The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 3

January 21, 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 Reports for the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences

The second issues of the fourth 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 Tree Troubles. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about The Use of Remote Sensing in Meteorology.

Research and Education

Kanji Alive [QuickTime]

A number of educational websites dedicated to helping students learning various East Asian languages have found a home on the Web, and Kanji Alive is one that interested parties will find rather compelling. Created at the University of Chicago, Kanji Alive is a searchable Web-based tool that is designed to help beginning and intermediate-level Japanese language learners read and write kanji. The tool consists of two interactive windows, one of which allows users to search for and select kanji, while the other one contains information on the selected kanji. The site also contains several supplementary materials, including a document that covers the history of kanji, stroke order basics, and radicals. The site also contains an important section specifically for instructors and a troubleshooting area. [KMG]

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse [pdf]

The service-learning movement, which combines classroom learning with pragmatic hands-on work in the community, continues to grow in importance throughout the world of education. One of the primary groups that serves as a fine source of material on service-learning is the National Service Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC), located in Scotts Valley, Calif.. The homepage provides visitors with a good overview of the group's work, as it features new funding opportunities, a hot topics area, and pertinent information about upcoming conferences, such as the annual national conference. A good way to get a handle on the wide world of service learning is by looking through the fact sheets area, which is topically divided and contains information on the areas of partnerships, character education, and risk management. Even better is the resources and tools area, as it includes samples of syllabi and lesson plans that incorporate the principles of service-learning. [KMG]

Life at the end of the Road [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Opening up this website, visitors will find themselves whirling around an antiquated map of South America as it scrolls through the various countries of South America, then finally landing on the area known as Patagonia. Created by persons at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Universidad de Los Andes, this website profiles the day-to-day existence of the people in this removed corner of the world. Appropriately enough, the site is divided into three primary sections: The Land, The Sea, and The People. Each site contains a number of thematic stories which address (through audio interviews and entrancing photographs) such topics as the life of ranching families in Patagonia, the craft of shipbuilding, and of course, the dramatic landscapes of the region. Another feature of note is the interactive timeline of Patagonia available here, which stretches from 9000 B.C. to the present. It is worth noting that visitors may elect to view the site in Spanish if they so desire. [KMG]

Jewel of the Solar System - Saturn [gif, jpeg, Macromedia Flash Player, RealPlayer]

The Exploratorium offers a unique portrayal of the Cassini-Huygens mission's discoveries of Saturn. Individuals can discover the details about Titan, the only known moon in the solar system with a substantial atmosphere. The Macromedia Flash Player enhanced tutorial about the rings and moons of Saturn is a fantastic addition to the website. Everyone can enjoy the web casts explaining the significances of the newest findings. Frequent visitors should visit the Updates link to receive the latest Cassini-Huygens news. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the January 21, 2005_NSDL Physical Sciences Report_.

Icelandic Online Dictionary and Readings

Working in partnership with the University of Iceland and a number of other sponsors (including The Andrew Mellon Foundation) the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections group has created the Icelandic Online Dictionary and Readings website. This website also complements the University of Icelands Internet course, Icelandic Online. Persons interested in learning a bit about Icelandic will appreciate the fact that they have access to the aforementioned course, complete with interactive lessons and exercises. Additionally, the site contains the unabridged content of the 1989 Concise Icelandic-English dictionary and a set of readings in modern Icelandic life, literature and culture. As an extra treat, visitors also have access to a collection of works by the famous Icelandic poet, Jonas Hallgrimsson. Visitors will want to make sure and read some of his well-known poems, including The Vastness of the Universe and The Style of the Times. [KMG]

Paleontology Portal

Created by the University of California Museum of Paleontology, with assistance from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and the United States Geological Survey, the Paleontology Portal is a nice resource for anyone who may be interested in the field of paleontology. The site is divided into a number of separate areas, and visitors would do well to begin by taking a look through the Exploring Time & Space feature. Clicking on this feature will bring users to a map of the United States that is overlaid with the complete array of geological time periods, such as the Quaternary, Permian, and the Triassic, to name but a few. Along with this helpful resource, the fossil gallery is a real treat, as visitors can view fossilized remains by geologic time period or by taxonomic group. Finally, the Famous Flora and Fauna area allows visitors the opportunity to view such notable finds as the Burgess Shale, the Petrified Forest, and of course, the La Brea Tar Pits. [KMG]

Association for Environmental Archaeology [pdf]

