The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - August 2, 2000

August 2, 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 Spacewatch Project, University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
Last week, collaborators from Harvard and University of Arizona astronomy labs announced their discovery of a new moon, S/1999, orbiting Jupiter. Details of the discovery and other interesting developments in astronomy can be found at the Spacewatch Project page, provided by the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. The Hot News page houses black-and-white .gif images of the new outer Jovian Satellite, S/1999. A timeline of Spacewatch history, table of asteroid detections, and an archive of images (also black-and-white) from Spacewatch telescopes are among the features of this site. For those interested in the mechanical aspect of the project, full-color images of the Spacewatch telescopes accompanied by descriptions and diagrams and a summary of survey scanning and object recovery techniques are available. Other parts of the site include Publications, People, Funding, and Links. [HCS]
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The Comprehensive Microbial Resource (CMR) Home Page -- TIGR
The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) has launched the searchable Comprehensive Microbial Resource (CMR), offering access to data from all (TIGR) genome sequences completed to date. From the Aeropyrum pernix K1 genome through Vibrio cholerae El Tor N16961, all genomes or subsets of each may be queried. The CMR includes the Omniome database containing sequences, annotations, and associated information "such as taxon and gram stain pattern, the structure and composition of their DNA molecules . . . and many attributes of the protein sequences predicted from the DNA sequence (such as pI and molecular weight)." Genome researchers will find this new CMR tool useful, as it allows users to mine completed genomes in ways not previously possible. [LXP]
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GP-1 Lightning Locator
The Great Plains One (GP-1) Lightning Locator site from Penn State University's Department of Meteorology provides live imagery of lightning detected within a 500 km radius of the GP-1 detector in western Pennsylvania. The GP-1 is a detector that "...uses an antenna array to intercept broadband electromagnetic radiation from distant cloud-to-ground, or return, strokes to provide signals for hardware processing in the Interface. A personal computer analyzes these hardware signals and plots the results on the monitor screen map." The text of the site includes many links to further information about the antenna, software used, and construction of the GP-1. The site also provides links to references and other lightning detector sites. Figures presented include circuit diagrams of the system, a construction map, and color photos of the GP-1. This is an especially informative read for electrical engineers. [HCS]
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Access USGS: San Francisco Bay and Delta
The San Francisco Bay and Delta Ecosystem Program of the US Geological Survey has been underway since 1995. This Webpage offers a host of information on USGS research in the San Francisco Bay and Delta regions (see Overview). Organized by subject area, the site features a new Water Information section in addition to sections describing research on biology (exotic species, primary production), wetlands (change and restoration), hazards (coastal erosion, landslides, earthquakes), and land use (urban growth). In addition, the site provides real-time data, geologic maps, and digital maps (topos, aerial photos, and elevations). A collection of links and a What's New section round out the site. [LXP]
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The International Student Committee on Industrial Ecology (ISCIE)
This newly launched Web forum, based at Georgia Tech's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is produced by and for graduate students in industrial ecology. Both research news and issues relevant to industrial ecology education are featured. The site is divided into several sections: News, Articles and Research, People, Links, "What is Industrial Ecology?" and Forum. The ISCIE Forum, which requires registration of a password and username, encourages news-, research-, philosophy-, and education-related discussions. [HCS]
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Learning Resources

