The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - October 15, 1997

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering

October 15, 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

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
This site combines detailed information on a broad range of taxa which inhabit the prairies, wetlands and agricultural fields of the upper Great Plains. Maintained by the Biological Resources Division of the US Geological Survey, the site is equally useful for both amateur naturalists and professional biologists and contains some of the best distribution maps on groups such as butterflies and birds. The site provides a number of regularly-updated databases which can be searched using taxon or geographic region. [DF]
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Index of Watershed Indicators--EPA
Users can view national maps of watershed indicators or locate and learn about their own watershed at the US Environmental Protection Agency's new web site, Index of Watershed Indicators, part of Surf Your Watershed. National Maps loads with a map indicating the quality of all US watersheds. From here, users can view the map with respect to fifteen categories of watershed indicators, including fish and wildlife consumption advisories, drinking water conditions, wetland losses, and agricultural runoff. Locate your Watershed allows users to search for their watershed via state maps, keywords, places, or National Watershed Network. Information available includes local watershed groups, water use statistics provided by the US Geological Survey, population in the watershed, river and stream miles, and land characteristics. [KH]
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Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE)
Comprised of numerous scientific and advocacy partners, and funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), CARPE seeks to help identify and establish conditions and practices which will reduce deforestation and biodiversity loss in the Congo Basin. CARPE arose in response to both local and international concern about the consequences of the current pattern of unsustainable resource use in the region. Main sections at this site include: Briefing Sheet, Partners, Activities, Products, Donor Coordination and related sites. Users can join a discussion group or link to related sites. [DF]
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Chemistry Indexes, Abstracts, Bibliographies, and Table of Contents Services
A list of index, abstract, bibliography, and table of contents services for chemistry has been compiled and put online at the University of Houston Libraries by Nancy Buchanan and Jennifer Atkinson. The list contains over fifteen links to popular publishers, a polymer database, and articles from the American Chemical Society. The authors have also compiled lists for geosciences, pharmacy, physics, and science and technology multidisciplinary resources. Lists available in non-science fields are described in the October 3, 1997 Scout Report.[KH]
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Faunmap Project, Illinois State Museum
Erich Schroeder of the Illinois State Museum maintains this site which contains an electronic database documenting late Quaternary distributions of mammal species. The primary purpose of this database is to allow users to learn about and investigate the evolution of mammalian communities during the last 40,000 years. Specifically, the site employs statistical techniques and Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping capabilities in order to delineate historic changes in the distributions of individual species. Species distribution maps were constructed from 2919 paleontological sites in the contiguous 48 states. A query function allows users to specify a species and time period (based on given codes) and generate a distribution map. Professional researchers will find the historic distribution maps useful while features such as an online exhibit of what is now the Midwestern US 16,000 years ago will be of interest to educators and students. This site provides a unique synthesis of data in the growing field of late Quatenary research. The Faunmap database can be downloaded or a hard copy with an MSDOS-compatible diskette can be ordered for a charge. [DF]
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ARfit: A Matlab Package For the Estimation and Spectral Decomposition of Multivariate Autoregressive Models [.ps]
This collection of Matlab routines, provided by Tapio Schneider of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department at Princeton University, was created for the purpose of "estimation of parameters and confidence regions for multivariate autoregressive (AR) processes, diagnostic checking of fitted models,and spectral decomposition of AR models." The abstracts for the papers on which the routines are based are available at the site. ARfit may be used by copying the collection of routines into a directory accessible by Matlab. The descriptions of the ARfit files, including their code, are available through direct links at the site. Also included are PostScript copies of the two reference papers. [KH]
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Learning Resources
Advisor, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering
The mentor relationship between teacher and student was once an essential part of academic training. In the latter half of the twentieth century, this type of relationship diminished as large universities placed more emphasis on research, and faculty responded by turning some attention away from their students. This publication seeks to stimulate a renewed interest in bringing mentoring back into academic circles. Sections at this site include: the Ethics of Mentoring; Mentoring for Undergraduates; Graduates; Postdoctoral Students; Junior Faculty, How to Improve the Quality of Your Mentoring; and an extensive bibliography with mentoring and career advice. Sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, this multi-authored publication can be read as a full-text on-line document or ordered through this site. [DF]
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Chemical of the Week
Professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri at the University of Wisconsin-Madison adds a new chemical to this page every week. The site was created for his general chemistry courses, Chem 103 and Chem 104, to increase students' knowledge about various chemicals and their use. Users can view featured chemicals from the currently updated fall course (103) or from the spring course (104). The chemicals featured thus far include: lime, methane, uranium, the chemistry of autumn colors, and gases that emit light. [KH]
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The Origin of Species online
The Talk.Origins Evolution Archive
Charles Darwin's contribution to our understanding of science has been called the single best idea anyone ever had. You can read about his ideas, where they originated, and how he supported them in the book that shifted paradigms and continues to stimulate research and debate. The full text is available at this site and is divided into chapters for easy access and reference. The Origin of Species text is located within a larger web page (The Talk.Origins Evolution Archive) which addresses numerous issues related to evolution, with special attention paid to the creationism vs. evolution argument. [DF]
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Mathematical Snippets
This site, created by the Mathematics Department at Bellevue Community College in Bellevue, Washington, contains descriptions of six mathematical concepts: the Pythangorean Theorem, Archimedes' Tombstone, the Mobius Strip, the Koch Snowflake Curve, Plateau's Problem, and Counting to Infinity. Each snippet contains a very brief history and an explanation of the concept. Illustrations are used to convey the physical meaning and consequences of each concept. Plateau's Problem and Counting to Infinity contain links to web sites that provide additional information about persons or concepts mentioned in the snippet. [KH]
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Photoperiod Calculator
Jarmo Lammi has developed this simple, easy-to-use tool that provides information useful for teaching and research purposes. Users select a day, month, location (city or latitude and longitude) and time-of-day, and then submit their entry. The Calculator then generates the following information: latitude and longitude for the city/location, declination of the sun, height of sun at noon that day, daylength, and time of sunrise and sunset. This is a useful tool for ecological research and teaching. [DF]
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General Interest
Urban Environmental Management
The homepage of the Urban Environmental Management Research Initiative (UEMRI) was created to assist communication and information exchange between researchers of urban environments around the world. The site hosts a wealth of information related to urban environments and their management including Documents (articles, reports, and books), Numbers (i.e. statistics), and How-Tos (links to environmentally friendly technologies). Networks contains a link to an extensive listing of environmental professional associations that also includes links to associations for the life sciences, earth sciences, chemistry, and engineering, among others. [KH]
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Volcanoes--Annenberg/CPB [QuickTime]
Less graphical entrance:
Volcanoes is an exhibit from the Annenberg/CPB Project that provides a wealth of information about volcanoes and includes sections such as Melting Rocks, the Dynamic Earth, and Forecasting. Interactive exercises enable the user to learn how rock turns into magma, how to locate volcanoes, and how to decide if building a project near a volcano is safe. Quicktime videos are used for each of the six categories to illustrate the points outlined in the text. [KH]
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The International Iron and Steel Institute provides this all steel website. This site covers steel news, a steel data center, publications from the institute, and links to steel companies all over the world. Key sections include Automobiles, where you can learn about the Ultralight Steel Auto Body (ULSAB) project, and Construction, where you can see steel being used for residential buildings and "remarkable engineering feats." Other sections include Packaging, Sustainability, Economics/Business, and 21st Century Technology (under construction). [KH]
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Tropical Diseases Home Page, World Health Organization (WHO)
Travel Information, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The swath of the earth lying between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn is home to a variety of severe endemic diseases including: malaria, dracunculiasis or Guinea-worm disease, schistolomiasis, trematode infections, onchocerciasis, leishmaniasis, denge fever, and sleeping sickness. The control and future eradication of these diseases is the primary goal of the WHO Division of Control of Tropical Diseases and this site provides basic information on the epidemiology, biology and potential treatments for such diseases. Statistics on the incidence and history of this group of diseases are also included as well as the WHO strategy for eliminating them. For travelers concerned about possible exposure to both tropical and other diseases, the CDC Travel Information page provides timely information on the current distribution of many human pathogens, recent outbreaks, and recommended vaccinations for travel. [DF]
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Paleontology Without Walls
This site, maintained by the University of California Museum of Paleontology contains one of the very best collections of on-line paleontology exhibits and scientific resources on the web. A hypertext link to Information for First-time Visitors streamlines access to the site. Extensive navigation pages for the three main areas of interest: Phylogeny, Geology, and Evolution (under construction), give the user instructions on how to navigate their way around. Numerous images of everything from hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs) to Leptospira (a bacteria) make this an ideal site for research and educational purposes. [DF]
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Current Awareness
For links to additional current awareness on tables of contents, abstracts, preprints, new books, data, conferences, etc., visit the Science & Engineering Current Awareness Metapage:

Jobs and Symposia, The Scientist
Maintained by The Scientist ("the newspaper for the life science professional"), this site features the latest jobs, grants and conferences in the field and can be reviewed for each week or month dating back to the first of the current year. [DF]
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Two Conferences
Nano '98
Fourth Electronic Computational Chemistry Conference (ECCC-4)
The Fourth International Conference of Nanostructured Materials, hosted by the Royal Institute of Technology, will be held June 14-19, 1998 in Stockholm, Sweden. Areas of discussion include nanostructures in natural systems, chemical, mechanical, and biological methods of synthesis and processing, and applications and technological challenges. Invited and submitted presentations as well as poster sessions will be in English. The deadline for submitting abstracts is January 15, 1998. The Northern Illinois University web site will be the home of the ECCC-4 during the month of November. Sixty-five papers and posters will span all areas of computational chemistry. Abstracts for the papers are now available online and starting November 1, 1997 users can view the full text of the papers. Conference participants can choose the papers of interest to them for detailed discussions. A form-capable browser is necessary to participate in discussions of papers, although papers may still be read without this browser capability. Free registration, though not required to visit the conference and read the papers and posters, is required to participate in discussions of the papers and posters. [KH]
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Vacuum Solutions--IOP
The Institute of Physics' publishing division has created this site to compliment the printed version of its new magazine, Vacuum Solutions, devoted to vacuum technology, which debuted in September 1997. The site features selected full text articles from the print magazine, lists of pertinent conferences and meetings, web resources, and subscription information. [KH]
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Committee on Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE)
Formed in 1991, the mission of CWSE is to increase participation of women in careers in the sciences and engineering. The Committee is involved in conducting research and disseminating current data on the participation of women in these fields, and in monitoring the progress of these efforts. Edited by Linda Skidmore, the CWSE Directory of Organizations Encouraging Women in Science and Engineering is the principle product of the group's efforts so far and contains lists organized by name, acronym, and discipline along with a list of related organizations. [DF]
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New Data
USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference 11-1
This is the 11-1 release of this database which allows users to look up the nutrient content of 5,900 different foods. The data can be searched and viewed from the home page or downloaded in several different formats. The Database contains information on food groups, nutrient content, weights, measures and source footnotes. [DF]
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Antarctic Mapping Mission (AMM)
Images from the Antarctic Mapping Mission (AMM) are now available. The goal of the AMM is to complete the mapping of Antarctica using high resolution imaging. The Canadian Space Agency's RADARSAT satellite was launched in 1995, with high resolution mapping of Antarctica beginning September 26, 1997. RADARSAT currently furnishes standard-2 images of the south pole beginning on September 13. Larger versions of the images are available at the FTP site (link provided). [KH]
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Genetic and Physical Maps of the Mouse Genome Release 15--Whitehead Institute [Java]
Released on October 15, 1997 the latest version of this database, maintained by the Center for Genome Research at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA, can be browsed or searched. In addition, flat file data is available. [DF]
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In the News
Prion Research Yields Breakthrough, Controversy, and Nobel Prize Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 1997 [ShockWave]
"Prion Diseases and the BSE Crisis"-- Science, October 10, 1997
"The Prion Diseases"--January 1995 Scientifc American
Prion Links
Prion Diseases
Prionics Homepage
Scientific American Asks the Experts: What is a Prion?
Mad Cows: The Why Files
This week's In the News covers prions. The eight resources above are related to prion research and in particular, recent discoveries in prion-related disease research. Although prion research has been going on for over 25 years, the scientific and medical communities have only recently acknowledged the existence of prions and there remains serious debate over their role in a variety of neurological diseases. The name "prion" is derived from "proteinaceous infectious particles," and was coined by Dr. Stanley Prusiner, who discovered the agents and who recently received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work. Prions are thought to be the first transmissible and heritable disease-causing agents that lack DNA and RNA. They are composed solely of protein and appear to be the cause of such diseases as kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, and bovine spongiform encephalopathies, mad cow disease, and scrapie in sheep and goats.

The Nobel Foundation contains the news release from the Karolinska Institutet summarizing the presentation of the Nobel Prize to Dr. Stanley Prusiner for prion research, along with a ShockWave animation illustrating the concept. "Prion Diseases" and "The Prion Diseases" are two articles written by Dr. Prusiner in Science and Scientific American respectively. Note that it is unknown how long the Science article will be available. Prion Links, provided by Eiso AB of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Groningen (Netherlands), contains 39 diverse links related to prion diseases and research. Prion Diseases is one of a set of lecture notes for Virology 335 by Shaun Heaphy of Leicester University (UK). It contains detailed information on its topic, along with selected links. The Prionics Homepage is a small metapage maintained by Dr. Markus Moser of Prionics, Inc. It is devoted to the study of prionics and related diseases and is highlighted by an essay titled Biology and Pathology of Prion Diseases (under Information on BSE and Other Prion Diseases). In Scientific American's Ask the Experts: What is a Prion? international experts in molecular research provide answers to basic questions pertaining to prions and associated diseases. Mad Cows: The Why Files, provided by the University of Wisconsin, provides brief information on Mad Cow disease in layperson's language with hypertext links. [DF]
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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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