The Scout Report - December 6, 1996

December 6, 1996

A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Science Department, University of Wisconsin

A Project of the InterNIC

The Scout Report is a weekly publication offering a selection of new and newly discovered Internet resources of interest to researchers and educators, the InterNIC's primary audience. However, everyone is welcome to subscribe to one of the mailing lists (plain text or HTML). Subscription instructions are included at the end of each report.

An Acrobat .pdf version of this report is available for printing and distributing locally. For information on Adobe Acrobat Reader, visit the Adobe site.

In This Issue:

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

Research & EducationTree of Life
Description of the Project:
Tree of Life Help Pages:
This site, provided by David and Wayne Maddison of the Departments of Entomology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, of the University of Arizona, is "designed to contain information about the phylogenetic relationships and characteristics of organisms, to illustrate the diversity and unity of living organisms, and to link biological information available on the Internet in the form of a phylogenetic navigator." It does this via a browsable and searchable tree of phylogenetic categories. Users can follow the detailed tree or use an express page to get to a specific life group or organism. This is a complex site, and users are advised to study carefully the description of the project and help pages. And although very little of the tree is complete, there are at present over 1100 pages available. It is a site that is awesome in its ambition, as well as its content. [JS]
[Back to Contents]Splendors of Ancient Egypt [RealAudio, QuickTimeVR]
Table of Contents:
The Houston Chronicle, as part of its Virtual Voyager series, in conjunction with the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, has made this virtual tour of ancient Egyptian artifacts available via the Web. The site, which is a selection of an HMFA exhibition running from September 22, 1996 to March 30, 1997, consists of 67 artifacts, along with descriptions and general time period, and 4 QuickTimeVR artifacts that users can move around to get a better look at. There are also two RealAudio files, one a 55 minute tour that can be listened to separately or used in conjunction with selected parts of the site, and the other a 1 hour and 25 minute lecture by Dr. Arne Eggebrecht, director of the Pelizaeus Museum, Hildesheim, Germany, from whose holdings this exhibit was drawn.[JS]
[Back to Contents]Buildings, Books, and Bytes: Libraries and Communities in the Digital Age
The Benton Foundation, with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, has recently made this study available at their website. It "compares library leaders' visions for the future with the public's prescriptions for libraries, derived from public opinion research that forms the backbone of this study." Using libraries as a focal point, it should provoke much thought about how other institutions that provide public information will be impacted by the digital revolution. The study is based on "a national survey to test public support for libraries in the digital age," conducted in April of 1996. At present the study is available in HTML, with an Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) version forthcoming. [JS]
[Back to Contents]Well Connected Educator
The well known Global Schoolhouse (discussed in the July 28, 1995 issue of the Scout Report) has opened this new site for K-12 educators, administrators, parents and others as a "publishing center and forum" for "success stories, models, strategies, and specific examples of how to use technology for teaching and learning," as well as "perspectives on key issues in educational technology." Articles are actively solicited. The site's contents (browsable and searchable) are divided into articles, columns, and special features. At present there are contributions on technology in the creative arts, email on the Internet, 6th graders using spreadsheets to learn probability, grant proposal help, and Internet resources in special education and African American studies, among others. The site also includes forums and guidelines for prospective contributors. [JS]
[Back to Contents]Latin American Government Documents Project
The Latin American Government Documents Project, provided by David Block of the Olin Library of Cornell University, attempts to "organize and describe the many Latin American official documents now appearing on the Internet." The site is organized by country and agency, within subject themes that include statistical sources, executive documents, national legislative documents, national judicial documents, and subnational documents. The contents of each site are briefly summarized. This is a very well organized, concise pointer site that should be very useful to interested Internauts. Note that most of the pointers are to Spanish language sites. [JS]
[Back to Contents]SocioSite--Going Dutch Sociology
This site, provided by Albert Benschop of the Sociological Institute of the University of Amsterdam, is a large meta-site that is international in scope and European in flavor, although there are also pointers to non-European sites. Its main page contains annotated pointers to sites in 24 main topic areas from data archives to subject areas (106 at this time, from activism to work). Sites are accompanied by brief annotations, and when geographic breakouts are available, they often contain the Dutch, then European, then non-European sites. Unfortunately there is no search utility, which would help users navigate the hundreds of pointers. And in some cases, even in a field this broad, pointers wander to the boundaries of the subject matter (and sometimes beyond). That said, this is still an excellent place to start for sociological resources, especially European ones. [JS]
[Back to Contents]Abstract Algebra Online
From abelian group to zero divisor (definitions), and from Artin-Wedderburn theorem to Wedderburn's theorem, this site provides concise explanations of complex concepts in abstract algebra. Provided by Professor John A. Beachy of Northern Illinois University as a companion to two books he has written, it is designed as a handbook for students studying the topic. The site is accessible by chapter (twelve, including integers, polynomials, rings, and Galois Theory, among others), and by alphabetical indices of definitions and theorems. Note that the definitions include many symbols, represented as embedded .gif files. [JS]
[Back to Contents]Site-tation--Legal site of the week mailing list
Site-tation is a distribution list for Site-tation (legal site of the week) and What's New on the ABA Network (the website of the American Bar Association). Site-tation is a page of the ABA Network that presents a different legal web site each week. The ABA Network ( is updated daily, and once a week What's New on the ABA Network is posted to the web site and now in a mailing list. [JS]
To subscribe send email to:
In the body of the message type:
subscribe site-tation
[Back to Contents]