Founded in 1979 by a group of environmental archaeologists at the University of London, the Association for Environmental Archaeology (AEA) was established to provide a way for the diverse set of persons working across the discipline to communicate research findings and to develop a broad range of networks. Interested visitors to the site will want to learn about the AEAs mission, their leadership committee, and their constitution by visiting the general information area. One nice area for the general public is the online image gallery, which is divided into sections such as fieldwork, animals, and plants. All three of these sections allow the general public a sense of the work that environmental archaeologists engage in. Persons working in this field will want to take a look at the publications section where they will find the AEA newsletter and the table of contents for the journal Environmental Archaeology. For persons whose interest is piqued by the site, there is also a nice selection of environmental archaeology weblinks organized thematically. [KMG]

Singapore Science Centre- ScienceNet: Life Sciences

Students, teachers, and parents will find great value in ScienceNet, an interactive information service from the Singapore Science Centre. Supported by Nanyang Technological University and National University of Singapore, ScienceNet is a place for people to get answers to their questions in a wide range of scientific fields. In addition to allowing visitors to pose questions, the website offers access to a database of previous answers to questions such as: What do water fleas feed on? Why is there a limit to the maximum size a cell can grow? How do dolphins and killer whales sleepand how do they obtain fresh water for drinking? What is the largest dragonfly in the world? When do the facial bones complete ossification? and many more. The Life Sciences section of ScienceNet offers expertise in such fields as Botany, Human Anatomy, Microbiology, Zoology, Neuroscience, Marine Biology, and more. Queries are invited for many other scientific areas as well including Earth Science, Computer Science, Physical Sciences, Astronomy, and Engineering. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the January 21, 2005_NSDL Life Sciences Report_.

General Interest

American in the 1930s [RealPlayer]

The American Studies group at the University of Virginia has a long and distinguished history, and during the past few years it has created this online archive of materials related to the spirit of the American experience in that tumultuous decade of the 1930s. The material is divided into thematic sections, such as On Film and On the Air. Within each section, visitors can view various projects created by students studying in the American Studies program. For example, the On Film area contains such online exhibits and topical examinations that include Crime Pays: The Hollywood Gangster from 1930-1938 and New Frontiers in American Film Documentary. The section dedicated to American radio programming during this decade is quite nice, as it affords users the opportunity to learn about these shows and listen to some of the old shows, including Little Orphan Annie, Amos n Andy, and Jack Benny. [KMG]

Medieval Mystery [Macromedia Flash Reader]

This entertaining site created by the Muse des Beaux-Arts, Lille, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute turns one of the primary tasks of museum curators and archivists--establishing the provenance of the works in their collections--into a game. Using a group of late 15th century Dutch paintings with an uncertain history that depict the Virgin Mary and Christ Child, the game attempts to answer four questions: What are the origins of the paintings? How do the paintings relate to each other? What did the paintings mean in the 15th century? Who was the Master of the Embroidered Foliage? (the paintings were attributed to the Master of the Embroidered Foliage in 1926 by a German art historian, Max Friedlnder) The research presented at the site reveals that probably all the paintings were not created by the same artists, as hypothesized in 1926, but still leaves tantalizing questions unanswered. [DS]

Fugitive Images [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Parks, buildings, sidewalks, dumpsters, and other pieces of the urban fabric offer a canvas for some to express their artistic side, and in many cases, also allow individuals the opportunity to offer a visual reminder of different social and cultural struggles within different urban communities. While certain cities have yet to document these various expressions, New York City is a place where many have sought to create a record of these different murals, drawings, and stencils. As a statement on the homepage announces, Fugitive Images exposes conversations held on city surfaces that begin to describe the stylistic, social, cultural, and political perspectives of New Yorks neighborhoods. The site utilizes a rather user friendly and visually pleasant interface that allows users to search the citys many neighborhoods to view some of the hundreds of pieces they have documented thus far. Additionally, visitors may leave comments and additional information on each piece, if they so desire. So far, most of the images contained within the site are located in Manhattan, but with any luck, the project should continue to grow exponentially in the future. [KMG]

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf, RealPlayer]

Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion of the world, is the subject of a new documentary by the well-regarded filmmaker Ken Burns. The program recently aired for the first time on PBS, and this companion website offers a number of primary documents, short essays, and educational materials that will be of great interest to the Web-browsing public and educators seeking to use the documentary in the classroom. On the site, visitors can learn about the life of this rather remarkable man, and also learn about the broader social and cultural milieu of the times in which he found himself, both in terms of race relations and in terms of the history of the sport of boxing. One particularly well-developed feature here is the section that deals with The Fight of the Century, which pitted Johnson versus Jim Jeffries, who at that point was the retired white heavyweight champion of the world. The site is rounded out by a number of lesson plans and additional resources (such as books and other online sites) for educators. [KMG]

