about upcoming conferences, announcements about new books and journal articles, and finally an online newsletter (which visitors can subscribe to as well). The material contained on the site is divided into several sections, including Tools (which contains links to current papers submitted to the site), Learning (which contains material about various academic programs in visual anthropology), and Books (which contains links to information about new books and relevant journals). Additionally, there is quite a bit of information here that is also available in Italian. [KMG] (From The Scout Report)
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RESEARCHERS TO INVESTIGATE UNIVERSAL, SUPER-FAST INTERNET
Funded by a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, a team of researchers led by Hui Zhang of Carnegie Mellon University will investigate the costs and implications of building an infrastructure that would bring extremely fast Internet connectivity to most homes and businesses in the United States. According to Zhang, principal investigator of the so-called "100 Megabits for 100 Million Homes" project, the success of the Internet has raised, rather than answered, questions about fundamental network architecture. Zhang said the Internet must be made faster, more dependable, and more robust. The project will include researchers from Rice University, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, Internet2, and other laboratories and research centers. Researchers will study glass-fiber networks and develop prototypes that could serve as models for a new nationwide network. Chronicle of Higher Education, 1 October 2003 (sub. req’d) via Edupage.
DSPACE OFFERS NEW MODEL
DSpace, the digital repository program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), represents a break from traditional library archives in a number of significant ways. Rather than relying on book or journal publishers to provide content, DSpace makes unpublished texts, lecture notes, and other research available in various formats. Some academics argue that the peer-review process handicaps their ability to get timely information into circulation, and DSpace offers an alternative to traditional avenues of access. DSpace also sets as one of its goals the indefinite preservation of data. One researcher from MIT noted that vast amounts of information have already been lost in the digital age, and the DSpace project aims to eliminate such loss. Officials from MIT estimated that the software for Dspace, which is available free online, has been downloaded 3,400 times and that there are around 100 institutions evaluating DSpace as a tool to archive their faculties’ research. New York Times, 3 August 2003 (registration req’d) via Edupage
GOVERNMENT WEB PORTAL BEING TESTED
A prototype Web portal is being developed to address the question of whether it makes sense for state and local governments to work together on a variety of transactions. The Center for Technology in Government, which is affiliated with the State University of New York at Albany, is building the portal in conjunction with state and local governmental agencies and some commercial companies. The portal will share information among the agencies involved in the test to determine if such a system can function well and broaden the range of transactions that individuals can perform online. Thirteen municipalities in New York are involved in the program so far, and organizers hope to recruit another seven before the test begins in October. Federal Computer Week, 29 July 2003 (via Edupage)
LIBRARY CREATES FORMAT STANDARDS
A new set of formatting standards, or Document Type Definitions (DTDs), from the National Library of Medicine should facilitate increased and simpler exchange of electronic journal articles among publishers, libraries, and archives. Jeff Beck of the National Library of Medicine said the standards are the first of their kind and that most publishers use formats developed in-house, which do not translate easily to other groups who might want the content. Use of the formats, which are available free from the library, is voluntary, but Dale P. Flecker of the Harvard University Library believes many organizations will choose to use them. "By having a common format for the transfer of e-journal article information," he said, "it is going to make it possible for many more relationships between archives and publishers." Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 June 2003 via Edupage.
STUDY LINKS INTERNET OVERUSE WITH DEPRESSION
"Unregulated Internet Usage: Addiction, Habit, or Deficient Self-Regulation?," a study of the online habits of 465 students in two Midwestern colleges, indicates that excessive Internet usage is linked to depression. Praised as a thoughtful inquiry into the origins of compulsive Internet use, the study finds that students typically use the Internet for about an hour and a half a day. Those who turn to the Internet initially to regulate mood and combat feelings of loneliness often can’t regulate usage. The inability to regulate usage can intensify depressive moods and lead to further isolation. To work around the limitations of the notion of addiction as it applies to online habits, the authors employ the idea of deficient self-regulation to describe compulsive Internet usage. The study’s findings are consistent with those for excessive use of conventional media, such as immoderate TV watching or reading too many trashy novels. Chronicle of Higher Education, 2 July 2003 (sub. req’d) via Edupage
DARPA FUNDING PAL DEVELOPMENT