General Interest

HIV/AIDS: The Global Epidemic--UNAIDS and WHO
Provided by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization, this fact sheet provides up to date information on the progress of the worldwide AIDS pandemic. It provides estimates as of December 1996 for new infections in 1996, people living with HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS-associated deaths in 1996, and cumulative AIDS information. It also contains a geographic table of AIDS-related information. It is connected to a much larger study, _The Status and Trends of the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic_, the result of a symposium held in July 1996 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Note that both the fact sheet and larger monograph may load very slowly due to the graphic design of the sites, which, while visually appealing, is a hindrance in the distribution of this important information. If this site looks more like HotWired than the United Nations, that is because it was designed by a member of the HotWired staff. In spite of that, the compelling content of the site is worth the wait. [JS]
[Back to Contents]EPA Announces Proposed New Air Quality Standards [.zip]
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has recently proposed new air quality standards for ozone and particulate matter, and information about these proposals is available at a newly established web site. The highlight of the site is the availability of fact sheets, along with full texts (in .zip format) of the new proposals. There is also a listing of counties not meeting the current and proposed ozone and particulate matter standards, along with a map of counties not meeting the proposed ozone standard. Also at the site is a fact sheet on how the proposed standards will affect your city or county. [JS]
[Back to Contents]Nova Odyssey of Life [VIVO, QuickTime, .avi]
Less Graphical Entrance:
As a companion to its NOVA Odyssey of Life series, PBS has created a fascinating web site that is highlighted by a morphing embryos section that allows the viewer (with the proper software) to see the development of fish, chicken, pig, and human embryos. Also at the site are a virtual tour of the microscopic animals that live on you, your furniture, clothes, and books; an interview with Lennart Nilsson, the famous endoscope photographer; a cyberdebate between a creationist and an evolutionist; and a teacher's guide for both parts of the series (under Learn). [JS]
[Back to Contents]Commercial News USA
This site is the electronic version of an official publication of the United States Department of Commerce. CNUSA is an American export catalog-magazine that is designed to promote U.S. products and services to more than 150 countries at a fraction of the cost of any other form of advertising. The site is divided into two sections, one for importers and one for exporters. The importer section contains a searchable directory of US exporters and allows users to post special requests for products and services on an electronic bulletin board. The exporter section contains information for signing up as well as information on what importers are looking for. [EH]
[Back to Contents]Great Outdoor Recreation Pages--Snow Sports
GORP Snow Sports, provided by Greer Consulting Services, is a meta-site devoted to briefly annotated pointers to snow sporting related pages. At its heart are regional pointers pages to information on nordic and alpine skiing. These guides concentrate mostly on the US and Canada, but there is also some European, South American, and Australian and New Zealand information. In addition, there is a small guide to snowmobiling, snowboarding, and dog sledding. [JS]
[Back to Contents]Virtual Jerusalem Chanukah Megasite [MIDI, Shockwave]
The holiday season is upon us, with Chanukah leading off this year. A good place to start when celebrating Chanukah in cyberspace is Virtual Jerusalem's Chanukah Megasite. The site is highlighted by its information on the history of the holiday, including a historical timeline, along with commentary by several rabbis about its meaning. Also included are sing-alongs of famous Chanukah songs, several recipes, and Shockwave-based dreidel and candle games. Note that the Scout Report will cover other holidays in future reports. [JS]
[Back to Contents]AgeSmart--Productive Aging Mailing List
AgeSmart is a forum for exchanging ideas, methods, and information about incorporating positive and sensible approaches to aging into the lives of those who are nearing or who have reached the half-century mark! Its objectives are to: help participants focus on the positive and productive aspects of aging; assist in the improvement of mind, body and spirit as one ages; encourage constructive, entertaining discussion, advice, information and anecdotes of interest to participants; and motivate list members to make positive changes in their lives. [JS]
To subscribe send email to:
In the body of the message type:
subscribe AgeSmart yourfirstname yourlastname
[Back to Contents]

