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News Release from AAAS
Dr. Marburger's Remarks at the NAS/CSIS Workshop on Publishing in the Life Sciences
Bioterror Fears Muzzle Open Science - BBC
Science Journals to Join Fight Against Terrorists - Washington Post
“Thirty-two of the world's leading journal editors and scientist-authors yesterday called for renewed vigilance and personal responsibility among their ranks whenever potentially ‘dangerous’ research is presented for publication.
But, the editors and authors emphasized that the scholarly publishing community ‘must protect the integrity of the scientific process by publishing manuscripts of high quality, in sufficient detail to permit reproducibility.’ Without independent verification of research results, they emphasized, ‘We can neither advance biomedical research nor provide the knowledge base for building strong biodefense systems.’ ”
The text of the statement is due to be published in several major journals - Science, PNAS, Nature.
This is bound to become one of the most important science policy discussions of our day.
Dinosaurs on Ice
A Webcast for Science Teachers and Middle School Students! The National Science Foundation's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs presents: “Dinosaurs on Ice”: Jurassic Dinosaurs from Antarctica. A webcast by Dr. William R. Hammer, Wednesday, February 26, 2003, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m., EST.
During the 1990-91 Antarctic field season, an NSF-funded researcher, William R. Hammer, discovered the remains of Cryolophosaurus ellioti, or “frozen crested reptile.” Among the Antarctic dinosaur's telltale features were its large skull crest. Don't miss this exciting webcast!
The Biology of DNA from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Feb. 26 - Mar. 2, 2003 (Times to be Announced) Fifty years ago, Watson and Crick presented their discovery of DNA's double helix structure at a conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. To commemorate this event, the Exploratorium is taking you to this year's gathering at Cold Spring Harbor. We'll get an insider's view of the informal side of science, a perspective seldom seen. Come with us and watch science in action.
Moldy Science: Cheese, Saturday, March 15, 2003, at 11 a.m.(PST). What is that hairy stuff on my cheese? Is it supposed to be runny? Creamy? Crumbly? How can anything that smells that bad taste that good? Come along as we explore the cool, dark world of cheese.
Sweet Science: Candy! Saturday, April 19, 2003, at 11 a.m. (PST). How do they make jellybeans shiny? Can the color of a candy affect the way it tastes? Do candy factories really look like Willy Wonka's? Join us as we investigate the sweet world of sugar.
Immunization Safety Review
The Institute of Medicine's Immunization Safety Review Committee holds a daylong meeting to discuss the influenza vaccine and possible neurological complications beginning at 8:30 a.m. EST Thursday, March 13. The event takes place at the Hotel Monaco, 700 F St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Participate by listening to a live audio webcast and submitting questions using an e-mail form, accessible on the National Academies home page (requires free RealPlayer).
Planning Climate Change Science
The National Academies release “Planning Climate Change Science: A Review of the Draft U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan” at a one-hour public briefing at 10 a.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 26. Participate by listening to a live audio webcast (requires free RealPlayer) and submitting questions using an e-mail form, both accessible on the National Academies home page during the event.
Flight in America: A Centennial Retrospective
Dr. Richard P. Hallion, an Air Force Historian and noted writer on Aviation History will present “Flight in America: A Centennial Retrospective” at the Naval Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 123 in Washington, DC on Thursday, February 27, 2003 from 6-8:30 p.m. The Naval Heritage Center is conveniently located at the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro Stop on the Yellow and Green lines. This event is sponsored by the Military Librarians Group of the DC Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. All are VERY welcome.
A Shared Destiny: Community Effects of Uninsurance
The Institute of Medicine releases “A Shared Destiny: Community Effects of Uninsurance” at a one-hour public briefing at 11 a.m. EST Thursday, March 6. Participate by listening to a live audio webcast (requires free RealPlayer) and submitting questions using an e-mail form, both accessible on the National Academies home page during the event.
