Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


Newsletter archive > 2005 June 20 Issue

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  1. New Search Engine from EEVL: A cross-engine for exploring the deep web in engineering, computer science, and mathematics.
  2. Science Policy
  3. Around DC and on the Net
  4. New E-Books and Reports
  5. Interesting Websites and News from the Internet: Monterey Bay Aquarium, Conversations with Berkeley Researchers, Scirus Adds Access to Caltech Collection of Open Digital Archives, Reshaping Scholarly Communication, Athenaweb — a portal for audiovisual information on science is launched by the European Commission, World in the Balance: The People Paradox; Biological Sciences: Raptor Resource Project, Whatever Happened to Polio?, Botany Photo of the Day; Computer and Information Science: Carnegie Mellon: Alan and Danny’s Puzzle Page, 3-D Simulations; Education and Human Resources: Women & Science: Statistics and Indicators, Rank Graduate Programs, The Bayer Facts of Science Education XI: American Parents Speak Out About Their Children and Science, 2005 Expoloravision Awards, Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching: INTERMEP, Teacher-To-Teacher Workshops; Engineering: Profiles of Engineering Colleges, NASA: How Does This Work?; Geosciences: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Centennial Alliance; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Chasing Venus: Observing the Transits of Venus, 1631-2004, PubChem and ACS, Drexel University: Archimedes, Optics for Kids, A Maths Dictionary for Kids by Jenny Eather, Cornell University: Project Euclid; Polar Programs: Drilling Lake Vostok; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: Traditions of the Sun: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Virtual Hilltribe Museum, The Human Brain … and more … plus news items from Edupage
  6. Inter Alia: Create your own monster … (virtually)
  1. New Search Engine from EEVL

    EEVL Xtra
    Brief article about EEVL Xtra from ResourceShelf
    A new, free service which helps people find: articles, books, the best websites, the latest industry news, job announcements, technical reports, technical data, full text reprints, the latest research, teaching and learning resources, and more, in engineering, mathematics and computing, has been released by EEVL.

    EEVL Xtra is aimed at academics, researchers, students, lecturers, practicing professionals and anyone else looking for information in engineering, mathematics and computing. EEVL Xtra cross-searches (hence the ‘X’ in Xtra) over 20 different collections relevant to engineering, mathematics and computing, including content from over 50 publishers and providers. Databases cross-searched include: CiteSeer, Copac, CSA Hot Topics, CISTI, ePrints UK, Inderscience Journals, IoP Electronic Journals, NASA Technical Reports, Pearson Education, zetoc, and more.

    EEVL Xtra helps with subject-based information retrieval. In many cases, the full text of items found via EEVL Xtra should be freely available. In some cases, the full items are details of books, websites or articles. In some cases, the full text of items may be available to you if your institution subscribes to the publication.

    In addition, there are several ‘Xtra Extras’ featured on the home page which link to:

    • Free indepth reports on topical issues.
    • Free Civil Engineering trends articles.
    • Validated Engineering Design Data information.
    • Free engineering newsletters.
    • Trade Publications free to qualified professionals.
    • An Ejournal Search Engine of over 250 freely available full-text ejournals.
    • The latest job vacancies from over 30 sources.
    • The latest engineering, mathematics and computing news from over 60 sources.
    • Discounts on new technical books.
    • A free service providing information on publications and meetings in offshore engineering.
    • 14 free Internet information skills tutorials.
    • A free Manufacturing bibliographic database.
    • A free monthly Internet newsletter.
    • A subject launchpad.

    EEVL Xtra is an initiative of Heriot Watt University, and is produced by EEVL, the Internet guide to engineering, mathematics and computing.


    Deeper Science Education, Not More MCAS Tests
    With a rallying cry of “Deeper Science Education, Not More MCAS tests,” a group of scientists and science educators released a statement urging the Massachusetts Board of Education to vote against imposing science and technology MCAS exams as graduation requirements. The group, including science professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, education professors, secondary science teachers and developers of science curricula, address what they believe is necessary to prepare students for further study and practice in science. They describe how a science graduation requirement test will undermine the goal of better science education in Massachusetts public schools.

    Science Academies Issue Statements on Climate Change, African Development (pdf)
    The U.S. National Academy of Sciences joined 10 other national science academies in calling on world leaders, particularly those of the G8 countries meeting next month in Scotland, to acknowledge that the threat of climate change is clear and increasing, to address its causes, and to prepare for its consequences. Sufficient scientific understanding of climate change exists for all nations to identify cost-effective steps that can be taken now to contribute to substantial and long-term reductions in net global greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. The statement echoes the findings and recommendations of several previous reports by the U.S. National Academies. In another joint statement, G8 science academies and the Network of African Science Academies urged world leaders to embed science, technology, and innovation in all aspects of international development in Africa.

    Science Educator Amicus Briefs
    “Friend of Court” opposition to evolution warning labels Have been filed by coalitions of proscience organizations in support of a recent U.S. District Court decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District, that ruled that evolution “warning labels” in public school textbooks in Cobb County, GA, were unconstitutional. The “friend of the court briefs” were filed in the eleventh circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, in response to an appeal seeking to overturn the Selman decision.

    Signatories included national and local organizations representing scientists, science educators, civil libertarians, and concerned proscience citizens, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Jewish Congress, The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) and others.

    “The Cobb County stickers send a misguided message to students that evolution lacks scientific status,” said Mike Padilla, NSTA President. “This is damaging to students and their understanding about the scientific process, and it jeopardizes the professional responsibility of science teaches to teach good science. NSTA is pleased the stickers were ordered removed and we strongly urge the court to uphold this decision.” (From NSTA)

    Controlling Science
    This four part series was first broadcast March 2004. It is available for download in mp3 format from the BBC. “Recent legislation brought in to fight terrorism has resulted in tighter border controls for scientists and information. As a result, American science is concentrating on defence technologies and there is less money available for fundamental research.” Includes:

    1. Part 1: Visas — “It became much more difficult for scientists to enter the US.”
    2. Part 2: Research — “Emphasis on defence technologies has led to more secrecy.”
    3. Part 3: Diplomacy — “Co-operation might eventually help defuse political tensions.”
    4. Part 4: Competition — “Others are beginning to challenge American scientific dominance.”
  3. Around DC and on the Net

