The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 6

February 21, 2003

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 Reports for the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences
The fourth issues of the second volumes of the Life Sciences Report and Physical Sciences Report are available. The Topic in Depth section of Life Sciences Report annotates sites on carnivorous plants. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about the concept of lubrication.

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Research and Education

Fostering Community-Driven Development: What Role for the State? [.pdf]
Authored by Monica Das Gupta, Helene Grandvoinnet, and Mattia Romani, this compelling 31-page report is part of the World Bank's Policy Research Working Paper Series. The report, released in January 2003, begins by asking the question that has perplexed many policymakers on the national and international level: How can poor developing countries make their institutional settings more conducive to growth and poverty reduction? As previous analyses of these issues have generally focused on the nature of formal and informal institutions, the authors here focus on "a subset of issues related to improving service delivery at community level, and more broadly to helping achieve a transition to better-functioning institutional settings." Drawing on case studies from Asia and Latin America, the work indicates how state efforts to bring about land reform, tenancy reform, and expanding non-crop sources of income can broaden the distribution of power in rural communities and that higher levels of governments can form effective alliances with communities. Ms. Gupta and her colleagues conclude by noting that the potential for powerful institutional changes do not necessarily take long to generate and that they can be achieved in a diversity of settings, ranging from democratic to authoritarian. This paper will be of great interest to those working in the field of international community development, as well as those broadly concerned with public policy studies. [KMG]
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War Report -- Iraq War and Afghan Aftermath
This helpful omnibus of links to timely research, editorials, papers, and other written material on the situation in both Iraq and Afghanistan is provided by the Project on Defense Alternatives. The Project was found in 1991, and part of its mission is to "adapt security policy to the challenges and opportunities of the post-Cold War era. Toward this end it promotes consideration of the broadest range of defense options." Their advisory board is made up of an impressive range of scholars, policymakers, and scientists. The War Report page itself contains numerous links to a wide array of sources, including special reports from the United Nations on the opium economy in Afghanistan and the latest reports on the status of nuclear inspections in Iraq. Equally valuable are numerous links to news coverage from around the world, including the Guardian, BBC News, Eurasian Insight, and Global Affairs Commentary. The site is updated frequently and will be quite beneficial to those persons interested in staying in touch with the most current news and reports dealing with these two countries. [KMG]
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Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard was originally founded in 1973 by Paul Doty, when its original gaol was to revive serious analysis of nuclear dangers and arms control. In 1997, the Center was re-endowed, and its primary mission became "to provide leadership in advancing policy-relevant knowledge about the international security and other critical issues where science, technology, and international affairs intersect." Within the Center, there are five main research programs, including international security, intrastate conflict, and Russia and the Caspian. From their home page, visitors can read opinion and editorials penned by people working at the Center, and find out about upcoming talks and conferences sponsored or hosted by the Center. Also, visitors can visit the Publications section of the site to read discussion papers and other scholarship written by scholars and fellows associated with the Center. [KMG]
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The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education
