The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - December 9, 1998

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering

December 9, 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


Learning Resources

General Interest

Current Awareness

New Data

In The News


Issues in Science and Technology Online
The National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society at the University of Texas at Dallas have recently made their journal, Issues in Science and Technology available online. The journal is published quarterly and features articles that analyze "current topics in science, technology, and health policy and recommend actions by government, industry, academia, and individuals to solve pressing problems." The electronic version will feature a forum and hyperlinks to related topics. Users can choose to subscribe or to browse or search current and back issues (from Fall 1996) online. [SN]
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Manual of California Vegetation
This detailed resource is provided by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), an organization of amateurs and professionals "united by an interest in the plants of California." In a move towards landscape-based management and away from single-species management, the vegetation classification system and manual is organized here by "series": herbs, shrubs, trees, unique stands (cypress stands, all-thorn stands), habitat types (fens, alpine), and vernal pools (basalt, claypan, etc.). The site provides series keys to assist users in determining the appropriate classification for an area. Details within each series include habitat-based information, associations, canopy cover, ground layer, elevation, and references. In addition, each series page features links to Common species and geographical associated regions, which point users to related tables, graphics, or entire Websites. [LXP]
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Center for Nonlinear Studies [Frames]
The Los Alamos National Laboratory provides the Center for Nonlinear Studies (CNLS) Website. The goals of the center are "to identify and study fundamental nonlinear phenomena and promote their use in applied research and to stimulate interdisciplinary research and information exchanges inside and outside the laboratory." Research topics include molecular dynamics, patterns in turbulence, stochastic dynamics, combinatorial optimization, and condensed matter, among others. Those interested in supercomputing will want to visit the section dedicated to Avalon, the CNLS supercomputer that is being used for applications ranging from astrophysics to molecular dynamics. Also at the Website, users may access information pertaining to jobs, meetings, talks, and papers. [SN]
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Freshwater Mussels of the Midwest
Originally published by the Illinois Natural History Survey in 1992 as Manual 5, the electronic version of this field guide by Kevin Cummings and Christine Mayer is worth the visit. The guide contains an introduction to mussels (biology and economic importance), a brief summary of the conservation status of mussels, a glossary of terms, and a simple key to freshwater bivalves. The heart of the site, however, is the species accounts section, covering the subfamilies Cumberlandinae,Ambleminae,Anodontinae, and Lampsilinae. Each species account includes a color photograph and physical description, key characteristics, a description of habitat requirements and conservation status, and a black-and-white map of the species' distribution in the Midwest. Of added utility are the links (where applicable) pointing to similar-looking species. [LXP]
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A Global Eye on Tropical Rainfall
Images for download
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan have joined to create the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). The goal of this mission is to "monitor and study tropical rainfall and the associated release of energy that helps to power the global atmospheric circulation shaping both weather and climate around the globe." Sections included at the Website are Spacecraft, Background, Validation, Data, Image Archive, and related Links. An interesting feature of this site is the Background section entitled Why do we need TRMM. A brief, illustrated synopsis is provided for all ages, ranging from the elementary school level to the post graduate level. In addition, spectacular images taken by TRMM, which has recently finished its first year of continuous data gathering, may be downloaded via the anonymous FTP site. [SN]
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Taxonomy on the Web
NCBI Taxonomy Browser
The Learning Resources Center at Montgomery College in Texas hosts this meta-resource. Beginners will want to start with the overviews of taxonomy and navigate from the Kingdom level to layers of further differentiation. Each overview provides brief summaries of (and links to) Webpages containing relevant information. A highlight of the metasite is NCBI's (National Center for Biotechnology Information) Taxonomy Browser, enabling users to search for taxonomic information using the name of superspecific taxa (e.g., Porifera) or the name of a particular organism (e.g., Thalarctos maritimus or polar bear). Returns provide, in addition to taxonomic information, genetic information, nucleotide/protein sequence information, and references. [LXP]
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Learning Resources

