The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 21

May 28, 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 Cicadas. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about the Transit of Venus.

Research and Education

Living Together: A New Look at Racial and Ethnic Integration in Metropolitan Neighborhoods [pdf]

The 2000 Census continues to offer dedicated scholars and researchers the ability to track and identify various spatial trends and patterns across the country, and this latest publication from the Census Series at the Brookings Institution is certainly no exception to the trend. Authored by David Fasenfest, Jason Booza, and Kurt Metzger, this 20-page report takes a close look at racial and ethnic integration in metropolitan neighborhoods in the nation's ten largest metropolitan areas. Comparing the data from the 1990 and the 2000 Census, the report contains a number of insightful findings. One finding of note demonstrates that the number of predominantly white neighborhoods fell by 30 percent during the 1990s and that nine of the 10 metro areas saw an increase in mixed-race neighborhoods. Complementing the text of the report are a number of helpful charts and maps that offer concrete visualizations of some of the crucial findings and spatial patterns that emerged during the 1990s. [KMG]

Venus Transit 2004 [RealOnePlayer]

In just several weeks, Venus, the Earth's sister planet, will pass in front of the sun, affording astronomers and the general public the ability to take part in a extremely rare event. While persons in Europe, Africa, and Asia will have the best vantage point for this occurrence, those interested in the Venus transit will want to take a detailed look at this lovely website in order to find out more about the event. Launched by the European Southern Observatory and the European Association for Astronomy Education (in cooperation with three other organizations), the site contains ample information about the latest news from the project, detailed background material about this astronomical event, the network of institutions involved with the project, and information on how individuals may participate in the Venus Transit 2004 project. One of the most helpful areas contains animations of the Venus transit from different perspectives. [KMG]

Two on Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse Portal
Literature Network: Herman Hesse

Born in 1877, Herman Hesse would become known as the "author of crisis," a reputation that was well earned through his books that explored the complexities of the soul and human existence. Along with his countryman Thomas Mann, Hesse remains one of the most well-regarded German novelists of any literary era, and as such, was honored with the Nobel Prize in 1946 "for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style." On the first site profiled here, visitors can read about Hesse's life by perusing a series of essays, learn where Hesse archives are located, and learn about his love of painting. The site also features rare film footage of Hesse and a recording of his voice (which is, of course, in German). The second site features a biographical essay on Hesse, and perhaps most importantly, the complete text of his novel Siddartha, which was inspired by Hesse's interest in Eastern religions and an extended visit to India. [KMG]

Dartmouth Flood Observatory {Microsoft Excel, jpeg, Macromedia Shockwave Player]

The Dartmouth Flood Observatory produced this website as "a research tool for detection, mapping, measurement, and analysis of extreme flood events world-wide using satellite remote sensing." Users can learn about the Observatory's use of microwave and optical satellite imaging to determine flooding and extreme low flow conditions for various places throughout the world. Students and researchers can discover how the observatory monitors wetland hydrology for various places. Researchers can find archives of large flooding events from 1985 to the present. The web site features a variety of maps and satellite images of floods. [RME]
This site is also reviewed in the May 28, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report.

Searching for Asian America [QuickTime, Macromedia Flash Reader]

It is essentially impossible to describe the experience of a "typical" Asian-American person in the United States. Designed to complement a PBS documentary on the Asian-American experience, this nice website lets visitors learn more about the program and the various Asian-American individuals profiled on the show. The profiles and material here include information on Gary Locke, the Chinese-American governor of Washington and profiles of Martin Bautista and Jeffrey Lim, who are both Filipino immigrant doctors living in the small town of Guymon, Oklahoma. One of the most compelling persons profiled here is Lela Lee, who is the creator of the underground comic Angry Little Girls, which features as its main protagonist an Asian-American woman with attitude and big dreams. The site is rounded out with the inclusion of a quiz, clips from the television documentary, and a transcript of a conversation with the series producer, Donald Young. [KMG]

Mughal India [Macromedia Flash Reader]

