The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 1, Number 24

December 13, 2002

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In This Issue:




Topic In Depth


Geology Web Links
The Geology Web Links Web site is maintained by the earth science information and products company MinServe. Visitors are offered links that include everything from Analytical Instruments and Services for Analyzing Minerals to Universities and Research Institutes. Other topics include associations and societies, computer software, conferences, instruments for mapping rocks, planetary geology, and dozens more. A simple but informative site, those browsing for information about geology will be hard press to find another subject-specific site quite so extensive. [JAB]
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Internet Glossary of Soil Science Terms [.doc]
The Soil Science Society of America's maintains the Internet Glossary of Soil Science Terms Web site. Visitors will find a searchable and browseable dictionary of hundreds of soil terms. Other resources include tables, which include terms for describing consistence of block-like specimens, pore size classification, and soil water terminology, as well as appendixes on soil taxonomy. A new feature of the site is a downloadable dictionary file of soil science terms with instructions for loading it to your computer. As a whole, the site contains some unique and helpful tools that professionals should find useful. [JAB]
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A Water Quality Index for Ecology's Stream Monitoring Program [.pdf]
A Water Quality Index for Ecology's Stream Monitoring Program is a new publication being offered by the State of Washington's Department of Ecology. A description of the work in part states that "the Water Quality Index is intended as a tool to summarize and report Ecology's Freshwater Monitoring Unit's routine stream monitoring data...determined for temperature, pH, fecal coliform bacteria, dissolved oxygen, total suspended sediment, turbidity, total phosphorus, and soluble reactive phosphorus." An abstract and a link for the downloadable file are provided on the main page. [JAB]
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US Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves 2001 Annual Report
A newly updated publication is available from the US Energy Information Administration. The report, entitled "US Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves 2001 Annual Report," contains national and state estimates of proved reserves of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids in the United States. The over 170-page document has chapters with titles such as National Summaries, New Reservoir Discoveries in Old Fields, Large Reservoir Declines, Natural Gas Plant Liquids, and Top 100 Oil Fields for 2001. Those interested can download the entire report, individual chapters, appendices, a glossary, and even previous reports for links offered by on the site. [JAB]
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Field Analytic Technologies Encyclopedia
The US Environmental Protection Agency maintains the Field Analytic Technologies Encyclopedia Web site. The online encyclopedia is "intended to provide information about technologies that can be used in the field to characterize contaminated soil and groundwater, monitor progress of remedial efforts, and in some cases, for confirmation sampling and analysis for site close-out." The technologies link contains information on analytics such as gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, and test kits; geophysics such as ground penetrating radar; and delivery systems including direct-push platforms, groundwater samplers, and soil-gas samplers. Other links include resources, references, and online training modules for field-based technologies. The site is a great informational resource and training aide for hazardous waste professionals working directly in the field. [JAB]
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Basic Liquid Chromatography
The online textbook, Basic Liquid Chromatography, is provided by Dr. Yuri Kazakevich and Dr. Harold McNair of Seton Hall University. For those needing review or an introduction to the subject, the well designed and easily read document contains a wealth of information. Sections include an introduction, instrumentation, detectors, theory, adsorbents, reversed phase, gel permeation chromatography, column selection, pH effect, and even an online short course. [JAB]
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Amazing Environmental Organization WebDirectory
Provided by, the Amazing Environmental Organization WebDirectory is billed as "Earth's Biggest Environment Search Engine." Users have easy access to a wide range of Web sites categorized by thirty various environmental topics. These include databases, disasters, education, energy, government, news and events, pollution, publications, recycling, science, water resources, and weather. The categories are then further divided into more specific subjects, each with a list of the relevant sites, a brief description, and a direct link. The site, which also lets users search its contents and see "what's new," is a great resource that hopefully will continue to add to its contents. [JAB]
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Seawater Sound Speed Calculator
The Seawater Sound Speed Calculator is provided by physicist Dr. Simon Richards, who is conducting research in underwater acoustics. The calculator determines the speed of sound using the empirical formula developed by Chen and Millero in their 1977 publication "Speed of Sound in Seawater at High Pressures." Users input a given temperature, salinity, and pressure to compute the sound speed in meters per second. Simple and easy-to-use, the calculator will surely become a standard bookmark for those working in related fields. [JAB]
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Environmental Science Lessons [Shockwave, QuickTime]
The Science Zone Web site was made for the Ithaca City School District by Science Joy Wagon. The site offers the well designed Environmental Science Lessons page that contains links to science concepts related to the hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere. Each accumulation of sites spans many sources from across the Web and are categorized into the general areas of chemistry, biology, physical characteristics, and human impact. For example, the lithosphere chemistry area contains a soils and salt-free highway topping links, along with a brief description of each activity. Although the quality of some of the provided links may not excellent, the majority are worth educators time to investigate. [JAB]
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Relativity Tutorial
The University of California Los Angeles Division of Astronomy and Astrophysics professor Edward Wright maintains the Relativity Tutorial Web site. The site explains the history and general concepts behind relativity. Subjects covered include special relativity, radar, time dilation, general relativity, the principle of equivalence, curved spacetime, and how relativity is important to cosmology. The easily read descriptions and simple illustrations do give students the facts needed to begin to understand the complicated concepts explored on the site. [JAB]
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The online interactive GeoGame activity is provided by The game is intended to have students learn geography terms, learn how to read and interpret maps, and increase awareness of geographical and cultural diversity. After registering for free, users get to choose games that contain international, United States, Canadian, or seasonal questions. The games, which aren't easy, are intended to be attempted by groups of students or the entire class, and led by the educator. Students use maps, atlases, and other reference material to search for the difficult answers, making the games more involved but more learning intensive. [JAB]
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NASA Spacelink: Instructional Materials
Described as an aeronautics and space resource for education, NASA's Spacelink Web site contains several links including the Instructional Materials page. Basically an online clearinghouse for NASA supplied educational material, the page contains links to various material. Visitors will find categories that include NASA educational products; online educational activities; curriculum support; multimedia products including online slide shows, video tapes, and software; and national education standards. On the multimedia page, for example, educators can find links to interactive projects, NASA pictures and images, and a site that describes the basics of using Internet multimedia. This resource is a great way to locate and use the vast amount of material the space agency produces each year. [JAB]
