The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 6

February 11, 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 third issue of the fourth volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Telematics.

Research and Education

National Environment Research Council [pdf]

Since 1965, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has been the leading funding agency for academic research and training in the environmental sciences at higher education institutions across the United Kingdom. Guests perusing the site with a penchant for research any of these related subjects will want to take a look at the funding guide (available here) and the extensive section dedicated to fellowships and grant opportunities. The site also contains a number of general interest publications, such as NERC's quarterly magazine, Planet Earth. The magazine is specifically designed for non-specialists, and the most recent issue contains pieces on secondary forest wildlife in the Brazilian Amazon and the geology of Edinburgh. Additionally, the Science Insight area of the site serves as a clearinghouse for public materials designed to provide concise and insightful synopses of the work that is done under the auspices of the NERC. [KMG]

We the People: Women and Men in the United States [pdf]

While the title of this paper may not immediately strike the casual reader as exciting, this rather well-written special report from the Census Bureau is worth taking a look at. Authored by Renee E. Spraggins, this 19-page report contains some quite interesting findings, and is based on information collected during the most recent census. Additionally, the report offers this information in the context of comparison with data collected from the 1970, 1980, and 1990 censuses. Some of the findings include the observation that the current trend towards women remaining single for a longer period persisted through the past several censuses. One finding that could have some interesting policy implications was that more older women than older men were living alone. Another particularly positive finding was that the educational attainment rate of women had continued to rise substantially over the past several decades. As with other reports issued by the agency, the document is amply illustrated by a host of figures and charts. [KMG]

The Tertullian Project

Despite the fact that he did not write a systematic theology, Tertullian remains one of the most studied early Christian theologians, and some have even called him the first Protestant. After converting to Christianity in the year 197, he became a formidable defender of the faith, and later became known for his many writings, most notably Apologeticus and Ad Nationes. This particular site is maintained by Roger Pearse, who graduated from Merton College at Oxford, and consistently adds new and informative material to the site. Tertullian neophytes will want to read the brief overview of his life provided here, and then perhaps continue on to one of the full-text translations of his many works provided here. The site also contains a fine set of bibliographies, translations, and the "wit and wisdom" of Tertullian. [KMG]

National Intelligence Council [pdf]

The origins of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) can be traced back to the period after World War II when there was increased interest in providing substantial research on subjects of national security interest and their likely outcomes. Officially created in 1979, the NIC reports directly to the director of the CIA. The NIC performs a number of outreach functions, including reaching out to non-government experts in academia and the private sector and providing a focal point for policy-makers interested in the organization's diverse areas of inquiry. Scholars and the general public will enjoy browsing through their recent publications area, which features documents such as "Mapping the Global Future". Visitors who wish to delve deeper into the ways in which the NIC devises its studies will appreciate the section dedicated to explaining analytic methodologies. Historians and political scientists alike will want to take a look at the declassified National Intelligence Estimates on China from the period 1948 to 1976. [KMG]

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage [RealPlayer, pdf]

Widely considered one of the most important centers of its kind, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is dedicated to "promoting the understanding and continuity of diverse, contemporary grassroots cultures in the United States and around the world". The Center is responsible for producing the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, coordinating the Folkways Recordings, and conducting ethnographic and cultural heritage policy-oriented research. First-time visitors to their site will want to begin by learning about the center's mission and recent work by perusing "The Center" section, then perhaps by learning about various internships and fellowships within the "Opportunities" area. Students and the general public will enjoy the various online exhibitions offered here in the "Explore Culture" area, as they cover subjects as diverse as mid-Atlantic maritime culture and the notion of what "borders" are. [KMG]

Number Watch

John Brignell, Professor Emeritus from the Department of Electronics & Computer Science at the University of Southampton, is the author of this informal website "devoted to the monitoring of the misleading numbers that rain down on us via the media." Brignell says he aims to "nail" a few of the "Single Issue Fanatics (SIFs), politicians, bureaucrats, quasi-scientists (junk, pseudo- or just bad)," who use misleading numbers to write catchy articles or who try to keep numbers away from public notice. Since April 2000, he has been posting a "number of the month" as well as a "number for the year," which offer his commentary on media usage of misleading numbers and explanations for why the numbers are misleading. He also posts book reviews and an extensive list of online resources on statistics and statistics education. The FAQ section includes answers to some interesting questions, such as "Is there such a thing as average global temperature?" and some more basic questions such as "What is the Normal Distribution and what is so normal about it?" The Bits and Pieces section includes a variety of short articles on statistics and his definitions for some terms he uses on the website. Visitors are also invited to join the discussion forum (complete with a few advertisements) and view comments by others who want to discuss "wrong numbers in science, politics and the media." A few comments sent to Brignell and his responses are also posted online. This site is also reviewed in the February 11, 2005_NSDL MET Report_. [VF]

