The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 29

July 23, 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 provides sites on Fire Ecology. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers sites and comments about Downbursts.

Research and Education

Persons looking for a host of educational materials on Asia for students from grades kindergarten through 12th will find the site quite helpful, and a good place to start with online research for a number of relevant topics. The site is a resource of the Asia Society, which was founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III. The mission of the Society is "to strengthen mutual understanding between the United States and Asia in support of positive engagement between their societies and peoples." The site is divided into a number of areas such as a database of Asian experts, an online newsletter, and a very useful Profiles section which contains a host of basic statistics about countries from Iran to Korea. The Special Reports section is quite strong, as is the Interviews area, which contains conversations with Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi and Sin Chan Hong, a contemporary performing artist from Korea. The site is rounded out by a list of Asian holidays, embassy location information, and a glossary of terms. [KMG]

Development Gateway: Climate Change [pdf]

One of the primary goals of the Millennium Development plan articulated by the United Nations is climate change "to ensure environmental sustainability as a poverty reduction measure." To that end the Development Gateway website has set up this special set of webpages dedicated to exploring this pressing issue. The site contains material on global efforts to forge international cooperation in governance, donor aid, and policy implementation aimed at reducing the impact of climate change in the developing world. Topically, the site is divided into a number of specific content areas, such as urban development, water resource management, and business environment. Visitors can also peruse materials created in preparation for World Environment Day 2004, which was held in June 2004 in Barcelona. Finally, visitors with an interest in this topic will want to take a look at the expert perspective provided by Motoharu Yamazaki, who serves as head of the Climate Change Programme in Hungary's Regional Environmental Center. [KMG]

The Health Consequences of Smoking 2004: A Report of the Surgeon General's [pdf, RealOne Player, Macromedia Flash Reader]

Considering the long-term costs to individuals and the general public, it is not surprising that the Center for Disease Control continues to remain vigilant in its attempts to inform the public about the very serious health risks posed by smoking. Released in May 2004, this thorough report documents the various effects of smoking. The report notes that smoking kills an estimated 440,000 Americans each year, and that the economic toll includes $75 billion in direct medical costs and $82 billion in lost productivity. The Surgeon General Dr. Richard H. Carmona noted in the report that, "The science is clear: the only way to avoid the health hazards of smoking is to quit completely or to never start smoking." Along with the full-text of this report, the site also includes a rather compelling interactive animated feature on the health consequences of smoking on the human body and eleven fact sheets on smoking for general distribution. [KMG]

NOVA: Descent into the Ice [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf, QuickTime, Windows Media Player, RealOne Player]

This NOVA website presents engaging materials on glaciers and the exploration of France's Mt. Blanc. Students can find a compelling account of why melting glaciers are as significant as other threatened natural resources such as old growth forests and coral reefs. The site features a slide show depicting how satellite imagery assists in glacier hazard assessments. Users can take a virtual tour of the gear ice climbers need in order to explore isolated ice shafts at some of the highest elevations on Earth. The tutorial, Life Cycle of a Glacier, takes visitors through the life of a snowflake -- from the time it forms in the sky and falls on the glacier until it finally becomes incorporated with an iceberg, melts, and again evaporates into the atmosphere. Teachers will find a fun activity for students to learn about water changing into ice. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the July 23, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report.

National Gallery of Art: John Wilmerding Collection

John Wilmerding has had a long career as a professor and museum professional, and during his tenure in these vocations, he has also managed to acquire many works by various artists who worked primarily in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century American landscape style. His personal collection --which he recently donated to the National Gallery of Art -- includes important works by Frederic Edwin Church, George Caleb Bingham, and John F. Kensett. On the site, visitors can read a profile of Wilmerding, and view highlights from the ongoing exhibit, such as George Caleb Bingham's Mississippi Boatman and Frederic Edwin Church's Fog off Mount Desert. The site is rounded out by information about visiting the exhibit and a complete checklist -- complete with thumbnail images -- of all the pieces in the exhibit. [KMG]


