The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 47

November 26, 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-fourth 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 Medicine and War. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Moons.

Research and Education

The Economics Classroom

The so-called "dismal science" may be a difficult subject to teach even at the college level, but one can also imagine that it might be more so in high school. Fortunately, the Annenberg/CPB organization has created this rather useful workshop for teachers working across grades nine through 12 who are teaching economics. The programs are the result of a collaborative effort by Pacific Street Films and the National Council on Economic Education. While teachers could opt to register for the workshops (for which they must pay a fee), they can register on this website (at no charge) and watch the eight workshops on their own home or work computer. Designed primarily for educators with little or no background in economics, the topics cover such material as the global economy, how markets work, and fiscal policy. This nice resource is rounded out by a selection of relevant links to such organizations as the National Council on Economic Education. [KMG]

Legal Information Institute [pdf]

Cornell University's Law School has an international reputation for scholarly activity, and Scout Report readers will be glad to learn about the online resources afforded by its Legal Information Institute (LII). Founded in 1992 by co-directors Thomas R. Bruce and Peter W. Martin, the LII publishes electronic versions of "core materials in numerous areas of the law". Some of the key materials that users will find here include Supreme Court decisions, decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals, decisions of the New York Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Code. For those more casual or first-time users, the site has a well-written introduction to basic legal citation and a lexicon of basic legal terms. The homepage of the site also features a selection of recent law events that have made the news, complete with hypertext links to the complete decisions. The "Law about" area is helpful, as visitors can browse around to find information about various sectors of law including enterprise law, criminal law, and constitutional law. [KMG]

Odyssey [RealPlayer]

"Eclectic" would be one of the best adjectives to describe the far-ranging world of the Chicago Public Radio's daily talk show known as "Odyssey". When it seems that the extent of most commercial radio public affairs programs tends towards those who can screech the loudest, Odyssey continues to offer insightful commentary and discussion on any number of issues. The program is hosted by Gretchen Helfrich, and first went on the air in Chicago in 1998, and was launched as a national public radio program in November 2001. Some of the more recent programs have dealt with the nature of American identity, stability in Iraq, and the politics of tax reform. Visitors can elect to listen to the current show, or they may browse through the audio archive that dates back to 1998. [KMG] [QuickTime, Java]

Sponsored by Science@NASA and created by Dr. Tony Phillips, offers fascinating "news and information about the Sun-Earth environment." Visitors can find out the current space weather conditions such as the solar wind, interplanetary magnetic field, and x-ray solar flares. The website offers the latest data on near-Earth asteroids and NOAA forecasts of the probability for solar flares and geomagnetic storms. By searching by dates, users can find archived news stories. Throughout the site, users can find amazing images and links to external resources. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the November 26, 2004 Physical Sciences Report_.

Western Regional Climate Center

One of six regional climate centers in the United States, the Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC) was created in 1986. The WRCC is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and is overseen by the National Climatic Data Center. Covering the area from Colorado to the boundary of the continental US (along with the states of Hawaii and Alaska), this website is a true trove of valuable historical climate information and current atmospheric observations and frequently updated forecasts. Along with providing information for scientists and researchers, the site also has a number of educational pages for teachers and young people. Here they can find answers to common questions about climate change and learn about some basic terms and definitions in the field of climatology. The site is rounded out with a nice selection of material about current projects sponsored by the WRCC, including the Yucca Mountain climate data project and a webcam view from its headquarters in Reno. [KMG]

Perhaps some of our readers have a desire to read an Albanian architecture magazine, a daily paper from Montreal, or a small publication from Hong Kong. Sorting through all of the material returned from a search engine can be time consuming, so fortunately there's the AllYouCanRead website. With listings for approximately 26,500 magazines and newspapers that have an online presence, visitors can find what they need quickly. Currently, these sites are culled from over 200 countries, and are categorized not only by country of origin, but also subcategorized by topic. Some of these topics include art, business, or travel. Also, this site allows registered users the ability to customize their own page that features only the publications that they designate. It should be noted that the site does have a number of advertisements, but is still worthy for the assembled and well-organized newspaper and magazine links provided here. [KMG]

