The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 4

January 30, 2004

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 second issue of the third volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Robotics.

Research and Education

Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU [pdf]

First organized in 1962 by Dr. Saul B. Sells, the Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR) at Texas Christian University has as its prime directive "to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of programs for reducing drug abuse and related problems." From the site's main page, visitors can learn about the operations of the IBR, read profiles of its staff, and read some of the institute's many publications. For persons interested in the field, the newsletter section will be quite helpful, as it contains brief summaries on a number of topics, such as drug treatment processes, organizational change, and treatment assessment. Visitors can also peruse a list of current research projects, complete with lists of project investigators, project goals, and the abstracts of publications generated from their respective areas of research. [KMG]

The Comer Archive of Chicago in the Year 2000

Like most large American cities, Chicago has been the focus of many visual documentary projects, including such films as "Hoop Dreams" and the various WPA photojournalism efforts of the 1930s and 1940s. In the year 2000, more than 200 photographers "recorded the people of Chicago in every feature of their public and social lives as well as the buildings and landscape they occupied." With the help of the Comer Foundation and the University of Illinois at Chicago, their photographic musings on the Windy City and its inhabitants is now available online in its entirety. [KMG]

CDC: Environmental Health [pdf]

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has developed this website to promulgate the diverse set of materials that have been created in order to inform the general public about environmental health. As the statement on the main page notes: "Environmental Health at CDC strives to promote health and quality of life by preventing or controlling those diseases or deaths that result from interactions between people and their environment." These main thematic topics include such areas as food safety, extreme cold, hydrocarbons, lead poisoning, mold, and carbon monoxide. Clicking on each of these areas will take users to a host of other materials, most frequently recent research reports, policy statements, and news releases related to each of these particular vexing areas. The Featured Items area of the homepage offers details about upcoming events and recently released reports, such as the National Asbestos Review, the Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, and links to conference websites, such as the upcoming Environmental Public Health Tracking Conference in Philadelphia. [KMG]

The healthy-living movement across the United States continues to gain steam and garner interest, and for those with a penchant for finding out more about it, is a good place to start. The site is "dedicated to providing the best in complementary and alternative medicine," and all of the material made available here has been reviewed and developed by board-certified doctors. The Healing Center section of the site is a good place to review materials on a host of conditions, ranging from acne to varicose veins. Here visitors can read overviews of each condition from one of the doctors in the employ of WholeHealthMD, learn about natural remedies, and get the latest news regarding each condition. Other sections of the site provide reference materials on various therapies, expert opinions on questions submitted by visitors, and information on vitamins. Finally, the site is rounded out by a collection of healthy recipes, thematically organized and searchable. Here visitors can peruse these various dishes, which include pomegranate molasses, striped bass provencal, and chili corn chowder. [KMG]

Restoring Fiscal Sanity: How to Balance the Budget [pdf]

Authored by Alice M. Rivlin and Isabel V. Sawhill, this 114-page report from The Brookings Institution offers an assessment of the federal budget outlook over the coming decade. In summary, the report projects "large and persistent deficits," and discusses why these deficits may be of grave concern to the fiscal security and stability of the United States and its economy. Throughout its pages, the report suggests three primary ways to balance the budget. The first approach involves spending cuts and a smaller federal government, another relies on tax increases, while the third approach suggests a balanced mix of spending cuts and tax increases. The work itself is divided into six chapters, which may be downloaded individually. [KMG]

MIT: Cell Phone Technology to Prevent Those Embarassing Moments

Researchers at the MIT Media Lab's MIThril project propose a solution to "the social and safety problems" associated with cell phones. Specifically, they are designing a prototype phone that can determine the user's circumstances or context, so the phone can respond appropriately. This "context aware phone could automatically switch profiles when the user enters a restaurant, sits in the driver's seat of a car, etc." A CVS repository includes the code used (which is covered by the GNU GPL license) while other pages offer tutorials and other information on their "wearables research" if you're willing to dig a little. [VF] This site is also reviewed in the January 30, 2004 NSDL MET Report. [VF]

Portal to Asian Internet Resources

Designed as a cooperative project between The Ohio State University Libraries, the University of Minnesota Libraries, and the University of Wisconsin Libraries, the Portal to Asian Internet Resources (PAIR) provides a "user-friendly, searchable catalog through which scholars, students and the general public have quick and easy access to high quality Web resources originating in Asia identified, evaluated, selected and catalogued by library specialists." These resources themselves are from a variety of sources, such as those from various academic institutions, units of governance, and different non-governmental entities. The available catalogued web resources are in English and/or one of 27 Asian languages, and are selected on the basis of quality criteria such as "accuracy, authority, uniqueness, currency, relevance to scholarly research," and so on. It's quite easy to use the site, as visitors can move their cursor over an interactive map of Asia, and click on a country of interest. Additionally, they may elect to select one of the countries covered by PAIR from a list located on the site's homepage. [KMG]

Democracy at War: Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War [pdf]

