The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 50

December 19, 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 Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology

The twenty-fifth issue of the second volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Electronic Voting.

Research and Education

Economics Policy Institute [pdf, RealOnePlayer]

Founded in 1986, the Economics Policy Institute (EPI) was established to "broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers." In keeping with that particular view, the Institute places a premium on real world analysis and a concern for the living standards of working people. The EPI site serves a clearinghouse for much of its research findings, along with some fine web-only features, such as profiles of economic indicators, the Quarterly Wage and Employment Series (which analyzes wage and employment trends), and a number of online supplemental tables. Much of the material on the site falls into one of the broad themes with which the EPI is primarily concerned -- such as trade and globalization, education, and living standards and labor markets. Finally, the site also contains an audio archive of events and discussions sponsored by the EPI dating back to August 1999, including programs on globalization and most recently, the ongoing debate surrounding the proposed privatization of Amtrak. [KMG]

The Arab Population: 2000 [pdf]

As part of its ongoing series of Census Briefs, the U.S. Census Bureau released this 12-page document in December 2003 that examines the Arab population around the United States. The document begins with a description of how the Census enumerates which groups tend to identify as being of Arab ancestry, and then proceeds to discuss some of the findings from data gathered in the 2000 Census. Some of the findings include that the Arab population increased by nearly 40 percent during the 1990s and that people of Lebanese, Syrian, and Egyptian ancestry accounted for about three-fifths of the Arab population in the United States. The document also contains important information about the spatial distribution among persons of Arab ancestry, such as the finding that approximately half of the Arab population was concentrated in only five states, and that the state with the greatest proportion of Arabs was Michigan. [KMG]

New France, New Horizons: On French Soil in America [Adobe SVG Viewer]

Almost 400 years ago, France created its first permanent settlement in what would later become Canada. In doing so, the French embarked on a pattern of discovery and extended settlement that would continue until Britain eventually took control of the region in the late 18th century. Designed to celebrate and explore this rich history, this site was created by the Library and Archives Canada and the Direction des Archives de France in order to bring together over one million digitized images of documents, maps, plans, and other visual material related to this long period of French involvement in this part of North America. Here visitors can view a virtual exhibition, browse a list of other institutional links, and last (but certainly not least) search the massive database. The database is quite user-friendly, as visitors can elect to search by year (or time period), institutional location of document, or collection. For example, typing in Montreal returns 2900 documents alone, including numerous maps, government correspondence, and a number of city plans. The SVG Viewer plug-in allows users to zoom in, rotate, and manipulate documents in a number of ways, and is a welcome addition to this already remarkable online resource. [KMG]


Since the discovery of the double-helix by James Watson and Francis Crick fifty years ago, the interest in what is now referred to as biotechnology has grown exponentially. Currently, the United Kingdom is second only to the United States in terms of biotechnology research and is looking to increase its share of this particular realm of economic and scholarly activity. Those unfamiliar with the world of biotechnology would do well to start with the Absolute Beginners area of the site, which offers a broad description of the field, examples of what exactly biotechnology is, and case studies from the UK and the rest of the world. Other sections of the site offer information about the biotech industry, academic research in this field (along with material on the role of universities), and current government policy and support initiatives for biotechnology and ancillary forms of research. [KMG]

Ants of Borneo

The names Aenictinae, Ceraphachyine, Dorylinae, and Dolichoderinae may not mean much to those outside the world of entomology, but these are but a few of the subfamilies of ants profiled on this nice website designed by Martin Pfeiffer of the University of Ulm. These subfamilies of ants are all present in Kinabulu National Park in Malaysia, a tropical rainforest that has the notable distinction of containing the world's most diverse ant population. Visitors to the site can browse images of over 130 species of ants (divided by their respective subfamily), presented in more than 520 high resolution photographs. Culled from the work of a number of different researchers, the ants photographed for this site were mostly collected during fieldwork that took place between 1991 and 2002. Those persons unfamiliar with the world of the ants of Borneo will have a most intimate understanding of these fascinating creatures and some sense of their sheer diversity after traversing this site. [KMG]