Founded in 1998, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization dedicated to "ensuring educational opportunity, affordability, and quality in American higher education." The Center's work focuses around several important questions, such as "Who should be served by higher education?" and "How can state and federal policies stimulate and encourage increased quality?" Perhaps the most important information the site provides are the reports issued and researched by the Center. Recent papers of note include "College Affordability in Jeopardy" (released February 2003), "Coping with Recession," and "Competition and Collaboration in California Higher Education." Another helpful feature provided on the site is National Crosstalk, a quarterly publication published by the Center, which features news stories, opinion pieces from persons in higher education, and interviews. The site is rounded out by a collection of links relevant to American higher education and the opportunity for visitors to sign up to receive email updates from the Center. [KMG]
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With 181 member nations, Interpol is the second largest international organization after the United Nations. Almost 80 years old, the organization is probably one of the most well-regarded crime fighting organizations in the world. While most of its current work is largely related broadly to public safety and terrorism, its mission is to "promote international police cooperation and work together to solve crime." The organization works primarily in four languages (English, French, Spanish, and Arabic), and in the year 2001, aided in the arrest of approximately 1400 people worldwide. Their Web site contains detailed information of their different programs of interest, which include financial crimes, information technology crime, drug trafficking, and football hooliganism. Of greatest interest to most visitor will be the information on the organization's publications, which include press releases and fact sheets in several different languages. Persons looking for materials on international crime will want to look at the international crime statistics available here, along with the International Criminal Police Review, a publication of Interpol. [KMG]
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The Geoffrey Chaucer Website
Chaucer is widely understood to be the father of English literature; though before he composed the Canterbury Tales (his most famous work), he was best known as a writer of poems of love. The Geoffrey Chaucer Web site maintained by Jane Tolmier and her colleagues at Harvard University will be quite helpful to students looking to learn more about the life and work of Chaucer, or even those with a more casual interest in his writings and times. Of course, visitors will find the complete text of the Canterbury Tales, divided into its familiar sections, along with interlinear translations that juxtapose the original Middle English text with its modern English counterpart. Along with this feature, the site also includes background essays on the Canterbury Tales, the life and manners of Chaucer's England, and an extensive bibliography of scholarship that deals with Chaucer and his writings. [KMG]
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Eco-Index, a project of the Rainforest Alliance, is "a searchable almanac of current and past conservation projects in Mesoamerica, with project descriptions, goals, achievements, lessons learned, and more." With current, well-presented features covering a range of biodiversity conservation issues, Eco-Index offers an excellent way for conservation researchers and practitioners to keep abreast of activity in their field. Users are encouraged to add their own project descriptions to the Eco-Index database. Materials are available in English or Spanish. This site is also reviewed in the February 21, 2003 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [RS]
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Water Environment Federation: This Week Worldwide
The not-for-profit technical and educational organization Water Environment Federation (WEF) has a vision of preservation and enhancement of the global water environment. Its Web site contains several excellent resources including the weekly newsletter This Week Worldwide, which is described as a weekly compilation of specific water quality issues being discussed around the world. The February 19, 2002 issue, for example, contains stories on the US EPA adopting a discharge rule for metal products and machinery facilities, how Washington state paper mills have succeeded in cutting dioxin discharges, and how several municipalities in Alabama and New York state have awarded zero or low interest loans through their respective state's Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan program. The short excerpts give all the basic facts regarding the story, including any relevant links or email addresses for additional information. Past issues going back to January 5, 2000, are also made available online and can be searched using the box at the top of each page. This site is also reviewed in the February 21, 2003 NSDL Physical Science Report. [JAB]
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General Interest

