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  •'s Inventors How do you go from nuts and bolts to a full-fledged invention? How can you tell an invention from a scam? How do you fund your research? What are the most bizarre inventions? This site distinguishes itself by covering inventions from a seemingly limitless number of angles. Plus, it doesn't stint on the staples: inventors, inventions, upcoming events, and conventions. Truly an invention tour de force.
  • Ask Dr. Universe From the scientific (if light has no mass, how can it be sucked into black holes?) to the speculative (why are sisters so boring?), Dr. Universe answers some of life's most confounding questions. The kid-oriented site invites visitors to submit their own questions. The good doctor is also kind enough to include links to his favorite sci-tech sites.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day Sometimes the best sites have the simplest ideas behind them. Case in point, the Astronomy Picture of the Day, which offers exactly that: a stunning image of a celestial body, phenomenon, or space-related event. Add to that a rich assortment of links for each image, and you’ve got a fun place to visit and revisit. Miss a day? An archive provides images back to 1995, and a searchable index brings you to info on specific categories such as black holes or spiral galaxies.
  • Big Dig Watch while the one of the biggest construction projects of the modern era continues to be built. The Central Artery/Tunnel Project (including the Ted Williams Tunnel), also called the Big Dig, is turning a five-lane elevated highway in Boston into an eight- to 10-lane underground expressway. Also in the plans: the widest cable-stayed bridge ever built.
  • Bug Bios To promote insect appreciation, this site has more than 100 crisp, color pictures of ants, bees, wasps, beetles, hoppers, roaches, and spiders, which technically aren't insects but arthropods. Those who already appreciate creepy, crawly things will be dazzled by the site's breadth of information, but even entomophobics can learn something here. Did you know that beetles represent the largest order of insects, with more than 250,000 described species?
  • Whether you know a little, a lot, or somewhere in between about cancer, CancerSource doesn't discriminate: information on all varieties of the disease is presented at three levels. You can learn about the basic biology of cancer, get the latest news on the subject, and find opportunities to chat live with cancer specialists. The site also offers a dictionary, drug guide, and online support groups.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention For the concerned or curious, the Centers for Disease Control site offers information, tips, and warnings on everything from bicycle safety to biohazards. The site has one of the most extensive A-to-Z health-related reference lists on the Net, a comprehensive list of links to other public health-related resources, and links to state health departments. And if you're planning on leaving the country, check out the travelers' health section before heading to the airport.
  • Before this site debuted this year, terminally ill people who wanted to take a shot at an experi-mental therapy had no centralized place to go for information. ClinicalTrials presently contains information on almost 5,000 clinical studies, sponsored primarily by the National Institutes of Health. You'll not only find details on the experimental treatment, but also whether researchers are recruiting volunteers, and how to get involved. During the coming year, additional studies from other federal agencies and the pharmaceutical industry will be added to the site.
  • In the fast-paced worlds of computer technology and Internet design, CNET, a.k.a. the Computer Network, provides the tech-minded surfer with a one-stop shop for all the latest news. This information portal contains everything from hardware reviews to free software downloads, from investing to jobs.
  • Delphion Intellectual Property Network Boasting an extraordinarily rich collection of patents from around the world, this site lets you search by patent number, Boolean text, and a variety of specific terms. And it has plenty of what is de rigueur for such sites: inventions so outré or comical that you can't imagine they ever received a patent. They did, though. Try, for example, a motorized ice cream cone or a jet-powered surfboard.
  • DNA Learning Want to know why Mendel used peas in his genetic experiments? Or maybe how a gene produces a protein? The DNA Learning Center is the source for anything related to DNA. To get up to speed, start with the "DNA from the Beginning" section of the site. Animations, videos, and problem-solving sections clearly explain the complex functions — everything from DNA molecules' base pairs to genes to proteins.
  • Earthquake Information from the USGS Produced by the U.S. Geological Survey, this handy reference site presents current earthquake conditions throughout the United States and the world in a simple format. Clickable maps, updated hourly, show the location and strength of the week's quakes. And resource pages define terms, relay the history and science of earthquakes, help you prepare for an earthquake, and tell you what to do if you get caught in one.
  • eNature Bird lovers should flock to this site, which includes tips on equipment, opportunities to pose questions to an online naturalist, and a clever search program that helps stumped birdwatchers identify unfamiliar birds. You can even create online "life" of birds and other wildlife that you have seen over the years.
