Sci-Tech Library Newsletter
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- SCIENCE POLICY
- NOMINATIONS REQUESTED
- SEARCH ENGINES GO DEEP
- AROUND DC AND ON THE NET
- NEW E-BOOKS AND REPORTS
- INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens, The Science of Football; Biological Sciences: Becoming Human, North American Mammals, Nature Science Update Rat Genome Special, Baltimore Ecosystem Study, Sniffing the Decades, Audubon’s Birds of America; Computer and Information Science: Gypsies Win Right to Sue IBM Over Role in Holocaust; Education and Human Resources: Representatives Ehlers and Udall Form STEM Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives; Engineering: Digital Bridges: Bridges of the Nineteenth Century: A Twenty-First Century Book Collection, IDSA; Geosciences: HazardMaps.gov: The Multi-Hazard Mapping Initiative (MMI); Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Ethnomathematics Digital Library (EDL), Birth Cry of the Cosmos Heard, Fireworks!, California Institute of Technology: Cool Cosmos, Cassini-Huygens Arrives at Mars; Polar Programs: Secrets of the Dead — Tragedy at the Pole, Belgian Scientific Research Programme on the Antarctic; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: The Living Room Candidate … and more … plus news items from Edupage
- INTER ALIA: Are you descended from Genghis Khan?
EUROHORCs Agree on Position Statement
Key Principles (pdf)
(08 July 2004) The presidents and chairpersons of Europe’s research organisations, known as the European Union Research Organisations Heads Of Research Councils (EUROHORCs), under the leadership of the current president, Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, President of the DFG, have agreed on the key principles for the foundation of a European Research Council.
NAS Awards for Outstanding Achievements in Science
The National Academy of Sciences is accepting nominations for awards to recognize outstanding achievements in science. Fields of presentation include chemistry, cosmology, solar physics/solar-terrestrial relationships, astrophysics, materials science, geophysics, aeronautical engineering, microbiology, psychology, the industrial application of science and the application of science to the public welfare. Awards for young investigators will be given in biology and medicine, molecular biology, psychology and computational science/applied mathematics. Nominations are due by Friday, Sept. 10.
SEARCH ENGINES GO DEEP
“We've commented from time to time on the fact that Web search engines are aggressively going after the kind of content that until now was primarily accessible through paid information services. In a recent Briefing, Outsell Vice President and Lead Analyst Chuck Richard summarized the various initiatives underway. Anyone who doubts that the search players want a piece of the scholarly and scientific publishing markets should be paying attention. The search engines state their missions as follows: - Google: ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’; - Yahoo!: ‘to invest more heavily to get more content into our search engine experience.’ Here are the kinds of acquisition targets they are after: - Yahoo!’s Content Acquisition Program will target content embedded in the ‘invisible Web’ - Google is indexing IEEE Xplore abstracts - CrossRef Search pilot: the full texts of scholarly journals are searchable using Google - Google is indexing the scholarly papers of 17 universities, including MIT - Google is indexing Extenza e-journals, a division of Royal Swets and Zeitlinger - Google is indexing a subset of OCLC WorldCat records - Amazon’s A9 search engine, powered by Google, accesses Amazon’s ‘Search Inside the Book’ function Traditional aggregators face challenges on many fronts, and this is just one of them. The Briefing, ‘Competitor Assessment: Aggregators And Search Engines - Sparring, Partnering, Or Ignoring Each Other?’ tells the whole story. Available for purchase at www.outsellinc.com.” (From Outsell’s e-briefs)
AROUND DC AND ON THE NET
MIT 2004 Engineering Systems Symposium
Engineering Systems Division 2004 Engineering Systems Symposium presents two lectures:
Opening Session, “Perspectives on Engineering”. This opening panel of the two day symposium features a discussion hosted by James A. Champy, and includes panelists MIT President Charles M. Vest, Thomas Hughes, David A. Mindell, and Daniel Roos. Go directly to the page at http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/206/.
Frederick P. Salvucci, Senior Lecturer, Center for Transportation and Logistics, MIT. Fred Salvucci gives an overview of the challenges of building mega projects, and compares the building of Boston’s “Big Dig” and the Boston Harbor clean up. Go directly to the page at http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/207/. These are the second and third of six presentations from the symposium--the remaining three will be posted on MIT World during July and August. Please note that they will not necessarily be made available in the same sequence that they occurred in real time.
