The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 2

January 14, 2005

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 Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology

The first issue of the fourth volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Tsunamis and Technology.

Research and Education

Towards a New Metropolis: The Opportunity to Rebuild America [pdf]

Since the 1960s, many scholars with an interest in urban affairs have chimed in with important research works that examine what one legendary professor referred to as the "unheavenly city" and its problems. In this paper (presented as part of The Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy research group), Professor Arthur C. Nelson of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University turns his attention to the question of how the built environment of the urban areas of the United States might be reinvigorated during the coming quarter century. The 51-page paper contains a number of interesting findings, such as that by 2030 about half of the buildings in which Americans live, work, and shop will have been built after 2000. Other aspects of the report are not as surprising, such as the comment that a preponderance of this new growth will occur in the South and the West. Professor Nelson concludes the report by asking a rather pressing question: "Should we maintain the status quo in terms of development patterns, or can we envision a different pattern of growth?". [KMG]

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies [pdf]

Founded in 1970, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is a national, nonprofit research and public policy institution that performs research and outreach activities on public policy issues that are of concern to African Americans and other communities of color. The areas that are of prime interest to the Center include economic advancement, political participation, and international affairs. The homepage for the site offers some highlights of recent releases from the Center (such as audiocasts and new reports) and information on job openings and internships at the Center. The navigation bar on the left-hand side of the homepage is useful as well, as users will be directed to helpful publications and the organization's very useful databank. The databank also features thematic fact sheets on topics ranging from children living in poverty to the "digital divide". [KMG]

National Statistics Online [pdf]

Perhaps you have a burning desire to find detailed statistical information about agriculture in Wales, or even about poverty in London's East End. All of this information can be found on the very thorough and usable National Statistics homepage, which provides information on Britain's economy, population, and society. Given the amount of information on the site, visitors would do well to look through the UK at a Glance area. Here they will find basic information on the gross domestic product, consumer spending, unemployment, and population estimates. Along with these aggregate figures for the entire nation, visitors can visit the neighborhood statistics section, where they can retrieve summary statistics for different locales around England and Wales. A number of fine reports based on the 2001 Census are also available for the general public's consideration, and they include considerations of the state of children's dental health to the provisioning of programs for the elderly. [KMG]

The State of the World's Children 2005 [pdf, RealPlayer]

December 2004 saw the release of The State of the World's Children 2005 report from the international organization UNICEF, and it contained some rather troubling findings. Based on the material in this report, more than one billion children are denied the healthy and protected upbringing promised by 1989's Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is the world's most widely adopted human rights treaty. The report examines three of the most widespread and devastating factors threatening childhood today, namely HIV/AIDS, poverty, and conflict. Visitors to the site are encouraged to download the entire report, which contains five chapters, four maps, and 10 statistical tables. Those pressed for time may also want to browse through the supplementary section on each of the three factors mentioned above. Here they will find short video clips of interviews with UNICEF program officers and interactive features on such topics as measuring child poverty. It is worth mentioning that the report is also available in both Spanish and French. [KMG]

Secret History of the Credit Card [pdf, RealPlayer]

As one of America's most popular holiday songs goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year". Well, that may be true until those staggering credit card bills come due in January, and in some cases, for many months afterwards. Taking a critical look at the credit card industry, the television program Frontline (working jointly with The New York Times) has created this revealing investigation into the techniques used by the industry to earn record profits and also to successfully get consumers to take on more debt. Visitors can watch the program in its entirety here, and then they should definitely proceed to read "Eight Things a Credit Card Should Know", and continue on to examine a section of important interviews conducted with such persons as Senator Chris Dodd, a senior Democratic member of the Senate Banking Committee, and Walter Wriston, who served as the chairman and CEO of Citicorp/Citibank for 17 years. This very important website is rounded out by a credit card quiz, a teacher's guide, and a place to leave feedback and comments on the program. [KMG]

Berkeley Institute of Design [Microsoft PowerPoint, Windows Media Player]

The Berkeley Institute of Design (BID) conducts research and educational activities that emphasize an interdisciplinary approach to designing interactive environments. Under the topic of "environments," the website includes "architectural spaces, products, web sites, and other artifacts that support complex human activity." Given the current "era of ubiquitous technologies," the organization's approach combines technical and social/humanist perspectives drawing on psychology, social sciences and art practice. Its goal is to understand human behavior and the experience that technology should enhance, while remaining committed to social values and critical reflection. Projects include: MultiView Papier-Mch, Books with Voices, The Designers' Outpost, Digital Chemistry Project, SUGAR (CAD for MEMS), flexonics editorial, UCWISE, paradoxes in creativity, Organum, and Mobster. [VF] This site is also reviewed in the January 14, 2005_NSDL MET Report_.