Jack London's Writings [Last reviewed in the October 18, 1996 Scout Report]

Despite the fact that he passed away at the relatively young age of 40, Jack London lived a life that truly lived up to the credo of "rugged individualism". By the time he passed away on November 22, 1916, London had explored the South Pacific, written several important socialist tracts, and authored dozens of short stories, some of which continue to be perennial favorites. This online collection, provided by the Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE project, provides a wealth of material on London, including full-text versions of nearly all of his books, primary documents, and detailed bibliographies and finding aids. The site also provides a biography by Dr. Clarice Stasz of Sonoma State University, a good selection of photographs of London and his family, along with frequently-asked-questions section. Finally, visitors may also want to sign up for the Jack London electronic mailing list, which is intended to allow scholars and the general public to communicate about the author and related subjects. [KMG]

Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits [Macromedia Flash Player]

The masterful work of Rembrandt van Rijn encompasses a wide variety of subject matter, and his paintings have been the focus of much critical inquiry during the past three centuries. His religious portraits painted in the late 1650s and early 1660s are the focus of this current exhibit offered by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Bringing together 22 of these portraits in one place, the exhibit contains half-length images of the Virgin, Christ, and unidentified saints and monks. The exhibit is nicely complemented by this fine online interactive feature which allows visitors to view (in exquisite detail) these provocative and highly emotional works of art. The built-in viewing device allows visitors the ability to focus in on the hand of the apostle Bartholomew and the expressive face of Rembrandt's rendering of Christ. The site is rounded out with a biographical essay on Rembrandt and a listing of other events related to the exhibit sponsored by the National Gallery of Art. [KMG]

General Interest

Ecological Footprint Quiz

In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the consumption of various resources (both renewable and non-renewable) throughout the world and the amount of land required to support these resource demands. Based on a complex calculus of elements, this is referred to as an ecological "footprint". The Redefining Progress organization has created this very educational online quiz that allows individuals to learn how large their ecological "footprint" is, based on 15 questions about their personal lifestyle habits. After responding to these questions, visitors will be able to compare their ecological footprint to what other people use around the globe. The information provided will help create discussion for persons interested in this subject, and also serve as a frame for looking at ways in which people may be able to effectively reduce their ecological footprint. [KMG]

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience [Macromedia Flash Player]

Presented by the Schomburg Center, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience gathers a massive amount of material documenting African-American migrations from the 15th to the 21st centuries-more than 16,500 pages of texts, over 8,000 pictures, accompanied by more than 60 maps. The site is organized into 13 migrations, such as The Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1450s-1867; Haitian Immigration: 18th and 19th Centuries and Haitian Immigration: 20th Century; and The Great Migration, 1916-1930. Each migration includes five units: Narrative, Illustrations, Research resources, Maps, and Lesson plans. For example, The Great Migration begins with a multi-section narrative that lays out reasons why Black people left the South in large numbers, how they travelled North, and what they did when they got there. Throughout the narratives, highlighted words link to a glossary. Illustrations such as a panel from Jacob Lawrence's The Migration of the Negro, a Margaret Bourke-White photo showing Black workers on an assembly line at a meatpacking plant, and a Jim Crow Car to the North, can be viewed along with the text, or visitors can concentrate on images by selecting "View Image Gallery". In addition to browsing by migration, it is also possible to browse by geography or timeline, and to search across texts, illustrations' captions, maps, lesson plans, and the glossary for keywords or phrases. [DS]


With all of the sophisticated mapping and GIS applications commonly available today, it would make sense that someone would develop a site where visitors could upload their photographs onto an interactive map. Mappr is such a website, and it serves as "an interactive environment for exploring place, based on the photos people take." Mappr takes the photos uploaded to the Flickr photograph management-and-storage system, and maps them on to a map of the United States based on their location of origin. Visitors to the site will want to read about the methodology behind the system, and then peruse some of the recent images that have been placed on the site. Using a image scale bar, visitors can enlarge the size of the images, or just click on the ones that strike their fancy. In many cases, the photographs are "tagged" with additional information that assist Mappr with assigning a geographic location to each image. [KMG]

Alliance for Community Technology [pdf]

The exponential growth of the Internet in the late 1990s left many commentators wondering whether or not this new form of communication and information dissemination could in fact bridge certain long-standing divides, and in creating new alliances. One such group that was established to look at these questions was the Alliance for Community Technology (ACT), which was launched in 1997 as part of a partnership between the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the University of Michigan's School of Information. The fundamental mission of the ACT is "to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations." Visitors to the site will want to begin by looking at the Alliance's various outreach initiatives and globe-spanning projects, such as those that are aimed at improving reproductive health services in Latin America. The ACT has also generated a number of stimulating research papers which they have placed online, including "A Conversation About E-Research" and "Digital Libraries and Digital Library Research". [KMG]

