The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 43

October 29, 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 twenty-second issues of the third volumes of the Life Sciences Report and Physical Sciences Report are available. The Topic in Depth section of the Life Sciences Report annotates sites on Digestion. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Lightning.

Research and Education

Prescription Drugs Online [pdf]

The cost of prescription drugs and related concerns have become issues in this year's presidential race, and there is a growing interest in learning more about exactly how many American use the Internet to find out about prescription drugs, and additionally, how many Americans may be purchasing prescription drugs over the Internet. The Pew Internet & American Life Project has recently released a 17-page report (authored by Susannah Fox) that highlights the results of a 2200-person telephone survey that took place from May to June 2004 on just this subject. Some of the findings include the observation that close to 64 percent of American households contain a regular user of prescription drugs, and that approximately 26 percent of these households have used the Internet to look for information about prescription drugs. Perhaps the most interesting finding from the report is that 62 percent of Americans think purchasing prescription drugs online is less safe than purchasing them at a local pharmacy. [KMG]

Karolinska Institutet [pdf]

The Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm is one of the largest medical universities in Europe and since 1901 has been responsible for awarding the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. While the general information on the site may only be of interest to those persons seeking application to one of the academic programs at the Institutet, the general public will find much of interest in its research briefs and various press releases. By looking through the site's research area, visitors will learn about the university's various scientific endeavors and investigations, and also read various briefs abstracted from work done there. For those with a keen interested in medicine, there is also the education section which contains a number of online books, such as "Basic and Clinical Pharmacology" and a biochemistry textbook, which are just two of some 30 titles made available here.

Geological Survey of Canada-Terrain Sciences

The Canadian Natural Resources department has created a number of Web-based resources in the past few years, and its GeoServ site is perhaps one of the best among them. The GeoServ site was developed by the Terrain Sciences Division of the Geological Survey of Canada, and provides access to key geoscience data in the form of dynamic maps and associated databases. This particular site brings together 10 of these fine databases, including one which maps the locations of archaeological and palaeobiological sites in Canada during the past 18 millennia and yet another which contains information on the areas of Canada covered by peatland. The one which allows visitors to view the various archaeological sites across the country is quite nice, as it also features an animated map series that gives the viewer a sense of the distributions of these phenomena across the landscape. [KMG]

Odden's Bookmarks

Created in 1995 by Roelof Oddens, a curator of the map library at Utrecht University, the Oddens Bookmark database now contains over 22,000 links about maps, cartography and GIS data. Users can search the resources by keyword, country, category, or by browsing through subject headings. Besides the abundance of maps and map data, visitors can find links to cartography departments, libraries, literature, and societies. Because the links span the entire world, this website is a great starting point for anyone interested in maps and mapping. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the October 29, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report.

Losing Ground: Income and Poverty in Upstate New York, 1980-2000 [pdf]

While there is a great deal of scholarly and informed analysis of the various public policy issues within the city of New York, there is much less coverage of the area of upstate New York. Stepping into that literature gap is this recent report from the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy group. Released in September 2004, this 20-page report by Rolf Pendall and Susan Christopherson examines the socioeconomic situation of the residents of this region of New York. Some of the findings within the report note that personal income Upstate grew at just half the national rate in the 1990s, and by 2000 lagged the country by 11 percent. Another somewhat disheartening finding of the report is that hour for hour, Upstate workers receive lower wages than people of similar age, race, sex, and educational backgrounds nationwide. The report concludes with several useful policy suggestions that may help alleviate these complex problems. [KMG]

Illinois Early Learning Project [pdf]

The importance of early childhood education cannot be underestimated, and there are numerous educational policy initiatives that demonstrate a nuanced understanding of this situation. The state of Illinois has recently developed this website to provide "a source of evidence-based, reliable information on early care and education for parents, caregivers, and teachers of young children". While intended primarily for residents of Illinois, much of the material can be used by people from around the country. The site itself is funded by the Illinois Board of Education, and works closely with the Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting (CEEP) at the University of Illinois. One of the first stops for new visitors should be the tip sheet section, as it offers a number of nice tip sheets on various topics. Some of the topics covered include social and emotional development, parenting and family life, social science, and fine arts. Additionally, many of the tip sheets are also available in Spanish and Polish. [KMG]

Picturing Modern America, 1880-1920

It is difficult at times for young people (and people in general) to understand the past, even the more recent past of the past century or so. It seems almost banal to observe that many aspects of life have changed dramatically, and perhaps not so banal to note that many things have in fact not changed as much as we think. This fine site contains a number of interactive exercises (drawing on the vast collections of the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress) that will help deepen students' understanding of common topics in the study of modern America from 1880 to 1920 and to build their skills in analyzing primary sources. Teachers and student alike will appreciate the "Investigations" area, which contains exercises such as "Picturing Social Change", "Modern Women", and "Picturing Prairie Life". Through the exercises, visitors will be asked a variety of questions that draw on the visual materials contained within each thematic section, such as "What brought people to the prairie?" or "Why might people have left the prairie?". Visitors also have the opportunity to build their own exhibits by choosing their own theme or question about modern America, and through choosing their own images and documents for their exhibit. [KMG]