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The Chromatography online tutorial is offered by Louisiana State University Department of Chemistry. The single scrollable page covers everything from what chromatography is, the chromatogram, why bands spread, gas chromatography, and high-performance liquid chromatography. Other items of interest include liquids and intermolecular forces, an introduction to separations, chromatography nomenclature, and more. The site, which does a good job of explaining the various topics involved with chromatography, is geared primarily towards advanced high school or college level students who have some previous chemistry background. [JAB]
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Glaciers: Teacher's Guide [QuickTime]
The Glaciers Teacher's Guide Web site was created by Arizona educator Patti Greenleaf. The site provides everything needed to complete the online activity, which is geared to students in grades 4 to 5. Objectives of the lesson include having students define what a glacier is, correctly use some terminology related to glaciers, describe how they form and move, and finally be able to tell where glaciers are located today. These objectives are accomplished by having the students read the provided text as well as looking at various photographs and movies. The structure and material of the site are its highlight, both of which are simple but effective. [JAB]
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The Nine Planets: A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System
Hosted by the University of Arizona chapter of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, the Nine Planets: A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System Web site is maintained by Bill Arnett. The site is described as an "overview of the history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons in our solar system." The site has had several additions including new discoveries of several planet moons. Each page contains photographs and a wide array of physical information related to the planet worth checking out. [JAB]
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Chemistry-Based QuickTime, Shockwave Flash, GIF Animations, and Streaming Audio
The Chemistry-Based QuickTime, Shockwave Flash, GIF Animations, and Streaming Audio Web site is provided to "support the teaching of concepts in chemistry in freshman through graduate level courses." Dr. Thomas Chasteen's site offers links to multimedia files related to chemiluminescence, gel electrophoresis, how a grating works, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, titrations, atomic emission detector, and much more. The site is a good collection of helpful visual learning tools that chemistry students will surly appreciate. [JAB]
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25th Anniversary of the Department of Energy
The Department of Energy is celebrating 25 years of existence this year, and its history and accomplishments are presented in their anniversary Web site. Visitors can explore yearly highlights from the point that President Carter signed the Department of Energy Organization Act to the present. The site also provides a description of the institutional origins of the department, a message from the Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham on the milestone, and a link that lists every person's name who had worked for the Department of Energy since its inception. [JAB]
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Groundwater and Wetlands
Groundwater and Wetlands is an excellent online tutorial provided by McGraw-Hill Companies. Although designed as an educational activity, the site can be enjoyed by learners of all ages. Topics include the hydrologic cycle, rock properties, groundwater systems, high plains aquifer, human modifications of groundwater systems, and wetlands information. Each well designed section contains creative illustrations and/or photographs, as well as non-technical text. For those interested and so inclined, a series of quizzes and exercises are also provided, along with links to additional information. [JAB]
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Plumbing Systems
The Plumbing Systems physics Web site is maintained by David Smith of the University of the Virgin Islands Web physics network. The unique site provides information on fluid statics, fluid dynamics, the chemistry of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe, fluid statics and dynamics in the laboratory, modeling pipe systems, and more. Descriptions, illustrations, equations, and animations help visitors appreciate and fully understand the concepts surveyed within the site. [JAB]
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The Fading Milky Way
NASA's Fading Milky Way Web site addresses the increasing problem of light pollution surrounding large cities. The 2001 article describes how viewing stars is becoming more difficult as a result of urbanization and poorly controlled lighting. The article, which can be read or listened to via streaming audio, also describes examples of "sky-friendly" light fixtures. For more information, links provided include a study of the problems of light pollution, good and bad lighting fixtures, artificial night sky brightness, images of the earth's city lights, and how light pollutions prevents us from seeing the Milky Way. [JAB]
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Department of Pesticide Regulation
The California Environmental Protection Agency Department of Pesticide Regulation Web site contains many informative resources. The first is a pesticide product database queried by either product code, produce name, company name, or registration number. The next is a chemical ingredients database that lets users search solely for chemical names. The last database searches pesticide company names that retrieves location and contact information. This very helpful resource can provide citizens with useful information that can be used to make health conscious decisions for them and their family related to pesticide use. [JAB]
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Animations Page
The Animations Page Web site is provided by Mr. Halloran of Stony Brook State University of New York. The page, which contains nearly twenty links to earth science animations, is "designed as a quick reference guide to visual representations of Earth Science related concepts." The animations are divided into land, air, sea, and space categories and include an anatomy of a volcano, a tsunami animation, formation of cloud systems, El Nino, and an eclipse animation. One especially interesting link is a movie that shows how mineral cracks and veins are created in rocks. Any geology interested person will enjoy this and most likely all of the multimedia offerings. [JAB]
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Australian Severe Weather
The Australian Severe Weather Web site is maintained by self proclaimed severe weather enthusiasts Michael Bath and Jimmy Deguara. Other weatherphobes will fully appreciate what the authors have assembled. Everything from weather images, storm news, tropical cyclone data, bush fire and wild fire information, weather observation techniques, and even video clips and Web cam links. Although these other items make the site well rounded, the extensive amount of categorized weather pictures (which are quite extraordinary) are reason enough to visit. [JAB]
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Kentucky Geological Survey
The University of Kentucky maintains the Kentucky Geological Survey Web site. Visitors will find a number of educational general information pages on rocks and minerals, fossils, coal, geologic hazards, industrial minerals, maps and GIS, oil and natural gas, and water, as well as the general geology of Kentucky. Each page contains specific information, data, and research summaries from the university. The geology of Kentucky page, for example, shows a map of geologic periods and gives descriptions of the rock strata in the state, a description of its landforms, and a geological photo album of physiographic regions and points of interest. [JAB]
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Topic In Depth

