The Scout Report -- Volume 8, Number 50

December 20, 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-third issue of the first volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about audio mining.

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Research and Education

First World War.Com
Created and maintained by Michael Duffy, this site amasses an impressive amount of valuable cultural, historical, and social documentation of "the Great War." The site begins with some highlighted collections, such as Peace and Truce on the Western Front, Photo Reconnaissance, and Keeping 'em on The Farm. While the Web site is a work-in-progress, visitors will enjoy browsing through different sections that offer a broad portrait of the causes of the war (How it Began), the different political and military leaders involved in the conflict (Who's Who), and the war's technological innovations (such as flamethrowers and machine guns) that made this first modern war possible. Persons looking for first-hand accounts of the war should go to the Memoirs and Diaries section, which contains dozens of documents recounting the personal experiences. Historians will appreciate the primary documents that lead up to the beginning of the war itself and continue to 1919. Overall, it is a well-thought out site, and one that is both engaging and quite informative. [KMG]
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Provenance Research Project
In the past few years, more and more art museums have grown concerned about the presence of art within their collections that may have been seized by Nazis during the reign of the Third Reich. Not surprisingly, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has led the way in providing detailed information about the provenance of works of art in their holdings, particularly those with gaps in their history of ownership and items of Judaica. Given these circumstances, the Provenance Research Project allows users to view a variety of lists of artwork, including those seized by the Nazis during the Holocaust and returned to their rightful owners. For those looking for other works, there is a list of 449 European paintings with incomplete provenance for the Nazi era, along with online images, a description of the work, and its ownership history. [KMG]
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Seattle Municipal Archives
The staff of the Seattle Municipal Archives have created a Web site that facilitates the work of amateur and professional historians (along with satisfying the curiosity of the general public) seeking to utilize their archival holdings. A quick reference area allows visitors to obtain information about historical election results and some basic facts about Seattle, as well as read their in-house newsletter, which documents their ongoing archival projects. Additionally, an online exhibit section offers perspectives on subjects such as Seattle's City Halls and Pike Place Market's Corner Market Building. The centerpiece of this site is the online photograph collection, which contains over 40,000 images of Seattle from the last century. The photograph archive is searchable by time-period, neighborhood district (a neighborhood map is also provided), and user-identified search terms. Finally, the site also includes a variety of research guides, including a guide to the archives held by the City of Seattle and the Pike Place Market Records. [KMG]
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From Wallet to Waistline: The Hidden Costs of Supersizing [.pdf]
Sponsored by the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, this 14-page report documents the immense health risks that may result because of the ubiquity of "value" meals proffered by fast-food outlets. During the first week of May 2002, members of the National Alliance gathered pricing data of various convenience foods and meals in Washington DC, Des Moines, Little Rock, Sacramento, and Oakland. The results they obtained were surprising, including such discoveries that purchasing a Double Gulp Coca-Cola Classic from 7-Eleven (as opposed to the regular Gulp) adds 450 extra calories, and that upgrading from a McDonald's small to large fry results in 330 extra calories. The report begins by documenting the fast-food industry marketing tactic of "value" marketing and "bundling." Perhaps most ominous is their documentation of obesity rates in children over the past few years. All in all, this is an important document that will be of interest to persons in the field of public health and those concerned with their physical well-being. [KMG]
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Light Field Mapping: Efficient Representation and Hardware Rendering of Surface Light Fields [.pdf]
The Office of the Future (OOTF) is a project of the University of North Carolina Computer Science Department. It utilizes advanced tele-immersion and graphical displays to make long distance collaboration seem natural and comfortable. This publication, which appeared at a major conference in mid-2002, is authored by researchers from Intel and the OOTF group. Focusing on computer graphics applications, the paper proposes a method of rendering complex light field data and reflectance properties of a three dimensional scene with combinations of image compression techniques and approximations. By dividing the large amount of data into small portions and processing them individually, the authors have devised an algorithm suitable for hardware accelerated graphics applications. This site is also reviewed in the December 20, 2002 NSDL MET Report. [CL]
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The Human Nature Review
While attempting to cover one area of scholarly discipline in a Web site may be a formidable task, the editors of the Human Nature Review are concerned with any substantive scholarship or research dealing with human nature in its entirety. As the Web site notes: "Our goal is to bring into communication the variety of approaches to the understanding of human nature which have a regrettable tendency to be less in touch with one another than they might." The site is edited by Dr. Ian Pitchford of the Creighton University School of Medicine and Professor Robert M. Young. Prominent features of the site include an online dictionary of mental health, a daily review (sent as an email, if users so desire) of updates on ongoing scholarship in the fields of psychology and psychotherapy, and a number of complete online texts. Finally, the site also houses hundreds of book reviews, contributed by scholars from a diverse set of fields, on works of topical importance. [KMG]
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Center for Disease Control Diabetes Public Health Resource
As more and more Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, this resource page that is provided by the Center for Disease Control will be of great help to persons with diabetes and those hoping to learn how to prevent the onset of this condition. The site includes important fact sheets (updated for the year 2002) about the increase in diabetes over the past decade and detailed explanation of the four main types of diabetes. Persons in the field of public health will appreciate the section devoted to describing the CDC's current diabetes projects they sponsor, such as the Appalachian Diabetes Prevention Program and National Diabetes Awareness Month. For persons looking for more local preventive and educational programs, a complete list of state-facilitated diabetes programs is also provided. [KMG]
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Tenant Net
Written in an irreverent yet informative style, the Tenant Net provides information for tenants (with a particular focus on New York City), such as tenant-landlord agreements, zoning law, and rent-increase agreements. The site also sponsors several online forums, where visitors can ask questions about eviction notices, eminent domain, and other policies that affect the lives of those who rent their housing units. Other sections contain information on heating requirements, how to tell if an eviction is illegal, noisy neighbors, and a history of the tenant movement in New York City from 1904 to 1984. Several full-length books are also available on the site, including Jacob Riis's muckraking expose How the Other Half Lives and Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book. In addition, there is also material on tenant rights and agreements throughout the United States, Australia, and Canada. [KMG]
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General Interest