While the phrase "never say never" may make some think of a certain suave British spy of the silver screen, to wordsmiths this is a thoroughly noxious example of an oxymoron. Strictly speaking, an oxymoron is a literary figure of speech in which opposite or contradictory words, terms, phrases or ideas are combined to create a rhetorical effect by paradoxical means. For those with a budding love of oxymorons, this website will be of great interest. Here visitors can read growing lists of oxymorons, organized by subject (such as religion, relationships, and household), or breeze through the listings by first letter. The site also has a number of oxymoronic quotes and sayings for perusal, including the oft-quoted phrase from Mark Twain: "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." The site is rounded out by a series of discussion boards where visitors may harangue with other visitors over the merits of such terms as "jumbo shrimp" and "anarchy rules." [KMG]

Kalispell Public Schools: Glacier National Park Electronic Field Trip [RealOne Player, Quicktime]

Hosted by the a collaboration of organizations including Kalispell Public Schools and Glacier National Park, this website offers students several electronic field trips of Glacier National Park in Montana. The field trips provide photos and the recorded voices of guides introducing topics like Grizzlies in Glacier, Fish and Amphibians, Glaciers Botanical Diversity, and Surviving Winter in Glacier -- to name a few. The site also contains basic lesson plans for multiple grade levels in the areas of Botany, Aquatics, Wildlife, Ecosystems, and more. In addition, the site links to ideas about wilderness and wilderness preservation, park information, and an historic timeline for management of U.S. public lands. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the July 23, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

General Interest

1904 World's Fair: Looking Back at Looking Forward [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis was a truly monumental undertaking, and even more so when one considers that the Fair played host to the Olympic Games as well. Paying homage to that historic gathering and exhibition is this fine site, developed by the Missouri Historical Society in conjunction with an ongoing exhibition on the Fair. The site itself provides an overview of the World's Fair, along with a valuable virtual tour of the fairgrounds and period artifacts that were originally exhibited 100 years ago. The virtual tour is particularly engaging, as it allows visitors a birds-eye diagrammatic view of the layout of the fair, and the opportunity to learn about over 20 of the fair's main structures. Along with this feature, visitors can also take a tour of The Pike, which featured such novel locales as the baby incubator display (which was quite an innovation for its time) and the Irish Village. Overall, the site offers some general insights into the historical significance of the World's Fair and its imprint on American culture. [KMG]

The Scribbler

There is much talk in artistic circles about what is that the Web can offer in terms of a new dimension or a new medium for creating art. The Scribbler may be one of the very few Web-based offerings that actually uses the interactivity of the Internet and the randomness of a design software to allow a user to sketch a drawing and then have The Scribbler enhance it -- that is, seek to draw what your mind's eye may be seeing but your untrained hands cannot put on paper. As is noted at the site, "When a new scribble line is created it chooses a few numbers at random that eventually determine what sort of line it will draw. As it begins to draw it fine tunes those values to the type of drawing that you've made." If you enjoy doodling on paper, you'll have try doodling using the Scribbler online. [JPM]

Washington Secretary of State-Washington History

It would seem that every state has a special site dedicated to exploring local and regional history, and Washington is no exception. Working with materials provided by the state library and the state archives, the Secretary of State's office has created these thematic collections of documents, photographs, and archival records for the curious public and researchers. The collections include a number of searchable record databases, including the Washington Census and Naturalization Records, a remembrance of World War I Soldiers, and a territorial timeline that features photographs and documents related to the area's history during this long period. The real standout feature of the site is the Classics in Washington History area, where visitors can peruse the original versions of such narratives as "Ox-team days on the Oregon Trail" by Ezra Meeker and "Pioneer days on Puget Sound" by Seattle founding father, Arthur Denny. [KMG]

Car Talk [RealOne Player]

Avid listeners of National Public Radio (NPR) will be intimately familiar with the frenetic and informed commentary of Tom and Ray Magliozzi on their long-running radio show, Car Talk. On the site, visitors can read biographies of the brothers, listen to their radio program, and of course, submit questions for their erudite consideration. One very relevant section of the site is the Actual Car Information area. Here visitors can read reports of new automobile models, read about hybrid electric vehicles, and learn about incentives offered by different major automobile manufacturers. Visitors will also not want to miss the As Read on Car Talk section, which features an archive of the many entertaining letters received (and read aloud on the program) by the duo since 1996. The site concludes with a list of helpful summer driving tips and material on safety recalls as well. [KMG]

