The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - October 11, 2000

October 11, 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


2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
IUCN-The World Conservation Union has spent the past four decades working to provide objective, scientifically based information on the current status of the earth's threatened biodiversity. To that end, IUCN-The World Conservation Union has just released its much-anticipated Red List of 2000, listing the more than 11,000 species of the earth's plants and animals that face a high risk of extinction in the near future. Since the IUCN's last assessment in 1996, over 200 new animal species have become threatened, almost all as a result of human activities. The searchable IUCN Red List Website has ten sections: Introduction, Data Organization, Red List Programme, Summary Statistics, Sources & Quality, Categories & Criteria, Habitat Types, Threat Types, Image Captions, and References. Two search options (regular and expert) enable users to search by taxonomic classification, with four additional modifiers: Red List Category, Country, Geographic Region, and/or Marine Region. Typical returns include taxonomic details (scientific classification and common name), Assessment Information, Distribution (by country), and Summary Documentation (Biome). This seminal resource represents the most current and reliable information of its sort and is a "must read" for any one working on ecology or conservation. [LXP]
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Water Librarians' Homepage
Robert Teeter, librarian at a California water agency, has put together this metasite containing a variety of useful links in the field of water resources along with other library-related links. Agencies, databases, publishers, organizations, libraries, mailing lists, and more are featured. Teeter has organized the links by page type and indicates which sites are newly added or personal favorites. Just a few examples of links at the Water Librarians' Homepage include Waterfront (an information source on water conservation initiatives taking place in Winnipeg, Canada), The American Water Resources Association, and The Environmental Professionals' Homepage (providing links to primary sources of environmentally-related information). This is an excellent tool for academics, professionals, and librarians in the field of water resources and also environmental engineering. [HCS]
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Cornell Electron Storage Ring [Postscript]
This is the Website of the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR), a high-luminosity 6+6 GeV electron-positron collider at the Wilson Synchrotron Laboratory, Cornell University. Highlights of the site include a searchable index of colliding beam notes (.ps) from 1975 to the present, descriptions and examples of computer codes developed by the lab's Superconducting Radio-Frequency Group, and daily CESR status. Also featured is a page on CESR operating parameters such as bending radius, energy width, beam emittance, etc., and a CESR parameter plot page where users can choose plot style and content (radiation, beam size, or temperature). Some useful information, such as electronic reprints and images, can also be found on the CESR staff pages. [HCS]
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Electronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity (ECCC) [Postscript]
A comprehensive tool for theoretical computer scientists, the ECCC is an award-winning site providing links to research reports, surveys, lecture notes databases, and conferences dealing with computational complexity. According to the site's authors, based at University of Trier, Germany, "the Electronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity is a new forum for the rapid and widespread interchange of ideas, techniques, and research in computational complexity. The purpose of this Colloquium is to use electronic media for scientific communication and discussions in the computational complexity community." Topics covered include complexity models and algorithms, combinatorics, communication complexity, cryptography, and combinatorial optimization. All of the references have been voluntarily submitted (see "guidelines" for submission) and can be downloaded in Postscript format. [HCS]
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Mercury, a neurotoxin, is the most common contaminant in fish in the US and Canada, and is known to be detrimental to developing (human) fetuses and infants. One major input of mercury to the natural environment is through industrial processes. However, it is not yet known if a reduction in atmospheric mercury emissions would result in reduced mercury concentrations in fish. Enter ... METAALICUS. METAALICUS, or "Mercury Experiment To Assess Atmospheric Loading In Canada and the United States," is a whole-ecosystem experiment run by researchers at Fisheries and Oceans, Canada (DFO) and a host of collaborating Universities, to trace mercury through the complex pathway that links the atmosphere with fish. These two METAALICUS Websites, hosted by collaborators of the project, offer background information and research objectives, with links to additional resources. [LXP]
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Grace Plotting Software
Grace plotting software with convenient graphical interface and publication quality output is available at this site for free download (under public license). The software was developed by the Plasma Laboratory of Weizmann Institute of Science. The site describes Grace as, "... a WYSIWYG tool to make two-dimensional plots of scientific data. It runs under various (if not all) flavors of Unix with X11 and M*tif (LessTif or Motif). It also runs under VMS, OS/2, and Windows (95/98/NT). Its capabilities are roughly similar to GUI-based programs like Sigmaplot or Microcal Origin plus script-based tools like Gnuplot or Genplot. Its strength lies in the fact that it combines the convenience of a graphical user interface with the power of a scripting language which enables it to do sophisticated calculations or perform automated tasks." Grace is derived from Xmgr (a.k.a. ACE/gr). The latest version, 5.1.2, was just released October 9, 2000. Grace's capabilities include linear and non-linear least squares with residuals, splines, histograms, smoothing, correlation, and more. It also contains a built-in programming language. FAQs, a tutorial, mailing list, and bug reports are also found at the Grace site. [HCS]
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Learning Resources