Net Tools

New Modules Added to InterNIC 15 Minute Series
ftp to:
change directory to: NIC-support/15min/
InterNIC Information and Education Services has recently added 10 new modules to the 15 Minute Series (discussed in the August 30, 1996 Scout Report), in the areas of Internet History, Internet Organizations, and Tools. The modules concern netiquette, client/server computing, Internet history, the ARPANET, NSF involvement, the InterNIC, the Internet Society, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, and Netscape Navigator. In addition, modules are now available as compressed HTML files, as well as compressed PowerPoint files. The 15 Minute Series is a collection of free, modular, and extensible Internet training materials for the research and education community. [JS]
[Back to Contents]WWWomen
This Internet subject directory, provided by WWWomen, a private company in San Francisco, advertises itself as "the premier search directory for women online." Here the user will find a searchable and browsable directory that looks similar to the Yahoo model. Sites are available in 16 main categories, with several subcategories under each. As with Yahoo, a search can be used to locate the subject categories that relevant resources reside in. In addition, there is a women's online news section, a pointer to Joan Korenman's page of women's resources mailing lists (discussed in the May 17, 1996 Scout Report), and annotated "guided tours" through arts and entertainment, business, and sports sites. [JS]
[Back to Contents]QuickTime and QuickTimeVR for Mac and Windows95/NT
Mac QT & QTVR Download Page:
Windows95/NT QT & QTVR Download Page:
QuickTime (QT), a cross-platform media format that lets users experience movies, audio and MIDI files, is built into the Mac and Unix versions of Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer; now Windows 3.1/95/NT users can download the free player from the Apple Web site. QuickTimeVR (QTVR) is an enhancement to QuickTime that allows users to move around in real (photographic) or artificial 3D environment using the mouse. Mac and Windows users can download an installer that includes both QT 2.5 and QTVR from the Apple Web site. [PJD]
[Back to Contents]

Copyright Susan Calcari, 1996. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the Scout Report provided the copyright notice and this paragraph is preserved on all copies. The InterNIC provides information about the Internet to the US research and education community under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation: NCR-9218742. The Government has certain rights in this material.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, the National Science Foundation, AT&T, or Network Solutions, Inc.

The Scout Report Team:

Susan Calcari
Jack Solock
Matt Livesey
Project Director and Managing Editor
Editor and Internet Librarian
Production Editor
Pete DeVries
Amy Tracy Wells
Eric Hazen
Teri Boomsma
Internet Tools Specialist
Internet Librarian
Tech-support/listserv/web/graphic guy
Internet Media Specialist

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