Information Technology and Counterterrorism
The National Academies' Computer Science and Telecommunications Board holds a meeting to present its newest reports. During the two-hour event, committee members will discuss “Information Technology for Counterterrorism: Immediate Actions and Future Possibilities” and “Critical Information Infrastructure Protection and the Law: Report of a Symposium.” The meeting begins at 1 p.m. EST Tuesday, March 11 in Room 100 of the National Academies building, 500 Fifth St. N.W., Washington, D.C.
Balancing scientific publication and national security concerns: issues for Congress.
Economic report of the President, 2003.
Fiscal Year 2004 Budget.
The Rise of Netpolitik: How the Internet Is Changing International Politics and Diplomacy.
Aspen Institute, 2003.
Fostering Community-Driven Development: What Role for the State?.
World Bank, 2003.
UCLA Internet report, year three: surveying the digital future.
UCLA Center for Communication Policy, 2003.
Gardiner-Garden, John. Defining aboriginality in Australia.
Department of the Parliamentary Library, 2003.
Ocean Noise and Marine Mammals.
Frontiers of Engineering: Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2002 NAE Symposium on Frontiers of Engineering.
Improving the Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT).
Exposure of the American Population to Radioactive Fallout from Nuclear Weapons Tests: A Review of the CDC-NCI Draft Report on a Feasibility Study of the Health Consequences to the American Population from Nuclear Weapons Tests Conducted by the United States and Other Nations.
Understanding Others, Educating Ourselves: Getting More from International Comparative Studies in Education.
Integrating Research and Education: Biocomplexity Investigators Explore the Possibilities: Summary of a Workshop.
Graduate Student Report: First-Year Students in 1999 and 2000.
(First-year graduate physics and astronomy population at US institutions.)
Earth & Space Science PhDs, Class of 2001.
Sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and American Geological Institute (AGI), 2003.
How Space Shuttles Work
This site examines the complexity of space shuttles, including their parts, design, and various systems. It covers information on shuttle history and future, space environment and life support, getting into orbit, re-entry and landing, and many related resources such as the International Space Station, educational activities, NASA, and more. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Lost: Space Shuttle Columbia
CNN presents a special report on the loss of the space shuttle Columbia's flight STS-107 and its seven crew members on February 1, 2003. The coverage includes information on the shuttle's past launches and milestones, the final contact and communication moments with mission control, and the resulting investigation that followed. Related crew information, photo galleries, and audio and video clips augment the news coverage. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Shuttles Are the Work Horses from Outer Space
This collection of information and links captures the essence of a space shuttle's work responsibilities, stories and histories, and past, current, and future ventures, plus the background and components of the U.S. shuttles Atlantis, Columbia, Discovery, Endeavour, and Challenger. Additionally, it includes a video of the space shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986 and more. From Space Today Online. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster Coverage: Resources, Story Ideas and More
The site is designed for news reporters and editors, and contains up-to-the-minute coverage of the space shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003. Includes links to various news agencies' coverage, local authorities, information on the crew members, graphics, radar images, historical information, and a list of science experiments conducted during the flight, as well as the Rogers Commission report on the Challenger explosion in 1986. This site is an invaluable resource for journalists and laypeople alike. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
This space news site reports on breaking news (e.g. the Columbia flight STS-107 tragedy), current and future shuttle missions, and launch schedules, plus related space activities, archived news, and current video clips. Don't miss the spectacular photo gallery at Features which looks back on 100 dramatic shuttle launches. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
NASA Human Spaceflight
The NASA site with information on the human spaceflight program including news reports on the Columbia disaster. Also links to send condolences to the NASA family, and letters received. The site also covers news of other aspects of human spaceflight such as the space station and the people behind the scenes on the ground.
The Space Shuttle Clickable Map
This site presents technical information on the different components that make up the space shuttle in a reader-friendly format.
History of the Space Shuttle
History of the space shuttle program, missions, and of the individual shuttles.
Space Shuttle Columbia and Her Crew
A NASA site on the Columbia, with biographies of the crew, transcripts, memorials, video clips, and ongoing news stories.
