“As the website rather modestly states, The Plant List is “a working list of all known plant species.” In other words, botanically inspired readers will find on this site basic information about 1,293,685 (and counting) different plants. Readers may like to begin with How to use this site, a comprehensive section that describes how to search The Plant List, when it is useful or not useful to conduct a search, when it is more helpful to browse, and other tips and tidbits. After getting their bearings, readers may then want to delve into the list itself. For instance, the Browse tab allows readers to look into the four major groups (flowering plants, conifers, ferns, and mosses), and then dig down into family, genera, and species. For science teachers looking for new resources to offer their students, or for anyone fascinated by plants, this collaboration between the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, and the Missouri Botanical Garden is a truly comprehensive resource. [CNH]”
- Source: The Scout Report — Volume 21, Number 32 (HTML), Aug. 21, 2015
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released updated environmental and public health indicators and made them available in an online database. “This is an online update to EPA’s Report on the Environment. Users can explore 85 individual indicators– on our air, water, land, human exposure, health and ecological condition– using interactive graphs, tables, and maps, and download the data for each indicator.”
Source: ResearchBuzz by Tara Calishain, July 21, 2015
- http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/brain/“In 2013, President Obama unveiled “The Brain Initiative,” a ten-year, nearly one billion dollar effort to unlock the mysteries of the brain. With contributions by everyone from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to Google, the initiative focuses on diverse fields and research methodologies. Readers will find much to explore on this accompanying website from NSF, including several dozen beautifully produced videos designed for classroom use. The videos, most of which are about five-minutes in length, cover topics such as the thinking brain, the perceiving brain, brain states and consciousness, the evolving brain, the emotional brain, the effects of musical training on the brain, and interviews with a number of groundbreaking brain researchers. Additionally, readers may peruse information about the brain initiative on the site, including Funding, Events, Resources, and News related to the project.”[CNH]
- Source: Scout Report, Univ. of Wisc., 7/17/2015, Vol. 21 (27)
- http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nyas.2015.1336.issue-1/issuetoc“With the bulk of scientific articles and reports placed behind a paywall, it’s always a welcome gift when good research is made available for free. This report on the New York Panel on Climate Change 2015 is loaded with excellent information – and it’s free and available to anyone with an Internet connection. As the introduction to the report notes, “The climate of the New York City metropolitan region is changing – annual temperatures are hotter, heavy downpours are increasingly frequent, and the sea is rising.” The rest of the report includes a knowledgeable forward by Mayor Bill de Blasio, an executive summary on the findings of the panel, an article outlining the panel’s climate observations and projections, and chapters on sea level rise, coastal storms, coastal flooding, public health impacts, and conclusions and recommendations. For inspired readers, there are also appendices to the report that feature infographics and technical details.” [CNH]
- Source: Scout Report, Univ. Wisc., July 17, 2015 (Vol. 21 no. 27)
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has announced plans to launch mSphereTM, a new pan-microbiology open-access journal, in early 2016. mSphere will create new opportunities for researchers in microbial sciences to share findings that are transforming our understanding of human health and disease, ecosystems, neuroscience, agriculture, energy production, climate change, evolution, biogeochemical cycling, and food and drug production.
mSphere will build on the success of mBio®, ASM’s first open access journal. Its scope will reflect the immense range of fields within the microbial sciences. An emphasis will be placed on bringing together these diverse fields to feature their common threads through the data, methods, and conceptual frameworks of original peer-reviewed research.
Dr. Michael Imperiale, Founding Editor in Chief of mSphere is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School and a member of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Author of more than 135 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, Dr. Imperiale has served as an editor of ASM’s Journal of Virology® and mBio® and associate editor of Virology and PLoS Pathogens.
ASM journals have long been recognized as important venues for dissemination of significant, high-quality microbiological research. The launch of mSphere will complement the excellence of ASM’s 10 specialised primary research journals. mSphere™ will welcome submissions from authors around the world and will provide rapid decisions on publication, while carrying on ASM’s tradition for rigorous peer review. Like the rest of the ASM journals program, the new journals will be hosted on the HighWire platform at journals.asm.org.
