Sci-Tech Library Newsletter

September 11, 2007

Newsletter archive > 2007 September 11 Issue

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In this issue

NASA Image Archive Will Soon be Accessible Online

NASA and Internet Archive Make Announcement & A Selection of NASA Image Databases
September 5, 2007 at 12:59 am — Filed under Search News, Digital Repositories, Resources for Educators, Digitization Projects, Archives and Special Collections
“NASA and Internet Archive of San Francisco are partnering to scan, archive and manage the agency’s vast collection of photographs, historic film and video. The imagery will be available through the Internet and free to the public, historians, scholars, students, and researchers.

Currently, NASA has more than 20 major imagery collections online. With this partnership, those collections will be made available through a single, searchable one-stop-shop archive of NASA imagery.

Under the terms of this five-year agreement, Internet Archive will digitize, host and manage still, moving and computer-generated imagery produced by NASA. In the first year, Internet Archive will consolidate NASA’s major imagery collections. In the second year, digital imagery will be added to the archive. In the third year, NASA and Internet Archive will identify analog imagery to be digitized and added to this online collection.

Source: GovTech

  • Visible Earth — A catalog of NASA images and animations of our home planet
  • JSC NASA Image Collection
  • Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
  • NASA Image eXchange (NIX)
  • KSC Shuttle Photo and Video Archive
  • GReat Images in NASA (GRiN)
  • NASA Human Space Flight Web, Multimedia Gallery
  • Aerospace Multimedia
  • Several Additional NASA Imagery Databases
  • Of course, one project we’ve mentioned many times on ResourceShelf is World Wind. It’s open source and was started at NASA. It’s a 3D digital globe with numerous add-ons.

(From ResourceShelf Newsletter)

Google Updates Date Search on Advanced Search Page

Google Updates Date Search on Advanced Search Page
“Chocolate-covered Altoids to SEO Roundtable for pointing to the new options in Google’s advanced search. The advanced search page now allows you to search pages added in the last 24 hours and 2 months, in addition to the 1, 3, 6, and 12 months.

And of course I can’t leave that alone. If you want to do any more you can hack the results URL. The switch for specifying how recently you want to search the index is &as_qdr=. The variables are d (day), w (week), m (month) and y (year). So if you ran a search and added &as_qdr=d to the end, you’d get only results from those pages added to the Google index in the last 24 hours.

If you want to search multiple days, weeks, months, etc, add a number after the variable. Searching 2 days is &as_qdr=d2. Searching 3 weeks is &as_qdr=w3, and so on. Now when you start goofing around with the result URLs, odd things can happen. I found there was tremendous difference between just one day and two days’ indexing. I also found that for one search I did, a search for results indexed anytime (the search was cow) actually produced fewer results than a search for pages found/indexed in the past year.

One more thing about the advanced search page: the file format search now includes Google Earth files in addition to the Microsoft Office, Rich Text Format, etc files.”

(From ResearchBuzz. ResearchBuzz is copyright 2007 Tara Calishain. All rights reserved.)

New E-Books & Reports

Human and Ecological Risk Assessment of Coal Combustion Wastes. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/RTI International, 2007.

Analysis of Global Change Assessments: Lessons Learned. NAP, 2007.

Enhancing Professional Development for Teachers: Potential Uses of Information Technology, Report of a Workshop. NAP, 2007.

Energy Futures and Urban Air Pollution: Challenges for China and the United States (prepublication). NAP, 2007.

Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects. NAP, 2007.

NASA’s Beyond Einstein Program: An Architecture for Implementation (prepublication). NAP, 2007.

Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation. NAP, 2007.

Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment. NAP, 2007.

Summary of a Workshop for Software-Intensive Systems and Uncertainty at Scale. NAP, 2007.

Using the American Community Survey: Benefits and Challenges. NAP, 2007.

Science Policy

Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering & Math…
The National Science Board presented for public comment a draft plan in early August called the National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education System. The action plan is available online.

