The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 49

December 12, 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-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 Mercury Pollution. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about The Coriolis Force.

Research and Education

Economic and Social Science Research Council [pdf]

With its prestigious record of research and service to the broader public sector, the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's prime research funding and training agency that actively addresses both economic and social concerns. As the website notes, the council seeks "to provide high quality research on issues of importance to business, the public sector, and government." From the homepage, visitors can read extensive information about the Council's seven thematic research priorities (which include social stability and exclusion and lifecourse), along with reading about funding opportunities and available postdoctoral research positions with one of the research centres. As with most research organizations, the selection of publications here is quite good, and includes annual reports, transcripts of lectures given on behalf of the Council, best practice guides, and several special reports, such as Britain Towards 2010 and Fit and Fifty?. Finally, the news area of the site contains the archives and current edition of The Edge, a magazine about social science research funded by ESRC. [KMG]

World Values Survey [pdf]

Started in 1981, the World Values Survey is an ambitious worldwide investigation of sociocultural and political change being conducted by an international network of social scientists at universities across the globe. Since its inception, a total of four waves of representative sample research have been conducted producing "evidence of gradual but pervasive changes in what people want out of life." The survey shows that the basic direction of these changes is, to some extent, predictable. Following from this intriguing (and perhaps contestable) thesis, the website provides access to a number of the publications that have been generated from the group's scholarship, along with information about ordering various monographs and other publications. Visitors can also view the various questionnaires used to sample the different population groups, and read news updates about their work. As mentioned, the site also allows visitors to download some of the most recent work done by the scholars at the World Values Survey, including papers dealing with democratic aspirations and ideals in East Asia and postmaterialism. [KMG]

Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History

Given its proximity to numerous large and biologically diverse ecosystems, it is not surprising to learn that the Florida Museum of Natural History has developed such a lovely website that corrals a great deal of interesting and interactive materials on the study of fish. From the homepage, visitors can dive into the ten or so topical headings, include those dealing with sharks, tropical fish research, South Florida, and an amazing ichthyology collection. The newly developed South Florida section is a must-see, as it provides a strong introduction to the complex aquatic environments that make the region so unique, along with providing a glossary of terms, a few quizzes, and several word search puzzles for the younger set. Overall, the educational material presented here is very strong, and would prove to be a nice complement to younger students' classroom work on marine biology in particular. [KMG]

Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics [pdf, postscript]

This expansive Web site features the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics' research dealing primarily with geometric analysis and gravitation, astrophysical relativity, quantum gravity and unified theories, and laser interferometry and gravitational wave astronomy. After learning about the Institute's origins in 1995, researchers can find out about the institute's intense efforts and hardships in developing a consistent theory of quantum gravity as well as its investigation in gravitational radiation and causal structures. The site provides visitors with downloads to many published articles as well as links to two free access electronic review journals: Living Reviews in Relativity and Living Reviews in Solar Physics. While some content is not in English, all visitors can find valuable information about research in gravitational physics. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the December 12, 2003 NSDL Physical Sciences Report.

Southern Rural Development Center

Since John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson declared war on rural poverty during their time in the White House, there has been an overriding concern with alleviating the persistently high levels of poverty in the American South. A number of organizations have developed to provide assistance to the region, and the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), located at Mississippi State University is one such entity. The center's mission statement reflects this sentiment, as it notes its primary directive is "to strengthen the capacity of the region's 29-land grant institutions to address critical contemporary development issues impacting the well-being of people and communities in the rural South." Visitors interested in these issues will find plenty to examine here, as they may elect to view a calendar of germane events (such as regional science conferences and the like), look over a list of their primary focus areas, learn about available funding opportunities, and download any number of policy publications and newsletters which date back to 1993. [KMG]

National Center for Early Development & Learning

Based at the University of North Carolina (and acting in collaboration with the University of Virginia and UCLA), the National Center for Early Development & Learning (NCEDL) is a national early childhood research project that is supported by the US Department of Education's Institute for Educational Sciences. All of the diverse research areas are in someway related to "enhancing the cognitive, social and emotional development of children from birth through age eight." With several dozen researchers, the Center is currently working on two overarching projects, with one focusing on a multi-state evaluation of pre-kindergarten and the other one focusing on a multi-state study of state funded early education programs sponsored by the National Institute of Early Education Research. The online publication area is prodigious, and educators and policy analysts alike will want to take a look over the policy briefs, fact sheets, case studies, and the in-house magazine, Early Developments, which contains all of the issues dating back to 1997. [KMG]

