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Science and Technology Library Newsletter: March 11, 2002 Edition.
Newsletter Archive > 2002 March 11 Issue

Sci-Tech Library Newsletter

03/11/02


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  1. EVENTS ON THE WWW: Webcasts, sound files, etc.
  2. NEW E-BOOKS AND REPORTS
  3. E-JOURNALS
  4. INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: American Museum Congo Expedition 1909-1915, Three on the National Science Digital Library, Web Expeditions, IBM Research: Autonomic Computing, Winter Olympics - Sport and Science; Biological Sciences: BRENDA: The Comprehensive Enzyme Information System, The American Experience - The Monkey Trial, Mill Hill Essays 2001, Insectclopedia; Computer and Information Science: Center for Women and Information Technology; Education and Human Resources: Quality Counts 2002: Building Blocks for Success; Engineering: National Engineers Week; Geosciences: Mercury Rising: Bearing Witness to Climate Change; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Hands on Universe, Windows to the Universe, Linus Pauling Notebooks, The Secret Lives of Numbers, Glossary of Mathematical Mistakes, The Little Shop of Physics; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: Frontline: Inside the Teenage Brain, Margaret Mead: Human Nature and the Power of Culture, Chumash Indian Life, Congress Online: Assessing and Improving Capitol Hill Web Sites, Sigmund Freud: Conflict & Culture ...and more ... plus news items from Edupage
  5. INTER ALIA

  1. EVENTS ON THE WWW

    Opportunities for African Americans in the health sciences is the theme of a National Academies program that featured an address by neurosurgeon Keith Black of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Other program highlights included performances by the Eleanor Roosevelt Chamber Choir and the induction of three health scientists into the National Academies portrait collection of African Americans in science, engineering and medicine. Listen to a sound file of the program (requires free RealPlayer).
    http://www.nationalacademies.org/topnews/#0211

  2. NEW E-BOOKS AND REPORTS

    Budget of the United States Government.
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2003/index.html

    The Economic Report of the President. 2002.
    http://w3.access.gpo.gov/eop/index.html

    New Economy of Water. Pacific Institute, 2002.
    http://pacinst.org/reports/new_economy.htm

    Scientific and Medical Aspects of Human Reproductive Cloning. NAP, 2002.
    http://books.nap.edu/books/0309076374/html/index.html

    Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools. NAP, 2002.
    http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10129.html?onpi_listserv021502

  3. E-JOURNALS

    ChemWeb.com is offering FREE access to the following Elsevier Science Journals until 1st June, so why not take a look.

    • Journal of Chromatography A
    • Analytica Chimica Acta
    • Chemometrics & Intelligent Laboratory Systems

    Access at: http://www.chemweb.com/utils/email.cfm?id=9112&uid=115245
    Free registration to Chemweb required.

  4. INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET

    Winter Olympics - Sport and Science
    http://btc.montana.edu/olympics/

    “The enormous appeal of the Winter Olympic Games creates several teachable moments for showing how science illuminates human activity. Now, for the first time ever, NTEN enables teachers to capitalize on these unique educational opportunities with NTEN minicourses.”

    1. Sports Nutrition
    2. Physics & Biomechanics
    3. Physiology & Psychology

    The Olympics may be over, but the opportunities presented by wondering about the science of winter sports goes on.

    Three on the National Science Digital Library

    A Spectrum of Interoperability: The Site for Science Prototype for the NSDL
    http://www.dlib.org/dlib/january02/arms/01arms.html

    Components of an NSDL Architecture: Technical Scope and Functional Model
    http://www.arxiv.org/abs/cs.DL/0201027

    Core Services in the Architecture of the National Digital Library for Science Education (NSDL)
    http://arxiv.org/abs/cs.DL/0201025

