The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - June 9, 1999

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering

June 9, 1999

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


Galaxies and Quasars
The Astrophysics Research Center of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has recently created the Galaxies and Quasars Homepage. The goal of the Galaxies and Quasars group is to understand the formation and evolution of active galaxies and clusters of galaxies and quasars. The Research Topics section lists specific research projects. Links to abstracts of publications from the Institute during 1998-1999 are found in the Recent Results section. [JJS]
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New Zealand's National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research
Established in 1992, New Zealand's National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) aims "to provide a scientific basis for the sustainable management of New Zealand's atmospheric, marine and freshwater systems and associated resources." At the homepage users can learn about the institute's research programs (in the fields of Atmosphere & Climate, Freshwater, Coastal & Marine, Fisheries, and Aquaculture and Fisheries Enhancement) and collaborative projects. A selection of interesting links to scientific publications, data sets, and other research resources fills out each section. [LXP]
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Quantum World
New Scientist: Planet Science (described in the March 22, 1996 Scout Report) provides an online version of the book, Quantum World, written by renowned physicist David Lindley. Quantum theory challenges classical physics, and is based on the premise that "what happens to any individual photon is genuinely and inescapably unpredictable." Though concepts are well explained, the material contained in Quantum World is complex. Each section of the book starts with a question, for example, "Will we ever be able to teleport people to faraway places?" and "In the real world cats can't be both living and dead. So what is it that forces them to choose?" Quantum World provides an interesting approach to explaining the physics behind how "nature behaves." [JJS]
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World Conference on Science
The first global conference on science and society in nearly 20 years, the World Conference on Science (WCS) will take place in Budapest from June 26 to July 1, 1999. Organized jointly by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU), the World Conference on Science will address a broad range of topics within a global context, from the role of fundamental research, to the sharing of scientific information and knowledge, to science and technology, among other topics. This straightforward Website has been set up by Nature "as a source of news about preparatory events leading up to the conference and issues related to its agenda, as a forum for comment from individuals in both industrialized and developing nations about such issues, and as an access point for information about related meetings (including statements to be presented at Budapest)." The Website currently contains several interesting articles and reports, with links to useful resources. [LXP]
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Three Biology Journals
International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology
Microbiology Online
Journal of General Virology Online
HighWire Press
The Society for General Microbiology has made available online three journals: the International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology (IJSB), Microbiology, and the Journal of General Virology. Online full-text content for IJSB begins January 1997, and will expand with each new issue; abstracts begin with the January 1990 issue. Online full-text content for Microbiology begins January 1997; abstracts are online from January 1994. Online full-text content for Journal of General Virology begins January 1997; online abstracts begin January 1975. The three journals, all of which are produced in conjunction with Stanford University's HighWire Press, are freely available through the trial period, which ends "on or after 1 September, 1999." [LXP]
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Learning Resources

The Geometry Junkyard
Provided by David Eppstein, professor of Information and Computer Science at the University of California-Irvine, the Geometry Junkyard is a metasite covering classical geometry theory and current research in the area of computation geometry. A few examples of the many topics included in the Geometry Junkyard are: combination geometry, fractals, multi-dimensional geometry, and open problems (most of which are illustrated with diagrams). Dr. Eppstein's thoughtful selection of links point users to numerous discussions and solutions to problems; in addition, he has added several pages on topics not well covered (My Own Junk), and has highlighted newly added material (New Junk). This site is more of a gold mine than a junkyard, based on the vast amount of information provided and the fun spin placed on many of the topics. [JJS]
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Insects in the Classroom [frames]
A collaborative project spearheaded by the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University, Insects in the Classroom is a useful learning resource for K-12 through first-year college students. Loaded with age-specific lesson plans, classroom exercises and outdoor lab activities, the site provides a wealth of ideas and plans for teachers (or biology students interested in developing curricula). The Course Material section provides a modest reading list, instructions on how to make an insect collection, and (some) tips for insect identification, among others. A selection of professional links for teachers rounds out the site. [LXP]
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Calculating the Threat of Tsunami
Provided by the Australian Academy of Science, Calculating the Threat of Tsunami is a recent feature of NOVA: Science in the News (described in the March 3, 1999 Scout Report for Science & Engineering). The report describes recent "advances towards predicting tsunami by combining mathematics, geology, and physics." The importance of being able to predict tsunami was made clear when, on July 17, 1998, the north coast of Papua New Guinea and villages near the Sissano lagoon were destroyed by a massive tsunami. In addition to the general text, the special feature includes a Glossary, Activities, Further Reading, and a solid selection of Useful Sites. Anyone interested in tsunami will find a plethora of information for all levels at this site. [JJS]
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Introduction to the "Green Algae"
This interesting site on "Green Algae" (a paraphyletic group excluding Plantae) is maintained by the University of California's Museum of Paleontology, and is a central resource for algal information with links to associated resources. Four sections make up the heart of the site: Fossil Record, Life History & Ecology, Systematics, and More on Morphology. Additionally, this well-designed site contains many links to illustrated definitions and additional facts. [LXP]
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General Interest

