Sci-Tech Library Newsletter


Newsletter archive > 2006 May 22 Issue

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  1. Café Scientifique: Join us at the Front Page on June 6 …
  2. Science Policy
  3. Around DC & on the Net
  4. New E-Books & Reports
  5. Interesting Websites and News from the Internet: Isla Earth, Iraqi Virtual Science Library, Junk Charts, Life on Air, Open Access Scholarly Databases — a bird’s eye view of the landscape; Biological Sciences: Australian Biological Resources Study, National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education, European Commission: Danube and Black Sea; Education and Human Resources: 2006 Tapestry Awardees, Guidance on New STEM Grant Program, Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Announced, New NASA Explorer Schools Named; Engineering: Chernobyl, Virtual Visit of the Canadian Space Agency, Super Mileage Challenge winners average over 1,000 MPG; Geosciences: Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, Losing Louisiana, Mystery of the Megaflood, Exploratorium: Faultline, Geospatial and Statistical Data Center at the University of Virginia, Volcano Under the City, Climate Change Experiment, Global Warming Newspaper Archive, Climate Chaos; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Einstein Explains the Equivalence of Energy and Matter, Astronomy Education Review; Polar Programs: Long-Term Change Photograph Pairs; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: Happiness Formula, The EForensics Project, Hatsheput: From Queen to Pharaoh …and more… plus news items from Edupage
  6. Inter Alia: Cryptozoology, Doonesbury’s Daughter …
  1. Café Scientifique

    Café Scientifique (Arlington)

    Neuroscientist Kathie Olsen
    Your Phantasmagorical Brain!
    Tuesday, June 6, 2006
    The Front Page — 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington (across from Ballston Commons Mall — Ballston Metro Stop)
    6:00–6:30  Light hors d’oeuvres (Buy your own drink or meal. Specials available.)
    6:30–8:00  Short presentation, followed by Q&A
    • Free and open to the public.
    • No science background required!
    • Limited seating — first come, first seated.
    Why not? (And because science needs you.)

    BACKGROUND: Café Scientifique (Arlington) and its pilot cousin, Café Scientifique (DC), are organized and sponsored by the National Science Foundation, a federal agency in Arlington, Va. The goal: to make science more accessible and accountable by featuring speakers whose expertise spans the sciences — and who can talk in plain English. Upcoming cafés will generally be held the first Tuesdays of the month, rotating locations in Arlington and in Washington D.C. We welcome your input. Complete a survey on-site, or write to Mary ( or Sarah (

    HISTORY: Café Scientifique began in France and the U.K., based on the French Café Philosophique, as a way for the public and scientists to mingle and discuss science issues in an informal setting. (See the Café Scientifique website). Science buffs and the simply curious meet in a friendly pub for a casual introduction to a current topic, led by an expert. Nearly 30 cafés now exist in the U.S. NSF inaugurated its monthly café in spring 2006. NSF-sponsored cafés to date include:

    • May 2006 — Science Journalist Kathy Sawyer and NASA Mars Exploration Lead Scientist Mike Meyer
      “Are We All Martians? What We Know, Don’t Know and Want to Know About Mars”
      Tues, May 2 — Top of the Hill, 319 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.
    • April 2006 — Astrophysicist Mike Turner
      “Before the Big Bang: What We Know, How We Know It and What We Want to Know About How the Universe Began”
      Tues., April 4 — The Front Page, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA

    TO FIND OUT MORE: To hear about upcoming cafés sponsored by NSF, subscribe to the NSF e-mail list. Send a message to In the text, write “subscribe cafesci.” Don’t add a signature. (You can unsubscribe at any time.)

  2. Science Policy

    Bipartisan bill would expand access to research, greater return on taxpayer investment
    “In an effort to increase taxpayers’ access to federally funded research, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday introduced the bipartisan Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006. The legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.).

    The bill requires every federal agency with an annual research budget of more than $100 million to implement a public access policy. The policy must ensure that articles generated through research funded by that agency are made available online within six months of publication.”

    Sen. Cronyn’s website includes the text of the bill, a press release, a one-pager, and a faq.

    SKIL Bill, Immigration Reform for Highly Skilled
    IEEE Statement on H-1B Cap
    On May 2nd, Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) also introduced an immigration reform bill that would, exempt all foreigners with a Masters or PhD from an American college or university, and those who have received post-doc medical training in the U.S., from the green card caps; exempts all foreign professionals who have worked in the US for 3 years from the green card caps (allow all H-1B workers to automatically switch their status after three years); more than doubles the number of green cards available annually to 290,000, and retains 57% of these for high-skill immigrants (other than those already exempted above). The bill also exempts family members from the cap, making more visas available to more workers. Cornyn’s bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee and has not yet been considered. (From IEEE Eye on Washington)

    Side by Side Comparisons of Reform Proposals
    Brought to you by “Tapping America’s Potential”. Two charts: a chart comparing the U.S. Senate’s National Innovation Act, its PACE Legislative Package, and Pres. Bush’s American Competitiveness Initiative as of February 2006 and a second chart comparing the House Major Innovation and Competitiveness Legislative Proposals as of March 2006.

