Science  07 Jul 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5783, pp. 23

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  1. RESOURCES: The Scorpion's Den

    Scorpions lurk under rocks and scuttle along walls from southern Africa to Canada. The Scorpion Files is a who's who of the stinging critters. Curated by Jan Ove Rein of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, the site offers a taxonomic breakdown for the world's more than 1500 species, along with detailed profiles of some 50 varieties. The gallery, which includes shots by Rein and contributors, is a scorpion lover's delight. Other features include a list of animals whose stings can trigger medical problems, a synopsis of European species, and information on endangered scorpions. Included is a picture of a Centruroides gracilis toting her litter of scorplings.

  2. IMAGES: Visualizing the Environment

    Whether you're looking for a nugget of information or a compelling diagram for your next lecture, burrow into this cache of graphics gathered from the United Nations Environment Programme's publications and Web sites. The 750 maps, graphs, and other illustrations include everything from trends in nitrogen concentrations in the Baltic Sea to projected habitat loss for African great apes over the next 3 decades. To enter the collection, click on the “Maps and Graphics Library” tab at the upper left of the home page.

  3. RESOURCES: Where the WMD Really Are

    With North Korea possibly preparing to test a long-range ballistic missile and the continuing international impasse over Iran's nuclear program, up-to-date information on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is as hot as a sample of U-235. This database* hosted by the nonprofit Nuclear Threat Initiative of Washington, D.C., evaluates WMD arsenals country by country. Accounts summarize experts' assessments of the chemical, nuclear, biological, and missile capabilities of 26 nations, from India to the United States. Entries often relate the history of the country's work on the weapons and provide maps of missile sites and other key facilities. The NIS Nuclear Trafficking Abstracts Database addresses another fear about WMD: that terrorists will get their hands on them. Drawing on press stories and government reports, the site records attempts to smuggle nuclear material from the countries of the former Soviet Union.

  4. EDUCATION: Cancer's Little Helper

    To sustain their frantic division, some cancer cells pump out the protein VEGF, which helps spur angiogenesis, or blood vessel growth. Teachers and students can brush up on VEGF basics at this tutorial from the biotech company Genentech. The protein has a good side, helping sculpt the embryonic circulatory system. But tumors exploit it for nefarious purposes, possibly including protection from the immune system. Readers can learn about the protein's role in lung, breast, and colon cancers: In all three, patients whose tumors exude VEGF have a poorer prognosis. The site also features slide shows and narrated videos that depict the protein in action.

  5. EDUCATION: Question Time

    How can humans make more than 100,000 proteins if they have only about 25,000 genes? What happens if you get an IV containing pure water rather than saline? For answers to those and more than 150 other questions in genetics, molecular biology, neuroscience, and related fields, check out Ask a Scientist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The queries come from teachers, students, and members of the public; professors, postdocs, and grad students supply the responses. For example, humans can fashion so many proteins because some genes can yield more than one kind of messenger RNA, each of which codes for a slightly different protein. Questions are answered within 2 weeks.