The Scout Report -- Volume 3, Number 17

August 13, 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 Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology

The third issue of the seventeeth volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Information and Communication Technology.

Research and Education

The Branding of Polaroid, 1957-1977

Do you remember the little black box replete with its trademark color stripes? It was the branding of Polaroid, a rather funny name, that sought to, and did, take on the giant of the film industry known as Kodak. This website, offered by the creative brain behind the campaign himself, Paul Giambarda, gives a great historical look at Polaroid and its fascinating history. The site, which is arranged as uniquely as Polaroid itself, essentially scrolls on and on down the main page, offering subtopics such as: Polaroid Package Design, Polaroid Dealer Ads, Polaroid Sunglasses, and more. Each section allows for visitors to submit comments as well. Of particular note is the correspondence by Ansel Adams to the Polaroid company which is offered at the top of the page. [JPM]

MoMA: Tall Buildings [Macromedia Flash Reader, pdf]

The Museum of Modern Art's (MoMA) project, Tall Buildings, addresses issues of technology, urbanism, and program for twenty five buildings designed within the last decade. This interactive website, designed with Macromedia Flash Player, allows users to compare the height, area, geographic locations, and program distribution. Users can learn about many design issues such as aerodynamics, green technologies, and public space. For each building, visitors can find a clear introduction and many images of floor plans and external views. [RME]

"With an Even Hand": Brown v. Board at Fifty

"On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, declaring that 'separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.' This decision was pivotal to the struggle for racial desegregation in the United States. This exhibition commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of this landmark judicial case." And, at this exceptional site from the Library of Congress, visitors are taken on a tour of the several court cases that led up to the Brown case, the arguments and the public response to the case, and also the effect that the case had on the history of the country. This exceptionally detailed website also leads visitors to other resources for teachers and the general visitor who may want to read more about the topic. [JPM]

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report [pdf]

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a provisional series based on the compilation of data on specific diseases reported by United States government agencies and on reports about infectious and chronic diseases disasters, occupational diseases and injuries, and other injuries. Users can download current and archived MMWR reports as well as reports on topics of international interest and events of interest to the public health community. Students and educators can learn about MMWR's Continuing Medical Education (CME) Program. Individuals searching for statistics can appreciate a series of morbidity and mortality tables. The website offers links to local public health departments where they can obtain additional public health materials. Users can subscribe to receive the reports electronically. [RME]

NOVA: Origins [Macromedia Flash Reader]

At NOVA's Origins website, users can "journey back to the beginning of everything: the universe, Earth, and life itself." The web site offers a series of interactive modules where visitors can decide if life exists on other planets in the Milky Way, view where scientists are making large discoveries of life's origins, and much more. Users can find fascinating articles addressing life on Mars, the necessity of water for life, and the role galaxies play in our existence. Educators should soon be able to find a Teacher's Guide for the PBS television program airing in September. [RME]

Engineers Edge: Strength and Mechanics of Materials

The mission of Engineers Edge is "to be the preferred online destination for designers, engineers and manufacturing professionals" by offering training, seminars, and online technical information and products. This section of their website on Strength and Mechanics of Materials offers an overview of topics in Materials Science, including sections on stress, strain, Hookes Law, malleability, fatigue and vibration. The short explanations are accompanied by related figures and equations. The section also provides a link to their free Technical / Engineering Publications, which cover a variety of topics including: Machine Design, Electronic Design, and Processing Magazine. [VF] This site is also reviewed in the August 13, 2004 NSDL MET Report.


The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI) Iraq website offers users "a temporal-spatial portal into existing digital resources about history, cultural sites, archaeological excavations and heritage preservation initiatives." Utilizing unique interactive and thematic maps, visitors to the site will find an incredible array of information including topics such as the Akkadian Empire, the Hittites, the Roman Empire, and much more. By clicking on one of the topic areas, users are taken to a page with lists related books, artifacts, maps, and timelines pertaining to that area. The maps are especially helpful in picturing how the world was divided between groups in 700 B.C., for instance. This site will definitely be a great resource for the researchers and students who are interested in the historical cultural trends of this area of the world. [JPM]

General Interest

UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre [pdf]

It is widely accepted that global biodiversity is at risk. While humans are often encouraged to think globally yet act locally, who's watching out for the bigger picture. The answer is in the form of the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), which is a function of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is now noted as "the worlds foremost intergovernmental environmental organisation." This site offers up-to-date news and publications about world biodiversity issues as well as providing an incredible array of information on the several projects in which the centre is involved, ranging from habitat to species to protected area issues. The site also offers great Interactive Map Services, which take the visitor through in-depth presentations of topics ranging from Coral Disease to Marine Turtles. [JPM]

