Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


Newsletter archive > 2004 April 23 Issue

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

  1. SCIENCE & ENGINEERING VISUALIZATION CHALLENGE: Contest for the best science & engineering images …
  2. SCIENCE POLICY: IEEE victory.
  5. INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: NOVA: World in the Balance, CRS Reports, NSF Webcasts; Biological Sciences: Becoming a Scientist; Education and Human Resources: Leadership Initiative in Science Education, EE-Link: Environmental Education on the Internet; Engineering: Robots and Us, Sodarace, Engineering & Life; Geosciences: Vents Program, Dartmouth Flood Observatory; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: TEST: The Expert System for Thermodynamics, The IrYdium Project, Gravity Probe B: Testing Einstein’s Universe; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: Ethnomusicology Musical Instrument Collection, Afghanistan Reconstruction Project, American Choices, National Indian Law Library, Language of Native American Baskets from the Weaver’s View … and more … plus news items from Edupage

    It’s time for the annual contest sponsored by NSF and Science in order to encourage researchers to share their results -- not only with each other, but with the larger community that sustains the global research enterprise. Enter your most exciting and informative examples of visual materials that convey the results of science and engineering to the public. Categories are:

    1. Photos/Still Images
    2. Illustrations
    3. Explanatory Graphics
    4. Interactive Media
    5. Non-Interavtive Media

    Open to both individuals and groups.


    IEEE Scores First Amendment Victory for Scholarly Publishing
    IEEE scored a victory for freedom of the press and the scholarly publishing community with a ruling it received this month from the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The ruling exempts peer review, editing and publication of scholarly manuscripts submitted to IEEE by authors living in countries that are under U.S. trade embargoes, such as Iran and Cuba. OFAC determined that IEEE’s publications process is “not constrained by OFAC’s regulatory programs.”


    Taste of Science
    The Taste of Arlington will be held right here in Ballston on Sunday May 18th from Noon - 5:00 p.m. As part of our community outreach and education efforts, NSF is taking the lead in providing educational science and technology activities for the children at the festival -- the NSF Taste of Science.

    New Science Museum
    Explore the science behind today’s headlines at the Marian Koshland Science Museum, which opened Friday, April 23 in downtown Washington, D.C. with a celebration featuring hands-on science activities and live entertainment. The museum’s inaugural exhibits on global warming and DNA allow visitors to glimpse the frontiers of scientific research, witness the potential effects of global warming, and explore how DNA analysis can catch criminals and stop epidemics.

    African Academies of Science
    Alberts Emphasizes Importance of Building International Science Capacity
    National Academies Receive $20 Million from Gates Foundation
    “Science has become a truly international endeavor that is crucial to the world’s future,” said National Academy of Sciences President Bruce Alberts in an address to the Academy’s 141st annual meeting. “Every nation must have its own capacity in science and technology for its successful economic development.” To that end, Alberts announced a $20 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that will allow the National Academies to help African academies of science to become effective, independent national voices of evidence-based advice to inform policy-making and public discourse (audio available, requires free RealPlayer).

    Technological Literacy
    Technological literacy is the topic of a National Academy of Engineering and National Academies’ Center for Education symposium beginning at 8 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 28. The event will bring together state education leaders from across the country to discuss the issue of technological literacy. Participate by listening to a live audio webcast (requires free RealPlayer) and submitting questions using an e-mail form, both accessible on the home page during the event, which runs through 12:30 p.m. EDT.


    Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty. (pdf)
    Based on presentations and discussions from a course developed by HHMI and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, this book is a collection of practical advice, experiences, and opinions from seasoned biomedical investigators and other professionals. Also contains an overview of the course and lessons learned.

    Climate change - An Australian Guide to the Science and Potential Impacts. Australian Greenhouse Office, 2003.

    Geothermal Energy in Afghanistan: Prospects and Potential. Center on International Cooperation, 2004. (pdf)

    Journal of Evolution & Technology.

    History of Bioterrorism (video). Center for Disease Control, 2004?

    National Forensic DNA Study Report. Dept. of Justice, 2004. (pdf)

    Preliminary Report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy — Governors’ Draft. The Commission, 2004.

    A Patent System for the 21st Century. NAP, 2004.

    Electronic Scientific, Technical, and Medical Journal Publishing and Its Implications: Report of a Symposium. NAP, 2004.

