The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 23

June 11, 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 presents sites on Lyme Disease. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers sites and comments about The Big Bang Theory and the Expansion of the Universe.

Research and Education

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Online [pdf]

Developed as an integral part of the Canadian government, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada "provides information, research and technology, and policies and programs to achieve security of the food system, health of the environment and innovation for growth." On this site, visitors can learn about these various agricultural initiatives, read statements from the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and learn about the current comprehensive agricultural police framework being developed by federal, provincial and territorial governments in conjunction with industry. Of course, the site also contains many helpful documents for persons in the agriculture business as well, including national crop condition reports, poultry market reports, food recall information, and weekly radio reports. Finally, in the Agriculture in Canada section, visitors can browse a FAQ area, along with basic statistical information about agriculture throughout the entire country. [KMG]

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) [pdf]

Officially established in 1966, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) was first proposed by Prime Minister Tage Erlander of Sweden in 1964 who thought such an organization would be an appropriate way to commemorate the country's 150 years of continuous peace. The primary task of the Institute is to conduct "scientific research on questions of conflict and cooperation of importance for international peace and security with the aim of contributing to an understanding of the conditions for peaceful solution of international conflicts and for a stable peace." With this in mind, this site provides access to many of their documents, including working papers, press releases, speeches, and lectures. Some of the most recent publications available for download on the site include Sizing and Shaping European Armed Forces:Lessons and Considerations from the Nordic Countries, as well as Security Challenges for the EU. Finally, the site also contains a nice set of databases, including one that contains country profiles that relate facts on international relations and security trends.

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs [pdf]

Australia continues to be a popular choice for immigrants from all over the world, particularly from surrounding areas, such as parts of Asia and Europe. This site is the official online presence of the Australian government's Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Not surprisingly, the site offers information about visiting Australia, studying in Australia, working in Australia, and material on how to migrate permanently to Australia. The site also contains helpful materials about the government's work with its indigenous peoples, including fact sheets, current policy statements, and reports on the socioeconomic standing of these groups. For people looking for publications on specific topics there is also an A-Z index of titles, ranging from Atlas of the Australian People (which provides demographic reports) to work on welfare recipient patterns among migrants. [KMG]

Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study [Arc/Info]

The Columbia River is experiencing a far too common problem of disastrous coastal erosion that has been causing grave concern in its community. Because of this, the US Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program and the Washington Department of Ecology created the Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study to predict management scale coastal change, and provide "coastal communities with decision support tools for integrating scientific research with coastal decision making and long-term land use planning efforts." Visitors can discover the study's approach, findings, and participants. The lengthy, informative research link provides information about the study's five key components: coastal change, sediment budget, coastal processes, predictive modeling, and management support. The authors are currently compiling the data collected. Presently, researchers can find data about the beach profiles and the shorelines. The website offers a great, thorough glossary to assist users with unfamiliar terminology. This site is also reviewed in the June 11, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [RME]

The Kissinger Telcons [pdf]

The National Security Archive at George Washington University has developed a fine reputation for its electronic briefing books and other publications, many of which have arisen from requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Released in late May 2004, this 123rd electronic briefing book in the ongoing series includes ten telcons (transcripts of telephone conversations) from the files of Henry Kissinger's collection at the Library of Congress. The subjects covered in these intriguing documents include talks on how to spin the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, the bombing of Cambodia ordered by President Nixon, and conversations with Alexander Haig. Some of the other telcons released as part of the electronic briefing book include conversations with Motion Picture Association president Jack Valenti and Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockefeller. The final document of note here is a helpful finding aid to the Kissinger telcons, created by the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff of the National Archives and Records Administration. [KMG]

Atlantic Unbound: The Poetry Pages [RealOnePlayer]

