The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 2, Number 16

August 8, 2003

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

In This Issue:




Topic In Depth


Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators
The Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) has recently updated its Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) Web service. The database was created to serve as an online search service for accessing environmental treaty and national level resource indicator data. The update includes "new treaty collections and status information, and has an entirely new interface with added functionality. With the new interface users are able to construct queries integrating different data types, find status data for more than 460 environmental treaties, and create 'status matrices' showing which countries are signatories to which treaties." The well designed interface offers several search and browse features and, most importantly, an easy way to download data as Excel workbooks, making the information provided that much more useable. [JAB]
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Chemcyclopedia is billed as "the most comprehensive online source of information about vendors, products, and services for the chemical and allied industries." Chemical products covered include organic (aliphatic, aromatic, alicyclic, heterocyclic, hydrocarbon, chiral), organometallic, inorganic (metallic, non-metallic, rare-earth), as well as hundreds of specialty and fine chemicals. Links on the main page are entitled Chemicals - A to Z, Chiral Chemistry, Custom Manufacturing and Custom Synthesis, and Drug Discovery & Development Services. Although primarily a well designed chemical company search tool, the site also provides links to trade shows, professional organizations, ACS publications, and other helpful items for those in relevant fields. [JAB]
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Cornell University Library Technical Reports and Papers [pdf]
The Cornell University Library Technical Reports and Papers Web site offers access to a host of publications from various departments and disciplines. Users can choose to search or browse all collections or individual ones, which include Computer Science Technical Reports, Computing and Information Science Technical Reports, Theory Center Technical Reports, History and Theory of Machines and Mechanisms, and Library Papers and Preprints. Searches can be limited by year, author, or title and the resulting products can be downloaded free of charge in PDF format making the site a good resource of helpful and unique information. [JAB]
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The E-answers Web site, which is made possible through a grant from the US Department of Agriculture, is a searchable database that offers information on a wide range of Extension or Outreach-oriented subjects. "The practical, current, and unbiased information in this site represents the work of Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Station professionals at Land Grant universities throughout the United States." Users can search by keyword or by region to find information on agriculture, forestry, fishing, family/consumer issues, lawn and garden, child development, 4-H/youth, environment, public policy, economics, water quality and communities, and more. This invaluable resource does a good job of providing an easy way for those interested to gain access to the helpful and informative products that come out of these institutions. [JAB]
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Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection
The Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection page is a part of the Environmental Protection Agency's Watershed Academy Web site. Visitors are able to search the database of financial assistance sources available -- which include grants, loans, and cost-sharing programs -- to fund all types of watershed protection projects. Search criteria include Type of Assistance, Eligible Organization and keywords such as Air Quality, Ground Water, Outreach, and Watershed Management, among others, are offered. Results of the searches contain the program name, a description, funding level, as well as a link for more detailed information including contact information. The well-designed search interface couldn't make searching for this type of critical information much easier, giving researchers or related professionals a great resource. [JAB]
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Electricity Database Files [MS Access or Excel]
The Electricity Database Files Web site from the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration division contains several helpful resources. The site's two main categories are entitled Electric Generator Databases and Power Plant Databases, which contain more than a dozen links to related information. These include everything from an Annual Electric Generator Report, Electric Utilities Database, and a Wholesale Electric Trade Database, to a Clean Air Act Database Browser that provides information about electricity generators that must comply with the sulfur dioxide provisions of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. This unique and informative collection, besides being easy to access, makes utilizing the information simple by allowing users to download the files as either Microsoft Access or Excel files. [JAB]
