The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 29

July 25, 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 fifteenth 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 Twins. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Orbiting.
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Research and Education Mies in Berlin/Mies in Ameria
In 2001, the Museum of Modern Art in Berlin and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City celebrated one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, with concurrent exhibitions that showcased the architect's work. Although the exhibits no longer exist, this Web site highlights some of Meis's most famous works, including the German Pavilion in Barcelona, the Seagrams Building in New York City, and the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. The site, like the life of the architect, is divided between Meis in Berlin and Meis in America, although the same information can be found in each section. Meis's most famous works are pieced together in a timeline that begins with his first project, the Riehl House, and ends with the completion of the New National Gallery in Berlin. Along with photographs of each of the projects, the Web site provides information about Meis's life at the time of the project, his visions for the completed product, and other factors that influenced his designs. [KH]
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Science Toys You Can Make With Your Kids
This individually-hosted Web site invites users to "make toys at home with common household materials, often in only a few minutes, that demonstrate fascinating scientific principles." Instructions for dozens of toys are available, and whats more, these instructions are accompanied by clear and accessible explanations of the scientific concepts associated with each project. The Web site is organized into eight chapters: Magnetism, Electromagnetism, Electrochemistry, Radio, Thermodynamics, Aerodynamics, Light and Optics, and Biology. Each chapter provides recommended reading titles for further learning. [RS]
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European Space Agency: Mars Express
Europe reclaims a stake in Mars exploration! The European Space Agency has launched this informative site in conjunction with the Mars Express mission which lifted off on June 3, 2003. Before the live Webcast of the craft arrival in December, 2003, visitors to this well organized site can track the progress of the spacecraft. You can also learn a lot about early attempts to explore mars and investigate the possibility of life on Mars. The European Space Agency also has given the public detailed technical information on Mars Express and the Beagle 2 Lander that will actually land on the surface of the red planet. This site is an exciting way for educators, students and the general public to be actively involved with this historic event. [TJS]
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Aesops Fables Online Collection [Real One Player]
"Nearly as old as the Olympics, bigger than Dinosaur, older than the Titanic, more complex than Pokemon and more of them than Beanie Babies are Aesops Fables," explains Web site creator John R. Long, who offers free access to over 655 Fables with more on the way. The Fables are listed by title and by moral of the story -- many include illustrations and over a dozen are available as audio narrations. The site also provides links to lesson plans, including those submitted by site visitors. Unsure where to start in this extensive online library? Long provides an excellent subset 86 Fables "selected for their ease of reading and concise moral understanding." [RS]
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GlobalEDGE: International Business Resource Desk
Hosted by Michigan State University, this page of the GlobalEDGE Web site provides detailed insights into the history, culture, government, and economy of nearly 200 countries around the world. An impressive database of statistics summarizes everything from geographical characteristics to technological development. Visitors can access the Market Potential Indicators study, which is published annually, to learn about emerging markets in the global economy. Extensive information about global and country-specific trade laws is also available, most of which is contained in links to offsite resources. Additionally, the site acts as a portal to foreign stock exchanges, standards and conversion information, and much more. [CL]
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The Dickens Project
Found in 1981, the Dickens Project at the University of California-Santa Cruz, promotes the study and enjoyment of the life and work of Charles Dickens. With a research focus on both Dickens and the Victorian age, the Project disseminates research results through a combination of publications, institutes and its annual conference -- The Dickens Universe. The 2003 conference, held this weekend, will focus on the The Old Curiosity Shop. Links to overviews of prior conferences are available from the project's well organized Web site. Also provided are a succinct list of appropriate links, information on Dickens-related organizations, and media and text materials suitable for integrating Dickens into the classroom. [REB]
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Archivos Virtuales: Papers of Latino and Latin American Artists
Based on the published guide to the Archives of American Art manuscript collections, "The Papers of Latino and Latin American Artists," this site offers a variety of documentation on Latino and Latin American artists. There are brief descriptions of over 150 collections in the Collections Guide, as well as 16 Finding Aids (lengthier descriptions of the manuscript collections, prepared by archivists, including biographies and organizational histories of the creators of the records). There are also oral histories, many with transcripts. The search function permits searching across all collection descriptions, finding aids, and oral histories. For users who simply want to look at materials, limit the search to Digital images/Documents to see pictures of both artists and their work -- such as a view of Frida Kahlo in her studio with The Two Fridas, ca. 1943 [DS]
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General Interest

