The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 43

October 31, 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 twenty first 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 scary sites about Halloween. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments on Worldwide Glacial Melting.

Research and Education

National Crime Prevention Council

Growing out of the National Citizens' Crime Prevention Campaign in the late 1970s, the organization gained great publicity through its use of the popular spokesperson McGruff the Crime Dog, and later became the National Crime Prevention Council. Today the Council is perhaps the best known nonprofit educational organization dedicated to crime prevention, and its website is an important place for the web-surfing public citizens to gather materials about working towards the prevention of crime in their own communities. Many of these resources are brought together in the section called Topics in Crime Prevention, accessible through the top right-hand side of the homepage. Here visitors can browse for materials by subject (such as bullying, civil rights organizations, and cybercrime), or by an extensive list of subjects, including funding opportunities, crime prevention, and violence prevention. Of course, visitors would be remiss not to examine the section that tells about the genesis of McGruff the Crime Dog, who has been one of the most enduring public service announcement characters of the past few decades. [KMG]

CDC: Cancer Prevention and Control [pdf]

Cancer continues to be of paramount concern to citizens across the United States, and the Center for Disease Control has developed this well laid out site to inform the general public about the numerous forms of the disease, along with providing data about state and national statistics regarding the most prevalent forms of the disease. Some of the more compelling material released on the site includes a slide presentation on screening for prostate cancer and the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2000. Visitors looking for information on specific types of cancer will want to visit the Topic Areas section which features detailed profiles and research information about breast, cervical, ovarian, and skin cancers. Those looking for statistical information will want to peruse the national data section that contains highly specific information about the incidence of various types of cancer throughout the United States. Additionally, data on cancer incidence by states is also available for consideration here as well. [KMG]

Pompeii: Portents of Disaster

This BBC history news story by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill explores the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, AD 79. Through the eye-witness account of the Roman administrator and poet, Pliny, the author articulately depicts the people's fears and the destruction caused by the volcanic activity. The author explores the Romans' scientific understanding and compares it with our current knowledge. Anyone interested in the history of geologic events will find this Web site very intriguing. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the October 31, 2003 NSDL Physical Sciences Report.

Vindolanda Tablets Online

Written in ink on postcard-sized sheets of wood, the Vindolanda tablets constitute a fascinating record of life in Roman Britain in the area of northern England around Hadrian's Wall during the first and second centuries AD. The tablets and the accompanying visual and printed materials were brought online through the collaborative efforts of the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents and the Academic Computing Development Team at Oxford University. Visitors unfamiliar with the world of Roman Britain would do well to go first to the Exhibition section which contains helpful areas devoted to the world of military life during this period, the tablets themselves, and the excavations at Vindolanda. The Reference section also provides a great deal of context to the commentaries contained on the tablets, providing information about the military units in the Roman army and important dates and events in early Roman Britain. The heart of the site is dedicated to the tablets themselves, which may be browsed by number or searched by such variables as title, author, English translation, or commentary. [KMG]

Political Theory Daily Review [pdf]

Developed and maintained by Alfred Perez, a PhD student at the New School for Social Research in New York City, this site is designed to be "a central space on the Web for the study of philosophy and politics." The homepage is laid out in three columns of text, separated into three sections: Newsroom, Town Square, and Ivory Tower. The Newsroom area contains a host of hyperlinks to recent developments around the world, including pieces of how blogs are transforming presidential politics and agricultural reform in Venezuela. The Town Square area includes links to germane newspaper and periodical articles, and on a recent visit included links to articles dealing with student activism on college campuses and a review of Paul Krugman's new book, The Great Unraveling. Not surprisingly, the Ivory Tower area contains links to recent academic pieces on political theory, and includes reflections on the recent passing of Edward Said and a work on the "military-entertainment complex." The site is rounded out by a page devoted to links dealing with political think-tanks and related organizations. [KMG]

Monastic Matrix

In the past several decades, there has been an increased interest in the participation of Christian women in the religion and society of medieval Europe, and the Monastic Matrix website (last reviewed by The Scout Report on March 24, 1998) is a collaborative effort that seeks "to collect and make available all existing data about all professional Christian women in Europe between 400 and 1600 CE." The site is divided into eight sections, which contain materials on the type of religious communities formed by women, visual materials relevant to these types of communities, and a rather detailed bibliographic section that currently contains over 8000 citations of materials related to medieval religious women. The bibliography is well organized, as visitors may elect to browse the citations by author, title, keyword, type of work (monograph, article, etc.), or language. [KMG]

The Changing Face of Medicine [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