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Northeast Regional Climate Center
NOAA's Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC): Climate Data and Products Web site is part of the nationwide network that provides "convenient and timely access to accurate and reliable climate information." The Web sites are described as being "available to assist in interpreting present conditions, quantifying climate variability, and assessing the likelihood of extreme weather events that often produce major social, economic and environmental impacts in a region." Following this charge, this site provides Comparative Climatic Data for the US; Current Weather Conditions Around the Northeast (from Unisys); specific data about Ithaca, NY's Climate; and NRCC Research Reports. If you happen to be looking for various types of climatic information or data for the Northeast, this is a great place to start. [JAB]
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RAND: Science and Technology: Online Research Publications [pdf]
RAND is described as a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis. And following its mission, the publications portion of the Web site helps disseminate the results of its work "as broadly as possible." The Science and Technology: Online Research publications page contains access to monograph/reports, documented briefings, conference proceedings, testimony, RAND Graduate School dissertations, issue papers, research briefs, white papers, and more to anyone interested free of charge. Users can browse publications and can view their full text contents either online or downloaded as PDF documents. [JAB]
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Directory of Environmental Programs
The Directory of Environmental Programs is made possible by the National Institute for the Environment with a purpose "to function as a clearing house for environmental program information in institutions of higher education, and in so doing, increase the likelihood that mentor and student will find each other." High school students beginning their college search will appreciate this comprehensive and easy-to-use resource. Users can browse or search the database by subject, degree, state, country, school, or by keyword. Results include a description of the program, funding information, faculty and student statistics, tuition, contact information, and more. [JAB]
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Image Gallery for Geology
The Image Gallery for Geology is maintained by Professor Allen F. Glazner of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Geological Sciences. The site contains various images of geologic phenomena that are meant to supplement introductory college-level geology classes. The images are categorized into groups that include kinds of volcanoes, lavas and pyroclastic rocks, volcanic hazards, types of sedimentary rocks, sedimentary structures, folds, faults, weathering, beach processes, and barrier islands. The interesting and beautiful photographs along with the brief but informative descriptions will surely help college, high school, and even grade school students learn and retain these basic earth science concepts. [JAB]
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Minerals and Metals: A World to Discover
Natural Resources Canada offers the Minerals and Metals: A World to Discover Web site "as an educational tour of some of Canada's most important natural resources." Visitors to the graphically-rich and fun site are able to browse subjects such as Minerals and Metals at Home, Start a Mine, Our Hidden Treasures, Look Beneath the Surface, Mining Facts, Careers in the Mining Industry, and much more. The Minerals and Metals at Home activity for example, allows students to click on items in various rooms of an interactive house to find out what minerals and metals are contained in them. Afterwards, a short quiz is provided to help reinforce the learning. [JAB]
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Virtual Courseware for Earth and Environment Sciences [Macromedia Flash Player]
The Virtual Courseware for Earth and Environment Sciences Web site is supported in part by grants from the US National Science Foundation and the California State University System. Visitors to the site can choose from the earthquake, global warming, virtual earthquake, virtual dating, virtual river, or the biology labs learning activity. Each of the these contain some type of interactive activity, description, quiz, and other information that lets students explore these subjects in a unique and fun way. The earthquake page, for example, investigates travel time, epicenters, magnitudes, and more. [JAB]
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National Science Bowl
The Department of Energy's National Science Bowl "is a highly publicized academic competition among teams of high school students who answer questions on scientific topics in astronomy, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, earth, computer and general science." Teams are comprised of five students and a teacher who serves as an advisor and coach. The teams compete in regional competitions in forty-eight states at various times and nationals in spring. All the additional information that an educator needs to organize a team of their own is provided on the site as well as the history of the bowl and a description of what transpired this past spring. [JAB]
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What is Chemistry?
