The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - May 24, 2000

May 24, 2000

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


The Canada Centre for Remote Sensing
The Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (CCRC), "a leading centre of excellence in the use of earth-observation data," is responsible for the acquisition of data and the development of remote sensing applications and related methodologies. This site, provided by Natural Resources Canada, highlights Canadian geography using images obtained through remote sensing. CCRC's information-rich site is divided into five sections including research and development, images and data, and educational references. The site also offers fully-referenced overviews of technologies such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and the actual satellites used in remote sensing, plus numerous visuals in the "Applications in Action" section. Highlights include views of Canada from outer space and tracking of glacial movements. Exact image location, date, and sensor resolution is given for every radar image. The searchable bibliography includes some hyperlinks to journal abstracts. The site, available in English and French, also has a searchable, comprehensive glossary of remote sensing terms. [HCS]
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River Watch -- NOAA
The National Weather Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has launched the River Watch site, providing up-to-date river forecast information for the nation's largest river basins: the Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio River Basins). Daily river level summaries are provided for each basin, in addition to five-day forecasts for river stage heights (in feet). This site also offers hyperlinks to river forecast sites for the other major regions of the US (Southern, Central, and Eastern Regions), and other related sites. For current information on river level conditions in the US, this is a top-notch resource, made more valuable by the geographical extent of its coverage. [LXP]
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Topology Atlas [MS Word, DVI, .ps]
Hosted by York University, with support from University of Florida, University of Tennessee at Martin, Nipissing University, York University, and the University of Milan, the Topology Atlas Website calls itself a publisher of information related to topology. The site amounts to a vast repository of documents for mathematicians and others interested in topology. A preprints section offers documents dating from December 1995 to the present. An Invited Contributions section holds short surveys of specialized topics including titles like "On Variations of Continuity," and "Atlas of oriented knots and links." Also available at this site are abstracts (for books, published articles, and research announcements), journals, TopCom (a magazine for the topology community), and more. [KR]
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Arkansas Biodiversity: The Vascular Flora
Much of the information at this site is taken from the 1988 publication (second edition) An Atlas and Annotated List of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas, by Dr. Edwin B. Smith and the University of Arkansas Herbarium. The book is currently out of print in hard copy, but the Website offers electronic access to a wealth of specific information on the vascular plants of Arkansas. An introductory section summarizes project methodology (geographic divisions of Arkansas, plant nomenclature, and chromosome number) and includes supplementary maps of the state (.gif format). The heart of the site is the series of diversity/ distribution maps, organized by plant family name (scientific or common name). Each color-coded family level diversity map summarizes the number of taxa (genus, species) per county. By clicking on a particular county, users may access additional statewide maps for diversity at the next taxonomic level (genus or species) in that family. The straightforward, hierarchical organization of the site makes it a useful reference tool for researchers and educators alike. [LXP]
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The Robotics Institute [.pdf, .ps]
Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute (RI) is a leading robotics research facility with broad interests in "basic robotics technologies, automation and computer-integrated manufacturing, robotics for hazardous environments, and autonomous mobile robots." Along with information and descriptions of projects, labs and groups, and centers, another highlight of this site is its extensive publications section. The searchable list of publications from 1980 to the present includes many downloadable documents (especially for reports from more recent years). Also, the site provides a special project of the week link, RI jobs section, and contact information, including industrial affiliations. [KR]
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Millennium Ecosystem Assessment -- WRI [.pdf]
In the wake of the April 2000 World Resources Institute (WRI) report entitled "People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life" (described in the April 26, 2000 Scout Report for Science & Engineering), scientists are preparing to launch the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) -- a major international collaborative effort to map the health of the world's ecosystems. Slated for release in September 2000, the MEA will analyze the present and future capacity of the world's ecosystems "to provide goods and services important for human development." This Website, maintained in part by World Resources Institute, offers detailed information on the MEA, the need for such a global assessment, the goals and benefits of an MEA, methods for designing the MEA, and links to participating and related organizations. Most information at the site is in HTML format, but some sections contain options for downloading documents (.pdf format). [LXP]
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Learning Resources