Robotic Pets in Online Discussion [pdf]

Pet owners traditionally develop an emotional bond with their pets. However, in this unusual study from the University of Washington, researchers attempted to ascertain whether similar feelings can be evoked from Sony's robotic dog AIBO. The study's methodology involved analyzing "people's conceptions of AIBO through their spontaneous postings that occurred in 3 well-established online AIBO discussion forums." The results indicated that people tend to associate social characteristics to AIBO but not moral characteristics. Four papers related to the study can be downloaded from this website. A discussion about the use of robotic pets for children and the elderly is also given. [CL] This site is also reviewed in the December 19, 2003 NSDL MET Report.

Metropolis Magazine

Started in 1998, Metropolis Magazine offers a compelling look at the broad world of design, including the fields of architecture, planning, preservation, and crafts. As the website indicates, "Subjects range from the sprawling urban environment to intimate living spaces to small objects of everyday use." What is inviting about this particular site is the amount of publicly-available material that the web-browsing user can read and discuss with others. Some of the special features include the magazine's prediction on the "city of the near future," best and worst case scenarios for the future of urbanism, and a place to send comments to the editors of the magazine. The site also contains an archive of past issues dating back to 1998, providing even more articles for visitors to look through. Items of interest available here from the current issue include discussions surrounding the World Trade Center Memorial and remarks offered by the magazine's editor-in-chief, Susan S. Szenasy, on the ongoing changes in design and design education for the coming 25 years. [KMG]

Changing the Beat: A Study of the Worklife of Jazz Musicians [pdf]

The lives of jazz musicians as portrayed in many popular films would have most people believing that the hard-living of someone like Charlie Parker is representative of most persons working in this particular line of cultural expression and endeavor. Seeking to go beyond this misguided stereotype, this interesting document produced by the National Endowment for the Arts (with the assistance of numerous other groups such as the Packard Foundation and the Grammy Foundation) takes a broad look at the worklife of jazz musicians in several major metropolitan areas in the U.S., including New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco. As the introduction to the work suggests, "This study provided an opportunity to examine the working lives of jazz musicians in a systematic way and to produce quantitative and qualitative information about the jazz community, the professional lives of jazz musicians, and the place of jazz in the music industry." Conducted under the direction of Joan Jeffri (director of the Research Center for Arts and Culture at Columbia University's Teachers College), the document contains sections on the demographics of the study group, information about the nature of touring as a component of their work, and comments from study participants. [KMG]

General Interest

Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts

Almost every culture throughout the world has a long tradition of folklore and myths, with some of the tales having dozens of variations and permutations. Retired professor D.L Ashliman has placed hundreds of these tales on this well-designed website for the edification of the web-browsing public. While the site does not have an internal search engine, visitors can look through the available materials alphabetically. Here visitors can read the story of Androcles and the Lion, the Bear Trainer and His Cat, and the Hand of Glory, which includes legends about magic lights made from human hands. Professor Ashliman has also contributed a number of original thought-provoking essays on such topic as Censorship in Folklore, Aging and Death in Folklore, and the topic of changelings. Overall, this is a fine site for those looking to explore the vast world of folklore and its many manifestations through a number of varying cultural traditions. [KMG]

Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schaparelli

The first clue to the nature of this Web exhibition from the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the mannikin with the shoe on her head displayed at the home page. Proceed into the Gallery Tour to see clothing designed by Elsa Schaparelli, the last word in fashion in 1930s, who dressed actresses and female athletes, women who made the best-dressed list. The show opens with her "overnight success" in 1927, with a hand knit faux bow knot sweater -- the bow knot is decoration-knitted into the sweater, although it looks like a structural detail. Schaparelli collaborated with surrealist artists in the 1930s and examples in the show include an evening dress with a Salvador Dali lobster print and the shoe hat, also Dali-inspired. When viewing the Gallery, be sure to click the pink 01, 02, 03s in the vertical bar to see all the items in a section. The show also includes a Schaparelli for Kids feature, where kids of all ages can dress up in Schaparelli clothes, design their own fashions, and take a fashion quiz. And see Schaparelli's 12 Commandments for Women for fashion advices such as #10: never fit a dress to the body, but train the body to fit the dress. [DS]