The report is the work of the National Science Board’s Commission on 21st Century Education in Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM). Visit their website.

The main recommendations of the report focused on two challenges for STEM education: improving coherence in STEM education across disciplines and across levels of government, and ensuring a supply of well-prepared and highly effective teachers. The Plan recommends the creation of a non-Federal National Council for STEM Education to coordinate efforts, and seconds the recommendation of the Academic Competitiveness Council to form a STEM Education Committee in the National Science and Technology Council. That Committee would be focused on federal STEM Education programs.

The public comment period for the plan ended on August 30. A final plan will likely be released in a few months. Given that some of the recommendations require legislative action, it is unclear how many of the final recommendations will ultimately be implemented. (From ACM Eye on Washington)

Congressional Leaders Release Discussion Draft of No Child Left Behind
“Late last week Congressional leaders released a discussion draft of the revised language under consideration for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

A number of substantive changes in this discussion draft are of interest to science and math educators. Title II authorizes new grants that would provide performance pay bonuses of up to $12,500 for teachers of math, science, special education, and other shortage subjects in high-needs schools; career ladder programs for teachers; teacher residency programs that would pair a new teacher with an experienced mentor teacher for one year; a study on the correlation between teacher certification and licensure and teacher effectiveness; and grants for teacher centers that would provide high-quality professional development. The draft also stipulates that Title II funding for a state would be contingent on whether that state was taking steps to assess whether poor and minority students are being disproportionately taught by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers, and to address this problem.

The draft language also includes changes to the Math and Science Partnership, most notably requiring that partnership activities be modeled after effective NSF programs with demonstrated success. The language also calls for increased coordination between NSF and the U.S. Department of Education, and for more assistance from NSF to state departments of education administering the grants.

New Math Success for All grants to local educational agencies would provide targeted help to low-income students in kindergarten through secondary school who are struggling with mathematics and whose achievement is significantly below grade level.

Congressional leaders are accepting comments on this NCLB discussion draft until September 14. In late August, Congressional leaders had released a draft discussion of NCLB’s Title I. Language that would amend NCLB to specifically include science assessment scores in each state’s accountability system (Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP) was not included in this draft. The discussion draft does, however, include science proficiency as one of multiple measures of student achievement that schools can choose to be evaluated on. Read the Title I discussion draft (435 pages) and read the NSTA response to the proposed language.

House leaders are moving aggressively on this bill. They have tentatively planned a hearing on the proposed Title I language for September 10, and are planning to mark up (approve) the entire bill the last week of September. In the Senate, committee staff are also working to develop a draft bill, but no language has been released yet.” (From NSTA)

Around DC and on the Net

Join the NASA Engineering Design Challenge
“As NASA plans to return to the Moon, plant growth will be an important part of space exploration. NASA scientists anticipate that astronauts may be able to grow plants on the Moon in specialized plant growth chambers. NASA invites schools to participate in this exciting initiative by building a lunar growth chamber in the NASA Engineering Design Challenge.

Through the NASA Engineering Design Challenge, elementary, middle, and high school students will:

  • Design, build, and evaluate lunar plant growth chambers;
  • Receive cinnamon basil seeds flown on STS-118’s space shuttle Endeavour;
  • Test lunar growth chambers by growing and comparing both space-flown and Earth-based control seeds.

Visit the NASA Engineering Design Challenge website to register and to receive more information about the NASA Engineering Design Challenge. You can also sign up for the NASA Express listserv to receive e-mail updates about the challenge and other NASA education activities.” (From NSTA)

National Air and Space Museum Interactive Videoconferencing
Students can interact with the National Air and Space Museum without leaving the classroom! The museum offers Interactive Videoconferencing programs featuring the museum’s staff and docent volunteers. Use of the unique National Air and Space Museum collection and the universally-engaging nature of aviation and space make these programs relevant and exciting. These interactive electronic experiences augment teacher lesson plans and correspond to national education standards. The programs are broadcast over the internet and require the use of videoconference equipment at the school.

