The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 17

April 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 Reports for the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences

The ninth issues of the third volumes of the Life Sciences Report and Physical Sciences Report are available. The Topic in Depth section of the Life Sciences Report annotates sites on Signs of Spring. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Mssbauer Effect.

Research and Education

Havens Center [pdf, WindowsMediaPlayer]

Named in honor of the late professor of rural sociology Eugene Havens, the Eugene Havens Center for the Study of Social Structure and Social Change was established within the sociology department at the University of Wisconsin in 1984. Broadly speaking, the Center is dedicated to promoting critical social thought throughout the social sciences and humanities. To achieve this goal, the Center sponsors a number of conferences (including the popular Radfest), guest lecturers, and colloquia. At the site, visitors can learn about the annual Radfest gathering (which is a social forum for activists, policymakers, and academics in the Midwest), the Real Utopias project, and register for some of the center's upcoming conferences. The real treat of the site is the audio archive, which contains talks by various visiting scholars on a host of relevant topics, such as labor unions, social justice movements around the world, and critical race theory. [KMG]

Free Press: Beginner's Guide to Media Reform [pdf]

Started in 2002 by author and professor Robert W. McChesney, the Free Press website is a clearinghouse of online material about the U.S. media reform movement. Some of the highlights of the site include profiles of all the organizations active in media reform, a detailed Learn About Media section with annotated background information, and original editorial content. One section that visitors will definitely want to take a close look at is the Media Policy area. Here users can receive current news information about the debates over media ownership as reflected by policy making decisions within the FCC, and also throughout the United States, and across the globe. The section dedicated to organizations is quite well-developed, and allows visitors to learn about various specific organizations interested in media reform, and how they may become involved with their work. [KMG]

Higher Education & Research Opportunities in the United Kingdom [pdf]

Given the wide range of higher education opportunities in the United Kingdom, it stands to reason that there would be a website committed to serving as a primary portal for related materials. The site is organized into six zones, including research, studying, business, culture and sport, and two others. Some highlights of the site include the Research Assessment Exercise (which gives ratings to academic departments within Britain's universities and their research productivity), information for international students, and an important reference section. The reference section itself includes a glossary of terms (of which there are many within the lingua franca of higher education in the UK), listings of groups and organizations working in the same arena, and a listing of facilities at different institutions. [KMG]

Russian Academy of Sciences: International Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical Geophysics

This website promotes the Russian Academy of Sciences' International Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical Geophysics's incorporation of modern mathematics with seismology and other geologic sciences. Users can discover the Institute's current and past research in earthquake prediction, seismic risk, structure of the Earth, exploration of mineral deposits and much more. While visitors are not able to view current earthquake predictions, they can learn about past predictions and results. Researchers can find information about the Institute's software and long lists of its publications. This site is also reviewed in the April 30, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [RME]

UN-HABITAT: The Global Campaign on Urban Governance

Launched in 1999 by the UN-HABITAT group, the Global Campaign on Urban Governance was designed to support the implementation of the Habitat Agenda goal of "sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world." Specifically, the Campaign is dedicated to increasing the capacity of local governments around the world to practice good urban governance, with specific attention paid to the excluded urban poor. The Campaign works through a number of strategies, including normative debate, advocacy, capacity-building, and developing a number of toolkits. At the website, visitors can learn about the group's various flagship products, which include the good urban governance index, national and local campaigns, and policy papers, which deal with such timely topics as urban governance in Africa. Along with these materials, visitors will want to take a look at the toolkit (available in a number of formats) titled, Tools to Support Participatory Urban Decision Making. [KMG]

Center for International Development at Harvard University [pdf]

Established in 1998 by the Harvard Institute for International Development and the Kennedy School of Government, the Center for International Development (CID) is Harvard's primary center for research on sustainable international development. The CID is currently headed by Professor Dani Rodrik, who provides oversight and direction for the Center. On the site, visitors can learn about upcoming international development conferences sponsored by the Center, read about the various persons working at the Center, learn about various research programs, along with reading various reports associated with each area of inquiry. The site also contains a host of links to online research data sets for persons working in the field of international development, and to the Center's working papers and special reports. Some of the more compelling working papers address the situation of sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa and the rise and fall of the Indonesian economy. [KMG]

H-Urban Teaching Center Syllabus Archive

With the rise of interest in presenting course materials online over the past few years, more and more instructors have made contributions to a number of sites on different thematic areas, such as (in this case) urban history. As part of this effort, the H-Urban listserv (based at Michigan State University), has created this site which allows faculty and students to access a database of syllabi in the area of urban history and studies. The other stated goals of the site are "to stimulate discussion on teaching urban history" and "to offer a dynamic view of academic urban history, both the themes and the literature." The syllabi offered here range in date from 1983 to 2003, and may be searched by author, date of syllabus, geographical location, or subject. Overall, the site is a good place to find out what other educators are doing in terms of pedagogy in the field, and it also provides a way for persons interested in urban studies and history to find out what worthwhile materials are available. [KMG]

