The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - September 17, 1997

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering

September 17, 1997

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

The target audience of the new Scout Report for Science & Engineering is faculty, students, staff, and librarians in the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. Each biweekly issue offers a selective collection of Internet resources covering topics in the sciences, and related fields such as math and engineering, that have been chosen by librarians and content specialists in the given field of study.

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is also provided via email once every two weeks. Subscription information is included at the bottom of each issue.

In This Issue
The Scout Report
*Research*Current Awareness
*Learning Resources*New Data
*General Interest*In the News

E. coli Genome Project--University of Wisconsin
National Institutes of Health Announcement
Maintained by the Department of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the E. coli Genome Project site is divided into six project-related categories including project history, staff, and publications. The new Data and Analysis subsection is the centerpiece of this site with eleven browsable ORF tables that provide information on 12 characteristics of each gene. An additional RNA table includes information on all non-protein encoding RNA species. All of these tables can be downloaded (Excel .zip file or as a tab-delimited text document). A FASTA-style, multi-sequence file of annotated ORFs is available from the FTP site in Gzip format. Also available are instructions for retrieving the complete E. coli K-12 genome sequence. More information about the genome can be found at the National Institutes of Health site. [DF]
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Cambridge Journals Online
Cambridge University Press (CUP) has provided temporarily free online access to selected print journals. This introductory offer includes access (registration required) to issues from the most current year. Users can also sign up for the Alerting service, a notification of new journals and articles. Tables of contents, abstracts and search facilities will remain free after the introductory period. The online catalogue currently contains 27 journals, of which 19 pertain to science-related subjects. CUP plans to increase the number of available journals to 50 by the end of 1997. [KH]
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Social Insects World Wide Web (SIWeb) [QuickTime, QuickTime VR]
The Social Insects web site is maintained by Donat Agosti of the American Museum of Natural History and includes numerous searchable databases geared primarily for professionals and serious amateurs. The site's 12 main sections emphasize catalogs, collections, and identification of social insects. Most of these sections contain links to other databases or sites. An outstanding collection of video and still images of social insects and their behavior highlights this site. Detailed taxonomic information and family keys, a glossary of entomological terms, and a list of introduced ant species of the world are also included. [DF]
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NTRS: NASA Technical Reports Server
This site allows the user to search up to seventeen databases for articles in the space and flight field. The databases include the Astrophysics Data System, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the Kennedy Space Center, and the Ames Research Center. The search results produce links to available articles, arranged by database. Fifteen fields of information are listed for each article and include title, authors, publication date, abstract (if available), and the full citation. Links to each database provide a detailed description of the service and of the source of information, in addition to search capabilities. [KH]
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The Gap Analysis Program
This site provides the latest information on the Gap Analysis Program (GAP). The central goal of the GAP Program is to collect and integrate many levels of biological, physical, and policy information on a large scale, in order to identify gaps in current resource management plans. It is maintained by the USGS Biological Resources Division with the mission of "providing regional assessments of the conservation status of native vertebrate species and natural land cover types and to facilitate the application of this information to land management activities." This site is divided into eight sections: overview, the gap analysis handbook, state project information, gap reports/publications, a bulletin board, aquatic gap, nature mapping (an educational tool), and links to related sites. New press releases and conference poster contents are featured at the top of the site. Users can access state and regional GAP information or use the search engine to find other topics of interest. [DF]
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Learning Resources
Rader New Media developed Chem-4-Kids to make chemistry interesting. Four sections are used to convey basic information for each element: How to Say it, What's Inside?, Where to Find it?, and What Does it Bond With?. A list of key terms is provided on each page with a link to the corresponding entry in the glossary. Not all elements are completed. The transition elements are not documented, nor does it appear they will be. Aimed at school age children, Chem-4-Kids doesn't deliver highly scientific explanations of orbital theories or other complex material, but it does provide a good basis for understanding chemistry. [KH]
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The Natural History Museum, London [ShockWave, QuickTime VR, VRML]
Although it contains information useful to both amateur and professional researchers, this site is primarily geared for instructional use at all levels. The Natural History Museum contains five groupings of topics: the museum, science, information services, education, and a list of hosted sites. Users can select from numerous choices within the five groupings, often divided into fields of scientific study such as botany and paleontology. Examples of items available at this site include: an image gallery from gems to botanical illustrations, a photographic tour of Darwin's home, a collection of virtual reality trilobites, and a discussion of the feasibility of extracting dinosaur DNA from insects trapped in ancient amber. This site provides links to an exceptionally good collection of related sites. (Several applications require Shockwave plug-in, QTVR plug-in, or VRML 2.0 plug-in.) [DF]
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Monarch Watch--Biodiversity and Biological Collections Web Server
Monarch Watch contains information on monarch butterfly natural history and research, with an emphasis on opportunities for amateur and professional involvement in monarch monitoring and conservation. This site adds an important new avenue for collaboration between professional and amateur entomologists in the growing field of insect conservation. [DF]
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DASL--Data and Story Library
This statistics resource, provided by Cornell University, combines "stories," datasets, and statistical methods into a powerful introduction to statistics. Users can access information by over fifty statistical methods, from ANCOVA to two sample t-test, stories by topic, from archeology to zoology, or data files by subject, from agriculture to weather. Each of these access methods has hyperlinks to the others. For example, the Hubble's Constant Story connects to Hubble data on distance and velocity of recession, as well as statistical methods that lead to other stories and data. DASL is an imaginative, intelligently-designed site that is an excellent resource for beginning statistics students. [JS]
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General Interest
Committee for the National Institute for the Environment (NIE)
This site is intended to provide information on the NIE whose mission is "to improve the scientific basis for making decisions on environmental issues." The site includes information on the origin of the NIE, its accomplishments, and its current activities. Also included are sections on membership, fund-raising, and financial and legislative sponsors. The highlight of the site, however, is the National Library of the Environment (discussed in the October 18, 1996 issue of the Scout Report), a repository of over 100 Congressional Research Service reports. The ultimate goal of the NIE is to increase funding for environmental and policy research through the creation of a federally funded research granting agency akin to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). [DF]
