The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 13

April 2, 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 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 Gardening and Landscaping. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Weather Instruments.

Research and Education

Athens 2004 Olympic Games

The 2004 Olympic Summer Games may be several months away, but preparations have been going on for many months, and the city of Athens is looking forward to hosting its first official Olympic Games competition since 1896. As one might expect, the site's main page offers a veritable cornucopia of information on visiting Athens, accommodations, ticket information, and a special area designed for young people. Additionally, the site also provides extensive material on the Paralympic Games, which will also take place this summer. Visitors will want to take a look at the key dates section, as it offers details on when and where each competitive event will take place, along with the ever-popular opening and closing ceremonies. The site has some nice extra features, such as volunteer applications for the Games, e-cards to send to friends and family, and information on the extensive transportation infrastructure improvements added to the urban fabric of Athens for this historic event. [KMG]

OneWorldRadio [RealOne Player]

A number of media commentators have been complaining lately about the lack of ideological viewpoints within the vast sea of radio programming, something that has not been lost on the people at OneWorldRadio. Funded by the Department for International Development, OneWorld Radio is part of an international network of over 1200 partner organizations that are utilizing the internet "to promote human rights and sustainable development worldwide." With online audio content from member organizations (such as radio stations) available in French, Spanish, and a number of other languages, visitors can listen or download any one of hundreds of programs archived here. Additionally, visitors can elect to search their impressive archive by language, region, or topic. Persons interested in the use of radio for development and human rights will want to examine the news and events section as it contains important updates about events dealing with conferences on media freedom throughout the world and links to important radio broadcasts of note. Finally, visitors (and all who sign up for the free membership) can elect to receive the helpful OneWorldRadio e-newsletter. [KMG]

Levittown, Pa: Building the Suburban Dream

High-minded architectural critics derided its very form and cookie-cutter execution and sociologists wrote of the "organization men" who drove out of its bucolic curvilinear streets each morning, but Levittowns (there were three of them in total) were immensely popular with the general public after World War II. This fine online exhibit from the State Museum of Pennsylvania explores the Levittown phenomenon, with a particular focus on the Levittown constructed northeast of Philadelphia in the early 1950s. Using various items of visual ephemera, such as advertisements from trade magazines, editorial cartoons and architectural drawings, visitors are led through three sections that explore the built environment of Levittown, the social fabric of the community during the 1950s, and an in-depth look at a typical kitchen in a Levittown home, replete with various modern time-saving devices. The kitchen section is a real treat, as visitors can move their mouse pointer through an interactive photograph, honing in on a self-cleaning oven and a built-in blender. [KMG]

University of New Mexico: Institute of Meteoritics

The University of Mexico's Institute of Meteoritics (IOM) claims to be the first institution in the world dedicated to the study of meteorites. The website features the Institute's Electron Microbeam Facility, Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, and the High Pressure and High Temperature Experimental Petrology Laboratories. Users can search through an online database of the Meteorite Museum's meteorite collection, which contains samples of over 600 meteorites. Researchers can discover the Institute's current research ventures such as the geochronology of planetary materials and studies dealing with planetary magmas at high pressure. Students and educators can learn the six identifying characteristics of meteorites. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the April 2, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report.

Sacramento History Online [QuickTime,pdf]

From the first river vessels built by Native Americans in the Sacramento Valley to the vast networks of irrigated croplands created in the early 20th century, transportation and agriculture have had a long and storied past in the area in and around Sacramento. This online digital archive is a wonderful repository of items related to these two thematic areas created by a partnership of California organizations (including the Sacramento Public Library and the Sacramento Archives), with generous funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Within the site visitors can search for various pieces of printed materials located here by decade, topic, or document type, or just browse around through various subtopics for either agriculture or transportation. Other resources available here include an introductory essay, a timeline, and lesson plans for educators. The site is rounded out by two very nice archival film clips, with one highlighting hop production on the Horst Ranch, and the other clip highlighting the importance of Victory Gardens in Sacramento during the Second World War. [KMG]

Ian's Shoelace Site

Many of us have fond memories of being young and learning how to do a number of basic tasks, such as learning how to ride a bicycle, or perhaps figuring out how to properly lace up our shoes. Taking a love of shoelace tying to a new level is this very comprehensive site developed and maintained by Ian Fieggen, a computer programmer, self-employed businessman, and lover of shoelaces. On this site, visitors will find out about hundreds of ways to tie shoelaces, ranging from the Surgeon's Knot to the Ian Knot, which is claimed to be the "World's Fastest Shoelace Knot." Each knot comes complete with some very nice illustrations, explicit instructions, and the best use for each knot (such as hiking and so on). There's also a good section on lacing shoes, and a FAQ section that answers just about any question about the art of the shoelace, and Mr. Fieggen himself. The site is rounded out by a good section on repairing aglets, which are those little plastic sleeves at the ends of shoelaces. [KMG]

Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans -- The Penniman House: A Whaling Story

First launched in 1991, the Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans from the National Park Service has really served to bring history to life for the benefit of young people by bringing together a number of pieces of historical documentation together for use by teachers in the classroom. One of the latest plans utilizes documents related to the grand home of Captain Penniman (a whale trader in Massachusetts in the 19th century), which not only tells the story of this historic site, but also that of the experiences of whaling families more broadly. As with all of the other previous lesson plans, this one also starts with an inquiry question where students examine a piece of visual evidence, then are asked to proceed by looking at the broader historical context by reading a brief essay and examining several maps. All of this material (including the primary historical documents and associated readings) is contained within this site, which also has detailed material for teachers on how to incorporate this lesson plan into the classroom. [KMG]

European Register of Marine Species

This website presents the European Register of Marine Species, an EU-funded marine biodiversity research consortium involving research groups in nine European nations. An ultimate goal of the project was to "produce a register of marine species in Europe, linked with a bibliography of identification guides, register of taxonomic experts, locations of collections of reference specimens, and an Information Pack on European marine biodiversity (based on this projects results)." The site links to brief and full checklists for numerous taxa including information on genus, higher taxon, authority, specific epithet, distribution, and more. From the species pages, site users can link to information about the checklists, identification guides, and taxonomic hierarchy. The homepage provides links to information about project participants, project background, and a simple map illustrating the geographic scope of the project. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the April 2, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

General Interest

Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records: Original Field Notes

The area that now constitutes the state of Wisconsin was first surveyed by the federal government between the years 1833 and 1866. This survey was performed (as it was across the United States) to divide the public domain into salable-sized lots that could be sold or given away to both encourage settlement through this territory and raise monies for the federal government. While surveyors divided up these lands into townships and smaller units, they wrote a general description of what they observed during their time on the land. Fortunately for persons interested in landscape history and the original land survey information, these field notes from the Wisconsin Public Land Survey are now available online, courtesy of the University of Wisconsin Library and the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. Currently, visitors to the site may access the original field notes by clicking on an interactive map of Wisconsin, then moving down to the appropriate area of interest by range and section. For the novice user, there is also a helpful background section relating the details of the land survey which will help them on their way. [KMG]

Darwin Centre Live -- Watch Videos Online [Windows Media Player, QuickTime 5]

The Natural History Museum of London has been collecting specimens and making scientific discoveries for nearly 250 years. Now even those of us who cannot travel to London frequently can see over 100 presentations originally given at the Museum, based on its collections, archived on video at the Museum's website. The videos are organized into broad topics, including: In the Spotlight, Collectors and Collections, Extreme Environments - From the deepest oceans to deep space, and Fakes and Forgeries (including famous hoaxes, such as the Piltdown Fly, debunked in 1993 as a modern housefly inserted into a piece of Baltic amber). Some videos have a distinctly UK style, such as Chocolate Food of the Gods, in which curator Vilma Bharatan discusses where chocolate comes from with a group of children and parents in a TV talk show type setting, or Silke Ackerman from the British Museum explaining how to use an Astrolabe. [DS]

PubMed Central: An Archive of Life Science Journals

There has been an increased interest in open source publishing as of late, and the U.S government has gotten involved recently with the creation of PubMed Central (through the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the National Library of Medicine) in 2000. PubMed Central is a digital archive of life science journal literature which offers free and complete access to the contents of approximately 50 peer-reviewed journals, such as Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Dynamic Medicine, and the Journal of Bacteriology. The search engine is fairly straightforward, as users may elect to enter author names, journal titles in full, or by keywords. All told, PubMed currently contains many thousands of articles, many of which will be of great interest to researchers and students in these fields. Perhaps the most crucial features of PubMed are summarized in this passage from their overview section, which remarks thusly: "It also makes it possible to integrate the literature with a variety of other information resources such as sequence databases and other factual databases that are available to scientists, clinicians, and everyone else interested in the life sciences. The intentional and serendipitous discoveries that such links might foster excite us and stimulate us to move forward." [KMG]

The New Georgia Encyclopedia

Sponsored by the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the Office of the Governor and the University of Georgia Press, the New Georgia Encyclopedia represents an ambitious effort to create an authoritative online resource for literally hundreds of topics about the state of Georgia. It would seem that they are well on their way to reaching their goal of 1600 original articles by January 2006, as visitors can select from a number of broad topics to browse through, including: folklife, education, religion, and transportation. Within each topic, there are numerous subtopics, leading the way to individual articles. One rather nice feature of the Encyclopedia is that each article is accompanied by a list of suggested reading, and in many cases, there are hyperlinks to relevant external sites. The site also provides links to basic Quick Facts about the state, galleries featuring the works of prominent museums through the state, and a Features area, which each month hones-in on any number of topics, such as Creek Leaders of Georgia and Twelve Great Works of Georgia Fiction. From Hank Aaron to the Yazoo Land Fraud, this site is a fine fountain of information about the people, places, and traditions of the Peach State. [KMG]