The Thomas Jefferson Papers

With significant funding from The Reuters Foundation, the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress has made this outstanding collection of original Jefferson documents available on this site. Containing approximately 83,000 images, these document types include correspondence, financial account books, and manuscript volumes. The collection offered here is organized into 10 series, ranging in date from 1606 to 1827. Visitors are welcome to search the entire collection, or by browsing through any of the series. The site also offers some rather insightful essays on a variety of themes. Some of these essays include "American Sphinx: The Contradictions of Thomas Jefferson" by Professor Joseph J. Ellis and "America and the Barbary Pirates: An International Battle Against an Unconventional Foe" by Gerard W. Gawalt, who serves as the manuscript specialist for early American history at the Library of Congress. The site is rounded out by two timelines that offer additional insight into the events surrounding Jefferson's life, along with reaching back into the history of the colony and future state of Virginia. [KMG]

Greetings from Milwaukee: Selections from the Thomas and Jean Ross Bliffert Postcard Collection

For close to 80 years, Milwaukee was home to two rather prodigious postcard publishers, the L.L. Cook Company and the E.C. Kropp Company. Utilizing the latest technology, these two companies produced thousands of cards that detailed the city's built environment, and in doing so, creating an extensive visual archive of the city's history and culture. Recently, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Special Collections department created this compelling digital archive of 200 images, taken from the Thomas and Jean Ross Bliffert Postcard Collection, which consists of close to 12,000 postcards. Not surprisingly, the images available in this archive are focused on a portion of those Milwaukee postcards produced by Milwaukee publishers. Here visitors can search or browse the archive, viewing such postcards as those that feature the Hotel Medford in downtown Milwaukee and the legendary Schwaben Hof, long regarded as Milwaukee's "Finest Restaurant-Bar". [KMG]

General Interest

The Bernard Herrmann Society

Born in New York in 1911, Bernard Herrmann became of the most well-known and respected composers of film music of the 20th century, and many of his scores (including those for Citizen Kane and Psycho) have become regularly performed in concert halls across the world. In 2000, the Bernard Herrmann Society was founded by Gunther Kogebehn and Kurt George Gjerde with the aim of widening appreciation and knowledge of his music, whether it be his film scores or his other classical works. Those who may be unacquainted with Herrmann's work will want to read several helpful essays that provide an introduction to his life, both of which are available in the "Who's Herrmann?" area of the site. Visitors can also peruse articles from "Echoes", which is the Bernard Herrmann Society Journal. Here they will find interviews of those who worked with him, along with photographic tours of places that were an integral part of his life, such as London and New York City. One piece that is worth taking a look at is an essay on Charles Ives written by Herrmann in 1932. [KMG]

Iraq and China: Ceramics, Trade, and Innovation [Macromedia Flash Reader]

The Smithsonian Institution presents this online exhibition, tracing the dramatic changes in the character of Iraqi ceramics during the 9th century, caused at least in part by the influence of imported luxury Chinese goods, carried by Arab and Persian merchants over an ocean route from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea. The luminous white and blue glazes of imported Chinese porcelain were much admired in Iraq. Although Iraqi ceramic artists did not have equal raw materials or firing technology to their Chinese counterparts, they cleverly created their own versions using yellow clay, and glazes that turned opaque after firing, creating ceramics that were described as "pearl cups like the moon." The online exhibition is small, showcasing about a dozen examples of Iraqi blue & white and luster pottery from the period, along with several Chinese pieces for comparison. The Smithsonian exhibit designers have also used their tools cleverly, so visitors can watch as decorative details of the ceramics fill in as if by magic before their eyes. [DS]

The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace [pdf, RealPlayer]

Located in Yorba Linda, Calif., the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace opened in 1990 with a cadre of visitors and guests that included former Presidents Bush, Reagan, Ford, and of course, Nixon. Actually, the museum tour of the site is not a bad place to start, as visitors are taken around both his childhood home, the permanent galleries, and upcoming exhibits. The childhood home feature includes a nice audio clip of President Nixon describing his early life in Yorba Linda. Of course there are helpful research materials here for students and the general public located within the research center area of the site. Here visitors can learn about the life of the President and First Lady Patricia Nixon and examine several bibliographies of recommended works. Visitors to the site may also want to read "In the National Interest", which is the Nixon Center's weekly online magazine covering foreign policy affairs. Of course, researchers will want to take a look at the information about visiting and using the archives, although it should be noted that the Presidential papers of Richard Nixon are still in the custody of the National Archives. Finally, some visitors may want to join the online Nixon Forum, where they may discuss all things Nixon 24 hours a day, seven days a week. [KMG]

The Alger Hiss Story [pdf, RealPlayer]

During the height of the McCarthy era, a wide range of persons was brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee to answer charges that they were (or had been) involved in Communist activities. One of the most well-known individuals called before the Committee was Alger Hiss, who was serving as the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace when he was called to answer these charges in 1948. Despite the fact that Hiss denied the charges, he was convicted in a second trial and served 44 months before being released in 1954. With that bit of background, visitors will no doubt want to visit this fine site, which is designed to be a well-developed portal for access to primary information about Alger Hiss, the Hiss case, and the early Cold War years. Visitors can start by reading an introductory essay about Hiss and his life, then continue on to the virtual courtroom, where they may learn about the case in its full historical context, then move on to examine various pieces of evidence from the case. Another helpful resource here is a "cast listing" of all the participants and persons involved with the case, which will also be quite helpful as users peruse the many documents and essays. Overall, this is a very well done site, and one that will be of great interest to persons with a keen eye for legal and Cold War history. [KMG]