The Official George and Ira Gershwin Web Site
Along with Rodgers and Hammerstein, the Gershwin brothers were probably the most well-known American song-writing duo in the 20th century. Together, they composed some of the most recognizable music and lyrics, and placed them in some of the most equally memorable films, musicals, and of course, their legendary "folk opera," Porgy and Bess. This site, provided by the Gershwin estate, is a audio and visual homage to their legacy to American song, and contains a number of fine recordings that visitors will find enjoyable. On the site, visitors can listen to Ella Fitzgerald sing "Of Thee I Sing," Tony Bennett's rousing rendition of "Strike up the Band" (with the Count Basie orchestra), and Judy Garland's version of "The Man That Got Away." In the History section of the site, visitors can view a timeline of the brothers' lives, complete with photographs, or read detailed profiles of both George and Ira. Finally, visitors looking to find out where the latest Gershwin concert may be taking place will want to examine the events calendar provided here. [KMG]
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The Perilous Fight: America's World War II in Color [Flash, RealPlayer]
Documentaries about World War II have become almost de rigueur for any major television network since the 1950s, but PBS has assembled an impressive collection of color photographs, film clips, and personal histories that brings the experience of the war, both in the US and abroad, to bear on the human condition in a very powerful way. The site is divided into different thematic areas, including The Battlefield, Psychology of War, The Home Front, and Social Aspects. Within each section, visitors can navigate through the different subtopics, reading brief essays, viewing a host of rare color photographs, and in some cases, watching even rarer color film clips from the period. Highlights of these color film clips include footage of African Americans in the Armed Forces and a footage montage featuring General Doolittle as he and his pilots plan their raid on Japan. The site also includes essays on the rediscovery of this color film footage, much of which was presumed to have been lost. Additionally, there are a number of teaching resources for educators and information on how visitors can preserve any memorabilia or letters from relatives who participated in World War II. [KMG]
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The Israel Museum [Shockwave]
Located in Jerusalem and founded in 1965, the Israel Museum is renowned for its holdings of Judaica, archaeological artifacts from the Holy Land, and its holdings of the Old Masters. The Museum Web site features several online exhibits that will be of interest, including one dealing with money in antiquity; the sacred animals of ancient Egypt; and A Day at Qumran, which examines the daily life of the Essenes, the group responsible for the creation of the Dead Sea scrolls. The Web site also allows visitors to view selected images from different galleries in the museum, which include those dealing with Israeli art, modern art, and photography. Also, researchers will find the detailed information about the scholarly resources available at the museum particularly helpful. [KMG]
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The Essential Vermeer Lover
Created by painter Jonathan Janson, this Web site consists of over 250 pages of information on the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, broadly categorized into his art, his life, and related research. Examples from the art area are: an illustrated list of Vermeer's paintings in chronological order that includes both thumbnail-size b&w and larger color images, dimensions and locations of the originals, and descriptions excerpted from various art historical texts; Jon Boone's essay "The 'Missing' Vermeer's: A Brief Account of Vermeer's Oeuvre," explaining why, after hundreds of years of scholarship, only 34 or 35 paintings are definitely attributed to Vermeer; the Dissius Auction, a sale of paintings in 1696 including 21 Vermeers; and Erroneously Attributed Vermeers and Fakes, including some by the notorious forger Van Meegeren. In the life section, visitors will find timelines and a biographical sketch of Vermeer. Also at the site are links to additional Web-based and printed resources, a list of international Vermeer events, recent novels and movies inspired by Vermeer, the Vermeer Newsletter, an audio guide to correct Dutch pronunciations, and a children's corner with puzzles, where you can see how fast you can re-assemble Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.[DS]
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The Franklin Institute Online
The Franklin Institute was founded in 1824 by a group of Philadelphians in order to train artisans and mechanics in the fundamentals of science, but has since transformed itself into a science museum and research institute that also awards the Franklin Institute and Bower Awards annually. The Institute's Web site contains a host of information on their current and upcoming exhibits, which include substantial sections devoted to the mechanics and workings of trains, environmental science, and human physiology. The site also features the Inquiry Attic, where visitors can read brief profiles of scientific instruments in the Institute's collection, such as early X-ray machines and a tabulating machine used to conduct the United States Census in the 19th century. Perhaps the best online exhibit on the Institute's Web pages is the one devoted to the Wright Brothers, which features silent film footage of the Bergdoll 1911 Model B Flyer in flight and photographs of the many engineering objects given to the Institute by the Wright Brothers. Visitors can also read another feature, Braindrops, which feature small tidbits of scientific information updated daily. [KMG]
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The Edge of Enchantment: Sovereignty and Ceremony in Huatulco, Mexico [Flash]
The experience of place and space in many cultures is one that finds a variety of expressions, often with a conflation of rituals and ceremonies with certain physical locales or land formations, such as hills, bays, rivers, and valleys. This online exhibit from the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, created from the research of Alicia Maria Gonzalez and the photography of Roberto Ysais, interrogates the importance of different places among the people of the Huatulco and Huamelula region in Mexico. Visitors will want to orient themselves to the material covered here by reading a brief introductory essay composed by Ms. Gonzalez that discusses her fieldwork and the nature of encantos, or enchanted places. Given the importance of space and landforms to these people, it is appropriate that the exhibit is divided into sections such as rivers, mountains, and valleys. Within each section, a brief essay is complemented by visual materials, such as historic photographs of local residents and contemporary photographs of people and the land. Overall, this is an exhibit that does a fine job of evoking the power of place among the people of this region. The exhibit is also available in Spanish. [KMG]
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The Annexation of Hawaii: A Collection of Documents
While the annexation of Hawaii by the United States occurred on August 12, 1898, the subject held the attention of the US government for several years, and was fiercely debated in Congress and back on the islands themselves, with many claiming that the annexation was solely to benefit the financial interests of Sanford B. Dole, the legendary "Sugar King." To their credit, the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Special Collections department has done a nice job of digitizing a number of primary documents related to the annexation of Hawaii, subsequently placing them on this site for the general public. The collection currently includes the massive Blount Report, dealing with the affairs of the islands; the Hawaii Organic Act; transcriptions of the congressional debates on the Organic Act; and anti-annexation protest documents, including hand-written letters by Queen Liliuokalani to Sanford B. Dole, President William McKinley, and others. [KMG]
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Network Tools