    “The National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library (NSDL) is the National Science Foundation's (NSF) ongoing effort to build a comprehensive science digital library. These three articles collectively describe the philosophical and pragmatic approach of the Core Integration team. The solutions address the issues of economic cost, extensibility, and interoperability for a project with ambitious five-year targets (1 million users, 10 million digital objects, and ten thousand to one hundred thousand collections). In the first article (published in January 2002 D-Lib Magazine) the Cornell University team lead by William Arms describes the preliminary work done to develop a working model for NSDL. The second resource authored by David Fulker and Greg Janée (published in January 2002 arXiv Report) outlines the technical architecture for NSDL and defines the ‘technical scope and a functional model.’ Published in the same issue of arXiv Report, the third resource by Carl Lagoze et al. describes the interoperability structure for this initial stage of NSDL's development. Issues of heterogenous metadata management in a central repository, search and discovery services, rights management, and user interface are all addressed. These three articles are required reading for anyone interested in the future of digital libraries and cooperative efforts to harness the educational power of the Web. Note: For information on the Internet Scout Project's involvement in NSDL, see http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/nsdl-reports/. [DJS]” (From the Scout Report)

    American Museum Congo Expedition 1909-1915
    http://diglib1.amnh.org/

    The Digital Library Program at the American Museum of Natural History has just launched its pilot web site based on an expedition the museum sponsored to the Congo from 1909-1915. You will need a sound card, Real Media player and Macromedia Flash to see/hear all the bells and whistles. Also, there are some 3D anaglyph images as well.

    In 1909, a decade after Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness first depicted the mysteries and agonies of the area, Herbert Lang and James Chapin set sail for the Belgian Congo. They knew they were launching an extraordinary adventure, but they could not have imagined what those years would hold. By the time they sailed home five and one-half years later, they had collected tons of precious zoological and anthropological specimens representing one of the most comprehensive African collections of the day.

    The website has wonderful images, a virtual tour, snippets of related readings, maps and sound clips. Well worth the visit!

    IBM Research: Autonomic Computing
    http://www.research.ibm.com/autonomic/

    IBM's Autonomic Computing research site examines a dangerous trend in the information technology (IT) industry and proposes an unprecedented solution. Citing a serious lack of skilled IT workers and constantly growing complexity in computer systems, IBM envisions a time in the near future when maintaining these systems will become an impossible task. To prevent this, a drastic change in computer design and operation is required. Autonomic computing, IBM believes, is the answer. This technology could create computer systems that largely maintain themselves with little to no human involvement. The Web site offers an overview of autonomic computing and implications for business and academia. There is also a manifesto in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format that delves further into the technology. [CL] (From the Scout Report)

    Web Expeditions
    http://www.webexpeditions.net/

    “Expeditions can be a great way to teach kids about science, geography, the environment, history and technology. webExpedition.net is a central portal to all mannors of expedition, from pure scientific field work to high adventure, with over 100 current, recent and historical expeditions featured. Our site is clean, fast well organized and ad-free. Once there, you can browse for expeditions by general topics or by date, helping you find those that will support your educational goals. We are not eco-tours and are not selling products or access. Our goal is to help people find field work and topics of interest, as well as provide exposure for the expeditions themselves.”

    Biological Sciences

    The American Experience - The Monkey Trial
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/monkeytrial/

    The companion website to the PBS presentation on the Scopes Monkey Trial. Glorious illustrations, music clips, biographies, a court house tour, and more . . .

    BRENDA: The Comprehensive Enzyme Information System
    http://www.brenda.uni-koeln.de/

    “BRENDA is a comprehensive database of enzymes maintained by the Institute of Biochemistry at the University of Cologne. Scientists collect and evaluate enzyme function data from primary literature sources. The site has recently been updated with new enzymes and an entirely new search engine. Various searches can be performed, including enzyme name, organism, or EC number. Links to literature citations, two dimensional images, and other databases are included for many of the enzymes. Academic and nonprofit use is free; commercial users must acquire a license. [AL]” (From the Scout Report)

    Mill Hill Essays 2001
    http://www.nimr.mrc.ac.uk/millhillessays/2001/

    “The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) has published its seventh edition of the Mill Hill Essays. This annual publication (last mentioned in the April 6, 2001 _Scout Report_) is designed for anyone ‘with an interest in science and the natural world.’ Topics covered in this year's publication include Dimitris Kioussis's review of the novel _White Teeth_ by Zadie Smith, Robin Lovell-Badge's explanation on the production and therapeutic possibilities of stem cells, Roger Buxton's report on the importance of conserving antibiotics, Tom Kirkwood's essay on the reasons of ‘ageing’ and how scientists are beginning to understand the ‘ageing’ process, and Don Williamson's fascinating story of endosymbiosis and the surprising implications that discoveries in this field have for human health. Essays are presented in HTML format and are generally equivalent to several printed pages. [MG]” (From the Scout Report)

    Insectclopedia
    http://www.insectclopedia.com/

    This is a web portal to all things insectia. It is well arranged, easy to navigate, and has a huge number of high-quality links to a host of categories of the study of insects -- everything from identification to cuisine.