Until quite recently, many organizations (such as libraries and newspapers) kept extensive clipping files, thematically organized, and ready at a minute's notice for use by a columnist, researcher, or those who were just plain curious. One such organization was the Hamilton Spectator, a Canadian newspaper which kept a collection of 144,000 newspaper articles (culled from various Canadian newspapers) during the Second World War. With the cooperation and assistance of the Canadian War Museum, this rather amazing collection of articles is now available online, and is fully searchable as well. For those who may be overwhelmed by this material, the Museum has also created fifty-five short historical articles on some of the primary subjects covered here, such as the Battle of the Atlantic, the Royal Canadian Navy, and Axis Prisoners in Canada. Just perusing the various articles and examining their interpretations of events both in Canada and overseas is quite engaging, and visitors will also want to look at the brief article that tells how the digitization project unfolded. [KMG]

General Interest

The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Half of the people over age 85 in the United States are living with Alzheimer's disease, yet despite this fact, many people do not have an adequate understanding of what living with this affliction can be like. With funding from the MetLife Foundation, PBS (in collaboration with Twin Cities Public Television) has created this website to complement a recent program on Alzheimer's disease. The site contains six main sections, which address the symptoms of the disease, the experience of living with the condition, and the various risk factors involved in developing Alzheimer's. The Experience section is quite well thought out, as it offers perspectives on the condition from some well-known persons who have lived with the disease, such as Aaron Copland, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and former President Ronald Reagan. Each section also contains added material, such as information about the stages of Alzheimer's, how to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, and various activities that can be done along with those persons or family members living with this condition. One of the best features on the site is the Living Center (here depicted as a warm, comfortable living room) where individuals can do helpful and engaging exercises, such as playing with a puzzle, viewing photographs, and arranging flowers in a vase. [KMG]

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, 3rd edition, 2002

A recent addition to the reference site, the New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy is intended to raise its readers' level of erudition. As editor J.D. Hirsch states in the introduction, cultural literacy is helpful, but does not in itself produce a truly educated person. Hirsch writes, "Cultural literacy is shallow; true education is deep. But our analysis of reading and learning suggests the paradox that broad, shallow knowledge is the best route to deep knowledge." Certainly, understanding that Camelot refers to both Arthurian legend and U.S. President John F. Kennedy's administration makes one feel smarter. While it is possible to search the 6,900 entries in the Dictionary, users may find it easier to use the Index to browse from A-Z. Another good approach is to start with the Table of Contents, where there are 23 short explanations of broader areas, with links to relevant entries arranged below, such as Conventions of Written English, where you can learn the difference between the commonly misused abbreviations i.e. and e.g. [DS]

Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories [RealOnePlayer]

As part of the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress, this engaging website offers first-hand audio recollections of the experience of slavery in the American South from 23 African-Americans. The interviews themselves were originally conducted between 1932 and 1975, and contain memories of their lives that include discussions of their feelings on slavery, their families, and on freedom. It is not terribly surprising that very limited biographical information is available about each participant, though the special exhibit that is also available here (titled Faces and Voices From the Presentation), features photographs of some of the interviewees, such as Fountain Hughes, Uncle Bob Ledbetter, and George Johnson. As some of the audio recordings contain a good deal of background noise (and in some cases are incomplete), visitors may also want to follow along by viewing the full-text transcriptions as well. One interview that visitors will want to make sure and listen to is the one with Uncle Billy McCrea conducted in 1940, in which he sings both Blow Cornie Blow and Walk Dooley. [KMG] The Drafting Pencil Museum

As you read these words, you may be asking yourself this question: What is a leadholder? Well, generally speaking a leadholder can be "broadly defined as any durable instrument that is designed to hold and be refillable with consumable pieces of graphite so that the graphite can be conveniently used for drawing or writing." These pieces of technological (and drafting) history are the subject of this website, designed and developed by Dennis B. Smith. While there are few leadholders in production today, the history of this rather fine drawing and drafting tool stretches back to the end of the 18th century. The website is a loving homage to the drafting pencil, as it contains image galleries that feature dozens of wood cased drafting pencils, thin lead leadholders, and various specialized leadholders. If that wasn't enough, the site also has complete vintage catalogs (such as F. Weber & Co.'s Price List of Artists' Materials and Draughtsmen's Supplies, from the mid-1890s), vintage advertisements, and old patent records, such as US Patent 1,745,226 for the 1930 Chuck Type Pencil. [KMG]

Located in the South Yorkshire region of England, the city of Sheffield was synonymous with the production of cutlery and heavy manufacturing for several hundred years. In recent decades, much of the manufacturing moved elsewhere, and the city has become known as the setting for the popular film The Full Monty, and such music groups as Def Leppard, Pulp, and the singer Joe Cocker. Those persons hoping to get a visual sense of this city's unique past will find this fine photo archive quite exceptional and interesting. Funded from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the collection comes from the Local Studies Library in Sheffield, and currently contains close to 7000 photographs. Here visitors can search by keyword or first letter, and view images of such local landmarks as Cutlers Hall, the University of Sheffield and its campus, and the many cutlery factories which used to dot the city's landscape. [KMG]