Virtual Fieldtrip of the Slumgullion Earthflow [frames]
Provided by the US Geological Survey, the Virtual Fieldtrip of the Slumgullion Earthflow allows users to view specific images of landslides. Users are able to zoom in to a desired level on the images. Along with the Virtual Fieldtrip is the report titled The Slumgullion Earthflow: A Large-Scale Natural Laboratory, which provides detailed information on the studies performed and results determined from these landslides. The report is broken down into fifteen chapters covering technical topics pertaining to landslides, such as photogrammetric determination of slope movements, and geotechnical properties of selected materials. Although The Virtual Fieldtrip Website is an excellent source for anyone curious about landslides. [JJS]
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River Network
The mission of River Network, a non-governmental organization, is "to help people organize to protect and restore rivers and watersheds." To that end, the River Network homepage offers a wealth of information and links on rivers and watersheds including publications, upcoming conferences, watershed protection issues, river conservation job listings, related organizations, and a searchable National Directory of River and Watershed Organizations. The What's New section announces recent publications, events, and ongoing important river/watershed issues. For anyone interested in learning about or participating in River/Watershed initiatives, this is an excellent resource. [LXP]
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How Things Fly
Provided by the National Air and Space Museum, this site allows users to visit the special exhibit How Things Fly. In How Do Things Fly? the following topics are discussed in a question and answer format: Can you fly?, Air is "stuff"!, Balloons, Animal flight, Airplanes, and Spacecraft. The physics behind flight for each topic is at a general level, making this site an excellent source for K-12 education. Specific science activities, along with recommended reading, are found in the Resource Center. Additional links contain interesting comments and activities for particular topics. [JJS]
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Management and Conservation of Grassland/Prairie Birds
Effects of Management Practices on Grassland Birds [.zip]
Evaluation of the Bird Conservation Area Concept in the Northern Tallgrass Prairie Annual Report: 1998 [.zip]
Two resources on the management and conservation of grassland/prairie birds have been posted at the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center site. The first represents a series of literature syntheses on North American grassland birds, currently featuring the management of breeding habitat for 27 bird species. The second report "contains findings from the first year of a study to test the idea that Bird Conservation Areas can maintain populations of breeding grassland birds." Both publications are available for download in .zip format. [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 The Scout Report for Science & Engineering Current Awareness Metapage:

A Science Network Enterprise, this impressive current awareness site, NatureQuest, is organized into two main sections: the Science Site and the Annex site. The Science Site provides a forum for debates in physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, philosophy, and history of science and religion. Classical and theoretical problems are discussed either in question and answer format, or by new discoveries. The Annex Site includes general information on opportunities and resources in science. Most notable is The Academia Exchange, which includes Colloquia & Seminars, Conferences & Symposia, Summer Schools, Workshops, Faculty & Research Openings, and Nature Expos. Note that some sections are still under construction. NatureQuest is a solid current awareness resource for academics at a variety of levels. [JJS]
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NOAA News, the current awareness page of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), offers timely articles and links to current news related to the ocean and atmosphere. Alternating feature stories introduce readers to important topics, such as threats to marine mammals, status of fisheries stocks, or the upcoming hurricane season. A series of links points users to further information or other NOAA sites. [LXP]
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New Publications

