Monday, 31 August 2009

Worlds largest online library at risk?

Google's plan for world's biggest online library: philanthropy or act of piracy? Google has already scanned 10 million books in its bid to digitise the contents of the world's major libraries, but a copyright battle now threatens the project, with Amazon and Microsoft joining authors and publishers opposed to the scheme as copyright issues raise their head. Read William Skidelsky's article in full here

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Watermelon juice the new biofuel?

Twenty percent of watermelons never make it to the picnic table. Rather, one in every five is left to ripen and rot in the field, rejected for even the slightest of cosmetic imperfections. But U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers may have found a way to elevate these outcasts to an even higher calling than the summer BBQ: biofuel production. Intrigued?. Have a look at yesterday's post on the SciAm blog here. The full research article by Fish, Bruton & Russo is due to be published today in Biotechnology for Biofuels 2009, 2:1. Read the abstract here.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Biology Project resource

The Biology Project is an interactive online resource for learning biology developed at The University of Arizona. The Biology Project is fun, richly illustrated, and has been tested on 1000s of students. It has been designed for biology students at the college level, but is also useful for biomedical students. Tutorials include biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, immunology, genetics and human biology. Click it and see!

Monday, 24 August 2009

ebook of life keeps on growing

An online encyclopedia aiming to describe every type of animal and plant on the planet has reached 170,000 entries and is helping research into ageing, climate change and even the spread of insect pests. The Encyclopedia of Life a project launched in 2007 says it wants to describe all the 1.8 million known species – from apples to zebras – within a decade. “We’re picking up speed,” James Edwards, the EOL executive director based at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said yesterday of the 170,000 entries with content in a common format vetted by experts. A year ago, it had 30,000 entries. He said everyone from scientists to schoolchildren could use the EOL as a “field guide” or contribute a photograph or an observation of an animal. More details here

Friday, 14 August 2009

New nitrogen molecule produced at NUI Galway

NUI Galway researchers have been confirmed as the first to produce a molecule made of nitrogen. It has caused a lot of fuss over the years. Nasa wanted it. The US Air Force wanted it. Chemists have been trying to isolate it for years. But now an Irish scientist based at NUI Galway has been proven to have delivered it – it being a molecule containing no less than five nitrogen atoms. “It” also comes with a negative charge and a difficult name, pentazole anion (N5-). Pentazole is a nitrogen unit that many believe could form the basis of new, energy-intensive rocket fuels that could revolutionise space travel, hence the huge interest in this molecule. See Marina Murphy's article in full here

Thursday, 13 August 2009


For new fans of Twitter out there here are a few links to making the most of the tweetosphere from and the Irish Times.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Search engine wars

Google is in the wars. MS Bing have recently signed to be the search engine behind Yahoo search. And with Bing beginning to get some market share from Google the competition is hotting up. Facebook has also just launched a new real time search engine aka Facebook Search. But Google’s fighting back and is working on the next generation of Google Search; a new infrastructure for the world’s largest search engine e.g. a new version of Google. It's still under construction, but Google’s now so happy with the new version of its search engine that it has released the development version. Go see more at

Monday, 10 August 2009

Intute new layout launched

The new easy use Intute is now up and running. Intute's purpose is to help you find the best websites for study and research. Click on your topic and find search options, links and etutorials developed by a team of subject specialists. Click here to find links to their subject booklets.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

New Google titles now available

What Would Google do? (2009) at 658.4012
Google SketchUp Cookbook (2009) at 006.693
Google Docs 4 Everyone (2009) at 005.5
Using Google App Engine (2009) at 004.678