As you enter a large room filled with various items, including a well-worn globe, a medium-sized file cabinet, and a wall of books, you wonder to yourself, Where am I?. It turns out that you have stumbled across the British Museum's fine interactive website on Mughal India. Designed for young people, the site is set up as an office where visitors may click on various items (such as a globe or a model of the Taj Mahal) in order to entire Flash-enabled learning environments that address various aspects of this most grand and productive period in India's history. While visitors will want to spend a good deal of time exploring the site, one particular representative area of the site is the coin cabinet. Clicking on the coin cabinet opens up a small chest that holds various pieces of currencies from the Mughal Empire. Visiting the different drawers in the chest allows users to learn what each type of coin can tell contemporary observers about the Empire's religious traditions, emperors, and politics. Thoroughly engaging and dynamic in its layout and content, this is a site that is worth a close look. [KMG] Diseases Database

From, the Diseases Database provides a useful reference service for medical practitioners and researchers. The Database website offers a cross-referenced index and search portal that cover such topical areas as Symptoms and Signs, General Internal Medical Disorders, Drugs and Medications, Congenital and Inherited Disorders, and more. The Diseases Database index is modeled after a standard medical textbook, and "was inspired by the 'surgical sieve' classification and memory technique used as medical school..." The site contains dictionary type definitions for many items via links to the National Library of Medicine's Unified Medical Language System, A 'pre-loaded' multiple search engine inquiry page using all item synonyms, subject specific hyperlinks to web information resources for many items, and more. Links on the site also include: Tips for Searching, Database Content FAQ, Site Troubleshooting Tools, and a Feedback Page. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the May 28, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

General Interest

The Sociable Media Group [pdf]

Located at MIT, the Sociable Media Group is interested in questions concerning society and identity in the networked world. Some of the group's research questions include: How do we perceive other people on-line?, What does a virtual world look like?, and How do social conventions develop in the networked world? Visitors can learn about the most recent research projects, along with taking a look at the thought provoking blog. As with most research institutes or think-tanks, the Sociable Media group has seen fit to put a number of its working papers on the site for general consideration. The papers include such titles as, "Scale, Form, and Time: Creating Connected Sociable Spaces" and "A Semantic Approach to Visualizing Online Conversations." [KMG]

Children's Books Centers

Center for Children's Books (CCB) at University of Illinois
University of Wisconsin Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)

First, the CCB site offers "a non-circulating collection of more than 14,000 recent and historically significant trade books for youth, birth through high school, plus review copies of nearly all trade books published in the U.S. in the current year." Additionally, there are over 1,000 reference titles on the study of literature and storytelling for youth. The second site, from the University of Wisconsin Children's Book Center. The site offers "original bibliographies created by CCBC librarians, book reviews, webcasts of CCBC-sponsored speeches by children's and young adult book creators, and many more unique resources for librarians, teachers, university students and others." Both sites will provide interested visitors with an incredible array of resources for those interested in children's literature. [JPM]

The Other Hawaii [Macromedia Flash Reader]

When most people envision Hawaii, they may conjure up ideas of surfing, pineapple, the island of Oahu, and other tourist-brochure inspired images. Turning some of those ideas on their head is this intriguing voyage (sponsored and documented in part by the Honolulu Advertiser) to the sometimes-neglected northwestern Hawaiian Islands on the voyaging canoe Hokule'a. On the website, visitors can learn about the crew of the Hokule'a, view a Flash-enabled map of their progress and route, and learn about their educational mission for the trip. The site also features some nice material on the formation of the oldest Hawaiian islands, including a series of graphics that document the creation and transformation of these land forms. Finally, Honolulu Advertiser staff writer Jan TenBruggencate is providing a daily journal and a question and answer section for the website for the consideration of visitors to the site. [KMG]

Voices of Civil Rights [RealOnePlayer]

Designed and sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), and the Library of Congress, the Voices of Civil Rights website is the initial effort to create an online archive of stories about the civil rights movement (both historical and contemporary), essays, interviews, project updates, and special reports. While the site is a work-in-progress, currently there is a wide breadth of material available, most of which is organized into one of five sections. One notable section is the Stories area, where visitors can read (and in some cases, listen to) a wide array of personal stories about America's civil rights past. Another fine section is the one devoted to the contemporary civil rights movement and its historical legacy. Here visitors can listen to interviews about the promise of equal education with Wade Henderson, the executive director of the LCCR, and new activist voices within the fields of anti-hate crime campaigns and environmental justice. One interview that visitors will not want to miss in this section is a rather poignant recollection from Bernice Sims, an African-American folk artist known for her depictions of various moments in the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. [KMG]