The Quindio, Colombia, Earthquake of January 25, 1999
The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) recently released a Special Earthquake Report on the Quindio, Colombia Earthquake of January 25, 1999. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, this report is part of the EERI's Learning from Earthquakes project. Sections contained in the report include an Introduction, Geosciences and Geotechnical Aspects, Structural and Nonstructural Damage, Observations on Lifelines, Health Impacts, Emergency Response, Emergency Shelter and Temporary Housing, Recovery and Reconstruction, and Lessons Learned. Figures and images supplement the report and help make more complicated material easier to understand. This report provides an excellent example of a case study. [JJS]

CRS Reports
Twenty-two new and twenty-nine updated Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports have been added to the National Library for the Environment site. Reports cover energy efficiency, electricity restructuring, endangered species, the 1872 Mining Law, water resource issues, stratospheric ozone depletion, wetlands issues, Pacific salmon and anadromous trout, and petroleum reserves, among other topics. [LXP]

Institutional Dynamics and Barriers in Wind Energy Development [frames] [.pdf]
Institutional dynamics and barriers in wind energy development (.pdf) is a case study of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, India, written by Anumakonda Jagadeesh as a joint research project with the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO). Published as CICERO Working Paper 1999:4, the study attempts to outline the factors that have contributed to the boom and now decline of windfarm development in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, India. The role of institutions in promoting wind energy is discussed. Also contained in the study is an analysis of the financial, technical, transactional and institutional barriers inhibiting the diffusion of wind energy in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, India. [JJS]

Harmful Non-Native Species: Issues for Congress
This recent biodiversity report to Congress, hosted at the National Library for the Environment site, addresses "whether new legislative authorities are needed to address issues of non-native species and their increasing economic and ecological impacts." Specifically, the report highlights "the choice between single species approaches and pathway approaches for prevention, and between prevention vs. control." The 50-page report is divided into seven main sections, all of which may be downloaded at the site. [LXP]

Atlas of the Flora of New England: Update
The third installment of the Atlas of the Flora of New England (first described in the April 15, 1998 Scout Report for Science & Engineering) is now available on the Web. The third installment (Monocots except Poaceae and Cyperaceae) has been submitted for publication, and is provided here without distribution maps (expected online, summer 1999). [LXP]

State of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem: Transboundary Region [.pdf]
Written by members of the Flathead Transboundary Network, this report (150 pg, 3.5 mg) was the Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network's 1999 National Science Meeting Keynote Paper. The report addresses the Flathead and Castle watersheds in Alberta, Montana and British Colombia. Instructions for downloading the report (.pdf format) are provided at the site. [LXP]

An Introduction to Ants (Formicidae) of the Tallgrass Prairie [.zip]
Originally published in fall 1998 in the Missouri Prairie Journal, this newly online resource provides a brief introduction to the ecological role of ants, their taxonomy, and the effect of prairie restoration on tallgrass prairie ants (some 60 species are mentioned in table format). The publication may be downloaded as a .zip file. [LXP]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from the Chronicle of Higher Education
Although the Chronicle of Higher Education charges a fee to access the current week's job listings, extensive postings for the previous week are freely available. [LXP]

National Ground Water Association Job Opportunities
Current hydrogeology related job postings can be found at this National Ground Water Association (NGWA) site. Most of the listings are for consultants in hydrology and water resources management. Updated regularly, the site offers a link to NetMind so that interested viewers may receive automatic email updates for new job postings. [JJS]