    President Signs Executive Order to Develop National Math Panel
    President Bush signed an executive order that will officially establish a National Math Panel at the U.S. Department of Education, responsible for identifying and disseminating best practices in math education; and key administrators from NSF, NOAA, NASA, NIST, and the Departments of Energy and Education are summoned to testify about their STEM education programs before the House Science Committee. (From NSTA)

    Survey Reveals CEOs of America’s Top S&T Companies Concerned About Global Competition
    Survey Reveals CEOs of America’s Top Science and Tech Companies Concerned About Global Competition, but Few Tap Women and Minority Talent Pools

    A new survey commissioned by the Bayer Corporation found that many CEOs of some of the fastest growing American science and technology companies are concerned about a rising competition for scientific and technical workers and fear their company’s international competitors will gain an advantage. Four in five CEOs polled reported they are concerned that the United States is in danger of losing its global predominance in science and technology due to manpower shortage issues, and one-third are “very concerned.” In addition, well over one-half are concerned that their company will be able to attract and retain the scientific and technically trained employees it needs to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

    At the same time, while many acknowledge that their industries suffer from a lack of women, African-American, Native American and Hispanic American STEM workers, only one-third of executives indicate their company or employees participate in precollege education programs that attract, encourage, and sustain girls’ and minority students’ interest in math and science. In addition, executives give an average grade of C to the U.S. education system for how well it is doing providing U.S. companies with diverse and talented graduates who have the skills to be successful in today’s STEM careers. Titled Bayer Facts of Science Education XII: CEOs on STEM Diversity: The Need, The Seed, The Feed, the survey is part of Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense(r) (MSMS) program. (From NSTA Express)

  3. Around DC & on the Net

    Science Podcasts
    “On a pilot basis, Science will be offering periodic podcasts built around interesting stories in the journal and on its sister sites. You can listen to these audiocasts on your own computer simply by clicking on the ‘Listen to MP3’ links on the podcast announcements below. If you use a podcast aggregator like iTunes or Juice, you can subscribe to our podcast feed to automatically download the files for syncing to portable audio devices.”

    Topics include:

    • Influenza Special — Outlook for antiviral supply and universal flu vaccines; wild birds as flu vectors; responding to outbreaks; what we can learn from studying past pandemic viruses. (33 minutes)
    • Progress on Marfan, Cleaning Up the Literature, Human Cooperation, and More — A possible treatment breakthrough on Marfan syndrome; cleaning up the paper trail after fraud; how cooperative institutions evolve; and more. (27 minutes)
    • Carbon Emissions, Ice Flows, Type 1 Diabetes, and More — More on disappearing glaciers; Kyoto progress and pitfalls; disappointment for a potential diabetes treatment; and more (28 minutes)
    • Cassini at Enceladus, Easter Island Revisited, and More — One of Saturn’s most enigmatic satellites, up close and personal; a new date for first colonization of Easter Island; two-thymus mice; and more (27 minutes)
    • Disappearing Ice Sheets, Kids Online, and More — A roundup of stories from the AAAS Annual Meeting: Greenland ice sheet loss; how kids assess leadership online; teaching evolution in the public schools; and more. (27 minutes)

    A new podcast each week.

    Conversation With John Kenneth Galbraith
    “Intellectual Journey, Challenging the Conventional Wisdom: Transcript and video of an interview with John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006), “Professor of Economics at Harvard for more than fifty years; writer and author of more than 20 books, including ‘The New Industrial State’ … [and] advisor to President Kennedy.” Some of the interview topics include good writing, U.S. Third World policy during the Cold War, political leadership, and intellectuals in government. From the Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley.” (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    St. Lawrence Seaway: Options to Eliminate Introduction of Nonindigenous Species into the Great Lakes
    Tuesday, May 23–24
    The St. Lawrence Seaway: Options to Eliminate Introduction of Nonindigenous Species into the Great Lakes
    National Academies’ Keck Building
    500 Fifth St., N.W.
    Washington, D.C.

    Shirley M. Malcom, Ph.D.,
    Head, Education and Human Resources,
    American Association for the Advancement of Science


    Daryl E. Chubin, Ph.D.,
    Director, Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity,
    American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Thursday, 25 May 2006
    Presentation: 6:00pm
    Reception: 7:30pm

    American Association for the Advancement of Science,
    1200 New York Ave, NW,
    Washington, DC

    RSVP to Emily MacGillivray ( by Monday, 22 May 2006.

    This seminar, a tag-team presentation and discussion, will take a system’s-eye view of the S&T workforce as more than a supply-demand issue. Please see the attached abstract and speaker biographies for further information. For questions regarding this event, please contact Stephanie Adams (

    Global Horizons: America’s Challenge in Science and Innovation
    View Video from the USC/AAAS/ Science Conference
    “Global Horizons: America’s Challenge in Science and Innovation” brought leading science thinkers and futurists together in Los Angeles, California in April. Read about the panel discussions on stem cell research, China and India as challengers or partners, and science’s ability to solve global problems, and link to archived video.

  4. New E-Books & Reports

    Science and Engineering State Profiles: 2003-04. (NSF 06-314). NSF, 2006.

    Federal Funds for R&D: FY 2003-05. NSF, 2006.

    She Figures: Statistics and Indicators. EC, 2006.

    U.S. and International Responses to the Global Spread of Avian Flu: Issues for Congress. CRS, 2006.

    Overcoming the Barriers to Research Productivity: a Case Study in Immunology & Microbiology. Publishing Research Consortium, 2006.

    NIH Author Postings: A study to assess understanding of, and compliance with NIH Public Access Policy. Publishing Research Consortium, 2006.

    Little Green Data Book. World Bank, 2006.

    To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in U.S. Science and Engineering. NAP, 2006.

    Women Physicists Speak Again. AIP, 2006.

    “Sensitive But Unclassified” Information and Other Controls: Policy and Options for Scientific and Technical Information (RL33303). CRS, 2006.

    Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra. NAP, 2006.

    Pandemic Readiness Study. AMR, 2006.

    Fuel for Life. World Health Organization, 2006.

    Fuel Ethanol: Background and Public Policy Issues (RL33290). CRS, 2006.

    Wadeable Streams Assessment: A Collaborative Survey of the Nation’s Streams EPA 841-B-06-002 April 2006

    Strategic Science Provision in English Universities: A Follow-up. House of Commons, 2006.

    Meeting UK Energy and Climate Needs I & II. House of Commons, 2006.

    Meeting UK Energy and Climate Needs: The Role of Carbon Capture and Storage: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report of Session 2005–06. House of Commons, 2006.

    Critical Paths: 12 inspiring cases of ethical careers in science and technology. SGR, 2006.

    An Assessment of Balance in NASA’s Science Programs (prepublication). NAP, 2006.

    C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups. NAP, 2006.

    Improving the Regulation and Management of Low-Activity Radioactive Wastes. NAP, 2006.

    Is That Real? Identification and Assessment of the Counterfeiting Threat for U.S. Banknotes. NAP, 2006.

    Issues Affecting the Future of the U.S. Space Science and Engineering Workforce: Interim Report (prepublication). NAP, 2006.

    Funding Biomedical Research Programs: Contributions of the Markey Trust. NAP, 2006.

    Billy’s Halo: Love, Science, and My Father’s Dream. NAP, 2006.

    Enhancing Philanthropy’s Support of Biomedical Scientists: Proceedings of a Workshop on Evaluation. NAP, 2006.

    Review of the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Studies. NAP, 2006.

    Priorities for GEOINT Research at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. NAP, 2006.

    Aeronautics Innovation: NASA’s Challenges and Opportunities. NAP, 2006.

    Improving Road Safety in Developing Countries: Opportunities for U.S. Cooperation and Engagement, Workshop Summary — Special Report 287. NAP, 2006.

    Proceedings from the Workshop on Biomedical Materials at the Edge: Challenges in the Convergence of Technologies. NAP, 2006.

    Reusability of Facemasks During an Influenza Pandemic: Facing the Flu (prepublication). NAP, 2006.

    Revealing the Hidden Nature of Space and Time: Charting the Course for Elementary Particle Physics (prepublication). NAP, 2006.

    Principal-Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences. NAP, 2006.

    Priorities in Space Science Enabled by Nuclear Power and Propulsion. NAP, 2006.

    Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars. NAP, 2006.

    A Risk Reduction Strategy for Human Exploration of Space: A Review of NASA’s Bioastronautics Roadmap. NAP, 2006.

    State and Federal Standards for Mobile Source Emissions (prepublication). NAP, 2006.

    Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy, Software, Growth, and the Future of the U.S Economy: Report of a Symposium. NAP, 2006.

    The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative The Genomic Revolution — Implications for Treatment and Control of Infectious Disease: Working Group Summaries. NAP, 2006.

    Overcoming Challenges to Develop Countermeasures Against Aerosolized Bioterrorism Agents: Appropriate Use of Animal Models [prepublication]. NAP, 2006.

    Review of the Department of Energy’s Genomics: GTL Program. NAP, 2006.

    Testing of Defense Systems in an Evolutionary Acquisition Environment. NAP, 2006.

    Dynamic Changes in Marine Ecosystems: Fishing, Food Webs, and Future Options. NAP, 2006.

    State and Federal Standards for Mobile Source Emissions. NAP, 2006.

    Zombie Curse: A Doctor’s 25-year Journey Into the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic in Haiti. NAP, 2006.

    Exploring the Role of Antiviral Drugs in the Eradication of Polio: Workshop Report. NAP, 2006.

    Improving the Regulation and Management of Low-Activity Radioactive Wastes. NAP, 2006.

    Examining the Health Disparities Research Plan of the National Institutes of Health: Unfinished Business. NAP, 2006.

    Medicare’s Quality Improvement Organization Program: Maximizing Potential (Series: Pathways to Quality Health Care). NAP, 2006.

    Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. NAP, 2006.

    Rebuilding the Unity of Health and the Environment in Rural America: Workshop Summary. NAP, 2006.

    Reaping the Benefits of Genomic and Proteomic Research: Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation, and Public Health. NAP, 2006.

    The Secret Life of Numbers: 50 Easy Pieces on How Mathematicians Work and Think. NAP, 2006.

    Identification of Promising Naval Aviation Science and Technology Opportunities. NAP, 2006.

  5. Interesting Websites and News from the Internet

    Life on Air
    David Attenborough is going to spend his 80th birthday with an octogenarian tortoise …

    This BBC website has biographical information and film clips.

    Junk Charts
    “Junk Charts is the sworn enemy of confusion, obfuscation, and over-illustration in the art of presenting information visually. ‘Chart junk is everywhere,’ explains the site’s creator, a self-described and anonymous ‘junk artist.’ For example, in an entry titled ‘Statistics and liars,’ he calls this recent American Petroleum Institute chart a ‘sloppy and deceptive piece of work.’ Like a Mr. Blackwell for the slide-rule set, the Junk Charts guy pulls no punches in assessing the aesthetic merits of each diagram. In ‘Stacks and groups,’ he writes: ‘This stacked, grouped bar chart is a mess! There isn’t much right about it: The colors are blinding, the group labels are taxing, the grouping is obscure…and neither axes have labels.’ Meowww! Sounds like an assessment of Cher on the red carpet. Thankfully, examples of good charts are also included.” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    Isla Earth
    “Isla Earth, a production of the Catalina Island Conservancy, is a radio series exploring environmental issues of local, national, and global importance. Our mission is to increase ecological awareness, deepen understanding, and encourage environmentally sustainable choices.”

