The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 39

October 3, 2003

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

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 ninth 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 Artificial Coral Reefs. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Galileo: From the Man to the Mission.

Research and Education

Windows on Urban Poverty

The spatial dimension and geographic variation of poverty has been the subject of great scholarly debate among policy-makers and academics for numerous decades. Some have commented that dense concentrations of underclass persons create a "culture of poverty," while others lay the blame on architects, urban planners, and a host of others. This engaging and useful site is a product of the Bruton Center at the University of Texas at Dallas under the direction of Professor Paul Jargowsky. The Windows on Urban Poverty project Web site contains a research paper on the changes in the concentration of poverty between 1990 and 2000 (also released as a publication through the Brookings Institution) and a mapping tool that lets visitors view the relative concentrations of poverty in cities around the United States. There is a small section that introduces users to the process of using the mapping tool, which will be quite helpful to those unfamiliar with utilizing maps in this fashion (Users should note that the interactive mapping tool on the site is only supported by Internet Explorer). [KMG]

The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers

On May 13, 1900, Wilbur Wright composed a letter that would later prove to be one of the most important in the history of science, and certainly within the development of the quest of humans to achieve flight. This letter to Octave Chanute (a wealthy businessman and engineer) began thusly: "For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man." This legendary piece of correspondence, along with 49,000 other digital images, has been placed online in this rather incredible archive, presented as part of the American Memory collection from the Library of Congress. The documents available here for consideration span the years 1881 to 1952 and include the glass-late negative of the famous First Flight at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903. For those who would like to examine a smattering of the collection, there are several thematic presentations here as well, such as a Wilber and Orville Wright timeline, a thematic set of documents and commentaries titled Photography and the Wright Brothers and the Wright family tree. [KMG]

Human Capital Formation and Foreign Direct Investment in Developing Countries [pdf]

Policy debates continue to rage on regarding the most effective ways to bring developing countries and regions into full economic participation in the emerging global economy, and a number of organizations (such as the World Bank) have sounded off on the subject with working papers and policy briefs. Under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), this thoughtful 54-page paper (released in July 2003) examines the relationship between foreign direct investment (FDI) and human capital formation in developing countries. Authored by Koji Miyamoto, the paper contends that there is "abundant evidence in the literature that human capital formation is indeed among the important pre-requisites for developing countries to start benefiting from FDI." Miyamoto also notes that other important elements that must be present in any given developing country include an attractive investment climate, coordination between formal education and training policies, and solid governance. This paper will be of great interest to those concerned with globalization and the interaction between developed and developing nations. [KMG]


Astronomy Daily.Com offers real time astronomical data tailored to the viewer's location and time zone. The personalized front page presents a chart of tonight's sky. Diagrams allow users to view the planets in their orbits. Educators and students can find images of today's moon and its phase on the calendar, plus data dealing with its current position and its physical and orbital characteristics. Phil Harrington, a supervisor at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, provides two monthly articles; the first assesses a phenomenon in the sky that can be observed with binoculars and the second discusses a phenomenon in the Deep Sky. Viewers can also participate in many discussion forums with other interested astronomers. Although users are required to register in order to view the customized site, no personal identification is requested. This site is also reviewed in the October 3, 2003 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [RME]

Center for Jewish History [Macromedia Flash Reader, RealOnePlayer]

Designed as a partnership between five major institutions of Jewish scholarship, history and art (including the American Jewish Historical Society, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and the American Sephardi Federation), the Center has combined holdings of approximately 100-million archival documents, artifacts, paintings, and textiles. From the organization's homepage, visitors can learn about the mission of the center, how to conduct genealogical research using their holdings, and browse a calendar of the many events and conferences held at the Center's headquarters in Manhattan. One of the online highlights is the fine archive of audio and video clips and interviews available in the Events at the Center area. Here visitors can listen to the proceedings of an international conference on anti-Semitism in the West held in May 2003, and view interviews with Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Shimon Peres. Also, visitors may elect to sign up to receive the Center's email newsletter. [KMG]

Wanted: A National Teacher Supply Policy for Education: The Right Way to Meet the "Highly Qualified Teacher" Challenge

Part of George W. Bush's new No Child Left Behind Act requires that a "highly qualified teacher" must be present in all classrooms. Teacher quality has long been an area of interest for scholars in the field of education, and this most recent paper from the Educational Policy Analysis Archives looks at various techniques utilized by different states and school districts designed to strengthen their respective teaching forces. Authored by Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University and Gary Sykes of Michigan State University, the paper argues that teacher supply policy should attract well-prepared teachers to districts that sorely need them, while relieving shortages in fields like special education, math and the physical sciences. The paper begins by examining three common misunderstandings about teacher issues, then proceeds to discuss issues affecting teachers such as job satisfaction, retention rates, and the increasing shortages in certain subject areas. [KMG]