SurfSaver 2.3
SurfSaver is a browser add-on that allows users to store Web pages directly from their browser into searchable folders. The application may be particularly helpful to persons who would like to take the entire contents of any given web page and work offline with them. The application also saves the formats of the pages entirely, so graphics, hypertext links, and frames will be preserved intact. Additionally, users can enter notes and comments about the pages they save. SurfSaver 2.3 is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]
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Lyrictracker X 4.2
Lyrictracker X 4.2 is a fun way to obtain the lyrics to your favorite songs and will be useful for those users who find themselves forgetting a second or third verse on occasion. Created by an international team of programmers, Lyrictracker allows users to search for song lyrics and also has a built-in community chat. Lyrictracker currently features the lyrics to over 28,000 songs, and more are added on a regular basis. The application is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X and higher. [KMG]
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In The News

Attempt to Circumnavigate the Globe Ends
Round-world Trip Ends after 200 Miles,,2-585445,00.html
Adrian Sails to Save Antarctic
Sailing: Peyron Sails into New World Speed Record
Sea Routes to Polynesia
Ferdinand Magellan's Voyage Around the World
Aviation's Last Great Challenge
Around the World in Eighty Days
Humans have had a long standing fascination with travel, particularly in regards to various attempts to circumnavigate the world. In recent years, attempts have been made in hot-air balloons and various types of vessels. Most recently, Adrian Cross, a self-proclaimed adventurer and master yachtsman, attempted to circumnavigate the globe in his 31-foot yacht, the Gentoo. Unfortunately, Cross had to give up his trip entirely this week after he had made only 200 miles of progress after 130 days. Cross was unable to make it out of the English Channel successfully, and has been bogged down by an oil slick and inclement weather. He is set to make another attempt next month, though the route of his trip takes him rather close to Iraq, which could be even more harrowing.

The first link leads to a news article from the Times dealing with Cross's decision to end his current attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The second link will take visitors to a news piece about earlier setbacks encountered by Cross (and his motivations for the trip), published by the Guernsey Press and Star. The third link will take visitors to a news article about the fastest circumnavigation of the world (by sail), accomplished by Bruno Peyron and the crew of his catamaran, the Orange. The fourth link leads to excerpts from lectures by Thor Heyerdahl, the legendary Norwegian anthropologist renowned for his own adventurers aboard the Kon-Tiki. The fifth link will take visitors to an account of the world's first successful circumnavigation, which took place under the direction of Ferdinand de Magellan. The sixth link leads to a special online report about the first successful circumnavigation of the globe by hot-air balloon, which was finally accomplished on March 20, 1999. The last link leads to an online version of what is probably the most well-known novel about globe-trotting, Around The World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne. [KMG]
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