Volcano World
The volcanologists, geologists, and computer scientists at the University of North Dakota have developed the Volcano World Website. Key sections of the site are Research and Information, a searchable (by keyword) database, Volcano Indices, Today in Volcano History, and Other Volcano Sites. Volcano World does not confine itself to the Earth's volcanos. The Volcanoes of Other Worlds section features fascinating images of volcanoes on Earth's Moon, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter's Moon. This is an excellent learning resource for children ages twelve years and older. [SN]
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North American Lichen Project
There is a wealth of lichen information at this site, created by Dr. Irwin Brodo (Canadian Museum of Nature) and Sylvia Duran Sharnoff and Stephen Sharnoff (associate researchers at the Missouri Botanical Garden) as a preview to their upcoming book Lichens of North America. Here the authors describe the ecology of lichens, including several nice details, such as a summary (with bibliography) of lichen use by wildlife in North America and a review of lichen-invertebrate interactions. Of particular note are the many spectacular color photographs of dozens of species of lichens, from Acarospora evolutum to Xanthoria parietina; all photographs are accompanied with text, providing natural history insights. Those interested in the ethnobotanical uses and history of lichens will want to browse the database on human use of lichens. A selection of hand-picked lichen links rounds out the site. [LXP]
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Exploratorium: Sunspots [QuickTime]
The Exploratorium Website, sponsored by the Romanesque Palace of Fine Arts, provides extensive general information about sunspots. The Website includes interviews with solar physicists and archeoastronomers, historic images, modern National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) images and movies, and sunspot research activity. One of the site's more interesting features allows users to compare "visible light images of sunspots with images that show x-ray emissions from the same time period." Finally, a QuickTime movie showing the comparison of visible and x-ray images over time is also included. [SN]
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European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC)
Hosted by Tilburg University, the European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC) Website offers background information, database access, bibliographic information, a conservation directory, and calendars of events/jobs related to nature conservation in Europe. The databases include DExEN (database of expertise in ecological networks), METASPEC (a meta-database of more than 130 international data sources on European species), and Saxifraga (a selection of free slides of Europe's biodiversity). Other resources at the site include ECNC publications (full-text) and information on international policy and legislation issues. [LXP]
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The ENSO Cycle
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Centers for Environmental Predication (NCEP) have made available this excellent learning resource, the ENSO Cycle Website. Graphs, images, photographs, and brief summaries explicate topics such as the Mean state of the Ocean and Atmosphere across the Tropical Pacific, the ENSO Cycle, El Nino, La Nina, and the Evolution of the ENSO Cycle. Visitors can view spectacular photographs of wind gusts, localized thunderstorms and tornadoes, fires, and floods in the Climate Variability section. [SN]
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General Interest

