The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 5

February 4, 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 third 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 Winter Depression. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Tritium/Helium Dating.

Research and Education

Animal Diversity Web [QuickTime, RealPlayer]

Online since 1995, the Animal Diversity Web is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, and classification sponsored by a very capable team of scholars at the University of Michigan. From the homepage, visitors can look through thousands of individual species accounts. Each account may include such features as extended descriptions, pictures of each species, and in some cases, recordings of sounds and short movies. One particularly nice feature of the site is that it effectively facilitates inquiry-driven learning through its innovative search tool. One very fun element of the site is the virtual museum which includes a number of representative photographs of various animal species, and several hundred virtual reality movies of skulls. This feature and the many other useful elements of the site provide a very thorough and well-thought out educational resource for students with a penchant for a host of disciplines ranging from biology to zoology. [KMG]

The Encyclopedia of World History

The good people at have long prided themselves on providing a host of important works online for the benefit of those seeking online edification. One of the more recent volumes they have placed on their site is The Encyclopedia of World History, edited by Peter N. Stearns and 30 fellow historians. As the preface to this, the sixth edition, announces: "Simply put, this is a volume that has always intended to convey the key features of world history". This is no small order, and this edition represents a substantial revision from previous editions, as it also reflects the growing body of knowledge about the histories of regions outside of Western Europe and North America. The encyclopedia is complemented by a number of illustrative and informative maps, including ones that visualize India before the Muslim conquest and Italy in the 15th century. Users of the volume are welcome to use the search engine to find the information they so desire, or they may browse at their leisure. [KMG]

Mapping the Risks: Assessing the Homeland Security Implications of Publicly Available Geospatial Information [pdf]

After the events of September 11th, the United States government and its diverse set of agencies became very concerned about the amount of publicly available geospatial information. The primary concern was that terrorists and other militant groups could use such data to attack key parts of the country's infrastructure. Utilizing the resources of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, a team of researchers at the RAND Corporation wrote this report in order to develop a framework for assessing the implications of making such geospatial information available. The report itself consists of five chapters and an appendix that details which federal agencies were examined, which federal geospatial data sources where identified, and so on. Chapters contained within the work include one on key policy recommendations and another that outlines what the key information needs of potential attackers might be. [KMG]

Our Earth as Art [jpeg, tiff]

The USGS and NASA have teamed up to bring the public stunning images of the Earth taken by the Landsat-7 satellite and the Terra Satellite's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER). Visitors can browse the images by continent or alphabetically. The images can be used as supplementary materials during educational lectures about rock outcrops, deserts, deltas, clouds, glaciers, and many other earth science topics. The website allows users to download the images as posters and wallpaper. This site is also reviewed in the February 4, 2005_NSDL Physical Sciences Report_. [RME]

Sila: Clue in to Climate Change

Understanding climate change can be examined through a number of lenses, including both rigorous scientific inquiry and through the perspective of persons living in various areas which happen to be undergoing significant climatic transitions. This website, sponsored by the Canadian Museum of Nature, examines climate change in the Arctic, and takes its inspiration from the Inuktitut word "sila", which means "climate and all things that surround us". Designed in particular for young people, the site includes interactive activities, first-hand narratives from those who live in the Arctic region, and an area where people can learn how to increase awareness of the rapidly changing situation in the region. Another key component of the site is the thorough glossary, which will prove to be quite useful as visitors may look up unfamiliar terms. Finally, after browsing through the site's offerings, visitors may want to take their online quiz. [KMG]

Dickinson Electronic Archives

Under the able direction of a highly qualified board of editors, the Dickinson Electronic Archives is "devoted to the study of Emily Dickinson, her writing practices, writings directly influencing her work, and critical and creative writings generated by her work." The Archives has been online since 1997, and contains a nice selection of her correspondence with friends and colleagues and a number of critical articles by contributors to the project, including the pieces "Emily Dickinson Writing a Poem" and "The Letter-Poem, A Dickinson Genre". A real highlight of the site is the Responses area, as visitors can browse through a section titled "Titanic Operas". The title for the section comes from Dickinson's famous response to her contemporary, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Here visitors can read the responses of various well-known poets and authors (such as Joyce Carol Oates and Gwendolyn Brooks) to her works. [KMG]

SINGOV [pdf]