Invention at Play
“Invention at Play examines how play-the ordinary work of childhood-connects with the creative impulse. Read about inventors of the ski, sailboard, surgical robot, unfolding structures, water purifier, barbed wire, Velcro, Kevlar, post-it note, microwave, high-efficiency wind turbine, and telephone. Learn about Edison's Invention Factory or the Linux computer operating system. See sketches of the first telephone. Try your hand at a puzzle or word game, or draw your own sketch online. (Smithsonian Institute)” (From FREE)
Interviews with Scientists
The NAS Office on Public Understanding of Science announces two new interviews on National Academy of Sciences' InterViews Web site, which features first-person accounts of the lives and work of members. In the hour-long interviews, distinguished scientists talk about their research, why they became scientists and other aspects of their careers. Entomologist May Berenbaum and neurobiologist Carla Shatz are featured this month. The audio files for these interviews are now available (requires free RealPlayer).
Visas and Science
The National Academies' Board on International Scientific Organizations has launched a new Web site to provide information to the scientific community about the visa process. This information is meant to help both our international colleagues who plan to come to the United States as well as the U.S. scientists who may be inviting them or planning a scientific conference.
A collection of more than forty insect sound files. Browse by species name or subject. Included are various larvae and adult insect feedings; movements of soil invertebrates; insects in plants; wing vibrations, and more. Additionally, there is a sample file to learn how to distinguish insects sounds from background noise. Length of each file is provided. From the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, U.S. Department of Agriculture. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
The Barbara McClintock Papers
Hosted by the National Library of Medicine as part of its Profiles in Science(r) project, the Barbara McClintock Papers site provides public access to a selection of remarkable documents from the noted American geneticist Barbara McClintock. Consisting of everything from laboratory notes and private correspondence to unpublished manuscripts, lecture notes and photos - even down to copies of her CV - the site also provides a detailed biography of this pioneering lady. Recognised as one of the most distinguished scientists of the twentieth century, Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983 for her discoveries in genetics, namely the discovery of the phenomenon of 'jumping genes' or transposition - the ability of genes to change position on a chromosome. Aged 81, she was the first women to receive an unshared Nobel Prize in this category. However, scientific recognition as to the importance of her work came relatively late in her career, and during the early years of her research she had to struggle to overcome many obstacles that would have discouraged a less persevering individual. The Barbara McClintock Papers themselves are held by the American Philosophical Society and have been made available online through collaboration with the National Library of Medicine. The site directs new visitors to start with the online Exhibit section, which includes a selection of documents and images organised by subject, in addition to various biographical information. Additional information can be accessed either alphabetically or chronologically, or via the site's search facility. An interesting resource, The Barbara McClintock Papers site provides a fascinating insight into the life and mind of this remarkable woman. Rating: 7 out of 10 LH (From New Scientist Current Picks)
Speaking of DNA: Insights Into the Process of Scientific Discovery
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Watson and Crick's discovery of the double helix. To honor this event, we've got an ongoing Web project that will take you into the history, the labs, and the personalities behind a half-century of DNA research.
To begin, we'll go behind the scenes at the 'Biology of DNA' conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. There, we'll rub elbows with Nobel laureates and other talented scientists, watch life in the lab at a world-class genetics research center, and give you an insider's view of science in action. In addition, we've taken Watson and Crick's original paper and added our own annotations, letting you read between the lines of this historical document. In the spring, we'll be expanding our annotations to a full Web site, and producing a second set of Webcasts. Live Webcasts from the 'Biology of DNA' conference begin Feb. 26, 2003.” Brought to you by the Exploratorium.