Forced Migration Review [pdf]

Published tri-annually since January 1998, the Forced Migration Review (FMR) is the in-house journal of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. The journal (and its online edition made available on this site) is published in English, Arabic, and Spanish, and "provides the humanitarian community with a practice-oriented forum for debate on issues facing refugees and internally displaced people in order to improve policy and practice." From the site, visitors can browse through single articles or complete issues of the journal all the way back to 1998. Many of the issues are dedicated to a single theme, including recent issues which have been titled When does internal displacement end? and Reproductive health for displaced people: Investing in the future. The site also provides ample information on submitting articles to the journal, material on the current editorial board, and the themes for upcoming issues. Rounding out the site is a collection of related links for consideration, organized into topics such as international law, reproductive health and forced migration research institutes and centers. [KMG]

Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology

Funded with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) is a project of the International Society for Technology in Education, with collaboration with Education Support Systems and the Sacramento County Office of Education. The primary function of CARET is to bridge "educational technology research to practice by offering research-based answers to critical questions." To that end, one of the primary goals of the Center is to offer critical reviews of articles and studies related to educational technology. Fortunately for interested academics and practitioners, these reviews are archived here, and in many cases include links to the full-text of the reviewed article in question and other relevant documents. The site also contains a Helpful Resource" section, which offers a list of thematically organized weblinks (in such areas as curriculum and instruction and policy) and a glossary of terms that is intended to help users of the site as the read the research reviews. [KMG]

Network Tools

PopUpDefence 7.7 [Windows Operating System]

Despite the valiant efforts of many, popup ads continue to be a nuisance to many persons browsing the web. This application essentially blocks these unwanted popup advertisements, while still allowing users access to ads they may be interested in viewing. The program does not require registration, and no information is collected from persons using the application. The program includes an install and uninstall function, along with an online help file. PopUp Blocker 7.7f is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

Copywrite 2.0 [Macintosh Operating System]

In an effort to offer an alternative to various existing word processors and bundled office packages for home use, this new application offers a host of features designed to help writers working in a number of different styles and genres. Copywrite 2.0 features a flexible organization system, including an interface that allows writers to see how much progress they have made so far and, of course, inline spell checking, formatting, and a hyperlink feature as well. Copywrite 2.0 is free for small projects, while for larger projects individuals will have to purchase the product outright. This edition is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X 10.3 and higher. [KMG]

In The News

The Country of Molvania Receives its Due in a New Book

Been Everywhere? Get Away to Molvania?
So You Want to Be Alone?,6121,1177824,00.html
Laughs in Land That Dentistry Forgot
Lonely Planet
U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs

In these times, it is hard to find a region around the globe that remains untouched by the heavy hand of large-scale tourism and development. No doubt many tourists have grown weary of the sunny climes of southern Spain, wandering the Scottish highlands, or traipsing along the ancient monuments that are ubiquitous throughout Greece. Well, even the most intrepid travelers will have never even heard of the Eastern European country of Molvania, because, well, it doesn't exist. That hasn't stopped Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and Rob Stich from writing about the fictional country in their latest travel guidebook, which serves to parody both the nature of travel and the general tendencies of some travelers to rely heavily on such reference books. Recently released in Britain, Tom Gleisner noted that "The idea for a joke travel book came about 10 years ago when I was backpacking through Portugal with friends. We decided to make up a country so we wouldn't offend anybody -- or offend everybody, depending on how you look at it." The book itself contains sections on language (including the important Molvanian phrase Dyuszkiya trappokski drovko?, which means Does it always this rain this much?, dining, and the major cities of Molvania.

The first link will take visitors to a recent online Boston Globe article about the newly discovered phenomenon that is Molvania. The second link will take visitors to a book review from the Guardian that talks about this recent travel guide parody, and also the history of shoestring budget travel guides as well. The third link leads to a news story from The Age in Australia that talks about the success of the book, and the interesting process of getting the work published in other markets. The fourth link leads to the book's homepage, where visitors can get a taste of the magic that is Molvania, and learn about forthcoming titles, including Viva San Sombrero and Aloha Takki Tikki! The fifth link takes users to the homepage of the venerable travel series, Lonely Planet. Here visitors can peruse author interviews, get snippets of travel information culled from the books themselves, and take a look at the SubWWWay section which brings together the best online travel pages divided into geographic regions and topical areas, such as buses, customs, and hostelling. The final link will take visitors to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs where they may procure information on current travel advisories. [KMG]

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