The Atlantic World: America and the Netherlands

Released as part of the Global Gateway online series from the Library of Congress, this fine collaboration between the Library of Congress and various archives in the Netherlands explores the various aspects of the Dutch presence in America from the early 17th century up to the post World War II period. This first stage of the online project largely explores the period between 1609 and 1664, when the Dutch established the colony of New Netherland, which was largely confined to the Atlantic coast in what is now New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut. In this section, visitors can read extended essays on various aspects of the Dutch presence in the region, along with perusing various primary documents and looking at a number of unique maps from the period. Some of the themes that will be added to the site over the coming months include explorations of 19th century Dutch migration and Holland-Mania. Many of the materials on the site (and many of the primary documents) are available in Dutch, as well as English. [KMG]

Forest History Society

Affiliated with Duke University, the Forest History Society (FHS) "links the past to the future by identifying, collecting, preserving, interpreting, and disseminating information on the history of interactions between people, forests, and their related resources..." Founded in 1946, FHS offers extensive resources for anyone interested in the history of forests. This website contains links to FHS archives, research and publications, U.S. Forest Service history, searchable databases, and more. The searchable databases include a sizeable bibliography "containing annotated descriptions of over 34,000 books, articles, and dissertations on topics in the fields of forest, conservation, and environmental history." [NL] This site is also reviewed in the December 12, 2003 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

General Interest

While many of us often hear about various product recalls, it can be difficult at times to find a one-stop online service center to see if any particular type of product has been recalled recently. The launch of this helpful website, provided by the federal government, should help alleviate the problem. Six federal agencies (such as the FDA, USDA, and several others) have joined together to bring pertinent recall information to the American public. The site is quite user-friendly, as visitors can click on one of six tabs (such as Consumer Products, Boats, or Food) to find out current information on current and recent recalls from across the United States. One particularly helpful feature includes the ability to sign to receive electronic newsletters and updates from the appropriate agencies when various products are deemed unsafe or when a recall is issued. Appropriately enough, the materials on the site are also available in Spanish. [KMG]

Mr. Picassohead

Absolutely just for fun (or is it?), you can become a Cubist painter at this clever site, creating an original work of art by moving facial parts -- eyes, hair, lips, ears, noses -- onto a canvas in the same fashion as snapping plastic parts onto a Mr. Potatohead doll. There are also tools for colorizing, rotating, and changing the sizes of your design elements. Once you have painted your masterpiece, you can save it in the gallery, and email a link to your friends. You can also browse the gallery, which apparently has close to 40,000 paintings in it at present, or search, by artists' names and titles. Trying out a few searches using terms in the news, such as Bush or Peace, may make you wonder just how much this online game is expressing the Zeitgeist. [DS]

Lovers of the dramaturgical arts will want to take a look at, which offers a host of resources on the long and storied past of this performing art. The homepage for the site features links to a script archive, a Today in Theatre History section, a featured topic area, and a listing of the other areas covered within the site. The script archive is worth a look by aspiring thespians, as it includes a number of monologues, 10-minute plays, and full-length plays, most of which are in the public domain. The general theatre section is divided by country or region, and includes full-length articles about the tradition of the theatrical arts in Britain, Ireland, Russia, and Spain, among other countries. [KMG]

Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825 [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Designed to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the most cosmopolitan city, St. Petersburg, this lovely online exhibit on Russia's emergence as a modern empire that began with the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and continued unabated for three centuries. The exhibit itself was underwritten by the Boris Jordan Family, with additional support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Appropriately, each section of the exhibit has been divided largely by various rulers (such as Catherine the Great and Emperor Alexander I), and includes an essay that provides viewers with a broad portrait of the various cultural, political, and technological transformations made within each era. The essays are well complemented by a number of visual accompaniments, such as an intricate 17th-century view of Moscow from the New York Public Library and a portrait of the Muscovite ruler Tsar Mikhail Romanov. [KMG]


These days everyone wants to put photos up on the web, whether they be from a family BBQ or if they have a certain penchant for a particular far-flung locale. This novel site serves as "the birthplace of GPS photograph," as users can take their photographs, mark the GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates of where the photograph was taken, and place them on this site for the world to view. As the site comments, "Wouldn't it be great if you could share an experience with someone and give them the means to go and get that experience for themselves?" Currently on GeoSnapper there are close to 1000 photographs available for viewing, culled from places such as Baffin Island, Las Vegas, and the Oregon coast. Not surprisingly, the interactive mapping interface is quite good, and users can also rate the photographs, post questions or comments to a number of forums, and search the entire photograph collection. [KMG]

Diffusion [pdf]

