Sci-Tech Library Newsletter
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- SCIENCE POLICY
- AROUND DC AND ON THE NET
- NEW E-BOOKS AND REPORTS
- INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude, Journey Through the Galaxy, NOVA: Origins [Macromedia Flash Reader]; Biological Sciences: Gene Stories, DNA From the Beginning, The Crick Papers, Putting DNA to Work (Koshland Science Museum), Raising Silk Worms, Mar-Eco, MEMORY WORKOUT, The World Awakes, BBC: Scientists Given Cloning Go-Ahead; Computer and Information Science: MindSwap [pdf]; Education and Human Resources: NCREL: Pathways to School Improvement, ENC classroom calendar, Try This; Engineering: Serafina, Ansari X Prize, Science U: Geometry Center [java, vrml], Transportation Futuristics; Geosciences: Earth Science World, Red Sprites and Blue Jets, MetEd: Meteorology Education & Training, Rogue Waves; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: The Newton Project, The Lewis Carroll Scrapbook Collection, Perseids from NightSky, Cool Cosmos (California Institute of Technology), Strange Matter; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: WordCount, Alexandria Archaeology Museum [pdf], Canadian Economy Online … and more … plus news items from Edupage
- INTER ALIA: Robots in libraries … Science Policy Quotations … Conference transporation …
Status of the Science and Engineering Workforce
Items presented at a Congressional Luncheon Briefing, July 15, 2004.
AIP Reviews: Commission’s Recommendations on Ocean Science
AIP Reviews: Blueprint for Ocean Policy
Ocean Commission Report & Supporting Documents
“The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy has released a preliminary version of what its Chairman, Admiral James Watkins, referred to as ‘a blueprint for a coordinated, comprehensive national ocean policy for the 21st century.’ The commission views improved funding, coordination, and infrastructure for ocean and coastal science as a vital aspect of the policy. Four chapters of the commission’s report are devoted to ‘Science-based Decisions: Advancing Our Understanding of the Oceans.’ ”
BRITISH GOVERNMENT PUSHES OPEN ACCESS
U.S. House Report: Access to Biomedical Research Information (pdf)
House of Commons Report
Less than a week after a Congressional committee in the United States called for open access to government-funded research, Britain’s Science and Technology Committee has issued a report with a similar recommendation. Like the U.S. report, the British report does not require open access but strongly encourages scholarly publications to be either posted on public Web sites or published in “author-pays” journals, in which authors pay a fee to have their research published, thereby eliminating fees for subscription. The report also calls on the government to subsidize author-pays fees for scholars and encourages academics to retain copyright over their published works, rather than signing copyright over to the journals that publish them, which typically happens today. The British Office of Science and Technology may issue new regulations based on the report this fall. Meanwhile, Reed Elsevier, the largest publisher of scientific journals, last month announced that authors of its publications would be allowed to post copies of their work on institutional Web sites. A spokesperson for Reed Elsevier said the publisher welcomed the report, though it believes “some of the concerns expressed in the report about government policy on scientific publishing to be overstated.” Chronicle of Higher Education, 20 July 2004 (sub. req’d) (From Edupage)
AROUND DC AND ON THE NET
Disaster Research in the Social Sciences
Disaster research in the social sciences is the topic of a two-day workshop being held by a committee of the National Academies’ Division on Earth and Life Studies. The workshop begins at 1 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 23 in Room 101 of the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Admission is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Establishing a New National Cord Blood Stem Bank
Establishing a new National Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank program is the topic a two-day meeting being held by the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Health Sciences Policy. Participants will discuss ethical and legal considerations, patient support and how best to collect and preserve blood stem cells. The event begins at 9:30 a.m. PDT Wednesday, Aug. 18 at the National Academies’ Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center, 100 Academy Drive, Irvine, Calif. Admission is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Future Directions in Signaling Systems
Audio and slide presentations from the three-day conference on future directions in signaling systems are now online. The event, co-sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the National Academies’ Keck Futures Initiative, was held June 16–18, 2004 in Nashville, Tenn. The meeting identified a set of methods and ideas and traced future directions for this emerging field.
Murder at the Museum
Take on the role of a crime scene investigator in Murder at the Museum, an interactive public program at the Marian Koshland Science Museum, Sixth and E Streets N.W., Washington, D.C. The three-hour event begins at 7 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 20. Registration is required.