Alexandria Archaeology Museum [pdf]

The Alexandria Archaeology Museum created this website to promote its work with students, volunteers, citizens, and developers "to study and manage archaeological resources important to the community's past and to share this knowledge with both a local and world-wide audience." Subsequent to learning about the Museum's many endeavors to further its cause, users can find intriguing descriptions and view pictures of many of its important collections such as the prehistoric stone tools and artifacts from a 19th century doctor's office. In the Research link, visitors can read artifact stories, bibliographies, oral histories, and materials on the history of the city of Alexandria, Virginia. Students and educators can discover the Museum's many educational activities and adventures. [RME]

Ancient China [Macromedia Flash Reader]

This excellent interactive site, produced by the British Museum, contains a wealth of information about ancient China. Explorers can follow any of five links that cover major sections of the website, including Crafts and Artisans, Geography, and Tombs and Ancestors. Each section contains historical information in the topical area and Story, Explore and Challenge links. The Challenge links are especially useful for classroom activities. [TAB]

Boston Streets: Mapping Directory Data

The Boston Streets Project, developed at Tufts University, combines the use of photographs, maps and city directories to create a digitized online historical atlas of the Boston area. The concept behind Boston Streets is to use metadata and geographical information software to allow access to historical collection material. Among the fascinating material offered at this site are personal stories of people who have lived in Boston, with information about their lives gleaned from the city directories. Other links include Moments (a collection of images of Boston), Places (historical atlases) and Cowpaths, a GIS link that allows one to trace the growth of Boston, which urban myth declares as having streets laid down along cow paths. [TAB]

Canadian Economy Online

It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's Captain Economy! That's right, at this very comprehensive site devoted to Canada's economy, visitors can ask the little green guy with the cape and dollar sign on his chest for help. In fact, his first feat is to address just what an economy is anyway. The site offers all sorts of statistics about all of the great economic indicators like inflation rate, unemployment rate, exchange rate, etc. Visitors to the site can click on one of the subpages devoted to explaining economic topics such as Key Indicators, Economic Concepts, and Key Economic Events. [JPM]

Network Tools

Fresh Download 7.10

In the digital age of people downloading everything possible -- whether it be a program, music, or movies. It is a constant frustration to wait and wait for something to download and then get broken off from the website when 90% complete. Well, Fresh Download can help. Included in its large list of features is the ability to open more than one connection to the download site, maximizing your download, and the ability to resume a download where you left off should you get disconnected. This tool can also be integrated with your favorite web browser and antivirus program offering seamless protected integration into your existing environment. [JR]

PalTalk PV75

Communication is key these days as people are using all different types of outlets. Instant Messaging is a great cheap way to communicate over all distances, however not everyone can easily express their ideas by pounding on the keyboard. If this is you then you may like PalTalk. PalTalk offers the ability to use audio and video instead of a keyboard, or you can drop back to the keyboard for old style Instant Messaging and with only a two megabyte download size its at least worth a look. [JR]

In The News

BBC: Scientists Given Cloning Go-Ahead Go-Ahead for Researchers to Clone Human Embryos
New Scientist Special Report: Cloning and Stem Cells
New York Times: Britain Grants License to Make Human Embryos for Stem Cells
NPR: Stem Cell Obstacle Solved, But to Limited Effect
Financial Bright Hope at Embryonic Stage

Britain blows ahead of the scientific pack this week by allowing its scientists to clone and research embryos and the stem cells which are derived from them. The tiny pinhead sized cluster of cells comprising an embryo is emerging as a giant ethical, religious, and scientific concern and may even be the deciding factor in a presidential race across the Atlantic. Yet, while U.S. scientists remain bogged down by restrictions pertaining to stem cell research, Bratain follows the lead of a 2003 vote by the European Parliament by supporting this research. This In the News highlights several news pieces from this past week. [JPM]

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From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2003. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

Internet Scout Project Team
Max GrinnellEditor
John MorganManaging Editor
Rachael BowerCo-Director
Edward AlmasyCo-Director
Nathan LarsonContributor
Valerie FarnsworthContributor
Debra ShapiroContributor
Rachel EnrightContributor
Todd BrunsInternet Cataloger
Barry WieganSoftware Engineer
Justin RushTechnical Specialist
Michael GrossheimTechnical Specialist
Andy Yaco-MinkWebsite Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.