To the Moon and Possibly to Mars
Audience: Grades 8+V
Based on the Milestones of Flight exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in Washington, DC, this 45-minute lesson features two-way interactive between students and museum docents (volunteer tour guides). The docents describe major achievements that enabled travel to the moon, and identify obstacles and problems encountered in placing a person on the lunar surface and returning safely back to earth. The use of space artifacts, National Air and Space Museum photos, NASA images and thought-provoking questions for the students enhance the experience. The lesson concludes by asking students to consider problems associated with returning to the moon and eventually on to Mars. Relevant classroom activities for use prior to the program are provided on the museum’s Web site and a pre-lesson videoconference with the teacher is a participation requirement.

Kites, Wings and Flying Things
Audience: Grades 3–5
This 30-minute program, featuring museum staffer Elizabeth Wilson, explores some of the ideas and concepts the Wright brothers used to create their 1903 Flyer. Students actively participate in comparing the materials and control systems of kites with the 1903 Flyer, as well as learn about airfoils and how they create lift. Students learn through inquiry and first-hand observations of the original 1903 Flyer on display at the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall. Materials and classroom activities for use prior to the program are included. A pre-lesson videoconference with the teacher is a participation requirement.

Forging the Future of Space Science
A Nationwide Public Seminar Series on the Next 50 Years of Space Science.
Next month, the Space Studies Board (SSB) of the National Research Council will kick off a yearlong series of public lectures and colloquia in cities across the country and abroad. Forging the Future of Space Science — The Next 50 Years will celebrate the spectacular achievements of space and earth science, examine new discoveries in both fields, and look ahead at what the next 50 years may bring.

The series includes several regional events in locations across the country. Each regional event involves an afternoon panel discussion with local scientists and the public, followed by an evening lecture by a distinguished space scientist. Topics include understanding the universe, global climate change, the cosmic origins of life, scientific exploration of the Moon and Mars, and the research and technology needed to support human spaceflight. The series takes advantage of the 50th anniversary of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957–58 to engage with the public and the scientific community to assess achievements from the past 50 years and look forward to the next 50 years of space and earth science discoveries. These events are free and open to the public.

The current list of events, locations, and lecture topics follows (additional events are under consideration for the spring of 2008):

  • Sept. 10 — Baltimore, MD
    Location: Maryland Science Center (at the Inner Harbor)
    Lecture topic: Understanding the Universe, by Nobel Laureate John Mather, Senior Astrophysicist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Oct. 19 — Durham, NH
    Location: University of New Hampshire
    Lecture topic: Global Climate Change, by Ralph Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences
  • Dec. 1 — Irvine, CA
    Location: Beckman Center of the National Academies, University of California, Irvine
    All-day colloquium with panels and lectures featuring pre-eminent national and international space scientists
  • Dec. 7 — Huntsville, AL
    Location: National Space Science and Technology Center, and U.S. Space and Rocket Center
    Lecture topic: Science on and from the Moon, by Wesley Huntress Jr., Director Emeritus, Carnegie Institution Geophysical Laboratory


  • Jan. 16 — Tallahassee, FL
    Location: Challenger Learning Center
    Lecture topic: The International Space Station as a Laboratory and Testbed, by Carl Walz, NASA Astronaut
  • Feb. 20 — Austin, TX
    Location: University of Texas
    Lecture topic: The Possibility of Life Elsewhere in the Universe, by Christopher Chyba, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
  • Mar. 27 — Paris, France
    Location: Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Headquarters
    Lecture topic: Understanding the Poles of the Earth, Moon, and Mars, by Chris Rapley, former Director, British Antarctic Survey, and President, 4th International Polar Year, Scientific Program Committee
  • Jun. 26 — Washington, DC
    Location: National Academy of Sciences
    All-day colloquium with panels and lectures featuring pre-eminent national and international space scientists

NAE Annual Meeting 2007: Public Events
The National Academy of Engineering’s 2007 Annual Meeting public events will be held in Washington, D.C., on September 30 – October 1.