It's been almost eight years since the Scout Report first pointed its readers to the Poetry Pages website, and in that time the site has grown by leaps and meters. The Atlantic Monthly magazine has done a lovely job of bringing together poetry, critical appraisals of poets and their work, and audio readings of poems all in one compelling location. Here visitors can read (and listen to) poems that have recently (or not so recently) appeared between the pages of The Atlantic Monthly, including works by John Crowe Ransom, William Blake, and Maxine Kumin. It should be noted that the site also features interviews with contemporary poets as well, no doubt to let readers know that the craft and art of creating poems is still very much alive and well. There are also some historic articles from the distant past offered here, including poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Greenleaf Whittier which appeared in The Atlantic Monthly's first issue. Finally, visitors will want to read a piece by Peter Davison that appeared in 2001 on Robert Lowell's masterpiece, For the Union Dead. A real treat is also available here as visitors can also listen to readings of the work by Frank Bidard, Peter Davison, and Robert Pinsky, the former Poet Laureate of the Untied States. [KMG]

American Society for Enology and Viticulture [pdf]

This website presents the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV), "a non-profit, scientific society dedicated to the interests of enologists, viticulturists, and others in the field of wine and grape research and production throughout the world." The ASEV site contains information about their organization, related events, the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, membership, and more. The ASEV website also maintains an Academic Job Board, and provides information about student scholarships. The site currently links to the upcoming 2004 Annual Meeting website offering Complete Program Information, Online Registration and Housing Reservations, and a Virtual Trade Show. This site is also reviewed in the June 11, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [NL]

General Interest

NewsPageDesigner [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Many elements go into the hundreds of daily newspapers that are read across the United States each day, and everyone has their favorite section, such as the opinion pieces, world news, and of course, editorial cartoons. While all of these facets seem to receive some sort of peer recognition, relatively little attention is paid to the design of entire pages within each paper. This website, hosted by the Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine, fills that gap, as it allows news designers to share their work and ideas by posting various page designs online. Visitors to the site can browse through various recently posted pages, such as those designed to pay tribute to the conclusion of the television show Friends or summer travel suggestions. For those already in the field of newspaper and design (or those who would like to be in the future), there is a tip section that contains helpful suggestions on ideas for easing creative blocks, working with designs for smaller papers, and how to use typography effectively. Overall, the site is quite engaging, and will be of interest to those with a broad interest in graphic design. [KMG]

International Fund for Agricultural Development [pdf]

As a special function and agency of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2003, "was created to mobilize resources on concessional terms for programmes that alleviate rural poverty and improve combat hunger and rural poverty in developing countries." To that end, the fund seeks to assist "the poorest of the world's poor" by offering long-term loans with exceptionally good terms of repayment (40 year loans with a 0.75% service charge per year). At this website, visitors can read about the fund's initiatives and its partners as well as perusing information supplied in the Rural Poverty Knowledgebase (including related links and an explanation of the grant programme offered by IFAD. Also of note are listings of upcoming events and meetings related to world hunger and links to several reports and documents available at the site. [JPM]

Canto do Brazil [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Getting to Brazil is getting more and more expensive, especially considering the rising prices of flights abroad. For those who have never been, or those looking for a compelling perspective on a few regions of this huge country, this site, designed by Geoffrey Hiller is worth a look. Hiller is a photographer who first visited Brazil 25 years ago, and recently returned to explore the country at length. The Flash introduction to the site offers some lovely images, set to the backdrop of rather enchanting music, with narration provided by a woman who talks about the nature of the Brazilian soul. The various short films, which consist of photographs that dissolve and melt into each scene, deal with such locals as Salvador Bahia, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais. After viewing each short film, visitors can wander through the images contained within each film in a separate photo gallery. [KMG]

National Interagency Fire Center

Created to coordinate the preventive and proactive efforts of nine different government agencies in terms of wildfire management, this National Interagency Fire Center is headquartered in Boise, Idaho. The homepage contains information on current items of contemporary importance, such as the status of current wildland fires and reports on various fire accidents and incidences. The site is divided into a number of thematic areas, but one of the most valuable is certainly the area of wildland fire prevention and education. Here visitors can browse through fire prevention and mitigation resources, and take a look at Burning Issues, which is an interactive multimedia program that explores fires that occur on wildlands. The fire statistics area is quite helpful as it provides information on significant fires dating back to the early 19th century, and also provides detailed information on the wildland fire seasons from 1998 to 2002. The site is rounded out by a collection of links to external sites, such as the site dedicated to the National Fire Plan and the Wildland Fighter Foundation. [KMG]

