August 6, 2004
A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- National Biological Information Infrastructure: Botany
- Center for Higher Education Policy Studies
- Zen Gardens
- Journey Through the Galaxy
- The Kimberley Process
- Cuba After Castro: Legacies, Challenges, and Impediments
- Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of Natural History: North American Mammals
- Butterfly Gardening
- Reston Collection Images
- State Fair Recipes
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics
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 Sea Cucumbers. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Rogue Waves.
The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is a collaborative program designed to provide increased access to data and information on the nation's biological resource. Their resources are used by scientists, educators, and the general public to answer a diverse range of questions related to the biological resources contained within the United States. To that end, the NBII has set up a number of thematic websites to address various aspects of the biological disciplines. This particular site deals with botany, which is defined most broadly as the scientific study of plants and other similar organisms. The discipline also includes many subfields, such as paleobotany, physiology, and plant pathology. After reading the introduction, visitors can browse through one of the general categories provided on the right-hand side of the screen (such as applied plant sciences or general reference sources) and look through the numerous links provided to pertinent high-quality online resources. One rather useful section for educators is the Botany for Kids area, which contains numerous age-appropriate classroom project materials, such as those that help students understand how leaves change color and different compost activities. [KMG]
An increasing number of scholars and persons in the policy world continue to share an abiding interest in the vast world of higher education, and the staff members of the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) at the University of Twente are no exception. This interdisciplinary research institute, founded in 1984, seeks "to increase our understanding of institutional, national and international issues that bear upon higher education." The site is a fine clearinghouse, both in terms of offering access to work produced by the staff of CHEPS, and as an online resource to find out about upcoming higher education conferences and their consultancy projects. Many of the publications are available in Dutch and English and deal with a host of topics such as higher education consortia in Europe and Southeast Asia and the role of national governments in the evolution of higher education. [KMG]
Tiny Bowdoin College in Maine may not immediately make one think of zen gardens, but they have certainly done a fine job offering web users valuable online tours and insights into these peaceful and lovely places. Specifically, the site is dedicated to the gardens of Japan and (to be geographically more precise) to the historic gardens of Kyoto and its environs. Through the various pages dedicated to over twenty separate gardens, visitors may take virtual tours of each one and read extended histories on each locale. First-time visitors will want to read the overview essay, which discusses the importance of early Japanese gardens, and then continue on to the section which discusses the various elements of these gardens, such as bridges, sand, stones, and water. The site is rounded out by a bibliography for further exploration and a glossary of key terms. [KMG]
This website, supported by Case Western University, "explores our solar system, stars, extra-solar planets, the theories about the past and future of the universe, and human exploration of space." The valuable materials are provided in two varieties: a regular version designed for grade school students and an advanced version intended for college students. The easily navigable website is first divided into five main topics and subsequently separated into a series of subtopics. For instance, under the Solar System link users can find five tabs containing data and tutorials on the sun, planets, asteroids, comets, and the edge of the solar system. With numerous helpful diagrams and images throughout the website, astronomy students are sure to benefit from this website. This site is also reviewed in the August 6, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [RME]
The past several decades have seen a growing interest among various social justice organizations into investigating the various origins or manufacturing processes used to create various products and their effects on the people who make these products. One such luxury item that has come under close scrutiny is the diamond. In May 2000, Southern African diamond producing states met in Kimberly, South Africa to come up with a way to stop the trade in conflict diamonds and "to ensure consumers that the diamonds that they purchase have not contributed to violent conflict and human rights abuses in their countries of origin." Some two years later, a number of participants (including national governments and the international diamond industry) developed the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme to assure that these conflict diamonds would not enter legitimate trade. On this compelling site, visitors can learn about the process, read news updates about the process, and read documents related to the process from the World Trade Organization and examine a list of participants in the process. [KMG]
Many people continue to speculate what will happen in Cuba after the presidency of Fidel Castro ends, and this rather interesting report from the RAND Corporation offers some insight into a number of potential scenarios. Authored by researchers Edward Gonzalez and Kevin McCarthy, the 154-page study identified five potential problem areas in particular, including an aging population, a growing racial divide, a stunted economy, and an alienated younger generation. The report contains some potentially controversial contentions, including the observation that the military may be the institution to take control of the country after Castro leaves the presidency. The report includes eight chapters in total, including one that deals with the pressing need for industrial restructuring in Cuba, one on the changing demographics of the country, and an executive summary for those looking for a general overview of the author's findings. [KMG]
Taking online field guides to a whole new level, the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of Natural History has brought this gem to the Internet for students, teachers, and naturalists of all ages. The website provides information for over 400 mammal species and includes high-quality range maps, photographs, scientific illustrations, family tree diagrams, weights and measures, and more. Integrating new technologies, the site offers interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) maps that pinpoint the location of different mammal species. Site visitors can also choose from a variety of map overlays to assist mammal searches including rivers, cities, topography, state boundaries, and US interstate highways. The site provides the conservation status for different species; create-your-own field guide options; skull, teeth, and bone images; resource links; and a helpful glossary as well. The website is based on the Mammals of North America by Roland W. Kays and Don E. Wilson, and The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals by Don E. Wilson and Sue Ruff. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the August 6, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report .
