Week of December 29, 2002

Ben's GOVT 101

Ben Franklin has the low-down on the government at Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids at http://bensguide.gpo. gov. You can check out historical documents and learn about making laws. Find out about American symbols, such as the bald eagle and Liberty Bell, and learn about their significance. If you want to become president, glance at the electoral process. Then read about the roles of the three branches of government. When you think you know it all, quiz yourself with games and activities.

Nominate a cool Web site at

Visit the Featured Web sites to find the answers

What is the national flower of the United States of America?



What is used to make paper?



When do scientists estimate the universe was born?
100,000 years ago
10 million years ago
15 billion years ago




Wood Pulp, Not Orange Pulp

Make your watermark with Paper Online at www.paperonline.org and learn about the paper cycle and the history of paper. You'll find information about paper grades and products, and you can read about issues regarding paper and the environment. Use the glossary and the archived questions and answers to increase your depth of learning. After you have built up your paper knowledge, try making some of your own.

Physics Isn't Bohr-ing

Board a space shuttle headed to Fundamental Physics in Space at http://funphysics.jpl.
. You can read about the Big Bang and physics topics such as theories of the creation of the universe. You'll find details about the research that led Niels Bohr and Lord Rutherford to make the first model of the atom. If you're feeling gutsy, join Albert Einstein in the fourth dimension where you'll learn about the bending of space. When you're ready to relax, scope out the gallery and play games of cosmic proportions.

When, if ever, should people under 18 be tried as adults?


Speak Out Here!

Dear Amy: What's the difference between Flash and
Shockwave? -- Tim, Chicago

Dear Tim: Flash and Shockwave serve many of the same purposes. Their differences lie in each one's usability, from both the creator's and the user's side. Flash movies are created in Flash while Shockwave movies are created in another program called Director. Flash uses a vector environment, which allows it to have relatively small files, whereas Shockwave uses a bitmap environment.

A creator must consider the difference in file size for the sake of the user. However, the efficiency of the programs affects the creator. Director has been around longer than Flash, so it is more refined and is generally considered to be more usable from the creator's standpoint. But Flash continues to improve from one version to the next. According to Webmonkey at http://hotwired.lycos.com/ webmonkey/99/27/index3a.html, "it seems convergence is inevitable" as the two programs increase in similarity. For example, Shockwave is capable of importing a Flash movie and treating it as it treats other assets such as images and sound files.

Whether you want to create something flashy or cause a shockwave, deciding which program is best depends on your own needs. (This site is no longer available.)

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