Science  09 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5472, pp. 1699
  1. IMAGES: Bathroom Science

    Next time you think about dropping into bed without brushing your teeth or cleaning your contacts, consider what might be growing on them. Shown here are biofilms of bacteria in dental plaque and in the contact lens case of a patient diagnosed with an eye infection. (The tooth bacteria, stacked into corncob shapes, are unidentified, while the lens case contains dried-up rod-shaped bacteria and Acanthamoeba cysts.) Professors seeking photos to spice up their lectures can troll a new American Society for Microbiology educational Web site offering over 150 images, along with a slew of course materials. Check out everything from hot spring-loving algal mats to bacteria lurking in septic systems, the Lyme disease parasite, and a movie of budding yeast at:


    Chinese science express. The Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, an English-language journal, now has a free Web site offering news updates on science in China. Recent stories covered a meeting on AIDS and an expedition to set up long-term environmental monitoring on a Himalayan peak.

    Four seasons.

    Environmental and earth science students can click on these color animations of global climate data to get a feel for the seasonal shifts in surface temperatures, precipitation, heat flux, winds, and other measurements.

    Nothin' but mammals.

    Ancient lemurs, rodents, dogs, tapirs, and other fossilized mammal species are cataloged in these two North American fossil mammal databases. The first site offers taxonomic and phylogenetic data on 3200 named species, while the second paleofaunal database includes clickable maps of fossil locations and trivia (such as the 10 smallest mammals and the most productive taxonomists).∼alroy/nafmsd.html∼alroy/nampfd.html

    Wild ride.

    The present best theory of what all matter boils down to, known as the Standard Model, is explained in the remarkably clear and simple pages of The Particle Adventure, a widely praised site aimed at high school students. Replete with animations of decays, quizzes, and a pop-up glossary, the site starts out by discussing quarks, leptons, and other particles, lays out the experimental evidence for them, then explains the workings of giant accelerators and detectors.

    Genome scorecard.

    Keep tabs on genome sequencing projects at the Genomes OnLine Database, which tracks the status of over 250 genomes—from Salmonella bacteria to the just-completed human chromosome 21. The links-packed site, which also includes viruses, phages, and organelles, recently found a new home with a company but will remain free.

  3. SITE VISIT: Arsenic Dilemma

    Arsenic, a favorite poison in Victorian novels, today poses a vexing global water pollution problem. In the United States, for instance, federal officials last month proposed clamping down on arsenic in drinking water supplies even while acknowledging that many communities can't afford to remove the carcinogen. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh and west Bengal, India, wells heavily tainted with arsenic have led to a massive health catastrophe—the slow poisoning of at least 70 million people.

    The Arsenic Website Project, run by Harvard University risk expert Richard Wilson, brims with articles and links probing this complex environmental problem. You can learn how the metal leaches into water from both natural and humanmade sources, such as mine tailings and obsolete pesticides. The site also notes arsenic's paradoxical nature: It was long used in medicines and can reportedly cure a form of leukemia. But long-term exposure can cause cancer and, in Bangladesh, poisoned villagers develop painful skin lesions, depicted here with shocking photos. Click to get arsenic updates for 18 countries, or pull up maps, reports, and conference proceedings. Another section lays out schemes for providing Bangladeshis with safe drinking water, from filtering well water to switching to other sources.∼wilson/arsenic.html

  4. Science Online

    The perpetual balancing act between career and family is among topics addressed this month in Science's Next Wave's feature on women scientists. Log in for advice from role models around the world, thought-provoking essays on women, science, and society, and more. You'll also find articles from the magazine of the Association for Women In Science, the beginning of a partnership through which AWIS members will receive free access to Next Wave.

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