Quantitative Population Ecology
Dr. Alexei Sharov of the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech has put together this excellent teaching resource on quantitative population ecology. The online resource contains thirteen lecture handouts and eight labs, targeting beginning graduate or advanced undergraduate students; the course requires a basic understanding of statistics and ecology. Each chapter contains a concise introduction to the topic plus several more detailed subsections. The chapters are well organized and easy to navigate, and include useful color illustrations and mathematical equations. For educators and students of quantitative population ecology alike, this exceptional resource is hard to beat. [LXP]
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Math and Physics Help
This site is intended for undergraduate students in physics and mathematics who need a helping hand with those late-night study sessions. Particularly enjoyable sections found here are "What dX Actually Means" and "Think Like a Physicist or, Why do Physicists Waste So Much Time Talking About Math?" The author, Kenny Felder of NC State University, eases students into these complex subjects by including "before you read this" and "after you read this" statements indicating what skills are needed to understand the lesson, and prodding, "this is really cool" or "dazzle your friends." Along with Felder's own lively writings are links to related educational sites including conversion tables and tutorials. Felder's personal links can be skipped, but the rest of this site is a useful reference for secondary and college students. [HCS]
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Biology 322: Environmental Physiology [MS Word]
Three Queens University (Canada) professors co-teach this college course on Environmental Physiology. Drs. B. Tufts (Fish physiology), C. Moyes (Comparative muscle/biochemistry), and P. Hodson (Fish toxicology) offer a series of online lecture notes, collectively emphasizing "the integrated responses of organisms to environmental changes and extremes . . . [and] the evolution of these systems." For the heart of the online material, see the Class Notes sections by Tufts and Moyes; included here are numerous lecture notes (some in Word format) enhanced with color figures. Although not all course topics have accompanying lecture notes, and some figures are password-protected, professors building their own course(s) on environmental physiology will still find much useful information here. [LXP]
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Fossils of the Gault Clay and Folkestone Beds of Kent, UK
The Gault Clay and Folkestone Beds are lower Cretaceous in age and contain beautifully preserved fossil specimens including the now-extinct group of marine chambered molluscs, the ammonites. The site's author is paleontologist (and 1998 English Geologists' Association Halstead Medalist) Jim Craig. This site furnishes information on the stratigraphy and fossil groups (ammonoidea and other cephalopods, crustacea, scaphopoda, Chondrichthyes, and solitary corals) of the Gault Clay and Greensand Formation at Folkestone. The information on ammonoidea and crustacea is organized taxonomically to family and includes color photographs, catalog number, locality, bed position, size, preservation, comments, and references. Pages on the other fossil groups contain slightly less detailed information but give color photographs, genus and species names, and references. Bivalves, gastropods, microfossils, and echinoderms are soon to be added, says Craig. [HCS]
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The Problem of Species Extinction
World Book, Inc. offers this educational resource focusing on species extinctions. Designed for the educated public or the college classroom, the text is authored by some of the leading environmental scientists in the world: Drs. Peter Raven, Thomas Lovejoy, Norman Myers, and Stuart Pimm, among others. In addition to the five main chapters, the resource also includes classroom activities and a quiz to test newly acquired knowledge. [LXP]
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General Interest