AccessScience Four-Week Free Trial
AccessScience, McGraw Hill's Online Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, is currently offering a four-week, free trial. This leading, searchable, regularly updated science encyclopedia contains more than 71,000 articles, 115,000 dictionary terms, and hundreds of research updates. Other features include a biography section, In the News, a student center, and links. For four weeks of free, full access to this outstanding resource, users are required to complete an online form. [KR]
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The eSkeletons Project [QuickTime, VRML]
Created at the University of Texas at Austin, the e-Skeletons Project Website is a high-tech, interactive site through which participants learn about skeletal anatomy by viewing the bones of a human, chimpanzee, and baboon. Additional information is provided through access to the osteology database. To begin learning about the Human Skeleton, select a bone from the list of four bone types on the black-and-white skeletal image, and launch the bone viewer. Six viewing angles provide a detailed look at each bone, with the option to select another bone or make a comparison with another species (e.g., chimpanzee or baboon). The Comparative Anatomy section enables users to make direct comparisons of bones among select taxa. Note that the site is optimized for Netscape 4.5 (or higher) or Internet Explorer 4.5 (or higher) and features both QuickTime and VRML plug-ins. [LXP]
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Composite Materials Handbook [.pdf]
From the US Army Research Laboratory, Materials Sciences Corporation, and University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials, the Composite Materials Handbook provides the "information and guidance necessary to design and fabricate end items from composite materials." Along with current information on the material properties of these composite materials, the handbook also includes data development and usage guidelines. The information has been divided into three areas: polymer, metal, and ceramic matrix composites. The Polymer Matrix Composites Handbook (three volumes including Guidelines for Characterization of Structural Materials; Material Properties; and Materials Usage, Design, and Analysis) and the Metal Matrix Composites Handbook (one volume, .pdf) are available here. The Ceramic Matrix Composites Handbook has yet to be completed. Users may also download Quick Composites Data in spreadsheet format. [KR]
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National Marine Mammal Laboratory's Education Web Site
National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML)
The National Marine Mammal Laboratory's Education Website, which targets K-12 learners, provides basic information on marine mammals, including whales (baleen and toothed, dolphins, and porpoises). Still under construction, the site will eventually provide pages on seals, sea lions, walruses, manatees, and dugongs. Educational tools currently include a Marine Mammal Quiz and a List of Endangered Marine Mammals. Additional information covers careers in marine mammal science. For more advanced information on marine mammal research, see the National Marine Mammal Laboratory homepage. [LXP]
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History of Palaeozoic Forests
University of Muenster's Palaeobotanical Research Group provides this site with links to Web sources dealing with Paleozoic forests. One educational highlight of the site is the regularly updated introductory text, "History of Palaeozoic Forests," by Hans Kerp, Head of the Palaeobotanical Research Group at Muenster. Available in both English and German, this text features information on the earliest land plants, Carboniferous swamps, and the first flowering plants, among other things. Here, readers will find overviews of biostratigraphic issues such as the existence of the Palaeophytic-Mesophytic boundary. The figures are comprised of Stratigraphic columns, illustrated landscape reconstructions, and paleogeographic maps. Other sections of the site include research, publications, news, and links to palaeobotany-related museums, societies, and courses. [HCS]
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General Interest

