October 1, 2004
A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- PBS: The Question of God
- Avibase-The World Bird Database
- The Official String Theory Web Site
- The World War I Document Archive
- The State of the Worlds Cities: 2004/2005
- The Future of Genetically Modified Crops: Lessons from the Green Revolution
- Texas A&M University-Kingsville-Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute: Feline Research Program
- Project Rebirth
- Lest We Forget: The Triumph Over Slavery
- Open Hearts/Closed Doors-The War Orphans Project
- Bollywood Dreams
- Science of Music: Exploratoriums Accidental Scientist
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Timeline
- Organization of World Heritage Cities
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 Autumn Apples. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Non-linear Spectroscopy.
PBS may not have cornered the entire market on thoughtful and intelligent television programming, but they certainly have garnered the lions share of this type of material. One of the network's most recent programs (and this website which accompanies it), The Question of God, is certainly proof positive of this fact. The four-hour series (based on a popular Harvard course taught by Dr. Armand Nicholi) explores some of the basic questions of humanity, such as What is happiness? and How do we find meaning and purpose in our lives?. The program itself does this by looking through the lens of the eyes of two of the 20th centurys most well-known intellectuals, Sigmund Freud, who was a strong critic of religious belief, and C.S. Lewis, who was a strong proponent of faith based on reason. On the site, visitors can learn about the lives of Freud and Lewis through excerpts from their own writings, read synopses of the programs, and read other perspectives on the question of God from such individuals as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and D.T. Suzuki. Additionally, visitors can watch clips from the program and listen in on roundtable conversations moderated by Dr. Nicholi. [KMG]
There is much that binds fellow educators together, including a passion for helping students learn and for creating supportive environments that both nurture and challenge young people and their colleagues. Stepping into that equation is the Teaching.com website, which serves as a place to support these various activities. Here teachers can sign up to take part in online forums such as Teacher Talk which allows K-12 teachers the opportunity to discuss teaching techniques and trade lesson plan ideas. Another resource offered on the site is the KeyPals Club. The KeyPals Club is a place for young people, teachers and students to locate and correspond with other youth and students around the world. The site also has a place where teachers can share such ideas as What was a piece of advice that was very helpful to you during your first year of teaching?. [KMG]
Everyone needs one more resource about the birds of the world, and this online database may be the largest one available for the general public. Managed by Denis Lepage and hosted by Bird Studies Canada, Avibase contains more than 1.4 million records about 10,000 species and 22,000 subspecies of birds, including distribution information, taxonomy, synonyms in several languages and other features. If that wasnt enough material for the casual (or not-so casual) ornithologist, the site also has another section titled Bird Links to the World that is worth taking a look at. Fashioned as an organized omnibus of links to other relevant websites dealing with birds, it currently contains over 18,000 separate links. The links themselves may be viewed by geographic region, or by a number of thematic subheadings, such as conservation, humor, and images. It should also be noted that Avibase is available in nine languages, including Dutch, Italian, and Catalan. [KMG]
The Official String Theory Web Site, created by a group of highly educated physicists, is a great resource for everyone interested in physics and the string theory. It begins with educational and stimulating discussion about theoretical physics and the basics of string theory. Users can find out about the experimental tests and the math used by string theorists. Visitors can take a trip through the Big Bang, view amazing images of black holes, and learn about the history of string theory. Students and educators can listen to interviews of the many scientists who contributed to this informative site. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the October 1, 2004, NSDL Physical Sciences Report.
The Great War is sometimes overshadowed by the legacy of World War II, but historians and other interested parties never forget the importance of this important global war that consumed the world in the second decade of the 20th century. The people at the Brigham Young University Libraries havent forgotten either, and as such, they have created this archive of primary documents for interested parties. Here visitors can peruse hundreds of transcribed documents divided into sections such as diaries, conventions, the maritime war, and the medical front. The photograph archive is quite nice, as it contains over 1800 photographs that document everything from the role of animals in warfare to various heads of state associated with the times. For those who are looking for specific material, there is also a keyword search engine provided here. [KMG]
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme published the first State of the World Cities report in 2001, and just recently released this updated version which offers insight and critical analysis of the state of the worlds major urban areas and how they are changing, both for good and for ill. The report was launched on September 14, 2004, at a conference in Barcelona at the World Urban Forum, and while visitors to the site cant read the entire report for free, they can read a brief summary of each section contained within the full report. The various sections include such provocative topics as Ticking Time-Bombs: Low-income settlements, Africas Secret Modernist City, and Crimes of the Child. These excerpts are enhanced by a Flash presentation that talks a bit about the general findings of the report and also a press kit. [KMG]
Concern about supplying sufficient food for the Earths population has concerned humankind since antiquity, and has been the focus of commentary from such notables as Thomas Malthus and countless others. Most recently, there has been growing concern about the so-called Gene Revolution, in which genetically modified (GM) crops are tailored to address chronic agricultural problems in certain regions of the world. Concern over this question has led the RAND organization to sponsor this 116-page monograph that investigates the circumstances and processes that can induce and sustain this new agricultural revolution." Authored by Felicia Wu and William Butz, this document contains chapters on the 20th centurys Green Revolution and Lessons for the Gene Revolution from the Green Revolution". Throughout the work, the authors also weave a insightful narrative that assesses the agricultural, technological, sociological, and political differences between these two different movements. [KMG]
The Feline Research Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville has been conducting research on wild cats for close to 20 years. The Research Programs focus is on the conservation, ecology, and genetics of felids. In addition to felid research, the Program is dedicated to applying knowledge gained to conservation and management of wild populations. The site provides brief descriptions of ongoing research with Ocelots, Mountain Lions (page still under construction), Bobcats, and Leopards. The site also includes lists of the following: publications; completed theses and dissertations; and Program collaborators and contributors. A link is provided to the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute (the Feline Research Programs parent institution) as well. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the October 1, 2004, NSDL Life Sciences Report.