    The Mathematical Sciences’ Role in Homeland Security: Proceedings of a Workshop. NAP, 2004.

    Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals: Volume 4. NAP, 2004.

    Dietary Reference Intakes: Guiding Principles for Nutrition Labeling and Fortification. NAP, 2004.

    Biological Confinement of Genetically Engineered Organisms. NAP, 2004.

    Forging a Poison Prevention and Control System. NAP, 2004.


    NSF Webcasts
    Not surprisingly, there are some mighty good guest speakers at the National Science Foundation, and some of these are available as archived webcasts on the NSF Office of Legislative and Public Affairs webpage. Come listen about dinosaurs in Antarctica, unusual views of everyday objects, from the big bang to us, and more!

    NOVA: World in the Balance
    “In the time it takes you to read this Pick, roughly 400 babies will be born, edging the world’s population closer to the 6.5 billion mark. Incredibly, it took from the start of human history until 1804 for the world’s population to reach a billion people. Two hundred years later, it takes only 12 years to add a billion, and we’re careening to a whopping 9 billion people by 2050 if the world’s families exceed the magical birth rate of two kids per household. Controlling population growth is hampered by a complex global equation of many factors, including social and gender inequity in India and the ravages of HIV and AIDS in Africa. Conversely, the one-child policy and massive pollution of China, as well as Japan’s dramatic dwindling birth rates could also put the world’s supply of natural resources in peril. Addressing this crisis in developing nations requires education and giving women control of their reproductive legacy. While change may be costly, the price of unchecked growth is much greater.” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    CRS Reports
    A neat little Google engine that searches the web only for reports from the Congressional Research Service, the arm of the Library of Congress that writes non-partisan informational reports for Congress on all subjects. Since the CRS, which produces the reports, does not upload them to the web at this time, they can be tricky to find. This is a cool tool!

    Biological Sciences

    Becoming a Scientist
    “What qualities do you need to succeed in biomedical research? Some of the world’s most prominent biomedical researchers may surprise you with their answers. As you’ll see in their video responses, they say that intelligence alone is insufficient; success in science also depends on several other qualities.”

    Education and Human Resources

    Leadership Initiative in Science Education
    Chemical Heritage Foundation to Hold Leadership Initiative in Science Education, May 20–21, 2004 — Register for Free Event by May 7

    The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) will hold its fourth annual Leadership Initiative in Science Education (LISE 4) conference on May 20–21 at the CHF headquarters in Philadelphia. The theme of the conference is “Partners in Innovation: Science Education and the Science Workforce.” LISE 4 will bring together leaders from education and industry who are at the forefront of efforts to sustain and build America’s science workforce. The conference will seek to define the skills required by science and technology professionals to succeed in the global workforce and the profile of science education needed for the 21st century.

    LISE 4 will provide a forum for discussing many of the issues highlighted in such recent national reports as The Science and Engineering Workforce: Realizing America’s Potential, issued in August 2003 by the National Science Board at the NSF, and Learning for the Future: Changing the Culture of Math and Science Education to Ensure a Competitive Workforce, issued by the Committee for Economic Development in May 2003.

    Speakers include Elsa Reichmanis, immediate past president, American Chemical Society; Joseph Bordogna, deputy director, National Science Foundation; Ron Webb, manager of doctoral recruiting and university relations, Procter and Gamble; and Linda Rosen, consultant and former executive director, Glenn Commission. Also scheduled to speak are Sally Goetz Shuler, executive director, National Science Resources Center; Sara Schechner, David P. Wheatland Curator, Harvard University; Conrad Stanitski, professor of chemistry, Central Arkansas University; Sylvia Ware, director, education and international activities division, American Chemical Society; and Peter Henderson, director, Board on Higher Education and Workforce, National Academies. Gerry Wheeler, NSTA Executive Director will also lead a session on professional development and teacher preparation.

    The conference is free, but space is limited. Register online by May 7 at (click on LISE 4 on the front page). Questions? Contact Don McKinney at (215) 925-2178, ext. 320, or e-mail

    EE-Link: Environmental Education on the Internet
    “Annotated directory of environmental education resources. Provides resources for teachers and students, information about organizations and projects, a national calendar of events, grant information, and job postings. Also includes links to sites about major environmental issues and occasions, such as Earth Day. Sites in Spanish are grouped in the ‘En Español’ section. A project of the North American Association for Environmental Education. Searchable.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)


    Engineering & Life
    Bill Hammack is an interesting guy. Visit his site to find out about a lot of things beyond what you might think of as the limited scope of “engineering”. You will find the text and audio files of his weekly NPR radio show that personalizes the world of engineering, and technology, and science in general. Take it from me, whether you are 9 or 49, you will enjoy his easy conversational style and his fascinating content.