Since the advent of the internet, a number of artists and related organizations have become interested in utilizing the web to promulgate new forms of artistic creation and their subsequent dissemination. Supported by the Arts Council of England, these Diffusion eBooks are essentially pdf files that readers can download, print out and make into booklets. As the site suggests, "the Diffusion format challenges conventions of interactivity-blending the physical and the virtual and breaking the dominance of mouse and screen as the primary forms of human computer interaction...the format's aim is to take the reader away from the screen and computer and engage them in the process of production." There are a number of creative booklets available here for visitors, complete with instruction on how to assemble them for the desired effect. For anyone with even a remote interest in the possibilities afforded by this rather curious new form of expression, this website is worth a look. [KMG]

Institute of Historic Building Conservation [pdf]

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation is the professional institute that represents conservation professionals in both the public and private sectors throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Currently the Institute has over 1300 members, representing 15 different subfields within the profession. The mission of the Institute is "to establish the highest standards of conservation practice to support the effective protection and enhancement of the historic environment." To support this mission, the Institute has created this helpful website containing information about its ongoing activities (such as panel discussions, professional workshops, etc.), job opportunities in the field, and the organization's structure. The site also contains some good research documents, including a recent one dealing with planning, and the historic environment and local conservation agencies throughout the United Kingdom. Perhaps the best aspect of this website is the on-line archive (dating back to 1983) that contains the full-text editions of the Institute's magazine, Context.[KMG]

Network Tools

Download Accelerator Plus 7 [Windows Operating System]

This latest version of Download Accelerator will be most welcomed by those individuals who may have become frustrated by long download times for various files, whether they be audio, video, or large pdf attachments. Some of the new features in this latest version include a preview pane for previewing downloads of music and video files, an advanced management system for tracking downloads, and a built-in media center for convenient organization of all types of media files. The website for the program is quite helpful, as it contains even more information about the program and a place to send feedback. This latest version of Download Accelerator is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

Nisus Thesaurus 1.0.3 [Macintosh Operating System]

While many applications feature a dictionary, this latest application will come in handy for those who have been searching for a quality thesaurus to add to their bevy of computer tools. Nisus Thesaurus can be used in any services enabled application and it contains over 120,000 words and a built-in glossary. Even better is the fact that when users look for any given word, the Nisus Thesaurus will show related words in six different categories. This application is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X. [KMG]

In The News

Recent Report from UNICEF Details Importance of Education

65 Million Girls Denied Education
UN: Girls Education a Global Emergency
Education of Girls Key to Development in Poor Countries, says UNICEF [RealOnePlayer]
UNICEF: The State of the Worlds Children [pdf]
United Nations Millennium Development Goals
African Virtual University

The expansion of education in the developing world has long been a conundrum for many, and UNICEF is one of the many organizations concerned with this important policy question. A recent 147-page report released by the organization this week highlights some of the many detrimental effects that a lack of education may have on people in the developing world, particularly young women. The report notes that approximately 65 million girls are kept out of school around the world, effectively increasing the risk that they will suffer from poverty, die during childbirth, or from AIDS. The director of UNICEF, Carol Bellamy, remarked that "We believe that the failure to invest in girls education puts in jeopardy more development goals than any other single action that could take place." This problem is particularly acute in sub-Saharan Africa, though recent developments have seen school enrollment rates for girls rise by 15 percent in Guinea, 12 percent in Senegal, and 9 percent in Benin. Regardless of these successes, it is estimated that at the current rate of funding universal primary education in sub-Saharan Africa will not be achieved until the year 2129.

The first link will take visitors to a recent news piece from Ireland On-Line that comments on the report released by UNICEF on Thursday. The second link leads to a news piece from that offers additional comments on the recent report on education and development issues. The third link is provided by the Voice of America news service, and includes an audio report by Lisa Schlein on this important subject. The fourth link will take visitors to the homepage of the report created by UNICEF. Here visitors can download the entire report (or individual chapters), read discussion boards, view press releases, and watch video clips. The fifth link located here leads to the UNs Millennium development goals, which (not surprisingly) include amidst its 8 directives, "Achieve universal primary education." Finally, the last link leads to the homepage of the African Virtual University, which is a recent attempt by the United Nations to increase access to postsecondary education to persons throughout the African continent via the Internet and satellite linkup. [KMG]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The Scout Report.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

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

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

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.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

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

Internet Scout Project Team
Max GrinnellEditor
John MorganManaging Editor
Rachael BowerCo-Director
Edward AlmasyCo-Director
Rachel SohmerContributor
Cavin LeskeContributor
Debra ShapiroContributor
Rachel EnrightContributor
David SleasmanInternet Cataloger
Todd ScudiereAssistant Internet Cataloger
Barry WieganSoftware Engineer
Justin RushTechnical Specialist
Michael GrossheimTechnical Specialist
Andy Yaco-MinkWebsite Designer
David MayerWebsite Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.