1. What is a Gyroscope?
2. Gyroscope
3. The Science Behind the Technology
4. Gyroscopes as Propulsion Devices
5. The Gyroscopic Effects on a Motorcycle
6. Rosie the Robot - a Question of Balance
7. How Gyroscopes Work
8. Basic Riding Skills
This Topic in Depth explores gyroscopes and the gyroscopic effect. The first site from the Canada Science and Technology Museum is called What is a Gyroscope (1). Visitors will find an explanation of what the term gyroscope refers to, what's special about gyroscopes, how the gyroscopic effect is applied, and other simple but informative descriptions. Next, the site entitled Gyroscope (2) is offered by the Kenyon College Department of Physics. It describes the history of the gyroscope from its invention in 1852 by the French physicist Leon Foucault to other early variations. Large photographs of the pieces are given along with brief explanations. From the makers of the Segway, the Human Transporter, comes the Science Behind the Technology (3) Web site. Visitors will find an explanation of how the personal transportation device uses a special type of gyroscope called a solid-state angular rate sensor constructed with silicon. The fourth site, Gyroscopes as Propulsion Devices (4), provides several informative pages. A gyroscope math section gives an in-depth look at the mathematical principles behind the science of gyroscopes. The site also explains how a gyroscope works and what they can do, as well as giving several other helpful links to help understand the device. Next, maintained by Vittore Cossalter, is the Gyroscopic Effects on a Motorcycle (5) Web site. The page gives explanations and illustrations about when the gyroscopic effect takes place on a wheel, the effects from yaw motion and roll motion, and even the effects from handlebar motion. Continuing on to a site authored by New York Universities' Ken Perlin is the Rosie the Robot - a Question of Balance (6) site. This comical but interesting page explains how The Jetsons TV show's Rosie the robot balances on her wheels. Besides this, visitors will fine interactive applets that they can manipulate to further their knowledge of gyroscope workings. The seventh site, How Gyroscopes Work (7), is available from Everything from the science behind their workings, the concept of precession, gyroscope uses such as in telescopes and yo-yo's, and much more are covered. The last site is another motorcycle riding science site called Basic Riding Skills (8). The page explains counter steering for mathematicians, centrifugal force, and the gyroscopic effect on motorcycles in motion. A short but interesting site, its especially good for those interested in the math behind these concepts. [JAB]
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