Inventory and Monitoring Program -- NPS
This informative resource from the National Park Service (NPS) is focused on the agency's continent-wide Inventory and Monitoring (I & M) Program. Organized into several detailed sections, the site provides general information in the Brochure section and the I & M Annual Reports for 1996 and 1997. (The Annual Reports section also includes a more recent report entitled "Ecological Monitoring in Channel Islands National Park, California.") The online brochure is much more than a general introduction, however. Educators and students will want to browse this spectacularly photo-illustrated and substantially informative resource, including the subsections devoted to Natural Resource Inventories, Long-Term Ecological Monitoring Program, and Biogeographic Associations. Further elaboration of biological inventories is provided in the Natural Resources Inventories section, including a bibliographic database, species lists, vegetation maps, soils and geology maps, and links to related sites. [LXP]
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Savage Earth Online [Flash]
The Savage Earth Online Website is sponsored by PBS Online along with the WNET Station in New York. This site is a companion piece to the Savage Earth series initially presented on PBS on July 19, 1998. Articles about volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis are presented along with animations that illustrate the action of these natural phenomena. Flash Plug-ins are needed to view the animations and can easily be downloaded. Visitors who want more information can check out the list of links of the best Web resources on earthquakes. [SN]
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Stream Systems Technology Center -- USDA
The Stream Systems Technology Center is a national technical center of the US Forest Service, designed to improve knowledge of stream systems and processes and to provide training and technical support to National Forests. Although the "Download Area" is still under construction, users may currently access full issues (indexed by date or subject) of the agency's quarterly newsletter, Stream Notes. Articles cover diverse topics from fluvial processes (Geomorphology, River Morphology, Historical Changes in Mountain Streams, etc.) to future technologies (sediment technology, data loggers, stream data collection, etc.). Also of interest are the Conferences, Symposiums, and Other Information section and the Related Websites section. [LXP]
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Virtual Tour of the Sun [MPEG]
Michiel Berger, at the Sterrenkundig Instituut of the University of Amsterdam, provides the Virtual Tour of the Sun Website. The site's visual tour uses images, diagrams, and movies to illustrate subjects such as solar wind, solar flares, solar surface, and sunspots. Most images allow users to click for more information or for closer viewing, though a small number of graphs have broken links. An added feature of the Website is a movie that shows the complete eclipse of the sun. [SN]
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The Ozone Hole Tour
The Centre for Atmospheric Studies at the University of Cambridge hosts the Ozone Hole Tour site. Sections included at the site are The Discovery of the Ozone Hole, Recent Ozone Loss over Antarctica, The Science of the Ozone Hole, and Latest Ozone Hole Research at Cambridge. The site provides a good introduction to research on the ozone hole without sacrificing complexity or detail. For example, in the Discovery of the Ozone Hole section, an explicit summary, images, graphs, and molecular equations provide information on what ozone is and how it is formed. All of the sections are structured in a similar format. [SN]
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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:

The Mysterious Geminid Meteors
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is anticipating the arrival of the Geminid Meteor shower, which will take place December 6-13, 1998, peaking December 13. The Geminid shower, produced by the 3200 Phaethon asteroid, is expected to produce a shooting star every 30 seconds. This illustrated, hyperlinked article provides images of and information about the 3200 Phaethon, tips on how to observe the meteor shower, and a link to the 3D Solar System Simulator. [SN]
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Sound of the Week [Frames]
The Cornell University Laboratory of Natural Sounds provides this acoustically educational and entertaining site for those in search of auditory stimulation. From the startling yells of a Black and White Colobus monkey, to the silvery song of the Canyon Wren, visitors can tune in to a host of natural recordings from Cornell's LNS database. [LXP]
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New Publications

Third International Symposium on Tropical Hydrology: On-line Proceedings and Table of Contents -- American Water Resources Association
Proceedings are now online for the July 12-16, 1998 Third International Symposium on Tropical Hydrology, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. An index of titles and authors facilitates identification of contributed papers. [SN]

Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering: Fall 1997 (Early Release Tables) -- NSF
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released tables summarizing results of a 1997 study on Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering. Published data represent "national estimates of total enrollment in all graduate science and engineering programs in all academic institutions in the US that granted doctorate or master's degrees in any science or engineering field." [LXP]

Nature's Way of Optimizing
This newly online document from the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Department of Physics at Emory University demonstrates "two classic hard optimization problems: graph partitioning and the traveling salesman problem." [SN]

Chronicle of Instream Flow Activities
Volume 2(2) of the Midcontinent Ecological Science Center (MESC)'s Chronicle of Instream Flow Activities is now available for October 1998. The recent issue includes "an update on a decision support system for water management being developed at MESC, a report on benthic fish collection work on the Missouri River, information on the National Instream Flow Program Assessment Project, results from recently completed research in warmwater streams, an update on Physical Habitat Simulation (PHABSIM) programs and the year 2000, recent water appropriations for fish and wildlife in the Platte River, NE, and more." All articles may be browsed at the site. [LXP]