It has been a little more three years since the events of 9/11 so dramatically affected the lives of New Yorkers, and of course, of most Americans as well. While reconstruction and a rejuvenation of that part of Lower Manhattan continues apace, Project Rebirth has been documenting this process with time-lapse motion picture cameras since six months after 9/11. After this fairly ambitious project is completed, the resulting product will enable the public to view the entire reconstruction within a 20-minute time span. The project was envisioned by Jim Whitaker, the president of Imagine Entertainment, and full details about him and his colleagues in this endeavor can be perused on the site. The site also has substantial material in the form of a project journal that documents the process through words and photographs taken at various intervals. The Rebuild section of this site is a great place to read details about the engineering, architecture, and urban planning that is part of the sites ongoing rebirth. One particularly interesting feature is a question-and-answer session with Kevin Rampe, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is the entity established in November 2001 to coordinate the rebuilding of the site. [KMG]
In conjunction with the United Nations resolution designating 2004 as the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle Against Slavery and its Abolition, New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture presents this Web exhibit. Making use of Schomburg Center materials, as well as items loaned by other public institutions and private collections, the Web exhibition begins with a section entitled "A New People" that traces the complex genetic heritage of today's African-Americans--the vast majority descended from enslaved Africans--but also counting Europeans, Native Americans, and Asians among their ancestors. Shackles and coffle chains, currency used in the 16th to 19th centuries to buy and sell slaves, and artwork depicting the horrors of the slave trade are some the artifacts in "The Long March". "Slave Labor and Slave Systems" outlines the skilled and unskilled labor that African slaves were brought to the Americas to do, from sugar plantations in Brazil to cotton plantations in the southern United States. The exhibition also includes sections on the abolition of slavery in the United States, family life, religion, education, and "Expressive Culture", describing the influence of Africans on music, art, speech and dress in the U.S. [DS]
The situation of Jews in and around Europe during the time of the Holocaust has been well documented, but an equally compelling question is what became of those Jews (especially Jewish children) who were part of the emigration from Europe after WWII concluded. The Virtual Museum of Canada has taken up the mantle of telling the story of those young Jewish orphans who made their way to Canada during this period through the use of first-person narratives, complemented by a rich selection of visual documents from this traumatic period. Visitors can travel chronologically through this exhibit by looking through sections titled Displaced Persons Camps and Welcome to Canada. A nice touch on the site is that all of the digitized documents here are available in the .pdf format for easy printing. Also helpful is the section that offers a broad perspective on Canadian immigration through the use of an interactive timeline that starts in 1885. Finally, visitors will appreciate the very human side of the story which is told by clicking any one of the eight black-and-white photographs on the top of the page. Each photograph provides the first-hand story of a Jewish orphan and their experiences before, during, and after immigration to Canada. [KMG]
As Dirck Halstead notes in his introduction to this online photographic exhibit which probes the thoroughly vibrant and frenetic world of Indian cinema (which is known as Bollywood), It turns out far more films than Hollywood, and in fact, most of the rest of the world combined." The informed Scout Report reader may not be terribly surprised by this fact, as the country does have over one billion people, many of whom go to the movies several times a week. So begins this online exhibit, which features the photographs of one Jonathan Targovnic, who was wandering the world after his time of service in the Israel Defense Force and turned his lens on the Indian film industry. On the site, visitors can view more than three dozen photographs, including a shot of the famous Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan getting ready for his next scene and a rather clever shot of dancers getting ready for a big number on the set of the Raj Kamal studios in Mumbai. The site is rounded out by a short piece titled Indian Cinema, A Way of Life by Nasreen Nunni Kabir and series of short interview clips with Jonathan Torgovnik. [KMG]
The science of music may not be something most people think to wonder about, but for those who do, this lovely online collection of exhibits and activities provided by the Exploratorium will be of great interest. Visitors can explore the science of music through these different exhibits, short movies, and questions. Some of the thought-provoking questions which are answered through short presentations include, Why do some songs get stuck in my head? and Why does some music give me goose bumps?. The real treat on the site is the section of interactive exhibits, which include a chance for visitors to remix a step song, using a variety of hand-claps, foot-stomps and other rhythmic devices. Visitors can also view short films that talk about steppers music, the blues and the importance of tuning. [KMG]
