The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - December 10, 1997

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering

December 10, 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
NOTE: This will be the final Scout Report for Science & Engineering for 1997. See you on January 7, 1998. Happy Holidays to all!
*Research*Current Awareness
*Learning Resources*New Data
*General Interest*In the News

Biological Control: A Guide to Natural Enemies in North America--Cornell University
The old addage "the enemy of your enemy is your friend" was never better illustrated than in the field of biological control. Based at Cornell University, this site contains information on the parasitoids, predators, and pathogens that attack insects that feed on crops and other plants favored by humans. New data is added regularly to this searchable site; users can select from any of the above-mentioned control agents and their modes of operation. Images and a glossary are provided. Biological Control provides useful information for persons with interests in agricultural pests, entomology, and organic gardening. [DF]
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Three on Renewable Energy--DOE
Concentrating Solar Power Program [.pdf]
Renewable Energy Annual 1997 Volume 1
Alternative Fuel News [.pdf]
These three information resources related to renewable energy have recently been made available by the US Department of Energy. The Solar Thermal Electric Program (STEP) is researching solar thermal technologies in order to provide future energy, economic, and environmental security for the US. This site provides an overview of the program, the program's strategic plan, and an analysis of the three technologies being researched: the power tower, dish/engine, and parabolic trough systems. Cost and performance analysis results for each technology are included (Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format only). Renewable Energy Annual 1997 Volume 1 is divided into two major sections: an overview of the renewable energy sector, and "solar thermal and voltaic collector manufacturing activities." The first part contains mostly consumption, capacity, and generation data. Volume 2 of this report, slated to be more topically oriented, is expected in the Spring of 1998. Alternative Fuel News was designed to inform the public about the alternative fuels industry. The newsletter, which is the official publication of the Clean Cities Program and the Alternative Fuels Data Center, contains information about the Clean Cities Program and its projects, designations of clean cities, and conferences. The first newsletter was posted in October and contains an interview with Secretary of Energy Federico Pena. Other news is divided into twelve sections, including Federal News, At the Pump, and Clean Cities Spotlight. The newsletter is published six times each year. [KH]
[Note: Site title has changed since the original Scout Report review. Site formerly referred to in the Scout Report as "Solar Thermal Electric Program (STEP)."]
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Santa Fe Institute
Santa Fe Working Papers
Begun in 1984, and known for its generally theoretical and modeling approaches to scientific questions, the Santa Fe Institute (New Mexico) is a private, non-profit, multidisciplinary center dedicated to pursuing novel approaches to research and education in science. Areas of research range from adaptive computation, to ecology, to economics, to the origin of life. Each of the fourteen research areas is annotated. Users can search information on current faculty, postdoctoral fellows, research technicians, and graduate and undergraduate interns, as well as abstracts and/or full texts of several hundred working papers of the institute (in various formats) since 1992. Several Nobel Laureates have worked at the center; top scientists in a number of fields are attracted to its seminar series (abstracts provided at the site). [DF]
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Scientific Imaging Tools
NIH Image [Macintosh]
UTHSCSA Image Tool version 2.00 [PC]
The newest release of the National Institutes of Health Image program fixed a common problem that plagued earlier releases. NIH Image is an image processing and analysis program developed by the National Institute of Health (NIH). NIH features include image editing and analyzing, compatibility with scanning and publishing programs, and support of functions such as density profiling and median filtering. NIH Image can be enhanced through macro languages, plug-in modules, and source code. The manual, some examples, a tutorial, and other documentation are available. Developed by Wilcox et. al. at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio (UTHSCSA), ImageTool is an image processing and analysis program for Windows 95 NT and has many of the same capabilities as NIH Image. [KH]
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University of Minnesota Biocatalysis/Biodegradation Database
This database covers "microbial biocatalytic reactions and biodegradation pathways for primarily xenobiotic, chemical compounds." All pages are extensively hyperlinked to other pages, internal and external pages, and to journal references. At present there are four metapathways, over 45 pathways, over 300 reactions, and over 315 compounds available. [DF]
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Learning Resources
Virtual Earthquake
Virtual Earthquake was created by California State University, Los Angeles, as part of the Electronic Desktop Project. This virtual simulation allows students to locate the epicenter of an earthquake and determine its magnitude on the Richter scale. Students can choose from four geographic areas for their simulation. Virtual Earthquake carefully guides the student through the steps required to calculate the epicenter and to determine the magnitude of a simulated earthquake. The actual epicenter is provided along with the epicenter determined by the user. The user can then determine the magnitude of the earthquake as measured on the Richter scale. [KH]
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Register of Ecological Models (REM)
Created cooperatively by the University of Kassel and the GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health in Germany, and maintained by Joachim Benz, this site currently contains 481 ecological models. Users can search the database by model name or subject (e.g., population dynamics, hydrology), browse a brief list of related literature, or enter information on models not currently in the database. Professionals in the life and physical sciences can find common ground at this site. [DF]