The Third Rail
This is the online edition of The Third Rail, a magazine devoted to the history, technology and politics of rail and rapid transit transportation. The majority of the content focuses on the New York metropolitan area. For example, the May 2003 issue features Brooklyn's new Coney Island terminal. Archived issues cover topics such as the inter-borough strike of 1919, the Long Island Railroad, and the 1954 World's Fair which provided the impetus for starting the New York City transit museum. The articles are very well researched and enjoyable to read. This is an excellent site for railroad and transportation buffs, historians, or anyone who has an interest in the history of New York City and the boroughs. [TJS]
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The Library of Congress Federal Research Division: Country Studies
The Federal Research Division (FRD) provides customized research and analytical services on foreign and domestic topics to United States Government and District of Columbia agencies. This Web site "presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world and examines the interrelationships of those systems and the ways they are shaped by cultural factors." The online books can be searched or browsed by particular country and include everything from a country profile, history, and physical environment description to economy, government, and national security information. Perhaps the most unique part of the site is an attempt to include only lesser known areas, making the conglomeration a good source of uncommon knowledge. This site is also reviewed in the July 25, 2003 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [JAB]
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Have you ever wanted to be a model, write a sitcom, brew your own beer, or learn to shoot pool? This fun and entertaining Web site teaches you all the things you never learned in school by providing detailed answers to some of the questions that you never thought to ask. The site is broken down into sixteen different categories including Apartments, Food & Drink, Work, Travel, and Entertainment, and each section contains answers to a wide array of questions. The lists of questions are sorted categorically and alphabetically to ease the process of finding an answer. For additional convenience, the site contains a section on "Mini-Wannas" that you can search if you are looking for a quick answer. An added bonus of the site is its collection of Top Ten lists that make for interesting reading or great trivia. [KH]
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Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association
There are people out there who would eagerly take a great pair of wool-blend socks and sturdy boots over Italian leather shoes any day. These are the people who carefully examine their calendar each winter, tallying and re-tallying their days off from work en route to finding ways to combine them with paid holidays. All so that they can have just one more day "on the trail." These are the people who are a bit reclusive and despondent once back at work -- a bit naked without a good skim of body odor and sweat and sheepish about their freshly starched clothes. If you are one of these, or aspire to be one, then the exceptionally informative Web site of the ALDHA will be of great interest. Included on the site are links to the Trail Grapevine which includes news from the trail, information on work trips to help build or maintain sections of the trail, a link to join ALDHA, and a section on the upcoming Gathering -- the annual meeting of the ALDHA to be held at Dartmouth College in October this year. This information, along with lots more, is accessible easily by clicking on the little white blazes, emblematic of the trail itself. Have a great time hiking along this very well organized site. [JPM]
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George Eastman House [QuickTime, Windows Media Player]
Since it was opened in 1949, the George Eastman House has helped tell "the story of photography and motion pictures -- media that have changed and continue to change our perception of the world." The museum's homepage offers a number of interesting resources about current exhibitions and longstanding collections. One of the more substantial sections of the Web site is titled Education & Research; it contains a couple of video clips of photographic processes, as well as insights into the work conducted at the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. The site also contains a Timeline of Photography, which describes many remarkable events over the past three centuries. Several sample images of photographs from the George Eastman House collections are available for viewing. [CL]
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Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Giant Pandas: 2003 Pregnancy Watch
Mei Xiang, a female panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., may or may not be pregnant. With pandas, it's hard to tell. Since Mei Xiang and Tian Tian mated on April 4, 2003, Zoo scientists have kept a close eye on the giant panda to try to determine whether Mei will have a true pregnancy or a "pseudopregnancy," in which she would exhibit the signs of a true pregnancy even if no fertilization occurred. Visitors to this Web site will find the latest updates from the 2003 Pregnancy Watch, a volunteer-based program that began in July. The site also provides links to a mountain of online panda-related resources, including panda cams, a photo gallery, information about panda habitat, profiles of the Mei and Tian, and much more. This site is also reviewed in the July 25, 2003 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [RS]
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Network Tools

