Science  13 Jun 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5626, pp. 1633

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  1. EXHIBITS: Science by the Seashore

    Almost every summer since 1933, scientists have flocked to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, New York, to discuss and debate some of the biggest biological questions of the day, from DNA replication to the molecular genetics of cancer. This new archive from the lab summarizes 70 years' worth of these Symposia on Quantitative Biology, allowing you to peruse a list of the presentations found in the famous “red books” and a synopsis of the discussions. The highlight of the site is a cache of more than 6000 period photos that capture participants chatting, arguing, and just hanging out. In a shot from the 1941 meeting on chromosome structure, future Nobel laureates Max Delbrück and Salvador Luria talk with physicist Frank Exner.

  2. IMAGES: Know Your Seaweed

    Students and researchers who want to learn to identify marine algae should consult this guide to species from the west coast of North America. The Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans, a consortium of ocean scientists from four universities in Oregon and California, sponsors the collection. Accounts cover more than 350 marine species, providing detailed descriptions and information on habitat, abundance, distribution, and discarded scientific synonyms. Besides a long list of references, the site boasts nearly 1000 photos of algae, including this shot of Costaria costata, which ranges from Alaska to southern California.

  3. DATABASE: Naked RNA on the Rampage

    The AIDS virus is far simpler than our cells, but it's a complex contraption compared to a viroid: a short strand of RNA that infects plants. Although they lack even a protective coat of protein, viroids manage to migrate from host to host and reproduce, causing maladies such as pear blister canker and cadang-cadang disease of coconuts. The Subviral RNA Database boasts about 1300 nucleotide sequences for viroids and related solo RNA molecules, such as the hepatitis delta virus that helps trigger hepatitis D in people. Hosted by the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada, the database provides the sequence and original citation for each insidious RNA snippet.

  4. DATABASE: A Parasite's Chemical Flowchart

    This database from Hebrew University in Jerusalem compiles many of the biochemical pathways that keep the malaria parasite alive and demolishing red blood cells. More than 20 interactive diagrams trace the chemical changes that allow the Plasmodium parasite to slice up glucose, synthesize the building blocks of proteins and DNA, and break down the hemoglobin the bug purloins from its victims. Click on the substrates to get their chemical structure and molecular weight. Enzymes link to protein databases and to PlasmoDB, which holds the parasite's genome sequence, which was completed last fall.

  5. EDUCATION: Blast Off to Mars

    Mars will soon have guests. Four spacecraft are slated to reach the planet this winter, including two NASA rovers. However, you don't have to wait to nose around martian landmarks like Olympus Mons, a volcano the size of Colorado. Just touch down at MarsQuest Online, a fun introduction to the geography and geology of the Red Planet aimed at children, but with features that adults can enjoy, too. Soar over Olympus Mons in 3D virtual reality and zoom through part of the Valles Marineris, a canyon about 4000 kilometers long. You can also test-drive a martian rover—not as easy as it sounds because, as with the real machines, you can only send one set of commands per simulated day. The site, which uses images and data from actual missions, is sponsored by NASA, a nonprofit called TERC, and other organizations.