The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 7

February 18, 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 fourth 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 Biodiesel. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Quaternary Studies.

Research and Education

Interactive Dig: Hierakonpolis

During the past few years, Archaeology Magazine has seen fit to document a number of very worthwhile archaeological digs from across the globe. In recent years, the magazine has been out looking for shipwrecks off the Crimea Peninsula and searching for evidence of George Washingtons career as a whiskey distiller at Mount Vernon. Its most recent online feature will take visitors to Hierakonpolis, which is a crucial site for understanding the foundations of Egyptian civilization. The site is located approximately 400 miles south of Cairo, and happens to be the largest site of its kind from the Pre- and Protodynastic period, which lasted from 3800 to 3100 B.C. In the From the Field section, visitors can view essays that detail the various finds and discoveries of the past three years, complemented with some illustrative photographs and diagrams. Visitors who would like to know more about the participants on this dig should check out the staff profiles area and continue on to learn about some of the special meals that they experienced while they were in the field. [KMG]

The Cartographic Modeling Lab at the University of Pennsylvania [pdf]

While many schools no longer have academic departments devoted specifically to the discipline of geography, the almost innate human interest in mapping and analyzing various types of spatial data continues unabated. The Cartographic Modeling Lab at the University of Pennsylvania is an outstanding example of this trend, and their website contains a great deal of information on their work and their applied projects in and around the city of Philadelphia. The Lab is a joint venture of the School of Design and the School of Social Work at the University and many of their research projects reflect a rather novel and creative dedication to interdisciplinary approaches to various policy questions. Visitors will want to take a look at some of the group's recent projects, including a historical study of the trend of redlining in Philadelphia and an interactive database of murals throughout the city. [KMG]

Commercialism in Education Research Unit [pdf]

The Arizona State Universitys College of Education has a distinguished record of conducting important research through its numerous research centers and institutes. One of these groups is the Commercialism in Education Research Unit (CERU), which was formerly located at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The CERU conducts research about commercial activities in schools, and its staff members are guided by the belief that mixing commercial activities with public education raises fundamental issues of public policy, curriculum content, the proper relationship of educators to the students entrusted to them, and the values that the schools embody. The CERU is directed by Professor Alex Molnar, and visitors to the site will want to look through the various sections dedicated to their publications and annual reports. Educational administrators and policy-makers will want to hone in on the resources area, which provides access to helpful information on current guidelines for commercial activities in schools and news about pending litigation in this arena. [KMG]

Simple Machines

At this website, EdHeads, a nonprofit, offers five interactive, animated modules to educate second- through sixth-graders about simple machines. By identifying the many machines located throughout a house, students can learn about fulcrums, wheel and axles, levers, pulleys, inclined planes, and much more. The website is equipped with simple animations to help children understand how the machines work. After students have a handle on simple machines, they can begin to see how they work together to create compound machines. The website also provides a brief glossary summarizing nine types of simple machines. This site is also reviewed in the February 18, 2005_NSDL Physical Sciences Report_. [RME]

Alcohol, Temperance & Prohibition

That legendary man of letters, Samuel Johnson, once opined that Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult. Over the centuries, many have shared at least part of Johnsons sentiment as regards the temptations offered by spirits, and just as many have concerned themselves with the cause of cautioning others about alcohol and its potentially pernicious effects. The good people at Brown University have created this digital collection which includes a host of primary documents from the past several centuries, including broadsides, sheet music, and government publications. These items will be of great interest to anyone interested in the history of alcoholism, and how various forms of media were used to disseminate ideas and information about this phenomenon and the prohibition movement. Visitors can browse the collection by document creator, publisher, and general title. Another item of note here is the online essay Temperance and Prohibition Era Propaganda: A Study in Rhetoric by Leah Rae Berk. [KMG]

National Energy Foundation [pdf]

The National Energy Foundation (NEF) is a nonprofit educational organization that provides a host of educational materials and programs primarily related to discussing natural resources, technology, conservation, and the environment. The NEF also provides a number of teacher training and student programs that complement their existing work. Young people visiting the site will want to look over the student section which provides four purpose-built sites that provide information on earth sciences activities, environmental stewardship, and several other topical areas. Educators will want to take a look at the section provided for them, as it contains links to the NEFs educational catalog and information about upcoming workshops of interest. The site is rounded out by a links page that offers a host of topical links to other relevant science education sites, such as one on alternate fuel vehicles and the Captain Planet Foundation. [KMG]