How Chess Computers Work
This site illustrates how a computer program plays chess and diagrams how it calculates all possible moves using a formula called the minimax algorithm and a technique called alpha beta pruning. Information is also available on “Man vs. Machine” contests, IBM's Deep Blue, Deep Junior, international chess champion Garry Kasparov, and more. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Berners-Lee at NSF
From the article, “Current Web technology is uniquely suited for displaying documents, whether scientific papers or online catalog pages, according to Mr. Berners-Lee. But for all of its versatility, the Web has limited utility for researchers who want to share science and engineering data stored in databases, he said. Identifying and using data hidden inside complex databases is a tricky problem. But Mr. Berners-Lee believes that solving it could accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering, especially in areas of interdisciplinary research that draw data from disciplines other than the researcher's primary areas of expertise.” This quote comes from a presentation at the National Science Foundation. (From the ResourceShelf)
The Journey Inside [Flash, RealPlayer, .pdf]
The Web designers at Intel did a tremendous job when designing The Journey Inside, a Web site on computer and Internet-related technologies. Six sections offer interactive lessons, video demonstrations, and interesting stories about fundamental concepts. The first section provides a general introduction to computers. Next is an informative overview of Circuits and Switches, followed by a discussion of Digital Information storage and analysis. Microprocessor basics, the Internet, and Technology and Society round out the last three sections. Teachers can also find useful resources on this site, but they first need to complete a free registration. [CL] (From the Scout Report)
A Lexicon of Learning: What Educators Mean When They Say ...
“Ever wondered what educators mean when they refer to 'authentic assessment' or 'Bloom's Taxonomy'? Education, like all professions, has a specialized vocabulary that parents and others may have a difficult time understanding. ASCD's online resource, A Lexicon of Learning, provides clear definitions of educational terms in everyday language.”
Science Education at Jefferson Lab
“Science Education at Jefferson Lab offers 16 hands-on activities to answer questions such as: How do scientists to measure the size of an atom? What kind of coat will keep you the warmest-one made from cotton, steel wool, or air? How should you build a boat so that it carries the most cargo? Flash cards, matching games, and crossword puzzles can help students learn the periodic table of elements and other science information. Middle school teachers are invited to apply for a summer enrichment program in basic physics. Jefferson Lab is home to an underground, race-track shaped tunnel that accelerates electrons to incredible speeds, so that we can learn about the structure and behavior of the atom's nucleus. (Department of Energy)” (From FREE)
Getsmarter.org is a fun and somewhat quirky site designed to be an interactive learning portal which allows students to pit their wits against their contemporaries worldwide. An initiative from the bizarrely named Council on Competitiveness, the site provides students, parents and teachers alike with a fun way of comparing science and math skills. Various practice quizzes culminate in 'The REAL Challenge', where you can compare your results against those of other students from around the world who answered the same questions as part of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study from 1995 to 1999. For those whose answers are exceptionally good, there is a chance to feature in the top 10! The colourful front page is engaging from the start, with animated, noisy bullets - and a cheery yodel when you click on the mountain peak link to The REAL Challenge section. The quizzes themselves are separated into elementary, middle and high school levels, with section names designed to appeal to the young, such as the Goo Laboratory, Math Safari and Math and Science Television. To access the quizzes themselves you do need to input some basic, impersonal information about yourself, presumably for the purpose of grading. However, this ensures that the site can provide you with a different set of questions if you return and complete the same quiz section more than once. Each question comes complete with some amusing animations and as you progress through each grade the level of questions and tone of the animations changes to suit each audience. The site has a section for parents and educators, and a survey section for feedback. There is also a students' page, including various good science, math and problem solving links, which are also sorted according to elementary, middle or high school level. A great resource for children, parents and educators alike - but more importantly, the kids will love it! Rating: 9 out of 10 LH (From New Scientist Current Picks)
“Animated illustrations that show the inner workings of a variety of steam, Stirling and internal combustion engines” -- a total of nineteen different engines. The author, a hobbyist, provides explanations of each engine type, a brief bibliography, and an explanation of how the animations were created. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
“Disposable diapers and Post-It Notes stand shoulder to shoulder with the printing press and telescope in the pantheon of great inventions, in to a new feature from the editors at Encyclopedia Britannica.”
“The list, which is arranged alphabetically and does not rank items in order of significance, recognizes many previously unsung inventors whose work has left its mark on everyday life.”