    Thomas L. Friedman
    “In his latest book, The World is Flat, Friedman describes the unplanned cascade of technological and social shifts that effectively leveled the economic world, and ‘accidentally made Beijing, Bangalore and Bethesda next-door neighbors.’ Today, ‘individuals and small groups of every color of the rainbow will be able to plug and play.’ Friedman’s list of ‘flatteners’ includes the fall of the Berlin Wall; the rise of Netscape and the dotcom boom that led to a trillion dollar investment in fiber optic cable; the emergence of common software platforms and open source code enabling global collaboration; and the rise of outsourcing, offshoring, supply chaining and insourcing. Friedman says these flatteners converged around the year 2000, and ‘created a flat world: a global, web-enabled platform for multiple forms of sharing knowledge and work, irrespective of time, distance, geography and increasingly, language.’ At the very moment this platform emerged, three huge economies materialized — those of India, China and the former Soviet Union — ‘and three billion people who were out of the game, walked onto the playing field.’ A final convergence may determine the fate of the U.S. in this final chapter of globalization. A ‘political perfect storm,’ as Friedman describes it — the dotcom bust, the attacks of 9/11, and the Enron scandal — ‘distract us completely as a country.’ Just when we need to face the fact of globalization and the need to compete in a new world, ‘we’re looking totally elsewhere.’ ” (From MITWorld)

    If you would like to listen to more Tom Friedman, try the podcast “Being Opinionated in America: Maureen Dowd & Thomas Friedman” at

    (eco)Logical: Greening the 21st Century City
    Quote: “This is not idealism. Going green makes sense economically and politically. When we use less energy, we save money. If we lower the city temperature one degree by green methods, we save 150 million dollars in energy costs.” — Mayor Richard Daley

    Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is the 2005 recipient of the Kevin Lynch Award, presented by the School of Architecture and Planning, City Design + Development. The award was established in 1988 to honor Kevin Lynch, an MIT professor and one of the 20th century’s foremost urban thinkers. In this presentation, Mayor Daley gives a stunning overview of the “greening” of Chicago, demonstrating the cumulative effect on the city, its people and its economy.


    • Richard M. Daley, Mayor, City of Chicago
    • Ken Greenberg, Principal, Greenberg Consultants Ltd.
    • Hillary Brown, Architect and Principal, New Civic Works
    • Robert Campbell, Architecture Critic, The Boston Globe
    • Douglas I. Foy, Secretary of the Office for Commonwealth Development, State of Massachusetts

    Featured InterView: Dr. Claude M. Steele
    Growing up just outside of Chicago during the civil rights era, Claude Steele was raised with an awareness of the importance of education for black Americans. His interest in literature nearly led him to become a writer, but he found that social psychology was more to his liking.

    RFF Policy Leadership Forum, June 23
    The RFF Policy Leadership Forum hosts Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-New York), Chairman, House Science Committee, Speaking about Environment and Energy Priorities: A View from Congress, on Thursday, June 23 at 5:00 p.m. at the 1st Floor Conference Room, RFF Conference Center, 1616 P Street, NW, Washington, DC.

    Please R.S.V.P. for this event by June 21 to Virginia Kromm, or (202) 328-5042.

    In his 22 years in Congress, Rep. Boehlert has proven himself a leading champion of clean air, clean water, land conservation, and efficient energy use, often noting that “meaningful environmental legislation may be our single most important legacy.” He has supported agricultural conservation programs to preserve open space and wetlands and protect wildlife habitat; promoted the strengthening of fuel economy standards for cars and trucks; favored technologies to create clean and renewable energy sources; and sponsored legislation to significantly reduce power plant emissions that result in acid rain.

    Rep. Boehlert has chaired the House Science Committee since 2001. The Committee oversees more than $30 billion in annual federal nonmilitary scientific and technology research and development programs, with jurisdiction over NASA, the National Science Foundation, and research and development initiatives within the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Commerce.

    The RFF Policy Leadership Forum provides prominent individuals in the public policy arena with a neutral site in which to present and discuss their ideas on important energy, environmental, and natural resources issues. RFF strives for political balance among speakers and makes all events open to the public free of charge.

  4. New E-Books and Reports

    Evidence: An Essential Tool: Planning for and Gathering Evidence Using the Design-Implementation-Outcomes (DIO)Cycle of Evidence. NSF, 2005.

    Scientists, Engineers, and Technicians in the United States: 2000. NSF, 2005.

    Scientists, Engineers, and Technicians in the United States: 1999. NSF, 2005.

    Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2006. CRS, 2005.

    Science and Technology Policy: Issues for the 109th Congress. CRS, 2005.

    Charting the Landscape/Mapping New Paths: Museums, Libraries, and K-12 Education. IMLS, 2005.

    Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. NAP, 2005.

    New Report, Charting the Landscape/Mapping New Paths: Museums, Libraries, and K-12 Education. Inst. of Museum and Library Services, 2005.

    Collections for the Future: the MA’s inquiry. Museum Association, 2005.

    National Nanotechnology Initiative at Five Years. PCAST, 2005.

    Advanced Technology Program: Inherent Factors in Selection Process Are Likely to Limit Identification of Similar Research. GAO-05-759T, May 26, 2005.

    Measuring Service-Sector Research and Development. NIST, 2005.

    Condition of Education 2005. US Dept. Education, 2005.

    An International Perspective on Advancing Technologies and Strategies for Managing Dual-Use Risks: Report of a Workshop. NAP, 2005.

    Strengthening U.S-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation. NAP, 2005.

    Improving Breast Imaging Quality Standards. NAP, 2005.

    Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries. NAP, 2005.

    The Astrophysical Context of Life. NAP, 2005.

    Avoiding Surprise in an Era of Global Technology Advances. NAP, 2005.

    Decision Making for the Environment: Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities. NAP, 2005.

    High-Performance Structural Fibers for Advanced Polymer Matrix Composites. NAP, 2005

    Interim Report of the Committee on Changes in New Source Review Programs for Stationary Sources of Air Pollutants. NAP, 2005.

    An International Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility — Exploring a Russian Site as a Prototype: Proceedings of an International Workshop (prepublication). NAP, 2005.

    The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Designing Nanostructures at the Interface between Biomedical and Physical Systems: Conference Focus Group Summaries. NAP, 2005.

    Space Studies Board Annual Report 2004. NAP, 2005.

