The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 41

October 15, 2004

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

A Note to our Readers

NSDL Scout Reports

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

A Note to our Readers

Join Us in Observing Scout's 10th Anniversary

For the past ten years, the Internet Scout Project has focused on developing better tools and services for finding, filtering, and presenting online information and metadata. From the outset, our goal at Scout has been to provide value to our users. As we mark Scout's 10th anniversary, we'd love to hear from you about your experiences using our reports, our archives, or our software. Please take a moment and email me,, with any anecdotes you'd care to share with us and others. We plan to post a sampling of your comments on the Scout website in the near future.

Warm regards,

Chris Long
Managing Editor

NSDL Scout Reports

NSDL Scout Reports for the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences

The twenty-first issues of the third volumes of the Life Sciences Report and Physical Sciences Report are available. The Topic in Depth section of Life Sciences Report annotates sites on Nocturnal Animals. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Mount St. Helens.

Research and Education

DocuTicker [pdf]

At the Scout Report, we try to bring some of the most compelling new scholarly reports to the attention of our readers, and we often run across other people doing equally informative work. One such group is the good people at (who include such persons as Gary Price and Shirl Kennedy), which launched in June 2004. Essentially DocuTicker is a daily update of new reports and other research culled from various sources, including think tanks, research institutes, and government agencies. The site is set up as a weblog, and visitors can search the archives dating back to the creating of the site earlier this year, or just scroll through recent entries. Some of the more recent entries include a report on the use of antibiotics in animals and a report from the 2000 Census on black same-sex households in the United States. [KMG]

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture [Macromedia Flash Player, RealPlayer]

When thinking about the Volunteer State, many people's minds may immediately turn to the accomplishments of President Andrew Jackson or the far-reaching impact of the massive public works project that resulted in the formation of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Interested parties can learn about these aspects of the state's history and culture, along with many other facets of the state, at this fine site which is the digital version of The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Originally released in 1998 as a large print volume, the Encyclopedia was placed online in a searchable format in 2002. Here visitors can browse through more than 1500 entries, along with 500 additional images and some audio and video files as well. For those interested in looking at the material by themes, they will be pleased to learn that the materials are also divided into categories, such as medicine, sports, county history, and industry. [KMG]

The Harvard Classics and Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction, 1909-1917

At the turn of the 20th century there was increased interest in bringing the benefits of a liberal arts education to the general public. A number of prominent leaders in the field of education, including such personages as Charles W. Eliot (who was the president of Harvard), edited various works that were thought to stand as representative as the best and most valuable writings down through the centuries. One such legendary set was the 50-volume, "Five-Foot Shelf" of books and then the 20-volume Shelf of Fiction. Published originally between 1909 and 1917, The Harvard Classics and the Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction comprised much of what was (and is) great in the field of literary endeavor. The people at have placed the entire set online for the general public, along with the special volume of lectures originally composed for the set that introduce the reader to some of the primary themes of these works. On this site, visitors will find various works as the pensive observations offered by Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations and Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops To Conquer. Additionally, the Shelf of Fiction section contains such important works as Vanity Fair by Thackeray and two short stories by the celebrated French author Guy de Maupassant. [KMG]

The United Nations Environment Programme: Freshwater [pdf]

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) addresses the issue of how the decline in the quantity and quality of the world's freshwater resources "may prove to be the dominant issue on the environment and development agenda of the coming century." Users can learn about water scarcity, water and sanitation, water quality, groundwater, floods and droughts, and other key water-related issues. The website provides links to case studies of some of these key issues such as the mitigation of the impact of urbanization on freshwater resources in Africa. Researchers can find conference proceedings, information on institutions and programs dealing with water resource issues, and policy documentation. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the October 15, 2004,_NSDL Physical Sciences Report_.

World Development Report 2005

This annual report released by the World Bank draws on surveys of over 30,000 firms in 53 developing countries, along with various country case studies sponsored by the World Bank. Released in September 2004, the 288-page report highlights opportunities to improve its investment climates by expanding the opportunities and incentives for firms of all types. Throughout its rather broad scope, the report suggests that governments remove barriers to competition, along with placing a premium on delivering the basic foundations for increased investment, such as creating a stable infrastructure and securing property rights. The report also details what the international community can do to assist in this long-term process and also provides some helpful indicators of world development, along with technical and methodological notes. It is worth noting that the report is available in a number of different languages. [KMG]

American Council on Exercise

Founded in 1985, the American Council on Fitness is largely known for operating as a fitness certification and education provider. Fortunately for the average person looking for helpful information about exercise materials, the Council website is a treasure trove of free resources on the subject. Not surprisingly, most of these materials are contained within the "Get Fit!" section of the site. Here visitors will find free exercises, a number of healthy recipes, and discussion boards where they may ask questions of fitness professionals. Another useful area is the Operation FitKids section of the site. This section provides tips of keeping fit especially geared towards young people, along with informational fact sheets. Finally, there are a number of reports (sponsored by the ACE) that investigate various health and fitness practices, such as the best (and worst) abdominal exercises. [KMG]