Genomics & Public Health in the 21st Century
Genomics and public health in the 21st century is the topic of a two-day conference being held by the Institute of Medicine. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. EDT Thursday, Oct. 7 in the National Academy of Sciences Building auditorium, 2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Admission is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Global Environmental Health in the 21st Century
“Global Environmental Health in the 21st Century” is the topic of a two-day meeting by the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research and Medicine. The event begins on Wednesday, Oct. 13 in the National Academy of Sciences Building auditorium, 2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Admission is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Engaging the Public in Clinical Research
Engaging the public in clinical research is the topic of a daylong meeting being held by the Institute of Medicine’s Clinical Research Roundtable. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 2 in Room 100 of the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Admission is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Vaccine Safety Datalink Data Sharing Program
The design and implementation of the new Vaccine Safety Datalink Data Sharing Program is the topic of daylong Institute of Medicine meeting. The meeting will review the program to assess its compliance with current standards of data sharing in the scientific community. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 23 in Room 100 of the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Admission is free and open to the public, but registration is required. 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. Please go to the National Academies Webcast Page for additional information.
Roberto Rigobon “Institutions, Geography and Growth”
In this lively and provocative presentation, Roberto Rigobon explains global economics in a manner that demonstrates why he has been named Sloan’s “Teacher of the Year” multiple times.
This presentation connects topics of democracy, malaria, distance from the equator, and bad luck to explain a wide range of global economic realities.
NEW E-BOOKS AND REPORTS
Federal Plan for High-End Computing. NITRD, 2004.
Karen L. Palmer and Dallas Burtraw. Electricity, Renewables, and Climate Change: Searching for a Cost-Effective Policy. Resources for the Future, 2004.
The Multiplier Effect. National Foundation for American Policy, 2004.
Brent Fulton, Sergej Mahnovski. Estimating the Benefits of the GridWise Initiative: Phase 1 Report. RAND, 2004.
(NAS Colloquium) Mapping Knowledge Domains. NAP, 2004.
Biographical Memoirs V.84. NAP, 2004.
IB10072 — Endangered Species: Difficult Choices. CRS, 2004.
Health and Safety Needs of Older Workers. NAP, 2004.
Indicators for Waterborne Pathogens. NAP, 2004.
BMJ Website Free No Longer
“Almost 10 years after it began, the BMJ’s experiment of allowing free access to everything on its website will come to an end”. (From the Resource Shelf)
New Journal: Genes to Cells
Blackwell Publishing is pleased to announce that the full text of Genes to Cells is also now available online. Genes to Cells provides an international forum for the publication of papers describing important aspects of molecular and cellular biology and aims to present conceptual advances in the relevant fields. Particular emphasis is placed on work geared toward understanding the basic molecular mechanisms underlying fundamental biological events and processes.
The international team of editors and associate editors represents a huge range of interests. Consequently, Genes to Cells welcomes high quality original research and review papers across the whole of the biological sciences — from protein structure to gene rearrangement and from cell fate determination to neural development.
Genes to Cells Online contains the full content of each issue of the journal, including all figures and tables, starting with the January 2004 issue (Volume 9, Issue 1). The full text is searchable by keyword, and the cited references include hyperlinks to Medline, and the online full text of many other frequently-cited journals. Hyperlinks to CrossRef will be added. PDF files and abstracts are available back to the January 1996 issue (Volume 1, Issue 1).
Access to the full text of articles is available by institutional license, which comes with all institutional subscriptions, by individual subscription available to print subscribers or society members, and by Pay Per View. All other access is freely available. In addition, all back issues of Genes to Cells are provided for free six months after publication.
Changes in Highwire Free Access
Additional journals working with Stanford University’s HighWire Press have begun to participate in the “Free Back Issues” program; and some publications have changed their Free Back Issue policies.
The Free Back Issues program now has about 200 journals participating (22 of these are entirely free), making over 734,000 full-text articles free to the community; two-thirds of all online full-text articles produced by publishers working with HighWire Press are now free; about 10,000 articles are made free each month. These publishers comprise the largest archive of free full-text articles in the sciences.