    Open Access Scholarly Databases — a bird’s eye view of the landscape
    Additional articles (from ResourceShelf)
    An excellent brief round up and discussion of sources of and models for open access scholarly information by Peter Jasco.

    Iraqi Virtual Science Library
    “On an autumn morning in 2004, a small group of AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows conceived what seemed a simple idea: an Internet-based web portal that would offer Iraqi scientists and engineers access to the latest journals and research findings. It had the potential to support the education system, aid in reconstruction and help to sustain hope in the ravaged nation.

    The organizers encountered many challenges over the next 18 months, but now, backed by a network of partners that spans the U.S. science, technology and diplomacy communities, the Iraqi Virtual Science Library came to life. The library-IVSL for short-will deliver millions of full-text scientific articles from over 17,000 science and engineering journals, plus online educational material and access to funding opportunities, to thousands of professionals and students at Iraqi universities and research centers. Organizers say the IVSL resources are similar to those available at top U.S. universities.

    The library “provides us an important step toward rebuilding our scientific community,” Samir Shakir Mahmud Al-Sumaydi, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, said at a 3 May news briefing in Washington, D.C. “This tool offers Iraqi scientists, researchers, doctors and engineers access to a wide body of scientific research in fields critical to Iraq’s reconstruction effort. It…can serve as a vital tool for Iraq’s economic growth and the betterment of Iraqi society for many generations to come.” (From AAAS)

    Biological Sciences

    European Commission: Danube and Black Sea
    WWF in the Danube/Carpathian Area
    1. Background and policy documents about environmental issues affecting the Danube and Black Sea regions of Europe. Includes fact sheets on the Black Sea and the Danube (the river that runs from Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea) and links to material from the DABLAS Task Force, which works on “protection of water and water-related ecosystems in the Danube and Black Sea Region.” From the European Commission, European Union (EU).

    2. Background and policy about the Danube-Carpathian region, comprised of the Danube River Basin, which flows from the Black Forest in Germany through 10 countries to the Black Sea, and the Carpathian Mountains, which stretch across seven European countries. Discusses forests, animal species, water (including flood protection), and other topics concerning the area’s natural resources. From the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).

    (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)

    Australian Biological Resources Study
    “Deceptively simple but rich in scope, the mission of the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) is to document which plants and animals are found in Australia, map their locations, and provide information this information to the general public. Part of their mission is fulfilled quite nicely by the presence of this website, which includes material on their research activities and administration, and most importantly a series of online databases. The first of these databases is ABRS Fauna Online. Using this database, known as Platypus, visitors can learn all about the fauna found on the continent, and even download the database package for taxonomists. Of course, visitors would be remiss not to take a look at the like-minded database of Australian flora, which includes similar material. For taxonomists, biologists, and others who are harboring a secret love of such fields, this website is truly a treat. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

    National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education
    “Created in 1991, the Office of Science Education (OSE) is a division of the National Institutes of Health that is primarily concerned with both encouraging science literacy in adults and children as well as attracting young people to biomedical and behavioral science careers. For educators and the curious public, the site is truly delightful, as it compiles its primary resources into topical areas, such as cell biology and bioethics. It also divides its materials into a list of resource formats, which include lesson plans, newsletters, and book covers. Additionally, visitors can search materials by the appropriate educational level, such as elementary or secondary. Along with this veritable treasure-trove of educational materials, there is the ‘Research Results for the Public’ area. Here, visitors can read fact sheets that decipher some of the more complex medical research from highly technical language into a language that is both lucid and accessible. [KMG]” (From The Scout Report)

    Education and Human Resources

    Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Announced
    On April 28 President Bush announced the 100 recipients of Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) for 2005. The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the nation’s highest honor for teachers of mathematics and science. The Awards recognize highly qualified K-12 teachers for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. Excellent teachers perform miracles everyday with little or no recognition. The Presidential Awards demonstrate the value and appreciation the nation has for the teaching profession.

    Guidance on New STEM Grant Program
    The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance on the new grant program for STEM majors and has sent information to school districts on the federal loan forgiveness program for qualified science and math teachers. (From NSTA)

    New NASA Explorer Schools Named
    NSTA Article
    “This ‘pipeline’ strategic initiative promotes and supports the incorporation of NASA content and programs into science, technology and mathematics curricula in classroom grades 4-9 across the United States. Targeting underserved populations in diverse geographic locations, NASA Explorer Schools will bring together educators, administrators, students and families in sustained involvement with NASA’s education programs.” (Thanks to NSTA)

    2006 Tapestry Awardees
    “Toyota TAPESTRY, the nation’s largest science teacher grant program of its kind, awarded nearly $550,000 in grants to 76 K-12 U.S. teachers who submitted creative science project proposals. Fifty awardees received up to $10,000 each and 26 received minigrants of up to $2,500 each. Large grant winners accepted their awards at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education this month.”. (From NSTA)


    Super Mileage Challenge winners average over 1,000 MPG
    Super Mileage Challenge winners average over 1,000 MPG, Rensselaer Central reaches 235.98

    “The 11th annual IMSTEA Super Mileage Challenge was held at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Monday, April 24, 2006. Thirty-three Indiana high schools fielded 36 cars in the two classes of competition. The Stock Class winner was Mater Dei High School of Evansville, Ind., at 1,242.76 MPG, and the Unlimited Class winner was William Henry Harrison High School of Lafayette, Ind., at 1,060.30 MPG. Cars from Buffalo Grove High School in Illinois, Rose Hulman University, Ivy Tech College and Cedarville University in Ohio also ran, though they were not eligible to win the event. The Super Mileage Challenge is run for Indiana schools, but other states are welcome to come.