University of Virginia Online Visual History

A number of universities have taken great pains to place historical materials from their past online, both for scholarly purposes and as a way to allow people some window into the institution's history and development. The Scout Report is glad to report that the University of Virginia's Special Collections Library has created this rather fine online visual history collection. The photos and documents are taken from a variety of sources, including the school's own Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, its News Office, and even a few from students. Visitors can search the entire online collection, or they can also opt to view a few major image categories, such as those dedicated to athletic events and that most famous structure designed by Thomas Jefferson, the Rotunda. [KMG]

"I Do Solemnly Swear": Inaugural Materials from the Collections of the Library of Congress

At the presidential inauguration of John F. Kennedy, that austere man of letters, Robert Frost, had intended to read a poem entitled "Dedication", but was unable to do so because of the glare of the sun, which effectively prevented him from seeing (and reading) the text. Instead Frost read "The Gift Outright" from memory, and yet another legendary moment in presidential inauguration lore occurred. To pay homage to the many compelling stories and documents of past presidential inaugurations, the Library of Congress has created this online exhibit (along with a physical exhibit) that presents materials from 18 of these events. Some of the documents featured here include a banner from the 1868 campaign of Ulysses S. Grant and the famed one-sentence declaration by then President Calvin Coolidge which read simply: "I do not choose to run for President in the nineteen twenty-eight." [KMG]

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State [Macromedia Flash Player, RealPlayer]

As the series producer, Laurence Rees, mentions in the introduction to this engaging online presentation, "Auschwitz is unique. It has a physical beginning in May 1940 and physical ending in January 1945, and is the site of the single largest mass murder in the history of humanity." The overall focus of this website is to offer an informed and nuanced attempt to understand the extermination process and of the mentality of the people who perpetrated these heinous crimes. Here visitors can learn about the PBS television series about Auschwitz in great detail, and also explore (through the use of some well-designed interactive features) the actual layout and structure of the camps themselves and their various elements. Perhaps the most dramatic and emotional part of this site is the four-channel video installation, "Dachau 1974". Created by the pioneering video artists Beryl Korot, this intimate reflection on the Holocaust should not be missed. [KMG]

Network Tools

SpyWare Doctor 3.1

Spyware continues to evolve and become increasingly more sophisticated over time, and as a result, this latest version of SpyWare Doctor will prove to be most valuable to those concerned with such issues. The application provides protection against adware, keyloggers, adbots, spybots, browser hijackers, and phishing attacks. With this free version, users can perform scans and remove threats relatively quickly. SpyWare Doctor 3.1 is compatible only with Microsoft Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

XNotesPlus 3.7.0

XNotesPlus 3.7.0 is a full-feature personal information manager that deploys a sophisticated notes facility which allows users to enter complete contact information, "to do" lists, and memos. The program also includes features such as a note manager, a note emailing interface, and the ability to transport these notes to PDA devices. Additionally, users may configure the program to their own desires, and import or export various text files. This version of XNotes Plus is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Ban on smoking in Cuba begins this week

Banning smoke in the land of Havanas
Cuba snuffs indoor smokes
NPR: Smoking restrictions, and a New Era, for Cuba [RealPlayer]
Smoking ban proposed for England
Factfile: Recent smoking bans around the world,0005.htm
UW-Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention [pdf]

Some commentators have suggested that the first place Christopher Columbus saw a tobacco leaf being smoked was on the island of Cuba. If this was in fact the case, it is more than a bit ironic that some of the world's most restrictive sanctions on smoking took affect there this week. Starting this week, there is no smoking allowed in enclosed public buildings, no cigarettes may be sold within 100 meters of schools, and all cigarette machines have been banned from the country. Of course, most Cubans are used to having heavy amounts of government involvement in their lives, especially when one considers that the state dictates who may buy a car or travel. Fidel Castro says he has not smoked for more than 20 years, and views the policy as a welcome change, though interestingly enough, the country will still continue its policy of subsidizing cigarette sales. The reaction has been mixed within the country so far, and one Cuban remarked this week "Can you imagine living in the best land in the world for cigars and being told you cannot smoke? It's insane."

The first link will take visitors to a news piece from the BBC that talks about the reaction to the ban, which took effect this week. The second link takes visitors to a Washington Times article from Tuesday that offers additional insight into this controversial decision. The third link leads to a rather nice commentary on the subject by the noted poet and raconteur, Andrei Codrescu. The fourth link leads to another BBC piece that discusses a recent British government white paper that outlines a comprehensive plan to ban smoking in every caf, restaurant, and most pubs over the next four years. The fifth link leads to a helpful "scorecard" offered by the Hindustan Times that lets visitors know about recent smoking bans in a number of countries over the past several years. The sixth link leads to the homepage of the University of Wisconsin's Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, where visitors can learn about the group's various research projects and outreach activities. The final link leads to the homepage of the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (FOREST), which seeks to "defend the interests of adults who choose to smoke". [KMG]

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

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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.

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

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