The Scout Report - March 14, 1997

March 14, 1997

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.

In This Issue:

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

Research & Education

1996 Mathematics Report Card for the Nation and the States--NAEP [.pdf, 164p]
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), part of the National Center for Education Statistics, has recently made available (in Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format only) this assessment of the educational progress of students at grades 4, 8, and 12, in both public and private schools. "The national results...describe students' mathematics achievement at each grade and within various subgroups of the general population. State-level results for grades 4 and 8 are presented for individual states...that chose to participate in the 1996 state assessment." Among the major findings: students' scores on the NAEP mathematics scale increased for all three grades, and students' performance increased at three different proficiency levels between 1990 and 1996. These results are interesting in light of the rather less positive findings in the recently released Third International Mathematics and Science Study (discussed in the December 13, 1996 issue of The Scout Report). [JS]
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Two Interactive Physics Sites
University of Oregon Virtual Laboratory [Java, frames]
University of California-Berkeley Instructional Technology Program Interactive Physics Problem Set [MPEG]
The University of Oregon Physics Department's Virtual Laboratory provides enlightening (as well as entertaining) interactive Java-based tutorials on the principles of physics and astronomy. At present there are 14 beta-version applets in the fields of mechanics, thermodynamics, astrophysics, and electricity. Users can alter several variables of a cannon to attempt to hit a target, mix gases to find out at what temperature they will reach equilibrium, or observe the Ideal Gas Law with a piston in a pressure chamber. Most applets offer instructions in a separate frame to guide the student. Users should be aware, however, that in some cases succeeding (the cannon demonstration), or failing (piston pressure chamber) is so much fun that the physical principles on which they are based might be overlooked! For those without Java capabilities, there is the classic UC Berkeley Interactive Problem Set, 87 problems (click on the question mark to solve) covering 15 topics, including 35 MPEG animations depicting many of the concepts. [JS]
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Textile Dictionary
Are you tired of getting the same definitions for batiste, cambric, and lawn in your regular dictionary, when you're sure there must be a difference between them? You can now find detailed definitions to these and 179 other textile terms from the Textile Dictionary, produced by the Internet Centre for Canadian Fashion and Design. The entries are arranged under four main categories: Standard Cotton Fabrics; Standard Silk and Silk Imitation Fabrics; Standard Worsted, Wool and Hair fabrics; and Other Cellulose Fabrics. Details on fiber, weave, characteristics, and uses are given for most entries. The dictionary does not currently have a search capability, which would greatly enhance its usefulness. [AG]
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IEEE Internet Computing Online
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers offers this webzine as a companion to its new bimonthly print magazine IEEE Internet Computing. The purpose of IC Online is to "address the Internet's widening impact on engineering practice and society." The January/February 1997 debut issue contains the full text of the print magazine, including an interview with George Gilder, and articles on Internet-enabled computer-aided design and agents on the web, among others. It also contains the Arachnoid Tourist, reviews of selected engineering-related Internet sites. Future issues of IC Online will contain "magazine excerpts and web-unique content." Print magazine subscription information is available at the site. [JS]
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Archival Data Online Repository--University of Wisconsin Data and Program Library Service
The University of Wisconsin Data and Program Library Service, which has been providing machine-readable social science data to university researchers for over 30 years, has recently made this data repository available to everyone. At present the site contains 12 studies, including US riot and civil disorder data from 1961-1968, slave movement during the 18th and 19th centuries, the Russian and French Bureaucracies of the 18th & 19th and 17th & 18th centuries respectively, and the Catasto Study, a census and property survey in Florentine Domains and Verona Italy in the 15th century. Each study contains a description, data codebooks and documentation, citation instructions, and, after free registration, the data (UNIX tar.z or DOS self-extracting .exe files) from the study. As this site grows, it will become a major source of primary social science data. [JS]
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Quran Browser
Quran Browser User's Guide
Richard Goerwitz of the Scholarly Technology Group at Brown University, creator of the Bible Browser (discussed in the March 22, 1996 Scout Report), has created a companion search tool for the Quran. Users can search by passage, word, word part, or regular expression. Retrieval is available in three translations in basic mode and four in advanced mode. As with the Bible Browser, the Quran Browser allows all translations to be viewed in one table, and, in advanced mode, contains powerful search options. Goerwitz, upon moving from the University of Chicago to Brown University, has brought both of these resources with him. [JS]
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TELECOM-CITIES Discussion List
This list, sponsored by the Taub Urban Research Center at New York University, focuses on practical and theoretical aspects of the changes advanced telecommunications and telematics are rendering on our urban centers. Web-based subscription is available (see above URL). [JS]

To subscribe send email to:
In the body of the message type:
subscribe TELECOM-CITIES your email address Firstname Lastname
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General Interest

