Science  06 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5723, pp. 769

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  1. WEB ARCHIVE: Bird Journals Roost Online

    Researchers who want to browse the historic bird literature should take a gander at the Searchable Ornithological Research Archive (SORA), hosted by the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. This Web library, named for the marsh-dwelling sora, holds more than 100 years' worth of The Condor, The Auk, and The Wilson Bulletin, along with shorter spans of the North American Bird Bander, Studies in Avian Biology, and other ornithological titles. A search function lets you scan the full texts of all the journals, and you can download articles as PDFs or in the more concise DjVu format, which requires a free plug-in to view. The newest volumes date to 2000.

  2. RESOURCES: Bad Stats, Bad Medicine

    The recent ruckus over the safety of the pain relievers Vioxx and Celebrex makes the opinionated Web site Improving Medical Statistics a timely read. Eric Roehm, a cardiologist from Round Rock, Texas, exposes statistical gaffes, shoddy study designs, and unwarranted conclusions that slipped past peer review and into the pages of top journals. For example, the doctor's warning that pregnant women should abstain from alcohol stems from a flawed 1984 study that didn't factor out the effects of smoking. Even the 2001 paper that first raised questions about the safety of Vioxx and Celebrex has a weakness: The researchers compared the treatment group from one study to placebo groups from other trials.

  3. RESOURCES: Portrait of a Protist

    “Photosynthetic” and “hyperactive” don't usually go together, but they're apt adjectives for the microscopic Euglena and its relatives, which carry chloroplasts but can chase down their fellow pond dwellers. The peripatetic protists are the subject of the Euglenoid Project Web site. A primer introduces peculiarities of euglena behavior and anatomy. Visitors can also check out the original euglena sketches by German biologist Christian Ehrenberg—who named the creatures in 1830—or screen movies of cells on the move or snarfing other protists. With interactive keys and synopses of most genera, the site swarms with information for taxonomists. It will soon expand to include full-text versions of most classic euglena literature, says co-creator Richard Triemer of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

  4. LINKS: Molecular Biologist's Companion

    The Web abounds with an ever-growing number of molecular biology and medical databases. For help finding the one you need, try this annotated directory of links compiled by Josef Koenig of the Medical University in Vienna. Under categories such as genomics, pharmacology, and ethics, the directory lists annotated links to hundreds of sites. To find out how bacteria handle toxins, for example, hop over to the database hosted by the University of Minnesota that records bacterial breakdown pathways for nearly 900 compounds. Some entries include links to publications on the database.

  5. EXHIBITS: A Frigid Banner Year

    Neither marauding wolves, nor temperatures as low as −46 degrees Celsius, nor overdue supply ships stayed the explorers at Fort Conger in northwestern Greenland from their meteorological rounds. In 1882 and 1883, U.S. personnel at this isolated station and researchers at other sites across the Arctic recorded air temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, and other variables as part of the first International Polar Year. At this site from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, history buffs can learn more about this pioneering project, and researchers can download the original data.

    The project's goal was to share environmental measurements from different locales, and 11 countries teamed up to staff Arctic observing stations. Their readings provide a snapshot of the far north before human-induced global warming began. Besides data, the site holds an archive with more than 200 photos, maps, and drawings that provide a glimpse of life at the stations. Paintings even record the deaths of three members of the Fort Conger expedition; only seven of the 25 members of the party were alive when rescuers arrived.