General Multilingual Environmental Thesaurus (GEMET)
The GEMET Approach (v 2.0) [.pdf]
Differences in terminology and language can be major barriers to effective international collaborations -- such as in the development of (often delicate) environmental protection agreements. To reduce these barriers, several European and US environmental agencies have joined forces to develop a common terminology system, called GEMET. This General Multilingual Environmental Thesaurus (GEMET) is "a vocabulary of more than 6,500 controlled terms (keywords), representing broad environmentally significant concepts." The first Website, from the US Environmental Protection Agency, describes GEMET and the importance of this collaborative project. The second Website, provided by the Ministry of Environment of Lower Saxony, serves as a gateway into GEMET. Here users will find seven .pdf documents which are the various components of the thesaurus, including the impressive multilingual list of descriptors. GEMET 2.0 was edited in British and American English, with equivalents in ten European languages. [LXP]
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Seasonal Extreme Weather Forecasts [.pdf]
Forecasts for UK winter gales and severe gales, North Atlantic and US landfalling hurricanes, Northwest Pacific and Far East landfalling typhoons, Southwest Pacific and Australian landfalling cyclones, and US Cooling Degree Days are available at this site from the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at University College, London. Forecast summaries, descriptions of forecasting methodology, and graphics of historical and predicted events through time are presented in .pdf format for each weather subcategory. This site also tells users when the next predictions are to be released and has links to press releases and other extreme weather Websites. This is a good site for those interested in methods of climatology or those who want to prepare for that next big typhoon. [HCS]
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Human Genome Central
Ensembl, a collaborative initiative of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)/ European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and the Sanger Centre, offers this master Website featuring links to the most useful Internet resources on the Human Genome Sequence. Each link is categorized (e.g., draft data, ethical issues) and then briefly described (e.g., "Can view chromosomes and maps"), and links are updated regularly. While the full primary source data (for finished data only) are available from three public databases (Genbank, EMBL, and DDJB), the Human Genome Central Website offers links to ancillary information and tools, enabling researchers to assess useful information such as "the overlaps between clones; the correct genomic location of each clone; an integrated genomic sequence that merges the individual clones; and annotation of gene content." These links are useful starting points for researchers wishing to work with human genome sequence data. [LXP]
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High Redshift Supernova Search Home Page of the Supernova Cosmology Project [.pdf, .mpeg, QuickTime]
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories's Supernova Cosmology Project provides this site featuring text and graphics describing their latest research. Spectral and redshift data compiled using information from the Hubble telescope can be viewed in graphical format (.jpeg, .pdf). A short animation with explanatory text (.mpeg or QuickTime) entitled "What we can see in a supernova" as well as reprints of papers (.ps, .pdf, .gif) by the project's research staff are also available at the site. Some of the staff pages contain links to further information on supernova cosmology. The site is still somewhat under construction but is an interesting read for anyone interested in space science. [HCS]
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NOAA's Satellites
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains this centralized resource on NOAA satellites, of interest to life and physical scientists alike. Featured and described here are NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS); NOAA's CoastWatch Program; and hundreds of Archived Satellite Images, Storm Animations and Special Events. Each section of the site points users to wealth of further information, spanning the technology of satellites to real-time satellite images. For users ranging from the curious student to the driven researcher, this site plays a central role in organizing NOAA satellite information. [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:

Voter Education: Do You Know Where They Stand?
The Presidential Candidates on Science Policy -- ScienceNow [.pdf]
In consideration of this election year, the Sierra Club has launched this page on the environmental records of US presidential and congressional candidates/ representatives. Although each issue is scored according to the person's voting record in relation to the Sierra Club's position, the candidate comparisons are clearly presented here, making this a helpful information resource for interested users. Also, Science magazine asked presidential candidates a series of questions on topics ranging from science education to global warming to the human genome. Here, in the October 5, 2000 issue of ScienceNow, are the candidates's responses, in .pdf format. [LXP]
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2001 Mars Odyssey
For up-to-the-minute images and newsflashes of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) planned mission to Mars, visit this page from the Jet Propulsion Laboratories. Scheduled to launch April 7, 2001, the "2001Mars Odyssey" mission will use an orbiter to investigate climate history, potential mineral and water resources, and possible life on the planet Mars. Descriptions of the science behind the mission and engineers's views and other illustrations of the orbiter's instrumentation bring the 2001 Mars Odyssey to your desktop. [HCS]
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New Publications

"Weight of Nations: Material Outflows from Industrial Economies" -- WRI
Full report [.pdf]
World Resources Institute (WRI) has recently released this publication on resource and materials use, entitled "Weight of Nations: Material Outflows from Industrial Economies." The report examines material flows in Austria, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and the US, and develops "model accounts of the complete 'material cycle' or the flow of raw materials through the processes of extraction, production, use, and disposal." In addition, the report documents the annual quantity of materials that are recycled and those that rapidly become pollution or potentially harmful waste. The Website offers author descriptions and sections of the report, in addition to the full (.pdf) report. [LXP]

Pacific Journal of Mathematics, vol. 195, no. 2, October, 2000 [.dvi, Postscript, .pdf]
The electronic October issue of the Pacific Journal of Mathematics is now available. Articles on Stekloff eigenvalues, Cantor systems, and Bertini Theorems are among those featured. Articles may be viewed in .pdf, hyperdvi, dvi, or .ps format. [HCS]

People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life
On September 15, 2000, the final version of "People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life" was presented to the world's environment ministers in Bergen, Norway. Prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, and the World Resources Institute, the Millennial Edition presents "a comprehensive assessment of five of the world's major ecosystems." This Website offers the latest edition of the report, in addition to news briefs and links to related materials. [LXP]

