January 28, 2005
A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- European Union: Regional Policy
- Alabama Mosaic
- Kansas City Hopewell
- An Uncertain Road: Muslims and the Future of Europe
- World Meteorological Organization
- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology: Biologically Inspired Research Group
- Education Next
- Civil War Maps
- Heritage Scrapbooks
- Mercury Action
- American Institute of Architects
- Simon Wiesenthal Center: Multimedia Learning Center Online
- Didaskalia: Ancient Theater Today
- The Ballerina Gallery
The second issue of the fourth volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Women in Science and Mathematics.
Since the creation of the European Union (EU), there has always been a great deal of concern among its member nations about the welfare of disparities of income and opportunity between its regions. The recent entry of 10 new member countries in May 2004 has widened these gaps, and made the need for a cohesive regional policy all the more pressing. In the words of this regional policy site created by the EU, "regional policy transfers resources from affluent to poorer regions". This site provides a host of documents that detail these various policies and implementation tools, including the very useful overview document, "Working for the Regions", which is available in a number of languages. The site also contains a number of legal documents related to the ways in which these polices are implemented, and what policy instruments have been most successful thus far. [KMG]
Designed as a collaborative statewide initiative, The Cornerstone Project is a way to make various historical treasures from Alabama's archives, libraries, museums, and other repositories accessible over the Web both to residents of the state and a diverse set of interested parties. The funding for this project came from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and includes materials from 13 different organizations, including Auburn University, Spring Hill College, and the Birmingham Public Library. All of the collections may be accessed through a helpful search engine, or browsed by thematic category. The categories include education, folklife, literature, religion, and transportation. The cities and towns area offers a nice glimpse into urban life in the American South, and includes several dozen excellent images taken from the Birmingham Historical Photo Collection. Visitors with a penchant for steamboats will appreciate the rather interesting collection of digitized steamboat ephemera, most of which dates from the post-Civil War period. [KMG]
In 2003, the University of Kansas Museum of Anthropology was awarded a Digital Library Initiatives grant for a project that would result in this rather useful and interesting digitization project. The hope was that the museum would be able to digitize some of the excellent collection of material recovered from the 30 Kansas City Hopewell archaeological sites that are located around the junction of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. Most of the sites date to the Middle Woodland or Early Ceramic period, which ranges from 100 B.C. to 700 A.D. One of the fine features of this site is the 3D images area, which includes 32 excavated items that visitors may view in their entirety. The site is rounded out by a selection of helpful suggested readings and a collection of external links to sites such as those of the Society for American Archaeology and ArchNet. [KMG]
A number of policy-makers from around Europe and elsewhere have commented that the successful integration of Muslims into their respective countries will continue to be a critical issue for decades. This December 2004 report, authored by David Masci, addresses that very subject, and is part of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life publication series. In the work, Masci suggests that Muslim immigration into Europe poses special challenges, largely due to the fact that most nations in Europe are constructed around a population with a common ethnicity. Masci also suggests that another possible crossroads involves the proposed (and highly debated) entry of Turkey into the European Union. While formal talks with Ankara are scheduled to begin in 2005, Masci goes on to suggest that the argument about Turkey's entrance into the EU could be problematic due to the fact that recent polls show that majorities in many European countries remain opposed to Turkish accession. This report is definitely worth a look, particularly to those people with an interest in immigration and strategies of effective assimilation. [KMG]
International cooperation is considered one of the key components for monitoring global weather and climate, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has been one of the leaders in this effort since its founding in 1950. The WMO was created under the auspices of the United Nations, and continues to facilitate the "free and unrestricted exchange of data and information, products and services in real- or near-real time on matters relating to safety and security of society, economic well being and the prevention of the environment". A good place to start is the homepage link to "MeteoWorld", which is the WMO's newsletter. Here visitors can learn about recently issued publications, upcoming events, and WMO activities. Of course, visitors will appreciate the publications section as well, which includes materials published in English, French, Spanish, and Russian. Rounding out the site is a very helpful link to the World Weather Information Service, which offers official weather forecasts from selected cities around the globe, as reported by the National Meteorological Services worldwide. [KMG]