Symposium on Technological Literacy
Audio and slide presentations from the National Academy of Engineering’s Symposium on Technological Literacy are now online. The April 28 event brought together state education leaders in mathematics, science, assessment and curriculum to learn about and discuss the issue of technological literacy. All audio presentations require free RealPlayer.
One Electorate Under God? A Dialogue on Religion and American Politics
Brookings/Pew Forum Briefing The Brookings Institution and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life host a discussion on the relationship between religion and politics. The event will feature Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), E.J. Dionne, Jr. and David Brooks. Moderated by Luis Lugo. Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 10:30am, The Mayflower Hotel, State Room, 1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC For more information or to RSVP, visit the website or call the Pew Forum at 202/955-5075.
Pesticides and Control of West Nile Virus
Using pesticides to control West Nile virus is the topic of a seminar sponsored by the National Academies’ Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Internship Program. The 90-minute event begins at 12:30 p.m. EDT Friday, July 16 in Room 100 of the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St. N.W., Washington, D.C. The seminar is free and open to the public.
NEW E-BOOKS AND REPORTS
Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities. NSF, 2004. nsf04317
Emigration of U.S.-Born S&E Doctorate Recipients. NSF, 2004. nsf04327
Remoe, Svend Otto. Governance of the science, technology and innovation system in Norway: an overview. STEP, 2004.
Giessel, Ja-Frens van. Policy instruments for sustainable innovation. Technopolis BV, 2004.
Karlsson, Magnus. Commercialization of reseearch results in the United States: an overview of federal and academic technology transfer. ITPS, 2004.
Eliasson, Kerstin. American science — the envy of the world?: an overview of the science system and policies in the United States. ITPS, 2004.
Karlsson, Eva. From Doctoral Student to Professor — The Academic Career Path in the United States. ITPS, 2004.
Stenberg, Lennert. Government Research and Innovation Policies in Japan. ITPS, 2004.
Ohlin, Eva. The Structure and Financing of Medical Research in the United States — An Overview. ITPS, 2004.
Does It Matter Where I Go to College. AIP, 2004.
“The Triple Helix: University, Government, and Industry Relationships in the Life Sciences”, by Eric Campbell, Greg Koski and David Blumenthal; AEI-Brookings Joint Center Working Paper (June 2004)
Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative. NPA, 2004.
Thomas, Gillian and Guy Thomas. A Child’s Place: Why Environment Matters to Children. Green Alliance/Denes, 2004.
Thompson, Janet. Estimates of Canadian research and development expenditures (GERD), Canada, 1992 to 2003, and by province 1992 to 2001. Statistics Canada, 2004.
Earl, Louise. Technological change in the public sector, 2000-2002. Statistics Canada, 2004.
Earl, Louise. An historical comparison of technological change, 1998-2000 and 2000-2002, in the private and public sectors. Statistics Canada, 2004.
Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. NAP, 2004.
Inventing a better future: a strategy for building worldwide capacities in science and technology. InterAcademy Council, 2004.
Choosing strategies for Sweden: a synthesis report from Swedish Technology Foresight. Teknisk Framsyn, 2004.
INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET
Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens
A companion website to the NOVA program which vividly reconstructs an epic historical confrontation: the bitter clash between a fiery scientific genius, Galileo Galilei, and the church authorities who tried to suppress his astonishing discoveries. The website includes a timeline, articles about Galileo, and interactives of some of his famous experiments.
The Science of Football
No, not US football, but the game the rest of the world calls “football”. What is the physics of “bend it like Beckham?” Is watching the World Cup good for you? Anwer these questions and more at this BBC website.