Highlights on September 30 include the new NAE member induction, the Founders Award and Bueche Award ceremonies, the Gordon Prize Recipient Lecture, and other special guests; on October 1 the symposium “Engineering Health Care as an Adaptive Enterprise” will be held.

Sunday, September 30
NAE Member Induction
Founders Award Ceremony
Bueche Award Ceremony
Gordon Prize Recipient Lecture
Lillian M. Gilbreth Lectures by Young Engineers, Guest Speaker Xu Kuangdi

Monday, October 1
Engineering Health Care as an Adaptive Enterprise, a symposium

Taxonomy Tuesday for September 2007 The September Taxonomy Tuesday will be hosted at the National Geographic Society on Tuesday, September 25. It will consist of a short presentation on what the National Geographic is doing with their taxonomy(ies) followed by a general discussion.

Location: National Geographic Society
Time: 12–2pm
Date: September 25th, 2007
RSVP: Anne Marie Houppert (ahoupper@NGS.ORG)

Check in at the 16th St. entrance guard desk, and you will then be directed to the staff auditorium. Once you have a pass you can go to the cafeteria if you wish, which is in the same building.

Monkey Portraits
Photographer Jill Greenberg’s new exhibition of photographs captures monkeys and apes conveying an amusing range of emotions and personalities. The photos will be on view by appointment starting Aug. 22 at the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 5th St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

August 22 – November 25, 2007, by appointment, call (202) 334-2436
Free! Photo ID Required.
Reception: Thursday, September 20, 5–7 p.m.

Black Maps
David Maisel’s large-scale aerial photographs show the impact of human activities on the Great Salt Lake, Owens Valley, and the Los Angeles basin. Images of strip mines, forest clear-cuts, and cyanide leaching fields capture both the beauty and despair of these landscapes. The exhibit opens Sept. 4 at the National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

Interesting Web Sites and News

Innovations Report
“The Innovations Report is described on their site as the forum for science, industry and economy that promotes innovation dynamics, networking of innovation and performance potentials. It is certainly a momentous project, and with over 6700 content partners from across the globe, they certainly do an admirable job of bringing together research results and interesting studies in one site. Visitors can search the entire contents of the site, or they can also peruse a list of thematic reports, including communication media, earth sciences, information technology, and traffic logistics. Within each report, visitors can view headlines for each topic, and they can opt to click through to get to the entire news report, working paper, or presentation. While the site doesn’t appear to have RSS feeds, visitors can email items of interest along to colleagues. Overall, it’s a great way to keep abreast of developments in different fields, and it is worth noting that the site is also available in German. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

More Science Information, YouTube Style
“There’s a new one available, called SciVee and [it] is a collaboration between the National Science Foundation and the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego. You can visit the website. The front page looks a bit like YouTube, with featured videos, tags, and a search box. Only instead of a video like, ‘Cat falls off table,’ it’s ‘Structural Evolution of the Protein Kinase-Like Superfamily.’

Content on this site is divided into two types: Pubcasts (videos corresponding to peer-reviewed publications) and Videos (all scientific videos not belonging to a paper.) You can search or browse through a tag cloud, or review one of the many channels. (The channels are all called PLoS something-or-other; the PLoS stands for Public Library of Science.)

I picked the tag animals. I got three results, which listed a screenshot, title, and description. The descriptions are thorough but how useful they are to you depends on how much science you know. (‘The protein kinase family is large and important, but it is only one family in a larger superfamily of homologous kinases that phosphorylate a variety of substrates and play important roles in all three superkingdoms of life.’)