The School of Computer and Communication Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology is one of the major European centers of teaching and research in information technology. This website describes the research of the Biologically Inspired Research Group. Its research focuses on the intersection between computational neuroscience, robotics, nonlinear dynamical systems, and adaptive algorithms. Inspired by biological systems and trained in the fields of modeling, optimization, and control, the researchers are working to produce novel types of robots with adaptive locomotion and sensorimotor coordination abilities, and in using the robots to investigate hypotheses of how central nervous systems implement these abilities in animals. The Research section describes some of the group's work in numerical simulations of locomotion and movement control, sensorimotor coordination, dynamic simulators of articulated rigid bodies, statistical learning algorithms, evolutionary algorithms, nonlinear dynamical systems, humanoid robotics, amphibious articulated robotics, and modular robotics. Some sections are still under construction. Journal publications, as well as descriptions of student projects and videos demonstrating their accomplishments, are posted online. This site is also reviewed in the January 28, 2005_NSDL MET Report_. [VF]
Published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Education Next is a journal designed to explore the various issues involved in transforming K-12 education in the United States. As the project's mission statement notes, "Education Next partakes of no program, campaign, or ideology. It goes where the evidence points". With an editorial board that includes such notable educational researchers as Diane Ravitch and E.D. Hirsch Jr., this journal is definitely thought-provoking and worth a look. On this site, visitors can read selected full-text articles from the current issue, and from previous issues dating back to 2001. Some of the highlights from the Winter 2005 issue include pieces on character education, the training of future educators at various universities, and the salaries of teachers. Additionally, each issue also includes a number of book reviews and commentary from the journal's editors. [KMG]
Accuracy in mapping is crucial, and during the Civil War in the United States this important skill was vital to a successful campaign. In one of its most ambitious digital collections to date, the American Memory project at the Library of Congress has placed approximately 2240 Civil War maps and charts in this archive, along with 200 maps from the Library of Virginia and 400 maps from the Virginia Historical Society. Visitors can jump right in by browsing the entire collection by place, subject, creator, or title. Some real gems include the multitude of maps and views of Vicksburg in Mississippi and those of the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia. The site also contains a number of classroom resources for educators, and a very nice essay (divided into seven sections) by Richard W. Stephenson that explores the history of mapping the Civil War. [KMG]
Despite the obvious advantage of sharing various photographs over the Internet, there is a certain charm to older scrapbooks that bring together all kinds of random objects, clippings, and so on. Culled from the collection of one Dr. Gary Kelly, these online scrapbooks date from the early 18th century to the present day, and offer a lovely selection of the art and personal insights afforded by the practice of creating scrapbooks. Currently, the site contains 21 scrapbooks, which may be browsed by title, author, document type, and category. Users may want to begin their journey through the scrapbooks by looking at the work of Sophia Jemmett, who created her own scrapbook in 1835. Here they will find a host of images and drawings that Ms. Jemmett found worthy enough to include within the work's 125 pages. Another scrapbook of particular interest is the one created by Marjorie Simpson. Her scrapbook begins during her days at the University of Oregon in the 1920s and continues up to the year 1955. All in all, this site offers a good introduction to some rather intriguing scrapbooks. [KMG]
Created by the Physicians for Social Responsibility, this website provides information about the effects of mercury emissions on public health. This material will be of great interest to health care professionals and interested citizens and includes fact sheets on the levels of mercury found in fish and on recent scholarship that looks at the relationship between the location of power plants and increased levels of mercury. The research section of the site is a good central location to find reports from the Environmental Protection Agency on mercury and mercury emissions, along with medical research on the toxicological effects of mercury. The emerging science area also allows a glimpse into more current research on some of these same topics. Finally, visitors may also view a slide show on mercury that may be of use for those seeking to inform their colleagues or neighbors about this topic. [KMG]
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has served as the primary professional organization for architects for close to 150 years, and is perhaps best known to the general public for its annual architectural and design awards. On the website, visitors can learn about the career opportunities for those interested in becoming an architect and read about various outreach efforts that the AIA is currently embarking on. The general public will appreciate the "Knowledge Communities" area, which gives access to the wealth of knowledge provided by AIA members in a number of different thematic areas, including historic preservation, religious architecture, and sustainable design. Additionally, visitors to the site can peruse the latest edition of AIAarchitect, which provides timely news to the architectural community throughout the United States. [KMG]
