The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - August 19, 1998

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering

August 19, 1998

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
* Research * Current Awareness
* Learning Resources * New Data
* General Interest * In the News
Space Directorate--NASA
The Space Directorate is the Lewis Research Center's primary interface with NASA "to explore, advocate and develop new opportunities in microgravity science, space technology, launch vehicle services and space applications." The Directorate is divided into four offices: Space Communications, Launch Services and Transportation Project, Microgravity Science, and Power and Propulsion. Each office has a brief mission statement and links to ongoing projects posted here. The site also links directly to the Lewis Research Center. [KH]
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The Woods Hole Research Center (discussed in the April 1, 1998 Scout Report for Science & Engineering) and IPAM (Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia) have just released RisQue98 ("Risco de Queimada," or "Risk of Burning" in Amazonia: 1998), a series of fire prediction maps for the Brazilian Amazon. These fascinating maps were created in response to the severe drought "provoked by the 1997-1998 El Nino," which rendered forests adjacent to many agricultural areas in the Amazon Basin more flammable. RisQue98 color maps include Soil Capacity for Water Retention, Accumulated Precipation, Accumulated Evapotranspiration, Areas of Logging, Fire Activity in 1997, Vegetation Types, May 1998 fire map (Current), and August and November 1998 fire maps (Predictions). [LXP]
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Offering links to software, publications, data mining, meetings, jobs, consulting, online information (such as courses, datasets, text books, etc.), and institutions, StatServ is your one-stop site for finding information on statistics. The software list contains the linked name of the software and developer, a brief description, and its availability. The Data mining section is a self-contained unit, providing general explanations of data mining and books, conferences, journals, reports, and software that deal with data mining. A search mechanism allows visitors a quick and easy method for finding specific information. Links to newsgroups and mailing lists are also available at the site. [KH]
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Ecological Regions of North America: Toward a Common Perspective--CEC
CEC Publications: Environmental Conservation
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (discussed in the November 12, 1997 Scout Report for Science & Engineering) has just placed online this magnificent resource on the Ecological Regions of North America. Available in English, Spanish, or French, the publication may be browsed on-site or downloaded (.pdf format). Ecological Regions of North America was created as part of a major regional effort "to redraw the North American map in terms of ecosystems and ecological regions instead of political boundaries." The heart of the site is the hyperlinked color map of North American ecological regions; clicking on each ecological region will transport the user to detailed sections providing photos, descriptions, and case studies. For French or Spanish versions, select "Environmental Conservation" on the CEC Publications page. [LXP]
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Learning Resources
The Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere
The Exploratorium in San Francisco adds Earth's Magnetosphere to their repertoire of fantastic learning sites. Before diving into detailed descriptions of "the Earth's environment in space," readers can learn about the history of the site as well as the history of research about the magnetosphere. The Overview also provides a glossary for those not familiar with space terminology and those needing a refresher. Thirty-five chapters explain the magnetosphere, discussing every detail from electrons to auroral acceleration in a manner that does not require extensive mathematical knowledge. Teachers will be interested in the Classroom Resource, which suggests ways to use this site as a learning tool. [KH]
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Journey into Phylogenetic Systematics--UCMP
This straightforward and informative site from the Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) at the University of California at Berkeley offers an excellent introduction to Phylogenetic Systematics, the reconstruction of "the pattern of events that have led to the distribution and diversity of life." The site is organized into several sections, addressing "the philosophy, methodology, and implications of cladistic analysis." Descriptive summaries are made more useful with links to the UCMP Glossary of Phylogenetic Terms, and interested users may seek greater depth by linking directly to the UCMP's additional resources. [LXP]
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Organic Chemistry
R. H. Logan, an chemistry instructor at North Lake College, created this introduction to organic chemistry. The introduction covers a eight types of organic compounds, including Alkanes, Alkyl Halides, and Acyl Compounds (forthcoming); Conformational Analysis and Stereoisomerism; and Instrumental Analysis of Organic Compounds, as well an extensive lesson in general chemistry. [KH]
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Life Science Dictionary--BioTech
This Life Science Dictionary is a feature of BioTech (discussed in the January 12, 1996 Scout Report), a "hybrid biology/chemistry educational resource and research tool" located at Indiana University at Bloomington. This searchable database currently contains more than 8200 terms in biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, botany, cell biology, and genetics. Also included are "some terms relating to ecology, limnology, pharmacology, toxicology and medicine." Users may search by keyword, word fragment, or phrase. Typical returns are concise but informative. [LXP]
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General Interest
Animation of the July 17, 1998, Papua New Guinea Tsunami
On July 17, 1998, an earthquake registering 7.1 on the richter scale caused a tsunami along the coast of Papua New Guinea, wiping out two villages. The US Geological Survey (USGS) provides a model of the tsunami along with background information and news stories about the event. The animation is available in four formats and resolutions. Those who want to learn more about tsunamis can take advantage of the site's links under the heading General Information about Tsunamis. [KH]
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Plant Map of Costa Rica
Created by Barry Hammel, in association with InBio (Costa Rica's National Institute of Biodiversity) and the Manual Project (the development of a Spanish-language Manual to the Plants of Costa Rica), the Plant Map of Costa Rica offers insights into the biologically diverse plant families of Costa Rica. Currently, a dozen families are highlighted with photographs, summaries, and links to the Manual Plants Database (currently in Spanish), where readers will find a list of genera and species. Though modest in scope (some "9000 species of flowering plants" occur in Costa Rica), the site offers a small window into the intriguing world of tropical botany. [LXP]
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The Electronics Design, Technology, and News Network
The Electronics Design, Technology, and News Network (EDTN) was created by CMPnet and Aspect Development to provide "non-techy" access to technological news stories. Visitors can read about some of the news-making events in the world of electronics or browse through other sections including News Center, EE Design Center, Career Center, and Network Partners. A search tool allows visitors to search the main site and other electronics sites. [KH]
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Australia's Ocean Policy--ERIN
Recent developments in Australia's Oceans Policy have led to the development of this page, reflecting the Commonwealth's commitment "to provide for the protection, ecologically sustainable use and management of (Australia's) marine jurisdictions." The site offers sections on background information and papers, news and media releases, issues papers, a draft of the marine science and technology plan, the March, 1998 MAGOP (Ministerial Advisory Group on Oceans Policy) report, and more. Though political in focus, the site is worth the visit for those with an interest in Australian or Ocean issues and the development of priorities for marine research, conservation, environmental management, or sustainablity of industry. [LXP]
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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:

MCMC Preprint Service
The Department of Mathematics at the University of Bristol maintains this compilation of preprint articles in the area of Monte Carlo methods. Visitors can search for papers via four routes: full list, latest additions, key word, or author. Related links and conferences are also provided. [KH]
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Conferences: Meeting Brief--HMS Beagle
Meeting Brief Archives
In keeping with its reputation as a high quality science resource on the Web, HMS Beagle (discussed in the February 14, 1997 Scout Report), offers this Webpage, providing synopses of recent scientific meetings with hyperlinks to researchers' works. The current issue, entitled "Do Genomes Enhance Their Own Evolution?" is written by Lynn Caporale and covers a recent conference on molecular strategies in biological evolution, at which researchers discussed "how evolutionary strategies can evolve, making the process of evolution more efficient." For a full archive of all previously reviewed meetings (most of which focus on microbiology or genetics), consult the Archives page. [LXP]
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New Publications
GAO Report: Oregon Watersheds: Many Activities Contribute to Increased Turbidity During Large Storms [.pdf]
The General Accounting Office (GAO) has recently posted this report online (text or .pdf format). Based on five municipal watersheds in western Oregon, the report describes both human activities that may have contributed to 1996's high tubidity levels and efforts "to ensure safe drinking water during future storms." [LXP]

Two from NSF
Shaping the Future, Volume II: Perspectives on Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology--NSF
High-Tech Industries Drive Global Economic Activity [.pdf]
These two publications from the National Science Foundation (NSF)
tackle the future of undergraduate education and the global influence of high-tech industry (available in HTML or .pdf). [LXP]

International Mobility of Scientists and Engineers to the United States - Brain Drain or Brain Circulation?
This National Science Foundation issue brief examines the destination of foreign born scientists and engineers who study in the United States. The brief presents figures for the distribution among US education, industry, and government employers; stay rate; and percentages of scientists and engineers with firm plans, as well as offers, to remain in the US. [KH]

Deforestation: Tropical Forests in Decline--CIDA
The Canadian International Development Agency has placed online a draft report entitled "Deforestation: Tropical Forests in Decline." The report examines "the extent of deforestation in developing countries, its causes and consequences, and prospect of more sustainable land use alternatives." CIDA accepts reviews, comments, and suggestions through August 31, 1998, at: [LXP]