    Article: When Virtual Robots Race, Science Wins
    “Sodarace is the online olympics pitting human creativity against machine learning in a competition to design robots that race over 2D terrains using the Sodaconstructor virtual construction kit. The Wodka Genetic Algorithm makes automatically breeding models from scratch so easy that anyone can do it.” Even if you don’t want to participate, the animations on this site are “worth the price of admission!”

    Robots and Us
    “Created by the good people at the Science Museum of Minnesota (with generous support from the National Science Foundation) the Robots and Us website is an interactive and multi-sensory educational teaching tool that helps young people learn about the ways in which robots (and humans) move, think, and exist throughout the process of experiencing the world. Visitors will start out their journey in the virtual Low Life Labs, where they can proceed to the main activities directly or get help. Upon entering the main activities area, visitors may move to one of the four main labs: Moving, Sensing, Thinking, or Being. Each area contains a series of activities for visitors, along with a brief description of the concept and idea that each activity is actively exploring. The Sensing section is quite good, as it contains a number of interesting and intelligent activities, such as CAPTCHA, which allows individuals to try out examples of programs that can generate and grade tests that most humans can pass, but current programs can’t. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)


    Vents Program
    “The Vents Program ‘conducts research on the impacts and consequences of submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal venting on the global ocean.’ Includes information about specific research sites, the New Millennium Observatory (which ‘studies the dynamic interactions between submarine volcanic activity and seafloor hotsprings’), ocean seismicity, bioacoustics, and related topics. Also includes teaching material and images. From the Pacific Maritime Environmental Laboratory.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Dartmouth Flood Observatory
    “‘This site is a research tool for detection, mapping, measurement, and analysis of extreme flood events world-wide using satellite remote sensing. The Observatory provides yearly catalogs, maps, and images of river floods, from 1985 to the present.’ Features interactive maps, tables about large flood events, and aggregated data on flood severity, damage, duration, recurrence intervals, and more. The site also discusses hydrologic monitoring technologies and provides links to related information.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    The IrYdium Project
    “The IrYdium Project, and CREATE Project, develop educational software that can be integrated flexibly into introductory chemistry courses nationwide. Our goal is to create simulation-based learning environments where college and high school students can approach chemistry more like practicing scientists and see interesting real-world applications of key concepts. Network Computing and Remote Database Technology make it easy to use the software over the web.”

    TEST: The Expert System for Thermodynamics
    “TEST is a visual environment to solve thermo problems, pursue what-if scenarios, perform numerical experiments, and continue a life-long learning experience to challenge Sommerfield! Browse a few slides from Slide Show (10 min) followed by a hands-on Tutorial (30 min) to put TEST to full use without much of a learning curve.”

    Gravity Probe B: Testing Einstein’s Universe
    “Was Einstein’s theory of general relativity correct? Gravity Probe B, a relativity gyroscope experiment co-developed by NASA and Stanford University scientists, will attempt to answer that question. This site includes detailed information about the project, lithographs, a timeline, a FAQ, scientific papers, an image library, a glossary, classroom materials, and related information.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Count Us In
    “Developed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Online division, this interactive site contains age-appropriate and visually-appealing games designed to help young people understand basic number concepts. There are fifteen games in total, all of which may be downloaded for use in the classroom or at home, at no charge. Some of the games include activities that allow students to design patterns using objects contained with a bookshelf or the ever-popular sheep counting game, where participants must move sheep from left to right until there are the same number of sheep in each paddock. Additionally, there is a section that explains the purpose of each game, and a help feature within each game that helps users become acclimated to the goal of each activity. The site is rounded out by a selection of teacher resources designed to complement each game on the site. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    American Choices
    “Where do you stand on today’s foreign policy issues?

    With everything going on, that can be a difficult question to answer. Now, learn more about what these issues mean through American Choices, a foreign policy self-assessment. In 12 questions, American Choices asks you to weigh some of the fundamental trade-offs facing U.S. policymakers. At the end of it, you get a summary of your beliefs, and how they compare with others.