Reinventing Undergraduate Education: Three Years After the Boyer Report [.pdf]
Originating from the Reinvention Center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, this 41-page report is a follow-up report to the original Boyer Commission Report on undergraduate education first released in 1998. Following up on the 1998 report, this document examines the progress made by various universities in 10 different aspects of undergraduate educational areas identified by the first report. Beginning with an introduction of the study's survey methods, the report discusses research findings in these 10 areas, including The Freshman Experience, Research-based Learning, Communication Skills, Educating Graduate Students as Apprentice Teachers, and Changing Faculty Reward Systems. In conclusion, the researchers note that, while "every research university is approaching the issues of undergraduate education seriously," many institutions have "not yet fulfilled their ambitions for undergraduate programs, although many offer special opportunities such as research and freshman seminars to the best students." Well-written and honest in its language and about its findings, this paper will be of great interest to anyone interested in the future of undergraduate education. [KMG]
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The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals
Drawing on the extensive collection of books and prints in the Getty Research Institute's Special Collections, the Edible Monument is an online exhibit that testifies to the human passion for food and its use in celebrations and rituals. The 75 items available for perusal here are divided into five main topical areas, such as Festivals, Banquets, Art of Decorative Desserts, and Street Festivals. The section on Banquets features a large rendering of the banquet given for Pope Innocent XI in 1687, and users can click on the image to obtain additional details. The Art of Decorative Desserts is equally compelling, featuring the art of Sicilian wedding table setting, as exemplified by the table setting created for the visit to Dresden of Charles VII of Naples in 1738. The site is rounded out nicely by a bibliography of suggested reading, and appropriately enough, a list of additional Web sites dealing with food. [KMG]
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Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
While the search for closure and emotional healing continues for many New Yorkers and those who lost family in the tragic events that took place on September 11, 2001, the work of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation moves on in an attempt to coordinate long term planning for the World Trade Center. Established by Governor Pataki and then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the LMDC is a joint state-city corporation governed by a 16-member board of directors. The site contains information on the Corporation's primary activities, including information about the memorial design competition for the site and the programs and resources for individuals, residents, and businesses in the area coordinated by the Corporation. Most recently, the Corporation has placed the proposed new World Trade Center site design concepts on the site for public examination. The design site concepts feature the work of seven internationally known firms, such as Richard Meier and Foster and Partners. [KMG]
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After the Day of Infamy: 'Man-on-the-Street' Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor
The Library of Congress presents this seasonal collection of field recordings of over 200 ordinary Americans' reactions to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Made between December 8, 1941, and February 1942, the original recordings used a technology called direct-to-disk, which created fragile, lacquer-coated, aluminum disks that could be played at 33 1/3 or 78 RPMs. The site includes transcripts and audio of the recordings, biographies of the people who conducted the interviews, and information on how the disks have been preserved since the 1940s (in the 1960s, most of the collection was copied onto magnetic tape). There are also a few documents, primarily letters and communications between Alan Lomax, "assistant in charge" of the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, who managed the project, and field workers. The interview transcripts can be searched by keyword, and browsing by names, subjects, titles, and geographic locations is possible. In addition, the interviews have been arranged into series, or sets, of recordings made by one interviewer in a particular location, for example five 8-inch discs recorded in Bloomington and Mishawaka, Indiana, by Robert E. Barton Allen. [DS]
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September 21, 1939: A Day in Radio [Quick Time]
Sponsored and maintained as a part of the American Studies Web site at the University of Virginia, this site features a complete day of radio programming, or more specifically, a entire day of programming from September 21, 1939. Programs included on the site include "Sunday with Arthur Godfrey," a show featuring the comedian Joe E. Brown, and several prominent radio dramas of the day, such as "The Romance of Helen Trent" (which ran for 27 years) and "Life Can Be Beautiful." Two of the presentations are particularly notable, "Amos n' Andy" and "Major Bowe's Original Amateur Hour." "Amos n' Andy" was a extremely popular and controversial radio show (and in the 1950s, a popular television show) that featured two white men playing African-Americans and speaking in a Southern dialect. The Major Bowes show was headquartered in New York, and, while the program "discovered" only a few who went on to great fame, there was one young man who got his start there: Frank Sinatra. [KMG]
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Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden
Located at the University of Nebraska, the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden house the Nebraska Art Association collection (started in 1888) and the University of Nebraska collection (started in 1929). In total, the collection comprises over 12,000 pieces in all formats. The collection is particularly strong in 19th century landscape works and American Impressionism. The Sculpture Garden (which is open all year) features 37 sculptures, including pieces by Claes Oldenburg, William Tucker, and Bryan Hunt. The collection section of the site allows users to sample some of the parts of the collections, which are organized here by title or on a timeline. The site also provides general information about visiting the museum, educational materials that may be used in conjunction with their collections, and their publications. While the actual museum may be closed until the end of 2002, visitors to the site can take a virtual tour of this fantastic building designed by Philip Johnson in 1963 and read a critical essay on the structure by the architectural historian Henry Russell Hitchcock. [KMG]
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Ghost Town Gallery
Two Swiss individuals, Daniel Ter-Nedden and Carola Schibli, have established this lively and informative tribute to those places that form the heart of much folklore and legend within the American West: the ghost town. The site contains over 1300 photographs from 174 ghost towns across the West, with the majority of them located in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, California, and Arizona. Each ghost town entry is complemented with photography, short captions, and a brief history of each place. To encourage browsing of different states, a clickable map allows users to search different geographical areas for individual ghost towns. Visitors to the site can sign the guestbook, send a virtual ghost town postcard, and even purchase high-quality prints of different photographs featured on the site. Visitors will also find the page of additional ghost town links helpful, along with a brief explanation of how these two Swiss residents became involved in "ghost towning." [KMG]
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Network Tools