Click on the title of the video and you’ll get a page for it. How that page looks depends on what you’re viewing. If you’re viewing a pubcast (a video that is associated with a peer-reviewed publication) you’ll get information about the paper in large format (with a link to the original paper) while the video will be a bit smaller (but still viewable, and you do have the option to enlarge it). In a plain video which is not associated with a peer-reviewed publication, the video will take center stage and be much larger. Both types of content have space for ratings, comments, and tags.

The videos varied a lot by quality. The ones that weren’t pubcasts tended to be a bit more ‘slick’. One or two of the pubcasts were a bit hard to hear (‘Ten Simple Rules for Getting Published’) but for the most part they were easy to watch and hear. (This doesn’t mean it was easy to understand the content — most of this stuff is way over my head.)

You can register on this site, but you’re able to watch videos without registering. (You’ll have to register to provide comments and ratings for videos.) If you’re interested in uploading your own science-related content, be sure to read the site’s FAQ.”

(From ResearchBuzz)


Rediscovering Biology: Molecular to Global Perspectives
“Getting ahead in the field of biology is important to young scholars, and staying on top of the material is important to their teachers. The Annenberg Media group has created this thirteen part video course for educators, and recently they placed the complete set of videos online here. The programs include interviews with expert scientists, detailed animations that provide a micro-level view of biological processes and techniques, and a number of learning activities. Visitors can take in each program at their leisure and they can also avail themselves of the link to the interactive website designed in tandem with the video series. Here, they are welcome to look over in-class activities, annotated animations, and case studies that will illuminate the materials introduced in the series. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

Journey of Mankind
“We’ve come a long way, baby. This site’s interactive map traces the long journey from the origins of humankind in East Africa through the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, Europe, and the Americas. Pack your bag and follow along to see how human population ebbed and flowed across the planet. Or take your time to dive deeper and learn more about:

  • The interaction of migration and climate.
  • The effect of geological events, such as the eruption of Mt. Toba in Sumatra.
  • What makes mitochondrial DNA so special, and why is it important to trace?
  • The Clovis-first controversy.
  • Humankind’s early artistic expression in caves and on cliffs.
  • The effects of the Wallace Line.
  • The adoption of agriculture by hunter-gatherer communities.”

(From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure
If you can’t see the new National Geographic film at an IMAX near you, come to the website for enticing tidbits. You will find a movie trailer, photogalleries of a couple of monsters, and a video clip on how to defend against shark attack.

Extensive resource on cephalopods; species database, images, videos, references, fulltext papers, researcher directory, and distribution maps. This is an extrememely rich resource with a simple, user friendly interface.

One Man’s DNA
“Scientists announced Tuesday that they had taken genome mapping to the next level — by sequencing the entire DNA of an individual, geneticist Craig Venter. The research allows scientists for the first time to separately examine the strands of a person’s maternal and paternal DNA. It also suggests that there may be much more genetic variation between people than previously thought.” (From The NewsHour Science)

News items on this story can be found at:

Computer and Information Science and Engineering

I’m Afraid I Can’t Do That
“Most sci-fi movies present a dystopian view of the future. Hyper-intelligent apes have taken over the world or Soylent Green is made of people. Well, nuts to that. We find flicks in which computers refuse to power down far more disturbing. As if preying on our deepest fears, The Onion’s AV Club assembled a list of ‘17 Dangerous Cinematic Computers.’ The list features everything from the obvious baddies (HAL from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’) to less mainstream mainframes like Colossus of ‘The Forbin Project.’ Each entry features a cold and unfeeling profile of the mad machine, and a few include choice quotes as well. The best line belongs to the calculating Colossus who calmly warns, ‘I bring you peace. It may be the peace of plenty and content, or the peace of unburied death. The choice is yours. Obey me and live. Disobey and die.’ Whatever you say, Mr. Colossus.” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