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has distinguished itself during the past few years through its public outreach activities, its annual award ceremonies, and of course, the rather distinctive architecture of their headquarters in Cleveland. In that same spirit, it has developed and recently released this intriguing and inventive interactive timeline of rock and popular music history. Using the Shockwave plug-in, visitors can explore musical genres (such as doowop and rockabilly), compare groundbreaking artists across genres, and read brief synopses of each genres origins and role in the broader context of music history. Users of the timeline can also click on boxes that reveal important events in each artists career, and also learn about their own sources of musical inspiration, and in turn, which future artists they inspired. The timeline is definitely worth a couple of extended visits, as its layout is visually well ordered and fun to use. [KMG]
Cities around the world have served as the primary repositories for human culture, innovation, and diversity for millennia, so it makes sense that there is a worldwide organization dedicated to some of these important historic places. Founded in 1993, the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) consists of 208 cities, which have a combined population of 125 million. Some of their programs include symposia and seminars dealing with the management, development, and preservation of historic sites, along with creating an active and vibrant network among these places. In the section titled The Preservation Challenge, visitors can read some of the key documents dealing with the organization, along with information on their current initiatives. Visitors may also find out about the various cities that are part of the organization, such as Damascus, Tunis, and Galle. Finally, the site also contains registration and program material for the 8th OWHC World Symposium 2005, which will be held in Cuzco, Peru. [KMG]
Conjuring up images of clandestine Cold War counter-espionage, the word wiretap may not exactly sound like an appropriate net tool, but in fact it will prove to be quite handy to many users of the Scout Report. This free product allows users to record any audio playing on their computer, saving it to a file for later listening or processing. With this tool, visitors can record their favorite BBC broadcasts, or just about anything else they come across during their web browsing. This version is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X 10.2 or higher. [KMG]
Summer 2004 has come and gone, and now the colors of fall are upon us. As the sights of fall may serve as photographic inspiration, those with digital cameras may be yearning to share their images with others via the Internet. One such way to do this is to use PhotoPeer, an application which helps users share their digital photographs. Visitors will need to start by selecting which photos they want to share via iPhoto or from any folder, then they can begin to invite their friends and family to view the photos. The site also includes a helpful FAQ section and various supporting documents. PhotoPeer 1.0 is compatible with all systems running Windows XP or 2000 and Mac OS 10.3. [KMG]
Distant Americans flocking to cast absentee ballots
Americas 51st State: Parties make play for overseas voters
Overseas voters face baffling system
Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) [pdf]
Center for Voting and Democracy
BBC News: A look back at past presidential debates in the United States
Given how close the returns were for the 2000 presidential election in the United States, it is no surprise that both Democrats and Republicans are concerned with a group of voters that are far-flung across the globe: overseas voters. It is estimated that 4 to 10 million U.S. residents live overseas, and many of them have expressed strong interest in making sure their vote is counted. While certain technological innovations such as the Web assist in helping overseas voters with the process, there continue to be other potential pitfalls as well. The New York Times recently reported that election officials in several crucial swing states failed to mail out tens of thousands of absentee ballots by the September 20 cutoff date. Both Republicans and Democrats have stepped up their efforts to get out the vote abroad, with certain chapters adopting interesting nicknames, such as the chapter of Democrats in Iraq, which took on the sobriquet Donkeys in the Desert. Steven Hill, a San Francisco-based analyst for the Center for Voting and Democracy, noted that This time around I think the overseas votes could be really crucial. Each side may need just a few more votes in Iowa, or Wisconsin or Florida.
This first link leads to a news story from this Wednesdays San Francisco Chronicle that discusses the efforts underway to encourage Americans overseas to cast their ballots in the upcoming presidential election. The second link leads to a good piece from the Irish Echo, which also profiles the situation of Americans voting from abroad, with a particular emphasis on those individuals living in Ireland, whose number is estimated to be close to 100,000. The third link is another news piece from the Indianapolis Star (culled from the New York Times) which talks about the sometimes baffling system faced by overseas voters. The fourth link will take visitors to the homepage of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, which provides information on how to make sure the votes of those persons voting from abroad are counted, along with online registration and absentee ballot request forms. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the Center for Voting and Democracy organization, which provides a good deal of helpful information on such topics as instant runoff voting, redistricting, and the electoral college. The final link leads to a site designed by the BBC that provides a historic retrospective (complete with video clips) of some of the previous presidential debates from the past 40 years. [KMG]
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