The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 50

December 17, 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

Scout Holiday Publishing Schedule

The Scout Report will be on vacation December 24 and 31. We'll be back with the January 7, 2005 report. [CL]

Best holiday wishes,

Chris Long
Managing Editor

NSDL Scout Reports

NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology

The twenty-sixth issue of the third volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Wireless Downtowns.

Research and Education

Digital Himalaya [pdf, QuickTime]

For those who feel that there may be a paucity of material on the Himalayan region, they will need to take a close look at this fine site provided through a collaboration between the Department of Social Anthropology at Cambridge University and the Anthropology Department at Cornell University. Since its inception in December 2000, the partners have managed to digitize a number of photographic collections, several journals, and a number of short films. Scholars with an interest in Himalayan studies will want to browse through the digitized volumes of such publications as Contributions to Nepalese Studies and the Journal of Bhutan Studies. One particularly intriguing collection made available here is the Frederick Williamson Collection. Williamson was a British political officer stationed in Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet during the 1930s. During his tenure there he and his wife took some 1,700 photographs documenting their experiences and also made a number of short films, which are also available for viewing on the site. Visitors to the site may also want to register with the project so that they are informed of project updates. [KMG]

UN-Habitat: United Nations Human Settlements Programme [pdf]

Started in 1978, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme is designed to prevent and ameliorate problems that stem from the massive growth of conurbations throughout the world, with a special focus on those major urban locales in the developing world. For persons interested in this broad set of topics and the multilateral responses to such conditions, this site is invaluable. The site provides information on the Programme's governing bodies as well as the various campaigns, partner organizations, and events it sponsors, such as the World Urban Forum. The Publications area is quite nice, as it includes highlights from the annual "State of the World's Cities" report, research reports on slums, and the problems of large-scale urban governance. The homepage of the site also contains feature stories about the organization's latest research findings and updates from various urban areas. [KMG]

National Geographic Explorer

The National Geographic Society has long been known for its flagship publication magazine, but they also have several other well-known public outreach programs such as their television programs. One such publication with a significant educational outreach program is the National Geographic Explorer magazine, which is geared for grades three through six. This particular website contains a host of valuable resources that complement the print magazine, many of which may be used as standalone materials to aid in learning about various topics, such as environmental degradation and wildlife. The site contains a number of educational games, such as one that asks students to identify various Ice Age animals, and others that ask students to find various topical words within a crossword. The "Kid Stuff" area is quite a find as well, containing a virtual coloring book, a map-making machine, and a photo of the day feature. Finally, there's a feedback section where people can send along ideas for future stories. [KMG]

Gilbert Stuart [Macromedia Flash Player]

Trained by an itinerant Scottish painter, Gilbert Stuart became one of the 18th century's most remarkable portrait painters, and his iconic image of George Washington remains one of the most well-known symbols in American history and visual culture. Overall, the legacy of Stuart's work remains somewhat contradictory, largely due to the fact that while he was quite prolific, he also often failed to finish works. As part of its special exhibitions program, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has created this nice online exhibit that allows visitors to embark on a virtual tour of their current exhibit featuring Stuart's work. By using their mouse, visitors can "stroll" through the various rooms of the gallery, organized around Stuart's different portraiture periods, including those in Scotland, Philadelphia, and Dublin. Visitors will also want to look at a special section for teachers and students as it contains a well-designed interactive feature where they may learn more about Stuart, engage in some activities, and view a timeline of his life. [KMG]

American Psychological Association [pdf] [Last reviewed on May 6, 1994]

The American Psychological Association (APA) is the primary professional organization that represents the interests of a wide variety of psychology professionals, including those working in the fields of clinical, behavioral, and experimental psychology. There's a great deal of interest for both professional psychologists and students of psychology here, including the popular "Monitor on Psychology", which digests compelling and newsworthy research findings from the field. Another fine feature of the site's homepage is the Psychology News Wire, which profiles current relevant psychology news pieces, such as those dealing with treating victims of stroke and working at methadone clinics. The APA has also created a helpful section dedicated to providing high-quality information on a host of important topics, such as anger, Alzheimer's, sexuality, stress, trauma, and addictions. Finally, there is also the gradPscyh magazine, which is the APA publication designed for graduate students studying psychology. [KMG]