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HTF--Fluid Mechanics Textbook
Supplementary Films [Vivo, QuickTime]
The fluid mechanics text book, by Emeritus Mechanical Engineering Professor James Fay, is the gem of this Massachusetts Institute of Technology site and of the Thermal Fluids Engineering course pages posted here. Content is complete and detailed, although somewhat cumbersome to get to. The textbook contains 12 chapters on fluid mechanics material and a set of equations applicable to viscous fluids. The book begins with an introduction and fluid statics and ends with compressible flow. An explanation of the chapters and their order is explained by the author in the preface. The book is accompanied by supplementary multimedia: 35 short movies (Quicktime or Vivo streaming videos) that illustrate discussed concepts. [KH]
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UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
Maintained by the National Museum of Natural History in the Netherlands, the Register is primarily a list of species with some information on common names and on geographic and bathymetric distribution. References to the source literature have not yet been added but are available through the hyperlinked and searchable "Bibliography on the Marine Biota." [DF]
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Mathographies is a collection of short biographical sketches of famous mathematicians and people who have contributed to the study of mathematics. The sketches were written by faculty at Bellevue Community College (BCC). Twenty four biographies are provided, including Archimedes, Descartes, Sonya Kovalevsky, and Mary Ellen Rudin. The biographies highlight all aspects of a person's life, from personal milestones to professional achievements. References from which the biographical sketches were taken are provided. [KH]
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General Interest
Two on Tigers
The Tiger Information Center [WAVE]
Eyes on the Tiger--National Geographic
In the past 70 years, Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers have become extinct while the five remaining tiger subspecies face tremendous threats from habitat loss, hunting, and human population growth. These two sites contain relevant tiger conservation information. The Tiger Information Center, sponsored by the National Fish and Wildlife Service and the Exxon Corporation, is dedicated to providing information on tiger biology, population status, and conservation. Users will find maps of current tiger subspecies distribution, tiger natural history facts, population estimates, and a section debunking common misconceptions about tigers. The Tiger Handbook contains interactive quizzes and a role-playing exercise in which users become the tiger expert and have to deal with a tiger that has escaped from an airport in New Mexico. A multimedia gallery contains numerous images and recordings of tiger vocalizations. The level of information ranges from basic to sophisticated. The National Geographic site parallels an article in the Dec. 1997 issue, and contains information on tiger natural history, related resources, classroom activities, and an online forum to discuss tiger conservation issues. [DF]
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The Institute of Physics' (IOP) Publishing Department has launched this comprehensive site for physics news, commentary, patents, book reviews, web resources, events, and jobs. Selected articles from Physics World magazine are also available. The News section contains the current week's news, news from previous weeks, and a news archive. In Patent News visitors can view patents selected by the IOP staff or browse through five other patent sites including MicroPatent, European Patent Office, and the US Patent and Trademark Office. The Book Reviews page allows visitors to order books online. PhysicsWeb is available free of charge until April 1998. Registration will soon be required. [KH]
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Discovery Channel Online
From television to cybervision, this site maintains the station's focus on fun and entertaining science. There are five main sections: history, technology, nature, exploration, and science, in addition to program information. Information is topical and lighthearted. The Nature section's Au Naturel provides a centerfold gallery featuring the reproductive habits of various organisms. Virtual Tech, a technology webzine, discusses popular technology issues. Conversations, located in the history section, is a discussion forum for general popular history. Explorations covers spelunking, mountain climbing, and travel. [DF]
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The Science Channel--Elsevier [Internet Explorer 4.0]
This IE 4.0 active channel is available from Elsevier Publishers. The five main features of the new channel are: Science News, Science Debates, Science Events, Journal Contents, and Magazine Reviews. Science News provides current news briefs from Nexis, The Lancet, and New Scientist, among others. Debates offers discussions on scientific controversies. In the Events section, users select an area of interest to receive notice when new conferences, workshops, or meetings are announced. New Tables of Contents from over 800 publications are available in Journal Contents. The editorial team at Elsevier selects articles from scientific magazines and provides a brief overview of what is currently available. [KH]
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North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations
Created in June, 1997 and funded by the US Geological Survey and Environmental Protection Agency, this site is a response to the discovery of numerous deformed amphibians (mostly frogs) in areas as widespread as Minnesota, California, and Florida. Malformations include extra or missing limbs, missing eyes, and split limbs. The site is intended to serve as a central repository for data on the type and relative frequency of such malformations throughout the US. Researchers hope to use the site to help discover the cause(s) of these deformities. The site contains a map of where malformations have been reported, background on the occurrence and possible causes of defects, numerous images of malformed amphibians, a searchable bibliography, instructions on how to report the discovery of a malformed amphibian, and links to eight related web sites. NARCAM's site also contains a toll-free number for citizen reports. [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:

Mars Pathfinder Information--Science Online
Pathfinder Foldout Section
"Overview of the Mars Pathfinder Mission and Assessment of Landing Site Predictions"
Science Online has made available these pages from the December 5, 1997 issue of Science magazine. The first is a ten plate captioned set of images and graphs that are discussed in seven related articles in the magazine. The second is the full text of an article by Golombek, Cook, Economou, et. al. that contains an overview of the mission and some of its scientific findings. [JS]
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Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) UK, Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) Advice to Ministers on Dorsal Root Ganglia
The text of a recent report, provided by the British group SEAC, draws conclusions based on studies of the pathology of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as Mad Cow Disease. One important conclusion from their work is that the disease can be transmitted from a wider variety of tissues than was previously thought. The document includes recommendations for increasing food safety relative to BSE. [DF]
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Academia Book Releases--Baker & Taylor--December 1997
Baker & Taylor announced their book releases for titles scheduled to be available to the public in January 1998. New titles are available in Agricultural sciences; Biological sciences; Chemical Biotechnological, and Petroleum engineering; Earth Sciences; Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Mathematical Sciences; Mechanical Engineering; and Technology and Material Sciences. See the Science & Engineering Current Awareness Meta Page for links to individual new books sections. [KH]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from the Chronicle of Higher Education[JS]

Job Alerts--Science Online
This is a new feature that allows users to subscribe to a customized Job Alert Profile and receive email messages announcing currently advertized positions. The profile allows users to specify the type of job (e.g., academic, industry) geographic location, and duration of notification. Job ads may also be viewed and searched at the site. Because Science is one of the best sources for such position announcements, job seekers will find this to be a valuable and time-saving tool. Note that it is unknown how long this site will remain free of charge. [DF]

Environmental Careers World
This jobs listing service, provided by Environmental Careers World, an environmental position recruiting firm, posts announcements ranging from field assistants, to post-doctoral positions, to faculty positions. The site lists positions in and out of the US, with universities, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Sites are briefly listed with hyperlinks to more complete information and are divided into the following sections: biology/ecology, environmental education, environmental policy/advocacy, environmental sciences, forestry and natural resources, and career changers. [DF]

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Funding Opportunity Information--NSF
Government Funding of Scientific Research
This document is a working paper from the National Science Board at the National Science Foundation. The paper is divided into four sections. The first section defines the terms "research" and "development." The second section goes on to provide justification for scientific research and the third and fourth sections provide recommendations for coordinating federally financed research and for setting priorities for federal science projects. [KH]

