NetWatch

Science  28 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5748, pp. 597
  1. IMAGES: Starring The Cell

    Chromosomes caress, tangle, then get wrenched apart as a French torch song plays in “Twisted Sisters,” probably the most touching movie ever made about the first division of meiosis. It's also one of the standouts at the Web site of the Bioclips project, sponsored by the French government. The virtual multiplex displays entrants from the last four rounds of the Cinema of the Cell festival. Held annually at the European Life Scientist Organization meeting, the contest lets researchers and students present their educational Web films, which use techniques from traditional animation to stop-motion with Lego blocks. The more than 30 shorts range from “A Day in the Life of a Social Amoeba” to a work about the establishment of cell polarity in nematodes from auteurs at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

    http://www.bioclips.com/

  2. DATABASE: Free the Crystals!

    This site is some crystallographers' answer to open-source software, providing an alternative for chemists and other researchers who can't afford the fees charged by suppliers of crystallographic data. Supervised by an international team of scientists, The Crystallography Open Database houses measurements for some 18,000 molecules, from superconducting materials to antibiotics. Visitors can scan the data, which were contributed by site users, for molecules sporting a specific combination of elements. The results appear as a standard “Crystallographic Information File” that includes atomic coordinates and the source of the measurements. A linked site furnishes predicted structures for more than 1500 compounds, such as boron-containing nanotubes and fluoroaluminate crystals.

    http://www.crystallography.net/

  3. RESOURCES: Where Birds Count

    The careful observations of birdwatchers are invaluable to scientists studying avian distribution and abundance. eBird, a recently revamped site from Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, helps researchers access and analyze birders' tallies. One of the lab's collaborations with birdwatchers (Science, 3 June, p. 1402), eBird lets visitors submit their sightings to a database that already has entries from 15,000 people. Researchers can then parse the records, plotting counts for a particular area or species. For instance, you can chart the number of ospreys seen in each week of the year and map the fish-eaters' favorite haunts.

    http://www.ebird.org/

  4. COMMUNITY SITE: Schizophrenia Symposium

    Find out the conclusions of the latest study comparing different antipsychotic drugs, track down a potential collaborator in Italy, or discover what leading schizophrenia researchers have on their minds. You can do all this and more at the Schizophrenia Research Forum, which officially opened this week. Sponsored by the nonprofit National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, the diverse site is modeled on a meeting place for Alzheimer's researchers (http://www.alzforum.org/). Features include a news section and interviews with scientists such as Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, who helped show that “obstetric events” such as premature birth boost the risk of schizophrenia. Visitors to the Idea Lab can bat around novel notions. Live chats with experts start next month, and a gene database is in the works.

    http://www.schizophreniaforum.org/

  5. DATABASE: Dinosaur Name Game

    Like the ancient beasts themselves, most of the names scientists have coined for dinosaurs over the last 2 centuries are defunct. At the new database TaxonSearch from paleontologist Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago, researchers can uncover which handles have survived and which have gone extinct as experts have refined taxonomies. Unlike other narrower references, the site focuses on taxonomic levels above the genus, and it will cover all archosaurs—the group that comprises dinosaurs and their kin—except for birds and crocodiles. Dig into the listings to find out who first named a group, its official definition, and its chronological range. For example, the name of the clade Ankylosauridae, to which the herbivore Ankylosaurus belongs, dates back to 1908. And if a name has died out, you can learn why. Sereno has posted the first batch of 50 records and plans to add about 700 more within the next few weeks.

    http://www.taxonsearch.org/

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