Bohemian Opera

While a night at the opera may seem like a rather stuffy outing to some, this spectacular fusion of music and drama remains an enthralling experience that is enjoyed around the world in a variety of guises. The Bohemian Opera website will be a delight to those fans of the medium, and may serve as a gateway for those with a bit of curiosity. On the site, visitors can browse through side-by-side libretti for such enduring favorites as Madame Butterfly and La Boheme. Another fun feature is the ability to find out where various pieces of opera music (arias, duets, preludes, and so on) have been used in different films. Specifically, visitors can look to see where Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, and Beethoven have had their musical endeavors appropriated. Not surprisingly, Beethoven's music has been used literally hundreds of times during the history of motion pictures. [KMG]

Wisconsin's Maritime Trails [RealOnePlayer, QuickTime, pdf]

While most people may not know it, 22 percent of the state of Wisconsin is actually underwater. Amidst all of this water, there are numerous shipwrecks, which represent part of the state's important historical past. As part of a partnership between the Wisconsin Historical Society and the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, this informative website was designed "to foster wider public appreciation of the state's rich maritime past and encourage preservation of unique historic sites." On the site, visitors can research a searchable database of Wisconsin shipwrecks, read field notes from underwater archaeologists, and learn about visiting various maritime sights, including lighthouses, museums and, of course, shipwreck sites. The real highlight of the site is the video gallery, which allows visitors to take underwater tours of over ten different shipwreck sites in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior without ever getting wet. Finally, the site is rounded out by the inclusion of educational materials designed for teachers and young people. [KMG]

Network Tools

Booby 0.3.4

With a name drawn from the rather distinctive bird that lives on the Galapagos islands, Booby is a web-based management tool for managing bookmarks, contacts, notes, and news. The application itself is based on plugins that are easy to add, delete or upgrade. Additionally, the application supports multiple languages and contains support for unlimited users. The site also has some nice screenshots of the application in action and documentation. Booby 0.3.4 is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

BlogBridge 0.5.3

There are a plethora of weblog readers out there and to certain less experienced weblog novices, the choices may seem rather overwhelming, if not completely confusing. Fortunately, there is BlogBridge, which is designed for the non-technical user as a way to discover and follow hundreds of feeds without too much confusion. From the website, visitors can read about the program at length, and learn how the application might best suit their needs. BlogBridge 0.5.3 is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Boston Prepares for Democratic National Convention

Officials Confident of Convention Security,0,813380.story?coll=sns-ap-politics-headlines
Delegates Prepare for Democratic National Convention
Boston Gears Up to Host the Democratic Convention [RealOne Player]
Policy, City Labor Fight mar Boston Convention Preparations [RealOne Player]
By the People: Election 2004
Democratic Convention 2004

Delegates, pundits, commentators, media mavens, and others have begun to arrive in Boston for the upcoming 2004 Democratic National Convention, which is set to take place between July 26th and July 29th. New England's largest city has never played host to a major political convention, and the city has spent copious amounts of time and money in preparing for the thousands of people who are descending on the entire area over the next couple of weeks. Some people have expressed considerable concern over the security of the convention during this rather tumultuous period, especially considering that the city has been locked in a fierce battle with the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association over a number of demands in the struggle to sign a new contract. Obviously, one primary concern is that various terrorist groups might try to disrupt the proceedings of the convention. Touring the city last week, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge was generally quiet on specific operations to improve the security of the city, but he did tell reporters that patrol boats will be positioned in Boston Harbor and that mobile command vehicles will be posted at strategic locations throughout the city. All told, there will be around 4500 security personnel in Boston during the convention.

The first link leads to a recent Newsday article that talks about the various security measures that are in place to ensure the safety of the delegates, elected officials, and other visitors to Boston during the convention. The second link offers a news piece from the Boston Globe that talks about the experiences of delegates soon to arrive at the convention from various parts of New England. The third site will lead visitors to an audio feature from the Tavis Smiley show (featured on National Public Radio, where Smiley talks with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson about the challenges facing the city of Boston during the convention. The fourth link leads to another audio feature from National Public Radio in which Tovia Smith reports on the ongoing dispute between Boston police and the city of Boston. The fifth link leads to a well-designed site from PBS that offers complete news coverage on the 2004 presidential election, including a roundup of the best election websites and a calendar to keep visitors current on campaign events. The last link offers an unofficial look into what to do when visiting the convention in Boston next week, and includes information on local businesses and apartment rentals for those in need of space. [KMG]

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