The Changing Face of Medicine is a new exhibit at the National Library of Medicine that explores "the many ways that women have influenced and enhanced the practice of medicine." The online version of the exhibit is quite extensive, and includes a resources section with downloadable lesson plans, a lengthy list of suggested reading, and a students' guide to a career in medicine. There are four groups of lesson plans for various grades (K-2, 3-4, 5-8, and 9-12). Topics covered include human senses, the circulatory system, adolescent health, and medical careers. The site also offers four online interactivities -- fun, multimedia features "that use games and learning modules to bring issues of science and medicine to life." [RS] This site is also reviewed in the October 31, 2003 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

General Interest

The Internet Movie Database

Last reviewed in the May 6, 1994 edition of The Scout Report, the Internet Movie Database has grown by leaps and bounds in the past nine years. Containing literally millions of pieces of information, users looking for information from films such as Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight to more contemporary fare can merely enter the title of the movie into the IMDB search engine and a complete record will be returned. Along with basic information about each film, users can often read comments from other users, full cast and crew details, lists of awards and nominations for each film, a plot summary, trivia about the film, and filming locations. Of course, this process can be repeated for actors, directors, and cinematographers for those seeking information about persons in the film industry. From the rather detailed homepage, users can also learn which films are due to be released shortly in theaters, and which films are due out on DVD and VHS. Another fun feature is the IMDb top 250 Films, as determined by users ratings and comments. Of course, users also can browse the ignominious IMDb bottom 100 Films for a look at those films that generally did not receive "two thumbs up" upon their initial release. [KMG]

Eugenics Archive [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Science, a human endeavor, seems to be ever-struggling between the possibilities of technology and the limitations of ethics. No other single event in the history of science demonstrates how the use of data and evidence were construed to massage ethics to fuel a reproductive war against the lower classes. As the introduction to the issue states, " immigrants were seen as troublemakers, and the eugenicists purported to have data showing that the problem was in their genes. The solution to the problem was simple -- selective immigration restriction." The somber topic of eugenics is covered exceptionally well in this website from the Dolan DNA Learning Center, a part of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. A series of links leads visitors to exhibits highlighting such issues as the scientific origins of eugenics, the social origins that married social Darwinism with genetics, sterilization and marriage laws, and much more. Another link to a related site, DNA Interactive, further stresses that while the eugenics movement has since passed, "Coming to grips with the past failings of eugenics may allow us to move with greater confidence into the new gene age." Certainly a fascinating look at a troubling era in social history, this site offers a wealth of background knowledge as well as posing critical questions for today and beyond. [JPM]

The Open Video Project [QuickTime]

While many digital image projects and archives offer a few brief video clips of historical and other interests, the Open Video Project contains close to 2000 digitized clips and complete short films, and will be of great interest to those researching visual culture. Sponsored and developed at the Interaction Design Laboratory at the School of Information and Library Science and the University of North Carolina, the project began in 1998 with approximately 195 video segments. The archive available here provides video clips from a variety of sources, including quite a few obtained from U.S. government agencies. The entire archive may be searched by keyword, or browsed by genre, duration, or thematic collection. There are some rather compelling files to peruse here, including a collection of classic early television commercials (including one for Jello), a short silent film titled 2 A.M in the subway, and an educational film titled A is for Atom, produced by the General Electric Company. [KMG]

Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools

Getting high school students interested in poetry can be a formidable task, so this helpful website created by the Library of Congress will be a welcome addition for many educators. Poetry 180 presents 180 poems, selected by Billy Collins (the current U.S. Poet Laureate), with the hope that high school students will read one of the poems a day, one for each school day in the academic year. All 180 poems are included on the site, and the list includes poems by contemporary poets such as Martha Collins, Jane Kenyon, George Bradley, Edward Field, and Thomas Lux. Another nice feature of the site is a brief list of suggestions by Collins on How To Read a Poem Out Loud, which includes a number of helpful hints on how to effectively deliver poems. Finally, visitors can sign the online guestbook here, or just view the entries from other visitors. [KMG]

Scrapbooking 101

While creating scrapbooks has long been a favorite pastime and hobby, interest in this form of self-expression has picked up in recent years. Designed by LeNae Gerig, this website offers some introductory materials on how to get started with the creative process involved in making a scrapbook. The site is divided into five primary areas, including general information about terms related to scrapbooks (such as buffered paper and sheet protectors), supplies needed to create a scrapbook, the use of photographs in scrapbooks, basic techniques, and uses of patterned paper. The supplies area is a good place to begin, as it lists the importance and use of some basic supplies such as various adhesive materials, sheet protectors, and journaling tools. The techniques section offers some helpful hints on how to create a layout for a scrapbook, journaling, and the creative touch afforded by vellum paper. Overall, the site will pique the interest of those hoping to learn some basics about scrapbooking, and may inspire a new collection of personal and family memories. [KMG]