Education and Human Resources

Skylight: The Science Centre for Learning and Teaching
“Established in 2001 at the University of British Columbia, the Science Centre for Learning and Teaching was created in order to create ‘an environment that supports reflective science teaching and learning practices.’ While Skylight’s work is primarily focused on working on improving these efforts at the University of British Columbia, they have also created a number of online resources designed for science teachers everywhere. Perhaps one of the best resources on the entire site is the ‘Teaching Large Classes’ area. Within this section, visitors can find highlights from the research literature on teaching, descriptions of practical strategies to enhance learning outcomes, video clip demonstrations, and a selection of links to other relevant resources. There are even other features worth perusing, such as the document ‘Why Calculus Workshops Really Work’ and an interactive presentation on how to create a highly interactive classroom. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)


Green Energy News
“Bruce Mulliken has been covering news and commentary on the world of clean, efficient, and renewable energy since 1996. His Green Energy News site is geared towards a broad audience that includes the general public, industry professionals, and government officials. First-time visitors will want to look at the ‘News Stories’ on the front page which in recent editions have included pieces on the growing hydrogen economy, the potential of parking lots as a form of solar power, and the possibility of a zero emission electric vehicle with two wheels. Those looking for previous news features can browse the ‘Archives and Resources’ area, which dates back to April 1996. Those looking for ‘green’ events should browse over to the ‘Events Calendar’ section, which provides links to upcoming events such as renewable energy conferences and clean vehicle expos. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

NOVA: Building on Ground Zero
Following up its Emmy Award-winning documentary, “Why the Towers Fell,” NOVA probes the conclusions of the government’s engineering investigation into the World Trade Center’s collapse on 9/11, with analysis of the devastating attack and how subsequent knowledge gained will shape skyscrapers of the future. “Building on Ground Zero” features candid interviews with leading construction and safety experts, investigators, architects, and engineers — including Leslie Robertson, lead structural engineer of the original World Trade Center and Shanghai’s new World Financial Center, and Jake Pauls, occupants advocate and evacuation specialist. From the hallways of the newly erected World Trade Center 7 in New York, to China, where the world’s tallest building is midway to completion, NOVA explores the complex challenges of building tall buildings in the wake of 9/11.

Here’s what you’ll find online:

  • Impact to Collapse — Watch an expert-narrated slide show of the Twin Towers’ final minutes.
  • Towers of Innovation — A host of engineering marvels distinguished the World Trade Center.
  • A Survivor’s Story — Hear one man’s extraordinary tale of escape from the South Tower.
  • The Tallest Tower — The engineer describes Shanghai’s advanced skyscraper.
  • Outfitting Firefighters — Equip two firemen with the gear needed for a high-rise response.
  • The Structure of Metal — In this interactive, explore metal at the atomic level.

Also, a video preview, a podcast, Links & Books, the program transcript, and the teacher’s guide.

Online Ethics Center at the National Academy of Engineering
“Engineering is a key part of the modern world, and many engineering students (and teachers) crave high-quality materials on engineering ethics. Fortunately for such individuals, the Online Ethics Center (OEC) is a great place to find such materials. The OEC became an activity of the National Academy of Engineering in March 2007, and since then their online offerings have grown significantly. The teaching and educational materials on the site are organized into sections that include ‘Safety and the Environment’, ‘Employment and Legal Issues’, ‘Professional Practice’, and ‘Responsible Research’. Visitors can also click on a glossary of terms, and even suggest a resource that might be helpful to other users. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

NASA: Rocket Activities
“There are many things in this world that are described as not being as difficult as rocket science. Then, of course, there is the actual science behind rockets. Understandably, this can be difficult for budding space scientists to grasp. Fortunately, NASA has created these fun and interactive activities which relate both to the science and math of rocketry. These particular activities are taken from the ‘Rocket Educators Guide’, and they include activities related to altitude tracking, the world of pinwheels, balloon staging, and of course the construction of an actual paper rocket. Each activity comes complete with instructions, diagrams, and information on the necessary materials. Taken as a whole, these activities could be equally fun whether outside on a brisk fall day as in a classroom setting. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)


NOVA: Storm that Drowned a City
In less than 12 hours on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana coast, leading to more than a thousand deaths and transforming a city of over one million into an uninhabitable swamp. “Storm That Drowned a City” is NOVA’s definitive investigation into the science of Hurricane Katrina, combining a penetrating analysis of what went wrong with a dramatic, minute-by-minute unfolding of events told through eyewitness testimony. What made this storm so deadly? Will powerful hurricanes like Katrina strike more often? How accurately did scientists predict its impact, and why did the levees protecting New Orleans fail?