Audubon’s Birds of America
“Let your imagination soar as the birds that ruled America’s skies more than a century ago live again in resplendent color. Here’s a chance to glimpse into the artistic mind of legendary naturalist John James Audubon, as well as spy the bountiful menagerie he adeptly painted on an 11-year quest to capture American birds with life-size accuracy. Much more detailed than the era’s photographic capabilities allowed, these 435 color plates depict species such as the Common Grackle, Hooded Warbler, and Bald Eagle in all their majesty. The original collection is enhanced by a whimsical Flash exhibit, which introduces you to both graceful and hardy creatures amid their natural habitats. While some of these beauties are no longer with us, their spirit and imprint on Audubon have been forever captured for future generations to admire.” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
Nature Science Update Rat Genome Special
Among the human species, rats have few fans. And, hey, that’s understandable. They've got beady eyes, a nasty tail, and, if you've ever traveled on a New York subway, you know they can grow to an alarming size. Bleh! But as this site from Nature Science Update points out, not all rats are vermin. Take the lab rat, for instance. These scurrying rodents don’t know it, but they make big contributions to science every day. The recently published rat genome will help scientists to further understand evolution. Using the technology behind cloned rats, researchers can “alter rat genes at will.” And if a rat’s life of tubes, needles, and mazes gets boring, it can always hope to go back to the wild. A toast to rats — disgusting, but useful! (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Many ecologists work to understand how various parts of a given ecological system work or function with other systems in their vicinity, but relatively few attempt to bring together all of this work with major urban areas. One such impressive project is the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, which aims to understand metropolitan Baltimore as an ecological system; and in doing so, bring together researchers from the biological, physical and social sciences to work on this formidable task that is truly interdisciplinary. At the site, visitors can learn about the staff of the project and read about its various thematic areas of inquiry, including biodiversity, education, soil, stream and watershed studies, and vegetation. A good place to start before diving into the numerous research projects would be the research area, which explains the basic goals of the project, the theories that the research team is drawing on, and the central questions of its work. The Baltimore Ecosystem Study has also been approved for use in classrooms by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and educators will find materials that they can draw on to teach various concepts and ideas here as well. [KMG] (From the Scout Report)
North American Mammals
“This website includes detailed descriptions, images, and distribution ranges for more than 400 mammals native to the North American continent. The primary resources for the site have been based in the continental United States, but [also include] species found in Canada and Mexico.” A selection of search options are available: map location search, species name, conservation status, and a feature that allows the user to perform a “visual search.” For a visual search, select the order or species name, and results appear in the form of scientific color illustrations for each mammal. Many listings also include sound recordings. (From InfoMine)
“An 8-week-old human embryo already boasts eyelids, ears, and separated toes and fingers. Students can follow the progress of human development with movies, images, and animations at this site from Mark Hill of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. One section tracks changing body form through the 23 Carnegie stages that define the first 2 months of development. Other pages focus on particular structures, tracing the growth of the head, for example, and showing a furrow on the embryo’s back closing to form the spinal cord, the process called neurulation. There’s also a backgrounder on abnormal development.” (From Science NetWatch)
Sniffing the Decades
See if science can predict which decade you were born in from the smells that remind you of your childhood. This is a relatively quick and simple website in itself, but it is linked to a variety of interesting websites about taste and smell. I particularly enjoyed finding out how my favorite foods reflected my basic personality traits …
Computer and Information Science
Gypsies Win Right to Sue IBM Over Role in Holocaust
News article about a Swiss court allowing a suit to be brought by the Gypsy International Recognition and Compensation Action (GIRCA) against IBM on the grounds that “IBM may have helped Adolf Hitler pursue mass murder [of Gypsies and others] more quickly” by providing the Nazis with “pioneering punch cards and prototype computer systems.” Also includes links to related articles and sites. From the Guardian Unlimited, the online companion to the British newspaper The Guardian. (From the Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Education and Human Resources
Representatives Ehlers and Udall Form STEM Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives
Representatives Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) and Mark Udall (D-CO) have established a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. The new STEM caucus will focus solely on science, math, technology, and engineering education issues and will work to promote and improve all areas of science and math education including K-12, higher education, and workforce issues in Congress. It will increase the visibility and importance of STEM education and work to educate members of Congress and their staff on the issues surrounding STEM education. The Caucus will also serve as an information source and a catalyst for advancing legislation and funding to improve STEM education.