    Computer and Information Science

    Center for Women and Information Technology
    http://www.umbc.edu/cwit/

    The Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT), located at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, was named “the best resource on women and technology on the Web” by ABCNews.com. The center's primary goal is to promote women's involvement in the IT industry. CWIT's Web site provides a wealth of information for women, ranging from learning the basics of computers to IT training and certification. Women considering IT as a field of study will also find information on financial aid and the CWIT Scholars Program. There is a list of books and many links to news articles about women and IT that are both interesting and insightful. This site was also reviewed in the March 01, 2002 NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology.[CL] (From the Scout Report)

    Education and Human Resources

    Quality Counts 2002: Building Blocks for Success
    http://www.edweek.org/sreports/qc02/

    This year's Quality Counts report (last mentioned in the January 12, 2001 _Scout Report_) focuses on the importance of high quality learning experiences for children prior to their K-12 school years. The benefits of offering quality education at this early point can be substantial; children perform with better cognitive skills during later educational stages. Not simply an endorsement of improved standards and programs, the report outlines the current state of affairs with supporting statistics and documentation for each state and the District of Columbia. The report examines tangible issues such as adequate pay for educators, evaluation criteria and measurement tools, and each state's “commitment to Kindergarten.” The format of this report is much enhanced from prior publications. An Interactive data search, Excel and .pdf data tables, Web- only testing data (e.g., the table “Grade-by-Grade Testing Policies” is available online only), and inclusion of “new indicators of several school- quality categories” are all new features with the 2002 report. This report, as are all the Quality Counts Reports from Education Week and the Pew Charitable Trusts, is a thoughtful read for anyone concerned with education. [DJS] (From the Scout Report)

    Engineering

    National Engineers Week
    http://www.eweek.org/index.shtml

    The week is past, but the website is full of wonderful information. Included you will find:

    • Webcast (after 2/27) of the 2/20/02 program “Discover Engineering”
    • Girls Can Choose Engineering as a Career
    • A Sightseer's Guide to Engineering
    • 50 Ways One Engineer Can Make a Difference
    • Meet the Engineers
    • Just for Fun

    and lots more!

    Geosciences

    Mercury Rising: Bearing Witness to Climate Change
    http://www.oneworldjourneys.com/climate/

    “Embark on a photographic journey with the One World Journeys Team as they trek through the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica from February 1-12 to witness how climate change is affecting the planet. Each day of their journey, the team of seven will update the site with photo images interwoven with sound in order to try and replicate their experiences for their Internet viewers. Photographs can be viewed in highband (which requires the use of Macromedia's Flash 5 Player) or lowband. In addition, the site provides special reports to give an overall understanding of the various issues regarding climate change. Lessons and activities for students are available, and teachers have the opportunity to receive continuing education credits. [MG]” (From the Scout Report)

    Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    The Little Shop of Physics
    http://littleshop.physics.colostate.edu/default.html

    “Welcome to the Little Shop of Physics, Colorado State University's hands-on science outreach program. Check out our online experiments, our resources for teachers, find out more about us, or find out how to have us come to your school. Each year, we share our collection of 70+ experiments with more than 15,000 students, but we also share an idea: that science is something anyone can do.” The online experiments come in three flavors:

    1. Experiments using common household items
    2. Experiments you can do using your computer
    3. Experiments using the Shockwave plug-in

    Also available: “In concert with developing experiments for the Little Shop of Physics, we have developed a bunch of experiments that can be done in classes with equipment that is very cheap and easy to get. Given that we are public-minded folks, we are going to start sharing them. Please feel free to use our ideas (heck, we get them from other folks too!) but if you use the documents as is, please give use credit.