    The process does not assume you to be a foreign policy expert, nor is it the final word on our foreign policy choices. Instead, it’s an introduction to the key issues and a prompt for further exploration and discussion.” An interesting and brief test to help you explore your priorities.

    Afghanistan Reconstruction Project
    “The Afghanistan Reconstruction Project (ARP) carries out research and public education about selected issues related to the rebuilding of Afghanistan’s institutions, society, and economy. The project supports efforts by the Afghan government, Afghan civil society, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, and donors to carry out a more effective reconstruction mission based on the Bonn Agreement focused on Afghan ownership.” This informative website from the Center for International Cooperation has several features, including Afghanistan Constitution resources and a matrix of aid resource flows.

    Language of Native American Baskets from the Weaver’s View
    “Baskets accompanied Indian people throughout their lives. Babies were carried in baskets, meals were prepared and cooked in them, worldly goods were stored in them, and people were buried in them. Today, baskets serve as markers of cultural pride and inheritance. Basketry is a living art. To help illustrate continuity from past to present, each weaver chose four baskets from the Smithsonian collections and paired them with baskets from their own or other Native basket-makers’ contemporary works. These juxtapositions and the weavers’ thoughts on what they tell us, are presented in ‘The Weavers’ View.’ Links on the top navigation bar and side navigation bars lead to a wealth of information and lots of images of baskets. From the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.” (From Blue Web’n)

    Ethnomusicology Musical Instrument Collection
    This digital exhibit features photographs of traditional musical instruments from around the world which have been collected by the University of Washington Ethnomusicology Division Archives. Descriptions of images include instrument name, description, donor, and country of origin. The collection is searchable by instrument type, geographic region, and keyword. From the University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    National Indian Law Library
    “The Web site for this ‘public law library devoted to federal Indian and tribal law’ features an annotated directory of links related to American Indian law, information about U.S. Supreme Court developments in American Indian law, and the full text of constitutions and codes of a number of tribes. Although the publications section lists prices, most documents are available at no cost on the site. Also provides access to the library catalog.” (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:

    Working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and 16 other universities, Google is developing a feature of its search tool that will allow users to search specially tagged academic content. Using a tool called DSpace that MIT developed, colleges and universities can build so-called “superarchives” of scholarly work, including metadata tags that allow for online searches of that content. According to MIT’s MacKenzie Smith, about 125 institutions have used DSpace, but there has not been a tool to search across all of these archives. The Google tool will use an interface created by the Online Computer Library Center and will likely be part of the search site’s advanced-search page. Smith said she hopes all institutions that use DSpace will eventually be included in the search tool. She also noted that the search capability is not restricted to Google. Other search engines may create search tools specifically for the academic content, said Smith, or “[w]e may even do our own thing.”
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 April 2004 via Edupage.

    Sony and Japanese company Toppan have developed a DVD made largely from paper that can store five times as much as current DVDs. The paper discs use blue-laser technology, which is being developed by electronics manufacturers including Sony, Philips, Hitachi, and Samsung. Compared to the red-laser technology on which today’s DVDs are based, the blue-laser format allows capacities of about 25 gigabytes per disc. Current DVDs have a limit of 4.7 gigabytes. Because the new discs are made primarily of paper, they can easily be cut with scissors, offering a simple and reliable way to dispose of the discs and to destroy the data on them. Paper discs will reportedly be less expensive to produce than current DVDs, though Sony and Toppan did not say when the new DVDs would be available to consumers.
    BBC, 19 April 2004 via Edupage.

    A significant flaw with the Internet’s transmission control protocol (TCP) was announced this week. Computer researcher Paul Watson discovered the flaw late last year, and security experts have been privately working since then on fixes for the vulnerability. Although the flaw affects personal computers, of greater concern is its impact on routers, which direct global electronic traffic using TCP. Watson discovered a method to quickly guess a password that would allow resetting a router remotely. Using this technique, hackers could cause routers to go into standby mode, crippling traffic across the Internet. Security experts had believed that guessing the passwords would take years, but Watson’s method is able to discover passwords in as few as four guesses. Watson will present full details of his research Thursday at a conference in British Columbia.
    New York Times, 21 April 2004 (registration req’d) via Edupage.