Russell Sage Foundation [pdf]

Founded in 1907 by Mrs. Margaret Olivia Sage, the Russell Sage Foundation was established for "the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States". Located in New York City, the Foundation is a source of funds for scholars at various institutions around the country and is also an active research center. Currently, the Foundation is pursuing three principal programs, including one on the future of work, another on current U.S. immigration, and a final program that deals with understanding and improving relations between racial and ethnic groups in schools, workplaces, and neighborhood settings. As might be expected, the publication section is quite strong, and includes a number of working papers available at no charge as .pdf files. Some of the titles include studies of welfare recipients and the rise of markets in the Western world. [KMG]

The Birkey Group: [pdf], a great resource for both amateur and professional apiarists, was created by Barry Birkey, a Web designer, remodeling business owner, and beekeeper. A stand-out website feature is the Plans section, which contains downloadable plans (with images) for a variety of beehives, honey extractors, pollen traps, an Apidictor, and more. The site contains many relevant news stories, and opinion articles, as well as links to suppliers of bees and beekeeping equipment in Australia, Europe, Canada, South America, South Africa, and the United States. The site includes a Bulletin Board with multiple forums, links to apiary discussion groups, and a page of annotated links. The site also contains hyperlinks to Beekeeping Journals and U.S. Beekeeping Associations. [NL]
This site is also reviewed in the October 15, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

General Interest

Streaming West: Railway activity westwards through Kansas, 1860-1890 [pdf]

The popular images of westward expansion throughout the United States in the middle of the 19th century include frequent invocations of the "iron horse", or the railroad. The federal government gave huge incentives (such as massive land grants) to a number of railroad companies in the decades following the Civil War, and these companies made good on their promises to bring the railroad through tiny villages, military outposts, medium-sized towns, and large cities across the Great Plains. Any users interested in seeing some of the first-hand visual documentation of these events will want to take a look at the Western Trails online exhibit created by the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas (with generous support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services). Here visitors can view a monograph that describes the building of the first railroad bridge across the Missouri River in Kansas City and first-hand accounts of trips taken abroad the Union Pacific Railroad and the Kansas Pacific Railway, among a number of compelling historical documents. [KMG]

African Art, African Voices [Macromedia Flash Player]

This website created by the Philadelphia Museum of Art complements an exhibition that "surveys the artistic achievements of just a few of the many cultures of sub-Saharan Africa" organized by the Seattle Art Museum, using artifacts from its African collections. The largest section of the Web site, African Voices, features interviews with African artists, art historians and others, focusing on particular aspects of African cultures. For example, Hannah Kema Foday, a Mende woman from Segbwema, southwestern Sierra Leone, now living in New York city, speaks about Sowei masks and initiation for girls into womanhood. The other two sections - African Art in Motion and Contemporary African Art, show the expressive use of figures in African sculpture and the work of modern African artists, living in Africa and all over the world, respectively. [DS]

United Nations Security Council [pdf, RealPlayer]

As stated in the terms of the United Nations Charter, the UN Security Council has primary responsibility for "the maintenance of international peace and security." Given the importance of the Council, it is not surprising to find that its online presence affords visitors the ability to view live streaming webcasts of its proceedings, and that many of the materials are available in six different languages. Visitors to the site will find it well-organized and that they will have access to information about the members of the Security Council, along with detailed voting records of each member nation, plus frequent news updates on their activities. For many visitors, the section containing the Secretary-General's Report will be a place to visit several times. Here they will find a number of detailed reports on the various peace-keeping missions initiated by the UN and potentially volatile situations around the world. [KMG]

The Foliage Network

Fall brings the transformation of many of the deciduous forests across the eastern half of the United States as the leaves turn a host of shades, ranging from a dark-hued purple to the glory of the shades of red and yellow that also abound. For those many devotees of following these festive foliages, the Foliage Network website is a good way to keep track of these changes. Using a network of "trackers" from locations as diverse as northern Wisconsin to southern Maine, the Foliage Network provides foliage maps which are updated twice a week. The reports also give detailed information on where visitors may go to see the best foliage for that week. The site also offers information about what to see and do in each area, and various potential lodging options and so on. [KMG]

Hyphen Magazine

A number of new magazines have been launched in the past few years to explore different issues surrounding various communities, whether they be those communities that come together under the banner of a shared sexual orientation or ethnicity or so on. Focusing on the Asian-American community, Hyphen is one such publication. As its website notes, "We offer in-depth profiles of change-makers in our community and a glimpse into the world of artists and writers who are re-envisioning and rewriting what it means to be Asian American." While the magazine only has four issues yet far, the website provides access to some of the more compelling material from each issue. Visitors to the site can also browse through a listing of upcoming events and also view a list of websites related to the magazine's primary mission. [KMG]

