Science  19 May 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5776, pp. 977

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  1. IMAGES: By the Light of a Coppery Moon

    In January 2005, the Huygens space probe parachuted onto the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. Now you too can take the plunge, thanks to these new movies from NASA, the European Space Agency, and the University of Arizona, Tucson. The videos, the first to record the landing, condense several hours of data nabbed by the spacecraft's Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer. In one movie, the probe dives into a thick fog and then emerges over a rugged landscape that looks like it's made of copper. Viewers follow Huygens all the way to its touchdown in a dry riverbed, where it nestles among pebbles and lumps of ice. The second “bells and whistles” video adds a readout of the craft's trajectory and other data.

  2. DATABASE: Go for a Spin

    Looking for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy data for ubiquitin, a cellular tag for worn-out molecules? You can find NMR results for ubiquitin and more than 3700 other molecules at the Biological Magnetic Resonance Data Bank from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. NMR spectroscopy gauges the nuclear spins of atoms such as carbon and hydrogen, allowing researchers to deduce molecular structures and identify compounds in chemical mixtures. The information in the database comes from the literature and researcher contributions. A new section on metabolomics houses data on small molecules that cells manufacture, such as amino acids and sugars.

  3. EXHIBIT: Ducking the Bomb

    It was a time when New York City schoolchildren received dog tags so that their bodies could be identified after a nuclear attack. Mutant monsters swarmed across America's TV and movie screens, and songs like “Your Atom Bomb Heart” and “Radioactive Mama” hit the airwaves. For a cheeky history of the A-bomb's impact on popular culture, tune to CONELRAD, named for the emergency broadcasting system of the 1950s and 1960s. The Web site's personnel—a retired U.S. Air Force officer and two “civilian veterans” of the Cold War, a pop music historian and an editor—have compiled a thick dossier of rare nuclear-age memorabilia. Read the history of the famous civil-defense film Duck and Cover, or spin selections from the 1961 instructional record “If the Bomb Falls,” whose advice for stocking a fallout shelter included packing plenty of tranquilizers.

  4. TOOLS: There Goes the (Genetic) Neighborhood

    Researchers use linkage analysis to map disease-causing genes, but calculations that involve complicated human pedigrees often stump the average computer. Superlink Online from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa overcomes this limitation by farming out the number-crunching to a network of some 2700 PCs, which tackle the calculations during their spare time. Described online in the American Journal of Human Genetics this month, the site computes the likelihood that genes lie within a particular chromosome neighborhood and can handle larger pedigrees than other linkage software. After obtaining a free password, users feed their own data into the program. They can also add their machines to the network.

  5. WEB LOG: Invasion Chronicles

    An outbreak of pine shoot beetles (Tomicus piniperda) has prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to restrict the export of bark chips and other forest products from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Meanwhile, farmers in southwestern Puerto Rico are angry because the government has failed to control hungry mobs of Asian and African monkeys, descendants of escapees from a medical lab, that are pillaging their fields. For more news about wayward organisms and efforts to control them, check the Invasive Species Weblog from ecologist Jennifer Forman Orth of the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Orth gleans the postings from media stories, government and university announcements, reports by professional societies, and other sources from around the world.