  • Environment News Service Independently owned and operated, the ENS provides timely reports from around the world on a wide range of environmental topics, without the usual spin provided by an affiliated business or environmental group. The wire service covers legislative and judicial decisions, demonstrations, conferences, and other daily news that affects land use, public health, and wildlife. Also find links to information about becoming an Earth-smart consumer, planning eco-travel, learning about local environmental problems, and making businesses more sustainable.
  • Etown If you can listen to it, watch it, or speak into it, Etown has it. This astonishingly information-rich site brings you the latest news and reviews relating to audio, video, communications, photography-in other words, just about any electronic item. And if you're in the market to buy, Ida, a virtual personal shopping assistant, helps you decide what model is right for you based on how you plan on using it. You can even make some online purchases.
  • Fuel Cells 2000 Devoted to the promotion of fuel cell technology, Fuel Cells 2000 is a comprehensive source of information that relates all the benefits of fuel cells. You'll also find a basic primer on how fuel cells generate electricity from hydrogen, the latest information on the numerous companies developing fuel cell technology, and a useful set of links to other sources.
  • Fuel Economy Site Ever wonder how much you spend on gasoline each year? Or how your car's gas mileage stacks up against the competition? Look no further than the government's fuel economy Web site. Here you can browse the environmental benefits of economizing fuel, learn how cars process gasoline, and even study the vital statistics of that lemon you owned in 1985. What's more, the site provides a tantalizing peek into the fuel-efficient future of automobiles.
  • Gnutella At first glance, you might think this is a site about a nutty sandwich. And while the site doesn't have any snazzy features, what it does offer is making copyright owners tremble. Download Gnutella software and you'll be linked "peer to peer" to thousands of other computers worldwide-at which point you can upload desired files without any clue where the originating request came from.
  • If horror stories about personal digital assistants turn you on, or if you just want to get an update on the latest computer news, then is the place to turn. The site is divided into sections about computers, games, PDAs, and chips, so you can dive into the speciality scene of your choice. Users post their comments on all the latest doings. For the un-initiated, a mini-glossary helps translate geek-speak.
  • 6 Billion Human Beings If you're 38 years old, there are now about twice as many people on Earth as when you were born, and about 30 percent of the people born that year are already dead. You can learn facts like these by plugging your age into one of the many interactive "Did you know?" games at this online exhibit from Musée de l'Homme in Paris, part of France's National Museum of Natural History. The exhibit is designed to help visitors "understand why the world's population has exploded in recent years and why it might stabilize during the next century."
  • Imagine the Universe This site has been wowing would-be astronomers for years, serving up the basics (and not-so basics) about our universe in a clear and concise format. A recent reorganization of the site has finally earned it a spot as a true “Best of the Web.” Ask an astronomer your burning cosmic questions, or just sit back and view videos of the heavens. Intimidated by the jargon? Run your mouse over a confusing term and a clear explanation pops up onscreen.
  • International Human- Powered Vehicle Association Laziness is not an option for the pilots of human-powered planes and ornithopters-two of the many vehicles described at the International Human-Powered Vehicle Association site. Engineers worldwide contribute plans for vehicles that one day may turn our noisy, fossil fuel society into a pollution-free yet mobile civilization. Watch test videos of these mechanical works of art and check out the latest attempts at world human-powered speed records.
  • Invention Dimension MIT's Invention Dimension enchants, inspires, and entertains emerging Edisons and simple gadget fanatics alike. Archives of inventions range from the goofy Makin' Bacon-a microwaveable dish that drains cooking grease-to the lifesaving balloon catheter. For your own endeavors, you can get sound advice from The Inventor's Handbook, and compete in serious-minded contests and frivolous trivia challenges. Links to related sites make this an ideal gateway to online innovation information.
  • Jane's Information Group One of the world's leading authorities on defense and transportation, Jane's brings you the latest news on just about everything that floats, flies, or drives. The focus is on vehicles that serve naval, air, and land forces, but you'll also find information on civilian air shows, trains, and transportation-related international businesses.
  • National Laboratories You know the names-Los Alamos, Argonne, Oak Ridge, Brookhaven-here are their Web sites. Welcome to the Department of Energy's gateway to the major national laboratories. Browse these sites and you'll be well acquainted with how your tax dollars are being spent. Each site takes a different, richly varied approach. Just for fun, Argonne gives you a look at its annual Rube Goldberg machine contest.