Here’s what you’ll find online:

  • Watch the Program — The hour-long program is available to view online.
  • The Man Who Knew — Hurricane expert Ivor van Heerden has long predicted the tragedy brought by Katrina.
  • A 300-Year Struggle — Follow the Big Easy’s ever-bigger battles with the water surrounding it.
  • Flood Proofing Cities — What can New Orleans learn from Venice, the Netherlands, and other flood-prone places?
  • Anatomy of Katrina — Track the hurricane from its birth in the open ocean through its catastrophic encounter with the Gulf Coast.
  • How New Orleans Flooded — Examine a visual chronology of exactly where and how 85 percent of the city wound up underwater.
  • Map the Flood — See how much of your city would have been submerged.

Also, a series of audio and video podcasts on Hurricane Katrina, including a three-minute excerpt from the broadcast, Links & Books, the Teacher’s Guide, and more …

NOVA: Dimming the Sun
Dimming the Sun investigates the discovery that the sunlight reaching Earth has been growing dimmer, which may seem surprising given all the international concern over global warming. At first glance, less sunlight might hardly seem to matter when our planet is stewing beneath a blanket of greenhouse gases. But the discovery of global dimming has led several scientists to revise their models of the climate and how fast it’s changing. According to one recent and highly controversial model, the worst-case warming scenario could be worse than anyone has predicted. “Dimming the Sun” unravels this baffling climate conundrum and the implications for Earth’s future.

Here’s what you’ll find on the companion Web site:

  • The Contrail Effect — Are vapor trails from aircraft influencing the climate, and if so, should we worry?
  • The Producer’s Story — Filmmaker David Sington offers his personal take on why many people remain skeptical about global warming.
  • Discoveries in Global Dimming — From an 18th-century volcanic eruption to a 21st-century satellite, see what paved the way to our understanding of this phenomenon.
  • Clean Air Technologies — Explore a handful of creative solutions to help reduce pollution, like exhaust-eating algae and wind energy.

Also, a video preview of the program, Links & Books, the program transcript, and a teacher’s guide.

“While there may in fact be no such thing as a free lunch, there is in fact such a thing as free geospatial data, and such nuggets of information can be found right on this site. Created by the Earth Sciences Sector of Natural Resources Canada, this portal provides a wide range of geospatial data for everyone from the casual novice to the seasoned GIS expert. New visitors should start by clicking over to the Read more on Geogratis Data Collections, where they can learn more about the worlds of raster and vector data and their relevant uses and applications. The portal currently features 71 items, including land cover data from across the provinces, urban land use data, and a digital elevation model of the Canadian landmass. [KMG]” (From the Scout Report)

NASA Earth Observatory: Reference
“Overview articles on the atmosphere, oceans, land, life on Earth, energy, and remote sensing, as well as biographies of geoscience pioneers.” (From InfoMine)

Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Boldly going where no site has gone before, Galxiki has created “a fictional online galaxy (that) anyone can edit,” regardless of Star Fleet accreditation. Membership is free, “science fiction lovers and creative people are welcome,” and anyone who has ever stared longingly at the stars should come aboard. The site has only been live for about two months, but it already boasts hundreds of members and intricately mapped cosmos. To think that something like the Hausa solar system — with its 2 planets, 166 moons, and usual crowd of asteroids, comets, and interplanetary dust — exists only in the realm of Galaxiki left us a little dizzy. And that was before we examined each planet’s atmosphere, mass, axial tilt, and temperature. Admitted ground-gazers that we are, it was astonishing for us to see the complexity and realism of this world. To the astronomy enthusiast — professional and amateur alike — it must feel like home.” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