  5. Interesting Websites and News from the Internet

    Conversations with Berkeley Researchers

    In these lively and unedited interviews, distinguished faculty from the University of California, Berkeley, talk about their lives and their work. Includes:

    • Roy Caldwell; Professor of Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley: “Evolution of a Biologist,” 6/20/01.
      Marine biologist Caldwell discusses his current research on the stomatopod, an invertebrate creature with highly advanced visual and signalling capabilities.
    • Manuel Castells; Professor of Sociology and City & Regional Planning, UCB: “Identity and Change in the Network Society,” 5/9/01.
      Social theorist Castells discusses the myriad implications of the network society.
    • Steven Chu; Nobel Laureate in Physics; Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: “A Scientist’s Random Walk,” 2/13/04.
      Physicist Chu shares his research and experience being a scientist.
    • Frederick Crews; Professor Emeritus of English, UC Berkeley: “Criticism and the Empirical Attitude,” 8/24/99.
      Critic and writer Crews talks about his battles with conventional interpretations and his passion for the English language.
    • Ernst B. Haas; Robson Research Professor of Government, UC Berkeley: “Science and Progress in International Relations,” 10/30/00.
      The inimitable political scientist, who recently passed away, talks here about his life, his ideas, and his groundbreaking research on nationalism.
    • Eva Harris; Assistant Professor of Public Health, UC Berkeley: “Making Science Accessible,” 3/15/01.
      Molecular biologist Harris, a MacArthur Fellow, discusses DNA research in microbiology and how her work led to an innovative contribution to world health.
    • Nelson W. Polsby; Heller Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley: “Institutional Change in the U.S. Congress,” 9/4/02.
      Political scientist Polsby discusses scholarly communities and the nature of leadership as well as his research on the U.S. Congress.
    • Nancy Scheper-Hughes; Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley: “Studying the Human Condition: Habits of a Militant Anthropologist,” 12/14/99.
      Anthropologist Scheper-Hughes, author of numerous award-winning works, discusses schizophrenia, infant mortality, and the Civil Rights movement.
    • Lawrence Stark, M.D.; Professor Emeritus of Engineering and Optometry, UC Berkeley: “The Mind’s Eye,” 8/16/00.
      The multifaceted Dr. Stark discusses how his research in medicine, cybernetics, and engineering has advanced our understanding of how we see.
    • Charles H. Townes; Nobel Laureate and Professor of the Graduate School, UC Berkeley: “Adventures of a Scientist,” 2/15/00.
      Winner of the Nobel Prize for his role in the invention of the maser and laser, Physicist Townes recounts his life’s journey of discovery, wonder, and collaboration.
    • Harold L. Wilensky; Professor Emeritus of Political Science, UC Berkeley: “Comparing Rich Democracies,” 10/29/02.
      Political Scientist Wilensky talks about his recently published book, Rich Democracies. This landmark work is the first comparison of its kind in examining the unique nature of wealthy democratic states.
    • Tim White; Professor of Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley: “On the Trail of our Human Ancestors,” 9/18/03.
      Paleoanthropologist White talks about his formative years, his research and recent discoveries, and identifies the challenges facing his field.

    and more …

    Reshaping Scholarly Communication
    A website from the University of California that addresses the challenges and opportunities presented by the current crisis in scholarly communication. Includes a section on “how stakeholders are making a difference.”

    Athenaweb — a portal for audiovisual information on science is launched by the European Commission
    The European Commission, in association with a number of professional media and science organisations, is launching an innovative web portal designed for audiovisual and scientific communities in Europe, to support their work in promoting and communicating about science. Functions of this new platform include an electronic library of science programmes, an online agenda of key events, a European science news service and a forum for co-productions and partnerships.

    Janez Potoènik, European Commissioner for Science and Research said “Most European citizens get their information from television, including on science and research issues. We need to make sure that the information available is of the highest possible quality. AthenaWeb is an innovative response to some of the problems faced when communicating about science and technology.”

    Developed in close partnership with communication and science professionals, this pilot project consists of a web-based service with a number of innovative functions. These include:

    • A fully searchable, multilingual electronic library of science programmes
    • A European science news service, constantly updated with information from a range of sources
    • Online screening in medium or high definition
    • New types of contract for the negotiation, sale or exchange of material
    • Background dossiers on important science and research themes
    • An online agenda of important events across Europe
    • A forum/marketplace for co-productions and partnerships.

    Free registration is required. This is a site well worth your notice!

    Monterey Bay Aquarium
    This lovely website is replete with vivid images and videos, interesting activities, conservation tips, and more. It is arranged in a user-friendly manner, is a visual treat, and has something of interest for nearly anyone. See sharks, jellies, sea otters, a kelp forest …

    World in the Balance: The People Paradox
    It took all of human history until the year 1804 for our population to reach its first billion. Now a billion new people are added every dozen years. What does the future hold for Earth’s growing human family and its environmental health? In “The People Paradox,” the first installment of NOVA’s two-hour special “World in the Balance,” our producers investigate three countries — India, Kenya, and Japan — where social and economic forces have produced starkly different population profiles. With moving personal stories, this program gives an up-to-date global snapshot of today’s human family, now numbering 6.3 billion and likely to increase to nearly 9 billion by 2050. Here’s what you’ll find online:

    • Out of House and Home — Can what happened on one small island in the South Pacific serve as a cautionary tale for the entire planet?
    • Voices of Concern — Interviews with five experts reveal the threats facing human populations, national economies, and the global climate.
    • Producer’s Stories — Go behind the scenes with filmmakers as they struggle to capture complex human stories.
    • Material World — Open your eyes to the rich-poor divide with these photos showing average families and their possessions.
    • Population Campaigns — Compare how three developing nations have tried to slow rapid population growth.
    • Human Numbers Through Time — Examine the startling population growth over the past two millennia, and see what’s coming in the next 50 years.
    • Global Trends Quiz — Test your understanding of the population trends and environmental challenges facing nations around the world.
    • Be a Demographer — Play a matching game to see how demographic data reflect and shape the future of the U.S. and three other countries.
    • Earth in Peril — How do consumption and rapid population growth affect our planet’s natural resources? Explore the many ways in this collection of maps.
    • Also, Links & Books, Educator Role Plays, a Teacher’s Guide, a video preview of the program, and the program transcript.

    Scirus Adds Access to Caltech Collection of Open Digital Archives
    Over 3000 documents are searchable. Earlier this week, Scirus added access to the T-Space repository (over 2500 documents) from the University of Toronto. You can select these and other institutional repositories from the Scirus advanced search interface. (From ResourceShelf) (If you aren’t familiar with Scirus, it is the web search engine developed by Elsevier to search the science part of the web.)