X11 for Mac OS X
When Apple developed Mac OS X, it based the core of the operating system on BSD, a type of UNIX. This not only provided stability for the new operating system, it also allowed users to easily move programs that they had been running on other Unix or Linux systems to Mac OS X. However, when it came to graphical applications, the new Macintosh operating system was radically different than other Unix and Linux systems. While X11 is the defacto standard for graphical applications for Linux- and UNIX-based systems, Apple decided to create a more modern graphical interface for its system, called Aqua. Here is where X11 for Mac OS X comes into play. X11 for Mac OS X is produced by Apple and allows users to run programs designed for X11 right alongside other native Mac applications. While currently still in beta form, the program performs quite well. X11 for Mac OS X is available free of charge on Apple's Web site. [MG]
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Avant Browser 8.01
If you have ever used Opera before then you will notice the similarities right away, for those that haven't used a tabbed browser before, you are in for a treat. Avant Browser incorporates Microsoft Internet Explorer into a tabbed Web browser, making it not only fast but also compatible with most Web sites and all Internet plug-ins. Not only is this product available in 27 different languages, but it's FREE (donations accepted). With a built-in pop-up stopper available with just one click and its Windows XP look and feel, this browser is a great addition for any active Web surfer. [JR]
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In The News

Back to the Basics: Organic Farms, CSAs and Farmers Markets
USDA Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
Organic Europe
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Organic Consumers Association
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service: Farmers Markets
Local Harvest
In the midst of a precipitous decline in family farms and an industrious increase in large-scale agriculture, a back-to-basics farming movement is growing like a well-tended garden. Whether you are a supporter of local farmers at a farmers market, a member of a CSA farm, or you are simply worried about pesticides, going organic or going local has found many fans. And, while markedly more expensive than standard produce and meat initially, organic options are now much more in tune with prices for the rest of the food on the shelf. So, whether picking out a freshly plucked free-range organic chicken, a bunch of bibb lettuce, or a plump beefsteak tomato, organic and small farm options are plenty.

Thinking about starting your own Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm cooperative? Looking to join one? Or, are you just plain confused about what sustainable agriculture and CSA mean? Then this first site from the USDA Alternative Farming Systems Information Center is for you. Information on the site includes a National database of CSAs so that you can find one close to you, educational information for aspiring farmers, and general articles devoted to the topic of CSAs. The second site takes you to the other side of the pond and to the Organic-Europe Web site. This site includes information on 25 European countries. Included is all sorts of information on conferences and their proceedings as well as country-specific reports on organic agriculture. While some of the information is not exactly yesterday's news, the site does give a good glimpse at what's going on in organic farming somewhere other than the US. Produced by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, this Web site does a good job of defining a CSA, discussing the benefits, and even providing the visitor with questions to think about when trying to pick a CSA. Also of note is an interesting history link off of the CAFF main page, which gives a good historical look at the role they played in legislation such as the Right to Know and Pesticide Contamination Prevention Acts. From providers to consumers, the next Web site --produced by the Organic Consumers Association-- states that its goal is "organizing organic consumers into a potent force for change." Whether you are curious about its activities, eager to join, looking for a local CSA or Green Business, or interested in becoming an organic activist, this site is for you. A bit less political, the next site is a great one for finding fresh produce and other goods throughout the year. Produced by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the site provides farmers market info, a national directory of farmers markets, and information about the upcoming National Farmers Market Week (August 3-9). The last site, the Web presence of Local Harvest, offers all sorts of directory information on farms and CSAs, farmers markets, restaurants, and cooperatives nationwide. Through its "nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources," Local Harvest provides a great on-line catalog of information. [JPM]
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