A formal ‘Call for Papers’ will be issued in September 2015, and the journal launch is planned for early 2016.”
Source: Knowledgespeak News, June 10, 2015
What we know is a website of AAAS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The site explains the 3 “R’s” of climate change: reality, risk and response. There are a couple of videos with brief interviews with and presentations by prominent climate scientists. A 14-page PDF version of “What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change” is available for downloading.
Source: Choice Reviews, June, 2015, pp. 1691-2. Reviewed by A.C. Prendergast, University of South Alabama
Best of the Web from Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News <firstname.lastname@example.org>
May 15, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 10)
Critical Thinking Web
Critical thinking, logic, and creativity are three important traits for scientists (and anyone, really) to possess. The Critical Thinking Web, hosted by the philosophy department at the University of Hong Kong, is an online resource composed of tutorials covering various aspects of “thinking skills.” For example, visitors to the site will find tutorials about logic, scientific reasoning, strategic thinking, and fallacies, among many other topics. The tutorials are largely presented as text descriptions and case studies, and are sometimes accompanied by diagrams or other visual aids. Beyond the tutorials, the “resources” page includes a few downloadable documents such as critical thinking exercises, and there are also book recommendations and a link to an online directory of critical thinking web resources.
Thomson Reuters has released a new research Global 500 Greenhouse Gas Report: The Fossil Fuel Energy Sector, revealing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data from 32 global energy companies, a key subset of the world’s largest publically traded businesses. The report, written in collaboration with global sustainability consultancy BSD Consulting, is the second in a series of GHG reports designed to create transparency and enable sound management of global GHG emissions.
Building on the previous report, the new report includes data around consumers’ use of a company’s products, called Scope 3 data, to present a fuller view of the business’s overall contribution to GHG emissions. Among the data included in the report, 31 percent of GHG emitted globally on an annual basis comes from 32 global energy companies and the population’s use of their products.
From 2010 to 2013, GHG emissions from the 32 energy companies and use of their products increased by 1.3 percent, a sharp contrast to the 2014 United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report, which recommended a 4.2 percent reduction of GHG emissions over the same time period to keep global temperatures within manageable limits.
In addition to contributions from the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Climate Accountability Institute, self-reported GHG emissions data was gathered from energy sector businesses and combined with estimates pulled from Thomson Reuters ASSET4, a provider of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) data. ASSET4 gathers standardised, objective, quantitative and qualitative ESG data on more than 4,800 publicly listed companies.”
Knowledgespeak Newsletter 21 May, 2015
From the “Cornell Chronicle”, Jan. 15, 2015, and seen in the “Fast Facts” column of “College & Research Libraries News”, Vol. 76(2) p. 108, Feb., 2015,
“As an open-access service, it allows scientists from disciplines encompassing physics, statistics, computer science and others to share research before it’s formally published. One million papers have now been uploaded to the repository.”
“arXiv received more than 97,000 new submissions in 2014. More than 150 subject experts from around the world evaluate and categorize every article posted on arXiv.”
Date:May 3, 2015 Science Daily
Summary: A group of unusual giant black holes may be consuming excessive amounts of matter, according to a new study. This finding may help astronomers understand how the largest black holes were able to grow so rapidly in the early Universe.”
A group of unusual giant black holes may be consuming excessive amounts of matter, according to a new study using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This finding may help astronomers understand how the largest black holes were able to grow so rapidly in the early Universe.
- B. Luo, W. N. Brandt, P. B. Hall, Jianfeng Wu, S. F. Anderson, G. P. Garmire, R. R. Gibson, R. M. Plotkin, G. T. Richards, D. P. Schneider, O. Shemmer, Yue Shen. X-ray Insights into the Nature of PHL 1811 Analogs and Weak Emission-Line Quasars: Unification with a Geometrically Thick Accretion Disk? The Astrophysical Journal, 2015 [link]