The 13th World Conference on Cooperative Education: Towards a Knowledge Society

Held in Rotterdam in August 2003, this international conference addressed the increasingly compelling questions surrounding the nature of a how knowledge production and circulation contributes to regional growth and development. The conference was sponsored by the Netherlands Association of Universities of Professional Education and the World Association for Cooperative Education, and dealt with a number of themes, including competencies needed for the knowledge society, how to build bridges between the world of work and the world of learning and the social and economic impacts of such transformations. While the conference has passed, the real valuable substance of this particular Web site is the inclusion of the papers and abstracts from the conference. Over 40 papers on a number of germane topics (such as Widening Participation in Higher Education) may be read and downloaded by visitors to the site. For persons interested in this important area of research that cuts across several disciplines, these papers will be worth examining at length. [KMG]

The California Academy of Science Presents the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land

The California Academy of Sciences recently opened a new exhibit: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land. The exhibit feature 49 striking photographs from physicist-turned-photographer Subhankar Banerjee, who has created a spectacular, four-season "tour of endangered wildlife, tremendous terrain, otherworldly skyscapes, and isolated Inuit villages." Visitors may view the collection, complete with informative descriptions written by Banerjee. The Web site also provides a number of links for more information on ANWR. [RS] This site is also reviewed in the October 3, 2003 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

General Interest

Moments of Discovery [RealOnePlayer]

Even the most cursory explorations into how scientific discoveries are made reveals that many of these discoveries are tinged with a certain serendipity and circumstances that are not immediately attributable to a wholly reasoned and logical progression of methodical experiments. Presented by the American Institute of Physics, this online multimedia exhibit tells the story of two important 20th century scientific discoveries: the discovery of nuclear fission and the detection of the first optical pulsar. The discovery of nuclear fission section contains audio clips from some of those responsible for this scientific endeavor, including Enrico Fermi, Arthur Holly Compton, and Otto Hahn. One particularly noteworthy clip features Compton's firsthand recollection of the first successful self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction under the bleacher of Stagg Field on the campus of the University of Chicago. The second exhibit hones in on the detection of the first optical pulsar, and includes clips from Philip Morrison, John Cocke, and Michael Disney. The site is rounded out by a set of teachers' guides designed to complement these online exhibits. [KMG]

NIDA For Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse

Developed as part of the National Institutes of Health's outreach efforts, the NIDA for Teens: the Science Behind Drug Abuse Web site is designed to educate adolescents between the ages of 11 and 15 on the science behind drug abuse. To achieve that goal, the site is divided into a number of sections, including Facts on Drugs, Have Fun and Learn, and Real Stories. The Facts on Drugs area contains a selection of facts about various drugs, including ecstasy, marijuana, nicotine, and anabolic steroids. The Have Fun and Learn area allows young people visiting the site to take a quiz on the effects of drugs on the body, along with several other activities. The Real Stories section contains first-hand testimonies from a number of teens that have fought against the addictive effects of different drugs. Finally, users can read a list of answers to frequently asked questions about drugs and drug addiction provided by Dr. NIDA (Nora D. Volkow), the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. [KMG]

Los Angeles Public Library: Electronic Neighborhood

Many urban public library systems across the United States have accumulated large troves of paper ephemera over the years, and the Los Angeles Public Library system is no exception. Funded by a grant from the California State Library, the Fletcher Jones Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, the Electronic Neighborhood allows the internet-browsing public access to a number of these documents. The database located here includes a large collection of photographs documenting the city's development, a collection of restaurant menus, and an index to fiction works that take place in and around California. The photo database contains over 2.5 million archival records, and a number of thematic online photo exhibits, including ones that document the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and golf in Hollywood. The menu database is particularly fascinating, as users can search for a number of restaurant menus from the past century. While not all of the records include scanned menu images, a number of them are already available, such as those from the now-defunct Brown Derby. [KMG]

The UNESCO World Heritage Center

Established in 1972 under the auspices of UESCO, the World Heritage Center's primary mission is "to define and conserve the world's heritage, by drawing up a list of sites whose outstanding values should be preserved for all humans and to ensure their protection through a closer co-operation among nations." While there is a host of information about the various cultural and natural sites on the list (754 in total), the site also contains valuable information about events sponsored by the Center, materials for young people, and information about volunteering to assist with the Center's efforts to preserve these unique sites. The section for young people includes a piece on how a site becomes nominated for inclusion on the list, and a list of outside resources. Additionally, the news section contains updates about efforts to preserve the sites on the list and the archives of the World Heritage Newsletter, which is available in the .pdf format. [KMG]

Two on Pulp Novels

Street & Smith Publishers' Archive and Dime Novel Cover Art
Horatio Alger Jr. Resources

For thousands of Americans throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, dime novels and pulp magazines were their first experiences with the emerging world of mass-produced material culture. One such purveyor was the Street & Smith publishing house, which began in 1855 and published a wide variety of popular literature (such as homemaking magazines, comics, and dime novels) for over 100 years. These products didn't often have a great deal of originality, as the company viewed fiction as a commodity, and editors dictated plots and characters to writers, a list that included Horatio Alger, Upton Sinclair, and Jack London. This first site, an online exhibit presented by the Syracuse University Library, pays homage to this publishing house with a number of scanned digitized images of the Street & Smith dime novels, a cover art gallery, and a collection of images immortalizing that most famous comic strip character, the Yellow Kid. The second link will take visitors to a site that lists online resources regarding Horatio Alger Jr., a figure who cast a giant shadow in the world of dime novels, and who is best known for his series of tomes that celebrated the rags to riches mythos. Here visitors can peruse course syllabi that address Alger's body of work, online versions of his novels, and various online biographies. [KMG]