Polyglot Paleontologist [MS Word]
Matthew Carrano, a Postdoctoral Associate in Anatomy at SUNY-Stonybrook, has created this site as a "sort of clearinghouse for English translations of non-English paleontological papers. It serves as a central point where people may download existing translations, add their own translations to the database, and post requests." The site includes over 100 papers. So far the focus is on vertebrate paleontology, but Carrano plans to expand to other areas of paleontology if the interest arises. Some examples of papers available include a translation from Chinese of "Zhejiangopterus linhaiensis (Pterosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous of Linhai, Zhejiang, China" (Vertebrata PalAsiatica 32(3):181-194) and a translation from German of "On a new fossil lizard from Lesina" (Abhandlungen der k. k. geologischen Reichsanstalt 5(4):75-90). Translations from French, Russian, Spanish, and other languages are also available. The texts are in Word format. A non-mandatory sign-in page takes readers to the archives. This important resource for paleontologists provides articles and species descriptions formerly inaccessible to English speakers. [HCS]
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Coelacanth: The Fish Out of Time
The coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae, a 400-million year old "living fossil fish," is the last remaining representative of a once widespread family of fleshy-finned (Sarcopterygian) coelacanth fishes. First discovered in 1938, the fish's significance lies in its relation to Eusthenopteron, believed by some scientists to have grown legs and come ashore some 360 million years ago, making it "the ancestor of all tetrapods including ourselves." While this evolutionary view is not accepted by all scientists, the coelacanth remains a fascinating and mysterious creature. This site, by coelacanth expert and long-time Explorer Club member Jerome Hamlin, offers background information, stories, and photographs of coelacanths and the discoveries that have brought coelacanths to public attention. The Recent History section describes the 1938 through 1998 captures of coelacanths; Biology and Behavior offers ecological information on coelacanths; and Conservation describes the Coelacanth Rescue Mission, dedicated to reducing mortalities of coelacanths during accidental captures off the Comodoro Islands. The site also includes a contact address whereby interested viewers may submit further suggestions to reduce coelacanth mortality. [LXP]
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National Research Council of Canada's Expertise Database
Canada's National Research Council (NRC) offers this database for locating over 1,000 experts in a variety of fields. Users input keywords such as "genetic engineering" to receive back a list of names of experts, the group with whom they are affiliated, and a link to the NRC department where they work. By clicking on the researcher's name, users can find more specific contact information and areas of specialization. [KR]
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Tennessee Amphibian Monitoring Program (TAMP)
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation co-sponsor the Tennessee Amphibian Monitoring Program (TAMP). A volunteer-based, multi-agency effort "to assess the current status of amphibians (frogs, toads, and salamanders)" across the state, TAMP is open to all interested participants. The homepage introduces and describes the need for TAMP, and provides a brief list of related sites. Also at the TAMP site are detailed survey protocols (with accompanying color photographs of frogs and toads) and a list of selected references. [LXP]
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Arsenic in ground water of the United States [.pdf, .ps]
From the USGS National Analysis of Trace Elements, this new page offers a recent, much publicized map "that shows where and to what extent arsenic occurs in ground water across the country," a new fact sheet ("Arsenic in ground-water resources of the United States"), and a detailed report ("A retrospective analysis on the occurrence of arsenic in ground-water resources of the US and limitations in drinking-water-supply characterizations"). The site also contains data of arsenic concentrations for 18,850 ground-water samples collected between 1973 and 1997. In addition, users will find links to other sites with information on arsenic in ground water. [KR]
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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:

Two on New Mexico Fires
Satellite Image of New Mexico Fires
Fire Ecology Quiz -- ENN
In the aftermath of the New Mexico fires, several resources have been posted online. The first resource, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is a color satellite image (.jpg format) of fires in New Mexico from May 17, including the Cerro Grande fire. Second, from Environmental News Network (free registration required), is an educational resource entitled the Fire Ecology Quiz, targeting the undergraduate level. [LXP]
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Chromosome 21 in the News
"Scientists Complete Map of Second Human Chromosome"
Genome Gateway
Over the last few weeks, scientists announced they have completed mapping Chromosome 21, the chromosome associated with Down's syndrome, epilepsy, Lou Gehrig's disease, and Alzheimer's. Researchers hope the achievement will lead to treatments in the future. The first site points to a Reuters article on this important milestone. The second site, from Nature Magazine, features a free page, Genome Gateway, with online original research papers from Nature and Nature Genetics relating to genomics. Included here is a link to the breakthrough paper announcing the completed sequence of chromosome 21. The site also provides a news service with "up-to-the-minute coverage of research progress, policy issues, funding and ethical implications of genome sequencing." [KR]
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New Publications

National Drought Policy Commission Reports [.pdf]
NOAA News Online -- Latest Drought Forecast
On May 16, 2000, the National Drought Policy Commission (NDPC) released its final report and recommended improved preparedness and coordination in anticipation of the threat of droughts in the US. The NDPC's site offers two documents, the Report of the National Drought Policy Commission and the National Drought Policy Commission Executive Summary. The reports were drafted in response to the severe droughts in recent years that have cost the US approximately $6 billion per year in economic losses. In conjunction with the release of the new reports, NOAA also announced its latest drought forecast. The second site, a NOAA Press release, provides links and news concerning the recent drought predictions. [KR]

"Joint Statement of the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency Addressing Agricultural and Silvicultural Issues Within EPA: Revisions to TMDL and NPDES Rules: May 1, 2000"
This recent report, prepared jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), describes final revisions to the Clean Water Act (CWA)'s regulations regarding Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) provisions. [LXP]