    In the Stock Class, Rensselaer Central High School placed 12th, with 235.98 MPG. In the Unlimited Class, Winamac High School placed second, with 813.28 MPG.

    The students build their own cars under the supervision of a faculty member. They are responsible for the design and construction of the car and for raising all funds needed for the project. Engines are furnished by Briggs & Stratton Corp., but all other items must be either purchased or donated by sponsors. The students learn not only the technical and scientific aspects of building a high mileage car, they also learn how to work as a team and solve complex problems.

    To be eligible to compete, each school must submit a detailed technical proposal covering all aspects of the design and construction of the car. Such things as aerodynamic drag, friction forces, braking forces and cornering forces must be calculated and discussed in detail. The proposal insures that the students are exposed to the scientific principle of high mileage as well as to the technology of building the car.

    These students are the future scientists, engineers and technicians who will be designing, building and servicing the cars of the future. What they learn in this event may help them to give us more fuel-efficient cars in times to come.

    The Super Mileage Challenge is held under the auspices of the Indiana Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Alliance. IMSTEA is a non-profit, educational organization composed of teachers, administrators, businesspersons and concerned citizens. It is dedicated to improving the technological literacy and competence of Indiana’s citizens.” (From the Renssalear Republican)

    Brought online in 1978, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was considered a model plant throughout the USSR. Eight years later, that same plant experienced an explosion and meltdown that had disastrous consequences for local residents. This terrible incident caused serious damage to the global cause of establishing nuclear power as a viable alternative source of energy. This very thorough and well-designed site serves as an excellent gateway to information about the events surrounding that date, and more importantly, about the long-term effects of the event and the organizations that are intimately concerned with these affairs. The “Facts” section is a good place to start, as it contains an overview of the incidents of 20 years ago, along with information about the consequences for the health of local residents and the environment. Another useful section is in the right-hand corner of the homepage provides news updates about projects, events, and meetings related to the events at Chernobyl. One of the most powerful areas of the site contains first-hand recollections about the events at Chernobyl, and it should not be missed. It is also worth noting that the site is available in Russian, German, and English. [KMG] (From the Scout Report)

    Virtual Visit of the Canadian Space Agency
    “Imagine if you will, taking a tour of the Canadian Space Agency’s headquarters in Longueuil, Quebec. After that thought passes, then imagine being led through some of the fascinating areas of these same headquarters that are normally off-limits to the public, guided by a narrator whose voice closely resembles the authoritative tone reserved for movie trailers. This is exactly what you, gentle reader, will find upon arriving on the homepage of this site. The site opens up with a series of screens that zoom the viewer onto the Agency’s visually stunning complex, then proceeds to visit some of the interesting areas within that same edifice. Along the way, visitors will find their way to the optics laboratory, the Mars greenhouse, and the mission control centre, along with another dozen or so locations. During this visit, visitors can read a brief description of each locale and follow along with the aforementioned knowing voice of the previously mentioned narrator. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)


    Exploratorium: Faultline
    “How can the drama and power of an actual earthquake be brought online? It’s a difficult task, but the good and talented people at the Exploratorium deserve multiple huzzahs for their fine efforts on this site. Designed to provide some basic information about the nature of earthquakes, the site contains five primary sections. Under the ‘Quake Basics’ heading, visitors can expect to learn about the basics of earthquakes, including some nice sections on plate tectonics, faults, and how scientists measure such phenomena. As the Exploratorium is based on San Francisco, visitors should not be surprised to find that the section titled ‘Great Shakes’ includes information on the 1906 earthquake and the devastating quake of 1989 as well. There are some nice video clips here, including a video taken during the 1989 World Series and shots of the damage wrought by the quake in Santa Cruz. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

    Losing Louisiana
    Prior to 2005, Louisiana coast wetlands lost an average of 25 square miles per year. Preliminary USGS estimates show that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have destroyed an additional 100 square miles. To glimpse more, tour these sophisticated audio slideshows of subsidence, levee history, and wetland changes. Then hit the interactive map and work your way in from the coast, starting at Grand Isle. Hear a local fisherman talk about how the land footprint has changed dramatically at Golden Meadow. Witness a restoration project in a coastal marsh-one of 615 sites across the coastline. Make a final stop in New Orleans for the above-ground tombs of St. Louis Cemetery #1 and the Audubon Zoo, which holds Louisiana species that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. All are pieces of a delicate and ever-changing existence within the unique cycle of the Mississippi River delta. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    Mystery of the Megaflood
    “One of the Earth’s strangest geological riddles is the evidence for a huge catastrophe that struck eastern Washington State thousands of years ago. It took scientists decades to figure out that a colossal flood had carved out bizarre landscape features strewn across thousands of square miles. On ‘Mystery of the Megaflood,’ NOVA gets to the bottom of what created this compelling detective story. The program features a dogged geologist sticking to his bold theory for decades despite virtual professional banishment. Eventually, other geologists joined his cause and filled in the intricate details, which NOVA recreates in stunning computer animation to show what may be one of the most spectacular series of events ever to occur on our planet.” (From NOVA)