Sustaining and Enhancing Riparian Migratory Bird Habitat on the Upper San Pedro River--CEC [.pdf]
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) released this report on "the San Pedro, a binational river that serves as an important corridor for millions of migratory songbirds that winter in Mexico and breed during the summer months in the United States and Canada." The report (.pdf format, in English, French, or Spanish) discusses Ecological Features, Biohydrologic Requirements, Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions, Water Use Patterns and Possible Solutions, Habitat Restoration Opportunities in Mexico, and Possible Action Plans. [LXP]

Oceans & Coastal Resources: A Briefing Book--NLE
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) compiled this briefing book on Ocean and Coastal Resources, with reports covering The Coastal Environment, Ocean Science, Living Marine Resources, Mineral and Energy Resources, The Antarctic, The Law of the Sea, Selected US Laws, and the United Nations Conference on Environment & Development. Full text of the reports, which offer background and analysis, are made available by the National Library for the Environment (NLE). [LXP]

Eight New CRS Reports--NLE
Eight new Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports have been posted at the National Library for the Environment site. The reports cover Dairy Policy Issues, Property Rights, Environmental Protection Agency Budget Issues, Department of Energy Budget Analysis, Low-Income Assistance, Energy and Water Development Appropriations, and Electricity Restructuring Policies. [LXP]

Swift Fox Symposium: Ecology and Conservation of Swift Foxes in a Changing World--NPWRC
Complete abstracts from the Swift Fox Symposium held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada) on February 18-19, 1998 have recently been posted on the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center homepage. From "Winter Abundance and Distribution of Small Mammals in the Canadian Mixed-Grass Prairies and Implications for the Swift Fox" to "Parasites and Diseases of Wild Swift Fox," these abstracts offer a look into the current status of Swift Fox research. [LXP]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from the Chronicle of Higher Education

Positions in Bioscience and Medicine--HUM-MOLGEN
Provided by HUM-MOLGEN, "a moderated, interactive communication and information listserver in Human Genetics," the Positions in Bioscience and Medicine Website offers searchable access to international and national employment opportunities. Job opportunities are listed by position type or subject, and span several career brackets. A small collection of job links and instructions on how to post a position (or announcement) are also available on site. [LXP]
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Two from the Environmental Protection Agency
FUTURES: Detecting the Early Signals
Children's Vulnerability to Toxic Substances in the Environment
The Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting grant proposals as part of the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program. Research, focused in natural science or socio-economics, should seek to "identify possible future environmental problems." Proposals are due September 10, 1998. The second grant supports research into the effects of toxic substances on children. Proposals are due September 30, 1998. [KH]

Two on the Internet--NSF
Internet Technologies Program
Connections to the Internet
The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advanced Networking Infrastructure Program is accepting proposals that support the program's three research goals, "research for advanced networking technologies, network testbed development, and development of revolutionary science and engineering research applications that require advanced networks." Proposals are accepted on a continual basis. Connections to the Internet is an NSF matching grant program to increase the use of the Internet in all education arenas, including K-12 institutions, libraries, museums, and higher education facilities. Proposal deadlines are January and July 31 of each year. [KH]

Two from NSF
Interdisciplinary Grants in the Mathematical Sciences--NSF [.pdf]
Activities in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics for Persons with Disabilities--NSF
The Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the Interdisciplinary Grants in the Mathematical Sciences (IGMS), designed "to enable mathematical scientists to undertake research and study in another discipline." The deadline for proposals is November 25, 1998. In addition, NSF's Program for Persons with Disabilities (PPD) solicits projects geared toward "bringing about needed change in academic and professional climates, increasing the awareness and recognition of the needs and capabilities of students with disabilities, promoting the accessibility and appropriateness of instructional materials, media, and educational technologies, and increasing the availability of student enrichment resources including mentoring activities." Preliminary Proposals are due November 2, 1998; Formal Proposals are due February 1, 1999. [LXP]
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American Wetlands 1999 Conference
The American Wetlands Month Conference "goes on the road" in 1999. The conference will be held in "four Communities Working for Wetlands across the nation." These meetings will take place on February 18-20 in New Orleans, Lousiana; March 18-20 in San Francisco, California; April 8-10 in Indianapolis, Indiana; and May 6-8 in Andover, Massachusetts. Those interested in participating as Roundtable Presenters, Poster Presenters, Moderators, or Assistant Moderators should submit applications (available on line) by September 25, 1998. [LXP]

