Science  26 Mar 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5666, pp. 1951
  1. EDUCATION: Skeleton Key

    The skeleton might seem like inert scaffolding, but it bustles with activity. Busy cells are continually demolishing old bone and extruding replacement material. Students from high school to medical school can solidify their understanding of this dynamic tissue with a primer sponsored by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Washington, D.C. The tutorial covers topics from basic bone structure to the impact of hormones like testosterone and cortisol on the skeleton. Simple animations depict key processes, such as how osteoblasts and other cells help mend a fracture by weaving a mesh of collagen fibers that accumulates minerals. A fun feature on exercise illustrates why volleyball is better for the skeleton than hockey is—it triggers a bigger spike in bone density.

  2. FUN: Zoological Wordplay

    Everyone knows that a group of lions is called a pride and that a male deer is a buck. But what's the word for a gathering of hippos? What do you call a young llama? After romping through the Beastly Garden of Wordy Delights, you'll be able to impress friends and strangers with your knowledge of animal-naming arcana. A baby llama is called a cria, and a group of hippos is, appropriately enough, a bloat. More words that would stump even crossword mavens: a cete of badgers, a murmuration of starlings, a clowder of cats.

  3. WEB TEXT: Coats of Many Colors

    Besides plain white, lab mice come in many stylish hues—lethal yellow, black-and-tan, nonagouti sombre, and varitint-waddler, to name a few. The Coat Colors of Mice, by geneticist Willys Silvers, is a standard reference on the inheritance of this characteristic, which involves more than 50 genes. Published in 1979 but out of print for years, the book is available online at this site from the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. Although it predates the mouse genome project, the text is still useful for everyone from animal breeders to students studying gene interactions, to researchers seeking background data about coat color genetics. Links lead to gene sequence info in the lab's Mouse Genome Informatics database.

  4. VIDEO: Mathematicians Caught on Film

    Many of the world's top mathematicians have aired their ideas at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California. You can check out a selection of these talks at the institute's site, which offers more than 3000 hours of video lectures dating back to 1993. The topics span pure math and applications such as bioinformatics. You can watch topologist Joel Hass of the University of California, Davis, discuss minimal and normal surfaces or mathematician Ron Graham of UC San Diego discourse on Euclidean Ramsey theory. In one recent addition, Stanford cardiologist Thomas Quertermous explains the analysis of microarrays to identify genes that underlie heart disease. Many of the seminars also include lecture notes as PDF files.

  5. DATABASE: Star-Studded Catalog

    A mammoth astronomical atlas nearly doubled in size earlier this month. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (NetWatch, 15 June 2001, p. 1971), which has enlisted more than 200 astronomers to chart one-fourth of the night sky, released its second trove of data. The site amasses images and measurements of position and brightness for stars, galaxies, and quasars. The update adds a further 38 million objects to the previous total of about 50 million. For more than 300,000 deep-space denizens, the site also includes data on spectrum and red shift, an indicator of distance from Earth.

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