Two from USGS Water Resources [.pdf]:
"Benthic Flux of Metals and Nutrients into the Water Column of Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho": Report Of An August 1999 Pilot Study
"Assessment of Freshwater Mussels in the Allegheny River at Foxburg, Pennsylvania, 1998"
Both of these publications on water resource management come from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and are in .pdf format. The first is USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4132 from a study of benthic flux of dissolved (<0.2-micron) solutes between the bottom sediment and water column in Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Study samples were taken from two sites at the lake August 16-27, 1999. Sediment porosity, macroinvertebrate, bacteria and chlorophyll abundances, as well as trace chemical and nutrient concentrations are given. The second publication, Water-resources Report #00-4058, was prepared for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation by the Pennsylvania Water Resources Division. The investigation assessed whether two endangered species of freshwater mussel would be affected by proposed road bridge reconstruction. Abundances of the endangered mussels (Epioblasma torulosa rangiana and Pleurobema clava) were observed, and depth, substrate, stream velocity, channel width, and siltation were measured. [HCS]

Four from NPWRC [.zip]
"Declining Scaup Populations: Issues, Hypotheses, and Research Needs"
"A Ten-Year History of the Demography and Productivity of an Arctic Wolf Pack"
"'Cross The Wide Missouri: Significant Missouri River System Biological Sites"
"Duck Nest Success in the Prairie Pothole Region"
The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) has announced four newly online publications, all of which are available at the NPWRC Website. The first resource, "Declining Scaup Populations: Issues, Hypotheses, and Research Needs," was first published in 2000 in Wildlife Society Bulletin [28(1):254-263] and is written by Jane E. Austin and others. The second resource, by L. David Mech, was originally published in 1995 in Arctic [48(4):329-332] and documents the ten-year history of an Arctic wolf pack. Greg Power and others wrote the third resource, highlighting significant biological sites along the Missouri River. The resource was originally published in 2000 in North Dakota Outdoors [63(8):6-20]. Finally, Albert T. Klett and others wrote the paper on duck nest success in the Prairie Pothole Region, originally published in 1988 in Journal of Wildlife Management [52(3):431-440]. All four resources may be browsed online or downloaded as .zip files. [LXP]

Three Nature Reviews [Flash, .pdf]:
Nature Reviews Genetics
Nature Reviews Neuroscience
Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
Featuring science highlights, opinions, reviews, and history, these premiere issues of Nature Reviews are free online until October 31, 2000. Some of the articles include links to related slideshows, animations (HTML, Flash), text (.pdf, HTML), and correspondence. [HCS]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from The Chronicle of Higher Education

New Scientist Careers

PlanetJobs: Positions in Bioinformatics

Acoustical Society of America Jobs Page
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Howard Hughes Medical Fellowships (for grads)
Predoctoral Fellowship Deadline: November 8, 2000
Research/Postdoctoral Fellowship Deadlines: December, 2000 (several)

EPA/ NSF Partnership for Environmental Research -- NSF
Deadline: December 18, 2000

Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) -- NSF
Deadline: January 8, 2000

Society of Physics Students Awards Programs
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NABS 2001: North American Benthological Society
June 3-8, 2001, La Crosse, Wisconsin
Abstracts Due: January 5, 2001

Materials Research Society Spring Meeting
April 16-20, 2001, San Francisco, CA
Abstracts Due: October 18, 2000 (paper); November 1, 2000 (electronic)

Fifteenth North American Mushroom Conference
February 19-22 2001, Las Vegas, Nevada
Deadline: TBA

32nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
March 12-16, 2001, Houston, TX
Abstracts Due: January 3, 2001 (paper); January 10, 2001 (electronic)
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New Data

