The Scout Report -- Volume 8, Number 48

December 6, 2002

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In This Issue:

NSDL Scout Reports

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

NSDL Scout Reports

NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology
The twenty-second issue of the first volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about the technology of movies.

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Research and Education

Water for Life: The Impact of the Privatization of Water Services on Child Mortality [.pdf]
Written as part of the Working Paper series at the Center for Research on Economic Development and Policy at Stanford, this 46-page paper examines the effects of the privatization of water services on child mortality in Argentina. Composed by Sebastian Galiani, Paul Gertler, Ernesto Schargrodsky, the paper contains research showing that child mortality fell 5 to 7 percent in areas that privatized their water services. In some of the poorest areas surveyed, the authors estimate that the child mortality rate dropped 24 percent after water service was privatized. The authors are also careful to note that, while privatization is associated with reductions in deaths from infectious and parasitic diseases, it was uncorrelated with deaths from causes unrelated to water conditions in these areas. For persons working in the fields of public policy and public health, this paper will be of great interest. [KMG]
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Limitations of Civic Service: Critical Perspectives [.pdf]
This working paper from the Center for Social Development at Washington University offers a critical perspective and assessment about the nature and function of civic service programs around the globe, particularly those with an international orientation. Written by Jenny Brav, Amanda Moore, and Michael Sherraden, the 15-page paper is designed to "explore a range of possible limitations and criticisms of service, and to suggest ways to address and research these limitations." Beginning with defining the terms and typologies of service, the authors provide an overview of contemporary and historic research in the area. They continue by discussing some more problematic elements that can be functions and implicit agendas of these programs, such as elitism, state interests, and imperialism. As they are careful to note in their concluding remarks, the authors state that "Sensitivity to issues of bias, exclusion, control, and cultural exploitation will be important in service development and implementation." [KMG]
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The Fiscal Survey of States [.pdf]
Released on November 25, 2002, this latest 68-page report from the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers demonstrates that many of the 50 states face dire financial problems that are among the worst in 50 years. Some highlights from the report include information revealing that 26 states used across-the-board cuts in their budgets and "rainy-day" funds in 2002, along with the equally ominous information that 16 states experienced negative growth in the past fiscal year. The full report contains detailed charts and tables documenting, with great specificity, the nature of the budget cuts within each state, along with listing the types of programs that were curtailed or eliminated entirely. Perhaps most telling is the report's finding that state balances for the 2003 fiscal year have dropped 70 percent since they peaked in the 2000 fiscal year. [KMG]
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New York World's Fair: 1964-1965
Bill Young has created a fascinating and well-thought out tribute to the New York World's Fair of 1964-1965, whose theme was "Peace Through Understanding." Easily navigated, the site features a navigation tutorial, which may be helpful, as there is a substantial amount of material contained here. Visitors to the site can search for different information about the Fair by clicking one of the maps of the fairgrounds, or by going to an alphabetical list of the pavilions at the Fair. Within the People, Places, Things section of the site, visitors can read the reminisces of Greg Dawson, the public relations director for the fair and about Mr. Young's own encounter with the legendary Robert Moses, who was the director of the World's Fair. The Stories section features essays and commentaries by visitors to the Web site on the Fair. From the main site, visitors can also send virtual postcards of the Fair, along with shopping for a number of items related to the Fair's history and development. For anyone with an interest in the history of World's Fairs, or American cultural history more generally, this site is quite essential. [KMG]
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National Rural Education Association
Founded in 1907, the National Rural Education Association is an organization designed to provide educational and administrative support to rural schools throughout the United States. Located at the University of Oklahoma, the Association's Web site provides information about their activities, including a list of mini-grants, teaching awards, and a yearly calendar that will be of great help to persons working in rural education settings. The site also contains the organization's bylaws, general objectives, and a listing of standing committees and executive directors. Other resources on the site include a listing of national education laboratories and other links to national educational research and policy groups and institutions. Lastly, the site contains full-text editions of two of the Association's publications, "Rural Education News" and "Rural Educator." [KMG]
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The Mississippian Moundbuilders and Their Artifacts
While the lower Midwest and southeastern United States may be home to a distinct form of urbanism today, the Mississippian mound builders of 1200 years ago began to engage in a form of urban development that would stand unrivaled in the area for over five hundred years. Anthony Stein has done a fine job of bringing their story to the Internet, as he offers an important perspective on the Native Americans in this region of the United States, and more specifically, their material culture and artifacts. Visitors to this site will find 10 sections devoted to a different type of Mississippian artifact, including pottery, flint implements, pipes, and ear ornaments. Within each section, Mr. Stein explains the importance of each type of artifact within everyday life, while including images of each type of artifact. [KMG]
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Irish Architecture
Serving as a massive clearinghouse for information about contemporary and historic architecture and urban design practices in Ireland, this site contains the archives of several major organizations, including the Irish Architectural Archive and the Irish Landscape Institute. Maintained by Paul Clerkin, a native of Ireland, the site features a calendar of upcoming events and forums related to Irish architecture, along with a book review section and material about national and international architecture competitions. Along with this general material, visitors can find profiles of several major and influential Irish architects, including essays on the work of Eileen Gray, Michael Scott, and Kevin Roche (who may be best known in the US for working on the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the TWA Terminal at JFK Airport in New York). Architects, architectural students, and historians will also find the discussion boards featured here an excellent way to share ideas with others around the world. [KMG]
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African National Congress
The African National Congress was formed in 1912 to unite the peoples of Africa and to work towards substantive reform of existing political, economic, and social structures. The Congress is probably best known for its work in South Africa, where they were the leading impetus behind the negotiation of a democratic constitution for the nation in 1996. The Web site contains a wealth of materials on ongoing advocacy activities of the Congress, including their yearly conference and the activities of their regional and provincial offices throughout South Africa. Perhaps the strongest element of the site is the publication and documents section, which contains the African National Congress weekly newsletter and their annual reports. The historical document section is particularly valuable to scholars and historians, as it holds seminal documents and papers germane to the historical development of the Congress, along with the speeches and writings of its presidents, who include Chief Albert J. Lutuli and Nelson Mandela. Overall, the site is a valuable resource -- one that will be valued by persons doing research on African political and cultural history. [KMG]
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General Interest

Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia
Originating from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, this fascinating online exhibit examines the folkways and culture of the people in southern West Virginia. As the project sought to examine the relationship between the people and their rugged physical surroundings, it is appropriate that the exhibit offers a host of materials that orient the visitor to this part of the country, including several well designed maps. The site itself contains 679 audio recordings and 1256 photographs, all of which can be searched by subject, geographic location, and title. The audio clips feature natives of the region talking about everyday experiences such as hunting, gardening, coal mining, and timbering. Additionally, there are several special collections organized around certain themes, including "Seasonal Round of Activities on Coal River" and "Seining for Hellgrammites on Coal River." All in all, Tending the Commons is another detailed and thorough presentation of material from the vast collection of the American Folklife Center that will be of interest to the casual visitor, or those seeking to learn more about the folkways of this area. [KMG]
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PBS Frontline Home Page
This Web site companion to the popular PBS show Frontline offers attractions for both the show's aficionados, as well as those with a more casual interest. There are previews of upcoming shows and an archives of past shows, which can be browsed chronologically or by subject - handy for a general user looking for information rather than a particular show. Web sites for individual previous shows provide texts, images, related readings, links to online discussion forums, and video clips (sometimes entire programs). For example, at the Web site for the Frontline program, "Let's get Married," visitors can read an essay by Alex Kotlowitz, pondering liberal versus conservative views on the public and private consequences of divorce and marriage. A current feature documents 20 years of Frontline, complete with all 420 programs (title and short summary listings for earlier shows; Web sites beginning in 1996); an interview with David Fanning, longtime producer of the show; a short history, and even a Frontline quiz. [DS]
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Battelle: Technology Forecasts
Battelle Memorial Institute works with the government and industry to develop new technologies and products. In the course of this work, Battelle has compiled several technology forecasts that speculate about what will be common in the years and decades to come. These predictions range from 2005 to 2020, and many of them are quite interesting. Concepts such as nanomachines, "personalized public transportation," and genetaceuticals are defined, and their use in society is explained. Only time will tell if these predictions are accurate, but they certainly drive the imagination. This site is also reviewed in the December 6, 2002 NSDL MET Report. [CL]
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The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society
Perhaps the most "English" of all 20th century English composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams was without a doubt one of the most celebrated composers of his era, contributing numerous symphonies, choral works, and stage music to the overall repertoire of classical music. The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Web site is dedicated to promoting the music of Vaughan Williams, along with providing a great deal of material about the man and his life. The site offers a brief biography of Vaughan Williams, a timeline, and a complete list of his hundreds of compositions. Another section offers detailed information about upcoming concerts where his works will be performed, along with an area where visitors can listen to audio clips of his compositions, including his "2nd Symphony" and the "Fantasia on a Theme" by Thomas Tallis. For those interested in joining the Society, the site is rounded out by membership information. [KMG]
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The Irascible Professor
The Irascible Professor is the brainchild of Dr. Mark Shapiro, a professor at California State University-Fullerton. Begun in 1999, the prime purpose of the site is "to provide intelligent commentary on the successes, failures, and foibles of the American education establishment." The Web site features commentaries by Dr. Shapiro, along with periodic contributions by outside contributors, on the state of education in the United States. Topics covered by these highly informative and entertaining pieces include the increase of non-tenure track instructors throughout institutions of higher learning, the SAT, and political correctness. An archive of these pieces is available on the site, and many of the commentaries include hypertext links directing readers to full reports and news articles mentioned within each piece. Overall, the site will appeal to those persons who are seeking an offbeat and alternative perspective on American education. [KMG]
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National Film Preservation Foundation
Created by the United States Congress, the National Film Preservation Foundation provides nationwide support to the preservation of American films of cultural and historical significance, along with improving film access for study, education, and exhibition. Located in San Francisco, the Foundation also awards grants to various film archives and preservations agencies who are also dedicated to preserving important landmarks in American cinematic history. Information on the site includes Preservation Basics, which talks about the importance of film preservation and the nature and chemistry of film decay. A grants and projects section offers information about applying for a film preservation grant from the Foundation and about ongoing preservation projects, like the Saving the Silents: The American Silent Fiction Film Project. In addition, the site contains a complete listing (by title, date, and archive) of the 500 films helped preserved by the Foundation. Film researchers and scholars will find a map of the United States that lists existing film archives and study centers around the country both helpful and a useful tool for determining the direction of their research. [KMG]
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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
President Abraham Lincoln may finally receive his just due after the completion of the Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois in 2004. For now, visitors can explore this Web site, which features information about the Library (which was dedicated on November 18, 2002), the Museum (which will be finished in 2004), and President Lincoln himself. Designed and maintained by the State of Illinois and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the site contains sections devoted to the architecture of the entire 115 million dollar complex, including floor plans and general information about the contents of both buildings. Young people will be delighted by the Kids Page, which is dedicated to providing educational and entertaining material about Lincoln's family, the Lincoln Penny campaign, and of course selections from President Lincoln's legendary wit. For educators, there are links to the Illinois History Teacher Magazine, a Lincoln chronology, and a great section on quotes wrongly attributed to President Lincoln. [KMG]
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Network Tools