Conference: A Cell Biology Approach to Microbial Pathogenesis--ASM
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) will host this conference on microbial pathogenesis April 25-28, 1999 in Portland, Oregon. The meeting will emphasize "microbial interactions with their host at various levels, including entry of microbes into cells, intracellular trafficking of microbes and targeting of microbial products, interactions of microbes with immune cells, and the use of model barriers for studying infections." The goals of the conference are "to increase awareness of the power of using a multidisciplinary approach to study microbial pathogenesis, and to foster interactions among scientists from different disciplines." Abstracts must be submitted to ASM by February 19, 1999. [LXP]

45th Annual Systematics Symposium--MOBOT
The Missouri Botanical Garden will hold its 45th annual Systematics Symposium in St. Louis, Missouri, October 9-10, 1998. The symposium will emphasize new discoveries in the plant, animal, and other kingdoms and make predictions about future discoveries. Participation is limited to 400, and interested parties should follow sign-up procedures online. [LXP]
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New Data
Stratigraphy and Paleoenvironments of the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway
This collection of data files from the Society for Sedimentary Geology data archive includes ancient sediment core data from "western Kansas, eastern Colorado, southwestern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, [and] southeastern Utah" from the "Late Albian to Santonian Stages of the Cretaceous Period". [KH]
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New El Nino Wave Forecasts
These experimental El Nino wave forecasts are provided by the Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP), a Cooperative Program of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the California Department of Boating and Waterways (CDBW). The wave, wind, and temperature measurements section includes historical, current, and realtime data; the California coastal wave modeling section covers regional and local swell conditions. Data are presented as color maps, tables, or graphs. [LXP]
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Upper Quaternary Strata Of The Upper Continental Slope, Northeast Gulf Of Mexico: Sequence Stratigraphic Model For A Terrigenous Shelf Edge
From the Journal of Sedimentary Research, these data "show abrupt changes in depositional environments, sequence stratigraphy, and sedimentation rates reflecting Pleistocene to Holocene glacioeustasy." Data are available in HTML and text formats or as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. [KH]
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Three New Organic Pathways--UM/BBD
Fluorene Pathway Map
Organomercury Pathway Map
2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid Pathway Map,4-d/2,4-d_map.html
The University of Minnesota Biocatalysis/Biodegradation Database (UM/BBD) contains "microbial biocatalytic reactions and biodegradation pathways primarily for xenobiotic, chemical compounds." Three new microbial enzyme-catalyzed reactions have been posted for Flourene, Organomercury, and 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid. Flourene is commonly found in vehicle exhaust emissions, motor oils, crude oils, coal and oil combustion products, industrial effluents, and waste incineration, and is a major component of "fossil fuels and their derivatives." The Fluorene pathway map includes organisms which initiate the pathway, as well as organisms that carry out later steps. The Organomercury pathway map highlights mercury, a highly toxic heavy metal used "as a pesticide, herbicide, fungicide, disinfectant and a preservative in cosmetics." The organomercury pathway map includes organisms which can initiate the pathway. 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is used in cultivated agricultural areas, rangeland and pastures, forests, and homes or gardens, and is "a chlorinated phenoxy compound [that] functions as a systemic herbicide and is used to control many types of broadleaf weeds." The degradation pathway map includes organisms which can initiate the pathway. In every case, each pathway map provides detailed information on each hyperlinked step, including graphics, product/substrate reactions, and external links to further information. [LXP]
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In the News
Near-Earth Asteroids--Hollywood Hype or Scientific Reality?
1. Welcome to the Earth-Crossing Asteroid Pages
2. Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking Homepage
3. National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center
4. Cosmic near misses hit the scientific bullseye
5. Weak Impact: The 1998 Perseid Meteor Shower
This week's In the News delves into the final frontier--space. This summer's Hollywood releases of Armageddon and Deep Impact present audiences with fictional disasters when very large asteroids collide with Earth. But is this scenario so far-fetched? In recent months, scientists have peered into space to find numerous asteroids on a "collision course" with Earth.

1) Scott Hudson, an associate professor at Washington State University, shares the results of his research on "the physical modeling of Earth-crossing asteroids." Hudson explains why and how people study asteroids, gives information about various asteroids, and provides publication links. 2) The Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) homepage comes to us from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The site includes general information about the NEAT project and observatory, late breaking images, plus frequently asked questions, interesting objects, discoveries, a glossary, links, and additional images. 3) The National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center operates the Arecibo Observatory, the "site of the world's largest single-dish radio telescope." The homepage provides information about the telescope as well as the observatory in general. 4) NASA scans the sky looking for interesting phenomena, whether they be asteroids or black holes. This press release announces the discovery of two "near" earth asteroids. 5) This site, another from NASA, tells about the recent Perseid meteor shower, an annual event that streaks the night sky in mid-August. [KH]
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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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