Science Now: Asteroid
Will a doomsday rock the size of the Rose Bowl hit Earth in 2036? On this website from Science Now you will find a film clip of the program segment and added features including:

  • The Asteroid That Hit L.A. — A catastrophe calculator lets you try out some “what if” scenarios.
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why we can’t live with asteroids and we can’t live without ’em.
  • Hear exactly why scientists seem wishy-washy in their predictions about Apophis.
  • Join Neil deGrasse Tyson on a trip to the Mojave Desert.
  • Ask the Expert — NASA’s Don Yeomans answers viewer questions about Apophis and the asteroid threat in general.

Physics & The Detection of Medical X-Rays
“If Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist were alive today, he would most likely heartily approve of this very informative and well-designed site dealing with the detection of medical x-rays. This site was created by the Physics Education Research Group at Kansas State University and it serves as a good introduction to the science behind the discovery and subsequent use of x-rays in a variety of medical settings. The site starts with a brief discussion of Röntgen’s initial discovery of x-rays, and then goes on to offer a brief history of radiology. After that, visitors can learn about different detection methods, including the use of fluorescence film. One feature of the site that is most useful is the inclusion of links to other relevant sites that cover such topics as the concept of an x-ray dose and reduction measures. Overall, the site will be very welcome for beginning students of radiology and medical technology.” (From the Scout Report)

Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

Aerial Archaeology in Northern France
“It began before hot air balloons and airplanes: the habit of noticing differences in crop coloring and height, or dampness and depressions in the land. These signposts often hinted at the location of ancient human habitation. But it wasn’t until air travel and cameras arrived on the scene that aerial archaeology came into being. Now, scientists take to the air to look for shadows of the past, catch snapshots of sights that catch their eye, and follow up to check their discoveries on the ground. This site was inspired by the work of Roger Agache, part of the mid-20th century group of French ‘flying fools.’ The results of their cheap aerial surveys, taken with second-hand cameras in doctored-up aircraft, inspired the International Aerial Archaeology Conference in Paris in 1963. Strap yourself in and take a tour through the history and this amazing ‘collection of images of the many ways that the past has left its trace.’” (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)

World Monuments Watch
“Every other year, World Monuments Watch makes a list of the 100 most endangered sites in the world. In compiling the roster, experts consider the significance of each site, the urgency of the threat to it, and the viability of a solution. Many of these places have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but that doesn’t protect them from erosion, abandonment, development, weather damage, or from being loved too much by tourists. Spin the globe and learn about our endangered cultural heritage. Start with these seven wonders and the causes that threaten to wipe them from our map.

  • Giant stone Buddhas in Bamiyan, Afghanistan — erosion, human destruction
  • Missions of Chihuahua, Mexico — abandonment, exposure to the elements
  • Rock art of Dampier, Australia — industrial development
  • Machu Picchu in the Urubamba Valley, Peru — development pressure, unchecked tourism
  • Historic neighborhoods of New Orleans, United States — hurricane damage, limited resources
  • Farnese Nymphaneum in Rome, Italy — biological attack, rain and flood damage
  • Historic sites of Kilwa, Tanzania — rising sea, coastal erosion

Native Words, Native Warriors
The Smithsonian brings you this educational website about the importance of American Indian languages and the code talkers of World War II. It is a companion to the traveling exhibition. Complete with audio, pictures, and resources. An excellent website.

Polar Programs

OTR: Adventures Of Admiral Byrd
Also known as “Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic Adventures” this show was sponsored by Grape Nuts Flakes and ran on the CBS Network in the early 1930s. The show was recorded material that was short waved from Antarctica up to Beunos Aires and then on to New York. One short sound file is available at the Internet Archive.