The new participating publishers and publications:
- Oxford University Press
- Toxicological Sciences
free after 12 months, rolling
- Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Cancer Spectrum
free after 12 months, rolling
- Toxicological Sciences
- BMJ Journals Publishing Group
All specialist journals now free after 12 months, rolling (several were previously in this category, but all now are):
- Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
- Archives of Disease in Childhood
- Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fetal and Neonatal Edition
- British Journal of Ophthalmology
- British Journal of Sports Medicine
- Emergency Medicine Journal
- Evidence-Based Medicine
- Evidence-Based Mental Health
- Evidence-Based Nursing
- Injury Prevention
- Journal of Clinical Pathology
- Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health
- Journal of Medical Ethics
- Journal of Medical Genetics
- Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
- Medical Humanities
- Molecular Pathology Occupational and Environmental Medicine
- Postgraduate Medical Journal
- Quality and Safety in Health Care
- Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Tobacco Control
- Maney Publishers
- American Medical Association
free after 6 months, rolling until content is 5 years old, in certain sections:
Full text access to original research articles, review articles, special communications, and editorials from 6 months to 5 years after publication (for example, on March 5, 2004, Guests could freely access content published between March 5, 1999 and September 5, 2003)
Changes in publications’ free back issue policies:
- Histochemical Society
Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry
free after 12 months, rolling (was 24 months)
- American Diabetes Association
- American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.
American Journal of Psychiatry
free after 24 months, rolling (was 12 months)
- American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
free after 12 months, rolling (was 6 months, the society is implementing the change gradually over the next 6 months, so current content free content remains free)
The Free Back Issues program now makes available the largest archive of free full-text articles in the life sciences. Approximately 5–10,000 additional articles are made free every month. The list of journals with free issues, free sites, and free trial periods — and the timing of the release of each free issue — can be found at Highwire: Free Online Full-Text Articles
- Oxford University Press
INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET
NOVA: Origins [Macromedia Flash Reader]
At NOVA’s Origins website, users can “journey back to the beginning of everything: the universe, Earth, and life itself.” The web site offers a series of interactive modules where visitors can decide if life exists on other planets in the Milky Way, view where scientists are making large discoveries of life’s origins, and much more. Users can find fascinating articles addressing life on Mars, the necessity of water for life, and the role galaxies play in our existence. Educators should soon be able to find a Teacher’s Guide for the PBS television program airing in September. [RME] (From the Scout Report)
Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude
“This site is a companion to a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) NOVA program that tells the story of how British clockmaker John Harrison solved the problem of calculating longitude and thus ’discovered the key to navigating on the open seas.‘ The site provides a program transcript, information about secrets of ancient navigation and the current Global Positioning System (GPS), and thoughts from scientists about recent scientific challenges. Also includes a teacher’s guide.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Journey Through the Galaxy
This website, supported by Case Western University, “explores our solar system, stars, extra-solar planets, the theories about the past and future of the universe, and human exploration of space.” The valuable materials are provided in two varieties: a regular version designed for grade school students and an advanced version intended for college students. The easily navigable website is first divided into five main topics and subsequently separated into a series of subtopics. For instance, under the Solar System link users can find five tabs containing data and tutorials on the sun, planets, asteroids, comets, and the edge of the solar system. With numerous helpful diagrams and images throughout the website, astronomy students are sure to benefit from this website. This site is also reviewed in the August 6, 2004 _NSDL Physical Sciences Report_. [RME](From the Scout Report)
Explore the workings of the human mind! Find simple and fascinating exercises in memorization and recall at the Exploratorium’s Memory Web site. Once you’ve tested your memory, check out the other activities and information, including sections on our earliest recollections, remembering faces, and connections between memory and art.
Raising Silk Worms
Clear, brief instructions on how to raise silk worms and process the fiber without sacrificing the moths. Raising silk worms is a fun and easy biology activity for elementary kids.
The World Awakes
Heck, I didn’t even know there was an International Dawn Chorus Day until I examined this website. The BBC brings you dawn sounds from the UK and elsewhere, along with advice on recording bird songs, dawn stories, and more!