The city-state of Singapore is widely considered to be one of the most efficiently run places in the world, and it is not so surprising to learn that the government has had an online presence since 1995. This website serves as the jumping off point for learning about various government branches and agencies, along with providing important resources for its own citizens and for people seeking to do business there. For those looking to find out about "who's who" in the Singaporean government, they should point their browsers to the government section on the homepage. Here they can learn about the various leaders within the government, along with learning about the governmental hierarchy. Users will also want to take a look at the information and policies section of the site, as they can learn about the current governmental policies as regards the creative industries, defense, and economic development. Overall, this is a good site that provides a glimpse into the workings of Singapore's government. [KMG]

Harvard@Home: Reproductive Health in the 21st Century [QuickTime, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player]

From Harvard@Home, this website presents more than seven hours of video clips from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study's third-annual conference on women, gender, and society held in October of 2004. Titled Reproductive Health in the 21st Century, the "conference examines a broad array of issues surrounding reproductive health and features panels of distinguished physicians, scholars, and health policy advocates discussing the scientific, ethical, and social dimensions of medical and technological advances in the field and their global implications." Conference topics include The Politics and Ethics of Bodily Integrity; In Vitro Fertilization in the Muslim Middle East; Women Workers as Reproducers; and The Moral Issue of Sex Selection, to name a few. In addition to the video clips, the website contains topic summaries, short biographies of the numerous panelists, a feedback survey form, and links to related Harvard@Home programs. This site is also reviewed in the February 4, 2005_NSDL Life Sciences Report_. [NL]

General Interest

Great Performances [RealPlayer]

With a well-established track record, the Great Performances series on PBS continues to offer a host of very compelling broadcasts ranging from dance recitals to musical theater. This well-thought-out website allows visitors to learn about the program schedule, offer their own feedback on the programs, and, most importantly, view a host of multimedia presentations related to the programs themselves. These features include a companion to the production of "Candide" by Leonard Bernstein and the "Name the Strauss Tune" feature, where visitors may test their knowledge of his music through a short musical quiz. The rest of the site is divided into six sections, dedicated to each of the "lively arts" that Great Performances explores in each season. The cinema area is a good place to browse around in, and visitors can learn about some of their most recent programs, including the behind-the-scenes look into the 1961 film "The Misfits" and a special on that legendary animator, Chuck Jones. The Dialogue area is also worth a look as it contains archived interviews with artists and performers such as Renee Fleming, Bryn Terfel, and Andrea Bocelli. [KMG]

The State of Public School Integration: Brown vs. Board of Education at 50

This website is based on the research of John R. Logan, director of the Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4), an institute at Brown University that uses GIS technology to conduct spatial analysis of traditional sociological issues, such as race, school integration, public health, crime, and economic conditions. At the Cases and Data section, users will find a searchable database of information on desegregation court cases and trends in racial composition of elementary schools for 1968-71, 1989-90 and 1999-2000. A search by district will retrieve information on court cases in that district, if any were brought, and tables showing racial and ethnic composition of the elementary student population. Other sections of the site include reports prepared by Logan and staff dating from 2001-2004, such as The Continuing Legacy of the Brown Decision: Court Action and School Segregation, 1960-2000; a history of the Brown decision; the relationship between Brown and the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind Act; and a collection of related Web sites on Brown's 50th anniversary and the civil rights movement in the US. [DS]

BOOK [Macromedia Flash Player]

The Web continues to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of creative and innovative artistic collaborations, and the BOOK project is definitely one of those projects worth a look. During 36 weeks, a sketchbook was sent in random order among four artists. Two of these artists were in Brooklyn, and two of them were in Belfast. The process started in June 2003, and by the time the project was completed in February 2004, the book had logged over 60,000 miles. On the site, visitors can view hundreds of images from the finished product, and listen to the artist's commentaries as well. The artists profiles are quite nice as well, and visitors also have the opportunity to take a look at related products created to celebrate the work's completion. [KMG]

Dallas Museum of Art

Organized in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art has continued to grown by leaps and bounds since its humble beginnings. Fortunately for interested parties, the Museum has developed a substantial web presence that includes a nice overview of its primary collections, information about visiting the Museum, and a selection of educational resources. The collections page is a good place to start perusing the variety of objects held by the Museum. The Ancient American art area contains a host of lovely items, including a ceremonial mask from the Calima region of Columbia and a Peruvian tunic produced by the Incans. Along with learning about the Museum's permanent collection, visitors can also learn about special collections, such as a recent visiting exhibition about China's forbidden city and also the Grant Hill Collection of African-American Art. [KMG]

Spirituality in Higher Education [pdf]