This Caucus is very important to K-12 science and math education in a number of ways. It will help to bring valuable visibility to the issues of concern to science and math education teachers, and help to secure much needed funding for science and math education in the yearly appropriations cycle. But the strength and effectiveness of the STEM Caucus — and future science and math education initiatives on Capitol Hill — will largely be determined by the numbers of Representatives who join the STEM Caucus and work to affect change. Currently, 32 House members have joined the STEM Caucus. Check the STEM roster to see if your representative is on this list, and take a moment to e-mail them with your thanks. Questions? E-mail Jodi Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org (From NSTA)
Site for IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America), “the voice of the industrial design profession, advancing the quality and positive impact of design.” Features images and information about Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) winning designs, information about famous industrial designers and designs, directories of schools and vendors, links to related sites, and more. Searchable. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Digital Bridges: Bridges of the Nineteenth Century: A Twenty-First Century Book Collection
This “site consists of a collection of thirty representative 19th century American bridge engineering monographs, manuals, and documents from the Lehigh University Libraries’ Special Collections.” Browsable and searchable. Also includes glossaries of bridge terms, personal and corporate names, and specific bridges. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
HazardMaps.gov: The Multi-Hazard Mapping Initiative (MMI)
NGDC Geologic Hazard Photos
1. This is “a dynamic mapping site. It is a central repository for collecting, synthesizing, visualizing, and analyzing natural hazards data,” primarily for the United States. Provides maps about natural hazards such as floods, landslides, and hurricanes, and information about geologic features. Also includes earthquake information for the world. Searchable by address or latitude and longitude. Includes a FAQ and a user’s guide. From the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 2. Searchable library of photographs of geologic hazards and natural disasters. Images include earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, landslides, and others. Includes photos of famous events such as the Kobe earthquake and eruption of Mount Pinatubo. From the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Birth Cry of the Cosmos Heard
Reports on sounds of the early universe, which have been recaptured by an astronomy professor. Features sound files resulting from analysis of the “so-called background radiation that was born 400,000 years after the Big Bang.” Includes related links. From the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Ethnomathematics Digital Library (EDL)
A collection of annotated links to Web sites related to ethnomathematics, which is “the study of the mathematical practices of specific cultural groups in the course of dealing with their environmental problems and activities.” Searchable; browsable by subject (from abacus to zero), geographic area, cultural group, or language. From Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL), a nonprofit education organization. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
A companion website to the NOVA program, this website is an interesting introduction to the chemistry of fireworks. Fireworks are danger held, like a sparkler, at arm’s length: close enough to be beautiful, powerful, and alluring, yet far enough away to be safe. This explosive NOVA website presents the colorful history of pyrotechnics and reveals the chemical secrets that put the bang in the rocket and the fizz in the Roman candle. Test your knowledge and read about the chemistry that puts the bang in the 4th of July.
California Institute of Technology: Cool Cosmos
This great educational site from Cal Tech offers all sorts of great resources to assist in learning about the universe. Using the fun gear-like menu on the left of the screen, visitors can pick from site areas such as the Cosmic Classroom (which offers classroom activities, lessons, reference info., and an Ask an Astronomer option), Cosmic Kids (where kids can learn about what’s in space through stories and resources like the Infrared Zoo), the Video and Image Galleries, and lots more. The site should be a great resource for teachers introducing students to the study of the universe or those visitors who are simply interested in getting lost in space for a while. This site is also reviewed in the July 9, 2004 _NSDL Physical Sciences Report_. [JPM] (From the Scout Report)
Cassini-Huygens Arrives at Mars
This is exciting stuff, no doubt about it. The NASA site has, as you would expect, all the latest news and photos, and more besides. The site is loaded with everything from Saturn post cards to animations and videos.
Secrets of the Dead - Tragedy at the Pole
Immediately after Scott’s ill fated attempt to be the first to the South Pole, he was considered a hero. Later historians have painted him as a bungler. A new look at the evidence of what happened during this doomed expedition shows some of the impressive science expertise that Scott used, although to no ultimate avail.
