The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 35

September 5, 2003 -- Volume 9, Number 35

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



NSDL Scout Reports for the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences

Small World Project at Columbia University How Everyday Things Are Made Nature: Extraordinary Birds Global Trees Campaign The National Security Archive, Nixon Tapes: Secret Recordings from the Nixon White House on Luis Echeverria and Much Much More A Practical Guide to GPS - UTM Organ History

Anne Frank the Writer -- An Unfinished Story WebDesignHelper The Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers' Newspaper of World War I, 1918-1919 World Heritage Tour St. Thomas University School of Law: Diplomacy Monitor

Studycard Studio Lite 1.0.2 Metrox Home Security 1.0

The Annual Beloit College Mindset List Documents Cultural Change





The thirteenth 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 Life on Mars. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about String Theory.
In 1967, social psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted an important experiment to test the hypothesis that members of any large social network would be inevitably connected to each other through short chains of intermediate acquaintances. His results, now a part of popular culture and common parlance, was that the average lengths of the resulting acquaintance chains was approximately six. This "six degrees of separation" hypothesis is now being tested (using email) by Professor Duncan J. Watts and his colleagues at Columbia University. Professor Watts and his team hope "to test not only average properties of lengths of acquaintance chains, but also the distribution of lengths, along with the effect of race, class, nationality, occupation, and education." From the project Web site, visitors can read about the details of the project, examine papers published based on their current research, and learn more about each member of the research team. [KMG]
It is difficult for many individuals to fathom the exacting and complex processes used to manufacture an airplane, car, or even candy. Stepping in to help explain how many everyday things are made is this fine Web site developed by the Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing at Stanford University and design 4x, a company that develops online courses on manufacturing topics. The site begins with a brief introductory video clip orienting new visitors to the materials available on the site, and on how best to navigate the site's features. Dozens of products are covered here, including airplanes, motorcycles, cars, jelly beans, chocolate, glass bottles, crayons, and golf clubs. Additionally, the site also contains information on various careers in manufacturing, along with a list of books on the field of manufacturing. Another helpful aspect of the site is the Think About It feature, where visitors are asked to offer their comments on how they think a certain process works, along with reading the previous comments of other visitors. [KMG]
This Web site is the online companion to Extraordinary Birds, a recent documentary from PBS's Nature. "From Kundha Kulam's vibrant monsoon marshes to the rugged American Rockies," Extraordinary Birds explores the "intimate links that people have forged with birds." This is a great site to visit whether you've seen the program or not. Users will find video clips, an interview with the editor of American Falconry magazine, a short quiz, and other engaging features. The Web site also provides links and other resources for further exploring this fascinating subject. September 5, 2003 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [RS]
Along with increasing concerns about the extinction of different animal species, there has been increased interest in monitoring the fate of plant species, particularly those of various trees. Drawing on a partnership between Flora & Fauna International and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the Global Trees Campaign Web site serves as an online conduit for information about endangered tree species. First-time visitors will want to read the various tree profiles along the right-hand side of the homepage. Some of the species covered here include the African blackwood, Honduras rosewood, and the monkey puzzle tree, which grows naturally in Chile and Argentina. The resources section of the site is also worth a look, as it contains a database with information on close to 7,300 tree species, and list of suggested readings -- including several that are available as PDF files. For those interested in the projects initiated by the Global Trees Campaign, a section detailing their various initiatives around the globe is also available for consultation. [KMG]
Released in August 2003 by the National Security Archive as part of its Electronic Briefing Book series, this compilation offers primary documents and audio selections dealing with the relationship between President Richard Nixon and the former president of Mexico, Luis Echeverria Alvarez. While normally the public would not be privy to the contents of their discussions (held in June 1972), hidden microphones that had been planted by Secret Service technicians in 1971 were recording the conversations between these two world leaders in their entirety. Interestingly enough, the two presidents only occasionally discussed the most-frequently debated issues between the two nations (such as drugs or trade), but rather mused back and forth about geopolitics for much of the time. All in all, the site includes 32 transcripts, and around a dozen audio excerpts from the conversations. [KMG]