Annenberg/CPB: Life Science-Bottle Biology

From Annenberg/CPB, this website shares Bottle Biology construction methods and learning activities with K-6 educators. Bottle Biology is an experiential-based learning technique that was originally developed by Paul Williams, a professor of Plant Pathology at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bottle Biology utilizes "recyclable containers as building blocks that can be put together to form any number of bottle systems to explore science, nature, and the environment." This site offers four Bottle Biology systems, each developed as companions for sessions in a larger Life Science Course "designed to provide teachers with learning opportunities that will directly inform their own classroom practice." The Course Sessions are coupled with free instructional videos (registration required), and presented with suggested hands-on activities. The first Bottle system is designed to reinforce concepts regarding the classification of living things and definitions of life; the second addresses the interconnection of animal and plant life cycles; the third focuses on evolution, and the fourth explores interdependence. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the October 29, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

General Interest


With a cover that looks suspiciously like one of the 20th century's most beloved photographic magazines (hint: "File" is an anagram of its moniker), File is an online photography magazine that specializes in "alternate takes, odd angles, unconventional observations". As its makers wryly note, "We leave the Kodak Moments to the family album, the glossy fashion spreads to Vogue, and the photo finishes to ESPN". While the site is relatively new, there is a good deal to browse through here, and visitors can start with a trip to the thematic galleries, and also stop by the contributors section to learn more about each individual photographer. One rather intriguing collection is called "Rustfetish" and features the work of Vince Stinson, whose artistic statement notes that "...these photos prove that by celebrating/the love of rust and all that rusts". The site also includes "Karaoke Camera", in which the editors of the FILE offer a photographic theme or trope, and visitors are encouraged to submit photographs related to that particular idea. [KMG]

Treasures in Full: Shakespeare in Quarto

With this website, the British Library brings collation (the comparison of variant texts in different copies of a printed book), formerly the province of literary scholars, into the hands of any interested novice. Shakespeare in Quarto presents digitized versions of all 21 of Shakespeare's plays that were published in quarto before 1642. These 21 plays appeared in more than 70 quarto editions, and in many cases the British Library owns more than one copy. Altogether, 93 copies can be viewed on this site. Comparing the texts could hardly be easier - select the Texts section of the site, choose a play from the drop down menus on the left, and then choose another copy to compare on the right. In addition, see the Expert Views part of the site to read essays comparing different quartos of Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew and King Lear. There is also a background section, with information on all things Shakespeare - the author's life, theatre, plays not in quarto and Shakespeare's other works. [DS]


"Shiok!" is an exclamation of enjoyment that comes from the colloquial linguistic tradition of the Malay and Chinese people in and around the city-state of Singapore. Celebrating the diverse epicurean traditions of this area is this fine site, created and maintained by Renee Kho. Designed in the popular weblog format, visitors can peruse a wide variety of recipes, accompanied by ample photographic evidence of each dish. Some of the more recent posts from Renee Kho include recipes for various Chinese sweet soups, the tasty "trash" un-burger burger, and honey-garlic salmon. For those people looking for specific types of dishes, a categorized list on the right-hand side of the screen features such categories as cookies, poultry, and savory pies. Of course, there is ample room for like-minded individuals to chime in with their own opinions and thoughts on each entry. [KMG]

African Burial Ground [Macromedia Flash Player]

As the city of New York has grown up, out, and over an increasingly vast area of land during the past few centuries, various sites of human activity and habitation have become one of the many layers that continue to interest urbanologists, sociologists, planners, and anthropologists. One such layer is the African burial ground that was found in lower Manhattan in 1991, and which has been celebrated by a diverse group of individuals ever since. Visitors will want to start by looking at the "Rites of Ancestral Return" section. Here they may elect to view video clips from past celebrations and view an interactive map that highlights the various ways in which the colonial African experience has been relived and commemorated along the Eastern seaboard. The other section on the site is also quite engaging, as it allows visitors to explore the African burial ground through educational features about the artifacts and graves found within the context of the bustling city which had grown up around the site through the ensuing centuries. [KMG]

American Antiquarian Society [pdf]

Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) is an independent research library that was founded in 1812. Its rather impressive collections document the life and spirit of America from the colonial period until the end of Reconstruction in 1876. The Society's holdings include books, newspapers, periodicals, broadsides, music, and local histories. For visitors who may be interested in visiting the AAS to do research, they will want to take a look at the online guidebook to its collections and programs, titled "Under its Generous Dome". The site also offers some online exhibits drawn from the Society's holdings, including "Visions of Christmas", which exhibits the holiday-themed artwork of such individuals as Thomas Nast and Louis Prang. Finally, visitors can also read about various fellowship opportunities offered by the AAS, along with information about tours of the AAS for the general public. [KMG]

Higher Education Jobs

For those Scout Report readers who may be looking for a job in the vast world of higher education, the Higher Education Jobs website will be a real find. Online since 1996, the website serves as a clearinghouse of available job opportunities, ranging from such positions as a custodial engineer in a small college in western New York to an assistant professor of Egyptology at a major research university in California. Visitors to the site can begin by searching the new job listings by date, location, institution, or title. Of course, they may also perform more detailed searches as well, courtesy of the nice search engine made available here. Another option is for visitors to post their resume or vita so that employers seeking out new employees will have access to this information. [KMG]

The Kissinger State Department Telcons [pdf]

The National Security Archive released its 135th electronic briefing book on October 1, 2004, and it is one that will be one of great interest to those with a penchant for United States foreign relations in the 1970s. This particular electronic briefing book contains sixteen telcons (transcripted telephone conversations) between Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and other government officials, and such personages as William F. Buckley and Frank Sinatra. These telcons are only a small sampling of the 3200 telcons obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to the State Department. Some of the rather interesting conversation transcripts featured here include discussions with William D. Rogers (the Assistant Secretary on Latin America) on the situation in Chile and other equally historic phone calls, such as the one that informed Mr. Kissinger that Saigon had surrendered. [KMG]

Network Tools

Son of Weather Grok 4.2.2

As one famous American author said (or is supposed to have said), "Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." Well, Son of Weather Grok 4.2.2 doesn't let users "do" something about the weather, but it certainly makes monitoring weather conditions a bit easier. The application taps into NOAA's data center using various 4 letter codes for airports, and will display the current temperature, sky conditions, humidity, wind speed, and visibility (among other things). Son of Weather Grok 4.2.2 is compatible with all operating systems running Mac OS 8 or higher. [KMG]

Primedius WebTunnel 5.74

Primedius Web Tunnel allows users free anonymous web surfing, along with a built-in pop up blocker and IP masking. The program also features a number of helpful features, including a cache cleaner, a cookie manager, and the ability to block banner advertisements. While this is just a trial version, visitors will appreciate the helpful elements of this application. This version of Primedius WebTunnel is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and higher. [KMG]

In The News

NYC subway system celebrates 100 years of operation

The push to make tracks gave rise to todays N.Y.C.
Citys Rail Beauty
Indebted MTA Plans to Reduce Services
NPR: Celebrating New Yorks Subway in Film and Song [RealPlayer]
Subway Centennial Home Page

As Chicagos elevated Loop is so much a part of the gritty image of the City of Big Shoulders, the New York subway system is indelibly linked with the modern conurbation that is the Big Apple. It was 100 years ago on October 27, 1904, that the first subway trip on the new system took place, and the city is celebrating the systems centennial in style. Today the system has more miles of track than any underground system in the world and carries 4.5 million passengers daily throughout the city. Of course, the system has seen its ups and downs throughout the past decades, and to some who rode the trains in the 1960s and 1970s, the then graffiti-inscribed trains may have seemed to serve as a rather visible sign of urban decay. Currently, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (which was created in 1982 to oversee the subway system) is building a new $16 billion line that will follow Second Avenue as a way to relieve congestion. A comment made by one rider this past week as he exited the F train perhaps best sums up how many people feel about the system: For New Yorkers, its part of life.

The first link offered here leads to a news piece from this weeks Christian Science Monitor that talks about the historical development of New Yorks subway system in the early 20th century. The second link will take visitors to a New York Post article that talks about the new Ms. Subways, Caroline Sanchez-Bernat. The contest fell out of favor in the mid-1970s, but was revived this year as part of the centennial celebration for the transit system. On a more sober note, the third link leads to an article from the Columbia (University) Spectator that talks about the massive debt problem faced by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The fourth link is a nice special audio feature created by National Public Radio that explores the subways presence in song and film over the past century. Visitors to the site can hear excerpts of such classics as Duke Ellingtons Take the A Train and New Yorks My Home, as sung by Sammy Davis Jr. The fifth link leads to a great site (maintained by David Pirmann) that contains copious amount of material about the vast subway system in New York, including historical transit maps, information about the subway train stock, and how the system operates. The final site leads to a site that provides ample information about the various ongoing events, museum exhibits, and talks that have been planned to celebrate the system's centennial. [KMG]

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