Provided by Kiwi Web Chemistry & New Zealand, the "What is Chemistry?" Web site offers a wealth of chemistry information and links. Visitors can read the definition of and link to other sites on inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, stoichiometry, nuclear chemistry, alchemy, and biochemistry. Other pages of the site explore acids and bases, redox reductions, equations, moles, periodic tables, and more. This extensive and interesting site does a good job of clearly explaining some difficult concepts as well as providing educators and students a good source of other quality sites containing similar content. [JAB]
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Stanford Solar Center [pdf]
The Stanford Solar Center is a project of the Solar Oscillations Investigation Team at Stanford and "is dedicated to sharing the joy and excitement of solar science exploration by providing hands-on web-based activities." Several quality educational lesson plans are provided on the site with titles such as Effects of the Sun on Our Planet, Build a Spectroscope, What is Ultraviolet Light?, The Spinning Sun, Galileo Challenge, Magnetism and the Sun, Sun Centered Physics, and more. Each contain a summary of the activity, its objectives, suggested grade level, and downloadable resources, all culminating in a easy-to-use resource that would be a welcome addition to any science curriculum. [JAB]
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Tutorials about Maps and Mapmaking
Maintained by the University of Iowa Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, the Maps and References Web site contains a host of educational links within the Tutorials about Maps and Mapmaking page. Titles of the links include Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map, What Do Maps Show, Fundamentals of Cartography, Guide to Map Scale, Understanding Map Projections, and more. Although all are outside links, the compilation of these, as well as the other sites on the page, offers teachers an excellent resource for easily locating quality educational material on the Web. [JAB]
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Finding Faults
"Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for marine science research, graduate training, and public service in the world." As part of the main Scripps Web site, the Finding Faults page chronicles Dr. Jeff Babcock's efforts to map in detail a California offshore earthquake fault system using an innovative seismometer developed by his team at Scripps. Visitors to the site will find descriptions, photographs, attractive graphics, and more, presented in a non-technical and interesting fashion. Anyone interested in geology, oceanography, or science in general will enjoy this site. [JAB]
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Household Products Database
The Household Products Database is a new offering from the National Institute of Health and the National Library of Medicine that contains information on over 4,000 consumer brands, allowing consumers to research products based on chemical ingredients. The database "helps answer questions such as: What are the chemical ingredients and their percentage in specific brands? Which products contain specific chemical ingredients? Who manufactures a specific brand? How do I contact this manufacturer? What are the acute and chronic effects of chemical ingredients in a specific brand? What other information is available about chemicals in the toxicology-related databases of the National Library of Medicine?" Users can browse or search the well-designed database by products, ingredients, or Material Safety Data Sheets to easily locate the desired information. [JAB]
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Environmental Maps
The US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Environmental Maps Web site is a free Internet service that combines information on HUD's community development and housing programs with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) environmental data. The maps "provide: location, type, and performance of HUD-funded activities in every neighborhood across the country; and select EPA information on brownfields, hazardous wastes, air pollution and waste water discharges." The Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based mapping interface is easily manipulated and users can locate theirs, or an interested neighborhood, in no time and browse the information provided. This powerful application is one of the best online interactive GIS mapping sites online for both its content and ease of use, making it a must visit. [JAB]
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Energy Savers: Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home
The US Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Web site offers the Energy Savers: Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home interactive online activity. This informative site does a great job of providing important information to homeowners on what they can do to save energy in several categories, including insulation and weathering, heating and cooling, water heating, windows, landscaping, lighting, appliances, and more. Each section contains descriptions, graphics, animations, and links to get specific information on what can be done. [JAB]
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American Solar Challenge
The American Solar Challenge (ASC) is a competition to design, build and race solar-powered cars in a cross-country event. The 2003 race began on July 13 in Chicago, Illinois, followed historic Route 66, and ended in Claremont, California on July 23. As is stated, ASC promotes a greater understanding of solar energy technology, its environmental benefits, and its promise for the future. The challenge offers the opportunity for creative integration of technical and scientific expertise across a range of disciplines and a hands-on opportunity for students and engineers to develop and demonstrate their technical and creative abilities. Visitors of the site can read about the 2003 teams, views photos of the vehicles, find out who won, and much more. [JAB]
