Friday, April 28, 2006

Fungal Frog Killer on the Rise Due to Global Warming

From EARTHWATCH RADIO:  Program script for 27 April 2006
by Adam Hinterthuer

Researchers recently found that warmer temperatures are spreading an exotic fungus through rainforests in the mountains of Costa Rica, and they say the warm weather is bad news for frogs.

"Widespread amphibian extinctions from epidemic disease driven
by global warmin
" by Pounds et al. Nature 439, 161-167 (12 January 2006)

"Extinctions linked to climate change" EurekAlert (11 January 2006)

Global Amphibian Assessment

"Amphibians in Dramatic Decline," International Union for Conservation of Nature (14 October 2004)

"Status and Trends of Amphibian Declines and Extinctions Worldwide" by Stuart et al. Science (14 October 2004)

"Global Survey Documents Puzzling Decline of Amphibians" Science (15 October 2004), vol. 306, p. 391

Coral Reefs Threatened by Global Warming

From Smithsonian Magazine, May 2006

Gordon Chaplin, in A Return to the Reefs chronicles a 50-year retrospective study of coral reefs he knew in childhood, as an assistant to his father. He describes the current condition of the reefs as shocking, citing carbon dioxide emissions and global warming as primary agents of destruction:

"Emitted into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide has become much more concentrated in seawater in the past 60 years, making the ocean more acidic and interfering with coral polyps’ ability to generate their limestone skeleton. More significantly, ocean temperatures have risen in recent years, and coral is so sensitive to change that a prolonged warming of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal can cause bleaching. In this frequently fatal condition, coral polyps expel their symbiotic algae and turn snowy white. Officials from the World Conservation Union warn that if global warming continues at the predicted rate, up to half of the world’s coral reefs may die within the next 40 years."

Copernicus Unearthed

From Smithsonian Magazine, May 2006
Archaeologists believe they have found the remains of the 18th century astronomer who revolutionized our view of the universe

By Andrew Curry

Nicolaus Copernicus was the first to demonstrate that the earth orbited the sun, upsetting the prevailing notion that the earth was the center of the cosmos. But the Polish astronomer died in obscurity in 1543 and was buried in an unmarked grave. Five centuries later, archaeologists say they have located his long-sought resting place, under the marble floor tiles of a church. Read the full article.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

New Search Engine for OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center

From Candi Clevenger @ OhioLINK: The OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center has a new search engine which provides outstanding improvement in the speed and performance of EJC searches. The new search engine, called Lucene, performs a Google-like search. It looks for all the words in the search, then ranks results by relevance -- frequency, phrase, both words, either word.

Here's a search to try: skin cancer sun exposure

The results are overwhelming in quantity, but the relevance ranking quickly sorts to the bottom all of the thousands (and thousands!) of records that have just one of those four search terms. In this example, the search query "skin cancer" and "sun exposure" is more precise, especially if limited to the category Health Sciences & Medicine, but the first search is actually very effective because of the relevance ranking and speed.

Give the new search engine a spin!

Monday, April 24, 2006

New in the Science Library: Fantastic Voyage, by Kurzweil and Grossman

Now on the library's new book display shelf:
Fantastic voyage : live long enough to live forever, by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman.
Rodale ; Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, c2004

Author Ray Kurzweil has been interviewed by a number of media sources since this and his more recent new book, The Singularity is Near, were released. Hear two of those interviews on NPR's Talk of the Nation, December 23, 2005 and WAMU's Diane Rehm Show November 23, 2005.


Environmental Impacts of Hurricane Katrina: NOAA Report on the Web

Environmental Impacts of Hurricane Katrina [pdf]

Over the past few months, a number of government agencies have worked diligently to assist those affected by Hurricane Katrina, often working in tandem with other units of government throughout the region. One agency that is working to assess the marine environmental impacts of Katrina is the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The site is fairly simple to navigate, as it essentially contains a number of links to some of the projects they are currently working on throughout the region. Some of these projects include assessments of the marine mammal and turtle health and monitoring the area for harmful algal blooms. Visitors may also wish to learn about the currently deployed vessels that are out working in the area, or they may also want to take a look at their links section. kmg

[This review is from The Scout Report April 14, 2006
Volume 12, Number 1565
A publication of the Internet Scout Project.
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries.]

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Earth Day is April 22: Get Involved!

Earth Day Events in Oberlin, Friday-Saturday
Earth Day Coalition's Annual EarthFest 2006 in Cleveland is scheduled for Sunday, April 23 at the Metroparks Zoo. EarthFest is one of the longest standing and most successful Earth Day celebrations in the country. With as many as 50,000 peoople attending this one-day event, EarthFest has earned distinction as Ohio's largest environmental education event.

If you can't get out with a local group working to improve the environment this Earth Day, you can be involved virtually. Many organizations have made available special materials and information on the Web. This is a very small sampling:

Tip Sheets to Print and Share, to Fight Global Warming - Environmental Defense

Ten Ways You Can Make Earth Day Matter; Climate Change Information; Saving Endangered Species; and Protecting Forests - World Wildlife Fund

Climate Change Solutions Campaign - Earth Day Network

HybridCenter Earth Day Challenge, from Bill Nye the Science Guy - Union of Concerned Scentists Clean Vehicles Page

Find these, plus many more at Envirolink, an online clearinghouse of Earth Day resources, activities, and environmental information worldwide.