  • Operations Significant Event Imagery Point your browser here for gorgeous satellite images of the world's most violent natural disasters. Get a bird's eye view of a raging firestorm, or track the path of a hurricane in full-motion video. The site's intuitive organization makes finding the images a breeze, and topical sections like the Image of the Day keep you up-to-date with the latest in global catastrophes. The site doesn't attempt to explain the wondrous phenomena it displays — it's content to be simply the most stunning satellite page around.
  • Panda Central Finally. A slide show that won't put you to sleep. You'll watch, fascinated, as baby panda Hua Mei grows from a helpless 4.5-ounce newborn to the precocious yearling she is today. After watching Hua Mei grow up, you may feel you need to check in on her now and again. That's easy to do with the site's live pandacam. See her play, lounge, and eat in real time, or watch Real-Player movies of her frolicking with mom Bai Yun.
  • Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy The first in a series of Bad Science sites, Bad Astronomy is devoted to correcting misinformation about astronomy spread in the media or by word of mouth. Austin Powers and global warming get their due, with tidbits offered by real scientists. The sometimes esoteric information is always interesting.
  • RxList: The Internet Drug Index RxList is a trove of pharmaceutical knowledge with more than 4,000 medications on file, a pharmaceutical discussion board, and an online dictionary of medical jargon. And for anyone interested in alternative medicine, RxList covers a handful of herbal remedies as well. Check out the online pharmacy too.
  • Scanning Electron Microscope Is there such a thing as too close for comfort? Judge for yourself after you've taken a unique microscopic look at the barbed mouth parts of a deer tick or the scruffy hairs atop a mosquito's head photographed at several hundred times life size. Then try your hand at determining if some images are animal, vegetable, or mineral. When you tire of guessing, browse through the archive for magnificent magnifications of everything from a spiny-headed worm to scratch-'n-sniff paper.
  • ScienceDaily Magazine A gene is decoded, and news organizations from ABC to the BBC are all over it. But where can you find information about less flashy, but no less noteworthy, breakthroughs? Try Science Daily. Each day, news is presented in a clear, concise format.
  • Science for the Millennium Reinterpreting the World's Fair for the electronic age, the gracious e-pavilions at the National Center for Supercomputing Application's site overflow with technological enterprise. Exhibits on everything from biosphere modeling to star formation to metacomputing deftly weave text, images, movies, and sound into a dazzling tour of the universe. You stay on track with the aid of navigation maps and flowcharts. Wandering through this celebration of science, you won't miss cotton candy for a second.
  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum If you can't make it to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., its Web site has all the galleries, complete with photos and short summaries. Trace the history of aviation and space exploration, learn about how things fly, and explore our solar system. If you're looking for a specific aircraft or space artifact, the site features a comprehensive listing, with photos, of the museum's entire collection-on and off display.
  • Snow Crystals Stunning designer snow crystal galleries, an historical photo collection, and tips on photographing snow crystals make this site breathtaking to browse. Learn about different types of snow crystals and watch movies that show them growing at different temperatures. Produced by a physics professor at Caltech, the site covers the basics, but it also gets into details that would interest even . . . well, a physics professor at Caltech
  • Sodaconstructor "Sodaconstructor can seriously damage your productivity," reads a warning posted at the bottom of this site. They're not kidding. Join masses and springs to form small mathematical creatures that writhe and twist in two dimensions as you adjust spring stiffness and weight placement. Sodaconstructions can walk, bounce, roll, or jiggle their way across the screen, depending on your design. If you can't get the hang of creating 2-D critters, load a predesigned model for inspiration.
  • Solar System Simulator Zoom past Saturn or simply gaze at the moons of Mars at this exquisite site from space exploration’s holy trinity: NASA, JPL, and Caltech. Originally designed to visualize deep-space satellite missions, the simulator lets you see a body from any vantagepoint at any time — so you can view Jupiter as seen by Galileo (the man) or Galileo (the satellite). The renderings of the planets are startlingly realistic, and it’s easy to set the simulator for the images you want.
  • Whether you’re really out there or have only an occasional need to dwell on the heavens, offers it all. Read, listen to, or watch daily news stories. Along with the headlines are sections on industry happenings and space science features. Quizzes, areas on science fiction movies and TV, and even a special page for kids enliven the site.
