Science  26 Jul 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5581, pp. 483
  1. EXHIBITS: The Real Jules Verne

    His novels foretold undersea exploration, space travel, and satellites, but Jules Verne wasn't the yea-saying apostle of science and technology most people think. Despite the wide-eyed tone of movies based on his work, such as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island, in many of his novels Verne was skeptical about the benefits of scientific progress or even antiscientific.

    Find out what Verne really wrote and thought at the Jules Verne Collection, a site created by Israeli mathematician and Verne buff Zvi Har'El. You can read illustrated Web texts of 18 of the 54 novels Verne published during his lifetime (1828–1905), as well as short stories, essays, and interviews. There's also a biography and a FAQ section that squashes some common misconceptions. (No, Verne didn't predict the atomic bomb.) In the criticism section, a Verne expert explains what the pessimism of the “new” Verne novel, Paris in the Twentieth Century—written in 1863 but not published until 1994—reveals about the evolution of the author's views. The book, which portrays the struggles of a poet in a high-tech but soulless future society, was so glum that Verne's publisher rejected it.

  2. RESOURCES: Totally Granular

    Much of what spews from the maw of a volcano, such as clouds of ash or streams of sizzling muck, qualifies as a granular flow, a mixture of fine particles swept along by a fluid such as water or air.

    The Web site Granular Volcano Group provides an introduction to the physics of these mixtures written by Sébastien Dartevelle, a Ph.D. student at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. The details of granular flow get hairy because the fluid and the particles are in different phases, so the equation-laden site is not for the math-phobic or physics-averse. Sections cover topics such as viscosity within a stream of particles, friction between grains, and models of granular flows. You can also watch movies of supercomputer simulations of various kinds of gas clouds and debris flows.

  3. DATABASE: Hunting Heavyweight Genes

    The new Obesity Gene Map database feeds visitors the skinny on nearly 80 human genes thought to be involved in obesity. Bioinformatics guru Eric Snyder of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, tends the site, an online version of a review his group publishes annually in Obesity Research. Listed are suspects and convicted culprits such as the gene for the blood- sugar regulator insulin and the gene for leptin, a hormone that governs body fat and appetite. Each entry summarizes the evidence linking the gene to obesity and lets you track down its chromosomal location, find nearby genes, and check the original references.

  4. TOOLS: Gene Genie

    Cancer cells often betray themselves through abnormal gene expression. SAGE Genie, a new set of computer tools hosted by the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, allows visitors to determine how hard particular genes are working in cancerous and normal cells. The tools draw on a database of results from the technique known as serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE), a quick way to determine which genes are active from samples of RNA. With the site's SAGE Anatomic Viewer, for instance, you can type in almost any human gene and get color-coded cartoons showing the gene's activity in healthy and malignant tissues throughout the body.

  5. IMAGES: Molds That Kill

    There is no honor among fungi. You might find this innocuous-looking species of Hypomyces swarming over a mushroom and dissolving its flesh. The Hypomyces Web site delves into the lives of this genus of fungus-eating fungi, profiling the 30 most common species in temperate climates. Brief accounts describe the organisms' ecology and involved life cycles. Hosted by the Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the site also features an interactive key, a gallery, a list of Hypomyces specimens in the National Fungus Collection, and a bibliography. The jargon is dense, which makes the site useful mainly for experts.

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