    Biological Sciences

    Raptor Resource Project
    Finally, a webcam the whole family can enjoy. This nonprofit conservation group pokes cameras inside the nests of peregrine falcons, ospreys, eagles, and owls. You can watch the birds cozy up with their eggs or coddle their newly hatched chicks. Check the what’s new page to see what the birds have been up to recently, and get the stats on each nest’s occupants. At the Eyrie, you can read the project director’s blog or peruse reports on bird banding and family trees. There’s even downloadable falcon wallpaper and fact sheets for more details. If the birdcams intrigue you enough to want your own live version, you’ll find instructions on building a nest box. You don’t need binoculars to watch bird life — you can do it from your computer. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    Botany Photo of the Day
    “In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.”

    Inspired by NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, the gardeners and plant enthusiasts at the University of British Columbia’s Botanical Centre have grown their very own photo blog. The first entry, on April 5, 2005, of a Chinese parasol storax, let it be known that these pictures would be painterly and lush. From a close-up of ferns, a Himalayan blue poppy, or this delicate fragrant granadilla, the diverse plants of Canada and the plentiful holdings of the UBC garden bloom forth. Categories include mosses, conifers, and the always-popular flowering plants. If you’re the type who thinks fungus is don’t-touch-that gross, dare to view these beauties. The garden syndicates its content through RSS, so plant a feed and see a new picture blossom each day. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    Whatever Happened to Polio?
    Until AIDS, polio was the “most notorious disease” in 20th-century America. In 1916 alone it took the lives of 6,000 Americans, many of them children. It’s difficult to believe that this debilitating illness forced family separations and quarantines, but it did. Polio also gave rise to the March of Dimes and the iron lung and influenced a president who suffered from the disease. This Smithsonian site explores how polio changed us, the vaccines that halted its crushing advance, and its medical legacy. Filled with pop-up audio, pictures, a timeline, and quotes, the site traces how deeply polio marked U.S. history and culture. It also reminds us that this debilitating disease is very much present in the world today as it continues to endanger many around the globe. Tragically, a site entitled “Whatever Happened to Polio?” must also ask, “Will there always be polio?” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    Computer and Information Science

    Carnegie Mellon: Alan and Danny’s Puzzle Page
    Alan Frieze and Danny Sleator, professors from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science, are the hosts of this website of puzzles. Every few weeks, they post a new puzzle and a few weeks later, they post the solution and related references. The fairly advanced puzzles generally involve constructing an algorithm or a proof, and some also involve writing a computer program to solve them. Previously posted puzzles and their solutions are also available here. [VF] (From the Scout Report)

    3-D Simulations

    Stanford University: Folding@home
    Center for Automation in Nanobiotech: Nanorobotics
    University of Texas Austin: Robotics Research Group
    EdCenter: Interactive 3D Modelling
    EuclideanSpace: Building a 3D World
    The Breve Simulation Environment
    Cyberbotics, Ltd.: Webots (TM)
    Three-dimensional (3-D) rendering and animation technology is not only used for entertainment, but also for research and educational purposes. The technology can be used for purposes of scientific simulation in fields such as physics, biology, or chemistry. For example, Stanford University’s Folding@home project (1) uses 3-D simulations and distributed computing to study protein folding, misfolding, aggregation, and related diseases. Three-D simulations can also be used to observe phenomena that would normally be impossible to scrutinize in detail, as is demonstrated on this website on Nanorobotics (2). This next website describes work by the Robotics Research Group (3) in using 3-D simulations to enhance undergraduate and graduate engineering education. The EdCenter (4) makes available several compressed files of 3-D simulations that model earthquake data, Mars, a San Diego Fly Through, and more. On this website (5), Martin Baker provides “all you need to know about 3D theory” and this website (6) provides access to a free open-source software package which “makes it easy to build 3-D simulations of decentralized systems and artificial life.” This last article from Cyberbotics, Ltd. (7) discusses how mobile robotics simulation programs can be used to design robots. [VF] (From the Scout Report)

    Education and Human Resources

    The Bayer Facts of Science Education XI: American Parents Speak Out About Their Children and Science
    “According to the latest national science education/science literacy survey from Bayer Corporation, despite the fact that women, African-Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans are under-represented in science and engineering (S&E) in the United States, parents of these students are overwhelmingly confident that their children — both boys and girls — can succeed in these subjects in school and in the workplace. The survey also reveals a subtle gender bias. While almost all the parents believe S&E careers are desirable for the children, 65% say they are ‘very desirable’ for the sons, but only 41% say ‘very desirable’ for their daughters. All parents were united in their belief that the science and engineering communities need to do a better job of making today’s students more aware of the wide range of job opportunities available to them in these fields.’ (From NSTA)

    Women & Science: Statistics and Indicators

    • Exactly how many women are there in European research?
    • Are there more women than men?
    • How are women distributed across European research?
    • Is European research affected by a gender bias?
    • Are women interested in different areas than men? Do they go on to work in the fields in which they have studied?
    • Can they expect the same rewards and benefits from a scientific career as their male counterparts?
    • Are there barriers to women’s productivity within the scientific system?
    • Do women achieve and produce more than men?
    • Why are women less likely than men to seek research funding?
    • How are women scientists regarded by their peers, both male and female?
    • Who defines the rules of the scientific game?

    Although it is still not possible to answer all of these questions, the these webpages contain information that can help us begin to understand the answers. You can download the latest indicators available on the subject of women and science for the 25 EU Member States and the 7 countries associated to the European Union’s 5th and 6th Framework Programmes. If you want to examine these data for your own analysis, you can also download the raw statistics.

    2005 Expoloravision Awards
    At a Washington, D.C. press conference and awards banquet, the Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) ExploraVision Awards Program honored eight 2005 national winning teams — including four first-place and four second-place winners. Students combined creativity with scientific knowledge and research to envision technologies that could make the world a safer and better place. Moved by last year’s tragic tsunami, one winning team proposed an innovative satellite-based earthquake warning system. Winners were selected from a group of 4,405 student entries representing the work of more than 13,500 students from across the U.S. and Canada. The ExploraVision program is sponsored by Toshiba Corporation, the Toshiba America Group Companies, and the Toshiba America Foundation, and is administered by NSTA. By working in groups of two to four, students chose a technology that exists today and envision what it might be like 20 years in the future. Since the program’s inception, over 240,000 students have participated. In addition to an all-expenses paid trip to the nation’s capital for an awards weekend this weekend, each student on the four first-place teams will receive a $10,000 savings bond, and students on the second-place teams will each receive a $5,000 savings bond. (From NSTA)

    Rank Graduate Programs
    At this site from, a form walks you through rating various graduate school characteristics in a given discipline on their relative importance to you. Characterisitics include educational quality measures, faculty reputation and activity measures, program size measures, funding measures, and program composition measures. You are then presented with a list of graduate programs that best fit your needs, according to information from National Research Council data.