Math in the Movies

There are many learned (and not-so learned) professions that get a bad rap in the world of cinema. Scientists, and mathematicians in particular, tend to be portrayed alternately as either evil madmen or troubled geniuses. Through this website, Arnold Reinhold offers his informed and honest appraisals of mathematicians (and their math, of course) in various films. To get a sense of the project, visitors may want to begin by listening to an interview with Reinhold, provided by the Studio 360 radio program on National Public Radio. After listening to the delightful interview, visitors will want to browse through the reviews, which offer a star rating for the film overall, and of course the portrayal and accuracy of the math in the film. Some of the films profiled are A Beautiful Mind, Straw Dogs, Good Will Hunting, and of course Pi. Overall, a site thats worth a few visits, and quite a bit of fun.
This site is also reviewed in the December 17, 2004_NSDL MET Report_. [KMG]

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation [pdf]

The concerns of such indigenous peoples who are unrepresented in the pantheon of nations is admirably represented by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), who strive "to protect their human and cultural rights, preserve their environments, and to find non-violent solutions to conflicts which affect them." The best way to learn about these various groups is to peruse the members section, which features profiles of their number, including the Lakota in the United States, Albanians in Macedonians, and numerous others. After taking a look there, visitors may want to proceed to the reports section, which includes various topical reports dealing with some of the groups represented by the UNPO. Equally helpful is the area which contains details on the UNPO's activities at the United Nations where they seek to provide their members with assistance in gaining access to the different UN bodies, such as the UN Commission on Human Rights and the Working Group on Indigenous Populations. Finally, the site is rounded out by a helpful links page, which offers direct links to the webpages of relevant non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other supra-national organizations. [KMG]

The Arts Education Partnership [pdf]

Founded in 1995, the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) has worked through its partner organization in leading the national movement to establish education standards that include the arts. Currently the AEP includes over 140 organizations that are national in their scope, and includes government organizations, business groups, and philanthropic foundations. The AEP website is a true cornucopia of helpful material, including a set of arts education links, which contain brief descriptions of each site. Along with this pragmatic material, there is the publication section of the site, which contains full versions of reports on arts assessment, teaching partnerships within the arts, and the impact of the arts on learning. Another important resource made available on the site is an interactive listing of national advocacy resources, such as links to cultural funding opportunities, and opportunities to fund arts education projects through the U.S. Department of Education. [KMG]

General Interest

The National Commission on Writing [pdf]

Despite the growth of certain "multimedia" educational experiences and technological innovations, writing remains an essential skill as a form of basic (and also complex) communication. In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of both the teaching and learning of writing, the College Board established the National Commission on Writing for America's Families, Schools, and Colleges in September 2002. In part the decision was animated by the Board's Plan to offer a writing assignment in 2005 as part of the new SAT, but additionally, there was growing concern that there was general decline in the quality of writing. At this site, visitors can learn about the members of the Commission, and view some of its latest press releases, which highlight some of its research findings. Visitors will also want to download and read some of its thought-provoking research reports, including "The Neglected "R": The Need for a Writing Revolution". [KMG]

Leite's Culinaria

With a website that professes to provide helpful recipes and other such cooking advice, it helps to have an expert at the helm. Well, at the helm of the Leite's Culinaria site is one such expert, David Leite. Leite attended the Institute of Culinary Education and the La Technique program at The French Culinary Institute. He's also written extensively about food in general, and has had pieces published in The Washington Post and Bon Appetit, among other places. Fortunately for the Web-browsing public, he has also created this fine clearinghouse of some of his writings on food, complemented with a number of fine recipes. Some of the recipes included here include those for a Welsh broth, a shrimp risotto, and a cheddar-crust apple pie. Finally, visitors can sign up to receive an electronic newsletter. [KMG]


The good folks at the Wikimedia Foundation are perhaps best known for their popular online open source encyclopedia, Wikipedia. They have recently decided to branch out by creating this beta version of Wikinews, which is essentially a free content news source. The project started in November 2004, and there are currently some 176 articles available here on a variety of topics ranging from the political situation in the Ukraine to the recent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. As the main page states, "Our mission is to create a diverse environment where citizen journalists can independently report the news on a wide variety of current events." While they are still sorting out some of the particulars of the site (such as its general layout), visitors are welcome to visit their virtual "water cooler" to offer helpful feedback and commentary. [KMG]

Welcome to Anamorphoses [Macromedia Flash Player, Macromedia Shockwave Player]

The Canadian government has once again offered a glimpse into a world that relatively few people get to know intimately and served it to the general public via a well-constructed and lively website. That world happens to be the world of film production, all the way from the initial germ of an idea to the film's release. With its creative layout and format, the site begins by offering users a number of sections titled "Write", "Portray", and "Imagine", all of which correspond to the various stages of film production. Just to give visitors some sense of what awaits them, the first section ("Write") contains detailed information about bringing the play "Possible Worlds" to the silver screen, complete with helpful pop-up screens that talk about this process. What is perhaps most amazing about the site is that it also contains a number of the storyboards involved in making the film, a rare asset indeed. [KMG]