The Goodspeed New Testament Manuscript Collection

Collections of ancient Christian manuscripts and texts have always been the province of bibliophiles, scholars, and erudite members of the clergy. One particular person who was quite interested in such manuscripts was the late Edgar J. Goodspeed. Born in tiny Quincy, Ill., Goodspeed went to study at the University of Chicago, and after completing his studies he spent a significant amount of time traveling abroad on the Continent. After this, he joined the Universitys faculty and became quite passionate about collecting New Testament manuscripts for the school. One of his stellar finds was of what became known as the Rockefeller McCormick New Testament, which was a complete Byzantine New Testament written in a fine cursive hand. Fortunately, the University of Chicago Librarys Digital Collections Project has digitized this entire manuscript (along with one other work in the collection), and has also planned to create a collection of high-quality digital images from the other 63 manuscripts. The site will definitely warrant several return visits, and visitors may also want to read the particulars detailing the creation of the project. [KMG]

North American Native Fishes Association

The North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA) works "to increase and disseminate knowledge about North America's native fishes and their habitats among aquarium hobbyists, biologists, fish and wildlife officials, anglers, educators, students, and others, through publications, electronic media, regional and national meetings, and other means." The NANFA website features a Checklist of Freshwater Fishes Native to North America and a Fish in Focus section with beautiful images and brief descriptions of such fish as the Hogchoker (Trinectes maculatus), Central Stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum), and Southern Redbelly Dace (Phoxinus erythrogaster). The site also contains information about an award program for breeders, grant programs, annual meetings, membership, and the NANFA quarterly magazine, American Currents. NANFA offers a solid collection of related links, and an electronic mailing list as well. The website is under construction and promises future sections relating to natural history, captive care, conservation, and collecting. This site is also reviewed in the February 18, 2005_NSDL Life Sciences Report_. [NL]

General Interest

Collage Machine 1.0

Some of our readers no doubt have fond memories of getting out various newspapers, magazines, old art books, and other such materials and creating their own collages on a dreary Saturday morning that seemed to call out for such an indoors activity. While there might not be the same visceral feeling with this online collage machine, it is still definitely worth a visit. Presented with a blank work screen, visitors can peruse the collection of objects offered here, and then drag them onto their workspace. After doing so, the images can be cut up and manipulated in a variety of ways. Some of the objects include a butterfly, a menacing shark, a puppy, traffic signs, a picture window, and a daunting iceberg. As one might imagine, the pedagogical possibilities of such a site are quite interesting and may prove useful in a classroom setting. [KMG]

Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile

Deftly combining art and history, this site from the Getty presents the works of painter Jacques-Louis David, "Image-maker to Napoleon". Although there are not a huge number David's paintings and drawings in the Web exhibition, those present are extensively researched. For example, a portrait of Suzanne Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, daughter of an assassinated revolutionary who came to be called "Mademoiselle Nation" during the French Revolution, is accompanied by both a video and a discussion, relating her political history and analyzing the style and iconography with which David depicts it. In the section on Napoleon, visitors can zoom in on details of David's The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries 1811-1812, read a biography of Napoleon, view several other studies and paintings of the French emperor, and read about his relationship to David. [DS]

VII Photo Agency

To say that we in the modern world are bombarded with visual mass-produced images is, to say the least, a vast understatement. Photography certainly provides many of these images, yet only a small portion of their number qualify as compelling or worthy of more than a quick glance. Fortunately, there is the VII Photo Agency website, which contains dozens of thought-provoking photo essays that capture some of the zeitgeist of our time. Founded in 2001 by a group of seven photo-journalists, the VII Photo Agencys work is united by a sense that, in the act of communication at the very least, all is not lost; the seeds of hope and resolution inform even the darkest records of inhumanity; reparation is always possible; despair is never absolute. Some of the very fine photo essays that may be perused here include a selection of images that document the rapid growth and dynamism of Shanghai, a day in the life of President George W. Bush, and an intimate photo essay of Philip Roth. The other photo essays may be viewed by topic, including those that deal with the recent U.S. presidential elections and the conflict between Israel and Palestine. [KMG]

St. Petersburg 1900: A Photographic Travelogue

Since 1995, Bob Atchison has been creating interesting Web exhibits and collections, and he has also been responsible for maintaining the Alexander Palace Russian History homepage. The site features a number of specific exhibits that deal with such topics as the Romanovs and Siberia. His most recent creation is this photographic travelogue of St. Petersburg, which was the capital of Imperial Russia in 1900. Atchison had the idea for such a project as he looked over a copy of the Burton Holmes Travelogue for Russia from the period. All told, the travelogue contains 50 photographs, some of which are drawn from this original travelogue, and the remainder of which are drawn from Atchisons personal collection. The collection is rounded out by a selection of links to other online works and several maps of St. Petersburg which are provided for reference purposes. [KMG] [Macromedia Flash Player]

Ricci Addams came up with the idea for this site during his senior year of high school, and shortly thereafter became a reality. A real find for any music student (and for those who would just like to learn a bit about music), contains over 30 interactive lessons on such topics as the triad inversion, major scales, key changes, and diatonic seventh chords. There are also a number of helpful trainers here as well, including an interval and brass trainer, among others. The site also contains a chord calculator and a staff paper generator. Additionally, visitors can elect to download the entire website for offline viewing. Finally, the entire site is also available in British English for the convenience of those persons residing in the United Kingdom. [KMG]