Jobs @ The Engineer
Jobs @ The Engineer is an international job search service focused on the following industries: oil & gas, petrochemical, mining, building, construction, civil engineering, transportation, and power. Browsing for jobs is broken down by listing date (< 3 days old, < 1 week old, and < 1 month old), discipline, and location. Most of the listings are from companies seeking practicing engineers. Jobs @ The Engineer also provides a Resume Databank, where users can submit their resumes to be viewed by potential employers. [JJS]
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Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers
The Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides universities with funding for interdisciplinary research and educational activities. Pertinent research areas are materials science and engineering, condensed matter physics, solid state and materials chemistry, and related areas of science and engineering. A university must first submit a pre-proposal by September 10, 1999. Full proposals are due January 21, 2000. [JJS]

Synthesis and Modeling Project of the US Joint Global Ocean Flux Study
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a funding opportunity to evaluate "the role of oceanic processes in the global carbon cycle." The proposal deadline is August 23, 1999; proposals may be submitted "by universities in support of individual investigators or small groups." [LXP]

NSF Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarships Program
The National Science Foundation has announced the NSF Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarships Program, which provides scholarships "for low-income students enabling them to pursue associate, baccalaureate, or graduate level degrees in computer science, computer technology, engineering, engineering technology, or mathematics." Only academic institutions that grant degrees in computer science, computer technology, engineering, engineering technology, or mathematics may apply for this program. An optional letter of intent is due by July 16, 1999, and the final deadline is August 30, 1999. [JJS]

Graduate Student Proposals: Integrating Applied and Basic Research
The North American Benthological Society has announced a funding opportunity from Procter & Gamble Co., soliciting graduate student proposals "on research that integrates the fields of basic and applied stream ecology." The deadline for proposals is August 1, 1999. [LXP]

Watershed Assistance Grants (WAG)
The River Network has announced the final round of Watershed Assistance Grants (WAG), due June 15, 1999. The purpose of the Watershed Assistance Grants (WAG) program is "to support innovative efforts that build the capacity of community-based partnerships to conserve or restore watersheds." Grant criteria and application materials are available on-line. [LXP]
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GeoEng 2000
The GeoEng 2000 conference will be held November 19-24, 2000, in Melbourne, Australia, and targets practicing engineers and researchers in soil mechanics, rock mechanics, engineering geology, and geotechnical engineering. GeoEng 2000 is sponsored by the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), the International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG), and the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM). Topics planned for the conference include Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering, Underground Works, Stability of Natural and Excavated Slopes, Environmental Geotechnics, Ground Improvement, and Ground Support. Abstracts are due by June 18, 1999. [JJS]

The 9th Deep-Sea Biology Symposium
A preliminary announcement has been posted for the 9th Deep-Sea Biology Symposium, to be held in Galway, Ireland from June 25-30, 2000. The proposed theme for the symposium is "The Deep Ocean Biosphere: Change and Sustainability," but "papers and posters on any aspect of deep-sea organisms (from macro to micro) and ecosystems will be welcome." Although abstract and paper deadlines have not yet been established, interested conference participants may complete an "expression of interest" form to receive email updates. [LXP]

1999 Frontiers in Education Conference
Sponsored by the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society (IEEE CS), the 1999 Frontiers in Education Conference will be held from November 10-13, 1999, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The topic focus for the conference is "Designing the Future of Science & Engineering Education." The advance registration deadline is October 20, 1999, and onsite registration is also available. [JJS]

1999 Geological Society of America Meeting
The Geological Society of America will hold its 1999 annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, from October 25-28. The theme of this year's meeting is "Crossing Divides," as it is intended "to celebrate the cross-disciplinary nature of the geosciences and to encourage a scientific program that crosses divides among the various chemical, biological, and physical disciplines of our science." Abstracts are due July 12, 1999. [LXP]
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New Data