Five newly available publications from the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center [.zip]
"Effects of Fire in the Northern Great Plains"
"Alpha Status, Dominance, and Division of Labor in Wolf Packs"
"Reserve Design For Grasslands: Considerations For Bird Populations"
"Habitat Use and Reproductive Success of Western Snowy Plovers at New Nesting Areas Created For California Least Terns"
"Behaviour Patterns of Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Pairs and Broods in Minnesota and North Dakota"
In keeping with their commitment to provide scientific materials online, the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) has posted five scientific papers at their site. These resources were originally published in other journals, but are available here in full, free of charge. Kenneth F. Higgins and others wrote the first resource on fire effects on the grassland biome of the Northern Great Plains (US/ Canada). It is based on a 1989 US Fish and Wildlife Service document written by the same authors (Extension Circular 761). L. David Mech authored the second resource (originally published in 1999 in Canadian Journal of Zoology, 77:1196-1203) on social dynamics of free-living wolf packs. The third resource, on landscape issues associated with reserve design for breeding grassland birds, was written by Douglas H. Johnson and Maiken Winter and was originally published in 1999 in the Proceedings of the Tenth Conference on Research and Resource Management in Parks and on Public Lands. Abby N. Powell and Christine L. Collier wrote the resource on Snowy Plovers, published this year in the Journal of Wildlife Management (64(1):24-33). Finally, Pamela J. Pietz and Deborah A. Buhl wrote the article on mallard duck behavior, published in 1999 in Wildfowl (50:101-122). All five resources may be downloaded in full as .zip files. [LXP]

"Global Distribution of Total Inorganic Carbon and Total Alkalinity Below the Deepest Winter Mixed Layer Depths" -- CDIAC [.datZ]
The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) has just released this report authored by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The report presents an approach to modeling realistic three-dimensional (3-D) oceanic carbon fields from "an extensive global database of ocean carbon dioxide (CO2) system measurements and well-developed interpolation methods." The data were extracted from the recent high-quality data sets from the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS), and Ocean-Atmosphere Carbon Exchange Study (OACES) programs. The data and ASCII documentation files of NDP-076 are available for download (.datZ, .txt). File sizes range from 1K to as large as 203M. [HCS]

"How Benthic Biologists (and others) Can Have an Impact on Instream Flow Assessments During Relicensing of Hydroelectric Dams in the USA" [PowerPoint]
Dr. Todd Folsom of Duke Power Co. in North Carolina put together this (PowerPoint format) tutorial on relicensing hydro dams under the rules of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Originally presented as a slide show for the 1995 North American Benthological Society Annual Meeting, this tutorial includes 40 large color images with accompanying speaker notes. The tutorial provides an overview of the complex relicensing process and how power companies decide on the costs of instream flows, among other topics. In addition, users will find suggestions for how benthic ecologists (or others) can participate in instream flow assessments, and the types of research that are needed to make sound assessments. [LXP]

"Relativity: The Special and General Theory" provides this newly online English text version of the great physicist and humanitarian Albert Einstein's "Relativity: The Special and General Theory" from Robert W. Lawson's 1920 translation. The page is divided into the following sections: Einstein's three-part text ("The Special Theory of Relativity," "The General Theory of Relativity," and "Consideration on the Universe as a Whole"), Appendices, Bibliography, and a section of links to its bibliographical record, preface, biographical note, frontispiece portrait, and translator's note. An internal search engine enables users to search for words within the document. [HCS]

Pesticides and Mosquito Control -- EPA
This factsheet from the Environmental Protection Agency includes several summary documents on the problem of mosquito-borne diseases and the pesticides used to control mosquitoes. The resources cover issues from mosquito biology through the EPA's recent findings on the negative health impacts of Malathion. [LXP]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Jobs for Physicists and Chemists by

The Nature Conservancy: Jobs

American Astronomical Society Career Services
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Office of Science Grants -- US Department of Energy
Deadline: various

Arctic Research Opportunities -- NSF
Deadline: August 8, 2000

Fulbright Scholar Program
Deadline: October 25, 2000
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Volcano/Ice Interaction Workshop
August 13-15, 2000: Reykjavik, Iceland
Abstract deadline: June 2, 2000

Millennial-Scale Events in the North Atlantic Region During Termination 1
June 13-18, 2001: Coleraine, Northern Ireland
Abstract deadline: January 1, 2001

