NetWatch

Science  16 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5546, pp. 1423
  1. EDUCATION: Top of the World

    To some, the Far North is a treasure trove of minerals and fossil fuels ready to be harvested. Others see their traditional home or a priceless wilderness deserving protection. At Arctic Circle, you can immerse yourself in the history and cultures of the area above the 66th parallel and explore current debates on resource use, land rights, and cultural identity.

    Curated by Norman Chance, a retired anthropologist, the site combines original content with links to exhibits, news articles, reports, and essays. Read about European explorers such as Henry Hudson, whose single-minded hunt for the mythical Northwest Passage provoked his crew to mutiny, and hear native views of colonization and its dismal aftereffects. More than a dozen ethnographic accounts introduce you to peoples such as the Cree of Quebec, whose homeland has been transformed by dam-building. Chance also delves into hot controversies. For instance, backgrounders provide multiple perspectives on drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and plans to build part of a national missile defense system in Alaska.

    arcticcircle.uconn.edu

  2. NET NEWS: Shuttered Math Site Reopens

    After vanishing from the Web a year ago, a popular math site called MathWorld is back in business. Part of Eric Weisstein's Treasure Troves of Science (Science, 13 October 2000, p. 227), the site treats everything mathematical, from the abc conjecture to Zorn's lemma, with over 10,000 entries and links to references. There are also animated graphics and Java applets. (Check out the billiard ball bouncing around inside a tetrahedron.)

    Sponsored by Wolfram Research, MathWorld is an online counterpart to The CRCConcise Encyclopedia of Mathematics, which Weisstein published with CRC Press in 1998 as a snapshot of his evolving Web site. That's where the problem lay. The site was taken down in October 2000 because of a lawsuit filed by CRC. It went back up 6 November after a settlement was reached. (CRC now shares copyright to the site). “The ordeal is finally over,” Weisstein writes in a note welcoming surfers back.

  3. RESOURCES: Beneath the Shell

    Turtles are survivors that have endured catastrophes like the demise of the dinosaurs, the ice ages, and disco. For a quick rundown on the anatomy, fossil history, and evolution of these unique reptiles, crawl over to this site created by paleontologist Eugene Gaffney of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. An introduction reveals some of the design quirks of being encased in a bony box: A turtle's vertebrae are fused to the roof of the shell, for instance, and the shoulder and pelvic girdles lie inside the ribcage. Drag your mouse over the interactive cladogram to see defining characteristics for extinct and living groups. Other sections focus on Gaffney's areas of interest, including the extinct horned turtles that were the reptilian answer to longhorn cattle.

    research.amnh.org/∼esg

  4. TOOLS: Repeat Finder

    The genomes of humans and many other species have been sequenced by now, but figuring out what the sequence means is still mostly unexplored territory, says cell biologist Betsey Dyer of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. And just about anyone can “slice off a little problem and go to work on it.”

    That's why Dyer, computer science colleague Mark LeBlanc, and a team of undergraduates have developed a set of tools for analyzing potential regulatory sequences of genes. One tool scans chromosomes 3 and 10 of Caenorhabditis elegans and pinpoints inverted repeats: short stretches of DNA that contain a sequence and its complementary sequence and that may play a role in gene regulation. Another tool finds repeats associated with the Krebs cycle. And the Motif Lexicon scans the C. elegans genome for sequences as short as four bases long—snippets that big-name search tools like BLAST may have a hard time finding, Dyer says.

    genomics.wheatoncollege.edu

  5. NET NEWS: Stem Cell Registry Goes Online

    The long-awaited registry of human embryonic stem cell lines approved by the National Institutes of Health went up on the Web last week. The site lists 67 lines at 11 institutions—three more than previously announced—describes characteristics for some, and includes e-mail addresses for requesting them. (About 50 lines are currently available to researchers.)

    escr.nih.gov

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