Don Bartlett, in association with National Resources Canada, has developed an educational instruction manual addressing many key elements of GPS units. First he describes the basic features a buyer should consider when purchasing a handheld unit. Bartlett then discusses in detail the limitations and the accuracies of the readings collected by a GPS unit. Users can learn how GPS systems work and how the readings correspond to map coordinates. The site also discusses many features of a GPS unit such as storing points of interest (waypoints) and tracking routes. Because of the difficulty many people have in understanding UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator grid), Bartlett explains in detail the coordinate system. This site is extremely beneficial for "hikers, fishermen, hunters and all persons who wish to traverse the wilderness in the full knowledge of where they are, where they have been and where they wish to go." August 22, 2003 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [RME]
Developed and maintained by Professor James H. Cook at Birmingham - Southern College, this site is an online tutorial that offers an interesting and interactive perspective of that king of all instruments, the organ. The site is divided into three main sections: The Organ and How it Works, Organ History, and Geographical Tour. In the first section, visitors are taken through a basic description of an organ, which then continues into a discussion of the various parts of an organ, such as the keyboards, consoles, pipes, chests, cases, and chambers. The history section begins with the invention of what is commonly understood to be the first organ, the ktseibios, built by a Greek engineer working in the third century BCE. The final section takes visitors on a chronological tour of the organ and its development throughout a number of countries, including England, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States. [KMG]
In honor of its 10th anniversary year, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is displaying Anne Frank's original writings, accompanied by this online exhibition. The Web site uses a combination of audio and animation, so that visitors experience Anne's essays and diary entries read aloud, accompanied by images and automatically turning pages. The complete text of all the writings exhibited is available for those who prefer a more traditional reading. There is also a series of video interviews with Anne's relative, Buddy Elias, and the curators of the exhibition. Anne Frank's writing presented here was done when she was between 13 and 15, and will be of great interest to young writers and anyone working with young writers, as she candidly wonders if she will ever be great, or simply ordinary, like all the other girls her age. On April 5, 1944, she wrote, "I know that I can write, a couple of my stories are good, my descriptions of the "Secret Annex" are humorous, there's a lot in my diary that speaks, but-whether I have real talent remains to be seen." [DS]
For those individuals who would like to design a Web site, but still might not have the technical acumen required, this site is a free resource that features numerous templates, Web graphics, fonts, and a number of other useful items that can be used to create a complete Web site. The template section alone contains 129 free full-page templates, along with 21 horizontal menus, 26 vertical menus, and 23 table templates. The Web graphics and fonts section contains 144 fonts, 120 icons (with such popular images as tables, graphs, and charts), 67 types of arrows, and 128 buttons. For users with queries, an online forum is also available where users can submit and read questions. Lastly, there is an area where advanced users can submit their own contributions for inclusion on the site. [KMG]
The Stars and Stripes was a newspaper written by troops (and for the troops) serving in the American Expeditionary Force of the United States Army during the United States' involvement in World War I. The newspaper's existence was endorsed by official order of General John J. Pershing, who wanted the publication to strengthen the moral of the troops and to promote unity within the American forces. The paper ran from February 1918 to June 1919, and by the time it ceased publication, it had a readership of over 500,000. As part of the American Memory series of online collections, the Library of Congress has created this Web site containing a complete digitized and searchable run of the Stars and Stripes for the general Web-browsing public. Users may elect to browse the issues by date, or to search the entire collection of papers. Additionally, the site features an in-depth look at the paper, including a detailed discussion of the noted editorial staff that ran the paper, along with a complete roster of the paper's employees. [KMG]
The purpose of the World Heritage Tour site is to offer greater exposure to the truly diverse set of cultural heritage sites designated by UNESCO around the world. While there are over 750 cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List, only 52 sites are currently covered on the site. The site itself features over 250 virtual reality movies from 52 sites, ranging from the Philippines to Egypt. Visitors can browse a list of sites currently covered, with each list noting how many virtual reality movies are available, along with providing the UNESCO identification number assigned to each site. From the site's homepage visitors can sign up to be notified when new movies become available, contact staff members, and read a paper about the World Heritage Tour. [KMG]
More and more countries around the world are releasing official policy documents, communiques, and other crucial communications via the Web, along with more traditional means. The Diplomacy Monitor at the St. Thomas University School of Law is a fine way to keep track of various communications, as it allows users to globally track diplomatic and international official statements, press briefings through their readily accessible monitoring system located at their site. Utilizing their own proprietary technology, the staff at the Diplomacy Monitor review annotate and categorize these documents several times throughout the United Nations business day. The site includes a brief introduction to using the Monitor, along with the option of full-text searching of every document archived within the database. For additional discussion of how the Internet affects global diplomacy, the site also contains some interesting working papers and reports, such as The Rise of Netpolitik-How the Internet is Changing International Politics and Diplomacy. [KMG]