Celebrate Earth Day 2006 with ACS Publications

The American Chemical Society Publications Division is offering free, open access to articles in some of its publications related to the Chemists' 2006 Earth Day theme "Plant it for the Planet."

Visit the ACS Publications Earth Day 2006 website and read research on soil and plant science from Environmental Science & Technology, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the Journal of Natural Products, and the Journal of Proteome Research.

Selected research articles made openly accessible at the ACS site include this from ES&T
Impact of Vegetation on Sedimentary Organic Matter Composition and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Attenuation
Gregory, S. T.; Shea, D.; Guthrie-Nichols, E.
Environ. Sci. Technol. 2005, 39(14), pp 5285-5292.

All of the ACS publications are always accessible to Oberlin College users, including the ACS Archives, through subscriptions with OhioLINK.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bulletin of Marine Science online now available

We now subscribe to Bulletin of Marine Science online. This journal, published by the Rosensteil School of Marine Science, Univ. of Miami, is an excellent source of primary, peer-reviewed literature, in all aspects of marine science. Students interested in invertebrate ecology, paleontology, coastal geological processes and the chemistry of ocean-atmosphere interactions will find it especially relevant for their course work.

Access it on ingenta from OBIS. View contents at the publisher's web site.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Science of Mentos and Diet Coke

From National Public Radio Listen online

All Things Considered, April 13, 2006 · "What happens when you put a handful of Mentos candy into a bottle of diet soda? As many fans of Web video have found out, the results are pretty explosive.

"But it's no secret -- folks are taking video cameras and posting images of the their homemade soda explosions on the Internet -- and there is actually a scientific explanation. Michele Norris speaks with science correspondent David Kestenbaum about the science behind Diet Coke and Mentos."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Water's Quantum Secret: Cover Story of New Scientist

The cover story of this week's New Scientist (8-14 April) is a fascinating look at the amazing properties of water. "Put bluntly, says writer Rober Matthews, "you owe your existence to quantum effects in water that make even the wackiest New Age ideas seem ho-hum." One commonly known fact among water's life-giving and sustaining properties is being less dense while frozen than as a liquid. This means that oceans and other bodies of water do not freeze from the bottom up, permitting life to adapt to changing temperatures. Read the rest of The Quantum Elixir in the science library - have a seat at the display rack for this week's journals!

Monday, April 10, 2006

New Videos and Books

Darwin's Dangerous Idea and The Magic of Consciousness on DVD are available for loan, for classroom or personal use. Both feature Daniel C. Dennett, Professor and Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. Many of Professor Dennett's books are also in the library, including Darwin's Dangerous Idea, and Sweet Dreams : philosophical obstacles to a science of consciousness.

Other new books received April 7 include The Physics of Football, by Timothy Gay, and The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry, by Larry Gonick and Craig Criddle, both from HarperCollins.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

When Fins Became Limbs

From today's issue of Nature 440, 747-749 (6 April 2006)
Palaeontology: A firm step from water to land.
Per Erik Ahlberg and Jennifer A. Clack

A project designed to discover fossils that illuminate the transition between fishes and land vertebrates has delivered the goods. At a stroke, our picture of that transition is greatly improved.
Read the article online: Full Text | PDF (408K)
See also Editor's summary.
The library's print issue should be received next week.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

New Air Pollution Rules Threaten Public Health

From the Union of Concerned Scientists:

Disregarding and misrepresenting recommendations from their own scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed new air pollution standards that do not sufficiently protect public health. The new rules apply to particulate matter pollution, sources of which include agricultural activity, vehicle exhaust, and emissions from coal-fired power plants. Over 2,000 recent studies have linked particulate matter exposure to heart disease, respiratory ailments, and premature death.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has organizaed a campaign to educate and take action regarding this issue. Read the complete explanation at the UCS Web site.

Earthwatch Radio Available as Podcast

What is Earthwatch Radio?

Earthwatch Radio is produced by staff and students at the Sea Grant Institute and the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They cover a wide range of subjects that concern science and the environment and give special attention to global climate change, the Great Lakes and the oceans. They produce five programs every week and distribute them to more than 120 radio stations and other broadcast outlets, mostly in North America.

The most recent Earthwatch Radio script is
Amphibian Acceleration
A nasty toad that's spreading across Australia seems to be evolving and getting faster.

Podcast News Feed:

Scientific American News: Balloon Data Confirms Antarctic Warming Trend

From the weekly Scientific American update:
A new analysis of the past 30 years of records from nine research stations reveals that the air above the entirety of Antarctica has warmed by as much as 0.70 degree Celsius per decade during the winter months. Read more at Scientific American

Monday, April 03, 2006

Welcome Back - just in time for National Library Week

National Library Week is a good reason to spend more time using all that the library offers, as the semester heads into the second half. To welcome you back, and improve access to scientific information, the Science Library web page has been reorganized. It provides quick access to databases and other research resources (all in the left column), frequently-cited journals (middle column) and information about services and how to use the library in the right column.

Comments are welcome! Let us know how the page could be more helpful. Use it as a beginning point for papers and other assignments that require use of scientific literature.