Science  15 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5524, pp. 1971

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  1. TOOLS: Reach Out and Touch

    A few years ago, in a much-cited example of how the high-speed Internet might someday be used, a team of far-flung scientists reached out into cyberspace to explore a computer model of a protein together. Now a Web tool for doing just that has been added to the Protein Data Bank, the storehouse of 3D structures for more than 15,000 macromolecules. Called MICE, the tool allows several users to simultaneously view and manipulate the same molecular image from the database in the scientific equivalent of a conference call.

  2. DATABASE: Pumped Up

    A grueling workout, a trip into space, and old age share one thing in common: They can alter the activity pattern of genes in the muscles, as some genes work harder and others slack off. To allow quick access to the scattered data on gene activity in muscles, researchers at Boston University are building Sarcogene, a database of nearly 500 and counting experiments that measured muscle RNA levels under conditions ranging from spaceflight to cycling. Search the database by terms such as gene, type of activity, or muscle, and you'll get a brief report that includes raw data on RNA levels and PubMed links. Sarcogene's curators also plan to add data from DNA microarrays.

  3. EXHIBITS: Come Dive With Me

    Here's your chance to explore the submerged precincts of Alexandria or pick through the remains of a sunken Roman ship, all without getting your feet wet. Underwater Archeologie, hosted by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, tours more than 20 archaeological sites and shipwreck expeditions in the Mediterranean and along the Atlantic coastline of France.

    Among the site's highlights are illustrated pages showing off a trove of artifacts plucked from wrecks, such as 2000-year-old amphoras. You can also take a virtual spelunking tour of the now- submerged Cosquer Cave near Marseilles, which prehistoric Monets and Renoirs decorated with hundreds of images, such as penguins and pot-bellied horses. Another fascinating section traces the development of diving technology—from the Greek underwater sabotage of the Persian fleet in the 5th century B.C. to modern scuba outfits. Imagine galumphing along the sea floor in this claustrophobic monstrosity, which was the Rolls Royce of deep-diving suits in the 1920s.

  4. IMAGES: Heavenly Database Unveiled

    Astronomers last week marked a milestone in their equivalent of the human genome project: the release of the first year's images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a huge 5-year collaboration that's using a telescope to build a three-dimensional map of the entire universe (Science, 25 May, p. 1472). Go to the project's site to see featured images, such as the most distant known object (a quasar), and links to the survey's enormous archive (which includes a cool map-viewing tool called SkyServer).

  5. EDUCATION: The Scoop on Stats

    Although Mark Twain disparaged them as the worst form of fibbing, statistics have become indispensable to scientists in almost every discipline. If you're looking for a clear, basic stats how-to, drop by this site created by David Lane, a psychologist and statistics expert at Rice University in Houston. Lane's starter kit includes his own online statistics textbook, on-site tools for crunching your own data, and plenty of links to more stats software. It's intended not just for novices who don't know a t-test from a P value, but for anyone who wants a quick refresher.

    What sets the site apart from other Web stats primers are the interactive demonstrations of key concepts, such as distributions and sampling, and the case studies drawn from published papers. Guiding you step-by-step, these clear examples investigate timely questions, ranging from what type of low-fat diet is healthier to whether smiling wins more lenient punishment for offenders. (It seems to, so keep grinning during that IRS audit.) Lane wraps up the studies with cautionary words about what we can—and can't—conclude.