Founded in 1997 by artists Marc Garrett and Ruth Catlow, Furtherfield is "an online platform for the creation, promotion, criticism, and archiving of adventurous digital / net art work for public viewing, experience, and interaction." In particular, Furtherfield focuses on "network related projects that explore new social contexts that transcend the digital, or offer a subjective voice that communicates beyond the medium." From the homepage, visitors can browse through a list of artists whose work is featured on the site, along with reviewing the ongoing projects sponsored by Furtherfield. The links section is also of note, as it contains a thematically organized collection of links to some of the best creative and groundbreaking projects on the Internet. Rounding out the site is the press section, which contains news and magazine articles about both the success and controversies surrounding certain aspects of the Furtherfield site. [KMG]
Given that this is the time of year when many students (and teachers) are returning to school, this handy application that allows users to create study cards may prove to be quite timely. Studycard Studio Lite 1.0.2 allows users to create and study their own studycards, along with the ability to add pictures and sounds for a multimedia experience. Additional features include the ability to create multiple choice questions, progress reports, and slide shows using the cards. Studycard Studio Lite 1.0.2 is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X. [KMG]
Webcams can be used for a number of different applications, but this program gives users the ability to use their Webcam to monitor their room while they are away. Essentially, the program instructs the camera to look for motion, and if it happens to sense motion, the camera will take a photograph, which will then be uploaded to the Metrox Home Security Web site. Additionally, users can elect to have the Webcam take photographs at pre-determined intervals. Metrox Home Security 1.0 is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and higher. [KMG]
Mindset List Underscores Cultural Gap Between Freshman Class, Professors ON.html
Beloit College Releases the Mindeset List for the Class of 2007
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
Selections from Alan Bloom's "The Closing of the American Mind"
BBC News: Buddies Target Generation Gap
Douglas Coupland's "Generation X" Neo-logisms
As young adults across the country return to the groves of academe this fall, Professor Tom McBride of Beloit College has offered up (for the sixth consecutive year) his guide to helping college faculty and staff keep up to date with the cultural mindset of these new students: the Mindset List. The list begins by noting that this year's entering undergraduates were born in 1985 and includes the following interesting items: Paul Newman has always made salad dressing, gas has always been unleaded, they never heard Howard Cosell call a game on ABC, and Datsuns have never been made. As Professor McBride notes, "The Mindset List, among other things, is a reminder of that world -- a world that makes education a tougher yet more fascinating job than ever. In saying hello to the new generation, which they labor mightily to understand, but with mixed results, they are saying good-bye to themselves." After reading the list, one young woman remarked, "Oh my God, Bert and Ernie (of Sesame Street fame) are old enough to be my parents!". The list also serves as a reminder about the debates that still rage on within higher education today about what is important to inculcate into the hundreds of thousands of young men and women making their way through college.

The first site leads to a recent news article from about the release of the Mindset List earlier this week. The second link contains a press release from Beloit College that contains this year's Mindset List, along with a link to an archive of Mindset Lists from the previous five years. The third link will take visitors to the New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, edited by the well-known author and educational theorist, E.D. Hirsch, Jr. and his colleagues. The fourth link leads to excerpts from the controversial 1987 work, "The Closing of the American Mind, authored by Professor Alan Bloom of the University of Chicago, which deals with (among other things) the paucity of interest amongst young people for true edification, reasoned debate, and rational inquiry. The fifth link leads to a BBC news piece from last week about a new program that links young people with pensioners in a buddy scheme (where the young people assist these individuals with chores and such), in attempt to bridge the so-called generation gap. The final link is a compilation of the neolgisms utilized by Douglas Coupland's interesting tale, Generation X, which was first published in 1992. As the book deals with the post-Baby Boomer population, the phrases included here range from such witticisms as "cafe minimalism" (which means to espouse a philosophy of minimalism without actually putting into practice any of its tenets) to "Dorian Graying" (which means the unwillingness to gracefully allow one's body to show the signs of aging). [KMG]




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From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2003. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

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