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The New York Botanical Garden: International Plant Science Center
In "combining modern technologies with a century of field and laboratory research," the New York Botanical Garden's International Plant Science Center "is one of the few institutions worldwide with the resources, collections, and expertise to develop the information needed to understand and manage plant diversity." This website grants considerable access to resources from the Center, including numerous plant databases, digitized rare botanical books, online access to the herbarium collections, a
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Oil, Out of Control
Oil, Out of Control is an in-depth Whyfiles story that follows from news coverage of an oil spill off Spain's northwest coast in 2002. This Web site offers a straight look at the issues surrounding this and other famous oil spills, particularly that of the Exxon Valdez off Prince William Sound in 1992. The authors make clear the allegiances of people quoted in the story, while clearly explaining both the science and politics of oil spills and cleanup efforts. The Web site also features a news re
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AskERIC: Cell-City Project
In this AskERIC lesson plan for grades 5-9, students compare the structure and function of cell organelles to that of a working city -- a handy analogy for learning the basics of cell biology. The activities outlined in the lesson plan, which takes three to four 55-minute sessions to complete, combine art and science for an interdisciplinary learning experience. Vocabulary words, useful links, and downloadable worksheets are included along with lesson procedures.
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Music Acoustics
The Music Acoustics Web site is maintained by the University of New South Wales School of Physics. General topics covered include what a decibel is, what interference beats are, what a sound spectrum is, what acoustic impedance is, and others. Specific instrument questions are also answered, such as waves in strings, flute and clarinet acoustics, Helmholz resonance, and pipes and harmonics. This very interesting site, with its many illustrations and animations, along with its easily-read text, a
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How the Earth Fared
Environmental Defense, a nonprofit organization that "brings together experts in science, law and economics to tackle complex environmental issues," presents How the Earth Fared, a year-in-review of environmental news in 2002. Available as a 4-page document, How the Earth Fared highlights developments and setbacks in the following areas: climate change and global warming, natural resources, endangered species and wildlife habitat protection, antibiotic resistance and organic foods, toxic chemica
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NanoOpto Technology
NanoOpto is a company using "nano-optics and nano-manufacturing technology to design and make components for optical networking." On this site, NanoOpto offers two white papers that describe some of the methods and techniques. The first serves as an introduction to Subwavelength Optical Elements (SOEs), which allow for improved performance and possibly new features in optical systems. The second white paper is more detailed and delves further into the application of these SOEs. A brief registrat
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An Overview of Cryptography
Gary Kessler, a computer networking professor at Champlain College, is the author of this online introduction to cryptography. The material covers three main types of encryption and their applications, trust models, cryptographic algorithms, and much more. One of the most common areas that employs encryption techniques is the Internet, where it allows users to safely transmit private information (e.g, credit card numbers, financial information). These concepts are discussed in detail, with speci
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NSTA Webwatchers' Science Guides
The Webwatchers' Science Guides website -- provided by the National Science Teachers Association -- is a portal to educational resources on the Internet. Along with carefully selected links, this website offers a few downloadable lesson plans, as well as audio reviews from fellow teachers and vignettes demonstrating how to use the Guides in the classroom. Navigation can be somewhat tricky -- the site follows an elaborate organizational scheme that requires its own 4-page explanation. For a quick
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The AgNIC Dairy Information Center
The AgNIC (Agriculture Network Information Center) Dairy Information Center -- "a guide to quality information on the Internet" -- is a new open-access Web portal from the University of Wisconsin's Steenbock Library. The site is intended for "researchers in the field of dairy science, for farmers and others who raise dairy cattle, and for students of all ages interested in dairy." Users may easily browse the guide by navigating the website's nested categories, or simply search the entire site by
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EERI/IAEE World Housing Encyclopedia
This online Encyclopedia of Housing Construction Types is a joint project between two prominent earthquake engineering organizations. It is intended to help engineers make buildings in regions of high seismic activity less susceptible to damage, and hopefully save lives. A large amount of housing information is given for many different countries. Hazard maps show areas that are most at risk. Building descriptions describe common construction types and structural features, and suggest seismic str
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Coral Reef Information System: Discover NOAA's Data