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CPC Civil Projects
Haested Methods, Inc. is responsible for maintaining Civil Projects, a free site for finding or posting civil engineering projects from around the world. Requests for Proposals (RFPs) or Requests of Qualifications (RFQs) can be posted by organizations needing a contractor for a project. A search for projects to bid on can be performed via state or country. [KH]
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The Gardener's Guide to Mailing Lists
This list is dedicated to the discussion of all woody and non-woody plants, with annotated discussion lists on 38 topics ranging from aroids and aquatic plants to orchids and organic gardening. Both professionals and amateurs with botanical affinities will almost certainly find a discussion list worth investigating. Many of the botanical- or garden-related topics contain multiple discussion lists. The site is maintained by Karen Fletcher and provides a link between amateurs and professionals with common interests. [DF]
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The Fractory: An Interactive Tool for Creating and Exploring Fractals
The Fractory, a one place stop for learning about, creating, and viewing fractals, was created by three students as a project for ThinkQuest (discussed in the January 26, 1996 Scout Report), a contest for students ages 12-19. There are six main sections to the Fractory, including Fractal Basics and the Fractal Message Board. Fractal Basics will inform you about the importance of fractals to the real world and teach you how fractals are generated. This explanation is presented with or without complex math. Users can learn about the different types of fractals in the Fractal Information section, and they can create their own fractal in the Make Your Own Fractals section. The Fractal Gallery offers viewers a chance to see some interesting creations. Links and references to other fractal sites are also provided. [KH]
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Current Awareness
National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant Proposal Guide
Text only:
These are the most recent criteria for grant proposals for 1998 and replace previous documents on the subject: NSF 95-27 and 95-28. The site contains a section called Summary of Significant Changes as well as a table of contents and links to other NSF sites. [DF]
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Brown Bag Pre-Prints--CalTech
Twenty five pre-prints were released from the Basic and Applied Physics Group at Caltech. The titles are available at this web site. [KH]
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Academia Book Releases--Baker & Taylor--September 1997
-includes computer science
-includes chemistry and physics
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Springer-Verlag Journals Current Awareness Service
List of journals:
This free preview service provides customized email notification of tables of contents (TOCs) of over 150 scientific journals prior to release of new issues of the journals. The journals covered are available at the site, and users can either retrieve TOCs from Springer's web/gopher/ftp site, or via email. Note that it is important to know the numerical code of desired journals (available via the journal list). Complete instructions on how to subscribe to the email current awareness site are provided. [KH]
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Conference Updates from the Scholarly Societies Project
The University of Waterloo's (Canada) well known Scholarly Societies Project (discussed in the August 1, 1997 Scout Report), maintains a meta-conference page with conference information in over 35 subjects. The conference information comes from pertinent scholarly societies, but the information is not limited to the conferences of those societies. [JS]
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New Data
Species in Parks Flora and Fauna Database--US National Park Service
The Information Center of the Environment and the US National Park Service (NPS) have developed a "preliminary" data base of vascular plants and vertebrates located on National Park Service Lands. Although the database is not a complete list of species residing on NPS lands, it contains relatively complete lists for both small and large parks. Users can search for plants and animals by species or park name. Within each park, one can search a list of species by taxa (e.g., birds, mammals, fish, etc.) and then learn in what other parks that species is found. Links to the home pages for all NPS property (from American Samoa to Zion National Park) are featured. Both plant and animal databases are available for downloading for Windows or DOS users (.exe). [DF]
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Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI) Near-Realtime Data--Goddard DAAC
NDVI Near-Realtime Data
Goddard DAAC
The Goddard Distributed Active Archive Center has made available AVHRR Global-Area-Coverage near-realtime data. A normalized Difference Vegetation Index is available for North America, in both digital (4 km resolution) and browse (16 km) forms. Regional land surface and sea surface temperatures will be available in the near future. The data files are in unix-compressed format and must be uncompressed after downloading. Browse files (GIF) are also available and are stored on disk in uncompressed format. [KH]
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NIST Chemistry WebBook--An Update
The Chemistry WebBook (discussed in the August 16, 1996 Scout Report), created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has recently made available its August, 1997 release. It is a comprehensive database containing thermochemical, thermophysical, and ion energetics data that has grown to more than 27,000 chemical species, mostly organic compounds but including a small number of inorganic compounds. Searches can be performed on a chemical's formula (full or partial), name, CAS registry number, molecular weight, ionization energy, and proton affinity. Indirect searches can also be performed on reaction species, author, or source of the data. There are eleven categories of data available, including gas phase and reaction thermochemistry, phase change data, and IR and mass spectra images. Not all data categories are available for all chemical species in the database. [KH]
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In the News
Escherichia coli refers to a diverse family of hundreds of bacteria, many of which are permanent residents of human intestines, serving a beneficial purpose in digestion. The potentially deadly strain that has received recent publicity was first described in 1982, and is known as E. coli O157:H7. This strain of the bacteria produces a substance known as Vero-cytotoxin, which can cause severe illness, characterized by bloody diarrhea and occasional kidney failure in children and the elderly. Symptoms normally appear between three to six days after ingestion of the bacteria. Most illness associated with E. coli has been traced to eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef, although it can also be transmitted via person-to-person contact, by eating raw milk, contaminated vegetables or apple cider, and by swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water. The organism lives in the intestine of healthy cattle, and meat can become contaminated during slaughter. Because grinding mixes the bacteria into the product, ground meats represent a greater threat than do whole cuts. Contaminated meat looks and smells normal. Raw milk can be contaminated from bacteria present on a cow's udder. It appears that even small amounts of this organism can cause severe illness. [DF]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
A May, 1997 report: Food Safety from Farm to Table: a National Food Safety Initiative contains sections on recent trends in food safety and food-borne disease, current systems for protecting food, new initiatives such as an early-warning system to prevent food poisoning, research, education and others. This is a good overview site for understanding E. coli and other food-borne bugs. [DF]