There has always been a great interest in the spiritual beliefs of young people, and in the past few decades, an increasing interest in the beliefs of those young people in colleges and universities around the United States. One group that is intently interested in this topic is the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California at Los Angeles. The Institute's primary agenda includes generating empirically based insights on "the trends, patterns, and principles of spiritual growth during the college years" and disseminating its research findings to various stakeholders. The pilot survey (which was first administered in 2003) is available for the Web-browsing public's consideration here, along with a newsletter and some preliminary findings based on data from the surveys. [KMG]

Airline Meals

Several decades ago, airline meals may have been the main reason that planes carried airline sickness bags, but in the past few years the food has improved by leaps and bounds from an international perspective. As a banner on the homepage declares, this is "the world's first and leading site about nothing but airline food." Amazingly enough, there is a section on the site dedicated to airline catering news and another one where visitors can discuss various issues related to airline food. The real focus of the site are the almost 11,000 images of various airline meals, culled from 439 airlines, taken by a host of contributors. Here visitors may compare the relative merits of recent meals offered by Air India to those offered by Royal Jordanian Airlines. Of course, visitors will definitely want to take a gander at the advertisements of airline food from the past and the behind-the-scenes look of the world of airline catering. [KMG]

Wait Wait-Don't Tell Me! [RealPlayer]

Stage director, essayist, extra in a Michael Jackson Video: Simply put, Peter Sagal has done it all through his long career in the entertainment business. With such a resume, it make sense that he is the host of the popular National Public Radio Program, "Wait Wait-Don't Tell Me!". This weekly hour-long quiz program originates out of Chicago's NPR station WBEZ, and allows listeners to match their wits against a number of informed news and entertainment personalities. Some of the regular gadflies on the show include P.J. O'Rourke, Mo Rocca, Paula Poundstone, and Roxanne Roberts. As might be expected, visitors to the site can listen to the most recent edition of the show, or peruse the archive to revisit a particular show from the past few years. For those persons that take a fancy to the program, there is also an opportunity to find out how they may be able to attend a live performance of the show. [KMG]

Network Tools

Newsplorer 0.54

There are hundreds of news syndication feeds available on the Web, and it may be a bit too difficult at times to keep track of the latest news. With this edition of Newsplorer, users can keep on top of their favorite RSS feeds, and also group them by category. The program periodically updates all news sources and displays the most recent results in the system tray. Additionally, visitors can pause Newsplorer, thereby maintaining the current group of headlines on their screen. This version is compatible with systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

eNewsletter Manager Free Edition 2.1.5

If you are in charge of sending out an electronic newsletter for a group of colleagues or friends with similar interests, you will want to take a look at this rather handy application. This free version of eNewsletter Manager allows users to manage up to three databases, automatically update the database, and send personalized emails. This application is compatible with all operating systems running Windows 98 and higher. [KMG]

In The News

Political situation in Nepal attracts attention of world leaders

Nepal gripped by political crisis
Nepal King names new Cabinet
Q&A: Nepal crisis
World Bank: Nepal [pdf],,menuPK:148707~pagePK:141159~piPK:141110~theSitePK:223555,00.html
Kantipur Online

This week the political climate in Nepal changed dramatically as King Gyanendra placed the prime minister and members of the cabinet under house arrest, and then proceeded to declare a state of emergency. Shortly after this action was taken, flights to the capital city of Kathmandu were cancelled, phone lines were cut, and Nepal's press was censored. The king faces a rather difficult battle, as the country is now involved in a power struggle that involves the monarchy, Nepal's parliamentary parties, and the Maoist rebel movement. Many persons in Nepal have always been skeptical of the king's commitment to democracy and his ability to bring the Maoist rebels back to the political bargaining table for extended talks. This task may prove too difficult for any group or individual to accomplish, as the basic aim of the rebel faction is to abolish the monarchy and establish a communist republic. International leaders have been quite vocal about condemning the king's recent actions, and U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan called these developments "a serious setback for the country".

The first link leads to a piece from BBC News that offers an overview of the recent events in Nepal. The second link will take visitors to a story from the Times of India that talks about the new cabinet named by the king this week. The third link leads to a very helpful piece (again from the BBC) that provides answers to questions about the crisis in Nepal. The fourth link whisks visitors away to the World Bank's website dedicated to providing information about its work in Nepal. The fifth link takes visitors to the Kantipur Online website, where individuals can read current news stories and also peruse other English-language news sources in Nepal. The final link leads to the NepalOnline website, which also serves as a clearinghouse of information on the country. [KMG]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The Scout Report.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2005.

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2005. 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.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

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.