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CAIB Report: Columbia Accident Investigation Board
The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster took place on February 1, 2003. For the next seven months, a group of scientists have been compiling evidence to determine what went wrong and how to prevent future accidents. At this NASA website, visitors can read the findings of this extensive report. Within the report interface, users can view six short movies illustrating the launch, the foam striking the Space Shuttle, Columbia's reentry, and the impact testing of the RCC panel. The site also has links t
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Observational Science Branch
The Observational Science Branch (OSB), working within the Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes of the Earth Sciences Directorate at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, conducts research in the oceanic, atmospheric, and terrestrial sciences. "We design, fabricate and operate both remote and in-situ sensing instruments for aircraft, balloons, and rockets. We plan and conduct laboratory and field measurements to improve the fundamental knowledge of earth sensing and to evaluate sensor systems as
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Fear of Physics
The Fear of Physics Web site contains more than twenty interactive physics related activities. Everything from things that spin, sound, atoms, collisions, and the Doppler effect are included. The Speed and Acceleration link teaches about movement by allowing users to choose two vehicles and change their position, speed, and acceleration. After pressing the GO button, the program runs, and students get to see how the chosen variables affect the vehicles' movements. A great collection of online le
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Easy-to-read Health Information
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine offers this collection of links to easy-to-read Web sites for health-related information. Topics cover everything from diabetes to wound dressing to environmental health and safety. The site appears as an extensive list of links organized by topic. A main menu at the top of the page allows users to quickly jump to subjects of interest. The links lead to pages from National Institutes of Health Web sites and other authoritative sources, and are select
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What's its Name?
What's its Name? (WIN) is "a concise database of plant names and name changes for Australia." Based on information available from the Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), WIN is a collaborative project of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, and the Australian Biological Resources Study. The Web site includes instructions on how to use the database that provides a clear example. Search results include information sources and links to the more extens
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NBS Educator: Helping People Understand Contract Documentation
NBS Educator is intended for "construction industry students, lecturers and professionals who need to understand contract documentation, such as specifications and schedules of work." As of December 2002, a collection of five text-based lectures exist on the Web site. Each provides an in-depth look at various aspects of the construction process, so as to keep all parties informed and operating on the same page. A few additional modules of educational resources are under development, including sa
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Lichen Determination Keys
Published by the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum (BGBM), Berlin-Dahlem, this Web site serves as on online guide to lichen identification. Users can choose from articulated identification keys for a large number of taxa, or follow links to keys organized by geographical region. There is also an interactive lichen identification database. The Web site has been recently updated to include a key for the genus Stereocaulon in Tropical America. Users should note that the keys listed are created by
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Science@NASA
This NASA website promotes its recently established Science Mission Directorate, which is "closely involved in the Vision for Space Exploration through its support of science that both enables, and is enabled by, NASA's exploration activities." The website breaks down the Directorate's initiatives into three categories: Earth-Sun System, Solar System, and Universe. Visitors can find fantastic images and extensive, clear information on NASA's countless missions and also scientific background. Edu
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Air Travelers
Offered by the Science Learning Network, the Air Travelers Web site is "an introduction to the basic principles of buoyancy, properties of gases, temperature, and the technology involved in hot air ballooning." Four activities are described along with any materials needed, directions, and questions that help students understand the concepts. A bonus activity is also provided that explains how to build your own hot air balloon using common household items.
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International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos (IJBC)
The International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos is "widely regarded as the leading journal in the exciting field of chaos and nonlinear science." Feature articles from previous issues are available online as free samples, along with papers and letters, as long as you provide your name and email address. They also offer to send free emails with updates on the current issues's table of contents. Access to the full journal is available only by paid subscription. Links to information on related b
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The World: Technology Report
Public Radio International broadcasts "The World," a daily international news program, and a periodic feature of "The World is the Technology Report." This site provides downloadable audio from the four-minute report, which looks at some interesting and obscure technological innovations. The November 12, 2002 recording discusses an invention from a Danish university. The Automatic Pool Trainer, as it is called, uses lasers, cameras, and sophisticated tracking software to show the optimal shots o
Author(s): Roberts, Rebecca.

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Chaos Lab: An Orderly Pursuit of Disorder
Chaos Lab is a great piece of software that teaches users about fractals and chaos theory. The menu-driven interface is extremely easy to use; however, a significant drawback of the software is its poor documentation. This can make experimenting with the settings more fun, but it would be helpful to have better explanations of the more obscure functions. What Chaos Lab lacks in documentation, it makes up for in the remarkable visual representations of famous fractals. The Mandelbrot and Julia se
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International Design Contest 2002
The 2002 International Design Contest, held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, concluded on August 16. All information pertaining to the robot building competition is posted on this Web site. A standard component kit was given to each team to design their robots. An inventory of this kit, CAD models of the parts, and an overview of the control systems are given online. Many video clips can be viewed, including one that shows "the entire contest from beginning to end." Other material n
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Distributed Energy Resources
Distributed Energy Resources (DER) is a term used to describe a general class of "small, modular power-generating technologies" that can be used in conjunction with a power grid or as a standalone method of electricity generation. This Web site of the U.S. Department of Energy provides an overview of DER systems and their applications, but it also has a very informative description of the nation's electricity grid. The structure of the grid is illustrated, and the basics of how it is controlled
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Friction Stir Welding
Probably the best resource to learn about friction stir welding (FSW) comes from the entity that developed the technology. The Welding Institute (1) offers a thorough overview of FSW and its advantages over other types of welding. The University of Cambridge (2) maintains another informative Web site about FSW. This is a more visual resource, allowing the visitor to view images and video clips that show FSW equipment and how the process works. Three introductory slide presentations are also avai
Author(s): Leske, Cavin.

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BSA: Global Software Piracy Study
The Business Software Alliance published its eighth annual Global Software Piracy Study in June 2003, which reflects the spread of illegal copyrighted software distribution in many countries around the world. The study's homepage features regional highlights that summarize piracy rate trends, while the study itself can be viewed by following the easily overlooked link on the right side of the page. In addition to providing statistics for over 90 countries in 2002, the document also includes hist
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The ATSR Project
By creating infrared images of the Earth with a spatial resolution of one kilometer, the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) instruments are beneficial for land, atmosphere, water, and Cryosphere scientific studies. After learning about the sensitivities and accuracies of the ATSR instruments, students and educators can view a presentation describing the usefulness of the collected data. The website provides abundant information dealing with data products, documentation, calibrations, validat
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Freshwater Jellyfish!
Readers can discover the freshwater jellyfish Craspedacusta sowerbii at this straightforward and informative Web site from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Biology Department. Learn how C. sowerbii is related to marine jellyfish, where they live, and what they eat, as well as other aspects of this species' natural history. The site includes a small image gallery, an extensive reference section on the subject, and relevant links to other freshwater jellyfish research Web sites. The authors
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Berkeley Lab 2002-2003 Highlights: Biosciences and Health
This Web site highlights new developments in biosciences and health research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. As part of a special issue of the Berkeley Lab Research Review, this site offers short articles featuring Berkeley researchers and covers such diverse topics as the genome of the Japanese pufferfish and the structure of water channels in cell membranes. The articles are written for a general audience, and each featured research project concerns some aspect of human health.
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JGOFS: Joint Global Ocean Flux Study
The Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) examines the carbon exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean in order to understand the processes influencing the fluxes of carbon and associated biogenic elements and the exchanges among the atmosphere, sea floor and continental boundaries. The website discusses JGOFS's aim to achieve the ability to predict human impacts on climate change on a global scale. Visitors can find numerous datasets associated with JGOFS's core parameters and cruises for
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