SoloTrek XFV: Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle
Anyone who ever dreamed of flying with the birds should peruse the SoloTrek Web site. The vehicles shown online are either conceptual or in a prototype version, but they are intriguing nonetheless. Making its "proof-of-concept" test flight in December 2001, the Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle (XFV) is probably receiving the most attention. A technical primer describes the operation of the XFV and lists the specifications and components of the design. The vehicle's significance is outlined according t
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International HapMap Project
An international coalition -- with scientists from Canada, China, Japan, Nigeria, the U.K., and the U.S. -- the HapMap project seeks to "develop a haplotype map of the human genome, the HapMap, which will describe the common patterns of human DNA sequence variation." At the site, visitors can take advantage of the bulk downloads of data available here, including several datasets of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), genotype and frequency data, SNP assays, and more. Some of the data require
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Microbiology Current Issues: Water Quality
This well-designed Web site from the American Society for Microbiology offers a comprehensive introduction to microbial contamination of the water supply. Visitors to the site will find information on water-borne pathogens and the diseases they cause, where our drinking water comes from, how water becomes contaminated, scientific advances that could make our water supply safer, and much more. The information in this Web site is clearly explained and does not require an active interest in microbi
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UW-Arboretum: Earth Partnership Program: Prairie Fire Survey
This website presents an educational Prairie Fire Survey that was developed by the Earth Partnership Program (EPP) of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, home to the oldest restored prairie in the world. The goal of the survey is "to help students understand the role and change fire plays in the prairie." To this end, the site provides background information on forces that have shaped prairies over time and reasons why fire benefits prairies. The website describes two activities, including ne
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Duke University Robotics
This website highlights robotics research from the Robotics and ManufacturingAutomation Laboratory at Duke University. Their work is "devoted to thedevelopment of command and control systems for cooperative robots." Theirwebsite provides descriptions and some demonstration videos of their work inmultiple industrial robot control, mobile robot development, sensor fusion,robot-World Wide Web interfacing, sensor integration, among other relatedprojects. A bibliography of publications by Lab researc
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Academy for Educational Development (AED)
The Academy for Educational Development (AED) (see also Scout report for June 30, 1995) released a report in the fall of 2004, which evaluated a teacher professional development program called Teacher Leaders for Mathematics Success, or TL=MS. The study "shows significant mathematics achievement gains among students in low-income schools in the Bronx, N.Y." after participation in the program. A summary of the findings and the full report are available from this website. The report provides an ov
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Chocolate Exhibition
Chicagos Field Museum invites educators to use the enticing subject of chocolate to teach your class about the intriguing relationship between nature and culture. Click on Educators Resources to access 12 downloadable lesson plans, 6 of which focus specifically on the relationship between chocolate and the environment. Not only do these lesson plans offer students a fun way to learn about botany, ecology, and agriculture, they also demonstrate how an everyday item we all take for granted is more
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Statistical Education Through Problem Solving
Statistical Education Through Problem Solving (STEPS) was a collaborative project between seven universities throughout the United Kingdom "to develop problem-based teaching and learning materials for statistics." The materials draw on specific problems arising in Biology, Business, Geography and Psychology to help students learn that statistical issues are "important natural parts of the process of reaching conclusions." The software developed as a result of this project, which utilizes the com
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International Cryobiology Young Researchers Group
The International Cryobiology Young Researchers Group, an organization designed to foster communication among young cryobiology researchers and promote the science of cryobiology, has recently redesigned its Web site. Some parts of the site are restricted to members of the organization, but other parts are available to anyone. In addition to learning what cryobiology is, the most useful part of this site for educators is the section of Science Fair Ideas. Several ideas are presented for conducti
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NOAA Weather Education
NOAA offers links to a variety of educational materials on meteorology, hydrology, climatology, and other weather-related fields for children, teens, and young adults at this website. Students can find websites where they can learn about hurricanes, storms, tornadoes, and floods through interactive games. Teachers can find lightning safety presentations, satellite images, lightning photos, and glossaries. The website offers materials on weather related careers, degree programs, distance learning
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Nobel Laureates in Physics
This Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) website presents the winners of Nobel Prizes in physics since 1901. For each winner, individuals can find short summaries of the scientist's research and his or her places of employment and study. The website supplies links to the universities and to outside resources about the prominent scientists. By analyzing the content in the website, users can begin to appreciate the great progress and advancements that have been made in the field of physics d
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The Transistor Museum
The Transistor Museum is a fascinating site "dedicated to preserving the history of the greatest invention of the 20th century." The museum's front page mentions some remarkable facts and quotes that demonstrate the importance of the transistor in modern life. Visitors can read transcripts of lectures, oral histories, and short biographies of notable individuals who played a role in the development of transistor applications. An impressive photo gallery showcases some of the most prominent histo
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State of the World's Forests 2003
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations presents this biannual report on the status of the world's forests. Available as a series of downloadable documents, this comprehensive report addresses recent developments in the forest sector such as agricultural expansion and mangrove conversion, conservation and sustainable development, forestry education and other institutional concerns, international policy, and other issues.