Decades of Discovery
“Decades of Discovery describes 100 important discoveries in energy sciences, nuclear and plasma physics, advanced computing research, and biological and environmental research. Topics include the world's toughest microbe, the most distant object ever observed, why dinosaurs are extinct, how solar energy can be made more affordable, unraveling the mystery of antimatter, simulating environmental problems, and others. The 100 discoveries were selected from work supported during the past 25 years by the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy. (Department of Energy)” (From FREE)
At this visually appealing site, visitors can use the GeoData Explorer (Geode) to view world maps based on population, transportation, natural resources, political boundaries, and more. Geographical relationships of data categories can be visualized with maps of countries of the world. Geographic data collected by the USGS and other government agencies are available for download from this site. Sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Information about many aspects of oceanography: fisheries, coral reefs, currents, El Niño, icebergs, weather, waves, and more. Users may Ask Dr. Bob related questions. There are links to Real Time Data for various oceanographic topics. There is also a textbook, Introduction to Physical Oceanography, written by Robert H. Stewart “for upper-division college students and new graduate students in oceanography, meteorology, and ocean engineering.” From Texas A&M University. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
When Nature Takes Its Course: In Depth Views from the Keystone-Mast Collection
A timeline of seventeen disasters from 1871 through 1933. Includes stereographic photographs, number of casualties, and cost of damage for each. Browsable by type of disaster: earthquake, fires, floods, hurricanes, or volcano eruption. Includes essays. From the California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
This informative and comprehensive site tracks the search for new planets. Visitors to the site learn about the science of planetary discovery, possible habitable planets, instruments, and missions. Join the Planet Finder Club and search the New Worlds Atlas for newly discovered planets and planetary system information. Educator resources, multimedia gallery, and related project links are included. Supported by NASA and sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. (From Librarian's Index to the Internet)
Bridging the Vector Calculus Gap [.pdf, .tex]
A project underway at Oregon State University is attempting “to bridge the ‘vector calculus gap’ between the way vector calculus is usually taught by mathematicians and the way it is used by other scientists.” Six papers and five presentations are available on the project's Web site; the documents explain the importance of the research and propose specific changes to current teaching methods. The Ideas section looks at four topics in calculus and considers how mathematicians approach them differently than other scientists. Some of the material in the Labs section requires a password, but everything else on the site is immediately accessible. [CL] (From the Scout Report)
Mountain of Ice
In January 2001 an eight-person NOVA team stood atop the highest peak in Antarctica, having arrived by a difficult, unexplored route over glaciers that hold clues to the future of Earth's climate. Shot in high definition, “Mountain of Ice” recounts this expedition to one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of the planet.
NOVA's expedition up the unclimbed east face of Vinson Massif included Into Thin Air author Jon Krakauer and was led by noted mountaineer Conrad Anker. In 1999 Anker discovered the body of legendary 1920s climber George Mallory on Mount Everest during a search that produced the acclaimed NOVA film “Lost on Everest.”
This website includes interviews, slide shows, panoramas, news video clips and more.