WeatherPop 1.6.3
Weather Pop is a small application that allows users to receive up-to-the-minute weather information for up to three US cities from the National Weather Service. WeatherPop is also fully customizable, as users can select weather update frequency, temperature display color, preferred weather information source, humidity, visibility, barometer, and other options. WeatherPop is fully compatible with all computers running Mac X operating system. [KMG]
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Avant Browser 7.0.2
This latest version of Avant Browser is a helpful custom Web browser application that expands on the services provided by Internet Explorer. Avant Browser comes with an automatic pop-up add eliminator; the option to block the download of pictures, videos, and sounds; and multi-window browsing. Perhaps the most useful feature of Avant Browser is its availability in over twenty languages, including Swedish, Chinese, German, Polish, Spanish, and many others. Avant Browser is compatibly with operating systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]
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In The News

Public Universities Across the United States Continue to be Plagued by Budget Cutbacks
Mizzou Expected to Challenge Tuition-reimbursement Ruling
Missouri's Cuts to Higher Education Spending Rank Second
Missouri Department of Higher Education
Losing Ground: A National Status Report on the Affordability of American Higher Education
Measuring up 2002: The State-By-State Report Card for Higher Education
State PIRGs Higher Education Project
With the revenues taken in by state governments continuing to drop over the past fiscal year, public universities are finding themselves forced to make massive cutbacks to numerous programs. A particularly troubling legal ruling occurred this week when St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Romines ruled that the University of Missouri will potentially have to return millions of dollars in tuition to in-state residents. While an 1889 state law entitled residents to a free education, the university began charging tuition by collecting educational fees based on credit hours in 1986. Although the statue of limitations only allows students from 1996 to 2001 to collect damages, University of Missouri officials estimate that the costs of such a settlement could be as high as $450 million dollars. The University of Missouri is expected to appeal the ruling, as the remittance of these monies could potentially put the institution in the red for some time.

The first link leads to a recent USA Today news article on the recent court ruling involving the University of Missouri. The second link takes users to a Kansas City Star article on the reduction of their higher education budget this year, which ranks second only to the state of Oregon. The third site is that of the Missouri Department of Higher Education, which contains detailed topical material on the general profile and types of higher education opportunities throughout the state. The fourth link is to a recent report on the affordability of higher education in the United States, created by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. The fifth site leads to a report released in October 2002 that allows users to make state-by-state comparisons with the best performing states through looking at a number of indicators, such as college completion rates and accessibility. The final link will be of particular interest to policymakers and students, as the State PIRGs Higher Education Project works actively to secure more aid for students and contains a host of reports on the practices of educational lenders and guarantors. [KMG]
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