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has done the Web-browsing public a great service by placing this extremely comprehensive and authoritative multimedia archive online. Online since 1999, the Multimedia Learning Center provides access to some of the past virtual exhibits sponsored by the Center's Museum of Tolerance (including a fine one dedicated to Polish Jews), a host of teacher's resources, and a helpful frequently-asked-questions area. The FAQ area may be most helpful for students, as it contains an interactive glossary of the Holocaust, a timeline of the Holocaust, and answers to 36 commonly asked questions about the Holocaust. The special collections area of the site contains a number of relevant primary documents related to the Holocaust, though it should be noted that the majority of them are available only in German and Hebrew. [KMG]
The term Didaskalia is taken from the inscriptions used to record the outcomes of drama and music festivals in ancient Athens, and as such, serves as the name of this rather intriguing website. On the site, visitors will find the group's academic journal, a number of study resources, and an interactive discussion area known (appropriately) as the Agora. The archives of the journal stretch all the way back to 1994, but full-text articles don't appear in the archives until 1995. Some of the articles offered here include "Ancient Drama in Performance" and "Classics and Its Position in Future Cultural Politics". If they so desire, visitors may also elect to sign up to receive email updates about future issues of the journal and such. [KMG]
The art and skill involved in performing a well-executed pas de deux may be difficult to convey on a website, but in lieu of that, this site does serve as a nice homage to great ballerinas of the past and present. Created by Jorgen Wilhelmsson, this site provides photographs and brief biographical information about dozens of ballerinas, ranging from Diana Adams all the way to Svetlana Zakharova. For these profiles, Wilhelmsson has drawn on a number of sources, including The Encyclopedia of Dance & Ballet, The Oxford Dictionary of Dance, and the Russian Ballet Encyclopedia. Along with a selection of photographs, some of the profiles also contain links to official and fan-sponsored websites for each dancer. Finally, visitors may also want to peruse a collection of Wilhelmsson's own personal collection of ballet memorabilia. [KMG]
The newest version of the OmniWeb 5.1 Web browser contains a number of helpful features that will be most welcome to those looking for extra features as they surf the web. With this version, users will be able to create tabs in order to identify several web pages at once, create workspaces to save individual browsing sessions, and also auto-save browsing sessions to boot. This free version of OmniWeb 5.1 may be used for 30 days, and is compatible with operating systems running Mac OS 10.2 and higher. [KMG]
With the rising costs of phone service, this handy application may be worth giving a try. Skype 1.1. allows users to make phone calls using the Internet for free, and can also be used to send instant messages and transfer files. The sound quality is quite good, and there is end-to-end encryption of all calls. This version of Skype is compatible with all operating systems running Windows 2000 and higher and Mac OS X 10.3 and higher. [KMG]
S.F.s 17-Cent Solution: Stop throwing away grocery bags, save millions
San Francisco Department of the Environment
Environmental Protection Agency: Recycling [pdf]
Government of Ireland: Litter Pollution [pdf]
Cities around the world have been adopting various environmentally friendly policies during the past few years. Some cities have moved to make construction sites recycle materials, and still others, such as Chicago, have made a concerted effort to incorporate green building principles into their municipally financed structures. This past week, the city of San Francisco continued to consider whether it will recommend a 17-cent fee on each grocery bag, whether they be paper or plastic. The proposal requires an economic impact study and legislative review, so the measure is unlikely to take effect before the year 2006. One city legislator, Ross Mirkarimi, remarked that he hopes that such an effort will encourage consumers to change to using reusable cloth bags or recycled plastic and paper bags. One official from the Society of Plastics Industry was quick to respond, commenting that the figures quoted by San Franciscos Environment were quite inaccurate. Similar pieces of legislation passed in other places as of late, including Ireland, have met with success.
The first site will take visitors to a recent news piece from the San Francisco Chronicle that talks about the situation regarding the proposed piece of legislation. The second piece leads to a first-hand perspective on the benefits of such legislation from Paul Goettlich, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle this past Monday. The third link leads to a news article in the Guardian from last February that describes a new additive that is intended to allow plastic bags to degrade in a few months, rather than the usual few decades. The fourth link leads to the homepage of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, where users can learn about their various innovative programs and initiatives. The fifth link will take users to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys recycling page, where they may view facts and figures about recycling in different parts of the country. The final website will take visitors to the clearinghouse for the government of Irelands aggressive and rather successful litter prevention and control program. [KMG]
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