Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Friends of Wetlands Newsletter Online

The regional environmental group, Friends of Wetlands, is publishing their newsletter online. The newest issue describes a walk through the Boy Scouts Camp Firelands, which has entrances on both Bates and Gore Orphanage roads (west of Oberlin). A branch of the Vermilion River winds through the camp. The camp offers acres and acres of beautiful woodlands, with a remarkable assemblage of flora and fauna. Physics professor Dan Styer was on hand, assisting with identification of species. Read more about Friends of Wetlands.

Friday, May 26, 2006

E.E. Barnard's Milky Way Atlas Digitized by Georgia Tech Library

From the Scout Report, May 26, 2006 | Volume 12, Number 21:

A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way

Born in 1857 in Nashville, Edward Emerson Barnard started his long career as an apprentice to a photographer at the age of nine. Over the following decades, he would become one of America’s most famous observational amateurs, a position that would lead him to create his noted atlases of various regions of the Milky Way. The atlases were finally published in 1927, Barnard passed away in 1923, and regrettably they fell into obscurity. Fortunately, staff members at the Georgia Institute of Technology Library’s Digital Initiatives Department decided to digitize this remarkable creation and place them online at this site. Visitors can search the collection galactic longitude or latitude, or just by browsing through such regions as the Pleiades and others. The site also contains a number of biographical essays on Bernard and a brief glossary of astronomical objects. [KMG]

The original, 2-volume, 1927 publication is also in the Oberlin College Library [OBIS record].

This report copyrighted by The Internet Scout Project (http://scout.wisc.edu/)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Books in Interdisciplinary Studies

Among the new books received this week are a few that sythesize findings in neuroscience, religion, psychology and behavorial studies.

Soul, Psyche, Brain : new directions in the study of religion and brain-mind science, edited by Kelly Bulkeley (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), joins another book by the editor already in the science library:

The Wondering Brain: thinking about religion with and beyond cognitive neuroscience (Routledge, 2005).

A number of other books by Kelly Bulkeley are in the Main Library and/or accessible electronically through OBIS. [Author search in OBIS for Bulkeley]

Other interdisciplinary books received this week include Michael Rutter's Genes and Behavior: nature-nature interplay explained
(Blackwell Pub., 2006). and

Attachment and Bonding: a new synthesis. Report of the 92nd Dahlem workshop. (MIT Press, 2005).
From the editor's summary: "Attachment and bonding are evolved processes; the mechanisms that permit the development of selective social bonds are assumed to be very ancient, based on neural circuitry rooted deep in mammalian evolution, but the nature and timing of these processes and their ultimate and proximate causes are only beginning to be understood. In this Dahlem Workshop Report, scientists from different disciplines--including anthropology, psychology, psychiatry, and behavioral biology--come together to explore the concepts of attachment and bonding from diverse perspectives." More new books

Monday, May 22, 2006

Open Access Articles Cited More Frequently

A new study by Gunther Eysenpach, published in PLoS Biology (vol. 4, May 2006), provides evidence of a citation advantage for articles that are openly accessible in a specific journal (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), compared to articles that are not openly accessible in that same publication. Eysenpach's data come from a long-term bibliometric analysis of 1,492 original research articles; 212 (14.2% of all articles) were OA articles paid by the author, and 1,280 (85.8%) were non-OA articles. Eysenpach's conclusion: "We found strong evidence that, even in a journal that is widely available in research libraries, OA articles are more immediately recognized and cited by peers than non-OA articles published in the same journal. OA is likely to benefit science by accelerating dissemination and uptake of research findings." Read more.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Speciation of Humans and Chimpanzees

A report in Nature (advance online report dated 17 May 2006) on the divergence-convergence-divergence of humans and chimpanzees has loosed a flurry of news reports and response, some spurious, others more reasoned. Search speciation humans chimpanzees on Google and you'll find a flood of responses to the Nature paper. The full article can be read online through Oberlin's subscription, for Oberlin affiliated users. Off-campus users will have to login before downloading the full-text article.

Genetic evidence for complex speciation of humans and chimpanzees.
Nick Patterson, Daniel J. Richter, Sante Gnerre, Eric S. Lander and David Reich.

Student publication: Manasi Bhate

Library Student Assistant Manasi Bhate's abstract of her conference presentation appears in the March issue of FASEB Journal, as reported in Science Citation Index (part of the ISI Web of Knowledge):

Bhate M, He IP, Strange K
GCK-3 induced phosphorylation alters CIC anion channel outer pore structure
FASEB JOURNAL 20 (4): A324-A324 Part 1 MAR 6 2006

Congratulations, Manasi!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Discover Ocean Creatures that Inhabit Hot Vents

From CSA Discovery Guides
Hydrothermal Vent Communities
(Released May 2006) by Carolyn Scearce

At hydrothermal vent sites, hot mineral rich water spews from the sea floor, and mixes with cold oceanic water. Vent chemistry provides the energy and raw materials with which microorganisms grow. These microorganisms form the basis of the food chain in which unexpectedly high organism densities and growth rates are observed. Unique communities are formed around vents, attracting unusual creatures such as red-plumed giant tube worms and massive clams, which cluster around the dark chimneys where vent fluids emerge.