There are a number of places to get books online, but this recent addition to that cadre of websites is definitely worth a look. The staff members at have adapted the e-texts created by the Project Gutenberg DVD and placed them online in a host of formats, including pdf, eReader, and as Palm document files. Visitors can begin by browsing by author, title, category, or language. Some of the languages covered in the database include Dutch, Esperanto, Swedish, Tagalog, and Welsh. Satisfied visitors can also submit a list of five of their favorite books so that other users may take advantage of their favorite reads. Some of the recently recommended titles include Jude the Obscure, Silas Marner, Ecce Homo, and New Grub Street. Persons attracted to this site should also take a look at the ebook cover page, where they can peruse the covers of some of the many books contained within the archive. Some of the more compelling covers include those for As a Man Thinketh authored by James Allen and a rather lovely cover for Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott. [KMG]

While billed as just a weblog about newspaper design, journalism, yadda, yadda, this particular weblog is a rather useful resource for those who seek to keep on top of current trends in newspaper design and the nature of journalism more generally. The blog itself contains helpful hypertext links to new newspaper designs and a number of commentaries that take a critical eye on the careful (and not so careful) juxtaposition of text and images. Some of the more recent topics covered include the war in Iraq and the nature of newspaper coverage of the tsunami that wrecked havoc on South and Southeast Asia. Also, the left-hand side of the page features links to a host of international newspapers, recent entries, the weblog archive, and links to the weblogs of other journalists. [KMG]

Urbis [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf, QuickTime]

Located in the Millennium Quarter in Manchester, Urbis is a museum that explores urban culture and the cities of today and tomorrow. The museum's very distinct and novel building was designed by the noted architecture firm of Ian Simpson, and is noted for its glass facing and location within the popular Cathedral Gardens. To get a sense of the buildings design and context, visitors should take advantage of the QuickTime virtual tour offered on the website. Moving on from that part of the site, users can learn about their creative and well-designed exhibitions that profile different aspects of urban life from around the world. The resources page also offers webcam perspectives on other cities, including Singapore, Tokyo, and London. [KMG]

Network Tools

Fresh Download 7.20

A number of software programs are available at no charge to interested parties at this site. One particular nice program is Fresh Download, which serves as a download manager, allowing users to monitor the progress of such activities. This version of Fresh Download is quite easy to use and is compatible with all operating systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

Metadot Portal Server 6.4b6

What popular open-source portal system is used by MIT, NASA, the World Health Organization and the Chicago Medical Society? The answer to that query would be the Metadot Portal Server. The best thing about this particular system is that non-technical people can create rather powerful websites and portals through a number of clicks with the mouse. Some of the elements that users can add to these website or portals include calendars, polls, a FAQ section, discussion forums, and a number of other helpful features. Finally, the website for Metadot Portal Server contains a number of useful suggestions for new users. The Portal Server is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Edgar Allan Poes birthday celebrated once again by unknown admirer

Mystery fan marks Poes birthday
NPR: Edgar Allan Poes Raven [RealPlayer]
E.A. Poe Society of Baltimore
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
Edgar Allan Poe Letters at the University of Virginia
The Raven Society of the University of Virginia [Macromedia Flash Player]

One would have to be a fairly devoted admirer of Edgar Allan Poe to brave the cold temperatures of Baltimore in January to deposit three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac on the famous authors grave in commemoration of his birthday. Thats precisely what happened this past Wednesday when the Poe Toaster (as he is known) deposited these items to pay homage to Poe on the anniversary of his birthday. For the 56th consecutive year, a man dressed in a heavy coat visited the tomb with these offerings. The three white roses are believed to honor Poe, his mother-in-law and his wife, all of whom are also buried in the graveyard. Regrettably, this year saw a bit of a disturbance as several spectators on hand for the event confronted the curator of the Poe house and adjoining museum, demanding that he reveal the identity of this mysterious visitor. Apparently, the current mysterious visitor is one of the sons of the original admirer who began the tradition in 1949. Finally, the brand and vintage of the cognac left on Poes grave also remains shrouded in mystery.

The first link leads to a piece from CNN that talks about the recent visit by this stranger to Poes grave during the wee small hours of the morning of January 19. The second link will take visitors to a nice archived piece from NPR about the creation of the much-loved poem, The Raven. Additionally, visitors can listen to legendary British actor Basil Rathbones enduring recital of the poem. The third link is to the homepage of the E.A. Poe Society of Baltimore, and here visitors can learn about the Poe house and museum in Baltimore, and read articles about his life and browse a list of upcoming events sponsored by the Society. The fourth link leads to a site provided by the National Park Service which offers some information about the Poe house in Philadelphia where he wrote some of his most beloved works. The fifth link leads to a nice digital collection offered by the University of Virginia (where he attended school for a time) that includes a host of letters written by Poe during his time as a young man. The final link leads to the homepage of The Raven Society of the University of Virginia, which is a honorary society at the University of Virginia. As this group has been charged with maintaining Poes former room at the University, it has a few nice tidbits of material here that offer a glimpse into his life as a student. [KMG]

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

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