The Provincial Museum of Alberta: Eggs-A Virtual Exhibition

From the Provincial Museum of Alberta, this virtual egg exhibition features more than 300 egg images, and information about Oology, Egg Diversity, and Nesting. The exhibition features an Eggs of the World section, as well as sections for Migrant Species of Alberta, and many bird families including Loons, Birds of Prey, Shorebirds, and Woodpeckers, to name a few. Site visitors will discover a fascinating array of egg images accompanied by brief egg descriptions for birds like the Ostrich, Gentoo Penguin, Chilean Tinamou, Limpkin, Osprey, Southern Cassowary, and many more. The site's information sections touch on a variety of interesting subjects including clutch size, egg size and shape, egg color, eating eggs, and egg texture and structure. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the November 26. 2004_NSDL Life Sciences Report_.

General Interest

London's Transport Museum [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

Located in colorful Covent Garden, the London Transport Museum is one of the world's best known facilities dedicated to exploring the many nooks and crannies of this capital city's transport heritage. Fortunately for those who can't make it across the pond to Britain, the museum's website affords online visitors a small glimpse into the many items of interest featured in its exhibits and archives. To get some sense of the museum and its surroundings, visitors will want to view the Panoramas area, where they may view some of the galleries and a view of the exterior. The online exhibit area provides a small sampling of the museum's holdings, include one that explores the role of London's public transportation on the silver screen and a selection of the many lovely posters created for the transport system between 1909 and 1994. Finally, there is a nice selection of excerpts from promotional films produced by British Transport over the years, including a fascinating clip titled "A Trip on the Metropolitan Railway" from 1910. Of course, for those who will be visiting the museum in person, there is ample material on the museums' hours of operation and other germane details. [KMG]

Marine Navigation in the Age of Exploration

To accompany a major exhibition, Spain in the Age of Exploration, 1492-1819, the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) presents this interactive website that illustrates the use of four ancient nautical instruments: the Quadrant, Asrolabe, Octant, and Chronometer. Each instrument's section includes pictures, a bit of history, and a description of how it was used. For example, the astrolabe was originally devised by Persian astronomers, and is used to determine latitude at sea by measuring the angle of the sun or other stars. In addition, the site includes an early map of North America (1730) and a movie showing David Burch from the Starpath School of Navigation, demonstrating the use of an octant. [DS]

They Made America [Macromedia Flash Player]

Samuel Insull, Thomas Edison, Clarence Birdseye and numerous other innovators and inventors contributed mightily to the American spirit of invention during the past several centuries. This rather engrossing website, which was designed to complement the four-part television series on PBS, offers a glimpse into the lives of many of these innovators. Based on a book by editor and journalist Harold Evans, the series and the website utilize primary documents and first-hand reports to look at the lives of these men and women. Visitors who wish to jump right in should begin by looking through the "Who Made America?" Flash-enabled feature. Here they can learn about a number of these innovators, and view each profile by category, chronologically, or geographically. The site also contains a lively discussion area where visitors can chime in with their thoughts about which innovators were left out of the series and which future inventions may be next to transform the world. [KMG]

Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor

The frigid air is upon some of the United States by this time in late fall, and will be around until spring arrives so a visit to the Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor on this site may be worth a look. This Web-based tool was developed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and its purpose is "to help the housing community improve energy efficiency in existing buildings during rehabilitation and renovation." The hope is that persons involved in this work will be able to create or modify housing so that it becomes more energy efficient, durable, and sustainable. The site is fairly straightforward, as visitors can build a profile by selecting their building type, their role (such as homeowner or designer), climate, and building age. After doing so, a set of results and suggestions will be returned, and visitors can also calculate the costs of such an undertaking as well. [KMG]

Department of Homeland Security [pdf]