The Crick Papers
“Selections from the papers of biologist Francis Crick, whose ‘discovery of the structure of DNA with James Watson in 1953 is widely recognized as one of the defining and enabling moments in the history of human achievement.’ Includes images of papers on the DNA double helix, DNA replication, and related topics. Also includes a biography and timeline. From the Wellcome Trust, a London-based charity.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
DNA From the Beginning
“ ‘An animated primer on the basics of DNA, genes, and heredity.’ Includes images, animations of Mendelian and other principles, video interviews, problems to solve, biographies, and related links. Searchable.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Putting DNA to Work (Koshland Science Museum)
Fifty years ago scientists first described the structure of DNA. Today humans have put DNA to work in a wide variety of applications. This exhibit explores a few of those applications including Inherited Diseases, DNA/Criminal Justice, Improving Crops, and Infectious Disease. In the following sections, learn more about the basics of where DNA is found, how similar DNA is between humans and other species and how traits are inherited from one generation to the next. Teaching Activities include standards-based activities and fieldtrip guides that can be used without a physical visit. There is even an activity search tool. (From Blue Web’n)
Information about the international research project to “enhance our understanding of occurrence, distribution and ecology of animals and animal communities along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Iceland and the Azores.” The site features information for the public, students, and scientists. In addition to news and reports about the project, find photo galleries, video clips, and backgrounders on topics in biology, physics, oceanography, geology, and technology. Searchable. A project of the Census of Marine Life. (From the Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
This entertaining and informative website from the BBC links together a number of BBC and other websites that have an impact on genetics. Find out if dinosaurs can be cloned, how a genetic study traced the ancestry of Britain’s Caribbean community, or be a DNA detective.
BBC: Scientists Given Cloning Go-Ahead
Scotsman.com: Go-Ahead for Researchers to Clone Human Embryos
New Scientist Special Report: Cloning and Stem Cells
New York Times: Britain Grants License to Make Human Embryos for Stem Cells
NPR: Stem Cell Obstacle Solved, But to Limited Effect
Financial Times.com: Bright Hope at Embryonic Stage
Britain blows ahead of the scientific pack this week by allowing its scientists to clone and research embryos and the stem cells which are derived from them. The tiny pinhead sized cluster of cells comprising an embryo is emerging as a giant ethical, religious, and scientific concern and may even be the deciding factor in a presidential race across the Atlantic. Yet, while U.S. scientists remain bogged down by restrictions pertaining to stem cell research, Bratain follows the lead of a 2003 vote by the European Parliament by supporting this research. This In the News highlights several news pieces from this past week. [JPM] (From the Scout Report)
Computer and Information Science
MindSwap is the website for a research group within the University of Maryland Information and Network Dynamics Laboratory (MIND LAB). They claim to be “the first site on the Semantic web.” They explain that they are first because: a) their website builds on an older website that used a toolkit based on a web ontology language called SHOE, developed at the University of Maryland; b) they hope you will start here for all your semantic web needs, since this site “harnesses many Web technologies (HTML, XHTML, XML, PHP, CSS, etc.) and couples them with Semantic Web languages (RDF, RDFS, DAML+OIL, OWL)” as well as other tools; and, c) it is the first “Owl- compliant” website to date. From this website, visitors can learn more about the Semantic Web and projects of MindSwap. Various papers, photos, demos and downloads are available. Links from many of the pages will let you either let you see the Semantic Web markup or take you to pages describing how the pages are created and the tools that were used. It’s a great way to learn about “many of the ways Semantic Web technology can be used to provide new capabilities on the Web.” [VF] (From the Scout Report)
Education and Human Resources
Experiment with fun science activities you can do yourself! Visit our Web site’s Try This section to build a homemade volcano, use spaghetti to understand physics, and much more. All activities were created and tested by scientists and teachers and use common, easy-to-find materials. Plus there’s lots of fascinating information about biology, psychology, and chemistry. Browse the site and get your hands around science!