    • Changes in Energy - This is a lab on energy changes that has been a lot of fun for our students - lots of dramatic pops and fizzes!
    • Mini Marshmallow Mashers - This one is a fun activity for all ages - a nice demonstration of air pressure! As seen on TV . . .
    • Palm Pipes - This is a group musical instrument that we have had a lot of fun with. We got the idea from a couple of guys in Ohio called the ‘Flying Bernoulli Brothers.’ Here is a .pdf file with more than you ever wanted to know about how to build and use these devices.”

    Hands on Universe
    http://hou.lbl.gov/

    “Hands-On Universe (r) (HOU) is an educational program that enables students to investigate the Universe while applying tools and concepts from science, math, and technology. Using the Internet, HOU participants around the world request observations from an automated telescope, download images from a large image archive, and analyze them with the aid of user-friendly image processing software. The Lawrence Hall of Science at University of California, Berkeley, is the educational center for the HOU project.” You will find a wealth of material and information at the site, including a astronomical images, Uncle Al's Sky Wheels (an astronomical tool for finding constellations of stars and other things in the sky), lesson plans, astronomy resources, and more.

    Windows to the Universe
    http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/windows3.html

    Yet another website for help with teaching astronomy. This attractive website is brought to you by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). It has a bit of everything on offer, from history of astonomy, to biographies, to information about the planets, to myths. Each page is succinct, very attractively illustrated, and interesting, and for each topic there are beginner, intermediate and advanced pages. Well worth a look!

    The Secret Lives of Numbers
    http://www.turbulence.org/Works/nums/index.html

    Pick a number between 0 and 1,000,000. Once you've chosen, head over to a fascinating site brought to you by the brilliant minds at turbulence.org. They began by performing a massive Internet search for numbers between 0 and 1,000,000, then counted the number of times each integer was mentioned in a web document. A mind-blowing Java application renders a complex interactive graph that charts the relative popularity of each number. Whether you picked 27 or 94,587, you'll see exactly how many times that particular number is referenced on the Web. Be forewarned, the data is RAM intensive, but it's worth the wait to see the mysterious world of numbers presented in such an artful and engaging way. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)

    Linus Pauling Notebooks
    http://osulibrary.orst.edu/specialcollections/rnb/index.html

    “Oregon State University has announced that forty-six research notebooks of Linus Pauling be released online on February 28, 2002. Click on a notebook and you'll get a table of contents. Contents available in the notebooks I browsed included newspaper clippings, scientific notes, and journal articles. Click on a page and you'll get a page image, with the option to get a (much larger) page image. Though Linus Pauling wrote in cursive for the pages I saw, his writing was fairly easy to follow.” (From Research Buzz)

    Glossary of Mathematical Mistakes
    http://www.mathmistakes.com/

    “This is a list of mathematical mistakes made over and over by advertisers, the media, reporters, politicians, activists, and in general many non-math people. These come from many sources, which will appear in parentheses. I will try to find an actual example of each for learning purposes.” The website is interesting and easy to navigate. It actually has more than just mathematical mistakes. For instance, it has mathematical news stories, which may have to do with mistakes, or may be simply of mathematical interest. This aspect of the presentation can be a bit confusing, but overall it is a very interesing website.

    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

    Frontline: Inside the Teenage Brain
    http://www.pbs.org/frontline/shows/teenbrain/

    Are Satanic heavy-metal lyrics and raging hormones to blame? What is it that turns cherubic little kids into moody, unpredictable teens? To find the answer, neuroscientists and psychologists are hard at work studying the anatomy of the teenage brain. So far, they've discovered that immature brain circuitry causes some of the changes -- teenagers are clearly works in progress. Teens even have sleep patterns that are different than those of little kids and adults. What's a parent to do? Frontline suggests resources to help if your teen acts like a space alien. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week)

    Sigmund Freud: Conflict & Culture
    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/freud/