    Geospatial and Statistical Data Center at the University of Virginia
    “As more and more people are discovering the value and importance of spatial data and analysis, discovering new online resources in this area is a real treat. The Scout Report has profiled this site before, and is glad to report that there is a wealth of new material here to comment on. Located in the impressive Alderman Library on the grounds of the University of Virginia, the Geospatial and Statistical Data Center provides a host of services to both the on-campus community and to those who visit their website. With a clean design, the homepage features a ‘Spotlight’ area and a ‘Quick Links’ area, which leads to things such as the historical census browser and the rather exhaustive Virginia Gazetteer. Visitors should also take a look at the materials contained within the “Collections” heading on the homepage. Here they can peruse such items as aerial photographs of Albemarle County as well as other collections of aerial materials. One tremendously helpful feature of the site is the ‘References Resources’ area, which contains information about codes and symbols used on maps, along with handbooks and user guides to some of the resources offered here. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

    Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
    “T. rex would not have recognised the world that the first dinosaurs lived in. In this series of articles, Dr Jo Wright explores how the dinosaurs evolved as the world around them changed.” This rich BBC website is a must-see for dinophiles.

    Climate Change Experiment
    To reset:
    “The Climate Change Experiment has been running on home computers around the world to produce a pool of results predicting climate up to the year 2080.

    Regrettably the scientists at Oxford University have identified a software problem with the prediction model. As a result, all models taking part have been reset to the start date of 1920 so that the experiment remains scientifically rigorous.

    We’re grateful to everyone taking part and do hope you’ll continue to participate now that the experiment is back on track. If you are running the experiment, there is nothing you need do apart from accept the team’s apologies. This is a software problem and poses no risk to participating computers.”

    Global Warming Newspaper Archive
    From developing nations to industrial countries, global climate affects everyone and newspaper articles tell the story of nature’s dramatic impact on history., the largest newspaper database available online, has provided a free archive on the history of global warming granting access to thousands of original newspaper articles. The archive includes articles on the early discoveries of scientists, the development of technology, pollution, the greenhouse effect and global summits and treaties dedicated to the topic of global warming. Click on the timeline above to view newspapers in chronological order or begin searching newspaper articles with your own key words.

    Climate Chaos
    From the BBC, this “hot topics” website includes videos, weblinks, quizzes and more. Also, you can still join in the BBC Climate Change Experiment, designed by Oxford University. Donate your spare computer power to help scientists narrow down their predictions for future temperature and rainfall patterns.

    Volcano Under the City
    Deep inside a volcano, a team of scientists camps amid rockslides and seething sulfur dioxide gas. Their mission: to study this deadly mountain up close to find out what makes it tick. The fate of nearly half a million people in a nearby city could be at stake. NOVA accompanies this daring expedition in “Volcano Under the City.” The volcano is eastern Congo’s Mount Nyiragongo, which erupted in January 2002, surprising the city of Goma 11 miles away. Enormous cracks opened in the ground nearby and spewed fountains of lava, killing 100 people and leaving 120,000 homeless. Scientists’ biggest fear is that next time a fracture could open under the city itself.

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    Astronomy Education Review
    With a backdrop that includes images taken from Uranometria, one of the classic stellar atlases of the early 17th century, even the casual visitor to the Astronomy Education Review website may be persuaded to stay a few minutes longer than previously planned. Started in 2002, the mission of the Review is to provide a “meeting place for all who are engaged in astronomy and space science education, in either formal or informal settings.” It certainly lives up to its mission, as visitors can browse through articles on how to use role-playing games to teach astronomy and also take a look at surveys on introductory astronomy textbooks. The Review is peer-reviewed, and those who might be interested in submitting a piece for their consideration should take a look at their general guidelines. [KMG] (From the Scout Report)

    Einstein Explains the Equivalence of Energy and Matter
    Three voice clips!

    Polar Programs

    Long-Term Change Photograph Pairs
    The new Long-Term Change Photograph Pairs Special Collection matches photos of glaciers taken as early as the 1890s with recent photos taken at the same physical location. The photos tell a captivating visual story of the changes glaciers have experienced through time. Also see the USGS Repeat Photography Project for Glacier National Park.

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    Happiness Formula
    “What makes you happy? Is it positive thinking, counting your blessings, taking time to smell the flowers, or avoiding traffic jams? This BBC feature investigates whether there’s a magic recipe, and how much value we place on contentment. Learn why the increased wealth of countries hasn’t necessarily translated into greater happiness, and decide for yourself if the government of Bhutan has figured out the balance between good cheer and wealth. Find out if joyful people are healthier, and how levels of fulfillment change throughout our lives. Now take a test and see just how satisfied you really are. If the results are a little lower than you’d like, take heart in the site’s good news: Joy is something we can all afford — and is easily within our grasp. Hallelujah! Come on, get happy.” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

    The EForensics Project
    Anthropology is the study of humans, physically and culturally, in the past and present. Forensic Anthropology uses anthropological knowledge and techniques in a legal context. Standard methods in osteology (skeletal anatomy and biology) are used to identify skeletal remains and, in some cases, the cause of death. These methods include Age and Sex Assessment, Stature and Ancestry Estimation, and observations on Pathology (disease) and Taphonomy (after death processes). Forensic Anthropology also uses archaeological techniques in the recovery of human remains.

    The eForensics Project website is focused on the study of Forensic Anthropology. It offers an interactive set of teaching modules that allows a user to learn the evaluation techniques forensic anthropologists use to gain important information from a skeleton.