Beetles of Canada and Alaska
Provided by the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Canada), this electronic database is based on a 1995 publication by systematic entomologist Dr. Yves Bousquet. The database, accessible in English or French, provides the current nomenclature and distribution maps of "all the beetles known to occur in Canada and Alaska," including introduced as well as native species. The database is searchable by taxonomic rank (Subspecies through Family), geographic subregion, species status (Introduced or Native), and taxon name, and offers colored distribution maps outlining the presence or absence of each taxa. [LXP]
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Two from CDIAC
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Record from the South Pole
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Record from American Samoa
The first site features data derived from air samples collected biweekly from the South Pole by Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers 1957-1999. Graphic and digital data on CO2 concentrations are available at this page. According to the authors, the SIO CO2 record from the South Pole shows that annual averages of atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose from 327.45 ppmv in 1973 (the first year when data were available for the entire year) to 365.69 ppmv in 1999. This represents an annual increase over 1.4 ppmv per year. Scripps researchers also collected air samples from Samoa, using flasks, and the resulting data on CO2 concentrations are available at the second page. The period of record is 1981-1999. Just as in the above South Pole page, data are available in graphic or digital formats. The authors found that, on the basis of the flask samples, the annual average concentration of CO2 rose from 340.43 ppmv in 1982 to 367.02 ppmv in 1999. This represents an annual growth rate of ~1.5 ppmv per year at American Samoa. [HCS]
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National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) -- USGS
The NHD Tutorial Series -- USGS
Spearheaded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Geological Survey (USGS), the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) is "a comprehensive set of digital spatial data that encodes information about naturally occurring and constructed bodies of water, paths through which water flows, and related entities." The dataset is useful in the creation of maps, in geocoding observations (i.e., linking data to water features), and in modeling the flow of water and water-borne materials. To make the data more accessible to potential users, the USGS has developed a series of National Hydrography Dataset Tutorials, describing database components such as Feature Classes, Reach Flow, and Event Tables. A series of internal links points users to a wealth of additional information. [LXP]
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Real-time Stream Flow Data, Pinal Creek, AZ
Toxic Substances Hydrology Program: Pinal Creek Toxics Study
Pinal Creek at Inspiration Dam, near Globe, AZ is under observation by the USGS Toxics Substances Hydrology Program. Every three to four hours, data from realtime streamflow gauges are relayed to the Arizona District office in Tucson through the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) data-collection system. At this page, users can view flow, stage, date, and time data from gauges on Pinal Creek. Compilation graphs of flow through time are also available for quick viewing or for download in presentation format, along with historical daily mean and peakflow data, 1980-1999. [HCS]
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In The News

Reassessing Dioxin
1. "Tracking Dioxins to the Arctic" -- NECEC
2. Center for the Biology of Natural Systems -- Queens College, New York
3. Executive Summary: "Long-Range Air Transport of Dioxin from North American Sources to Ecologically Vulnerable Receptors in Nunavut, Arctic Canada" [.pdf]
4. Full Report: "Long-Range Air Transport of Dioxin from North American Sources to Ecologically Vulnerable Receptors in Nunavut, Arctic Canada" [.pdf]
5. "Questions and answers about Dioxins" -- EPA [.pdf]
6. Dioxin and Related Compounds -- EPA/ NCEA
7. National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA)
8. HYSPLIT (HYbrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory)
9. "Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans," Fifth Edition (2000) [.pdf]
Dioxins are a group of extremely persistent, toxic chemical compounds that share certain similarities in structural and biological properties. Included in this group are CDDs (chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins), CDFs (chlorinated dibenzofurans), and certain types of the now-familiar PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). These compounds, produced largely as emissions during industrial processes, are linked to detrimental health effects such as cancer, severe skin diseases, and reproductive and developmental defects. In 1994, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produced a draft scientific reassessment of the health risks resulting from exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and other dioxins. Since then, the EPA has been working to revise and update the 1994 draft, with intent to release a complete reassessment in calendar year 2001. Last week, the EPA released several new draft documents online, as additions to the ongoing comprehensive reassessment of dioxin science. In addition to this new EPA release, the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC) has just posted results of a separate study linking dioxin sources across North America to a remote Arctic deposition location, Nunavut. This week's In The News focuses on dioxins and the dioxin reassessment initiative.

The first resource, from the NACEC newsletter (1), summarizes the recent study in which scientists at the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems (CBNS) (2) have, for the first time, successfully linked dioxins in the Arctic to several thousand distant source locations. For further details on that study, see the Executive Summary (3) or the Full Report (4), both of which are available in .pdf format at the NACEC homepage. For background information on dioxins, the Environmental Protection Agency offers this page (.pdf format), answering basic questions about dioxins (5). More information on dioxins -- including a description of the Dioxin Reassessment (with links to newly released Draft Documents), the Dioxin Exposure Initiative (DEI), EPA Analytical Methods, and EPA Regulations -- is available at this site (6), co-hosted by the EPA and the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) (7). Researchers interested in the methodology used to link dioxin sources with deposition areas should check out this site (8) from the Air Resources Laboratory (NOAA), offering a detailed introduction to HYSPLIT, the base model scientists have been adapting to track dioxin sources. Finally, for those who want to learn how to reduce dioxin exposure (via intake of saturated fats), this .pdf format report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is an instructive resource (9). [LXP]
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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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