NCREL: Pathways to School Improvement
Mathematics & Science Critical Issues
The Pathways website, developed by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, “synthesizes research, policy, and best practices on issues critical to educators engaged in school improvement.” The main aspect of this website is their Critical Issue section, which synthesizes research on an issue in education. The issues, which are chosen annually in consultation with experts in the field, are grouped into the following categories: Assessment, At-Risk Students, Family and Community, Instruction, Leadership, Literacy, Mathematics and Science, Policy, Professional Development, and Technology in Education. Each Critical Issue includes an overview of the issue, sets goals to address the issue, discusses action options, implementation pitfalls, different points of view, and provides illustrative cases, additional resources and contact information. Some examples of Critical Issues in mathematics include: Ensuring Equity and Excellence in Mathematics and Locating, Using, and Integrating Internet-Based Mathematics Materials. Examples of Critical Issues in technology in education include: Technology Leadership: Enhancing Positive Educational Change, and Using Technology to Support Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students’ Learning Experiences. [VF] (From the Scout Report)
ENC classroom calendar
Grade(s): Pre-K – 12
Synopsis: Not to toot our own horn — well, okay, maybe just a little toot — but ENC’s own Classroom Calendar is a timely assortment of math and science entries that contain background information, teaching suggestions, and carefully chosen annotated links to related resources and activities. Using a 12-month calendar format, Classroom Calendar features each entry on an appropriate date — for example, an entry on Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius appears on August 24, which is the date that Mount Vesuvius began its famous eruption in A.D. 79. Categories of entries include inventions, biographies, reading lists, math, and science. Classroom Calendar is designed to help teachers enrich and supplement their lessons. (From ENC)
“Through annotated image galleries, this site ‘examines some of the efforts to address transportation needs in ways that didn’t quite get off the ground literally or figuratively.’ Featured topics include vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, the hover-car (or ground effect machine), intelligent transportation systems, monorail, personal rapid transit, pneumatic transportation, and more. From the Harmer E. Davis Transportation Library, University of California, Berkeley.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
“Details about the Australian National University project that ‘explores the potentials of multiple, small, fully autonomous, but organized submersibles.’ Includes images, technical details, and publications about the tiny underwater vehicles. The ‘Test Run’ section features videos of the Serafina in action.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Ansari X Prize
This “is a $10 Million Dollar prize to the first team that: Launches a piloted, privately-funded spaceship, able to carry 3 people to 100 kilometers (62.5 miles); Returns safely to Earth; Repeats the launch with the same ship within two weeks.” The site provides a history of the prize, news about progress of vehicles, information about an anticipated September 2004 launch, image galleries, and information about rocket science. This site may not display well in all browsers. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Science U: Geometry Center [java, vrml]
Science UTM offers online articles and activities “for people who like science.” Science U and the web-design and development company that owns and operates the website, Geometry Technologies, were formed as a result of the closure of The Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota. One of the conditions of that grant, which funded The Geometry Center and ended in 1998, was that the Center would find a way to keep their materials available to the public. In anticipation of the day when the Geometry Center goes offline, they are slowly migrating materials to this website. The Geometry Center section at Science U offers lessons on solids using interactive models, geometry tiling activities, an interactive fractal generator, and many other puzzles, articles and activities. Visitors can search their resources using an online query form or by browsing the topic index, subject listing or content listing. The content listing gives you an idea of the different types of resources available, such as articles, facts and figures, classroom materials, online simulations, hands-on-projects, or software. The Science U also offers other sections on astronomy, graphic arts, and a library with various online and print resources on science. [VF] (From the Scout Report)
MetEd: Meteorology Education & Training
“This site provides ‘education and training resources to benefit the operational forecaster community, university atmospheric scientists and students, and anyone interested in learning more deeply about meteorology and weather forecasting topics.’ It features learning modules on coastal weather, hurricanes, hydrology, and other weather topics. The ‘K–12 and the Public’ section contains introductory information. Searchable. From the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Red Sprites and Blue Jets
“This site is primarily a description of the University of Alaska research ‘into middle and upper atmospheric optical and electrical phenomena.’ It provides a description and images of red sprites and blue jets (‘upper atmospheric optical phenomena associated with thunderstorms that have only recently been documented using low light level television technology’), a bibliography, and links to related information. From a professor of physics at the University of Alaska Southeast.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Ship-sinking monster waves revealed by ESA satellites
Savage Seas: The Power of Waves
Ocean World: Waves
Rogue waves have long been a legend, and the ESA recently confirmed the reality. Not only does this phenomena exist, but it is apparently relatively common. The BBC website provides a variety of information and even a screen saver your can download. The Savage Seas site has information on various kinds of waves, and a wave simulator to let you create your own wave. OceanWorld has easy to understand information about ocean waves. The Fluid Mechanics site provides links to a number of wave related websites.
