Science  30 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5513, pp. 2521

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  1. EDUCATION: Archaeology Notebook

    In the early 1800s, U.S. archaeology consisted of little more than academic debates over whether Native Americans could have built the large earthen mounds found in Ohio. By the mid-1900s, archaeologists were finally getting their hands dirty and resolving such questions by precisely locating and mapping pottery fragments and other artifacts. Today, archaeologists can sit back in their armchairs as they build digital structures such as a kiva, a kind of worship room, complete with smoke and flickering firelight.

    Visitors can explore archaeology's evolution at the EMuseum, hosted by the anthropology department of Minnesota State University, Mankato. The site holds a series of one-page summaries written by staff and students on everything from Native American arrowhead styles to Egyptian chariots. You can read up on laws in the U.S. and the British Isles regulating archaeological finds, or learn about dating techniques, from tree rings to carbon-14. Other useful sections include a list of museum Web sites, a world map with blurbs on major archaeological sites, and pages on rock art.

  2. DATABASES: Who's Made It

    The gossip at conferences among younger scientists is all about who's romancing whom, but by a certain age all any academic cares about is who's getting what job. Catch up on your colleagues' career status with Lingua Franca's list of junior faculty hires and tenure promotions at universities in the past year.

  3. EXHIBITS: Wright Brothers & Company

    Sure, you know about the Wright brothers, but how about Alberto Santos-Dumont? Wilbur and Orville flew the first airplane near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903—but kept their success quiet because they wanted to patent their invention. Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian, maneuvered a hydrogen-powered blimp around the Eiffel Tower in 1901, and his airplane flight in Europe in 1906 was widely celebrated as the world's first.

    That's some of the interesting trivia to be found at the Evolution of Flight site, sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics as part of a campaign marking flight's upcoming centennial. Besides profiles of international figures in flight, surfers will find a timeline running from the first hot air balloons in the 1700s to the inaugural stay on the international space station last November. The site also has an image gallery, experiments for kids, and lots of links.

  4. RESOURCES: Chemistry Basics

    If you're a chemistry student boning up on crystals or a chemist tired of flipping through books for conversion tables, then try The Wired Chemist, a nice collection of resources hosted by Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Chemistry professor Claude Yoder started the site a few years ago for his students, stocking it with sections such as an online general chemistry course and 3D models of inorganic and organic molecules. But it's since grown to include material useful to working chemists. There are tables of conversions, an NMR bibliography, a database of NMR spectra, and links to job sites and chemistry journals.

    The site also delves into the chemistry of minerals and crystals, Yoder's special interest. Check out pretty photos of minerals like orange wulfenite and ruby-red rhodocrosite, or watch QuickTime movies showing compounds' crystal structures.

  5. MISCELLANY: Health Hoaxes

    Heard about those flesh-eating Costa Rican bananas. Pure fiction, of course, but such rumors abound on the Internet. For some amusing reading on the latest tall tales, check out this site hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The centers' experts provide calm, factual information on such matters as why scientists consider HIV the cause of AIDS and why bananas can't spread the bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis (the microbes are unlikely to live long on the fruit). Other worries plaguing the populace include claims that a mysterious organization called the Klingerman Foundation is mailing out packages containing a dangerous virus.