    Hatsheput: From Queen to Pharaoh
    “Rather than mounting an online exhibition to accompany Hatsheput: From Queen to Pharaoh, the Metropolitan Museum has chosen instead to provide a series of auxiliary features on its Web site. For example, there is an information page, which explains that Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt for 20 years (ca. 1473–1458 B.C.), was the first important female ruler known to history. A special audio feature narrated by actor Sam Waterston can be listened to as a podcast, downloadable MP3 file, or 12-minute streaming audio. There is also a 19-image slide show that includes sculpted portraits of Hatshepsut, jewelry, vases, as well as chairs and other household items. Finally, there are links with ordering information for the exhibition catalog and other exhibition-related items from the Museum store.” (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:

    A bill introduced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) has prompted an outcry by publishers of scholarly journals, who argue that their publications would suffer under the bill. The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 would require scholars who publish articles based on federally funded research to place those articles on free Web sites within six months of being published in an academic journal. The sponsors of the bill said it would ensure broad access to research funded with taxpayer money. A spokesperson for Lieberman said the bill would “foster information sharing, prevent duplication of research efforts, and generate new lines of scientific inquiry.” Some scholarly publishers expressed concerns, however, that the business model of academic journals--both in terms of subscriptions and of ad revenues--would falter if so much of the content were free online. The National Institutes of Health last year began encouraging researchers working on NIH grants to submit their articles to a public database, but so far fewer than 4 percent have done so.
    New York Times, 8 May 2006 (registration req’d) (via Edupage)

    A group of academics has partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop an online library in Iraq that organizers hope will help the country hold on to its senior scientific researchers, many of whom have considerable experience developing weapons systems. Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, 85 percent of the country’s university libraries were destroyed or looted. Organizers of the online library said that although many in the country lack reliable Internet access, an online library was nonetheless the fastest, least expensive way to provide access to scientific material. The Iraqi Virtual Science Library is initially funded by the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency and runs on U.S. government servers, though officials said they hope to turn control of the library over to Iraqis within the next few years. Fourteen publishers are participating in the program, offering discounts of as much as 97 percent over regular subscription prices. The Iraqi Virtual Science Library provides access to articles from about 17,000 academic journals. A representative of Springer, one of the publishers involved, said that because of the discounts, the Iraqi library has more content than most U.S. libraries, which must “cherry-pick” what they will purchase.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 3 May 2006 (sub. req’d) (via Edupage)

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., is working with several companies to develop a supercomputing center that will be the largest at a university and one of the 10 largest worldwide. The Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations will be used to study nanotechnology and its application in semiconductors. Researchers will try to shrink the size of some components from 65 nanometers today to 22 nanometers by 2015. The center represents the latest move in a series of efforts by New York Governor George Pataki to make the state a magnet for the high-tech sector. Companies participating in development of the new center, which has a budget of about $100 million, include IBM, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Cadence, maker of semiconductor design tools. IBM and AMD are also participating in an effort to establish a lithography research center in Albany.
    ZDNet, 11 May 2006 (via Edupage)

    Speaking at an Internet2 conference, Douglas Van Houweling, president of the organization, gave some details about the backbone network that will replace Abilene, Internet2’s current high-speed backbone, in about 18 months. The new network, currently being called “Newnet,” will initially offer roughly 10 times the bandwidth now provided by Abilene. Each institution connected would have a wavelength dedicated to conventional Internet traffic and access to a separate wavelength that institutions could use as they choose, according to Steve Cotter, director of network services for Internet2. Cotter said the goal is to allow institutions to order extra bandwidth as necessary. The network would apportion the requested bandwidth and make it available within a few minutes, rather than the several months it often takes to get extra bandwidth from commercial vendors. The announcement to proceed with plans to replace Abilene came after merger talks between Internet2 and National LambdaRail broke down. Although Van Houweling and Larry Faulkner, chairman of Internet2’s Board of Trustees, both said higher education would benefit from a single research network, Faulkner said of the merger talks, “At this moment, there is no mechanism for moving the discussion forward.”
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 26 April 2006 (via Edupage)

    According to a study conducted by IBM and “The Economist” magazine, although the digital divide remains considerable for some countries, the gaps are shrinking. The study assessed both availability and use of technology in 68 countries and assigned each an “e-readiness” score on a scale of 1 to 10. The gap from the top of the list (Denmark, 9.00) to the bottom (Azerbaijan, 2.92) is indeed significant, but in certain regions of China and India, connectivity rivals that of developed nations, according to Peter Korsten, European director at IBM’s Institute for Business Value. The study noted that nearly every country’s score improved from last year but that countries nearer the bottom of the list saw greater gains than those in the upper tiers, indicating a shrinking digital divide overall. Beyond the issue of connectivity lies the question of what efforts each country makes to use technology. As Korsten said, “It’s up to governments to take advantage with education and other initiatives.”
    CNET, 26 April 2006 (via Edupage)

    The School of Medicine at Stanford University has joined a project led by a San Diego company to develop a Web portal where users in China can find accurate, current medical information. Many in China still rely on herbal remedies and treatments. The portal is intended to provide a reliable source of information to fill the gap between traditional approaches and modern medicine. Michael Chermak, chief executive of Bridgetech Holdings International, which is leading development of the portal, stressed the importance of having partners such as Stanford whose reputation can provide credibility for the project among users. Other partners in the venture include The Texas A&M Health Center and the Wu Jieping Medical Foundation, in China. Paul Costello, director of communications for Stanford’s medical school, said the institution is not likely to benefit directly from the partnership but that the goal is to spread information “throughout the globe.”
    Mercury News, 1 May 2006 (via Edupage)