American Museum of Natural History-Department of Herpetology: Amphibian Species of the World

This incredibly comprehensive database of amphibians includes mention of over 35,000 species. Not only packed with information, however, the database is also easily navigable by either searching or exploring. "There are two finding aids, SEARCH and the EXPLORE. These allow you to search on any 4-letter string (excluding such generally used terms such as frog, salamander, caecilian, newt, et al.) SEARCH will search either on taxonomic names (active or synonyms) or geographic place names." Each species account includes the class, order, family, and genus, as well as mention of the common name and the species' distribution. A great resource for those researching this fascinating class of animals. This site is also reviewed in the April 30, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [JPM]

General Interest

Maine Folklife Center

Located at the University of Maine, the Maine Folklife Center is committed to documenting and understanding the folklore, folklife, and history of Maine and Atlantic Canada. Along with its various scholarly activities, the Center sponsors a number of festivals, lectures, and like-minded programs that encourage appreciation of the diverse cultural traditions within the region. The site will be useful to researchers with a penchant in these fields, as it contains information about the collections, including a rather extensive oral history collection (with work that documenting the cranberry culture of Massachusetts and the traditional music of Maine). There is also material on the public programs and exhibits sponsored by the center, and a set of external links that lead to other sites dealing with oral history, folklore, and Maine. While the Center's site does not have a great deal of online material for consideration, the center has transcribed the sixth volume of Northeast Folklore (originally published in 1964) and placed them online. [KMG]

Children's Literature

Librarians, teachers, and children's book aficionados will find a wealth of free resources at the Children's Literature website, as well as information about the Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD), available by subscription only. (Visitors to the web site can sign up for a free trial of the database). One of the key features of the site is the Themed Reviews, that make it easy to get a list of best books on a subject. In this section, choose from almost 60 topics such as Remembering September 11th, 2001, Dinosaurs, Gardening, TV Turn Off Week, or Space Exploration. Most topics include a short introduction, for example, Flight and the Wright Brothers begins with a bit of biography on the Wrights. This is followed by short, signed reviews (reviewers' credentials are also provided), often with cover images, and age recommendations. There is biographical information about authors and illustrators (often links to publisher pages), as well as teaching guides and lesson plans, and events and upcoming conferences. [DS]

National Development Plan [pdf]

Throughout the 1990s, Ireland experienced phenomenal growth in the emerging fields of information technologies (including such sectors as website design), and was dubbed the Celtic Tiger, due to its economic success. The country envisions a strong development plan for the coming years, hence the reason for this very site. Ireland's National Development Plan involves an investment of over 52-billion euros of public, private, and EU funds over the period from 2000 to 2006, and involves significant improvements in health services, social housing, education, roads, rural development, and industry. The site itself contains a bevy of documents, such as an executive summary and a complete version of the Development Plan itself, and a project database, which details the status of the hundreds of projects which are an integral part of this ongoing process. Overall, this site will be of great interest to persons working in the field of social policy, planning, and international development schemes. [KMG]

University of California History Digital Archives

The University of California system is considered one of the finest in the United States, if not the world. To honor this fact, the Center for Studies in Higher Education has created this rather large digital archive of materials about the history of each of the California campuses, along with various oral histories, scanned documents, and online exhibits. From the site's main page, visitors can peruse a brief historical tour of the University of California, and learn about the various regents and presidents who have served the flagship campus at Berkeley. Moving on from this general historical outline, visitors can view detailed information on various aspects of the systems' ten campuses, divided into such thematic areas as academics, student life, and libraries. What is equally impressive are the extensive bibliographies that accompany each campus section, an element that will be helpful to visitors seeking additional reading material. Finally, visitors will want to peruse the archives and exhibits section, which contains several nice online exhibits (including one on the University at the turn of the 19th century), and links to a number of oral histories with former faculty members, administrators, and regents. [KMG]

American Experience: Emma Goldman [pdf, RealOnePlayer]