Big Box Reuse

By now, the story is a familiar one, particularly for small towns and various exurban areas: A major retailer constructs what is referred to as a "big box" commercial building, and subsequently closes up shop several years later. While there is often a great public hue and cry over the construction of such buildings, few people have looked into what happens to these structures after they are abandoned. Julia Christensen (a MFA student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) has stepped into the fray to help answer that question. With the use of an interactive map of the United States, visitors can view the transformation of such structures from major retail outlets into flea markets, churches, apartments, and a host of other uses. For each site, Christensen has also included photographs of how the building has been reused and adapted, adding a nice dimension to her work. Planners, architectural pundits, and others will find plenty to keep themselves busy within this intriguing site. [KMG]

The Endicott Studio Journal of Mythic Arts

Founded in 1987 as a group of "artists without borders", the Endicott Studios "supports and promotes the works of an interconnected group of mythic writers, artists, and scholars". The Studio was started by Terri Windling, and today includes a wide range of writers and artists whose works are often featured on the Studio's website. The highlight of the site is the Journal of Mythic Arts, which is published three times a year, and may be viewed in its entirety here. Recent issues have been organized around certain themes, such as Creation Tales & Changelings and Magical Marriages. After reading some of these pieces (which include fiction works, poetry, and different types of visual art), visitors can peruse the Endicott Scuttlebutt area, which includes an online bulletin board of news and events and also a list of recently recommended books. [KMG]

Network Tools

PixVillage 0.98

While sharing photos is a typical community activity, it certainly helps to have PixVillage if one is interested in sharing photographs quickly and simply over the Web. With this program, users are eased of the burden associated with other programs that require them to store their photos on a server. The program features a number of other helpful features, such as the ability to instantly browse the photos of other friends, and the ability to create groups of contacts in order to manage access rights. This version of PixVillage is compatible with all systems running Windows 2000 and XP. [KMG]

Support Information Tracker 2.0.6

For groups of people working together (either in a classroom setting or a small organization), it may be difficult at times to provide remote or distant access to valuable documents. Stepping into that fray is the latest version of Support Information Tracker. With this program visitors can create multiple versions of documents, submit documents for review, and manage online documents. This particular version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

World's tallest roadway bridge opens in southern France

NPR: Major Suspension Bridge Inaugurated in France
Higher, longer, wider: the art of building bridges
Viaduc de Millau
Foster and Partners [Macromedia Flash Player]
Bridge Basics: A Spotter's Guide to Bridge Design
Extreme Engineering

During the past several decades, France has become the home of some rather iconic modernist structures, such as La Defense and the rather intriguing Pompidou Center. With one quite bold stroke, the rural landscape of southern France has just this week become home to one of the world's truly impressive engineering (and architectural) feats as the Millau bridge opened this past Tuesday. Designed by British architect Norman Foster, the bridge rises 891 feet above the Tarn valley for one and a half miles as it passes through France's Massif Central mountain range. In an interview with a French newspaper, Foster remarked that "A work of man must fuse with nature. The pillars had to look almost organic, like they had grown from the earth." In recent years, Foster has gained acclaim for his other monumental structures, which include London's Millennium Bridge and the Hearst Headquarters project in New York. Colorado's Royal Gorge Bridge remains the world's tallest suspension bridge, although it is designed for pedestrians. For those who may be considering a drive over the structure, prices will vary from 4.90 euros ($6.50) in winter and 6.50 euros ($8.62) in summer.

The first link leads to a nice feature from National Public Radio that includes an interview by their own Robert Siegel with the mayor of the city of Millau, Jacques Godfin. The second link leads to a news piece from the online edition of Wednesday's Independent newspaper that talks about the continued admiration for the art and science of bridge building. The third link provides a host of material on the bridge, its construction, and literally hundreds of different views of the structure. It should be noted that, while the entire site is in French, the site is still worth a visit due to the remarkable images and renderings. Moving on to the fourth link, visitors can peruse the website of the architectural firm of Foster and Partners. Here they can view a list of the group's current and previously completed projects, and learn more about the partners' work. The fifth site offers some "Bridge Basics" for novice bridge aficionados, and they will quickly learn how to tell a deck truss from a pony truss in no time at all. The sixth and final link leads to a site from the Discovery Channel that affords some insights into feats of "extreme" engineering, such as Boston's Big Dig and the proposed Bering Strait Bridge. [KMG]

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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

Internet Scout Project Team
Max GrinnellEditor
Chris LongManaging 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.