Science in Africa: Emerging Water Management Issues
Proceedings are now online for the February 17, 1998 Symposium on Science in Africa: Emerging Water Management Issues held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The symposium focused on the "eutrophication, salinization, and pollution from industrial effluents and chemical run-off, and ecosystem concerns including exotic weed infestation, declining fish populations, habitat destruction, and loss of biodiversity." Users have access to the following sections: Table of Contents, Foreword, An Historical View of African Inland Waters, East African Species Introductions and Wetland Management: Sociopolitical Dimensions, Management of Freshwater Ecosystems in Southern Africa: Comparisons and Contradictions, Human Interactions and Water Quality in the Horn of Africa, Freshwater Ecosystems in West Africa: Problems and Overlooked Potential, and Biographical Information. [SN]
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Jobs in Science and Technology -- Chronicle of Higher Education
Formerly an entirely free service, the Chronicle of Higher Education now charges a fee to access the current week's job listings. The postings for the previous week are freely available, however. [LXP]

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Careers for Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists
The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Careers Website is an excellent jobs resource. Sections provided include Engineering Careers, Finding a Job, Career Planning, Salaries and Compensation, and Employer Database, among a host of others. [SN]
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Great Lakes Priorities and Funding Guidance: FY 1999-2000
The Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has requested preproposals "from States, Tribes and other partners" to compete for targeted assistance. At the site are summaries of GLNPO's funding priorities, as well as funding guidelines and links to other funding opportunities. [LXP]

Ocean Bottom Seismic Instrument Pools (AO) -- NSF [MS Word]
The Marine Geology and Geophysics Program at the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) has announced a new initiative directed toward establishing Ocean-Bottom Seismic Instrument Pools (OBSIP). The OBSIP seeks to "provide the large number of instruments needed, maintain the necessary technical capability, and enable access to the capability for the users of ocean-bottom seismometers and/or ocean-bottom hydrophones." The proposal submission deadline is March 3, 1999. [SN]

Coastal Ocean Processes (CoOP): Wind-Driven Transport Processes in the NE Pacific -- NSF [.pdf]
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced funding opportunities for "a coordinated study of wind-driven transport processes in the NE Pacific." The full description is provided in .pdf format at the site; the deadline for proposal submission is March 15, 1999. [LXP]
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North American Benthological Society (NABS) 47th Annual Meeting
NABS will hold its 47th Annual Meeting May 25-28, 1999, in Duluth, Minnesota. Special topics include Current Issues in Great Lakes Benthic Science; Ecology and Management of Large Rivers; Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration; Macroinvertebrate Life Histories, Genetics, and Dispersal; Native American Environmental Issues; Great Lakes Coastal Marsh Ecology; Wetlands Ecology; and Lentic Food Webs/ Benthic-Pelagic Linkages. The deadline (postmarked) for abstracts is Tuesday, January 5, 1999. [LXP]

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Budapest Power Tech'99 Conference
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Budapest Power Tech'99 Conference will be held from August 29 to September 2, 1999, in Budapest, Hungary. This conference serves as a forum to discuss topics such as Electric power systems planning; Electric power systems operation; Insulation of transmission lines, substations, and equipment; Application of power electronics in power systems; and Power system and environment. The abstract deadline has been extended to December 31, 1998. [SN]

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB)
The 1999 SICB Annual Meeting will take place January 6-10 in Denver, Colorado. The meeting is designed as "an educational and research forum for scientists in the fields of evolutionary biology, ecology, physiology, endocrinology, developmental biology and other biological sciences." A schedule of events and list of special sessions is provided on-site, as are details for registering. [LXP]

Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference
The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference will be held July 14-17, 1999, in Orlando, Florida. This conference brings together researchers from the "spectrum of research in evolutionary computation, including genetic algorithms, classifier systems, genetic programming, . . . artificial life, adaptive behavior, agents, as well as real-world applications of all of these areas." Tutorials and Workshops, as well as a Graduate Student Workshop, will be presented at the conference. Deadline for papers is January 27, 1999. [SN]