Preventing Foodborne Illness: Escherichia coli 0157:H7 (CDC)
This two-page, Center for Disease Control brochure provides excellent summary information on what E. coli 0157:H7 is, why it is a problem, how it is spread, and includes information on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Available in HTML or ASCII text, this is a good introduction to the subject. [DF]

Emerging Foodborne Diseases--Emerging Infectious Diseases (CDC)
For a more scholarly (but accessible) article,taken from Emerging Infectious Diseases (discussed in the January 10, 1997 Scout Report), dealing with a variety of food-borne illnesses including E. coli, users can go to this site. It contains a bibliography and a more detailed discussion of the epidemiology and biology of E. coli and its associated diseases. Knowledgeable visitors will appreciate the abundance of detail offered on a number of food-borne culprits. [DF]

Irradiating Ground Beef to Enhance Food Safety--Food Review Jan/April, 1997. [.pdf, 5p.]
This USDA Economic Research Service article, from Food Review, (discussed in the April 25, 1997 Scout Report), available in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format only, contains a discussion of the use of ionization radiation to kill microbial pathogens such as E. coli. This technology is currently used to control insects in foods and to delay ripening in fresh fruits and vegetables. Irradiation is also approved for poultry and pork, and is under review for beef and seafood. Here readers can also learn about the economic cost of E. coli ($196- $441 million/yr!), and find a useful bibliography for more information on the topic. [DF]

Bacterial Foodborne Disease: Medical Costs and Productivity LossesERS [.pdf, 81p.]
This USDA Economic Research Service Report (AER-741, available in Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format only), discusses cost-of-illness methods and cost-of-illness estimates for six microbe-borne diseases, including E. Coli, which receives a chapter of its own. The report can be downloaded by chapter or in its entirety. [JS]

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Focus on Food Safety
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Foodborne Illness
These are good overview sites on food safety for the general public with advice on how to keep and handle food safely at home and with many links to related government sites. [DF]

Food Safety--Talk of the Nation: Science Friday (NPR) [RealPlayer]
On August 29, 1997, NPR devoted an hour to the latest news on food safety in the US, including the recent recall of E. coli contaminated hamburger meat. This site contains a RealPlayer audio recording of the program which features a discussion between host Ira Flatow and two food safety experts, with phone calls from listeners. A list of related links and newsgroups is provided. [DF]

The Bad Bug Book--U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
E. Coli
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has put together a handbook that provides basic facts about food-borne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. The handbook contains information on bacteria, viruses, parasites and natural toxins such as those linked to mushrooms, shellfish, honey, and red kidney beans (yes, kidney beans). Basic facts provided for each organism and toxin include: characteristics, habitat or source, associated foods, infective dose, disease symptoms, complications, recent and/or major outbreaks, and susceptible populations. Some technical terms are linked to a medical glossary for easy reference. [DF]
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The Scout Report for Science & Engineering
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The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is published every other Wednesday by the Internet Scout Project, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-1998. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the Scout Report for Science & Engineering provided the copyright notice and this paragraph is preserved on all copies. The Internet Scout Project provides information about the Internet to the US research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material.

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