GI Bill

Created to assist American veterans returning from World War II, the GI Bill (which has been amended and renewed several times) has provided educational opportunities to servicepersons who are seeking various forms of education to ease their reentry into civilian life. On the site, visitors can learn about the Montgomery GI Bill, the Tuition Assistance Top-Up (which is an amendment to the Montgomery GI Bill), and the Veterans Education Assistance Program. The site also provides information on the academic degrees that will be in particular demand over the coming years, such as criminal justice, information technology, and business. Additionally, the site has updates about various military relief acts, such as the Tax Relief Act of 2003. The site is rounded out by a news ticker that contains updates about news stories that are germane to those in the military and their families. [KMG]

Woodworker's Central [QuickTime]

Wood-working is both a time-honored vocation and pastime for thousands of people, and Woodworker's Central website is designed to provide a source of online information on a wide array of subjects related to this activity. First started in 1997, the site currently contains forums where fellow woodworkers can share reviews of tools (contained in the Tool Survey section), search for articles on woodworking plans, and read the Woodworker's Gazette, which contains reviews of woodworking books and helpful hints submitted by visitors to the site. The site also contains a section on compound miters and an InfoExchange area where visitors can exchange questions and responses to a host of probing questions, such as how to build a stereo rack out of maple or how to construct a bowl out of bark. [KMG]

Network Tools

HTTrack Website Copier 3.32-2

With all the demands on internet use in a household, such as interruptions from other family members and so on, it may be useful to download entire websites in order to view them at a more convenient time. This application will allow users to do just that, as they will be able to effectively download an entire website to a local directory. The application arranges the original site's relative link-structure, and can also update an existing mirrored site, and resume interrupted downloads. This version of HTTrack is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

PhPoto 0.4.0

There will always be interest in new applications that allow users to create dynamic and well-structured photo galleries on the web, and this latest project developed by David Bindel is one such program. PhPoto 0.4.0 supports multiple albums, file uploading, automatic thumbnailing, captions, a web-based administration panel, and a simple installer. Additionally, the project's homepage contains ample documentation on the application, along with the opportunity to read other users' comments. This version of the program is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Documentary on Fast Food Sparks Both Criticism and Intrigue

Three burgers a day,4120,1233176,00.html
Sundance Channel: Morgan Spurlock
Debunk the Junk: Soso Whaley's McDonald's Adventure
The Super Size Me Con
Super Size Me [QuickTime]
America's Fattest and Fittest Cities

Morgan Spurlock's recent documentary and extended nutrition experiment has garnered great attention, both in the United States and abroad. By now, most people know that the documentary consists of him making his way to McDonalds and eating there several times a day for 30 days in a row. Since its release, the film has also done quite well, as it passed the 200-screen week this past week, and has already grossed over $6 million. Things continue to look positive for Spurlock as he has recently signed a tentative book deal, and has also just signed a deal to create a one-hour reality television show. All is not completely tranquil, as a number of critics and other pundits have begun to embark on their own separate projects that emphasize personal responsibility when it comes to eating habits and such matters. One such critic is Soso Whaley, an animal trainer based in Washington, DC, who is making her own documentary where she also eats at McDonald's for thirty days. The twist is that she eats the healthier options available on their menu, and as a result loses weight and her cholesterol also drops significantly. She plans to enter her film in the Sundance Film Festival as well, thereby keeping the ball rolling on the whole debate for at least another year.

The first link leads to a good piece in the Guardian that talks both about the film itself and the interesting response from a number of parties, including critics of Mr. Spurlock's message and methods. The second link offers a recent interview transcript with Mr. Spurlock that includes answers to such thorny questions as: What book are you currently reading?. The third link will take visitors to the site that provides information on the documentary being made by Soso Whaley that attempts to debunk Spurlock's work. The fourth link leads to one conservative thinktank's webpage that attempts to address some of the inherent scientific problems with Spurlock's work. The fifth link (which is probably the most fun) is the link to the Super Size Me homepage, where visitors can view a trailer for the film and view stills from the movie. The sixth and final link leads to a listing of America's "fattest and fittest" cities for the year 2004, provided by Men's Health magazine. The "fattest" city, as determined by the survey, is Detroit, while the "fittest" happens to be Honolulu. [KMG]

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