Earth Science World
On this site “find Earth [weather] data from around the world, images from the Earth Science World Image Bank, geoscience books, and information on careers in the geosciences.” The image bank features a searchable and browsable collection of hundreds of photos of volcanoes, minerals, structures, and more. Also provides information about Earth Science Week, which takes place annually in October. Website of the American Geological Institute. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Cool Cosmos (California Institute of Technology)
“The ‘Cool Cosmos’ portal involves students in science with multi-disciplinary educational materials. Communicating the world of infrared astronomy to the public is the main topic of the ‘Cool Cosmos’ portal but certainly not its only goal. In the past few years the ‘Cool Cosmos’ team has created a wide variety of educational products that explain the infrared as well as the multi-wavelength universe. These include: websites that explain Infrared Astronomy, its timeline, as well as the many benefits and uses of Infrared. There are award-winning web activities where students perform a version of the experiment in which infrared light was discovered. There are web tutorials about multi-wavelength astronomy and a multi-wavelength gallery that shows celestial objects observed in different wavelengths. The Ritter experiment is a simple classroom activity similar to the experiment Ritter first discovered the ultraviolet light. The ‘Heat & Temperature’ website introduces the concepts of heat and temperature, heat transfer and detection. Use the Site Map to get a full list of what’s on the site. There is a Flash version and an HTML version. Cool Cosmos in also available in Spanish.” (From Blue Web’n)
The Lewis Carroll Scrapbook Collection
“This site presents ‘an original scrapbook that was kept by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Better known as Lewis Carroll, the Victorian-era children’s author of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ … Dodgson was a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Oxford [England]. The scrapbook contains approximately 130 items, including newspaper clippings, photographs, and a limited number of manuscript materials.’ The site also includes an essay, portrait gallery, and timeline. Searchable and browsable. From the Library of Congress.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
“Discover the secrets of everyday stuff!” A fun look at materials science (what things are made of), featuring games, experiments, videos, and more. Includes a downloadable teacher’s guide. “Developed by the Ontario Science Centre and presented by the Materials Research Society with the support of the National Science Foundation.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
The Newton Project
The Newton Project, hosted by the Imperial College London, has taken on the amazing task of making available (in print and electronic format) all of Newton’s texts, both “scientific” and “non-scientific.” The Project currently highlights some of his lesser-known private writings on theology and alchemy, as well as papers relevant to his three decades of service at the Royal Mint. Although the project is still underway and searching for more funding, there are already a good deal of manuscripts online. The Featured Text includes a brief description, history, and excerpts from the manuscript. The more adventurous will enjoy browsing the manuscripts themselves, some of which can be viewed as images of the original documents. Each entry includes a header with some background information and an option to view the transcript in different formats. Another section provides a brief account of Newton’s lifework and his archives. One aim of The Newton Project is “to be one of the most extensive and technologically sophisticated online resources for the study of any one individual, using both XML encoded texts and database technology” and they are off to a great start. [VF] (From the Scout Report)
Perseids, from NightSky
Perseids, from the British Astronomical Association
The peak is over, but there are still stragglers out there until August 20, so if you can get away from clouds and street lights, turn your eyes to the heavens for the annual show!
