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With a heart rate measured at up to1260 beats per minute and wing beats of up to 80 per second, humming-birds are some of nature's tiniest speed demons. They are surprisingly diverse, with habitats ranging from high tropical mountains to almost every US state and Canadian province. Tracking these unusual birds is a labor of love for Lanny Chambers, Steve Elliot, and others at the Hummingbirds.net website. Were you aware that humming-birds are migratory, or that one species even sings? Perhaps you're looking for strategies to attract hummers to your yard. All of this information and more is only a click away.
Thoughts for Food
Have you ever checked the contents of that breakfast cereal box? Do it and you may discover the danger of blissful ignorance. Folks counting their sodium ions will probably be surprised to learn that a serving of Cheerios contains about 10% of a maximum daily allowance of salt. The addition of chemicals to foods to preserve them and alter the flavor is as American as, say, Twinkies, and it's probably not all good for you. At the Fooducate food blog, you'll get to “digest” well-written food-related stories that will alternately surprise and worry you. Put together by Hemi Weingarten, a self-described “concerned San Francisco Bay father of three,” Fooducate has the look and polish of a high-budget information site with a pleasant, personal touch.
You're at a party and the conversation turns to carbs, but you think they're talking about carbons. If this sounds familiar, then the simply titled “Organic Division Information” (ODI) needs to be one of your bookmarks. Taking a sort of Reader's Digest approach to the topic of organic chemistry reactions, this University of Wisconsin web site does about as much in a single page for a topic as one should expect. Organized in a panel on the left side of the opening page are the site's eight main category areas: chemical reactions, chemical data, spectroscopy, organometallics, nomenclature, organic compounds, techniques, and links. Through this tidy interface, ODI provides chem-centric visitors with easy access to enough information to fill a textbook—all in a simple, hyperlinked format.
Taking a sort of techno-scientific tack on the old BBC series called “That Was the Week That Was,” This Week in Science Podcasts describes itself as a “weekly science radio show featuring topics such as cloning, space exploration, cybernetics, genetics, and world robot domination.” Offerings are in the form of weekly podcasts, hosted at the University of California, Davis campus by a group of neo-hipsters in a decidedly unconventional format. Each show discusses the scientific news of the week in a style that is both amusing and refreshingly casual. Indeed, it is this latter quality of the online banter that probably brings listeners back week after week. With downloadable archives dating back to 2002, This Week in Science Podcasts is almost an internet institution.
Charged with generating large, discovery-driven datasets in genomics and proteomics, NURSA (Nuclear Receptor Signaling Atlas) aims to define nuclear receptor and co-regulator functional interactomes in native cells. Start your navigation through the site using the well-designed, Flash-based tutorial on nuclear receptor signaling. If you're looking for specific molecular receptors, co-regulators, or ligands, you'll find them in cleverly designed drop-down menus. Upon registration, visitors can download datasets of affinity purifications, quantitative PCR data, and microarrays. You can also stay abreast of research by perusing recent PubMed articles on nuclear receptor signaling, as well as NURSA-funded publications. There are also sections devoted to news, meetings, and reagents. Simply put, NURSA rocks nuclear receptor signaling.
Pick a disease—any disease (from a list of over 100)—and HealthMap will plot the location of its occurrences on a world map for any user-specified time period. Data sources for HealthMap include the WHO and the World Organization for Animal Health, along with news sources, such as Google and eyewitness reports. Some of the information is surprising. For example, a plot at press time uncovered an incidence of rabies lighting up a section on the East coast of the US but nothing in all of South America or Australia. A different search shows that swine flu, mercifully, appears to be on the decline. Funded by Google, the CDC, and National Library of Medicine and the Canadian Institute of Health Resources, HealthMap gives visitors a worldly perspective on disease in one quick trip.
In the April 2010 WebWatch article entitled “Interface Space,” the Bioinformatics Centre at the Kerala Agricultural University was incorrectly credited with creating PLASBID. It was, in fact, the Bioinformatics Centre at the Indian Institutes of Spices Research in Calicut, Kerala.