Created during the first term of President George W. Bush, the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for preventing terrorist attacks within the United States and to also reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism. On its website, visitors can learn about grant opportunities provided by the department, read about its current leadership, and read the agency's overall strategic plan. Given the department's broad mission, the site is divided into several thematic areas, including emergencies and disasters, travel and transportation, immigration and borders, and threats and protection. Each section contains relevant information, such as various efforts to protect the country's waterways and ports, and the homeland security advisory system. The research and technology area is quite helpful as it includes rather interesting material on the various research facilities and laboratories that are performing different operations under the agency's direction. [KMG]

Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers [Macromedia Flash Player]

As long as there are those who seek to extend the field of athletic endeavor through invention (such as James L. Plimpton, creator of the modern roller skate), or those who break racial barriers (such as the great Jackie Robinson), there will be those who seek to commemorate and examine their legacy. Designed to complement a current exhibition at the National Museum of American History, this fine online exhibit explores some of those individuals whose contributions to American sport have intersected with other broader historical developments, including racial equality, the spirit of invention, and other trends. On the site, visitors are treated to short essays that talk about the accomplishments of such individuals as Jesse Owens and Sandy Koufax. Of course, these pieces are completed by images of such items as Terry Bradshaw's uniform from Super Bowl XIV and Abraham Lincoln's personal handball. Additionally, for each person profiled, visitors can read a list of career highlights, suggested reading materials, and in some cases, a filmography. [KMG]

Network Tools

Incredi IE Manager 1.3

In coping with the mundane details of life, it's nice to know that there is a computer program that will help users solve small problems, if not all of the large ones. One such program is the Incredi IE Manager 1.3, which works with Internet Explorer 5.5 and higher. This program blocks pop-up ads, saves Flash movies and pictures, and can even check for spelling errors. This program is compatible with all operating systems running Windows 98 and higher. [KMG]


With the advent of intellectual and scholarly projects that span the continents, it can be advantageous to have an effective program that allows multiple users access to shared bibliographies. WIKINDX 2 is one such program, as it is an Internet-based bibliographic management system that allows users to search and share quotes, notes, and bibliographies. It is worth noting that this program is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Kennedy family upset over assassination video game

Outrage over JFK slay video game
JFK Reloaded is just plain creepy
NARA: JFK Assassination Records Main Page
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library [pdf, RealPlayer]
John F. Kennedy: "Ich bin ein Berliner"
Teaching JFK German

Forty-one years ago Camelot ended with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy while he rode in a motorcade in downtown Dallas. During the past four decades, hundreds of persons have attempted to offer their interpretations and understanding of the events of that tragic day. While the Kennedy family has generally refrained from commenting on the less academic and objective investigations into the death of the President, there has been one recent development that has understandably garnered severe criticism. This development happens to be an online video game titled "JFK Reloaded" that allows visitors to recreate the three shots fired at President Kennedy's car from the Texas School Book Depository. While a representative for the Glasgow-based firm responsible for this game noted that the game might "stimulate a younger generation of players to take an interest in this fascinating episode of American history", many others were quick to respond to this questionable notion. A spokesman for Senator Edward Kennedy called the video game "despicable" and noted presidential historian G. Calvin MacKenzie of Colby College remarked that "Aside from being in incredibly bad taste, the idea of marketing it as an educational tool seems to stretch the notion of education beyond belief."

The first link leads to a news article from this Monday's Boston Herald that talks about the reaction to the release of this video game. The second link will take visitors to a rather intriguing discussion of the game by Clive Thompson, writing in the online publication Slate. The third link leads to the JFK Assassination Records page provided by the National Archives & Records Administration, where visitors can read the complete Warren Commission Report and peruse other helpful documents. The fourth link will take users to the website for the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum located in Boston. Here visitors can learn about the actual building (designed by noted modernist I.M. Pei), look through resources for students, and learn about the library's holdings. The fifth link leads to the text and audio version of one of Kennedy's most well-remembered speeches, where he addressed the people of West Berlin and stated, "Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner'". The final link leads to a special feature from CNN where the president's interpreter, Robert H. Lochner, recalls helping Kennedy learn that phrase for that particular address. [KMG]

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