Yahoo Companion Toolbar
This latest edition of the Companion Toolbar provides some new features and resolves some previous performance issues. The Toolbar functions with Internet Explorer and allows users to check their Yahoo mail account, access a variety of news sources, and store additional bookmarks. The Toolbar is compatible with all versions of Windows 95 and above. [KMG]
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4t HIT Mail Privacy Lite 1.01
This small application allows users to send private data (such as various files and messages) embedded in different images, like photographs or other visual images. Along with embedding data in these images, the program uses a strong encrypting algorithm to make Internet communications additionally secure. Given the recent concern over Internet security and questions of privacy, this program will be quite helpful. The program supports most image formats (e.g., JPG, GIF, TIFF) and is compatible with all versions of Windows 95 and above. [KMG]
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In The News

Turner Prize Continues to Generate Controversy and Debate
Eyes on the Turner Prize
Turner Prize 2002
The Turner Prize is a Turn Off,3604,854877,00.html
Turner Prize Gallery: 1995-2000,8542,498228,00.html
Artists on Art
The Turner Prize, one of the art world's most controversial awards, continues to generate a great deal of debate within the art world, particularly after this year's favored entry (a Kentucky Fried Chicken menu encased in lead) was denounced by Britain's Culture Minister, Kim Howells. Held at the Tate Gallery of Art, the competition is sponsored by the Tate's Patrons of New Art, who select the jury responsible for awarding the final prize of 20,000 pounds. The award is named after the noted English painter J.M.W. Turner, an artist whose own work was very controversial in the early 19th century. The art community within Britain has grown divided about the nature of the Turner Prize, with some critics calling the works of modern and post-modern art selected for the award "irrelevant" and "pointless." Interestingly, an Alternative Turner Prize has been awarded in recent years by a private club, and as one of the Alternative Prize judges has stated, this award is designed to "merely plead for a wider and more generous choice of art and artist."

The first link leads to a recent news story on the Turner Prize from the BBC. Sponsored by the Tate Museum, the second site features details about all of the Turner Prize finalists, along with displays of their work. The third link leads to a recent commentary by Martin Kettle of The Guardian on the "unsettling experience" of this year's Turner Prize artistic offerings. The fourth link is a online gallery of previous Turner Prize works from 1995 to 2001, including last year's winner, Martin Creed's "Lights Going On and Off." The fifth site is a collection of artists' writings on their art, along with other essays, and includes the ruminations of such individuals as Marc Chagall, Eugene Delacroix, and Paul Klee. Provided by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the final site leads to an excellent overview of the Modernist turn in the visual arts over the past century, and includes brief introductions to nine different movements within modernism. [KMG]
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