    “Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture was organized by the Library of Congress in cooperation with the Sigmund Freud-Museum, Vienna and the Freud Museum, London. The exhibit features vintage photographs, prints, and original manuscripts. In addition, selected film and television clips, along with materials from newspapers, magazines, and comic books, are interwoven throughout the exhibition to highlight the influence of psychoanalysis on popular culture. The physical exhibition is composed of three major sections. Section one, Formative Years, highlights the milieu of Freud's early professional development in late nineteenth-century Vienna. Section two, The Individual: Therapy and Theory, examines key psychoanalytic concepts and how Freud used them in some of his most famous cases. Lastly, section three, From the Individual to Society, focuses on the diffusion of psychoanalytic ideas and Freud's speculations about the origins of society, the social functions of religion and art, and how crises reveal fundamental aspects of human nature. On the whole, the exhibition offers a moderate examination of Freud's life and his key ideas, as well as their effect upon the twentieth century. [MG]” (From the Scout Report)

    Margaret Mead: Human Nature and the Power of Culture
    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/mead/

    “This small online selection from a Library of Congress (LC) exhibition celebrates Margaret Mead's birthday (December 16, 1901) for its 100th anniversary. As a popular but controversial anthropologist, Mead preserved extensive field notes and other documentation for later researchers to consult and interpret, and her collection at LC contains over 500,000 items. The exhibition is organized into three major areas: Mead's childhood and education, her field work in Samoa and other areas in the South Pacific, and her later work on American culture after 1940. The online exhibition begins with a pastel self-portrait Mead did at age 13 and concludes with a 1958 photograph of Mead and French anthropologist Rhoda Metraux looking at children's drawings that were inspired by the launch of the Soviet satellite, Sputnik. In between are pictures of Mead with Samoan adolescent girls, children's drawings Mead collected, and a photo by Ken Heyman, the photographer Mead collaborated with to produce the popular 1960's picture book, _Family_. [DS]” (From the Scout Report)

    Congress Online: Assessing and Improving Capitol Hill Web Sites
    http://www.congressonlineproject.org/webstudy2002.html

    The Congress Online Project is a two-year project to study Congress' use of the Internet and to help congressional offices use Internet technologies to inform and communicate with constituents, reporters, and the engaged public more effectively. According to the report, there is a gap between what Web audiences want and what most Capitol Hill offices are providing on their Web sites. Instead of providing basic legislative information such as position statements, rationales for key votes, status of pending legislation, and educational material about Congress, offices are using Web sites primarily as promotional tools - posting press releases, descriptions of the member's accomplishments, and photos of the members at events. As a result, this report provides substantial data on the five essential building blocks of an effective Web site --audience, content, interactivity, usability, and innovations. This information is useful not only for Congressional sites but also for any Web site in general. Therefore, anyone interested in building his/her own Web site should definitely investigate further. [MG](From the Scout Report)

    Chumash Indian Life
    http://www.sbnature.org/chumash/

    “The Chumash are a California Native American tribe that can be traced back thousands of years. This site shows the history of the Chumash through a timeline, highlighting food, medicine, myths, games, dances, language, and cave painting. The early Chumash were unique for their invention of the plank canoe and their baskets, tools, and bead making. This site is from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's Anthropology Department, a leading center for Chumash studies.” (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)

    Edupage

    The following items are from Edupage. To subscribe to Edupage: send mail to: listproc@educom.unc.edu with the message: subscribe edupage Anonymous (if your name is Anonymous; otherwise, substitute your own name). To unsubscribe send a message to: listproc@educom.unc.edu with the message: unsubscribe edupage. (If you have subscription problems, send mail to: manager@educom.unc.edu.)

    AN ORDER TO DESTROY A CD-ROM RAISES CONCERNS
    College and university librarians are disturbed by a federal order to destroy a CD-ROM containing data deemed too sensitive for public distribution. The CD-ROM, disseminated by the U.S. Geological Survey, contains information about national water supplies. The government ordered its destruction on the grounds that America's enemies could exploit this information. Copies of the CD-ROM were handed out to libraries participating in the Federal Depository Library Program. Ruth Parlin, director of Castleton State College's Calvin Coolidge Library, noted that security-sensitive documents are usually not included in the program, making this turn of events “problematic.” Patrice McDermott of the American Library Association said the government's request ran contrary to the ALA's code of ethics, which is against censorship. “This is part of a bigger issue of restriction of access to government information on the Web and elsewhere,” she explained. (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 14 February 2002 via Edupage)