Neuroscience Tutorial
The Washington University School of Medicine provides this impressive, illustrated tutorial on clinical neuroscience, offered in conjunction with the University's first-year course for medical students. Beginning with a graphic introduction to the brain (Coronal and horizontal sections), the site covers the essentials of clinical neuroscience including the Basic visual pathway; Basic somatosensory pathway; Basic motor pathway; Auditory and vestibular systems; Spinal motor structures; Basal ganglia and cerebellum; and Sleep and language, among other topics. Each section is illustrated with color graphics accompanied by text. The site also includes an index (for improved navigation), as well as a series of links. [LXP]
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Multivariate Statistics: A Practical Guide
Mike Wulder, a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, authors this guide providing a good overview of multivariate statistics for undergraduates or graduates needing a refresher. It was designed for a graduate geography course, but the multivariate statistical methods presented are useful to many other scientific disciplines. Topics covered include: Data Screening, Multiple Correlation and Regression, Principal Components Analysis and Factor Analysis, Discriminant Analysis, Cluster Analysis, and Spatial Autocorrelation. Each topic's page gives a summary of the method, its strengths and weaknesses, suggestions for when should be used, and an example. Many of the terms used are hyperlinked to definitions given elsewhere on the site. A reference list and suggested reading for geographers using multivariate statistics are also available. [HCS]
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The Extinction Files -- BBC
The BBC's educational division offers this searchable Website on past extinctions. Organized into five main sections, the site covers Mass Extinctions; Cast, Past and Present; Theories; Big Questions; and Last Extinction. In addition, there is a glossary section (Some Terms Explained) and a selection of links. The site offers interesting facts on paleontology, with an emphasis on the eras in which extinctions took place and brief introductions to the groups of organisms that went extinct (as well as some of those that survived). The emphasis is on extinction as a natural process, and the current, human-driven extinction is not considered in detail. For educators seeking supplementary materials for introductory classes, these pages may be of use. [LXP]
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Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC)
The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) is a non-governmental agency dedicated to solving environmental problems in Central and Eastern Europe. Established in 1990 by the US, the European Commission, and Hungary, and based in Hungary, REC fulfils its mission "through encouraging cooperation among non-governmental organizations, governments and businesses, supporting the free exchange of information and promoting public participation in environmental decision-making." The Website is straightforward and simple to navigate; content includes background information on the REC, a summary of REC programs, publications, and searchable databases of contacts in the environmental field. [LXP]
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General Interest

Oceans of Kansas
This Website is the labor of love of Mike Everhart, who in 1978 found his first mosasaur, an extinct giant marine reptile that resembles an overgrown crocodile. From that point forward, Everhart devoted his energy to hunting for fossils of marine reptiles, and he now is Adjunct Curator of Paleontology at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. Oceans of Kansas provides information about life in the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway, a broad sea that once stretched across much of modern day America, including Kansas. The Smoky Hills Chalk of Kansas contains hundreds of marine reptile fossils, and visitors to this Website can view color illustrations and images of mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and other marine reptile fossils from Kansas and all over the world. This site combines original writings by Everhart with links to other excellent resources on the Western Interior Seaway, marine reptiles, and general paleontology. Oceans of Kansas is updated regularly with many paleontological researchers adding links. Recent features include exciting new reconstruction paintings from the Paleo-Life Art page and a color photo of a newly restored mosasaur skull from the Pierre Shale of South Dakota. Whether you are a practicing paleontologist or just a natural history buff, this information-rich site is not to be missed. [HCS]
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138 Years of Agricultural Research -- USDA
When the millennium rolled over, numerous agencies across the country launched Websites telling the tale of that agency's progress, from inception until present. This site, from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides a concise timeline of agricultural research accomplishments in the US since the department was formed in 1862. The site features a chronological history by decade, a legislative history (of laws important to agriculture, food safety, nutrition, and the environment), and a complete history (without photographs). Each historical section contains a concise sketch of the major events (or laws) of that decade. Because the information presented here spans more than a century, in-depth coverage of particular events is not included. However, those interested in gaining a historical sketch of one of the most influential agencies in the US will find this resource informative. [LXP]
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Nug 30 Quadratic Assignment Problem Solved by 1,000 Computers
The MetaNEOS Project, a collaboration between computational optimization researchers and the Condor and Globus metacomputing teams, presents this site covering the solution to nug30 Quadratic Assignment Problem (QAP). The nug30 QAP is a problem that challenged the optimization technology community from 1968 until this June, when researchers at the University of Iowa and Argonne National Laboratories announced that they had solved the problem in seven days using 1,000 computers at 30 locations. This site furnishes general information about QAPs, the history of the nug30 QAP, links to press releases, a list of the computational pool of processors used in solving the problem, and links to some of the computational optimization labs involved. This information-rich, newsy resource will appeal to many computer scientists. [HCS]
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Two on Florida Panthers
Florida Panther Society
Florida Panther Net
With only 30 to 50 individual cats remaining in Florida's wild areas, Florida panthers are a conservation concern. The Florida Panther Society is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the recovery of the Florida panther population. The Society's Webpage offers background information on panthers, genetic restoration efforts, the state's panther population, field notes on current research/ restoration activities, and photographs of some of the remaining individuals. The State's Florida Panther Net Website offers additional information, including natural history information, notes from the field, photographs, and a series of educational materials. [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:

Physicists Find First Direct Evidence for Tau Neutrino at Fermilab
Big news was made last week when physicists at Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced that they had observed the first direct evidence for the subatomic particle called the tau neutrino, a building block of nature. This Website, organized by the Fermi Lab (reviewed in the April 28, 1995 Scout Report), contains the July 21, 2000 press release, details of the neutrino-detecting experiment, educational information about neutrinos and other elementary particles, plus a page of interesting facts and comments. Highlights include diagrams of the tau neutrino beam and particle detector and an illustrated timeline of events in neutrino physics. [HCS]
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Plant Diseases Announcements -- AGNIC
Produced in collaboration with the ProMED Project (Federation of American Scientists), this searchable archive of the emerging plant disease announcements is provided by AgNIC. The Plant Diseases Announcements list may be viewed chronologically, or by subject area, or alphabetical order. In addition, users can perform full-text searches. From announcements of recent genome sequencing of Xylella fastidiosa in Brazil, to a listing of the best Websites on rice, this will be a valuable resource to plant pathologists. [LXP]
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New and Newly Available Publications

"New Threats to Old Bones" [.pdf]
This article from the National Park Service's online journal, Cultural Resource Management, downloadable in .pdf format, covers the growing problem of theft of fossils from museum collections and protected sites. The author, Dan Chure of Dinosaur National Monument, discusses major robberies such as the disappearance of tyrannosaurid and Triassic amphibian fossils from the Paleontological Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Allosaurus fragilis bones from the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, and 25 million-year-old rhinoceros specimens from the University of Michigan. At Chure's own workplace, Dinosaur National Monument in Vernal, Utah, a visitor was caught smuggling a dinosaur bone underneath a shirt. Chure emphasizes that vertebrate fossils are being sold at extremely high prices and that international theft is increasing with a great portion of activity in underground markets. He discusses possible solutions for the rising trend of fossil theft, from watermark technology to establishing an international registry of fossils. This free, online article is an informative read for students of paleontology and people involved in museum research. [HCS]

Newly added CRS reports
Sixteen new and seventy-eight updated Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports have been added to the National Library for the Environment site. This particular collection of reports is slim in the science and engineering fields but does cover several important topics, including the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, and Forest Service revenue-sharing, among others. [LXP]

"Providing Safe Drinking Water in America: 1998 National Public Water Systems Compliance Report" -- EPA [.pdf, 561K]
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently released this 1998 compliance report on safe drinking water in the US. The online report (.pdf format) includes a fact sheet, two summaries, and a glossary of terms, a map of Indian lands, and summaries of state annual compliance reports. [LXP]

"Report of the International Workshop on Population-Poverty-Environment Linkages" [.pdf]
GCRIO, the US Global Change Research Information Office, has recently posted this report. The report (.pdf format) is a continuation of efforts by the international community to assess global change-related programs, and "to improve the translation of the general consensus guidelines into national and local action programs." [LXP]

Three from the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) [.zip]
"Acute Toxicity of Fire-Control Chemicals, Nitrogenous Chemicals, and Surfactants to Rainbow Trout"
"Annotated Bibliography of Fire Literature Relative to Northern Grasslands in South-Central Canada and North-Central United States"
"Identifying Predators and Fates Of Grassland Passerine Nests Using Miniature Video Cameras"
The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) has posted several new biological publications on their Website. These include a report by Kevin J. Buhl and Steven J. Hamilton describing the effect of fire-control chemicals on trout, and published in hard copy earlier this year in the Transactions of the American Fisheries Society [129:408-418]. The second resource listed here, by Kenneth F. Higgins and others, was originally published in 1989 as a US Fish and Wildlife Service bibliography on fire literature. Third, Pamela J. Pietz and Diane A. Granfors describe a technique to monitor and identify nest-predators of grassland birds; their contribution was published in hard copy earlier this year in the Journal of Wildlife Management [64(1):71-87]. All three resources may be viewed online or downloaded as .zip files. [LXP]