    Amid a number of reports warning that the United States is at risk of losing its global lead in technology fields, the University of Maryland will hold an event called Protecting Maryland’s Competitive Edge Summit. Attendees will include representatives of business, education, research, and technology interests. The event will focus on several key goals, including improving K-12 science and math education; drawing more engineers and scientists to academia; and fostering a stronger commitment to basic research, job creation, and workforce development. The White House recently pledged to spend $136 billion over the next 10 years as part of an initiative to improve education and strengthen research and development. C.D. Mote Jr., president of the University of Maryland, said that although more investment will help, the first step is “to get researchers, educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and state and local governments on the same page.”
    Federal Computer Week, 21 April 2006 (Via Edupage)

    UCLA is set to launch the first online, peer-reviewed encyclopedia of Egyptology. According to Willeke Wendrich, associate professor of Egyptian archaeology at UCLA and editor in chief of the encyclopedia, the project is largely a response to students’ increased use of the Web, which is rife with inaccurate and misleading information about ancient Egypt. The project, which is initially funded with a $325,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will provide some content for free, while some features will require a fee. Wendrich said the project must generate income and become self-sustaining. The project will be built on an existing platform at UCLA known as the eScholarship publishing program. The encyclopedia, in English and Arabic, will feature articles solicited from experts in the field. In addition to text-based resources, the project will include maps, photographs, hieroglyphs, and 3D models of sites in Egypt.
    Chronicle of Higher Education, 24 April 2006 (sub. req’d)(via Edupage)

    Despite pressure from a number of quarters to introduce restrictions on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Congress appears to be headed the other direction. Drafts of the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006 are circulating among lawmakers, and a spokesperson for the House Judiciary Committee said the bill will likely be introduced soon. The bill adds a number of new layers to copyright law, including increasing fines for certain copyright crimes; criminalizing attempted copyright violations, even if they fail; and allowing copyright owners to impound “records documenting the manufacture, sale, or receipt of items involved in” violations. Jason Schultz, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said of this last provision that the recording industry has long wanted the ability to obtain server logs that would indicate “every single person who’s ever downloaded” certain files. Keith Kupferschmid, vice president for intellectual property and enforcement at the Software and Information Industry Association, welcomed the bill, saying that it gives government officials needed authority to prosecute intellectual property criminals.
    CNET, 23 April 2006 (via Edupage)

    IBM is sponsoring two initiatives intended to bolster global public health efforts to avoid pandemics. In fall 2005, IBM hosted an event for leaders of the health community to share ideas about what contribution a technology company could make to support their efforts. The results are the Interoperable Health Care Information Infrastructure (IHII) and the Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeller (STEM). IHII mines health data and looks for patterns in symptoms, for example, that might anticipate the spread of a particular illness. Then the STEM applies that information to data about such topics as human travel patterns to help formulate efficient plans to limit the spread of the illness. A committee representing the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Scripps Research Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Biodiversity oversees these programs. Scripps and IBM will construct a facility in Florida to support the initiatives.
    CNET, 14 May 2006 (via Edupage)

    Researchers in Texas and Utah report they have created a new means of producing three-dimensional embryonic images called microCT-based virtual histology. The process uses computer visualization techniques to convert X-ray CT scans of mouse embryos into detailed three dimensional images showing both the mouse’s exterior and interior. Normally embryos are sliced up physically and examined under a microscope, a very time-consuming method. With the new process, the embryos are instead stained with special dyes which permeate the skin and other membranes. The team of researchers wrote a new computer algorithm to take the CT scan data and automatically distinguish various organs and structures in the embryo. The virtual rendering of the CT scan data also includes a virtual light source so the 3-D image includes shadows that make it easier for the human eye to interpret the image. The embryo images can be made transparent and have cutaways so that internal organs and body parts are visible. The process allows researchers to study more embryos much faster than normal. Mouse embryos are typically used in genetic studies, and to test the safety of drugs and various chemicals.
    (From What’s New @ IEEE)

  6. Inter Alia

    Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale
    “The Bates College Museum of Art has put together a Web exhibition that explores the ‘fertile margins of the history of science and museums, taxonomy, myth, creativity and discovery.’ Cryptozoology, the search for proof of mythical creatures such as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, is itself a marginalized science. The featured show has entries for the 15 artists, which are in various stages of development — there is at least one work by each of them, and additional biographical and contextual information for most. Works submitted include installations, such as Mark Dion’s Museum of Cryptozoology Director’s Office, as well as sculpture, paintings, and prints. There is also a film series associated with the exhibition, that will screen a 1972 film, ‘The Legend of Boggy Creek’, a docu-drama that looks for proof of the existence of a monster in an Arkansas swamp, and the 2002 Discovery Channel production, ‘The End of Extinction: Cloning the Tasmanian Tiger’. [DS]” (From the Scout Report)

    Women Engineers: Will Doonesbury Daughter Study Engineering at Cornell?
    She is also considering CalTech. “They want me, they crave me,” Alex Doonesbury, cartoon daughter of Michael Doonesbury created by syndicated cartoonist Gary Trudeau, noted as she read her acceptance letter from Cornell. A recent Cornell Chronicle article by Franklin Crawford suggested that other interests could influence her choice. “Perhaps Alex happens to like hockey. Or Mars. Or searching for ivory-billed woodpeckers.” (From Whiteboard)