Partnership in Nanotechnology: Synthesis, Processing, and Utilization of Functional Nanostructures (NSF 98-20)
This collaborative initiative is sponsored by four NSF directorates, and is aimed at "research in nanotechnology, with a focus on functional nanostructures. The goal of the initiative is to catalyze synergistic, small-group, interdisciplinary, science and engineering research in emerging areas of nanotechnology, by combining resources from the participating programs to support coordinated research activities." The announcement contains more information about the initiative, amount of funding available, and who may submit proposals. Deadline date is February 17, 1998. [JS]
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National Calendar of Events--Sea Grant Mid-Atlantic Region
The Sea Grant Mid-Atlantic Region site provides annotated announcements for meetings related to coastal/marine and inland/aquatic resources through 1999 with most containing hyperlinks to further information. Information on past meetings are archived back through 1996. Sea Grant is a cooperative partnership between US universities and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [DF]
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New Data
Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering: Fall 1995--NSF [.xls, .pdf]
This new National Science Foundation document contains summary information and data collected in the fall of 1995. 47 data and technical tables (in Excel spreadsheet format) include national estimates of graduate enrollment and postdoctoral employment in all academic institutions in the US divided into a variety of demographic and academic categories. Data generated from this and previous reports are available for downloading in single-year or multi-year files from 1975-1995. The full report is available in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. Note that the spreadsheet tables are available via the HTML version of the report, and the technical tables are available in spreadsheet format only at this time. [DF]
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Online Trends Update: 14 CO2 Records From Two Sites in Central Europe--ORNL
Online Trends: A Compendium of Data on Global Change
The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has made available these two sets of data of emission estimates from fossil-fuel consumption and cement production. The data cover a period from December 1976 - 1996 for Schauinsland and February 1959 - June 1983 for Vermunt. Both the digital data and graphics are available in addition to a brief discussion of the collection methods, trends, and references. These data sets are part of ORNL's Online Trends page, which tracks selected atmospheric CO2 records worldwide. [KH]
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Malaria Genetics and Genomics (Plasmodium falciparum) Data--NCBI
The National Center for Biotechnology Information has recently posted information on P. falciparum, "including microsatellite & RFLP markers, physical maps, and DNA sequences." A "composite linkage map of all 14 nuclear chromosomes" has been constructed and selected "simple-sequence length polymorphism (SSLP) microsatellite markers, chromosome linkage, and DNA primer sequences are available." Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) data derived from several sources are also available. [JS]
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Catalog of Infrared Observations 4.0 Update--NASA GSFC
The fourth edition of this National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center Publication (RP-1294) is available. The updated CIO "is a database of over 325,000 published infrared observations of more than 55,000 individual astronomical sources over the wavelength range from 1 to 1000 microns." The catalog is available in both compressed and uncompressed formats, and file formats are explained at the site. [JS]
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In the News
Irradiation of Food and Recent FDA Approval of Irradiation For Red Meat
1. FDA News Release, approval of irradiation of meat for pathogen control
2. Rules and Regulations regarding use of irradiation for meat, FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (Federal Register, 62 FR 64107, December 3, 1997)
3. Irradiation Information--The Food Safety Consortium
4. Food Irradiation: toxic to bacteria, safe for humans
5. "Irradiating Ground Beef to Enhance Food Safety," USDA ERS Food Review
.pdf version:
6. "Food Irradiation: Will It Keep the Doctor Away?"--MIT Technology Review
7. American Dietetic Association Position on Food Irradiation
8. Food Irradiation: Solution or Threat?--CI
9. Institute of Food Science and Technology, Hot Topics
10. National Food Safety Database: Irradiation and Food
This issue's In the News deals with recent developments in food irradiation. The ten sites listed above summarize the current status of food irradiation policy and technology and provide some historical context on the use of this technique. Previously approved for use on poultry and fruits and vegetables in the US, irradiation can kill disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella and Escherichia coli 0157:H7 (discussed in the Scout Report for Science and Engineering's In the News section, September 17, 1997), and molds and funguses that cause rot. With recent US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, irradiation can now be used to process red meat (e.g., beef, pork, lamb, and byproducts). The process involves exposing food to a source of radiation such as gamma rays from radioactive cobalt 60, cesium 137, or x-rays. No radioactive material is added to the product, and the technique is routinely used on grains and spices, as well as for sterilizing disposable medical devices. In spite of a number of tests conducted over the last 30 years substantiating its safety, irradiation has not gained widespread public acceptance in the US. This is largely due to the public's general fear of processes utilizing radiation. Supporters of the technology claim that it will virtually eliminate food-borne illness in the US, while skeptics feel that technology such as steam treatment can accomplish adequate sterilization without the purported risks and public concern associated with irradiation. (8) The National Food Safety Database, a cooperative project of the United States Department of Agriculture and several universities, provides a section on food irradiation that discusses the process, history of irradiation, and its relationship to food safety, among other features. It features a 39-part, annotated slide show that strongly supports the process.

(1) The FDA News Release contains the Agency's brief statement outlining its policy. (2) This document contains the "Final Rule" governing use of radiation to treat red meat. Users can find sections describing radiation chemistry, toxicological, nutritional and microbiological considerations, labelling, and environmental impact. (3) The Food Safety Consortium (FSC) is a federally created consortium consisting of researchers from the University of Arkansas, Iowa State University and Kansas State University. The FSC conducts research in poultry, beef, and pork production. This site contains summary articles from the FDA, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and newsletter articles from the FSC. (4) Dale Blumenthal of the FDA wrote this piece in 1990 as a discussion of the historical use of irradiation on food and the public resistance to the process. (5) This article appeared in the US Department of Agriculture publication Food Review (Jan. - Apr. 1997). It summarizes the use and benefits of irradiation, the diseases associated with food-borne pathogens, some economic analysis of the potential benefits of irradiation, and it contains the international symbol used to label irradiated foods. (6) This article, written by P. J. Skerrett for the Massachussets Institute of Technology's Technology Review (November/December 1997), favors the process and, in an interesting sidebar, compares the controversy over it with the controversy over milk pasteurization in the early 1900's. (7) The ADA's positive position on irradiation is presented on this page, which contains information about the process, its history, and consumer-related issues. It also contains several references to related literature. (8) This Consumers International Briefing Paper presents a less positive view of the process. CI is "a worldwide non-profit federation of consumer organisations." (9) This document, published in 1996 by the independent British organization IFST, provides a European perspective on the use of irradiation for food sterilization. Many European countries approved irradiation earlier than the US, but controversy continues to surround the use and monitoring of the technique. (10) The National Food Safety Database, a cooperative project of the United States Department of Agriculture and several universities, provides a section on food irradiation that discusses the process, the history of irradiation, and its relationship to food safety, among other features. It is highlighted by a 39-part, annotated slide show that supports the process. [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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