    Teacher-To-Teacher Workshops
    Teacher-to-Teacher Workshops are closed-captioned video footage from previously held workshops provided by the US Department of Education. The workshops “brought together some of the nation’s most effective teachers and education experts to share with their colleagues research-based practices and proven methods of using data to inform instruction.” The video courses can be viewed either online or on the Florida Education Channel. By completing the free enrollment process, teachers have access to the professional development courses and the electronic Professional System, or ePDC, which is a personal portfolio that will document a teachers’ professional development. The courses cover English/Language Arts and Math/Science instruction as well as some topics broadly applicable to all educators, such as basics on No Child Left Behind, Building Teacher Leaders and Differentiated Instruction. [VF] (From the Scout Report)

    Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching: INTERMEP
    This website features a variety of projects and products produced by the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CIMT) at the University of Exeter. For example, the Mathematics Enhancement Program is an ongoing project to develop and trial a new mathematics course with primary schools in the United Kingdom. Results from diagnostic tests are posted online along with the instructional units and related curriculum materials. The International Project on Mathematical Attainment is a longitudinal, international study of mathematical attainment, which follows students in several countries from their first year in school onwards. The tests used in the study and conference reports from 1999, 2002 and 2003 are posted online. Also available here is the International Journal for Mathematics Teaching & Learning, which is published only in electronic form and “aims to enhance mathematics teaching for all ages (and abilities) up to 18 years, through relevant articles, reviews and information from around the world.” They invite anyone involved in the teaching of mathematics to contribute. The section called The Complete CIMT Index offers links to a variety of instructional resources and descriptions of other projects associated with the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching. [VF] (From the Scout Report)


    NASA: How Does This Work?
    The videos on this website from NASA demonstrate how things developed and used at NASA work, including such things as solid rocket boosters, space shuttle main engines, and parachutes. The website is intended to “showcase the creativity and dedication that allow the challenges of space flight to become some of our greatest achievements.” The videos footage and silted graphics are accompanied by narration and printed subtitles. [VF] (From the Scout Report)

    Profiles of Engineering Colleges
    “This directory provides detailed profiles of U.S. and Canadian schools offering undergraduate and graduate engineering, as well as engineering technology programs with the intent of preparing prospective students for their future education in engineering. The descriptions of institutions represented in this directory allow students to compare schools using a range of characteristics from location and degrees offered to student appointments and research expenditures.” Information was furnished by institutions that responded to ASEE’s annual survey. Information is available from 1998 to present. You will find contact information, statistics, costs, programs and more. An excellent tool for comparing engineering programs.


    The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

    1906 San Francisco Earthquake Centennial Alliance
    The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
    Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco — The Great 1906 Earthquake And Fire
    Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916
    San Francisco after the '06
    “At almost precisely 5:12 a.m., local time, a foreshock occurred with sufficient force to be felt widely throughout the San Francisco Bay area. The great earthquake broke loose some 20 to 25 seconds later, with an epicenter near San Francisco. Violent shocks punctuated the strong shaking which lasted some 45 to 60 seconds. The earthquake was felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles and inland as far as central Nevada.

    The California earthquake of April 18, 1906 ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time. Today, its importance comes more from the wealth of scientific knowledge derived from it than from its sheer size. Rupturing the northernmost 430 kilometers of the San Andreas fault from northwest of San Juan Bautista to the triple junction at Cape Mendocino, the earthquake confounded contemporary geologists with its large, horizontal displacements and great rupture length. Indeed, the significance of the fault and recognition of its large cumulative offset would not be fully appreciated until the advent of plate tectonics more than half a century later. Analysis of the 1906 displacements and strain in the surrounding crust led Reid (1910) to formulate his elastic-rebound theory of the earthquake source, which remains today the principal model of the earthquake cycle.”

    The centennial is coming up, and folks are already planning for it.

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    Chasing Venus: Observing the Transits of Venus, 1631-2004
    “This exhibit provides background information and history of transits of Venus, the astronomical events where ‘the planet Venus passes directly between Earth and the Sun, appearing as a small black dot on the Sun’s disk.’ Features details about seven past transits of Venus (1631, 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882, 2004), and the upcoming transit in 2012. Includes links to related sites. From the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    PubChem and ACS
    “The American Chemical Society (ACS) is calling on Congress to shut down the NIH’s PubChem, a freely accessible database that connects chemical information with biomedical research and clinical information, organizing facts in numerous public databases into a unified whole. It is a critical component of NIH’s Molecular Libraries Initiative, which in turn is a key element of the NIH strategic ‘roadmap’ to speed new medical treatments and improve healthcare. ACS claims that PubChem competes with its Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS).” (From Univ. of California Office of Scholarly Communication)

    Optics for Kids
    This site provides an introduction to the field of optics for children and includes interactive demonstrations, instructions for experiments, games, lesson plans, and other resources in various areas of optics (such as magnification, diffraction, filters, and optical illusions). In English and Spanish. From the Optical Society of America (OSA), a professional membership organization. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    A Maths Dictionary for Kids by Jenny Eather
    “The Maths Dictionary is animated, interactive, and allows students to practice their math skills. Over 500 terms are explained in simple language. Click on ‘billion’ and discover that you have 10 billion brain cells working for you right now. Roll your mouse over the world time zone chart and you instantly know the time for that part of the world. Every math teacher should bookmark this Web site.“ (From Blue Web’n)

    Cornell University: Project Euclid
    Project Euclid, available through the Cornell University Library, is “a user-centered initiative to create an environment for the effective and affordable distribution of serial literature in mathematics and statistics.” The project is a collaborative partnership with scholarly publishers, professional societies, and academic libraries. The goal is to provide full-text searching, reference linking, interoperability through the Open Archives Initiative, and long-term retention of data. Visitors can “Tour Euclid“ to read more about the functionality of the website, including the different options for access. Some publishers require a paid subscription, while others may offer a pay-per-view option or free downloads. Multiple linking options make this a dynamic database. The website has a simple search function and the option to browse the database by journal title, publisher or discipline. A News section provides updates on the project and newly added journals. [VF] (From the Scout Report)