Traditional gardening is a great source of pleasure for many, and those who have enjoyed this pastime may want to consider butterfly gardening. Creating a butterfly garden is an effective way to see more butterflies and to contribute towards the conservation of these brilliant creatures. This website provides a host of original material and websites dealing with the creation and maintenance of butterfly gardens and habitats. It is also important to realize that individuals need not have a great deal of free land in which to create a butterfly garden as well. One helpful aspect of this site is that it allows visitors the opportunity to learn about creating smaller gardens with less space, such as in a window box. Along with the basic information presented here, the site includes links to information on how to attract butterflies to the garden (provided by Colorado State University) and a link to an online forum for the discussion of plans that both provide livable habitats for butterflies. [KMG]
Despite the majority of critics who assume that the majority of suburbs are creations solely of the past five decades, planned communities designed around the automobile have been around before World War II. One of the most notable planned communities in the United States is in Reston, Virginia, which was constructed after World War II. The creation of such a community was a rather ambitious undertaking, as it attempted to integrate almost every aspect of human life, including health services, recreational facilities, religious institutions, and commercial facilities. With the assistance of the Planned Community Archives, Inc. group and George Mason University, this online archive contains hundreds of documents that tell the story of Reston. Some of these documents include promotional brochures, studies, reports, correspondence, and maps, such as the town's original master plan and those documenting major road systems. On the site, visitors can search for documents individually, or elect to browse through the documents by subject, title, or by the organization responsible for creating each document. [KMG]
As the summer continues to wane on, one tradition remains intact throughout much of America: the state fair. Usually the state fair is a place for local residents to showcase their agricultural marvels, and for urbanites to experience a bit of the country life, albeit rather briefly and somewhat voyeuristically. While there may be an uneasy alliance between urbanites and rural denizens during these periods, one thing is for sure: they both love the award-winning eats that are often the highlight of such gatherings. One is certain to find certain specialties at every fair, ranging from the famous scones of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup to the roast corn that may be found at just about every state fair. This website brings all of those award-winning recipes together in one place, as visitors can find recipes for such dishes as beef and cheddar puffs, braised lamb shanks, and down home chicken pot pie. Desserts don't get short thrift here either, as visitors can read the recipes for ginger lime pear pie and many others as well. Finally, visitors can read profiles of the various award-winning cooks and find recipes from 2000 to 2004. [KMG]
Established in 1999, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) was designed to meet both the needs of UNESCO Member States and to provide the international community with a wide range of statistical information in order to "analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of their programmes and to inform their policy decisions." The UIC is hosted by the University of Montreal, and performs work around four primary themes, including education, literacy, culture & communication, and science & technology. Overall, the site is a remarkable source of information, including databases, working papers, country profiles, statistical tables, and methodological material about the conduct of their research. Several of these works are featured prominently on their homepage including a working paper on financing the expansion of educational opportunity in Latin America and the Caribbean and an electronic questionnaire on science and technology. [KMG]