The Online Guide to Whistling Records [QuickTime]

Whistling seems to have acquired a poor reputation in recent decades, with some people finding the habit rather obnoxious. What people may not know is that the practice of whistling remains immensely popular, and that there are several international whistling competitions held each year. Of course, some six or seven decades ago, there were a number of whistlers who honed their craft on records, often providing the backdrop to the vocal choruses of artists such as Perry Como. This fine site provides a host of information about the great whistlers of the past, such as the amazing Fred Lowery, Muzzy Marcellino, and Brother Bones, who is best known for his recording of Sweet Georgia Brown (which visitors can listen to on the site). There are a number of audio selections here that are a great deal of fun, and also some nice cover art for albums such as "Whistling on the Beach of Waikiki" and the rather intriguing "The Birds Sing His Praise". Finally, there are some whistling discographies, including one dedicated to those records that were intended to teach people how to whistle for fun and relaxation. [KMG]

National Association of Conservation Districts [pdf]

The idea of creating conservation districts through the support of private landowners was one that had gestated for decades before the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) was formed in 1946. Currently, there are over 3000 conservation districts throughout the United States, and the NACD effectively acts as a unified voice that represents the interests of these districts and also helps develop national conservation policies and fruitful partnerships with other agencies and organizations. First-time visitors to the site will want to perhaps go to the directory section to learn more about the NACD and look through the site's interactive map to learn about where the various conservation districts are located. Students and practitioners may want to look through the electronic publications area, which includes such helpful materials as the organization's in-house weekly news briefs (called eNotes) and their publications produced through effective joint-partnerships, such as Forestry Notes and Conservation. [KMG]

Network Tools

Butler 4.0b19

With the rising costs of personal services these days, it may be too expensive to hire an actual butler, but you can still take advantage of this free application offered by Peter Maurer that turns your computer into a type of "butler". This small program allows visitors to manage their bookmarks (without depending on a certain browser), access items from their pasteboard, and launch files quickly. The program also contains numerous other features, and the website also has some documentation files. This version is compatible with all operating systems running Mac OS X 10.2.8. [KMG]

Yappa-ng 2.3.0

While the phrase "Yappa-ng" may conjure up images of a far-off island in French Polynesia (or perhaps a new verb), it is actually a new online PHP photo gallery that is compatible with all operating systems. With this application, visitors can view pictures in many different sizes, create password-protected albums, create hit counters for albums and images, and use a "Top 10 images" ranking system for each photo album. One other nice feature is that no database is required, and that different users have created galleries with up to 37,000 images with the program thus far. [KMG]

In The News

FCC Fines Fox Broadcasting Company $1.2 million

169 Fox Stations Fined in Indecency Case [Free registration required]
Fox disputes FCC finding that program violated indecency standards
Married by America, Fined by FCC
The New Ministry of Truth
FCC: Obscene, Profane & Indecent Broadcasts
NPR: Supreme Court & Standards of Decency [RealOnePlayer]

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) levied its heaviest fine ever against a television broadcaster as it announced earlier this week that it would fine the Fox Broadcasting Company close to $1.2 million. The program that the FCC took exception to was the very short-lived Married by America episode that appeared on April, 7, 2003. In this particular episode of the poorly received reality television show, there were a number of male and female Las Vegas strippers featured in a variety of sexual situations. In their official statement, the FCC noted that these types of situations were designed to pander to and titillate the audience. The FCC commissioners unanimously decided to fine each of the 169 Fox television affiliates that aired the program $7,000, with the notable exception of one affiliate that decided not to air the program. Some commentators have suggested that the FCC has substantially stepped up its enforcement of the various federal broadcasting decency laws over the past year, especially after the now infamous incident during the Super Bowl halftime show in January where Janet Jacksons breast was exposed.

The first link will take visitors to a news article from Wednesdays New York Times which discusses the decision of the FCC to levy a fine against the Fox Broadcasting Company. The second link leads to a news story from the Detroit Free Press in which Fox disputes the FCC finding that the program in question violated indecency standards. The third link leads to official documents issued by the FCC about the nature of the recent transgressions, provided by those inquisitive people at The Smoking Gun. The fourth link leads to an impassioned editorial from the Philadelphia Daily News which takes the FCC to task for its seemingly selective enforcement of these various regulations and laws. The fifth link leads to a consumer factsheet provided by the FCC which outlines what qualifies as obscene, profane & indecent broadcasts. The final link is a bit of a flashback, as it features Nina Totenberg (of National Public Radio) talking about the Supreme Courts discussions of federal funding for the arts and public accepted standards of decency from March 1998. [KMG]

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From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2004.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2004. 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.