Kennedy & Castro: The Secret History [Windows Media Player, pdf]

Released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, this intriguing electronic briefing book (presented by the National Security Archive at George Washington University), contains an audio tape of the late President Kennedy discussing the possibility of a clandestine meeting with Fidel Castro in Havana (just several weeks before Kennedy's death). Along with this six-minute audio recording, visitors will find other key documents related to the story, including several top secret White House memoranda, a CIA briefing paper, and brief profiles of the various characters who played a role in these matters. As National Security Archive senior analyst Peter Kornbluh remarked, "The documents show that JFK clearly wanted to change the framework of hostile U.S. relations with Cuba. His assassination, at the very moment this initiative was coming to fruition, leaves a major 'what if' in the ensuing history of the U.S. conflict with Cuba." [KMG]

Reporting Civil Rights

This site was designed to complement the Library of America's recent release of a compilation of pieces titled Reporting Civil Rights, dealing largely with the efforts of various journalists, activists, and others in the struggle to secure various civil freedoms and liberties for African-Americans during the years 1941 to 1973. Included on the site is an interactive timeline that chronicles this period, a section titled Perspectives on Reporting, and Reporters and Writers. Perspectives on Reporting includes first person accounts by Norman Podhoretz, Jeremiah Gutman, and David Nevin on their experiences working in the field. Reporters and Writers contains an alphabetical listing of the various authors included in the actual book, with links to biographies, and selected pieces, where available. There are a number of notable pieces included on the site from the book, including Adventures in Dining by Langston Hughes and Big Changes are Coming by James Meredith. [KMG]

Graffiti Archaeology [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Envisioned and created by Cassidy Curtis (and a few photographer friends), this site is a "study of graffiti-covered walls as they change over time" in San Francisco. While reviled by public officials and city sanitation workers, these walls seem to come alive with a flourish, as visitors can watch these locales change over time. Currently visitors can browse through five different locations in the city. The real star of the site is the graphical interface that allows visitors to zoom in and out through the different phases of each site's respective artistic evolution. Along with this fun feature, visitors can look at each site during various transformations, giving one a sense of how each wall has been changed by a number of graffiti artists. [KMG]

American Mavericks [RealOnePlayer]

Written and produced by Tom Voegli, and produced by Minnesota Public Radio in association with the San Francisco Symphony and its music director, Michael Tilson Thomas, this lovely 13-part radio series "tells the story of the distinctly American music that grew along with the country." Part of this essential story is the music of such iconoclastic tradition-breaking composers as Charles Ives, Henry Brant, Laurie Anderson, John Cage, and many others. The programs are hosted by noted musical innovator and performer Suzanne Vega and may be listened to their entirety here on the site. The first program explores the questions: What is music? What is noise? Each program has its own separate webpage, which allows visitors to learn more about each composer mentioned in the show, listen to the complete versions of each piece of music from the program, and provides links to extended interviews with selected composers. The interactive features offered here for visitors are simply inimitable, as visitors may play the instruments of the musicologist Harry Partch, experiment with the spatial separation techniques that were so compelling to Charles Ives, and play a virtual rhythmicon modeled on the actual machine built by Leon Theremin in 1931. Designed to be edifying, entertaining, and inspirational, visitors will want to visit this website numerous times to explore all of its various facets. [KMG]