  • SpaceKids Care to take a virtual tour of the solar system? Or perhaps send your name to Mars aboard the next lander? You can do both at Space Kids, a NASA Web site designed for “children” of all ages. Here also are links to space-science news, interactive lessons, and information about organizations where you can help scientists explore the final frontier. Resources for teachers help bring the heavens down to Earth.
  • The Living Edens Based on a PBS series of the same name, The Living Edens transports you to undisturbed corners of the world. From the Ngorongoro crater in Africa to Canyonlands National Park in Utah, each of more than 15 locations comes to life via geological information and wildlife profiles.
  • The Mad Scientist Network Burning for answers to science questions? You'll get them from the "collective cranium" of more than 800 researchers in the Mad Scientist Network, a remarkable service of Washington University Medical School. Search the huge Q&A archive or submit your own questions to Ask-A-Scientist. There are also incredible edible/inedible experiments to try at home, a MadSci Library of links for exploring science elsewhere on the Internet, and the Random Knowledge Accumulator-a search engine that turns up entertaining information.
  • The Science and Technology News Network This site is not for you. You'll find plenty of useful information here, but the site is actually designed to promote science news to media organizations. Our suggestion: Skip the middleman, and log on frequently. The site features in-depth stories from such fields as space, medicine, and the environment.
  • The Science Museum Whether it’s a contemporary science topic like Dolly the cloned sheep or an historical one like Leonardo da Vinci’s flying inventions, London’s Science Museum has it covered. In addition to offering a rich assortment of entertaining and educational online exhibits, the site offers a virtual 3-D tour of the museum’s recently opened contemporary science center, the Wellcome Wing.
  • The Multidimensional Human Embryo . Nary a stork nor a cabbage patch lurks here. Instead, you'll find exceptional three-dimensional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) shots of human embryos — the first of their kind. You can see the tiny forms change from 22 days after conception to 56 days — when an embryo becomes a fetus. A click of the mouse brings up internal cross-sections. Soon the site will offer time-lapse movies of new life morphing from a tiny speck into an embryo.
  • The Why Files The Why Files gives you the science behind the headlines. After the recent Concorde crash in Paris, for instance, a Why Files report explored why planes crash. There's a new story every week, with in-depth features on topics including Mad Cow disease, genetically engineered chickens with three drumsticks, and the chemistry of love. The site also hosts a user forum where you can write to and interact with other readers.
  • TryScience Nothing quite captures a child’s attention like a good science experiment. That’s why more than 400 science learning institutions contributed experiments to this site. Children and adults alike can participate virtually online or use household items offline.
  • The UnMuseum Seen a UFO recently? A dinosaur? Bigfoot? Aliens, lost worlds, and humanoid legends are just a few of the oddities you'll find at this site devoted to bizarre and unnatural phenomenon. A detailed history and analysis accompanies every unnatural mystery, including a current account of its status.
  • The Yuckiest Site on the Internet Yes, this site is yucky, but it’s low with a lofty goal: teaching kids about biology and physiology. In Roach World, kids follow the exploits of Ralph the Roach, learn such facts as how each of the critters has at least 18 knees, and play an interactive roach-whacking game. Gross & Cool Body answers such questions as “Why does poop smell?” and “What is the gunk in the corner of my eyes?” Plus: instructions for icky experiments, creepy crafts, and revolting recipes.
  • Yahoo Broadcast With cable modems and DSL lines providing high-speed connections to the Internet, watching audio and video feeds via the Web suddenly makes sense-a lot of sense. And a terrific place to get started is Yahoo Broadcast's extensive listings of live and taped special events on topics ranging from politics to fitness to sports. Or browse through a wide selection of Internet radio and TV stations.
  • WebMD An excellent reference for the latest health and wellness information, WebMD publishes news articles and reference materials on topics as diverse as pregnancy and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The site has broad reference sections, and in-depth analysis of medical news, diseases, conditions, and treatment options. The information is presented clearly enough for non-physicians to understand.
  • Windows to the Universe A richly colored, highly detailed encyclopedia of space, Windows on the Universe also brings you all the benefits of Internet interactivity. It’s a bountiful site, with areas on our planet, solar system, universe, the arts, and people in science. Tailor all of the information to beginner, intermediate, or advanced reading level with the click of a button — so it works for junior as well as the family member who’s the most space-savvy.




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Last Update: May 17, 2001