Belgian Scientific Research Programme on the Antarctic
The 1959 Antarctic Treaty set out to achieve “demilitarization, the ban on nuclear tests and on the disposal of radioactive waste material — the respect of which is guaranteed by a system of mutual inspection — and the promotion of international scientific cooperation. The approval in 1991 of the ‘Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty’ (Madrid Protocol), turned the area into a natural reserve dedicated to peace and science. The Protocol prohibits any non-scientific activity relating to mineral resources and otherwise, makes provision for the realization of environmental evaluations to be based upon scientific evidences.” At this site, visitors can learn about the goals of the programme and also learn more about some of the many phases of its research projects. Also of interest are is the metadata section, including links to data from projects such as “The Mass Balance of the Antarctic Ice Cap.” Overall, a very interesting site for those interested in the fruits of the Madrid Protocol and the science that has occurred in its wake. [JPM] (From the Scout Report)
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
The Living Room Candidate
Once considered an indignity or gimmick, campaign ads have become integral to the success of a presidential candidate. The messages — delivered in 30-second snippets — have transformed elections and been transformed in the process. Updated for 2004, this well-designed and compelling site offers more than 250 presidential campaign TV commercials dating from 1952. Comparing Eisenhower’s 1952 cute “I Like Ike” cartoon to the attack ads seen in the past few campaigns demonstrates how much the run for the White House has changed. This site is an engaging resource for anyone interested in the evolution of political theater. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
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SUPERCOMPUTING BILLS CLEAR HOUSE
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed two bills aimed at improving supercomputing facilities and programs in the United States. The High-Performance Computing Revitalization Act of 2004 would coordinate all federal supercomputing projects under the authority of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and would require the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science to make supercomputing facilities available to researchers. Under the other bill, called the Department of Energy High-End Computing Revitalization Act of 2004, the secretary of energy would develop top-level supercomputing facilities, which would be accessible to researchers from industry, academe, and federal agencies. The bill authorizes $165 million for the project, but the funds would still need to be appropriated through other legislation. The Computing Research Association, a group that represents academic and commercial researchers, praised the House’s approval of the bills but noted that federal funding for information technology projects has frequently fallen short of targets.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 8 July 2004 (sub. req’d) via Edupage.
REVISION TO DMCA GAINS SUPPORT
Joe Barton (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, this week endorsed a bill that would amend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to allow for broader fair-use access. The bill, known as the Digital Media Consumer’s Rights Act, was introduced more than 18 months ago but has been stalled ever since. Barton’s support could see the bill marked up in July and possibly passed before the end of the current Congressional session. An anonymous Senator will reportedly introduce the legislation to the Senate if it has sufficient backing in the House. The bill would allow users to circumvent digital copy-protection measures if the purpose falls within the scope of traditional fair use. Currently, the DMCA prohibits such circumvention. The bill would also allow companies to develop and market tools that bypass digital copy protections if those tools are capable of significant noninfringing use.
Internet News, 22 June 2004 via Edupage.
ACADEMICS GET BEHIND REVISIONS TO DMCA
Five academic library organizations, as well as the Association of American Universities, have joined the Personal Technology Freedom Coalition, which is working to gain passage of legislation that would revise portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act would allow exemptions for fair use from the provision of the DMCA that bans circumvention of antipiracy measures, and it would broaden a current exemption from the anticircumvention provision for certain types of research. Joining the coalition to revise the law are the American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association. The bill may come up for a vote during the current Congressional session, though it is opposed by the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, which claims jurisdiction over the bill.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 July 2004 (sub. req’d)via Edupage.
FEDERAL PROGRAM PUSHES SCIENCE EDUCATION
U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham this week announced the Scientists Teaching and Reaching Students program, which is intended to support and foster interest in math and science programs among the country’s middle and high school students. According to the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, U.S. students, who are among the top-performing students in the world in math and science at the 4th-grade level, fall nearly to the bottom of the list by 12th grade. The new program will award scholarships for math and science teachers to study at the nation’s labs, including Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia National Laboratories. In addition, those labs will host 2,000 5th- and 8th-grade students for at least one day a year. For a number of years, U.S. colleges and universities have seen steadily declining numbers of students in science programs, and the effect of the new program on this trend is not clear. Countries such as India, China, and Russia currently graduate significantly more science and engineering students than the United States.
San Jose Mercury News, 8 July 2004 via Edupage.
Long-lost relations of Genghis Khan sought by London restaurant
The Legacy of Genghis Khan
Modern Mongolia: Reclaiming Genghis Khan
Official Website of the Government Organizations of Mongolia
DNA testing has received great prominence in the international media as of late, largely due to its use in highly publicized courtroom battles and in unraveling the genealogical histories of numerous families of note. One London restaurant (which specializes in grilled kebabs) has taken this practice one step further by offering one free DNA test each day this week to determine whether any of patrons might in fact be related to the legendary Mongol ruler Genghis Khan. The firm doing the DNA testing, Oxford Ancestors, says up to 17 million men in Central Asia share a pattern of Y chromosomes that indicates a common ancestor in their shared familial past. Since there are no verified tissue samples from Genghis Khan, these genetic tests are based on an assessment of probabilities. The response thus far has been rather overwhelming, as Hugo Malik (a bar manager at the popular London eatery offering the tests) noted recently: “We’ve had Mongolian people who've traveled across London to give us their details. They said, ‘Grandad always used to tell us we were descended from Genghis Khan.’ ” (From the Scout Report)