Galileo Imaging Data
Planetary Image Atlas
The Galileo Solid State Imaging Team of the Jet Propulsion Lab at NASA has released all data, including images, from Galileo's 14th orbit around Jupiter. At the Planetary Image Atlas site, two main sets of data may be viewed: SSI REDR (Raw Experiment Data Record) and NIMS EDRs (Experiment Data Records). Images of Earth and the Moon, Venus, Gaspra, Ida, and Jupiter and its satellites are contained in the SSI REDR. The NIMS EDRs database contains new data that are still being validated. These data are intended for use by the scientific community. All past and new images from Galileo can also be viewed at the second site, intended for anyone interested in new discoveries in the Jovian system. [JJS]
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The Thermotoga maritima Genome Database (TMDB)--TIGR
The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) has released the complete genome sequence of Thermotoga maritima. Recently published by Nelson and others in the journal Nature (399:323-329, 1999), the site offers online "access to the latest versions of the sequence data and related annotation." Numerous features for accessing the data include: name, TM, or sequence search; gene identification table; RNA gene table; and Paralogous gene families of Thermotoga maritima. Sequences may be downloaded via FTP (instructions on site). [LXP]
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A Catalogue of Crude Oil and Oil Product Properties Database\Website\river\
The Environmental Technology Center of Environment Canada provides A Catalogue of Crude Oil and Oil Properties Database, which contains various properties of crude oils and petroleum products. In addition to the listing of oils, the database reports properties "which will likely determine the environmental behavior and effects of spilled oil." The user may select an oil from a pull-down menu that lists 412 oils. The data are organized into tables in the following areas: Origin, API Gravity, Density, Pour Point, Dynamic Viscosity, Hydrocarbon Groups, and Distillation. [JJS]
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ENZYME: Enzyme Nomenclature Database
Recently updated, the ENZYME: Enzyme Nomenclature Database is based mainly on recommendations by the Nomenclature Committee of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) and "describes each type of characterized enzyme for which an EC (Enzyme Commission) number has been provided." An online user manual describes how to access and use the database, which may be searched by EC number, enzyme class, official description or alternative name(s), chemical compound, or cofactor. Typical returns include Names, Reaction catalyzed, Comments, Human Genetic Diseases, and a host of hyperlinked cross-references. ENZYME is provided by the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics. [LXP]
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In The News

Funding for Renewable Energy
1. Renewable Energy Funding Takes a Hit
2. Public Favors Renewable Energy Funding
3. American Green Network
4. Sustainable Energy Coalition
5. Clinton Orders Government Energy Cuts
6. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network
7. National Renewable Energy Laboratory
8. Solar Energy International: Renewable Energy Education & Sustainable Development
9. Renewable Energy OnLine
On May 25, 1999, the House and Senate appropriation committees cut funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, while at the same time increasing funding for nuclear and fossil fuel programs. This move runs counter to the opinions of most Americans, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Sustainable Energy Coalition. According to the survey, Americans believe renewable energy and energy efficiency funding should be prioritized, while nuclear power and fossil fuel spending should be reduced. Following the budget changes, President Clinton issued an executive order for federal agencies to cut energy consumption by 35 percent of 1985 levels by 2010, as the federal government is the largest consumer of energy. Clinton also urged Congress to reevaluate and approve the 2000 budget funding requests for research to help American businesses use energy-saving technology. This week's In The News examines the recent federal decisions regarding energy use and technology; the eight resources listed above provide background information on this important issue.

The first article (1), from Environmental Network News (ENN), describes recent renewable energy funding cuts and fossil fuel and nuclear power funding increases. Also from ENN, this brief article (2) explains the results of a survey commissioned by the Sustainable Energy Coalition (SEC). The American Green Network, a sustainable energy advocacy organization "dedicated to promoting America's cleanest energy choices," provides full details of the SEC survey (3) at this site, including a descriptive page on the Sustainable Energy Coalition (4). The Associated Press released this news flash (5) on Clinton's order that the US government use less energy. At the US Department of Energy (DOE)'s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network site (6), general information is provided with links on each of the following technologies: alternative fuels, geothermal, solar, hydropower, ocean, and wind. Current research and technology in renewable energy may be found at the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory site (7). For educational information on renewable energy and sustainable technology from a grassroots, non-profit perspective, see the Solar Energy International (8) site. Renewable Energy OnLine (9) is provided by Common Purpose, a non-profit organization, and has current awareness news, databases, factsheets, and search engines dedicated to renewable energy topics. [JJS]
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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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