For thousands of years, numerous cultures flourished within the region known as Mesoamerica, and their contributions to human civilization have been well-documented by a host of historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Maintained by Patrick Olivares, AncientMexico.com offers a number of thematic exhibits, primary documents, and images that will provide a good overview of the groups that have lived in this region. The first place to begin is the detailed clickable map where users can click on close to twenty different cities of pre-Columbian Mexico. Some of the city Web pages are “under excavation,” but many of them contain schematic representations of their urban form and photographs of the numerous structures (such as ballcourts and temples), along with explanations of their place within the culture. The Gods of Ancient Mexico area features images of gods central to the religious practices of the Maya people, including the Rabbit Scribe and the Water Lily Jaguar. Particularly helpful for educational purposes are the primary documents, which include Hernando Cortes's recollection of his meeting with Montezuma and a poem by Nezahualcoyotl (Hungry-Coyote), the poet and king of the Aztec city of Texcoco. [KMG] (From the Scout Report)
Urban Experience in Chicago: Hull-House and its Neighborhoods, 1889-1963
Sponsored by the Jane Addams Hull House Museum and the University of Illinois at Chicago, this online project contains a variety of primary source documents, documentary photographs, and scholarly essays that explore the legacy of social reform movements in Chicago and the community's history. There are several ways to proceed through the exhibit, though visitors may want to read the introductory essay in order to better understand the general layout of the site. Most of the substantive material on the site is contained within the 11 chapters that constitute the Historical Narrative section. Looking through any one of the chapters provides visitors with the opportunity to read a brief orientation essay, and proceed to a closer examination of the primary documents for a more multifaceted understanding of the social welfare and reform movements. Finally, there is a search engine for the entire database, which can be queried by author, keywords, date, and publication type. [KMG](From the Scout Report)
Kennewick Man Vitual Exhibit
“On July 28, 1996, two men watching the annual hydro boat races at Columbia Park in Kennewick, Washington, accidentally found part of a human skull on the bottom of the Columbia River about ten feet from shore. Later, deliberate searches turned up a nearly complete male skeleton that is now known as Kennewick Man.” This exhibit was developed by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington, Seattle. It is an excellent site, giving information about the Kennewick man, about the controversy, and about the concept of “race”.
The Edge of Enchantment: Sovereignty and Ceremony in Huatulco, Mexico
The experience of place and space in many cultures is one that finds a variety of expressions, often with a conflation of rituals and ceremonies with certain physical locales or land formations, such as hills, bays, rivers, and valleys. This online exhibit from the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, created from the research of Alicia Maria Gonzalez and the photography of Roberto Ysais, interrogates the importance of different places among the people of the Huatulco and Huamelula region in Mexico. Visitors will want to orient themselves to the material covered here by reading a brief introductory essay composed by Ms. Gonzalez that discusses her fieldwork and the nature of encantos, or enchanted places. Given the importance of space and landforms to these people, it is appropriate that the exhibit is divided into sections such as rivers, mountains, and valleys. Within each section, a brief essay is complemented by visual materials, such as historic photographs of local residents and contemporary photographs of people and the land. Overall, this is an exhibit that does a fine job of evoking the power of place among the people of this region. The exhibit is also available in Spanish. [KMG] (From the Scout Report)
Lost Treasures of Tibet
Companion website to the NOVA program about restoring beautiful and crumbling temples in Mustang. Before Leonardo da Vinci painted “The Last Supper,” Tibetan craftsmen were creating stunning artistry of their deities in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Mustang. In “Lost Treasures of Tibet,” NOVA goes behind the scenes with the first conservation team from the West, as it undertakes the painstaking restoration of these ancient masterpieces and the beautiful monasteries that house them.
Located in present-day Nepal, Mustang contains some of the last remaining relics of an almost vanished world of ancient Buddhist culture. Across the border in Tibet, Chinese occupiers have destroyed thousands of monasteries since taking control of the country in 1950. Therefore, the survival of Mustang's monasteries or gompas is more important than ever. But preservation is extremely difficult because of the centuries of neglect, weather, and earthquakes that have brought many buildings to the brink of collapse. Inside, their exquisite murals are in a near-ruined state.
In the course of their restoration work, conservators from the West come face-to-face with a thorny problem of culture clash: local people want missing sections of the murals completed. Westerners are aghast at the idea, but their hosts are equally shocked at the thought of worshiping unfinished deities.
This fascinating website tours you through the process of restoration where science, art, and anthropology combine in the process of making these incredible buildings “whole”.
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ELECTRICAL OUTLETS OFFER POTENTIAL FOR INTERNET ACCESS
St. Louis-based Meren Corp. and other utilities are testing a technology that would provide high-speed Web access through power lines, potentially making every electrical outlet a connection to the Internet. Federal regulators support the concept as a means of bolstering broadband access, among other benefits, and tout the advantage of employing an existing infrastructure of power lines. Broadband providers, meanwhile, point out that the idea has been around for years without concrete results. Network interference, transformers, and surge arrestors have hindered broadband delivery, although improved technology over the past few years has reduced many of these problems. Tests to date have been small, and none of them has demonstrated the concept's technical and financial viability.