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Petrology Collections Database
The Natural History Museum (NHM) of London offers several quality online sites including the Petrology Collections Database. The interface allows users to search the collection by BM number, rock name, country of origin, locality, donor, and more. Results contain all of the aforementioned information as well as a link to a full description. Although a browse feature and photographs are not available, the site does give those who are serious about petrology an easy way to locate and get information about specimens the museum holds. If more information is sought, the site also provides links to additional facts on the petrology collection, information on other petrology collections, NHM petrology research, and NHM analytical facilities. [JAB]
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International Joint Commission [pdf]
The International Joint Commission was created by Canada and the United States "because they recognized that each country is affected by the other's actions in lake and river systems along the border. The two countries cooperate to manage these waters wisely and to protect them for the benefit of today's citizens and future generations." Visitors to the site can read about great lakes water quality issues, great lakes exports, water levels, news releases, publications, view maps, and much more. One of the latest publications available on the site includes the proceeding from a workshop entitled Addressing Atmospheric Mercury: Science and Policy. This extensive site is well organized and written, giving anyone living near or interested in the great lakes a good source for timely and important information. [JAB]
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Mineral Industry Surveys [pdf]
The US Geological Surveys Mineral Industry Survey's Web site provides "periodic on-line statistical and economic publications designed to provide timely statistical data on production, distribution, stocks, and consumption of significant mineral commodities." Visitors to the site will find an alphabetical listing of minerals that includes everything from Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, and Asbestos, to Zeolite, Zinc, and Zirconium. Once clicked, a brief description of the mineral is provided along with links to yearly information publications as well as special publications such as its historical statistics, other agency links, contact information, and more. [JAB]
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Topic In Depth

1 US EPA: Storm Water
2 Stormie's Clean Water Tips Fact Sheets
3 Stormwater, the Journal for Surface Water Quality
4 National Stormwater Best Management Practices Database
5 "Stormwater Model Display
6 Stormwater Quality Lesson Plans
7 Stormwater Manager'sResourceCenter
8 Surface Water Modeling Links
The first site related to stormwater is provided by the Environmental Protection Agency. (1 ). Called Storm Water, this informative site provides a wide array of information and resources for citizens and professionals including a general description of the problems of stormwater, program information on protecting water resources from stormwater, and much more. The second site,Stormie's Clean Water Tips Fact Sheets(2 ) is made available by the University of Wisconsin-Extension office. Here, visitors will find PDF documents with titles such as Storm Drain Stenciling, Car Care for Cleaner Water, Cleaning Up Stormwater Runoff, and Storm Sewers-The Rivers Beneath Our feet. Each of these well written publications contains easily understandable and fun graphics making it perfect for kids or adults. The next site, Stormwater, the Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals (3 ) provides online access to current and past publications as well as information on free subscriptions, and more. The Urban Water Resources Research Council of the American Society of Civil Engineers offers the next site: The National Stormwater Best Management Practices Database (4 ). The searchable database provides "access to Best Management Practices (BMP) performance data in a standardized format for over 190 BMP studies conducted over the past fifteen years." The fifth site related to stormwater is from the City of Sacramento Stormwater Management Program's Web site called the Stormwater Model Display (5 ). The Stormwater Model is an educational exhibit that helps demonstrate the sources of stormwater pollution. The interactive online version allows students to view and read about how things, such as construction, car washing, and illegal dumping, adversely affect waterways. The next site is another educational site on stormwater called Stormwater Quality Lesson Plans (6 ). Provided by the Stormwater Coalition, the twenty well-written lessons have titles such as Analyzing Storm Water Issues and Designing a Community with Stormwater in Mind. The Center for Watershed Protection maintains the next site called Stormwater Manager's Resource Center(7 ). The site provides information on almost any topic in stormwater or urban watershed management through an extensive reference library and 150 articles on watershed protection. The last site related to stormwater is a collection of Surface Water Modeling Links (8 ) compiled by hydrologist Dr. Richard B. Winston. Dozens of helpful sites are offered, including the USGS surface-water quality and flow modeling interest group, object watershed link simulation, TR - 55: urban hydrology for small watersheds, and hydrologic unit modeling for the United States (HUMUS). Updated regularly, the site provides helpful and quality information for water resource professionals and others interested in the subject. [JAB]
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