    SCI-TECH: RESEARCHERS TAKE A SPIN ON FUTURE WEB
    A joint venture between the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CAL-(IT)2) and Southern California NGI (Next Generation Internet) will develop and assess Internet2 applications with the help of nine Southern California technology startups. The researchers are using the “infinite connection” of the next-generation, high-speed World Wide Web to build and test new online communications processes. Southern California NGI director Mike Vildibill believes Internet2 will support advanced videoconferencing technologies and database exchange. He added that his institute will contribute a unique view of wireless communications to the project. Vildibill said the startups involved in the project will have access to hardware, expertise, and financial resources from both participating institutions; Southern California NGI and CAL-(IT)2 will also grant the companies access to their high-speed network. (NewsFactor Network, 8 February 2002 via Edupage)

    VIRTUAL SUPERCOMPUTER OPENS UP VAST PHYSICS DATABASE
    Particle physicists will be able to research a vast database courtesy of a distributed computer initiative involving American, British, and French universities. “In the past you wanted processing power, but now it's network bandwidth,” explained physicist Nicolo de Groot of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Britain. The archive will consist of over 145 terabytes of data on the behavior of subatomic particles called B-mesons collected at California's Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). That archive will swell with an additional 300 terabytes over the next two years. A series of storage computers at RAL is connected to counterparts at SLAC and CNRS in France. The new system simultaneously locates specific data and the processing power required to analyze it. The computers share storage space and processing power through the use of tailor-made software, while calculations can be carried out with client software. “We'll be able to run analysis in hours that takes weeks at the moment,” declared Manchester University's Roger Barlow. (NewScientist.com, 7 February 2002 via Edupage)

    SPEED-UP TECHNIQUE THROWS INTERNET INTO REVERSE
    Computer science researcher Chris Caruthers of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute said he has discovered a new reverse calculation method that will help network engineers find and prevent Internet congestion. Caruthers received a $375,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation for his work, which traces problems backwards to find more quickly the source of a blockage. He said traditional methods, in which all possible paths that could lead to the bottleneck are followed, are as much as six times slower because they involve wasteful guesswork. Reverse calculation can also be used in software design simulations, as well as a network administration tool. Moreover, network administrators are able to perceive problem areas before they actually cause trouble. (NewsFactor Network, 13 February 2002 via Edupage)

    INTERNET ACCESS GAP CLOSING
    Although recent data from the Commerce Department shows that the digital divide is closing, experts say that measuring Internet access is not a good enough indicator of online equality. The E-Rate program has succeeded in connecting nearly all of the public libraries and schools in the United States, but such public access is not nearly enough to bridge the gulf between how rich and poor segments of society use computers. Commerce Department figures also show, for example, that less than one-third of children aged 10 to 17 from black and minority homes can access the Internet at home, compared to at least two-thirds of children from white and Asian homes. Not having access at home often means waiting in line, limited time to use the computers, and lack of privacy. (Associated Press, 3 March 2002 via Edupage)

    CHENEY UNVEILS REVAMPED GOVERNMENT WEB SITE
    Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday introduced the redesigned FirstGov Web site, which the government hopes will be a significant step forward in the way government responds to the public. The new site coordinates 35 million federal, state, and local government Web pages, allowing users to apply for jobs, renew driver's licenses, research laws, and many other activities. According to Mark Forman, who directs federal “e-government” efforts, the organization of the new site allows users to find what they are looking for within three mouse clicks. (Reuters, 27 February 2002 via Edupage)

    SENATORS PRESS FOR FUNDS FOR MINORITY COLLEGES
    Historically black, Hispanic, and tribal colleges could receive a boost in funding for advanced networks, if a Senate bill is passed. The NTIA Digital Network Technology Program Act, written by Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga), would create grant programs to support advanced networking, including purchasing hardware and software, training personnel, and developing new programs on campus. According to Frederick S. Humphries, president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, large research institutions receive most federal technology funding, leaving minority-serving schools unable to provide their students with acceptable technology programs. The bill seems to have broad support in the Senate, though a vote has not been scheduled. (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 28 February 2002 via Edupage)