Developed by Tony Fitzgerald, this site functions as a clearinghouse for different materials on the various primary areas and subfields of the discipline of sociology. While not every subfield is covered in great depth, the site definitely provides a broad-stroke introduction to the general practice of sociology. The two reference sections, titled SocioNews and SocioQuote are worthy places to start looking around on this site. Socionews provides daily updates of news items relevant to various aspects of sociology. Recent items include pieces on Anthony Giddens, feminist ideology in the Islamic world, and the culture of government. The SocioQuote section provides a quote (updated every 15 seconds) from a noted sociologist or related person on a host of topics such as technology, feminist sociology, or cultural development. The site also contains some valuable portals, that organize news pieces and other relevant materials under the broad themes of globalization and Palestine, among others. [KMG]

WPA Maps: Los Angeles

Developed as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's massive package of assistance programs designed to pull the United States out of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was known for employing thousands of artists to paint murals in federal buildings and for also employing thousands of the nations' unemployed in hundreds of massive construction projects around the country. One of these many programs was also designed to create maps of various locales, including many of America's many urban areas. Not surprisingly, one of the areas surveyed by the WPA was Los Angeles. This website, provided by USC, allows users access to 345 hand-colored maps from the 1933-1939 land use survey of the city. The maps themselves identify whether land was vacant or used for commercial, farming, residential, industrial, manufacturing, or recreational purposes. Along with viewing various maps of the different neighborhoods throughout the city, visitors can search the contents of the maps. [KMG]

Network Tools

Project Steve Guttenberg 1.0

Not many applications can make the claim to effectively reference one of the 1980s most well known comedic film stars, but Project Steve Guttenberg certainly puts forth a valiant effort. All humor aside, this application is a combination diary / journal / blogging application that integrates easily into an existing website. The application provides many common core features of such applications, including the ability to include comments, archives, and search features. This application is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

WeatherPop Free 2.0.1 [Macintosh Operating System]

If you work in a building where you can't open the window (or are disinclined to trust your own impressions of existing weather), the free version of WeatherPop 2.01 may be worth downloading for use on your computer. The small program operates as a drop-down window on your screen, and includes such features as National Weather Service forecasts (with storm watches and warnings) and 3 to 5 day upcoming forecasts. Users can pick up to three locations within the United States, so that they may keep an eye on upcoming vacation or business destinations. This version of WeatherPop is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X. [KMG]

In The News

Tiny Cross Causes a Stir in Los Angeles

ACLU Threatens County Suit,1413,200~20954~2169384,00.html
County Seal has a Cross the ACLU Can't Bear [Registration Required],1,1353623.story?coll=la-commun-los_angeles_metro
Los Angeles County Seal
ACLU: Religious Liberty
Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life [pdf]

The City of Angels may be bracing for another dramatic event and, oddly enough, it may have nothing to do with the climatic conditions in that region of the country. Recently the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced that it would sue Los Angeles County unless the governmental entity comes up with a plan within 14 days to remove a tiny cross from the County's official seal. The seal (which has been in use for 47 years) features the goddess Pomona holding various agricultural products grown in the county, along with symbols of the area's dairy, fishing, aerospace and oil industries. According to the county's website the tiny cross on the seal represents "the influence of the church and the missions of California." In a letter to the Los Angeles County board of supervisors, the executive director of the ACLU of Southern California noted: "When the County transmitted its newly designed seal to the California Secretary of State on February 27, 1957, the transmittal letter stated in plain language that the cross was included to represent religion." Responding to this letter, County Supervisors Michael Antonvich and Don Knabe announced that "Our history cannot be rewritten and it will not be rewritten," and went on to remark that the demand to remove the cross from the seal was "right out of a George Orwell novel." [KMG]

The first link will take users to a news piece about the recent letter sent by the ACLU regarding the cross on the Los Angeles County seal offered by the Los Angeles Daily News. The second link leads to a like-minded piece offered by the Los Angeles Times [Free registration required] that discusses the reaction to the letter from the Board of Supervisors. The third link leads to a pointed editorial offered by the Los Angeles Daily News this past Tuesday. The fourth link leads to a webpage provided by Los Angeles County that explains the iconography and symbols used on the official seal. The fifth link leads to the religious liberty area of the ACLU website, which describes the various issues that the organization provides legal consultation and aid to, such as school prayer, religious freedom, and the use and placement of the Ten Commandments. The sixth and final link leads to the homepage of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, where visitors can browse their publications, read news about various ongoing stories that address the broad topic of religion and public life, and read transcripts of events and discussions sponsored by the Forum. [KMG]

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