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
“This artistic language experiment looks at how we use words and how often we use them. Presenting ‘the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonality,’ the site talks the talk. To use it, simply type a word, and the site returns its rank in English usage. But where do they get the information? The site uses data from the British National Corpus(r), a collection of more than 100 million words representing a cross-section of English usage. The number one ranked word is just that, but it comes as a mild surprise that ‘conquistador’ brings up the rear. Another cool feature of this experiment is that the size of each word is relative to the words before and after it, giving a visual representation of how much we use it. Trust us — this site is 2,778.” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
Alexandria Archaeology Museum [pdf]
The Alexandria Archaeology Museum created this website to promote its work with students, volunteers, citizens, and developers “to study and manage archaeological resources important to the community’s past and to share this knowledge with both a local and world-wide audience.” Subsequent to learning about the Museum’s many endeavors to further its cause, users can find intriguing descriptions and view pictures of many of its important collections such as the prehistoric stone tools and artifacts from a 19th century doctor’s office. In the Research link, visitors can read artifact stories, bibliographies, oral histories, and materials on the history of the city of Alexandria, Virginia. Students and educators can discover the Museum’s many educational activities and adventures. [RME] (From the Scout Report)
Canadian Economy Online
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s Captain Economy! That’s right, at this very comprehensive site devoted to Canada’s economy, visitors can ask the little green guy with the cape and dollar sign on his chest for help. In fact, his first feat is to address just what an economy is anyway. The site offers all sorts of statistics about all of the great economic indicators like inflation rate, unemployment rate, exchange rate, etc. Visitors to the site can click on one of the subpages devoted to explaining economic topics such as Key Indicators, Economic Concepts, and Key Economic Events. [JPM] (From the Scout Report)
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NUMBER OF COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJORS FALLS
Despite the improving outlook for the high-tech sector of the economy, enrollment in most computer science programs at U.S. institutions continues to decline, causing some to worry about the possibility of a high-tech workforce shortage in coming years. Schools such as San Jose State University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Ohio State University have seen lower computer science enrollments, and according to the Computing Research Association, enrollment is down by 23 percent in the United States and Canada. Peter Lee of Carnegie Mellon pointed out, however, that far fewer applications were received this year versus last for his institution’s computer science program but that they were generally from more qualified applicants. No longer are students applying, said Lee, because they are simply lured by the prospect of high-paying jobs and stock options. Others noted that enrollments in graduate computer science programs, which remain strong, may soon begin to suffer due to increased restrictions on foreign students, who represent 43 percent of students in graduate computer science programs in the United States and Canada.
USA Today, 8 August 2004 via Edupage.
U.K. PROHIBITS SMILING FACES ON PASSPORTS
The U.K. Home Office ruled that all new passport photos must show an unsmiling face with closed mouth because open mouths can confuse facial recognition systems. The new guidelines require good contrast between the face and background; the full face looking straight at the camera; no shadows; and a neutral facial expression. The rules will apply immediately to new and replacement passports.
The Register, 6 August 2004 via Edupage.
ISO APPROVES 3D CONTENT RUN-TIME STANDARD
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has given approval to X3D, a file format developed by the Web3D Consortium for sending 3D communication across networks and between applications. X3D is an open-source, XML-based standard that supports several file format encodings and programming languages. According to Tony Parisi, cochair of Web3D’s X3D Working Group, “Now developers, solutions providers, and customers alike can rest assured that their investments in real-time 3D content and applications will be preserved.” X3D is an extension of VRML 97, an earlier standard, and is backward-compatible with Classic VRML Encoding.
Internet News, 9 August 2004 via Edupage.
STUDY ADVISES BETTER SYSTEM PERFORMANCE DATA
A study conducted for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) urges the implementation of performance measures to assess how the agencies manage electronic records. Federal agencies depend on electronic records management systems for such activities as meeting regulatory compliance, responding to Freedom of Information Act requests, and managing grants, but agencies have varying methods for managing electronic resources. The report recommends nearly a dozen ways for officials at federal agencies to assess their management of electronic records, including urging OMB and NARA to pursue standardized methods of collecting and managing records. Some of the performance metrics suggested by the report can be handled automatically, whereas others require manual data collection and auditing.
Federal Computer Week, 9 August 2004 via Edupage.
SAKAI PROJECT RELEASES VERSION 1.0 AND SOURCE CODE
The Sakai Project, an effort spearheaded by four higher education institutions to offer an alternative to commercial course management software, this week will release Version 1.0 of its open-source application, as well as the source code. The Sakai Project was launched less than a year ago with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the four institutions leading the project — University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Indiana University at Bloomington, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University. Commercial products, from companies such as Blackboard and WebCT, have drawn fire for their rising costs and the difficulty of customizing the applications for specific campuses. As an open-source application, the Sakai Project aims to address both issues, though all involved concede that open-source projects are far from free, requiring substantial time to install and maintain. Three of the founding institutions have pledged to begin using the application by fall of 2005, and one will begin this fall. Leaders of the project have launched the Sakai Educational Partners Program, which currently includes 44 members who pay $10,000 per year to have early access to the software and can participate in its development prior to releases. Developers hope that the project can become self-sustaining within three years.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 15 July 2004 via Edupage
IBM TO BUILD NEW SUPERCOMPUTER FOR U.S. MILITARY
The U.S. Department of Defense chose IBM to build the U.S. military’s fastest supercomputer, slated to be the fourth fastest in the world. The supercomputer is intended to produce short-term weather forecasts for Navy fleets at sea. According to the Pentagon, the supercomputer will permit military scientists to model atmospheric and ocean dynamics for the entire surface of the earth. Other research projects will include design of airplanes and submarines through analysis of aircraft wing construction material at a molecular level and the flow of water around submarine hulls.