The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is awarding $29 million in research grants to develop an intelligent electronic assistant. Of the total, $7 million will go to Carnegie Mellon University to develop a so-called Perceptive Assistant that Learns (PAL), with the balance going to several other groups to build a wartime PAL. The device is intended to be "smart" enough to notify attendees, for example, if a meeting is rescheduled or to change its user’s travel plans in the event of a schedule change. DARPA officials argued that such a device could be very helpful to military commanders who have large groups of support staff reporting substantial amounts of information. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists expressed doubt that such a project legitimately falls under the purview of DARPA. Of the notion that the PAL device would organize users’ e-mail and allocate office space, Aftergood said, "DARPA obviously takes a very broad view of its charter." Wired News, 23 July 2003 via Edupage
DHS TO FUND UNIVERSITY SECURITY CENTERS
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued new guidelines for funding homeland security centers at universities. For the 2004 fiscal year, the House of Representatives and the Senate proposed spending a combined $90 million on the centers and related fellowships. The new guidelines redress what many university officials perceived as a bias favoring Texas A&M University at College Station. According to Jennifer Poulakidas of the University of California system, "It’s a pretty wide open competition." The Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a consortium of research universities, will conduct analyses and make recommendations to the DHS. The first grant for a center to focus on economic strategies to cope with terrorism will be awarded in November, with plans to establish nine additional centers by the end of 2004. Chronicle of Higher Education, 24 July 2003 (sub. req’d) via Edupage
QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS
David Dill, a computer science professor at Stanford University, has voiced concerns over direct recording electronic machines, already used in some spots in the United States for elections. The machines, argues Dill, offer no verifiable paper trail to validate results. Computer bugs or malicious intervention could result in inaccurate election results, he said, with no way of going back and finding out what the actual counts were. Defenders of the machines said they are thoroughly tested, do not allow voters to accidentally vote for multiple candidates in the same race, and can be installed with printers so that voters can see exactly how their ballots were cast. Dill dismissed those arguments, however, saying oversight is lax and that information necessary to have confidence in an election is kept away from the public. Federal Computer Week, 25 July 2003 via Edupage
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SEEKING PARTNERS FOR DIGITAL PROJECT
The Library of Congress is looking for partners for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, whose goal is to protect digital content from being lost. Applications are being accepted through November 12 for awards of between $500,000 and $3 million, which will be distributed in February of next year. Organizers of the program said it will work to create a system for gathering and preserving content such as Web sites, electronic books and journals, and films and sounds in electronic format. A spokesman for the Library of Congress said that the project is not one that the library can do without a group of committed partners. Federal Computer Week, 15 August 2003 via Edupage
Computer Waste Recycling
From The Washington Post (Thanks to Tische Shaheed)
- District of Columbia:
- Twice yearly, with next collection in fall, date TBA; 202-727-1000
- Drop-off site at 3600 Wheeler Ave.; open Mondays (except holidays) 10 a.m.–6 p.m. 703-751-5872
- Arlington County:
- Twice yearly, with next collection in fall, date TBA; 703-228-6832
- Loudoun County:
- Twice yearly, with next collection May 17 at J. Lupton Simpson Middle School, 490 Evergreen Mill Rd.; open 9 a.m.–3 p.m. 703-771-5318
- Falls Church:
- Twice yearly, with next collection Sept. 6 at the Falls Church Recycling Center, 217 Gordon Rd.; open 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; 703-248-5176
- Twice yearly, with next collection Sept. 27 in the City Hall parking lot, 9027 Center St.; open 10 a.m.–2 p.m.; 703-257-8252
- Anne Arundel County:
- Once a year, with next collection in spring 2004, date TBA; 410-222-7951
- Montgomery County:
- Drop-off site at 16101 Frederick Rd.; open Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. 301-840-2370
- Prince George’s County:
- Drop-off site at 3500 Brown Station Rd.; open Sundays (except holidays) 7:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 301-883-5045
- Howard County:
- Drop-off site at Alpha Ridge Landfill, 2350 Marriottsville Rd.; open Monday–Saturday 8 a.m.–4 p.m., 410-313-6444
- 10630 Riggs Hill Rd., Unit V, Jessup; open Monday–Friday 1–4 p.m.; special arrangements can be made for drop-offs outside these hours. 301-362-4000
- Waste Not Recycling:
- 22611 Markey Court, No. 103, Sterling; open Monday–Friday; call in advance. 703-787-0200
- Computer Manufacturers:
- Fees to recycle your tech equipment vary; some jurisdictions foot the bill through tax dollars, while others charge for certain types of computer equipment — notably monitors.
Founded 900 years ago, the city of Timbuktu (located in what is now the country of Mali) was a center of major commercial importance and a place where many Islamic scholars received their education. This exhibit, developed by the Library of Congress (with the use of manuscripts from the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Library of Cheick Zayni Baye of Boujbeha), explores some of the many important literary traditions and scholarship developed during this period of scholarly effervescence. Here visitors can browse over 30 primary documents, including texts designed to train scholars in the field of astronomy and the nature of Islamic mysticism. The exhibit is rounded out by several maps, such as a map from 1743 that shows the region in and around Timbuktu. [KMG] (From The Scout Report)