Places Online

The practice and discipline of geography has always had an intimate preoccupation with places and how human societies modify and shape them in accordance with their own interests. In keeping with that tradition, the Association of American Geographers has created the Places Online website to provide interested parties with access to the "world's very best place-based websites." The criteria for inclusion on the website is that worthy sites must provide original quality content, contain a substantive geographic content, and employ interesting and user-friendly formats. Visitors may begin to look for sites by clicking on an interactive map of the world, browsing by region, or in some cases, by continent. Coverage over most of the globe is quite good, with additional material to come on countries that are currently not featured on any available place-based websites. Additionally, visitors may elect to search the contents of the site by keyword or exact phrase. [KMG]

University of Pennsylvania: University Archives

Many colleges and universities have carefully maintained archival collections that are consulted by historians and alumni interested in learning first-hand about their storied pasts. Not many institutions of higher learning can boast of such a nice collection of online materials, and certainly this website serves as a good example to others looking to develop such a collection. First-time visitors will want to take a look at the digital image collection, which contains 725 images depicting the campus in West Philadelphia, along with maps, slides, and sketches. Along with performing a simple search, visitors can browse a list of topical collections. Another good feature located here is a reproduction of an 1895 article from Harper's Magazine by Francis N. Thorpe that contains 18 illustrations within its 21 pages. Visitors looking for historical sketches of Penn's history and development will want to browse the section that offers numerous essays, including titles dealing with urban renewal and the university's gradual expansion over the 125 years. [KMG]

Network Tools

StudioLine Photo Basic 2.0 [Windows Operating System]

This latest edition of StudioLine Photo Basic allows users to manipulate and modify up to 200 photos using its rather novel image interface and catalog system. After adding photographs to the archive, users can find images by their descriptions and any combination of system, camera and user tags. Most of the capabilities from the professional version of Photo Basic are also included, such as the diverse line of filters, effects, and batch processing capability. Users can also share thumbnails via email, and automatically create web galleries in addition. This version of Photo Basic is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and higher. [KMG]

Xblog 1.1.3 [Macintosh Operating System]

With all of the blogs available online, many users may be interested in putting their own up too -- if they haven't done so already. This handy little application allows users to publish their blog quickly by setting the server, creating a template, and adding their entries, all with just a few clicks. Users will appreciate the simplicity of the application, although there is little documentation about the application currently available online. Xblog 1.1.3 is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X. [KMG]

In The News

Creator of Simpsons Alleges Fox Almost Sued Itself Over Parody

Fox Sought to Sue Self, Simpsons Scribe Says
The Simpsons Archive
Matt Groenings Top Ten Episodes
NPR: Interview with Matt Groening [RealOnePlayer]
Metroactive Arts -- Life before Homer: An Interview with Matt Groening

In an interview with Terry Gross of National Public Radio this week, Matt Groening (the creator of The Simpsons) commented that the Fox News Channel threatened to sue Fox Entertainment (its sister network) over a recent parody of the right-wing news channel. In this particular episode of the Simpsons, a rolling news ticker ran along the bottom of the screen, in the same fashion as on the Fox News Channel. The ticker displayed a number of headlines that parodied the channel's right-leaning perspective, such as Do Democrats Cause Cancer?, JFK Posthumously Joins Republican Party, and Oil Slicks Found to Keep Seals Young, Supple. Groening noted in the interview with NPR that "We called their bluff because we didn't think Rupert Murdoch [the owner of Fox] would pay for Fox to sue itself. So, we got away with it." Groening went on to note that "Now Fox has a new rule that we can't do those little fake news crawls on the bottom of the screen in a cartoon because it might confuse the viewers into thinking it's real news." [KMG]

The first link leads to a recent news piece about the supposed lawsuit from this week's Washington Times. The second link will take visitors to the delightful Simpsons Archive, which though not the official site, presents synopses of all the episodes, along with thousands of pieces of arcane information about the long-running show. The third site is in fact the official site presented by the Fox Network, and likewise, contains a staggering amount of material about the Simpson clan and the rest of the residents of Springfield. The fourth site is a feature that originally appeared in Entertainment Weekly where creator Matt Groening offers a list of his ten favorite episodes of the Simpsons, which is not surprisingly capped off by the much-lauded Bart the Daredevil program that appeared in the second season. The fifth link will take visitors to the audio archive of NPR's popular program, Fresh Air, where they may listen to the October 23, 2003 interview with Groening. The final link will take users to an interview with Groening from 1986 (culled from the archives of the Metro, a weekly newspaper in Silicon Valley) where he talks about his work and life -- which included the rather funny comic strip Life in Hell at that point.

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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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