The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 45

November 12, 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-third 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 Global Biodiversity. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Research at the Interface of Chemistry and Biology.

Research and Education

Linus Pauling Research Notebooks

Linus Pauling was one of the most important scientists of the 20th century, and he remains the only person ever to receive two unshared Nobel Prizes: the first was awarded to him for Chemistry (1954) and the other for Peace (1962). He was a man of remarkable talent, who had a vast array of scientific interests, and who always maintained a deep and abiding passion for humankind and its survival. To many, he is best remembered for his strong belief in the importance of vitamin C, despite his numerous other accomplishments. During his lifetime, he produced hundreds of notebooks documenting his various research endeavors and musings on various timely scientific topics. The Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers project, part of the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections, has digitized many of these notebooks and placed them online for the benefit of the public. Visitors may browse the notebooks at their leisure, or go through a selection of highlights, including his first notes on superconductivity and his first notes on vitamin C and the common cold. [KMG]

TeacherNet [pdf]

There are a number of sites out there that cater to the educational resource needs of K-8 educators, and TeacherNet is certainly one that is worth taking some time to browse through. Developed by the Highlights educational products group, the site contains opportunities for educators to join various discussion lists, classroom resources (such as lesson plans), and links to the webpages of various classrooms around the United States. One potentially entertaining (and also therapeutic) feature is the "Laugh Lines" section, were educators can submit their various humorous classroom experiences. The bulletin boards are also worth checking out, as they can offer quick answers to any number of topics, such as handwriting, use of the Internet in the classroom, and literature. The site is rounded out by a nice area set aside for discussion and resources specifically designated for student teachers. [KMG]

Stanford Psychology [RealPlayer]

A host of online educational initiatives during the past few years have brought lectures from all over the world into the homes into many persons who may not have access to such programs in their own local communities. One such website brings the insights and collected knowledge of various members of Stanford University's renowned psychology department to the Internet-browsing public. The lectures address such topics as the psychology of evil, the role of parents in their children's lives, and the role of personal and collective efficacy. Along with these individual talks presented by various members of the psychology faculty, there are several nice panel sessions on the nature of language and the cultural shaping of emotion. Finally, the site also contains the lively question-and-answer sessions that followed each panel session. [KMG]

Center for History of Physics

The mission of the American Institute of Physics' (ADP) Center for History of Physics "is to preserve and make known the history of modern physics and allied fields." Visiting the History Exhibits, teachers and students can find interactive tutorials about many prominent physicists and important research such as Heisenberg's theory of uncertainty and the discovery of the electron. Users can search Emilio Segr's collection of 25,000 historical photographs, slides, lithographs, engravings, and other images. Researchers can find out how to gain access to the books, journals, photographs, interviews, and other historical documents held at the Niels Bohr Library. Educators can find helpful sample syllabi and reading lists created by physics instructors. With so much historical physics information to offer, anyone interested in physics would benefit by visiting this site. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the November 12, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report.

NASA's Origins Program [pdf]

Since time immemorial, humans have asked such fundamental questions as "Are we alone" and "Where did we come from?". Taking on some of those fundamental questions through the use of scientific inquiry is the Origins program, operated under the auspices of NASA. As an introductory essay on the program authored by Alan Dresser on the site suggests: "The eruptive growth of 20th century astronomy has brought us an appreciation of how vast, old, and unearthly the universe is, and has left humanity struggling with a sense of our own significance consistent with the reality of who and what we are." With that rather awe-inspiring thought in mind, visitors will want to comb through the many insightful sections of the site, including those that provide answers (or at least what we know so far) to such questions as "Is there life on planets outside the solar system?" Additionally, visitors can read about NASA's different missions and learn about the new technologies under development that will allow voyages of discovery into space to continue these explorations over the coming decades. [KMG]

FAO: Food and Nutrition [pdf]

During the past few decades, there has been an increased concern over food safety and quality and human nutrition across the globe. A number of large international organizations have begun to bring their expertise and knowledge to the Web, and this site, developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is a good resource of information on these (and other) topics. The site includes a section on human nutrition, where visitors can view detailed country-level nutrition reports and national reports and strategies to combat the ever-growing problem of nutritional deficiencies. The food safety-and-quality area contains information about the capacity-building of food control systems and programs at the national and local level, along with scientific assessments of food safety. The site also contains a link to a very helpful portal that deals with international issues surrounding food safety, animal and plant health. [KMG]

The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

For those looking for a career change, and thinking about public service, they may be asking: "What are the best places to work in the federal government?". This site, developed by the Partnership for Public Service and the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation, answers that very question in copious detail. The study uses data from the Office of Personal Management's 2002 Federal Human Capital Survey, in which a "Best Places to Work" index was created to measure overall employee satisfaction. A FAQ section is a good place to start as it features information about searching the rankings, what the rankings mean, and how the rankings were done. Getting down to the rankings, visitors can search rankings for 28 cabinet-level departments, independent agencies, and subagency level rankings as well. Visitors can also find out which places are best to work at for persons under 40, or by looking at places ranked by gender or minority status. [KMG]

A Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe

If top predators are to persist into future years, they will likely need the help of committed advocates. The Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe (LCIE)--a network comprised of scientists, government representatives, and non-governmental agency representatives--works to "maintain and restore, in coexistence with people, viable populations of large carnivores as an integral part of ecosystems and landscapes across Europe." The LCIE website provides information about five important carnivorous species: wolverines, brown bears, wolves, Eurasian lynx, and Iberian lynx. The site also links to a variety of downloadable publications regarding LCIE, the aforementioned five species, and a variety of conservation and management issues. From the Carnivore Damage Protection page site visitors can download the latest issue of the LCIE newsletter, which is published to facilitate communication between people working to prevent carnivore damage. The site also contains some nice animal images, and links to the Eurasian Lynx Online Information System (reported on October 15, 2004 in the NSDL Report for the Life Sciences). [NL] This site is also reviewed in the November 12, 2004_NSDL Life Sciences Report_.

General Interest

Teen Chicago [RealPlayer]

Different generations of teenagers have very different impressions of that precarious time of life where peers offer unsolicited suggestions on fashion and still others are immersed in the ever-expanding world of popular music. This site, developed by the Chicago Historical Society, offers a host of very different experiences on the teenage lifestyle through past decades. The creation of the site came about as part of a three-year project sponsored by the Society to study "how teenagers affect Chicago's history, and how growing up in Chicago affects the way people think, act and feel". The online exhibit portion of the site is divided into four primary sections, respectively titled "Work", "School, "Home", and "Play". Each section features short essays on such subjects as growing up as a teenager in a close-knit family or working as a young person, coupled with various photographic materials. Additionally, visitors can submit their own memories of their teenage years, and listen to some great audio clips of others interviewed for the project as they talk about their own youthful experiences. [KMG]

The Arts Collection

A growing collection currently developing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Arts Collection intends to bring together "in digital form, primary and secondary materials relating to the creative arts as broadly defined: visual, literary, musical, and performing." The first components of the collection are a journal Arts in Society, published at University of Wisconsin from 1958 to 1976, and the exhibition catalog from a show of photographs by Lewis Koch, "Notes from the Stone-paved Path: Meditations on North India", exhibited at UW-Madison in 2003. The catalog was a little cantankerous viewed with Safari on MAC OSX, but includes over a dozen high quality black-and-white photographs by Koch, paired with books and poetry from the UW-Madison Libraries Special Collections. The full text of 41 issues of Arts in Society is available; the journal primarily published themed issues, such as Volume 5, Issue 1 (1968) happenings and intermedia, which kicks off with an introduction by editor Edward L. Kamarck entitled "Intermedia is a better name than happenings: what we had in mind in putting together this issue". [DS]

Ohio Sea Grant and Lake Erie Programs [pdf, RealPlayer]

The Ohio Sea Grant and Lake Erie Programs are housed at The Ohio State University, and are responsible for maintaining a number of scientific laboratories and research endeavors that focus primarily on Lake Erie. A number of their most valuable online resources are made available on their homepage, including the Lake Erie Information Discussion Board (where visitors can get answers to Lake Erie-related questions) and the Sea Grant's work in creating artificial reefs in Lake Erie. Moving on from there, the homepage also contains a site index, where visitors can learn about the diverse research projects currently underway and view some of their online publications. One particular publication, "Twine Line", is quite useful, as it is geared towards the general public and includes coverage about Lake Erie and Great Lakes issues and research. [KMG]

Penn in the Age of Franklin [pdf]

Benjamin Franklin was one of the individuals who best represented the spirit of the American Enlightenment, and was a great believer in the importance of both formal and informal programs of education. While well known for his many inventions and his famed autobiography, one of his legacies to the world and the people of Philadelphia was his role in the creation of what would later become the University of Pennsylvania. In anticipation of the tercentenary of his birth in 2006, the Penn Library and the University Archives have created this website that allows visitors to "sample the University's earliest past". The site includes a timeline for Penn from its creation in 1740 to the passing of Franklin in 1790 and various essays by Penn faculty and students about these heady times. Some of the engaging documents include Franklin's original proposal for an "academy in Philadelphia" and some of the original prayers designed for use in the original school. [KMG]

William F. Eisner Museum of Advertising & Design [Macromedia Flash Player]

The British novelist George Norman Douglas once remarked, "You can tell the ideals of a nation through its advertisements". With that spirit in mind, the Scout Report turns its pointer to the website for the William F. Eisner Museum of Advertising & Design in Milwaukee. The late Mr. Eisner had a long and distinguished career in the world of advertising, and his widow, Elaine Eisner, was compelled to create this museum after his death in 1990. Visitors can find basic information about the museum here of course, but the real treat for online users will be the well-designed online exhibits. One fine exhibit is "The Art of the Album Cover", where visitors can roam through a gallery of some rather fine LP covers from the early days of that particular medium and still another chestnut that hones in on the legendary roadway billboards for Burma Shave. [KMG]