Part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Information System (CoRIS), this Web site is "designed to be a single point of access to NOAA coral reef information and data products, especially those derived from NOAA's Coral Reef Initiative Program." With Discover NOAA's Data, users can access information by a text search of metadata records, or by a spatial search using an Arc IMS application. The two approaches share many of the same data sets. With the text search,
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Panda Central
Panda Central, "the exclusive Web home of Shi Shi, Bai Yun, and youngster Hua Mei," is provided by the San Diego Zoo. Visitors may view real time footage of pandas at the zoo with Panda Cam, have their questions answered at the Panda Facts page, or read up on each panda with Panda Profiles. And of course, no one should miss the features devoted to panda Hua Mei, who seems to have spent nearly every minute of her life in front of a camera since her birth at the San Diego Zoo in 1999. Visitors can
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The Methuselah Mouse Prize
While the average human lifespan has increased markedly over the past one hundred years, the ceiling has hardly been reached. An interesting contest, The Methuselah Mouse Prize -- presumably named after the biblical character who was said to have lived 969 years -- seeks to "promote public interest and involvement in research on mammalian life extension and encourage more such research on mice and other higher animals." Basically, research teams compete to prolong the life of a mouse, _Mus muscu
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Dream Anatomy Learning Station
This Web site contains the educational materials for Dream Anatomy, a new exhibit at the National Library of Medicine. Viewable online, the exhibit offers a somewhat macabre but undeniably fascinating survey of changes in anatomical representation over the last five centuries. Recently added to the main Dream Anatomy Web site, Learning Station provides lesson plans and activities intended for 6-12 graders. The material can be used exhibit or its online version. The lesson plans titled Beginnings
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aspectj.org: Crosscutting Objects for Better Modularity
AspectJ is a Java extension with aspect-oriented functions and programming technology. Continuing with the open source movement, the developers have made AspectJ free for download from this Web site. The software implements "the clean modularization of crosscutting concerns" like performance optimizations, debugging support, and more. The compiler, several accompanying tools, and example programs are all provided in the release. There is also extensive documentation and a tutorial to help new us
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NPR: Titanic Baby
This Web site contains an audio file of a story broadcast on National Public Radio earlier this month. The broadcast relates the poignant story of a four-year effort to identify the exhumed body of a 13-month-old child who died in the Titanic disaster. A metal medallion buried with the body serendipitously preserved a bit of the wrist bone, from which forensic scientists could extract mitochondrial DNA and eventually find the child's living relatives.
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The Color of Water
Provided by WebExhibits.org, the Why is Water Blue? (1) Web site starts off this Topic in Depth. Visitors will learn the factors that affect the colors we see, what color water actually is, and the basic physics and chemistry behind the phenomenon. This site is hard to beat for its clear explanations as well as its interesting photographs and illustrations. The second site, entitled the Common Water Quality Complaints Color Guide (2), gives possible sources of nineteen color variations in water.
Author(s): Brieske, Joel A.

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The Leiodid Beetles of Costa Rica
The Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad in Costa Rica provides this visually pleasing Web site on the Leiodidae, authored by S. P. Beck of Carleton University and A. F. Newton of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. A simple drop down menu allows users to access information on leiodid beetle taxonomy, distribution, life history, biogeography, collection methods, and more. Most sections of this Web site contain straightforward text explanations of each topic, although some sections als
Author(s): Newton, Alfred F.,Peck, Stewart B.

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Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems
Engineers at Pennsylvania State University have devised an air conditioning system that is more efficient than current standards and is highly resistant to dangerous airborne microbes such as anthrax. Because the Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) does not use recirculated air, a letter contaminated with anthrax would not spread throughout the building. A detailed technical overview of the concept is given on the DOAS home page, as well as an assessment of its benefits over traditional air cond
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Observational Cosmology in the Timbie Group
The Timbie Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison specializes "in the development and deployment of instruments capable of reaching the exquisite levels of sensitivity necessary to detect the very weak microwave signals constituting the Cosmic Microwave Background" (CMB). The website offers materials about the group's current and recent endeavors, including the Polarization Observations of Large Angular Regions (POLAR) and the development of Monolithic Silicon Bolometers and Miniature Adia
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