    Drexel University: Archimedes
    Chris Rorres, a retired professor from the Department of Mathematics at Drexel University and currently a part-time lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, maintains this site all about Archimedes. The main page of the website provides some quick facts about Archimedes, such as his inventions (i.e., war machines) and fields of science he is credited with initiating (i.e., hydrostatics and static mechanics). Often called the “father of integral calculus,” Archimedes wrote about topics such as plane equilibriums, quadrature of the parabola, the sphere and cylinder, spirals, conoids and spheroids, floating bodies, and measurement of a circle. These and other topics are explored further in the articles and online resources. Some sections provide background on his life, his death, and feature collections of pictures of Archimedes and stamps of Archimedes. [VF] (From the Scout Report)

    Polar Programs

    Antarctica’s Lake Vostok

    Drilling Lake Vostok
    The Lost World of Lake Vostok
    Michael Studinger’s Lake Vostok Homepage
    Does Life Exist in Antarctic Lake Buried Under Miles of Ice?
    Lake Vostok: Information From
    It sometimes seems as if our planet has no secrets left — but deep beneath the great Antarctic ice sheet scientists made an astonishing discovery. They found one of the largest lakes in the world. Its very existence defies belief. Its extreme environment may be home to unique flora and fauna, never seen before, and NASA are excited by what it could teach us about extraterrestrial life. But 4 kilometres of ice stand between the lake and the surface, and breaking this seal without contaminating the most pristine body of water on the planet is possibly one of the greatest challenges science faces in the 21st century. Lake Vostok’s waters may hold many new species as it is an ecosystem that has been sealed-off from the outside world for millions of years.

    Scientists had previously drilled into the ice above the lake but had stopped well short of the water-ice interface. Now Russia has obtained a permit to do further drilling, with the ultimate goal to reach the water under the ice.

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    Virtual Hilltribe Museum
    Much of the received wisdom regarding the preservation of indigenous or highly localized cultures would seem to suggest that technology would seem to be effectively destroying their traditions and folkways. Providing a counterpoint to this view is the Virtual Hilltribe Museum, which is a product of the Mirror Art Group of Chiang Rai, Thailand. With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, the organization is guided by the statement that “We believe that empowerment of minority cultures via media and technology is essential for their survival.” While this site focuses primarily on the experience of the hillpeople in northern Thailand, the Mirror Art Group’s mission is “to stimulate interest and educate all people interested in learning about hilltribe cultures across the world”. On their well-designed and thorough site, visitors can learn about the various hilltribes through interactive features, including voice recordings, short video clips. Visitors would do well to take a close look at the “Slices of Life” area of the site, which contains a number of first-hand observations about hilltribe marriage customs and one village elder reciting his genealogy. [KMG] (From the Scout Report)

    The Human Brain
    “Here you can get to know your brain, ‘the food it likes, the challenges it craves, the rest it requires, the protection it deserves.’ Provides information about nutrition, brain injuries, lead poisoning, the effect of exercise and stress on brain functions, and related health topics (such as Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, depression, and stroke). From the Franklin Institute Online.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Traditions of the Sun: Chaco Culture National Historical Park
    Chaco Canyon is considered one of the most important National Historic Parks in the Southwestern United States and the full import of the area is only now being explored by researchers working in the area. This interactive site was developed through a rather collaborative process between NASA’s Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum and the National Park Service at Chaco Canyon, along with numerous other organizations and individuals. The key tool afforded visitors to the site is the ability to explore a variety of sites within the park that are not currently open to the public. This is made possible through satellite photographs and aerial photos, and a creative interface that allows users to toggle through the different areas of the park at their leisure. The site also includes a detailed timeline of events, numerous video clips, and an overview area which discusses the importance of this site. [KMG] (From the Scout Report)


    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:

    Researchers at the University of Buffalo (UB) are developing browser technology that endeavors to identify hidden connections in vast collections of documents. Rather than simply looking for matches to specified query terms, which is what typical search engines do, the UB technology seeks to uncover connections between ideas. According to John McCarthy, professor emeritus of computer science at Stanford University, a tool that successfully links concepts could be an important breakthrough. A number of federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), are investing in the research, which they hope can be used to find the sorts of connections that will aid efforts to fight terrorism. The project has been used to search the report from the 9/11 Commission as well as public Web pages, looking for connections regarding the hijackers. The tool searches for concepts such as names, dates, and places and maps the connections it finds, potentially resulting in trails of evidence useful to investigators or other authorities.
    CNET, 2 June 2005 (via Edupage).

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing a set of controls that federal agencies will be compelled to adopt to increase the security of their computer systems. The controls are part of an effort to bring agencies into compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). FISMA Implementation Project Leader Ron Ross said that agencies will be required to add 17 safety controls to their systems, noting that stronger controls will be required for more important systems. When finalized, the controls will become mandatory in January 2006. Agencies will have one year to implement the controls on existing systems; for new systems, the controls will be required immediately. Ross stressed that although it will not be “easy to put in all these controls and get them working,” the government must make every effort “to establish a federal level of due diligence” for its computer systems.
    Federal Computer Week, 9 June 2005 (via Edupage).

    A survey conducted by staffing firm Robert Half Technology paints a rosier picture for IT professionals than has been offered by the company for three years. Results of the survey, which polled CIOs at more than 1,400 U.S. companies, showed that 14 percent expect to hire full-time IT staff in the third quarter, while 3 percent projected reductions in IT staff. Eighty-one percent of respondents said their staffing levels will remain steady. Respondents indicated that the primary factors determining staffing levels were business expansion (38 percent) and the need for higher levels of customer and end-user support (21 percent). The report comes amid mixed signals regarding the IT job market. According to the Labor Department, the number of unemployed high-tech workers fell by 64,000 last year. Still, the overall number of unemployed IT professionals was nearly 150,000, and 60,000 high-tech jobs were cut in the first quarter of this year, double the number of jobs lost during the same period in the previous year.
    CNET, 9 June 2005 (via Edupage).