It seems that people in the United States are going through a new and renewed commitment to getting back in shape, and there are a variety of helpful online resources to make this a viable possibility for millions of Americans. This particular site (sponsored by a number of fitness-related publications) brings together information on a host of timely topics, including weight loss, healthy eating, building muscle mass, and seasonal training suggestions. The homepage contains links on such topics as diminishing cellulite and eating organic, and also contains a number of online calculators. These calculators can help individuals determine their body mass index, their weight loss potential, and their ideal weight. The site also has an area where visitors can sign up to receive any number of free electronic newsletters from some of the magazines that sponsor the site. [KMG]
Email inboxes continue to be inundated with spam, and the problem doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. This application, All-in-One Secretmaker 3.9.4, may help with this problem, as it serves to block spammed messages, banner interruptions, and also erases cookies. Additionally, the application deletes traces of sites that have been previously visited and also protects against email viruses. Secretmaker 3.9.4 is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and above. [KMG]
Summer continues on, and it may be time to think about sharing photographs with friends and families via the internet. PHPQuickGallery 1.5 may be a good way to perform this important task, as it allows users to create online galleries quickly, automatically generate image thumbnails, and add (or delete) comments to each photograph. Visitors can also scale images and create galleries within galleries. This application is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson Dies
Timeline: Henry Cartier-Bresson
NPR: The Photograph of Henri Cartier-Bresson
Tete a Tete: Portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Peter Fetterman Gallery: Henri Cartier-Bresson
As one thinks about the great photographers of the past thirty or forty years, one may think of Annie Leibovitz or the late Robert Mapplethorpe. If one is asked about the great photographers of the past hundred years, one name immediately comes to mind: Henri Cartier-Bresson. Cartier-Bresson passed away this past Monday at age 95, leaving behind an amazing body of work that captured the zeitgeist of most of the 20th century through both his numerous impromptu photographs of various storied personages and the commonplace pace of everyday life across the world. Cartier-Bresson was born in Chateloup, France to a wealthy textile family, and started his career in the visual arts with a strong interest in painting. He began his career in photography in 1930, and quickly began a series of photo expeditions to Poland, Austria, Germany, and the French Ivory Coast. Throughout his long career, his conception of photography was centered around "the decisive moment," which he felt to be that very moment which evoked the ultimate significance of a given situation. As he once remarked, in one of his rare interviews: "In whatever one does, there must be a relationship between the eye and the heart." While he garnered a good deal of his acclaim from his work in international exhibitions and numerous publications (such as Harpers' Bazaar), Cartier-Bresson also made two documentary films which were well-received. Commenting on his recent passing later in the week, John Morris, a lifelong friend and editor of Magnum Photos, remarked that "He was perhaps the greatest photographer of the 20th century." [KMG]
The first link leads to a news piece from this week's Wednesday online edition of The Guardian about Cartier-Bresson's life and work. The second link leads to a helpful timeline offered by the BBC News website that highlights some aspects of his long career. The third link will take visitors to a remarkable audio program from National Public Radio from July 3, 2003, that includes a brief interview with Cartier-Bresson and also offers a number of links to related sites, such as online photo galleries and a brief biography. The fourth link leads to a fine online photo gallery from the Washington Post that draws on a 1999-2000 exhibit held at the National Portrait Gallery. Here visitors can see nice examples of his art, including photos of Robert Oppenheimer, Louis Kahn, and the iconic New Englander and poet, Robert Lowell. The fifth link leads to a remarkable retrospective of Cartier-Bresson's work, offered by Magnum Photos, and includes a number of shots from his early work in Spain and France from the 1930s. The final link will take visitors to yet another online gallery of his work, this time from the Peter Fetterman gallery, There are a number of lesser-known finds here as well, including his 1947 photograph of "Joe," a Chicago paperboy underneath the city's storied Loop elevated train and the more somber photograph of the funeral of a kabuki actor from 1965. [KMG]
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