Earth Primer (fun) and Map of Life (for citizen science)

Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2016 | American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

Earth Primer by Chaim Gingold

Level: Elementary and Middle School
Platform: iOS money icon

Website external link icon

Earth Primer is a cross between an intro to earth science textbook and an interactive sandbox game. This creative application allows students to play with the powerful concepts that make up the physical aspects of our planet. Manipulate glaciers, volcanoes, biomes, weather systems, and more and experience how all of these structures combine to affect the makeup of our awesome planet.

Tip: Use Earth Primer to reinforce content in an earth science class.

app icon Map of Life by Map of Life

Level: Middle School, High School
Platform: iOS | Android

Website external link icon

Map of Life is a field guide applicable to anywhere in the world. Search species by category and/or location, and contribute to the map by recording your sightings in your location. Several categories of species are represented, such as trees, mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Choose a type of species and view images, read about characteristics and habitat, and view a map showing range. Helps with conservation efforts worldwide!

Tip: Great application for classes using GIS data. Use Map of Life on science field trips to report wildlife and to identify plants and animals.

Chemists to get their own preprint server

World’s largest scientific society plans to introduce ChemRxiv for a traditionally reluctant discipline.

  • Daniel Cressey

11 August 2016

Nature DOI: doi:10.1038/nature.2016.20409

From Bob Buntrock (Princeton Class of ??)   on the CHMINF Listserv.

Like arXiv and bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, hopes to facilitate the discovery and sharing of significant happenings in Chemistry.  ACS is welcoming input during this planning stage.

Viral Zone Best of the Web, Genetic Engng & Biotech News

BestWeb_ViralZoneSource: | Best of the Web | GEN ViralZone |

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News//

Jun 15, 2016 (Vol. 36, No. 12)

“Do you know your DNA viruses from your RNA viruses, and can you spot a retrotranscribing virus when you see one? If not, the ViralZone from the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics is a fantastic web resource for virologists and other scientists who use viral tools in their research. ViralZone includes description pages for over 500 viruses, and site visitors can access these pages either by a targeted search for a specific virus or by browsing the virus pages by a virus’ Baltimore classification, host, or virion. The website also includes a great deal of general information about viral molecular biology, including topics such as virus entry/exit, replication, and genome evolution. On the homepage, site visitors will find a news section (including a weekly podcast) so that they can keep up to date on the latest viral happenings.”



Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

Source:  The Scout Report — Volume 22, Number 16

“NASA’ s Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet website features a diverse set of resources related to the measurement, analysis, and dangers of global climate change. Here readers will find a collection of Interactive Features all designed to bring to life the sometimes abstract conclusions of scientific articles on climate and its effects on human and other life on Earth. For example, the Climate Time Machine allows readers to go backward and forward through four different key climate indicators, including Sea Ice, Sea Level, Carbon Dioxide, and Global Temperature. Perfect for educators who are looking for impactful visual representations of the rising temperatures on the planet, the interactive makes these measurements visceral in a way that charts and graphs are seldom able to do. Other interactives on the page include the Global Ice Viewer, Quizzes, The Sun: A Virtual Tour, The Water Cycle, and others. [CNH]”

Data USA — Visualization of free public data — MIT

Website makes government data easier to find

Steve Lohr writes: “For years, the federal government, states, and some cities have enthusiastically made vast troves of data open to the public. A project coming out of the MIT Media Lab seeks to harness that data and make it available to a wider audience. The project, called Data USA, bills itself as ‘the most comprehensive visualization of US public data.’ It is free, and its software code is open source, meaning that developers can build custom applications by adding other data.”…

New York Times, Apr. 4DATA USA

Climate Change and Extreme Events

Attributing Extreme Events to Climate Change

It is now possible to estimate the influence of climate change on some types of extreme events, such as heat waves, drought, and heavy precipitation, says a new Academies report.

From What’s New at the National Academies, March 11, 2016

GenBank has reached 200 billion base pairs from > 350,000 spp.

“Almost the number of stars in the Milky Way.” Through this stellar comparison, the National Institutes of Health proudly announced in 2005 that the content of their computerized collection of DNA sequences called GenBank had reached 50 billion bases or units of DNA. Today, it contains far more, over 200 billion bases from over 350,000 different species, making it one of the largest scientific database in the world.

Here is the announcement of the availability of the Nirenberg papers: “GenBank & The Early Years of “Big Data”

“Deciphering the Genetic Code: A 50 Year Anniversary” January, 2015

Marshall Nirenberg in the lab in early 1960’s, when he completed the first summary document of the genetic code — how triplets (DNA sequences) direct amino acids to form proteins.  Pictures of the group and more about the papers are here:

A young man in a lab coat and plastic gloves holds up a glass tube in a laboratory.

PubMed Central: Visualizing a Historical Treasure Trove

By Tyler Nix, Kathryn Funk, Jeffrey S. Reznick, and Erin Zellers

“A wealth of medical history awaits your exploration in the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) free and full-text digital archive of journals PubMed Central (PMC)! Known to most of its users as a free, full-text archive of recent biomedical journals, PMC also reaches back in time over two centuries.

An account of centralized health and relief agencies in Massachusetts during the 1918 influenza pandemic; an article by Florence Nightingale on nursing reform; a paper by W. H. R. Rivers on his treatment of “war neuroses” during World War I; a medical case report on America’s 20th president James A. Garfield, following his assassination in 1881; post-World War II thoughts about the future of the Army Medical Library by its director Frank Rogers; and seminal historical research articles aplenty: by Sir Alexander Fleming, on the use of penicillin to fight bacterial infections; by Walter Reed, on the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes; and by the bacteriologist Ida A. Bengtson, the first woman to work in the Hygienic Laboratory of the U.S. Public Health Service, the forerunner of the National Institutes of Health.”

Photos, and the article continues here:  from 1809+

From NLM Office Of Communications <> 2/23/16

IEEE Xplore — a 4-min. video

This video explains the scope and utility of this engineering database.  There are examples of searching and filtering results…. from nearly 4 million items  ( )

We, at Princeton can access, via IEEE:

IEEE/IET Electronic Library (IEL)

Your online subscription includes access to the full text of IEEE content published since 1988 with select content published since 1872 from:


Virtual Textbook of Organic Chemistry
William H. Reusch, emeritus professor at Michigan State University, published his Introduction to Organic Chemistry in 1977. Readers may purchase it for a list price of $137.74; or they may access the Virtual Textbook of Organic Chemistry, which contains nearly the same information online, for free, on this surprisingly comprehensive website. Here readers will find a fully operational organic chemistry textbook, divided into the two overarching topics of General Principles and Functional Group Reactions. Within General Principles, readers will learn the basics of Structure & Bonding, Intermolecular Forces, Chemical Reactivity, Aromaticity, and other subjects. Functional Group Reactions covers Alkanes, Alkenes, Alkynes, Alcohols, and many other subjects. For readers looking for a comprehensive, freely available organic chemistry textbook, this site will be a true boon. [CNH]”

Source:  The Scout Report, Univ. of Wisconsin, Jan. 22, 2016

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