The CSA Discovery Guides series includes articles in all disciplines, providing references to key scholarly articles as well as relevant Web resources. Other CSA Discovery Guides in the Natural Sciences.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Birth of a Hummingbird

Take a break from exams and studying to watch the progress of a hummingbird chick - from egg-laying to flight 24 days later. Five pages of photos in all, it takes just a few minutes to witness the marvelous progression. It's a treat!

Birth of a hummingbird. Oso Flaco Dunes Nature Preserve, on the central coast of California.

A slightly different sequence of photos of Allen Hummingbird chicks by the same photographer (Vel), dated February 2004, is accessible from the Windstar Wildlife Institute Gallery.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Autism as a path to understanding animal thought

Temple Grandin's latest book, Animals in Translation, is just one of the new books we received today. Interviews with Dr. Grandin and various hosts of National Public Radio shows led me to order this book for our library. The interviews were all fascinating - listen, then read the book! New Books List.

A Conversation with Temple Grandin Talk of the Nation, January 20, 2006 · Animal scientist Temple Grandin says autism helps her see things as animals do. Dr. Grandin talks about her work designing humane slaughter systems for animals, and her unique way of looking at the world.

Temple Grandin: A Key to Animal Behavior Fresh Air from WHYY, January 11, 2005 · Temple Grandin is one of the nation's top designers of livestock facilities. In her 1995 book Thinking in Pictures, she described how her inner-autistic world led her to develop an empathy for how animals cope.

Guest host Steve Roberts interviews Dr. Grandin. The Diane Rhem Show, from WAMU. February 28, 2006.

Dr. Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and author of two books on autism, including "Thinking In Pictures." "Animals in Translation" was co-authored with Catherine Johnson.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Did DNA Come From Viruses?

From Science News this Week,
Carl Zimmer

Research that began with a study of replication enzymes used by bacteria has led to a controversial theory. Patrick Forterre, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Paris-Sud in Orsay, France, believes that viruses are at the very heart of evolution. Viruses, Forterre argues, bequeathed DNA to all living things. Trace the ancestry of your genes back far enough, in other words, and you bump into a virus.

Read the full story in Science 12 May 2006 [Vol. 312. no. 5775, pp. 870 - 872]

Read a 2004 story from Science on Forterre's earlier work

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Global Warming in Mainstream Media

From the Union of Concerned Scientists: Global warming is an issue that has garnered the attention of a majority of the American public, and will have more exposure with the release of these films.
Too Hot Not to Handle - This HBO documentary looks at the impact of global warming on the United States and what steps we can take to reduce the threat. Watch for David Friedman, research director of the UCS Clean Vehicles Program. Click here to see when it's playing in your area and host a house party.
An Inconvenient Truth – Opening in theaters on May 24, this documentary tells the story of former Vice President Al Gore’s efforts to educate the public on the urgency of global warming and our moral obligation to address it. Bring some friends to opening weekend; click here to find a theater near you.

Climate: A Crisis Averted - Global warming is a daunting challenge. To give us all a needed boost, here's a four minute web film that is an uplifting and light retrospective (from the year 2055) about how America rose to meet the climate challenge. View the film and share it with your friends and family.

More on Organic Farming from NPR

NPR's business news on All Things Considered, May 7, 2006, included this story on organic dairy farms:

Farmers Say Mega-Dairies Milk the Organic System

For milk to be labeled organic, the USDA says that cows must be raised on pesticide-free feed, without hormones. But it doesn't regulate how much time the cows must spend out in pasture. As organic mega-dairies with thousands of cows sprout up across the country, small-dairy farmers complain that some so-called "organic" cows don't get enough meadow time. Listen online.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Michael Pollan on Eating Locally

This week's podcast from Mother Jones Radio features Michael Pollan (author search on Michael Pollan in OhioLINK), author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Botany of Desire among other titles. During the interview, Pollan points out that freshly picked, chilled, washed and gently packaged ready-to-eat organic spinach may be better for the land in which it was grown - but it is, figuratively, "steeped in diesel oil" and represents extraordinary energy consumption to keep it fresh and transport it thousands of miles around the country and the world. Pollan urged listeners who now felt guilty about buying bags of pre-washed lettuce and spinach to support the local farm market, and work to encourage area supermarkets to feature local produce. Pollan was also interviewed on NPR's Talk of the Nation, April 14, 2006.