All But Forgotten Oldies [RealOnePlayer]

If you have ever found yourself humming that one-hit wonder Jimmy Soul (who struck radio gold when he released the classic If You Wanna Be Happy in 1963), the All But Forgotten Oldies site may be just what you are looking for. The site consists of a searchable database of links to sound clips for over 4000 songs from 1960 to 1975, which can be browsed by either performing artist or song title. The site also allows visitors to submit queries, learn about where to buy sheet music for each title, and contains a helpful FAQ section to get users started. The site also has a few fun features, such as a listing of sports-themed classic songs and an essay written by Bobby Darin's former manager about the legendary rock and roller. [KMG]

Bright Lights Film Journal

Initially started as a print journal in 1974, online publication of Bright Lights Film Journal began in 1996, and continues to the present day. As noted on its site, the journal is "a popular-academic hybrid of movie analysis, history, and commentary, looking at classic and commercial, independent, exploitation, and international film from a wide range of vantage points from the aesthetic to the political." The journal is edited by Gary Morris, and contains pieces by a number of persons, including independent writers, film critics, and freelance journalists. While users can browse the archives dating back to 1996, the articles are also thematically organized on a sidebar on the homepage. These themes include Animation, Hong Kong films, Documentaries, and Film Noir. The interviews section is quite strong, and contains candid pieces with Frederico Fellini, Robert Wise, and John Woo. [KMG]

Network Tools

Primedius Total Privacy & Security 5.34 [Windows Operating System]

Primedius 5.34 is a application that enables wholly anonymous file-sharing, websurfing, chatting, and online messaging. The program contains an anti-blocking system and also contains a cleaner which removes all history and online traces for complete anonymity. The application also works with and inside corporate networks, firewalls and proxy servers. Finally, the program also comes with unlimited software updates and 24-hour email support, if needed. This version is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

Tunesatwork 0.8 [Macintosh Operating System]

If you have ever gotten tired of taking your much-loved CD's to work, or worried about what to listen to when you got there, this program will be of great interest. TunesAtWork lets you listen to your personal iTunes music collection while you are busy at work, leaving your music collection safely on your computer back at your home. The program essentially runs as a specialized web server that runs on the user's Mac, and serves web pages that present your music collection for easy replay. TunesAtWork 0.8 is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X. [KMG]

In The News

Tony Blair Survives Political Maelstrom

Narrow Victory Seen as Warning to Blair,11032,1132725,00.html
Hutton's Demand for Hard Proof a Stroke of Luck for Blair
Q&A: The Hutton Report
Criticism Forces BBC Chairman to Quit [pdf]
BBC Governors to Meet Over Hutton Report [RealOnePlayer]
Stop Fees NOW!
How the System Will Work: Study Now, Pay Later,12757,1119285,00.html

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair barely survived two rather harrowing challenges to his position of power in Britain this week. On Tuesday, the House of Commons passed his highly controversial higher education reform bill for the country (which will allow English universities to charge top-up fees of up to 3000) by only five votes. The following day, the greatly anticipated Hutton Report was released, effectively exonerating Blair and the government of charges made by BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan. Gilligan had stated that the claims made in Blair's intelligence dossier on Iraq regarding weapons of mass destruction were in fact highly inaccurate. Tony Blair had initially called for an examination of this claim after the suicide of Dr. David Kelly, the scientist who was the source for Gilligan's initial story. In addition, Lord Hutton (the author of the 328-page examination into these claims) chastised the BBC in the report, saying the corporation had a "defective" editorial system which allowed Gilligan to make "unfounded" claims which questioned the Government's integrity. The report was also highly critical of the BBC Chairman of Governors, Gavyn Davies, who announced later on Wednesday that he would resign. After these events, Blair took a proactive approach in the House of Commons, emphatically stating that "The allegation that I or anyone else lied to this House of deliberately misled the country by falsifying intelligence on WMD is itself the real lie." [KMG]

The first link leads to a news piece from this Wednesday's Guardian that discusses the problems faced by Tony Blair this week, and what they mean for the future legitimacy of the Labour party in Britain. The second link contains an article written by Anthony Scrivener for the Independent, and discusses the nature and findings of the Hutton Report. The third link leads to a question and answer piece from the BBC that spells out some of the particulars about Lord Hutton, the Hutton Report, and the general impetus for the inquiry. The fourth link leads to a piece from the BBC about the resignation of BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies, and includes a link to the full text of the Hutton Report. The fifth link will take visitors to an RTE news update about a meeting of the BBC Governors in light of the recent news, and also includes links to several audio and visual clips featuring Richard Eyre, the former Deputy Director of BBC News, speaking about the nature of the Hutton Report. The sixth link leads to a site established by the National Union of Students in Britain that expresses their extreme displeasure with the nature of the higher education reform bill which was passed earlier this week. The final link, provided by the Guardian, offers a detailed explanation of how the new higher education bill will work, and why such a change was needed in the first place.

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