Three on Wolves from the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center [.zip]
"Patterns of Prey Selection by Wolves in Denali National Park, Alaska"
"The Challenge and Opportunity of Recovering Wolf Populations"
"Regurgitative Food Transfer Among Wild Wolves"
The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) has made available several more resources on wolves. L. David Mech and others published the first scientific paper on wolf prey selection in 1995 in Proceedings of the Second North American Symposium on Wolves (Occasional Publication 35). The second paper, also by L. David Mech, was originally published in Conservation Biology in 1995 [9(2):270-278]. The third paper, on regurgitative food transfer, was written by L. David Mech and others and originally published in Canadian Journal of Zoology in 1995 [77:1192-1195]. All three papers may be viewed online or downloaded as .zip files. [LXP]

Materials Research Society Conference and SeminarCast [RealPlayer, .pdf]
Users can view talks from the Spring 2000 meeting of the Materials Research Society (MRS) in RealVideo (free registration required). This site provides links to the plug-ins needed to view the talks (e.g., Netscape and Explorer updates, Acrobat Reader, RealPlayer) and has a helpful FAQ page. Titles available include "Biotechnology Versus Chemical Warfare: A Battle of the 21st Century," "Dynamic Studies of Semiconductor Growth Processes Using In-Situ Electron Microscopy," and others, with more titles to be posted by the MRS soon. [HCS]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Job Opportunities in Beam Physics

American Statistical Society
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Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Early Career Award for Applied Ecological Research
Deadline: September 1, 2000

American Nuclear Society Student Scholarships, Internships and Exchanges
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Eradication of Island Invasives: Practical Actions and Results Achieved
February 19-23, 2001; University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Registration status: Currently in process
Abstract deadline: October 1, 2000

Ecology of Insular Biotas
February 12-16, 2001; Wellington, New Zealand
Abstract deadline: October 1, 2000

Wilderness Britain? A Conference on Society, Policy and the Environment
March 26-28, 2001; University of Leeds, UK
Abstract deadline: December 31, 2000

Glacier-influenced Sedimentation on High-latitude Continental Margins: Modern and Ancient
March 29-30, 2001; Bristol, U.K.
Abstract deadline: November 30, 2000
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New Data

Two New Images from NASA Earth Observatory
MODIS Image Shows Below-Average Snow Cover in North America
Extensive Fires in the Western U.S.
The latest releases from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Earth Observatory include an eight-day composite map illustration showing the maximum snow cover in North America during the period March 5-12, 2000. The data were obtained using MODIS, a sensor aboard the Terra spacecraft. "When compared to the snow extent during average years, it is apparent that there was significantly less area covered by snow this year for each month from November through April." The second release is a satellite image from GOES 11, the newest NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), showing smoke plumes and heat signature from many of the fires in the western United States, including those at Mesa Verde, on the evening of July 27, 2000. This summer is the worst fire season in four years. This page also provides links to information about GOES and to other remotely-sensed images, such as Mediterranean dust cover and Pacific typhoons. [HCS]
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TIME: Tide and Inflows in the Mangroves of the Everglades
The Tides and Inflows in the Mangroves of the Everglades (TIME) project of the USGS South Florida Ecosystem Program is "a joint research effort to investigate the interacting effects of freshwater inflows and tidal forces in and along the mangrove ecotone of south Florida." This Webpage is designed as an open interface through which scientists may share information and disseminate findings to other researchers. The site includes maps of the study area and of hydraulic control structures and gauging stations (Digital Raster Graphic, downloadable in georeferenced tiff format); and most notably, real-time data on water level, rain, discharge, salinity, or wind speed and direction from each of several dozen stations in the study area. A selection of links points users to further data sources. [LXP]
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Five from the Environmental Protection Agency's Binational Toxics Program [.pdf]
Draft Report for Benzo(a)pyrene (B(a)P): Reduction Options
Draft Report for Hexachlorobenzene (HCB): Reduction Options
Draft Report for Mercury Sources and Regulations
Draft Report on Alkyl-Lead: Sources, Regulations, and Options
PCB Sources & Regulations Background Report
The Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy was organized in 1997 to work to eliminate persistent toxic substances in the Great Lakes. These five draft reports from the program are available online or for download in .pdf format. They present for evaluation the potential actions for achieving the Binational Toxics Strategy challenge. Pollution sources such as tire burning and prescribed burns, chlorinated solvents production, pesticide production, gasoline lead, fungicide, and paint are identified and discussed. [HCS]
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In The News