Nephron Information Center
Provided by Dr. Stephen Fadem, Medical Director for the Houston Kidney Center Integrated Service Network, the Nephron Information Center provides resources and links for kidney patients and their families, as well as technicians and practitioners. The "Dialysis Patient's Health Guide" is a mix of original articles and links to other Internet resources, arranged by topic and annotated by Dr. Fadem. "RenalWorld 97" offers geographically arranged links to renal resources worldwide. There's not a great deal of original content here, but those interested in renal health will appreciate the site's coverage of Internet resources and the structured search links (through Alta Vista) that will aid researchers. [ML]
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Philanthropic Advisory Service
Index to PAS Reports
CBBB Standards for Charitable Solicitations
A useful service available on the web from the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) is the Philanthropic Advisory Service (PAS). The PAS "promotes ethical standards within the charitable community, provides information to the public on charitable organizations, and educates individual and corporate donors on wise giving." PAS issues reports on non-profit organizations based on the number of inquiries received for an organization. They are available electronically at this website or through the mail (see website for address). An index to the current 117 PAS Reports is arranged alphabetically for easy browsing. Included with most reports is information on an organization's "background, current programs, governing body, fund-raising practices, tax-exempt status, finances, and indication of whether or not the organization complies with the 23 voluntary CBBB Standards for Charitable Solicitations." [AG]
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Paper Dinosaurs, 1824-1969
Anatomist Richard Owen coined the word "Dinosauria," or "terrible lizards" in 1842 when he attempted to order and name recently discovered prehistoric reptiles. Pages from his and many other works that document the history of the discovery of dinosaurs are on view at the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri, until April 30, 1997. The Library has made a web version of their exhibition catalog available that contains descriptive text from the 49 items in the show, and an additional 33 other relevant works from the collection not on display--the web version offers a total of 155 images from these sources. The pages of this electronic catalog contain images of both discovery and restoration, and are taken from "the classic papers of dinosaur lore, including the original publications of Gideon Mantell, Richard Owen, Othniel Marsh, and a host of others." Note that the web version is still under construction; the text to accompany the 33 web-only items is not yet finished. [AG]
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NCAA Basketball Tournaments Online [RealAudio, Java]
For those Internauts who wish to follow the 1997 NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments online, the official NCAA tournament site is highlighted by game cybercasts containing up-to-date scores, statistics, photos and live audio coverage. The site also contains features such as team and individual records, historical Final Four results, feature stories, and a listing of the brackets. It's probably the best way to track all of the games, all of the time. [JS]
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Seeing Ear Theatre [RealAudio]
The Dominion: The Sci-Fi Channel
The Sci-Fi Channel has recently added RealAudio (3.0 or later) renderings of original, classic, and adapted science fiction stories. New stories are offered biweekly, weekly, and monthly, respectively. At present the "original" section contains Into the Sun, performed by Mark Hamill, "classics" contains the 1950 broadcast of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, and "adaptations" contains Kafka's The Country Doctor. The site promises "synchroniz[ation of] text, illustrations, photos, and animations with the on-going streaming audio." However, the audio alone is more than effective for those with slower connections. The Dominion web site also contains Sci-Fi Channel program listings and other information of interest to science fiction fans. [JS]
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AADD-FOCUSED--For adults with ADD
The AADD-FOCUSED mailing list is an unmoderated focused discussion list for adults who have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Although there are other forums available for discussion of ADD-related topics, they are often too broadly defined and receive many postings not having to do with Adult ADD. Therefore AADD-FOCUSED has been created specifically for those who wish to read fewer, more focused messages per day on the subject of Adult ADD. [ML]

To subscribe, send email to:
In the body of the message type:
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Net Tools

Adobe Acrobat Access--PDF to HTML Conversion
Access White Paper
In an effort to make Acrobat (.pdf) files available in HTML format, thereby increasing Internet access for people with visual disabilities, Adobe has created this simple but powerful site. Users simply type in the full URL of a .pdf document, and the site returns the document in HTML format. An advanced mode allows limited page retrieval, alternative reading order, reflowing of paragraphs, and filtering of non-printable characters if desired. Page navigation links are provided. While the HTML renderings of tables, equations, and other complex formatting are imperfect (as might be expected), plain text is quickly and accurately rendered. Note that Net Scout tested the site on English language documents only. [JS]
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Lasso-Database to Web Conversion
Download Area:
Lasso, a product of Blue World Communications, is a Macintosh-only CGI/WebStar plug-in that enables a FileMaker Pro database to be published on the web using format files. Any HTML editor can be used to create the format files. These HTML documents contain Lasso commands that determine the interaction between FileMaker Pro, the server, and Lasso. FM Link is an included application that allows for easy drag-and-drop of Lasso commands into the format files. Lasso can allow guests to add, delete, update, and search records. It also provides support for relations/portals, conditional replies, repeating fields, remote administration security, forwarding email and much more. Some examples of what can be created online are guest books, discussion forums, and catalogs. A demo version of this commercial product is available, and pricing information is listed at the site. [TB]
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The World Wide Web as a Universal Interface to Government Services
PDF Version (135p):
The Center for Technology in Government at the State University of New York at Albany has recently published this study, designed to answer two fundamental questions: 1) "Can New York State government use the web as a universal interface for delivery of all or most services to citizens?", and 2) "Can New York State government use the web as a universal interface for conducting business within and among agencies?" The answer to both questions is a "qualified yes." The study is divided into the major topics of information dissemination, business application, group collaboration, and education and training services. It is useful in that while it is specific to New York, its findings are relevant to all government agencies that might ponder service delivery via the web. The HTML version contains many relevant pointers. [JS]
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Copyright Susan Calcari, 1994-1997. 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 (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

Susan Calcari
Jack Solock
Matthew Livesey
Teri Boomsma
Aimee D. Glassel
Amy Tracy Wells
Managing Editor
Production Editor

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