    CANADIAN SCIENTISTS LAUNCH RESEARCH “HOLODECK”
    A new research center at the University of Calgary harkens back to the “holodeck” from the Star Trek television series. Java 3D is used to create virtual models of things ranging from a whole landscape to a single cell. Scientists go into the 10 x 10 foot laboratory wearing 3D glasses to view the models that are created. Companies including pharmaceutical firms, oil companies, and meteorologists will be able to use the facility, but the primary goal is to further medical research, particularly for complex genetic diseases such as Alzheimer's and cancer. (Reuters, 28 February 2002 via Eduapge)

    WHITE HOUSE SPURNS EFFORTS TO CLOSE DIGITAL DIVIDE
    The Bush administration has begun dismantling some key government projects that aim to close the digital divide. Officials point to new data showing Internet access rates are growing faster for poor minority communities than they are for affluent white segments. But critics of the new policies use the same numbers to argue for continued efforts to bridge the digital divide, saying that the gap has actually widened between haves and have-nots because the numbers of those without any Internet at all were previously so low. Commerce Department National Telecommunications and Information Agency head Nancy Victory said the effort to bridge the digital divide actually has not slackened, but has shifted focus. From that viewpoint, the money that has been cut from programs such as the Technology Opportunities Program, for example, has gone to more general technology grants for the Education, Justice, and Agriculture departments. (Wall Street Journal, 27 February 2002 via Edupage)

    ONLINE STUDENTS DON'T FARE AS WELL AS CLASSROOM COUNTERPARTS
    There was a noticeable performance gap between students who took an online economics course from Michigan State University and those who took a more conventional classroom version of the same course, according to professors. Tests administered during the courses were used to gauge performance. Students who took the online course answered 61.19 percent of the test questions correctly, on average, while traditional course participants averaged a correct answer portion of 65.49 percent. Students who took a combination of both versions averaged 64.51 percent. Michigan State economics professor Byron W. Brown noted that the results indicate that distance education students had roughly 10 percent less comprehension of the course material than students in face-to-face instruction. On the other hand, Thomas Russell of North Carolina State University cited several similar studies in which student performance levels in online and offline courses were shown to be about equal. (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 25 February 2002 via Edupage)

    SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE TO HOLD DIGITAL DIVIDE HEARING
    The effects of the “digital divide” on minority-serving colleges and universities will be the subject of a hearing conducted by the Senate Subcommittee on Science Technology and Space. Witnesses from top U.S. minority institutions as well as national minority associations will testify at the hearing. The Internet connectivity report for 2002 indicates that more lower-income groups gained Web access than any other income bracket for the first time last year. The report also said that the odds of rural and urban users going online are almost even. The subcommittee hearing is scheduled to take place on Feb. 27. (Newsbytes, 22 February 2002 via Edupage)

    RISKS PROMPT U.S. TO LIMIT ACCESS TO DATA
    The federal government has made a concerted and wide-ranging effort to limit access to sensitive government information that could be used by terrorists. Currently, about 30 pieces of legislation are waiting for debate in Congress over a narrowing of the rights guaranteed under the Freedom of Information Act. Because electronic records are so readily available and easy to disseminate, the government has taken special efforts to remove sensitive information from electronic sources. Some organizations are cooperating fully, such as the Federation of American Scientists, which used to make satellite photos of nuclear sites available online. Even consumer search engine site Google has agreed to erase records of certain federal sites that showed sensitive material. Public disclosure groups and some libraries, however, are voicing concern about the growing trend to limit available information. Although George Mason University librarian Joy Suh immediately complied with a government request to destroy a CD-ROM on the U.S.'s water supply, for example, she is concerned about limiting the public's access to data. (Washington Post, 24 February 2002 via Edupage)

  5. INTER ALIA

    Top Librarian Personalities on the Web
    http://www.lisnews.com/article.php3?sid=20020303191829&mode=flat

    Meet some fun virtual librarians (no, folks, I haven't made the big time yet). What a variety of folks grace the profession!

    Musical Instrument Jokes
    http://www.mit.edu/~jcb/other-instrument-jokes.html

    OK, ok, it has no connection with science, but how many times do you find a webpage of jokes about something as arcane as musical instruments? Enjoy!


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