Washington Post, 27 July 2004 (registration req’d)(via Edupage).
Items from the ACM Washington Update Vol. 8.7 (July 30, 2004)
 USACM VOICES RESERVATIONS ABOUT INDUCE ACT (S. 2560)
In advance of this month’s hearing on the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 (S. 2560), USACM sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch expressing reservations about the legislation and offering to provide input on its development. In the letter, USACM cautions that the legislation’s flawed approach of restricting technology rather than focusing on individual acts of infringement could have serious unintended consequences which could undermine continued innovations in software and digital computing and introduce new liabilities for technology developers. The letter is available at http://www.acm.org/usacm/induce_letter.pdf, while more information about the hearing is available at http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=1276.
USACM ENDORSES CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY ON IT R&D
USACM, along with the Computing Research Association (CRA), endorsed the testimony of ACM Fellow Edward Lazowska before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations, and the Census. The subcommittee held a hearing on July 7th regarding the federal government’s IT research and development investments. Lazowska’s testimony echoed USACM’s long-standing committment toward highlighting the crucial role federal investment in IT R&D plays in fostering innovation and encouraging the development of new experts in computing and related disciplines. A brief summary of the hearing is available from CRA’s government affairs weblog at http://www.cra.org/govaffairs/blog/archives/000110.html. For more information, see the article at http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0704/070704td2.htm and the committee’s web page on the hearing at http://reform.house.gov/TIPRC/Hearings/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=1187 or http://tinyurl.com/67zna.
The Coalition on National Science Funding (CNSF) recently issued a letter criticizing the draft FY 2005 VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill that cuts next year’s National Science Foundation budget by 2 percent. Through CRA, USACM is a member of CNSF. The CNSF statement is available from their website at http://www.cnsfweb.org/StatementOnVA-HUDMarkup.7-22-04.pdf.
From NSTA Express
“Children of Immigrants Among Highest Achievers in Science and Math Competitions
Foreign-born high school students make up 50 percent of the 2004 U. S. Math Olympiad top scorers, 38 percent of the U. S. Physics Team, and 25 percent of the Intel Science Talent Search finalists, according to the National Foundation for American Policy report, The Multiplier Effect. Education Week reported on the study in its July 28 edition and quoted NSTA Executive Director Gerry Wheeler, who brought attention to a lack of focus in the nation’s science curriculum. To read the Education Week story, go to http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=43Immig.h23. To download the report, The Multiplier Effect, go to http://www.nfap.net/.” (From NSTA Express).
From AAAS Science & Technology in Congress Newsletter
Effort to Maintain US Super-Computing Edge
A flurry of activities over the last few months in both the executive and legislative branches of government has highlighted the critical national importance of high performance computing (HPCs).
R&D Agencies Prepare for Cuts in FY 2006
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) notified federal agencies that if President Bush wins reelection, next year’s fiscal year (FY) 2006 budget request would cut spending for nearly all domestic programs as projected in February’s FY 2005 budget, and that agencies should prepare to make cuts for most domestic programs when they prepare their initial FY 2006 proposals.
Robots Get Bookish in Libraries
“Article about a group of robotics researchers at the University Jaume I in Spain who are working on creating service robots for libraries. The group suggests that one potential application would be for a robot to ‘fetch the book and, as directed by the web user, turn to the correct pages and scan the text and images.’ Also includes links to related stories and sites. From the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Notable Words: S&T Policy Quotations from 2003
These quotations speak for themselves.
The Seven-Person Conference Bicycle
I don’t normally showcase products in this newsletter, but, hey, this one is too good not to share. Imagine the possibilities … your next staff meeting … a fleet of these for the next conference on global warming … shooting down the “carpool only” lane … can’t you just picture you and your colleagues working, schmoozing and exercising all at the same time? Fit this baby up with wireless collaboration tools, and what more could you want?