NetWatch

Science  25 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5555, pp. 591
  1. RESOURCES: Tallying Distant Worlds

    Planets, planets everywhere—well, not quite, but in recent years astronomers have been discovering planets outside our solar system at the rate of almost one a month. For an overview of the search for extrasolar planets and the latest tally, visit PlanetQuest, a site sponsored by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

    The site's New Worlds Atlas profiles more than 50 extrasolar planets and the stars they accompany. For instance, a gas giant about 1.5 times the mass of Jupiter orbits 16 Cygni, a star about 70 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The site also provides background on the search for planets and on future NASA planet-hunting projects. Take a virtual tour of the Keck Interferometer atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, a pair of telescopes that boosts visibility by combining the light they each gather. Or check out interactive animations that zoom alongside the three giant planets orbiting Upsilon Andromedae and highlight the upcoming StarLight mission, in which two spacecraft flying in formation will hunt for the spoor of planets.

    planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov

  2. WEB TEXT: Bug Book

    With its simple, easy-to-understand diagrams and concise writing, Medical Microbiology should appeal to med students as well as doctors and infectious-disease researchers looking for a quick refresher. Written by specialists and edited by Samuel Baron of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, the more than 100 chapters wade through the many kinds of malevolent bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, worms, and other pathogens ready to assail our bodies. Readers can get the lowdown on ordinary diseases such as strep throat and flu and on rare killers such as Ebola fever. Other chapters cover the immune system (the good guys) as well as treatments.

    gsbs.utmb.edu/microbook

  3. EDUCATION: Economists' Hall of Fame

    Economics has come a long way since the 1600s, when some people consulted the Church for forecasts of business conditions. Anyone interested in the evolution of the discipline and the contributions of individual economists will find a wealth of information at the History of Economic Thought, a Web site created by two grad students at the New School for Social Research in New York City.

    Aimed at students and the general public, the site features entries on more than 500 living and dead practitioners of the dismal science, as 19th century essayist Thomas Carlyle dubbed it. The list ranges from early free-market boosters such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo to modern thinkers such as game theory guru John Nash. Each account supplies a list of publications, many of them available online, along with links to essays, appraisals, biographical sites, and other informative pages. For instance, the entry for Thomas Malthus—whose contention that population growth inevitably outstrips food supply influenced Darwin and the environmental movement—provides a biographical sketch and links to his controversial “Essay on Population.” For a broader view of trends in economics, check out the section on schools of thought, which sorts through a host of competing worldviews, from Classical to Keynesian to Fabian Socialist.

    cepa.newschool.edu/het/home.htm

  4. DATABASE: Kinase Connection

    A huge extended family of regulatory proteins, the kinases help govern a multitude of cellular activities—from lipid metabolism to angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels. You'll find a growing collection of information and tools for analyzing these ubiquitous enzymes at the Protein Kinase Resource, a database of sequence and structural information from the San Diego Supercomputer Center. The curators are revamping an old site that hadn't been updated in 3 years, and they are hoping that visitors will pitch in by submitting content, links, and other resources. However, the site already boasts several useful tools, such as an alignment feature that allows you to graphically compare the sequences and structures of multiple proteins. The site also offers community resources, such as a directory of researchers and a list of upcoming meetings, as well as a series of tutorials on kinases and their functions, including their involvement in cancer.

    pkr.sdsc.edu/html/index.shtml

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