Science  22 Sep 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5794, pp. 1709

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  1. DOCUMENTS: Pandemic Lessons Learned

    Princeton University in New Jersey forbade students from leaving campus and ringed the dorms with sentries. Gunnison County in Colorado closed its schools for more than 3 months, banned public gatherings, and quarantined visitors. Measures like these might seem extreme, but they apparently kept influenza at bay during the 1918–1920 pandemic. This new archive from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor details the responses of seven such “escape communities” that suffered no more than one flu death. The site is based on a recent report commissioned by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency to help prepare for future pandemics. It includes contemporary newspaper accounts, letters, and other documents that reveal the tenor of the times. Also included is a photo of the pneumonia ward at the San Francisco Naval Training Station on Yerba Buena Island, which was one of the escape communities.

  2. ARCHIVE: The Royal Treatment

    Since it began publishing in 1665, Britain's Royal Society has run works by Newton, Robert Hooke, Michael Faraday, Watson and Crick, and plenty of other scientific giants. For the next 2 months, visitors can troll the society's complete journal archive and download articles for free. Historically important publications stowed here include astronomer Edmund Halley's account of the eponymous comet and a description of Benjamin Franklin's kite-flying experiment. Free access ends in December.

  3. EXHIBITS: Not Just a Guy Thing

    At Changing the Face of Medicine, meet some of the doctors who shattered the stereotype of the M.D. as a middle-aged man with a stethoscope and a Thursday tee time. The National Library of Medicine exhibit tells the life stories of more than 200 women physicians in the United States. You can cue up video interviews with living doctors and peruse biographies of historical figures such as Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910), the first woman M.D. in the country. Visitors can also try out interactive features such as a pioneering design by Mary Putnam Jacobi (1842–1906) for a sphygmograph, a device that measures pulse strength.

  4. DATABASE: Path to a Tunicate

    The filter-feeding marine animals called ascidians, or tunicates, have sucked in evolutionary and developmental biologists. The fascination stems in part from the creatures' close kinship to vertebrates and their simple embryos, which serve as good models for development. Hosted by French and Japanese labs, ANISEED* is packed with embryological and molecular information on ascidians. With free visualization software, you can pick an embryo such as the 44-cell stage of Ciona intestinalis and highlight developmental lineages or pinpoint areas of contact between cells. The site also houses gene-expression data from in situ hybridization experiments. To enjoy some pretty photos, visit the Dutch Ascidians Homepage. Graduate student Arjan Gittenberger of the National Museum of Natural History in Leiden, the Netherlands, has corralled shots of more than 100 ascidian species from around the world.

  5. RESOURCES: Life on the Subcontinent

    Indian villagers brew a tonic from the bark of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), dine on its shoots, and use its twigs for toothbrushes. The multipurpose tree is also one of the species listed in the Indian Bioresources Information Network, hosted by the country's Department of Biotechnology. The growing site inventories India's plants, animals, and microbes. Visitors can browse the fish catalog by scientific name and by common name in 20 languages. The more than 1800 species accounts offer taxonomic summaries, descriptions, range maps, and images. Another collection furnishes similar data on more than 3000 medically or economically significant plant species. Sections on land vertebrates and other groups are under construction and can be balky.