Nando Times, 9 February 2003 (registration req'd) via Edupage.
ELSEVIER SCIENCE REVISITS DELETION POLICY
Elsevier Science has adopted new procedures for managing journal articles in its databases that it considers tainted by plagiarism, fraud, or other scholarly misconduct. Critics had charged that the publisher's earlier approach of removing articles from its databases with little explanation could damage scholarly endeavors. The new plan specifies rules by which Elsevier will delete or replace articles in its ScienceDirect database or flag them as having problems. A retraction notice explaining why an article has been retracted will link to the original article. Articles that pose a legal threat will be removed completely, leaving only the title and author's name with a note to that effect. The publisher did not explain whether the new policy will be applied to articles already removed from ScienceDirect.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 10 February 2003 via Edupage.
STUDY SAYS OPEN-SOURCE CODE IS HIGHER-QUALITY CODE
Reasoning, a consulting firm that offers software inspection services, found fewer errors in the networking TCP/IP code in Linux than in five other closed-source operating systems. Per 1,000 lines of code, the Linux defect rate was 0.1, compared to between 0.6 and 0.7 for general-purpose operating systems (two of three were UNIX versions) and between 0.1 and 0.3 for two embedded operating systems. Reasoning obtained access to proprietary software for the test but would not disclose the names of the operating systems that were compared to version 2.4.19 of the Linux kernel. Offered through Red Hat and SuSE, Linux competes with Microsoft Windows and UNIX-based operating systems such as Sun Microsystems' Solaris, IBM's AIX, and Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX. The study bolsters the view that open-source software is better than proprietary code because it allows for wider scrutiny, which translates to quicker identification and resolution of software problems.
CNET, 19 February 2003 via Edupage
EUROPEAN COMMISSION PLANS CYBERSECURITY AGENCY
The European Commission proposed creating the European Network and Information Security Agency to provide advice for the 15 EU members on cybersecurity issues. The agency is scheduled to begin operating in January 2004, at a site to be chosen by the governments of the 15 member states. The commission has set aside $26 million to fund the agency over the next five years, with additional funds planned to support the 10 new member states expected to join in 2004. The agency will assist EU members' own cybercrime authorities, specifically computer emergency response teams. The increased coordination among member states is expected to benefit the EU as a whole in achieving a high level of security for Internet use.
ITWorld, 10 February 2003 via Edupage.
ADVISORY GROUPS TO OVERSEE TIA PROGRAM
The Pentagon formed an internal and an external committee to address privacy concerns arising from the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program in a move to prevent Congress from monitoring the program too closely. Headed by John Poindexter, TIA aims to identify terrorists by monitoring Internet usage and commercial and financial databases in the U.S. and abroad. A Senate amendment last month banned deployment of the program and curbed research for it. The Pentagon formed the advisory panels to minimize the scope of the provision, now before a House-Senate conference committee, by convincing Congress that the committees will adequately address balancing security and privacy concerns. Senator Ron Wyden, who sponsored the provision, noted that the panels “did not get an election certificate” and that “Congress on a bipartisan basis is going to continue to demand accountability, oversight, and legally established safeguards.”
New York Times, 8 February 2003 (registration req'd) via Edupage.
MIT LIFTS RACE RESTRICTIONS ON SUMMER PROGRAMS
Fearing a legal challenge, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will accept students of all races in two summer math and science programs created for minority students. Geared to high school students and incoming freshman, the programs have enrolled only African-American, Hispanic, and Native-American students since their inception. Two conservative groups, the Center for Equal Opportunity and the American Civil Rights Institute, are forcing the policy change, having argued in a letter to MIT that the current policy does not “square with the law” under Title VI of the civil rights code. The groups plan to investigate race-based programs and policies at Cornell and other universities, although no other complaints have been filed to date. The letter to MIT was prompted by the mother of a white high school student who wanted to enter one of the programs. Robert Redwine, dean of undergraduate education, wants to continue MIT's commitment to serving minority students, but feels the university “had no choice” in the matter.