Dubbed "Red Emma, queen of the anarchists" by the tabloids of the time, Emma Goldman, noted iconoclast and social revolutionary, was one of the most controversial and interesting women in American for over four decades. During her time in the U.S., this Russian emigrant who came to the country in 1885, spoke in defense of labor rights, women's emancipation, birth control, and free speech. This website is designed to complement the American Experience documentary on her life and times and contains a number of features that present additional information about her various passions and crusades. At the site visitors can learn about the film, read a transcript of the program, and access valuable primary sources about Goldman's life. Some of these sources include her own writings, interviews with Goldman, and the complete text of the February 1915 issue of Mother Earth, Goldman's own magazine. The site is rounded out by a great interactive map that lets visitors tour around the country with Goldman as she embarks on her 18-state lecture tour of 1911. [KMG]

Baseball Almanac

With several weeks of the 2004 major league baseball season now in the record books, it is high time to profile a site that may end more than a few fractious arguments held both at the ballpark and on the way home from nine innings of America's national sport. The Baseball Almanac is one such site, as it contains rather helpful information on the game, organized into a host of helpful areas such as those on the All-Star game, player stats, quotations, and humor & jokes. From the main page, visitors can read facts about Today in Baseball History, read profiles of players who have recently passed away, or find out what's been updated most recently on the site. There's a great deal to keep baseball aficionados entertained here, in particular the fabulous feats area where visitors can learn which players have hit two grand slams in one game and which players had six hits in one game. [KMG]

Religion Newswriters Association

With a membership of over 240 full and part time religion reporters across the United States, the Religion Newswriters Association is an organization dedicated to providing support for journalists writing about various important stories dealing with any host of topics surrounding religion. The homepage itself contains a religion news headline update service, and a special features area that contains information about the role of religion in the 2004 elections and the subject of Catholics and political life. Persons interested in the world of religion reporting will want to look over the FAQ section which answers a number of important questions (with responses from top religion reporters), including "How do I find an expert on a particular religion or theological issue?." Finally, visitors can learn about the various scholarships and grants available to journalists who may be interested in taking courses on religion or learning more about the field. [KMG]

Network Tools

Weather Watcher 5.4b [Windows Operating System]

As spring progresses, weather conditions can continue to fluctuate dramatically, something that may foil vacation plans or other outings. Keeping that in mind, visitors may do well to download the Weather Watcher application created by Mike Singer. With this application, users may automatically retrieve the current weather conditions, look through hourly forecasts, keep abreast of severe weather alerts, and take a look at weather maps for almost any city world-wide. This application is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and above. [KMG]

Beholder 1.3 [Macintosh Operating System]

Many of us may use the web to search for images, but at times this process can be rather time-consuming and frustrating. Stepping into the fray is Beholder 1.3, which allows users to search for images on any of three pre-defined websites (including Google images) The results of image searches will be returned in an interface that allows for easy browsing, including thumbnails and a large-scale version of the image as well, complete with relevant URLs. Beholder 1.3 is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X 10.2 and above. [KMG]

In The News

Prank Call to Fidel Castro Draws $4000 Fine From FCC

Miami Station Fined For Its Castro Prank
Castro Crank Callers Paying In Pennies
FCC Document Regarding Prank Call To Fidel Castro
Transcript Of Castro's Prank Call
Castro Speech Database
Profile: Hugo Chavez

Over the past several decades, many jokesters have developed a penchant for prank phone calls, including that animated Peck's Bad Boy of the 1990s, Bart Simpson, and of course the often coarse approach to telephony adopted by the Jerky Boys. The achievements of these individuals may have recently been bested by two Miami disc jockeys' who successfully completed a prank phone call to none other than Cuban President Fidel Castro last year. Not surprisingly, an "informal complaint" lodged to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has garnered the Spanish language radio station WXDJ-FM (which broadcasted the call) a $4,000 fine. The fine was announced last week and in response the two radio hosts who completed the prank call (Enrique Santos and Joe Ferrero) remarked that they plan to pay the fine solely with pennies. Earlier this week Santos remarked "We prank-called a head of state in a country that is considered hostile to the United States. He's a violator of human rights and they're fining us $4,000. We just find it absurd." In the initial ruling issued by the FCC last week, the notice indicated that the radio station violated a regulation requiring that participants in phone conversations be told in advance if the call is being broadcast.

The first link leads to a news piece from the Miami Herald regarding the recent controversy surrounding the prank phone call to Fidel Castro. The second link will take visitors to an online article that talks about the recent decision of these radio personalities to pay the FCC's fine with pennies alone. The third link will take visitors to a complete text document from the FCC regarding their decision to fine the Miami radio station. For persons interested in what this prank call actually entailed, the fourth link provides a complete transcript of the conversation between the two radio personalities and Castro. The fifth link leads to an online database of speeches made by Castro from 1959 to 1996, which includes a number of search options, including date, subject, and type of speech. The sixth link leads to a profile of the current Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, who happened to be one of the persons that the radio personalities impersonated in order to reach President Castro on the phone. [KMG]

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