British Interactive Group [pdf]

Everyone in the world of exhibit design and "hands-on" learning will benefit from a online visit to the homepage of the British Interactive Group (BIG). The group is designed to support the endeavors of a broad constituency, including educators, students, artists, and archaeologists, among others. Visitors to the site can learn about a host of "best practice" techniques in the field of exhibit and museum design, along with information about recent case studies and relevant research that examines various interactive designs in detail. The core area that contains most of the content is the "Knowledgebase" area of the site. Here visitors can peruse articles that detail basic exhibit building "rules of thumb", visitor interactions with computer exhibits, and information on designing flow patterns through exhibits. The group's online newsletter is also a real find, as visitors can learn about current developments in the field and learn about new initiatives by various institutions in the arena of exhibit design. Finally, visitors may want to join the "Big-Chat e-mail list", which allows a diverse group of individuals to discuss these topics at length and of course, across great distances. [KMG]

Roald Dahl [Macromedia Flash Player]

With several trumpet choruses and the appearance of a few of his most beloved characters, visitors to the official Roald Dahl website are greeted in a fashion that befits one of the 20th century's most loved authors of creative and intelligent books for children. Of course, Dahl's career did not start out that way (as most know), but rather with a harrowing tale of his experiences in World War II written for the Saturday Evening Post in 1942. It would be several decades before Dahl began to write the modern children's classics that are synonymous with his name, such as James and the Giant Peach and Matilda. Created and designed in the same spirit as his writing for young people, this website contains a host of lovely features, including a photo gallery of Dahl at various moments throughout his life, a number of fine interactive features (including several games based on incidents in his writings), and some great selections from an audio interview conducted with Dahl in 1988, two years before he passed away. This site is positively delightful and those who aren't already fans of his work may find themselves making a trip to their local library to delve into his books. [KMG]

Network Tools

Mozilla Firefox 1.0PR

New Web browsers are released all the time, but Mozilla's Firefox is one that is worth taking a closer look at. Firefox's features include a built in pop-up blocker, a tab-browsing mode that allows users to open several pages in a single window, and integrated Google searching. This latest edition of Firefox includes enhanced security, a redesigned toolbar, and improved compatibility with Internet Explorer. This version of Firefox is compatible with operating systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

PostCast Server Free Edition 2.6

Some users may find the need to send a significant number of emails at a time, and the free edition version of PostCast Server may be just the program to help accomplish this. This application allows users to deliver up to 50 messages at a time, and also increases the privacy of outgoing emails as well. Also, this same program may be used to send out electronic newsletters and other such notifications. This version of PostCast Server is compatible with all operating systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

In The News

Interest in reproducing long-extinct Carolina parakeet surfaces

Parakeets long gone, but DNA makes some wonder
Carolina Parakeet
The Passenger Pigeon
Bird Life International [pdf]
Florida Bird Songs [Windows Media Player]
The Science of Jurassic Park FAQs

Species extinction continues to be a hotly debated topic among scientists and other such intelligent and curious persons. The Americas have certainly seen a number of well-documented extinctions over the past several centuries, many of which can be at least partially attributed to humans. Perhaps one of the most well known was that of the passenger pigeon, which was declared extinct in 1914. Another such species was the Carolina parakeet, the only parrot native to South Carolina. The last known individual bird known to humans was eaten by a pig in the 1890s, but there has been a resurgence of interest in using DNA obtained from various egg shells in the collection of various museums in an attempt to bring these birds back. While most scientists remain skeptical of such Jurassic Park-techniques, Andy Kratter, the curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History remarked that, Its an interesting question. Regardless, there are no detailed plans as yet to undertake such an endeavor, so residents of the American Southeast will have to remain content with such native bird species as the snowy egret and the great blue heron.

The first link will lead visitors to a news story from USA Today that talks about the possibility of reproducing the Carolina parakeet from DNA samples. The second link will take visitors to a site that provides some nice details about the extinct Carolina parakeet, including its habitat preferences and its general appearance. The third link leads to a page that offers some first-hand observations of the passenger pigeon, including those offered by John James Audubon and John Muir. The fourth link leads to the homepage of BirdLife International , which is a global alliance of conservation organizations working together for the worlds birds and people. The fifth link takes visitors to a site that offers the sounds and calls of some of Floridas birds, along with a selection of short video clips for some of the species. The final link, provided by the San Diego Natural History Museum, offers some insights into the science of the film Jurassic Park," which examined the possibility that dinosaurs might be brought back to life, and what the consequences might be. [KMG]

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