Roots: The Dynamic Interface Between Plants and the Earth
November 11-15, 2001: Nagoya, Japan
Abstract deadline: November 2000 (exact day TBA)
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New Data

Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) Data Archive [.xls]
The Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) has made available a limited archive of data sets from articles published in the Journal of Sedimentary Research (JSR) and other selected SEPM publications. This site complements the JSR homepage (which contains links to abstracts) by providing one or two data sets from each year of publication, 1998-2000. Examples of data sets include isotopic composition of Silurian brachiopods of Norway and a stratigraphic log of Ordovician peritidal sequences of North America. Most of the data sets are in Excel format, but some are available as text files. [HCS]
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Operational Significant Event Imagery -- NOAA
New satellite images of "significant environmental events" are posted frequently at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Operational Significant Event Imagery (OSEI) Website. Remotely-sensed data include "high-resolution, detailed imagery" of dust storms, fires, floods, icebergs, oceanic events, severe weather, snow cover, storm systems, tropical cyclones, volcanoes, and other current events. Users may search the site for the most recent images by date or by topic. A Daily Report section provides brief descriptions of the latest images. [LXP]
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Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States, 1999 Update [.pdf]
From the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Municipal Solid Waste, the recently released documents found on this page represent data and discussion describing "the national waste stream based on data collected from 1960 through 1998." The latest documents include a "Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States, 1999 Update," and extensive source data in the form of tables. Also included here are reports from 1995 to 1998. [KR]
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Two Online Genomes
Rainmap Database
Buffmap Database
The Institut National de Recherche Agronomique (France) provides online databases of genomes for several organisms, including Salmonids (Rainbow Trout) and Buffalo. Both databases are updated as more data become available, and provide records on loci, genes, microsatellites, polymorphisms, probes, enzymes, homologue loci, alleles, primers, references, and links to external databases. Instructions for submitting data to the databases are provided on-site. [LXP]
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In The News

Black Holes: New Evidence Shows Some That Are Extra Large, Unusually Cool, and Nearby
1. "Hubble Spectra Indicate Another Massive Black Hole"
2. "Chandra Finds a "Cool" Black Hole at the Heart of the Andromeda Galaxy"
3. "Chandra Discovers X-ray Source at the Center of Our Galaxy"
4. The Humming Black Hole
5. Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics CXO [.ps]
6. Caltech High Energy Astrophysics X-ray and Gamma-ray Astronomy [.ps]
7. Virtual Trips to Black Holes and Neutron Stars [MPEG]
8. Structure and Evolution of the Universe: Journey to a Black Hole [RealPlayer]
A black hole is a dense, massive region of space that exerts inescapable gravitational pull on other objects. Formation of a black hole is an extremely important event in a galaxy's origin and evolution, and a black hole's size can indicate the age of the galaxy that surrounds it. Recent discoveries by astrophysicists are shedding light on how black holes form and behave during their existence. These discoveries include evidence of a supermassive black hole in a galaxy called NGC 4203, an unusually cool black hole in the nearby Andromeda Galaxy, and an image of what might be our own galaxy's supermassive black hole. This week's In the News takes a look at these discoveries, our understanding of black holes, and the technology used to detect black holes.

The first resource (1), a news article from Unisci, announces Hubble Telescope's latest detection of a giant, massive black hole (the Hubble Space Telescope Educational Resources page was described previously in the July 25, 1997 Scout Report for Science & Engineering). The next two sources (2) and (3) are press releases from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory describing other recent black hole discoveries (the Chandra Observatory was described in the September 15, 2000 Scout Report for Science and Engineering). The Humming Black Hole page (4) from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an interesting learning resource featuring images of what black holes and other astronomical objects would look like to humans if we could see x-rays. Pennsylvania State University's Astronomy and Astrophysics department offers a page about how x-ray imaging works (5). Another good source for information about astronomical imaging is the California Institute of Technology High Energy Astrophysics page (6), which covers x-ray and gamma-ray techniques and includes full-text articles (.ps). The last two sites present engaging, informative videos about black holes. The Virtual Trips to Black Holes and Neutron Stars page (7), maintained by Michigan Technological University, provides text (suitable for many educational levels) from the American Journal of Physics and MPEG movies of black holes. "Journey to a Black Hole" (8), part of NASA's "Structure and Evolution of the Universe" video series, is a nine-minute RealPlayer movie (8K) targeting general audiences but also suitable for college students. [HCS]
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