House Committee on Veterans Affairs [pdf]

Created by the enactment of Public Law 601 (officially titled Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946), the House Committee on Veterans Affairs is responsible for recommending legislation that can expand, curtail, or fine-tune existing laws relating to veterans benefits. Currently under the leadership of Congressman Steve Buyer of Indiana, the Committee has a total of 30 members. The sites homepage contains important, up-to-date information on the activities of the Committee, along with basic material on the Committees hearing schedule and a complete site search engine. The documents area contains the committee's budget reports for the past several fiscal years along with the activities report it submits each year to Congress. The site is rounded out by a fine tribute to the 60th anniversary of the GI Bill that includes a brief history of that piece of legislation and its legacy during the past six decades. [KMG]

History Channel: Audio and Video [RealPlayer]

Its perhaps a bit of a stretch of the imagination to think of a place that would include both a clip of Spiro Agnew speaking out on what he perceived to be the biases of television news coverage and some archival footage of Depression-era gangsters, but its all right here on the History Channels Audio and Video online archive. The speech archive is quite nice, and may prove to be both edifying and entertaining. Visitors can browse the speech archive by topics (such as War & Diplomacy) or alphabetically. Some of the clips offered here include comments by the scientist Wernher von Braun after hearing that the U.S.S.R had landed a spacecraft on the moon. The video clip section is also quite well-developed, as it contains clips of the trial of Adolf Eichmann and the breaking of the sound barrier. [KMG]

Network Tools

Ciphire 0.10.51

More and more email users may be increasingly concerned about the security of the messages they send over the Internet, and as such, Ciphire Mail is an application worth looking at in detail. The application is essentially a sophisticated email encryption tool which works in conjunction with the users existing email client. The application does not interfere with normal emailing routines, and also has the capability to digitally sign each message to provide authentication. This version of Ciphire is compatible with Microsoft Windows 2000 or newer, MacOS 10.3, and recent releases of Linux. [KMG]

MiniLyrics 3.3.137

No doubt there are many readers of the Scout Report who will find this little handy application quite useful, and more than a bit fun while at work or school. MiniLyrics 3.3.137 is a song lyrics viewer that displays the lyrics of the currently playing song timed with the music in a host of different media players, including Winamp, RealPlayer, iTunes, and Windows Media Player. The application also has some nice visual effects and has a song database that continues to expand daily. This version of MiniLyrics is compatible only with Microsoft Windows 2000 or newer.

In The News

Allegations of steroid abuse mar start of spring training

Steroid questions hang over spring training
Steroid-user Canseco Names Names [RealPlayer]
President Bush unaware of steroid abuse while with Rangers
He's All Talk
Baseball can't face, handle the truth
Major League Baseball: Spring Training 2005
NIDA Drugs of Abuse and Related Topics: Steroids (Anabolic)

The spring training season for major league baseball got underway this past Tuesday, but most of the talk seemed to center around the claims contained within the recent book penned by that proverbial Peck's Bad Boy of baseball, Jose Canseco. In the book, which is named "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids", Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big", Canseco claimed that many of his former teammates (and many who were not) used steroids, including Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Bret Boone, Miguel Tejada, and numerous others. Throughout the book, Canseco defends the use of steroids, and also claims that President George W. Bush (who was president of the Texas Rangers when Canseco was on the team) also knew about the steroid use that was going on at the time on the roster. White House press secretary Scott McClellan responded to the claim that President Bush knew about steroid abuse by stating that, "If there was, he was not aware of it at the time."

The first link leads to a news report from Fox Sports Online which discusses the ripple effect the claims made by Canseco have had around the league during the past few days. The second link will take visitors to the 60 Minutes interview with Jose Canseco from this past Sunday. Here visitors can read the transcript of the segment and view a video clip of Canseco talking with Mike Wallace about his steroid use. The third link leads to a news piece from SportsLine which talks about the accusation that President Bush knew about the alleged steroid use that Canseco claims went on during his time with the Texas Rangers. The fourth link leads to a piece from the New York Post that talks about the accusation made by Canseco that noted Yankee Jason Giambi was a heavy steroid user. The fifth link will take users to a rather biting editorial on the current steroid scandal from the Chicago Sun-Times' sports columnist, Jay Mariotti. On a bit more upbeat note, the sixth link leads to the Major League Baseball's official spring training website. Here visitors can learn about the upcoming games and read news reports on their favorite teams and individual players. The final link leads to the National Institute of Drug Abuse's homepage dedicated to providing information about current research on anabolic steroids. [KMG]

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

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