    A group of 12 higher education organizations has issued a statement outlining its position on several aspects of the anticipated revision of the Telecommunications Act. The group, which has set up a Web site ( that advances five principles, calls on the federal government to take appropriate steps to support the ongoing development of and access to the Internet. The group urges that the Internet be “open to all persons and all lawful content” and that “a level playing field for competing technologies” is vital. The group also supports allowing states and municipalities to implement high-speed networks that would bring broadband access to anyone in those areas, including many who might otherwise not have such access. The group also said the federal government should “renew its leading role in funding academic research and development in future Internet technologies.” Mark Luker, vice president of EDUCAUSE, one of the organizations in the consortium, said the initiative is “not only altruistic for all citizens but strategically important for higher education.”
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 1 June 2005 (sub. req’d)(via Edupage).

    The Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded a $246,000 grant to Virginia Tech to study ways to integrate wireless networks on a battlefield to ensure that they interoperate properly. The Defense University Research Instrumentation Program seeks to create a communications infrastructure based on networks — both wired and wireless — that can communicate with one another, according to Thomas Hou, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Virginia Tech and principal investigator on the project. Because wired and wireless networks have been developed separately, many have architectural differences that prevent them from interoperating. The project will also study smart antennas for wireless networks and video communication. The results of the project are expected to apply to network communication problems currently affecting emergency workers and first responders.
    Federal Computer Week, 31 May 2005 (via Edupage).

    The Association of American University Presses has become the latest group to voice objections to Google Print for Libraries, a project in which the search engine is scanning some or all of the books in five university and public libraries in the United States and Britain. In a letter to Google, the organization questions the notion that copyright law allows Google to scan copyrighted works into its database, even if only small portions of those texts are available online. Peter Givler, the group’s executive director, said that copyright law fundamentally applies to making copies, regardless of what is done with them. The Publishers Association, which represents publishers in England, has also objected to the project, raising many of the same objections as the Association of American University Presses. For its part, Google said it is working with publishers to address their concerns and to make the project beneficial to them as well. Hugh P. Jones, copyright counsel of the Publishers Association, said he has been in contact with Google but that so far the two groups have failed to agree.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 May 2005 (via Edupage).

    As handheld computing devices become increasingly common, organizations that maintain a variety of databases are modifying their content to allow for easy access by handheld devices. Chemical Abstracts Service, which is a division of the American Chemical Society, is finalizing a “mobile” version of a database that contains data on roughly 25 million molecules, allowing users of handheld devices to access molecular weights, boiling points, and other information in a format designed for portable devices. The final database will be available to the public later this year. Medical sciences already have a broad range of databases designed for handhelds, and many librarians see the trend continuing for other fields. As for the upcoming chemistry database, reactions are mixed, even at single institutions. At Yale University, David Austin, associate professor of chemistry, said the database will be extremely valuable, whereas Glenn Micalizio, assistant professor of organic chemistry, said he sees little value in it, given widespread access to laptops and desktops.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 27 May 2005 (sub. req’d) (via Edupage).

    Software designed to uncover plagiarism is increasingly being used not only for student papers, where it got its start, but also for academic journals, where it is turning up instances of self-plagiarism as well. Although some dismiss self-plagiarism as unimportant relative to plagiarizing another’s work, the practice of republishing one’s own work in various venues strikes others as similarly objectionable. Christian Collberg, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Arizona, characterized self-plagiarism as vita padding and said that self-plagiarists who are funded from public sources are misusing taxpayer money. Collberg is working on a software application specifically designed to uncover instances of self-plagiarism. Though not as concerned about self-plagiarism, Cornell University is testing a plagiarism-detection application on an archive it maintains of articles in physics, math, and computer science. Among the 300,000 articles in the archive, the tool has found a few thousand instances that warrant further investigation.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 19 May 2005 (sub. req’d) (via Edupage).

    Graduate students at Johns Hopkins University set out to see how much personal information they could collect on as many individuals as possible, using only the Internet and $50. The 41 students were in a course taught by Aviel D. Rubin, professor of computer science and technical director of the university’s Information Security Institute, who divided them into groups of three or four and instructed them to use only legal, public sources of information. The exercise mimicked the activities of data brokers, such as ChoicePoint and LexisNexis, and the students were able to collect and aggregate vast amounts of information, even with limited time and budgets. Although Rubin was pleased that fewer Social Security numbers were among the data collected than he had anticipated, privacy advocates insisted that such information remains easy to obtain, posing enormous risk of identity theft. Even without Social Security numbers, the data collected represented for some individuals a very broad picture of who they are, where they live, and activities in which they participate. Such access to personal information worries many, including Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who conducted a similar experiment, instructing his staff to try to steal his identity. Aside from information they discovered about Stevens, they were told they could buy his Social Security number for $65.
    New York Times, 18 May 2005 (registration req’d) (via Edupage).

    IBM this week unveiled its Economic Development Grid, an effort to bring grid computing out of research labs and into government, education, health care, and other areas. OneCleveland, a nonprofit organization working to bring high-speed Internet to the city of Cleveland, is the first to use the Economic Development Grid. OneCleveland has been working on the project with IBM for two years, according to Scot Rourke, president of the organization. The implementation includes several separate projects: the Higher Education Collaborative Grid, designed to give new access to higher education and increase enrollments at Ohio universities; the K-12 Outreach Grid, which gives K-12 teachers access to resources at other schools and universities; and the Healthcare Collaborative Grid, a system of sharing information among hospitals to improve health care. Organizers hope that the technology will attract business and other economic interests to the region.
    Internet News, 18 May 2005 (via Edupage).

    As digital delivery of printed material becomes increasingly efficient and common, some colleges and universities are relocating books from libraries to make room for facilities where students access content on computers. The University of Southern California was one of the first to create such a digital learning laboratory in 1994, and in the past few years it has been joined by schools including Emory University, the University of Georgia, the University of Arizona, the University of Michigan, and the University of Houston. The University of Texas at Austin has recently decided to move all of the books from its undergraduate library to other facilities and create an “electronic information commons.” No one expects books to disappear completely, but, according to Geneva Henry, executive director of the digital library initiative at Rice University, libraries should be primarily concerned with the exchange of ideas rather than simply storage of books. As colleges and universities work to provide appropriate services to students who have grown up with computers, the trend to use electronic resources is likely to continue.
    New York Times, 14 May 2005 (registration req’d) (via Edupage).