Oberlin's copy of The Omnivore's Dilemma is not available yet - try OhioLINK or head to a local bookstore to buy your own copy. Read the publisher's description in the OhioLINK central catalog and see if any copies are available for loan. There are multiple catalog records for the book in OhioLINK, and many copies are in the system - most of which seem to be checked out, on hold, in process or on order. You can add your name to the queue.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The First Few Microseconds

From Scientific American's Weekly Update:

In recent experiments, physicists have replicated conditions of the infant universe--with startling results.

By Michael Riordan and William A. Zajc

For the past five years, hundreds of scientists have been using a powerful new atom smasher at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island to mimic conditions that existed at the birth of the universe. Called the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC, pronounced "rick"), it clashes two opposing beams of gold nuclei traveling at nearly the speed of light. The resulting collisions between pairs of these atomic nuclei generate exceedingly hot, dense bursts of matter and energy to simulate what happened during the first few microseconds of the big bang. These brief "mini bangs" give physicists a ringside seat on some of the earliest moments of creation.
Read more at Scientific American

Monday, May 08, 2006

Thousands of Biologists Urge Careful Consideration of Science Related to Endangered Species Act

From EarthWatch Radio : Speaking of Science, by Steve Pomplun

Scientists are breaking with tradition and speaking out on more matters of public policy.
Last January, nearly 6,000 biologists signed a letter urging Congress to consider their research before taking action on the Endangered Species Act, which is up for reauthorization. They contend that the act has succeeded in protecting plants and animals and should not be significantly changed.

Duke University ecologist Stuart Pimm signed the letter and has been outspoken in his support for the existing law, which took effect in 1973. Pimm says the letter to Congress on the Endangered Species Act is an unusual step for the scientific community. But he says the thousands who signed it are only asking that knowledge gained through careful research be used to guide this important decision.

The story is also covered by the Enrvironmental News Service. More information is at the Union of Concerned Scientisits' web site.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More New Books Available Online at ebrary

Browse this "new book shelf" from your computer. Go to ebrary

Thousands of books in the recently acquired ebrary collection are science in nature and unique to our collection. Search by keyword in OBIS to browse a given subject area, by combining "ebrary" and your scientific term.

e.g., "ebrary and spectroscopy" results in a number of highly technical books that we have not purchased in print, but may have exactly what you need by way of a good overview of a specialized topic or very specific instructions for a lab procedure. One such title is Rotational spectroscopy of diatomic molecules.
Follow the directions in Reading Girl Speaks regarding downloading the required plugin for viewing the books on ebrary.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New Books Today: Extra Dimensions, Emotions, Bird Coloration, Relativity, Plasma Spectroscopy... and more!

Today's delivery of new books brings something for everyone. Come and browse the new book shelf!

Bird Coloration, by Geoffrey Hill and Kevin McGraw, presents the visual perception of birds and the best ways to collect and analyze color data as part of the review of mechanisms of coloration. Sumptuously illustrated, it is written by leading experts who synthesize more than 1,500 technical papers in the field.

The Weather Makers, by Tim Flannery, considers "how man is changing the climate and what it means for life on earth." Remarkably positive reviews by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Tony Blair, and Chief Emeka Anyaoku, President of the World Wildlife Fund International, among others, praise the book as readable, convincing, and authoritative. It is important reading for anyone concerned with the future of the planet.

Rather less controversial but no less provocative is Lawrence Krauss in Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions, from Plato to String Theory and Beyond. One reviewer asserts"You'll have so much fun reading that you'll hardly notice you're getting a primer on contempory physics and cosmology." From the book cover: Krauss examines our "long and ardent romance with parallel universes, veiled dimensions, and regions of being that may exend tantalizingly beyond the limits of our perception." See all of the books received today in the New Book List for May 3.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Alcohol Consumption Encourages Cancer Tumors in Mice

From EurekAlert! - Breaking News

-- A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Equivalent of 2-4 drinks daily fuels blood vessel growth, encourages cancer tumors in mice.

University of Mississippi researchers say they have created the first-ever mammalian model of how alcohol consumption spurs tumor growth, showing that even moderate drinking resulted in larger and more robust tumors. The research shows the links between alcohol, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and tumor growth. It increases understanding of how alcohol over-stimulates production of VEGF. The research could lead to a way to block VEGF over-production, and reduce the incidence of cancer, researchers said. More...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Oberlin College Joins Environmental Sustainability Organizations

Oberlin College recently joined two national groups devoted to helping organizations achieve greater environmental sustainability.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is an association of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada that works to promote sustainability in all sectors of higher education. AASHE offers a free weekly e-bulletin with top campus sustainability news stories as well as topical interest groups and discussion lists.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system for buildings. The council promotes buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. USGBC also sponsors Greenbuild, the annual International Conference and Expo, provides policy guidance, and develops educational and marketing tools that support the adoption of sustainable building.