The Discovery and Early Development of Insulin

The easy availability of insulin in the modern-day eases the everyday lives of millions of people living with diabetes around the world, and the events surrounding the discovery of insulin serve as the main focus for this Web site. Drawing heavily on the papers of Frederick Banting and Charles Herbert Best (two of the persons responsible for discovering insulin) housed at the University of Toronto, this engaging online exhibit and archive documents the initial period surrounding the discovery of insulin from 1920 to 1925. The archive available here for searching and browsing includes over 7000 digitized pages of original documents ranging from laboratory notebooks, writings, photographs, awards, scrapbooks, and published papers. Four smaller sections provide a brief overview of the entire exhibit, and include biographies of the four co-discoverers, an interactive timeline and an evocative description of what the discovery of insulin meant to several persons suffering from diabetes at the time. Finally, visitors can browse the notebooks (over 500 pages in total) of Frederick Banting, which include clippings on the discovery of insulin and a number of personal items, such as family photographs and diplomas. [KMG]

Drawing from Life: Caricatures and Cartoons From The American Art / Portrait Gallery Library Collection

Drawing on the extensive holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, this online exhibit presents a sample of the rather diverse set of cartoon and caricature books in their holdings. Beginning with an introductory essay by Kent C. Boese, the exhibit continues on with biographies of the artists whose work is featured in the exhibit (such as Charles Dana Gibson and William Allen Rogers). Visitors can proceed to view featured books, cartoons and caricatures. The individual cartoons and caricatures can also be browsed via a drop-down subject menu with topics ranging from adultery to World War I. Visitors will want to be sure to take a look at the images from the Mutt and Jeff comic strip by Harry Conway "Bud" Fisher and Charles Dana Gibson's Gibson Girl. The exhibit concludes with a bibliography of related works and suggestions for further reading. [KMG]

Network Tools

Weather Depot 1.21 [Windows Operating System]

As a quote commonly misattributed to Mark Twain goes, "Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does a thing about it." This little program from the folks at Weather Depot won't allow users to modify weather conditions, but it will let users customize their own weather planner (with hourly and daily updates), view regional radar, and view a map of current temperatures around the United States. Additionally, users may look up current road conditions, and view weather Web cams. Weather Depot 1.21 is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and higher. [KMG]

eMode 1.4 [Mac OS X]

These days everyone seems to have a homepage, or is at least spending a few hours a week chatting with friends, both near and far. eMode 1.4 is a handy little application designed to let users display their current mood on iChat and their homepage. Using a diverse set of emoticons, users can convey their current emotional state to friends and those just passing through the virtual world of the Internet. eMode 1.4 is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X 10.2 and higher. [KMG]

In The News

Survey Shows Britons Have Trouble Identifying Art Masterpieces

Water Lilies...Isn't That by Rolf Harris?,11711,1054028,00.html
Some Don't Know Their Water Lilies from Their Wobble Boards
Monet in the 20th Century
Edvard Munch: The Dance of Life
Leonardo da Vinci: Scientist, Inventor, Artist [QuickTime, RealOnePlayer]
The Official Rolf Harris Web Site [Macromedia Flash Reader]

While Americans seem lacking in geographical knowledge at times (such as the fact that some high school graduates do not think that New Mexico is part of the United States), a recent survey by the Encyclopedia Britannica indicates that Britons are unfamiliar with the masterpieces of art. The survey asked 500 adults aged 18 and over to identify the artists responsible for well-known paintings, and in the process, elicited some rather unusual responses. For example, one in 10 of those surveyed stated that Vincent van Gogh painted the Mona Lisa, and only 49 percent overall were able to correctly state that Leonardo da Vinci was in fact the creator of that work. Stranger still was the statistic that 7 per cent of those surveyed identified the creator of Water Lilies (painted many different times by Claude Monet) was in fact Rolf Harris, an Australian entertainer who plays the wobble board, and who recently recreated the famous Monet painting on a television show in Britain.

The first link is to an online news article from the Guardian about the results of this intriguing poll on art literacy around Britain. The second link will take visitors to a news story from the Sydney Morning Herald that talks about the survey, along with a section about perceptions of how Australians view art. The third link leads to an online exhibit of Monet's works (including some renditions of Water Lilies), provided by the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. The fourth link leads to a nice site dedicated to Edvard Munch (another misidentified painter in the recent survey), which includes a fine online gallery of his works, some background material, and links to other online resources. The fifth link leads to a site provided by the Museum of Science in Boston on Leonardo Da Vinci that features some virtual tours of the exhibit, learning activities for young people, and suggestions for incorporating da Vinci into the classroom. The final link leads to the Web site of the multitalented Rolf Harris (also known as The Wizard of Aussi), who is a musician, painter, and live performer. [KMG]

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