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National Estuaries Day
Get the most out of National Estuaries Day (October 5, 2002) by visiting this Web site from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Follow a link to Estuary Live!, which offers online interactive fieldtrips through a number of estuaries around the nation. Guided tours of eight estuaries will be webcast live October 3 and 4, supplemented by videos from a number of other estuaries. Internet participants "will have an opportunity to see the fascinating creatures that make estuar
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What's New at Sci4Kids
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the US Department of Agriculture offers its latest set of brief but engaging educational activities for kids in this Web site. The recently added feature, No Horsin' Around With These Tests!, introduces immunological concepts in the kid-friendly guise of a story about horses. Two older features are also available, one on using a biocontrol method to combat dry rot fungus in potatoes and another on mites. While these subjects may not at first appear to b
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Vision Systems Design
Vision Systems Design is a magazine that provides comprehensive information and analyses about "machine-vision and imaging components, boards, assemblies, software, and systems." Its online version is free and has many Web-exclusive features available. For example, Back to Basics is a series of technical articles about a certain topic; the February 2003 issue has articles on FireWire interfaces, infrared systems used to increase vehicle safety, and much more. Technology news and industry trends
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Karbosguide.com
A prodigious author of computer science books presents several introductions to computers and computer-related technologies at this site. Eight different guides are available, which cover topics including digital data, motherboard logic, and the computer input/ output interface. The text and accompanying illustrations are not overly technical in nature, and are therefore suitable for almost any audience. A section on digital imaging is under construction as of March 2003; it has information on p
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MDAlink
Although US plans for missile defense have somewhat been taken out of the spotlight, the Missile Defense Agency homepage offers relatively current news and press releases. Perhaps the most interesting features of the Web site, from a scientific perspective, are the introduction and fact sheets that describe how missile defense works. Several documents are available for download, which address engineering and technical issues associated with the system's design. They discuss the basic operation a
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Soil as Living Skin
In this two-minute radio program, a soil scientist introduces listeners to reasons why soil is crucial to the planet. The scientist lists functions of soil that include nutrient cycling and water filtration, and he also uses living skin as an analogy for soil. The program, part of the Pulse of the Planet radio show, is available here in text and audio formats. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
Author(s): Pulse of the Planet

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Copyright 2004 Jim Metzner Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thinking involving very large and very small quantities
Intuitively a million is a lot more like a billion than ten is like one hundred, because our intuition has some grasp of ten and one hundred, but we have little grasp of what millions and billions involve. Fortunately, there is often a way to make intelligent decisions involving big quantities. Use arithmetic! Typically we don't need more than multiplication and division to put things into terms we can deal with. If we are unwilling or unable to do the calculations, we should at least recog
Author(s): Bob Korn

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Robert Korn 2005