United States of Peace [pdf] (Last reviewed on April 28, 1995)

While it took close to 200 years, an official U.S. peace office was finally created in 1984 when President Ronald Reagan signed the United States of Institute Peace Act. The official mandate of the United States Institute of Peace is "to support the development, transmission, and use of knowledge to promote peace and curb violent international conflict." From the homepage, visitors can learn about the Institute's public outreach programs, such as the National Peace Essay Contest, the Peace Scholar Dissertation Fellowships, and the in-house magazine, PeaceWatch, which is published five times a year. A particularly helpful resource for persons interested in peace and conflict research is the Jeannette Rankin Library homepage, which is also available here. Visitors can learn about online collections that include a number of helpful annotated weblinks for such timely topics as Iraq, terrorism, and U.S. human rights policy. [KMG]

Alaska's Digital Archive

Many states have begun elaborate and well-funded digital archive projects in order to increase the accessibility of compelling historical materials from their area, and Alaska's very worthwhile effort is the latest to reach us here at the Scout Report. The project is being directed through the leadership of the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Consortium Library at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and the Alaska State Library in Juneau. Currently there are close to 3,000 objects for consideration within their archive, all of which may be browsed by thumbnail image, bibliographic record, or title. Some of the documents include photographs of the "Aleutian Five" musical band which performed during World War II and "Happy Jack", the noted ivory carver. The archive can also be searched using an advanced search engine, and visitors may also create a selection of their favorite documents as well. [KMG]

Federal Emergency Management Agency [pdf]

Created during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has its distant roots in the Congressional Act of 1803, which itself provided assistance to a New Hampshire town following a dramatic fire. Currently, FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security and continues to respond, plan for, and mitigate against disasters. The website itself is quite full of useful materials for the general public, as it features important information about current weather warnings around the United States and various guidebooks about preparing for when disasters strike. The homepage also has an interactive map of the U.S. that lets visitors know which counties have been designated for assistance in the wake of recent disaster and emergency declarations. The site also provides ample information about FEMA's current strategic plan and the organization's history and hierarchy. [KMG]

Network Tools

Phaseout 5.2

Some of our readers who may be looking for a futuristic looking Web browser may do well to take a look at Phaseout 5.2. This particular browser features an integrated search tool, along with a pop-up blocker and a preview bar that shows thumbnails of webpages and their loading progress. Perhaps the most novel feature of Phaseout 5.2 is that users can choose from a number of rather interesting skins, including the "Submariner", which gives the appearance that one is, well, surfing the web from the control room of a submarine. This version of Phaseout is compatible with all operating systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

iCal 1.5.5

Before the New Year overwhelms our readership with dates, conference reminders, and other mundane (yet important!) events, it may be worth taking a look at the newest version of iCal. One of the helpful new features of this version is the detachable Info Drawer, which shows users all the information about their scheduled events at a single glance. Visitors may also want to synch their iCal up with their mobile phone, PDA, or iPod. This version of iCal is compatible with all operating systems running Mac OS X 10.2.3 or later. [KMG]

In The News

8th Circuit Court of Appeals panel rules on right to privacy in bathroom

Right to Privacy in Restroom Not Absolute,1282,-4728166,00.html
City, police go on trial for response at 2002 rave party
Eighth Circuit Opinions: USA v. Lonnie Hill [pdf]
FindLaw: U.S. Constitution: Fourth Amendment
Fourth Amendment
The Constitution of the United States of America: Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment, which grew directly out of the experiences of the American colonists during the 18th century, guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure A number of prominent cases involving transgressions of this amendment have arisen over the past few years, including those dealing with the rights of maintaining the privacy of public library records. This past week, an interesting case involving the Fourth Amendment appeared on the docket of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In this particular case, the Appeals panel rejected the claim of one Lonnie Maurice Hill, who claimed that a police search which found him partly unclothed with a woman, cocaine, and marijuana in the one-person restroom of a convenience store was a violation of his privacy. In the ruling, Judge Donald Lay noted that, The Fourth Amendment protects people and not places, and went on to say that the expectation of privacy in businesses is different from, and indeed less than, a similar expectation in an individuals home.

The first link will take visitors to a news article from this Wednesdays online Guardian that offers some additional insights into this recent ruling. The second link will take users to a piece from the (Racine) Journal Times that discusses an upcoming court case that involves a civil rights case in which a potential violation of the Fourth Amendment may have occurred during a rave-like party in 2002. The third link leads directly to the official panel ruling from the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, issued this past Tuesday. The fourth link leads to a helpful page provided by that offers a broad history of the Fourth Amendment and its various interpretations over the past several centuries. The fifth link will take visitors to a webpage offered by a practicing criminal defense lawyer that provides a listing of recent rulings and opinions that deal with Fourth Amendment cases. The final link is provided by the U.S. Government Printing Office that provides helpful material about the Fourth Amendment. [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

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