Science  09 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5754, pp. 1593
  1. EDUCATION: Making the Earth Move

    This collection from the University of California, Santa Barbara, presses the fast-forward button on gradually unfolding geological processes. By cueing the more than 20 animations, undergraduates can follow the filling of San Francisco Bay as sea levels rose at the end of the last ice age or observe how the collision between California and Baja California forced up the mountains north of Los Angeles. Although emphasizing California geology, the site also includes examples from other parts of the globe, such as a sequence that tracks the formation of the South Atlantic Ocean as Africa and South America pushed apart. Educational users can download the animations for free.

  2. WEB TEXT: Clickable Chemistry

    Cracking this virtual chemistry text might spark an interest in electro-chemistry or help readers soak up the properties of water. Retired chemistry professor Stephen Lower of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, wrote the virtual primer in part to offer an alternative to “commercial textbooks which in my view possess far too much sameness and shallowness.” Eleven chapters cover fundamentals such as measurement, chemical equilibrium, and bonding. A new section tackles atomic structure, explaining concepts such as why electrons don't plunge into the positively charged nucleus. For students who want more, the book's tutorials dig deeper into particular topics.

  3. COMMUNITY SITE: Social Studies

    Social psychologists investigate topics as varied as the techniques of propaganda, group dynamics, and facial expressions. A gathering place for students and researchers in this diverse field is the Social Psychology Network, managed by Scott Plous of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. For users who need a tutorial on persuasion and influence or want to locate an online experiment their classes can participate in, the network's archive holds links to more than 12,000 resources on other Web sites. Separate discussion forums let students and professionals sound off. If you'd like to team up with a researcher who works on, say, conflict resolution and personality, check the directory with profiles of 1100 or so social psychologists. There are also links to relevant stories in the media.

  4. IMAGES: Truly Heaven Sent?

    The man who bought the glossy, 19-kilogram orb was certain he'd nabbed a genuine space rock—and for only $10. To his dismay, lunar geochemist Randy Korotev of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, recognized that it was not a meteorite but a coal ball, a compacted glob of peat. To avoid making the same mistake, visit Korotev's A Photo Gallery of Meteorwrongs, which showcases more than 100 objects misidentified as meteorites. Korotev and colleagues have either examined the finds or studied photographs of them. Captions explain why each specimen probably isn't a meteorite and indicate its likely identity. For instance, the coal ball's nearly spherical shape is a giveaway, as is the presence of calcite, a mineral meteorites lack. The site also illustrates criteria for recognizing space stones, including the presence of a fusion crust, a glassy coating formed when the outer layer melts and then solidifies during descent.

  5. DATABASES: Phospho Finder

    When cells need to switch a protein on or off, they often affix a phosphate group to the molecule. This process, known as phosphorylation, is important for governing protein activity and often goes awry in cancer and other diseases. To find out where phosphates glom onto a particular protein, check out Phospho-Site from the Beverly, Massachusetts—based company Cell Signaling Technology. Users enter the name of a mouse or human protein, and the site pin-points which amino acids pick up phosphates. The output often specifies how modifications at different positions alter the protein's function. Data gleaned from the literature are free, but access to the company's experimental findings may require a subscription.

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