The West Nile Virus in North America: General Information, Maps, FAQs Testing and Control
1. West Nile Virus -- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) [PowerPoint]
2. "The U.S. Centers for Disease Control Announces that Birds Collected in NYC Test Positive for West Nile-Like Virus," September 1999 -- NYC Department of Health
3. West Nile Virus Map
4. Arboviral Encephalitides -- CDC [.pdf]
5. "Mosquito Borne Viruses of New Jersey" -- NJ Department of Health
6. Press Release from NJ Department of Health
7. The New York City Department of Health West Nile Virus Information
8. Mosquito Control and West Nile Virus Information -- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
9. Pesticides and Mosquito Control -- EPA [.pdf]
10. American Mosquito Control Association
11. "Comprehensive Arthropod-borne Disease Surveillance and Control Plan 2000" -- NYC Department of Health
12. Two from the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA):
a. "Toxicology and Environmental Fate of Synthetic Pyrethroids"
b. "Cyfluthrin Fact Sheet"
The West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne virus that causes encephalitis in vertebrates, was only found in the Eastern Hemisphere until 1999, when it was isolated in the northeastern United States. Seven deaths and several cases of severe illness caused by the virus have raised concern for public safety in the region. Recently, a special West Nile virus surveillance program has been funded in seventeen states and two cities; data are being collected on a weekly basis. This week's In the News follows the developments in West Nile Virus detection and control in the United States.

The first resource (1), provided by the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC's) Division of Vector-Borne Infectious diseases, is the most comprehensive West Nile Virus information site available so far. The CDC's West Nile Virus site features a good FAQ page, a color map of the distribution of encephalitis-causing viruses (including West Nile) around the world, and a downloadable teaching slide set (MS PowerPoint). The site is divided into sections dealing with entomology, virology, and vertebrate ecology; publication lists and links are also available. The second resource, (2) is the original press release from the City of New York announcing the earliest detection of the virus in the Western Hemisphere (it was found in bird specimens from the Bronx Zoo). Number (3) is a site from the US Geological Survey featuring maps of the distribution of West Nile Virus. This site was reviewed in full in the July 19, 2000 Scout Report for Science and Engineering. The Arboviral Encephalitides site (4) from the CDC concentrates on arthropod-borne viruses ("arboviral"), providing detailed information on the life cycles of arthropods and the viruses involved. Highlights include a flow chart of the transmission and maintenance of arboviruses (.pdf), fact sheets on LaCrosse, Eastern Equine, St. Louis, and Western Encephalitises, and a computer generated model of the surface of an alphavirus. The next few sites, (5), (6), (7), and (8) come from state and federal agencies dealing with the spread of the West Nile Virus in New York and New Jersey. An important concern raised by the West Nile Virus outbreak is the effects on human health of pesticide spraying, used to combat the mosquito-borne virus. Sites (9), (10), (11), and (12) discuss some of the facts of pesticide spraying (note that #10 is sponsored by an association of pesticide producers). Both the EPA and the CDC supply basic information about synthetic Pyrethroids that are commonly-used against mosquitoes. More detailed information about Pyrethroids can be found on these two pages from PANNA (note that this site features only pesticide-alternative journals): (12a) and (12b). [HCS]
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The Scout Report for Science & Engineering
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The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is published every other Wednesday by the Internet Scout Project, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences.

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