    Faculty at hundreds of colleges and universities are using small electronic devices similar to television remote controls as part of their in-class instruction. Commonly referred to as “clickers,” the devices allow students to respond to instructor questions by choosing one of several options or, in some cases, by entering a numeric answer. Answers are transmitted by either infrared or radio frequency signal to a receiver connected to a computer, which logs the responses and can track individual students’ responses, as for a quiz, or display responses from the entire class anonymously. Faculty who use the devices said that because they allow students to respond anonymously, they encourage participation from students who might be too shy to answer verbally in class, and they elicit more honest answers on controversial subjects. Stephen Bradforth, a chemistry professor at the University of Southern California, said that after he began using clickers in his classes, attendance and participation increased. He also noted that the devices force professors to think differently about how they teach their courses.
    Wired News, 14 May 2005 (via Edupage).

    Students at a growing number of colleges and universities have the opportunity to study video-game development, even as supporters of studies differ on whether the value of such programs lies in practical or theoretical application. At some campuses, such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison, students in gaming programs use video games as a foundation for understanding sociology, anthropology, economics, or pedagogy. Kurt Squire, who teaches at Wisconsin, said, “Our school is not in position a of turning out people for industry.” Programs at schools such as the University of Denver, on the other hand, focus their efforts on preparing students to work as video-game developers. Officials at that university credit the program with reversing the declining number of applicants to the computer science department. Scott Leutenegger, head of the university’s undergraduate gaming program, said that like academic film programs in the 1930s and 1940s, gaming programs were initially met with skepticism but have begun to earn wider respect. Still, he said, gaming programs are not for everyone. “This is an industry with high burnout rates, long hours, and incredibly tight deadlines,” said Leutenegger.
    CNET, 16 May 2005 (via Edupage).

    The debate over what some describe as a troubling shift in the stance of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for research it chooses to fund moved to the House Science Committee this week. DARPA came under fire from a number of sectors recently when it acknowledged that it would give preference in funding decisions to projects with more immediate results, rather than basic, long-term research with less obvious — but some say more vital — implications for developing new technologies. Critics of the change also said funding for cybersecurity projects was inadequate and should be increased. Joining the academics at the hearing who were critical of DARPA’s changed focus was Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-N.Y.), who expressed his support for basic research and for cybersecurity projects specifically. Anthony J. Tether, director of DARPA, defended his agency, saying that projects of the type described are in fact being funded. In addition, he suggested that funding for certain types of research, such as computer science, is often included in grants supporting other types of research, such as microelectronics.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 13 May 2005 (sub. req’d) (via Edupage).

    Dutch academics have publicly announced a Web site that offers free access to scholarly material from all of the country’s universities. The Digital Academic Repositories (DARE) project, which started a year ago as a test program, is a joint effort among all Dutch universities, the National Library of the Netherlands, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. DARE includes 47,000 academic articles and other digital resources, including bibliographic information, full text materials, and audio and video files. Organizers of the project said no other country allows such widespread and easy access to its academic research. Such open access publishing projects remain anathema to most commercial publishers, but supporters of open access argue that it is the appropriate publishing model, given digital technologies and increasing subscription costs for traditional academic publishing.
    The Register, 11 May 2005 (via Edupage).

    An online database that includes all available commentary on Shakespeare’s Hamlet is expected to debut within the next few months. The database was the brainchild of Bernice W. Kliman, who, in the early 1990s was working on a printed edition of such a collection for the Modern Language Association. Kliman saw the Internet as a better tool for such a project, and she raised about $1 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her idea. Over the past 10 years, scholars including Eric C. Rasmussen, a professor of English at the University of Nevada at Reno, have been working to gather every bit of scholarship and criticism ever written about the play and add it to the database. When the database is complete, users will be “able to see 400 years’ worth of commentary” for any single line of the play, according to Rasmussen. Certain items from critics in the 20th century had to be left out, however, due to copyright concerns. “We tried to, of course, credit the edition,” said Kliman, “but also just paraphrase rather than copy sentence by sentence.”
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 10 May 2005 (via Edupage).

    Computer users at more than 100 colleges and universities can now take advantage of changes made to the Google Scholar search tool that give more information about and easier access to available resources. Those institutions that are participating in the service have given Google details about which resources they have in their libraries and lists of online databases for which they have subscriptions. Users indicate their campus, and search results will direct them to the most direct means of getting the desired resource. Google said that initially the service will be free of advertisements, as the company works to build a base of “happy users.” Steven J. Bell, library director at Philadelphia University, noted that for universities that do not have necessary database tools, the new service is not an option. Bell also commented that although the service will be useful for some users, its limitations, including the resources available in the searches, will be problematic for other users, especially those with a deep understanding of a particular discipline.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 11 May 2005 (via Edupage).

    The following items are from “What’s New in IEEE Computing”

    Last month, IBM officials and U.S. professors gathered to discuss new ways of marketing computer science classes to American college students. According to Gina Poole, vice president of IBM’s Academic Initiative, some 2.2 million American computer jobs will need to be filled by 2010. The meeting was part of IBM’s Academic Initiative program, which donates money and equipment to schools in exchange for recruiting privileges. Some educators suggested restructuring their programs to utilize untapped interdisciplinary alliances, citing how Business and Economics majors could benefit from computer classes. Others suggested allowing a wider group of students to take the courses, such as how North Carolina electrical engineering students are double-majoring in computers.

    Researchers of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (BNL) are working on a new method that will greatly reduce the difficultly of researching millions of petabytes of data generated during physics experiments. The project simulates a recently developed software package, dubbed FastBit, with a bitmap index compression scheme, known as the World-Aligned Hybrid (WAH), which works to efficiently filter out unwanted data from Internet files at extremely high speeds. Tests conducted by the team reveal that WAH works significantly faster than other indexing systems.

  6. Inter Alia

    Beast Blender
    The Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists invites you to dabble in animals without dirtying your fingers. Their Beast Blender allows mad scientists to invent animals that nature never intended. Mix up the long black-and-white appendage of a ring-tailed lemur with the scaly body of an alligator. Test out a mosquito’s long proboscis or a white cockatoo’s plumage. Remember, the head doesn’t have to be in the front, nor the tail at the end, or so they say. Change the sizes and positions to suit your weirdest whims. You can save your alien beast or email it to friends. Don’t feel like changing the natural order of things? Check out the gallery and see what less scrupulous artists have built. Nightmare creatures come to life, thanks to taxidermists who usually deal with the dead. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)