Rembrandt's Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher

Designed to complement a current exhibition at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, this small online exhibition showcases some of the many masterpieces created by that legendary Old Master, the Netherlands' own Rembrandt. Here visitors may take an online exhibition tour that features some of his finest works (most notably his portraits), in a variety of media, including painting and drawing. This part of the site also contains a built-in feature that allows visitors to examine various details of these works in very fine detail. Another section of the site pays homage to Rembrandt's lovingly crafted self-portraits, executed from 1629 to 1659. The Take a Closer Look section profiles five of Rembrandt's small etchings, which range in thematic focus from Adam and Eve to beggars receiving alms. The site is rounded out by a free screensaver, which is available to be downloaded by users of the webpage. [KMG]

Network Tools

JAlbum 4.0.4 [Macintosh Operating System, Windows Operating System]

This latest edition of the popular free photo album generator has some nice new bells and whistles, including new album skins with custom graphical user interfaces, a new tool that allows for the automatic rotation of images, and several bug fixes have also been put into place. As with previous versions, JAlbum 4.0.4 allows users to add movie files (such as those in the avi and wmv formats) and an integrated smart FTP client that makes publishing any of the albums to the Internet quite simple. This version of JAlbum is compatible with a number of operating systems, including Mac OS X and machines running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

WebAssistant Private 2004 [Windows Operating System]

Web Assistant Private 2004 gives users the ability to archive all websites of note offline, something that will come in handy for those looking to peruse any number of websites when they are unavailable to connect to the Internet. Some of the features of the application include a hierarchical archive structure that represents a mirror of every website, topic-specific archiving of webpages, and the filtration of unwanted material from each site. This version of Web Assistant Private 2004 is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

In The News

Recreation of Wright Brothers' First Flight Fails to Get Off the Ground

Rainfall Ruins Wrights' 100
Wright Flight, Wrong Outcome,5478,8199634%255E401,00.html
U.S. Centennial of Flight Home Page [Macromedia Flash Reader]
Wright Experience: Reconstructing the Wright Brothers' Legacy
Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company and Museum of Pioneer Aviation Home Page

30,000 people were on hand Wednesday to commemorate the first flight of the Wright Brothers along the sandy dunes of Kill Devil Hill, North Carolina. Unfortunately, inclement weather (particularly the lack of wind), made effectively recreating that flight an impossibility. The detailed reproduction of the original 1903 Wright Flyer was built by the nonprofit group, the Wright Experience, and was to be flown by engineering professor Kevin Kochersberger. A number of dignitaries and celebrities were on hand for the event, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, singer Lee Greenwood, actor John Travolta, and President George W. Bush. Some had speculated that President Bush might use the occasion to announce a new NASA-sponsored mission to the moon, but no such announcement was forthcoming. In his introduction of the President, John Travolta commented (in regards to such an endeavor), "Not only do I vote for that option, but I volunteer to go on the first mission." Bush responded thusly by saying of Travolta, "We shall call him 'Moon Man' from now on." [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a recent news story about the problems encountered by the recent attempt to reproduce the Wright Brothers' historic 1903 flight provided by the Moscow Times. The second link takes users to another story about the events of Wednesday provided by the Melbourne Herald Sun. The third link leads to the U.S. Centennial Flight home page, and contains a host of valuable essays, interactive features, and timelines designed as an online resource for the general public. The fourth link takes visitors to the home page of the Wright Experience, the group responsible for constructing the reproduction of the Wright Brothers' 1903 Flyer. Here visitors can learn about their efforts and look at images of airplane artifacts that the group studied in order to make their reproduction airplane. The fifth link leads to the web presence established by the Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company and Museum of Pioneer Aviation in Dayton, Ohio, where visitors can learn about the Wright Brothers, download plans and instructions for hands-on aviation projects, and view all 19 types of aircraft that the Wright Brothers produced. The final link provided here will take users to, where they may peruse various sections that tell the stories of various famous airplane models from the 20th century and some nice photo galleries, including strong galleries of dirigibles and aircraft carriers.

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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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