New York Times, 11 February 2003 (registration req'd) via Edupage.
INCREASING RESTRICTIONS ANNOY AND FRUSTRATE RESEARCHERS
As concerns grow over U.S. national security, citizens of other countries are having increasing difficulty entering the United States as students and researchers, frustrating academics and stalling some research projects. Everett I. Mendelsohn, a professor at Harvard University, relayed a story about students trying to attend Harvard who grew so frustrated with attempts to obtain visas that they decided to study in Paris instead. Brendan O'Brien of Cornell University said delays with visas have prevented 15 Cornell students from returning since going home for the holidays. In another case, two physicians from Bangladesh were supposed to have entered the United States to conduct research at Cornell. One arrived on schedule in September, but the other man remains in Bangladesh after his visa, which had been approved, somehow vanished. Researchers involved in the Cornell project have appealed to their Congressman for assistance. In the meantime, officials say a lot of time-sensitive research is at risk.
The Scientist, 11 February 2003 via Edupage.
FACULTY MEMBER PROPOSES BAN OF CERTAIN CONTENT AT CAL POLY
Responding to what she sees as an increasingly offensive and threatening environment on campus, Linda Vanasupa of California Polytechnic State University has written a resolution that would ban viewing pornography, obscenity, or hate literature on computers at the school. Last year, the chair of Vanasupa's department was convicted of misusing a state computer, having downloaded thousands of pornographic images to it, and left the university in the wake of the scandal. Vanasupa said the “lack of sensitivity around this issue” is “a form of hostility.” The resolution allows for exceptions to the policy for faculty or students who can demonstrate an academic need to access such materials, but Paul J. Zingg, Cal Poly's provost, said the proposal is “fundamentally in opposition to the spirit of inquiry that is critical to the academy.” The resolution is expected to be presented to the Academic Senate, where Vanasupa believes there to be sufficient support for debate on the Senate floor.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 21 February 2003 via Edupage.
What does a German cat sound like? How about a Hungarian chicken? Fans of sound-art will thoroughly enjoy this Flash site that presents a "collection of onomatopoeia from around the world." It captures the voices of kids and focuses on their pronunciation of animal and vehicle sounds in different languages. Hear these plucky little kids meow in German, hiss in Japanese, and quack in Russian. Or honk if you want to hear the curious sounds issued when kids are asked to imitate vehicles -- police cars and trains make for interesting subjects. After tuning in to some of these clips, you might wonder whether the kids of different nationalities are actually imitating the same animals. The results are charming and amusing nonetheless. Take note -- if you have a little one at home who can roar like a lion or cluck like a chicken, the site wants to hear their perky pipes. (From Yahoo's Picks of the Week) Linguists, enjoy!
Playing with Time
Speed up the world until it's just a blur or slow it down to a mere crawl. Either way, you'll gain a new perspective. The Gallery of Time features more than 80 short QuickTime movies that use time-lapse photography or slow motion to show how the world around us changes. Natural views are popular, and the speeded-up videos show subtle changes you wouldn't notice at a normal pace. Four months of spring growth around a northern Wisconsin stream and a year of seasonal change in a New York forest whiz by. Coastal evolution takes less than a minute as animation shows the probable 7,000-year creation of Cape Cod, and scurrying tourists make Walden Pond look anything but idyllic on a sunny day. You can slow things down to catch close-ups of a blinking eye, a milk-slurping cat, and a vibrating cymbal. Explosions and impacts look especially fascinating in slow-mo, as the firecracker, jackhammer, and breaking glass can attest. After spending some quality time with this site, you're sure to see the world in a different light. (Fom Yahoo's Picks of the Week)
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