Nordic Symposium on the Ecology of Coarse Woody Debris in Boreal Forests
The Nordic symposium on the Ecology of Coarse Woody Debris (CWD) in Boreal Forests will be held from 31 May to 3 June, 1999, in Umea, Sweden. The symposium will emphasize the importance of CWD for nutrient cycling and carbon dynamics; the ecology of species dependent on dead trees; and CWD and forest management. Registration is limited; those interested in attending the symposium should visit the site for more information. [LXP]
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New Data

Nocturnal Fog and Stratus Over the Northern Plains
The Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has provided GOES satellite imagery of the nocturnal fog and stratus formed over the Northern Plains for the overnight hours of November 2, 1998. In addition, descriptions of the GOES satellite imagery and an image of the topography of the region are also available. [SN]
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North American Stonefly List
Dr. Bill Stark, Professor of Biology at Mississippi College, maintains this no-frills database of stonefly species found in North America. The database, updated frequently, currently lists 618 species in taxonomic order, ranked by family (Capniidae to Pteronarcyidae) down to the species level. Each species name is followed by a series of abbreviations, denoting distributions in US states or Canadian provinces; an explanation of state/province abbreviations is provided via a link. [LXP]
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MGS Thermal Emission Spectrometer Views Phobos
The University of Arizona has made available the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) Views of Phobos, one of the two moons of Mars, taken on three separate occasions. TES has primarily been used to "collect infrared spectra of Phobos to study its composition and physical properties." Two graphs and an image along with brief descriptions are provided at this site. [SN]
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Enzyme Nomenclature 1998
The Nomenclature Committee of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (NC-IUBMB) has made available this online version of Enzyme Nomenclature 1998. NC-IUBMB is currently accepting recommendations for enzyme nomenclature of Oxidoreductases, Transferases, Hydrolases, Lyases, Isomerases, and Ligases. A list of approved peptidases is available. December 31, 1998 is the deadline for submission of enzyme nomenclature recommendations. [SN]
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In The News

World's Penguin Populations in Peril
1. Penguin Populations in Peril
2. World's Penguins Are in Peril
3. Food Supply Dwindles for Temperate Penguins
4. Warming-Induced Ecological Impacts -- Greenpeace
5. El Nino Takes its Toll on Penguins
6. Protecting Penguins -- PBS Online
This week's In The News addresses a recent report released on December 4, 1998, by the international Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)-World Conservation Union. The report, prepared by IUCN researchers and penguin biologists from the New England Aquarium, states that penguin populations are facing alarming declines worldwide and that nine species should be listed as endangered or vulnerable, and two others should be classified as near threatened. This report builds on findings from recent scientific articles, including that of ecologist William Fraser, Montana State University (Science Vol 276 No 5320, 1997) and Dr. P. D. Boersma, University of Washington (Condor 100:245-253, 1998). The fact that many penguin species cannot sustain their populations provides further evidence that the health of our oceans is in peril. Penguins are threatened by human activities, habitat destruction, and overfishing of their food supplies. In addition, the rise in surface sea temperature due to El Nino appears to be affecting penguin populations. The six resources above introduce the issues surrounding penguin declines.

The first resource, from the New England Aquarium, reports on the decline in penguin populations (1). The second, a news release from the Environmental News Network (ENN), discusses how oil spills in busy shipping areas and increasing coastal use and development are linked to the decline in penguin populations (2). Also from ENN, this news brief describes how some penguins must travel as far as 120 miles from their colonies to feeding grounds because of diminished food resources from commercial fisheries and global warming (3). Greenpeace provides this resource (4), proposing that increased snowfall, decreased sea ice cover, and rising sea and air temperatures (especially during the previous four years of unprecedented warm winters) have contributed to the decline in populations of Chinstrap and Adelie penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula. In the fifth resource, ENN reports findings that the Galapagos penguin population has been reduced by one half since 1970, due to "increasing number and strength of warm-water El Nino events along with a decline of colder-water La Nina events" (5). PBS Online has released this article discussing how global warming has caused a reduction in winter sea ice, "which hosts the algae that is the basis of the local food chain." This means less food for the shrimp-like krill that is the Adelie penguin's major food source (6). [SN]
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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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