The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 8

February 25, 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 fourth issue of the fourth volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Computer Recycling.

Research and Education

The Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture [Windows Media Player, Macromedia Flash Player]

Located in a historically African-American community in the southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., the Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture's primary goal is to "explore American history, society, and creative expression from an African American perspective.". Visitors may want to begin by looking through the general information section, especially if they are planning a visit in the near future. There is also a special section dedicated to providing information on current and upcoming exhibits, along with several online exhibits, including one on the contemporary spiritual traditions within the African-American community. Perhaps one of the more interesting parts of the site is the area dedicated to providing history about the actual community of Anacostia where the museum is physically located. In this section, visitors can learn about the various transformations that have affected the community over its long history, and even view educational exercises for use at home or in the classroom. [KMG]


Founded in 1912 by Harriet Monroe, Poetry has been responsible for publishing the works of a number of important poets, including such personages as Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell, Carl Sandburg, and T.S. Eliot. In fact, it is also the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. The journal has persevered and flourished for more than 90 years, and this site offers a variety of selections that have been published most recently in various issues. On the site, visitors can learn about the eight annual prizes awarded to work that appears in the magazine and read the magazine's submission guidelines as well. Also, visitors can read the works of a featured poet and peruse short reviews of other literary works. Visitors are also free to browse the archives of the magazine (which do not contain the complete text of each issue) back to the May 1998 issue. [KMG]

International Architecture Database

Drawing on the contributions from persons across much of Europe, the International Architecture Database website has served as a valuable clearinghouse for thousands of architectural projects (both built and unrealized) since 1996. Currently, the database contains information on more than 13,000 projects, most from the 20th and 21st centuries. Visitors can begin by browsing the database by name, location, or keyword. Looking at a single record, visitors will be presented with a host of information, such as building type, primary architect, location, years of construction, and in certain cases with external links, photographs, and plans. Looking through the lists of keywords can actually be quite useful, as each keyword is linked to examples that are demonstrative of the idea suggested by the keyword, such as early Gothic or elementary school. Overall, this is a fine resource for those persons who wish to learn a bit more about architecture or for those looking for information on different architectural projects. [KMG]

The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert

Widely considered to be one of the crowning achievements of the Enlightenment, the Encyclopedia edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert in the 18th century has proved to be fertile ground for those who have sought to classify and chronicle the various branches of knowledge. This highly ambitious project was published during the period 1751 to 1777, and included 32 volumes amply illustrated with engraved plates. Close to 150 years later, a group of talented individuals sought to create an online version of the Encyclopedia translated into English, with links to the original French versions. The project is based at the University of Michigan Library, although contributors to the project are scattered across the world. Visitors to the site can search the currently available articles or browse by title, French title, or subject. Finally, visitors will want to take a look at the famous "Map of the System of Human Knowledge" that is immediately identified with this most celebrated human endeavor. [KMG]

National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges [pdf]

Founded in 1887, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) is the nation's oldest higher education association. It is an association of 215 institutions, including a host of public universities, land-grant institutions, and a number of complete public university systems. Under the direction of current president C. Peter Magrath, NASULGC serves as a unified voice for its various members on Capitol Hill and also performs research on various timely issues related to higher education more generally. In the "What's New" area of the site, visitors can learn about legislative policy issues in the news and also read the current and archived editions of the organization's in-house newsletter, Newsline. The publication section is quite strong, and visitors with an interest in higher education policy will want to definitely take a look at the report offered here titled, " Shaping the Future: The Economic Impact of Public Universities".

Franklin Institute: Coin Flip for Benjamin Franklin's 300th Birthday [pdf]

The Franklin Institute, which seeks "to inspire an understanding of and passion for science and technology learning" is based in Philadelphia, Pa. (See also Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology, February 21, 2003). In honor of Benjamin Franklin, who coined the phrase "a penny saved is a penny earned," the Franklin Institute is gearing up for an online coin-flipping event to commemorate Franklin's 300th birthday on Jan. 16, 2006. That same day "students around the world collectively engage in a common scientific experiment to determine, once and for all, if "heads" or "tails" occurs more frequently in coin flips." Students are asked to use the worksheet posted on this website to record and submit their coin flips. The results from the coin flips will then be posted online. Results from coin flips conducted by students who came to The Franklin Institute to celebrate Ben Franklin's 298th birthday and students from a school in Liverpool, U.K., are posted already. Also available here are links to related educational resources that offer ideas for learning more about coins and probability. This site is also reviewed in the February 25, 2005_NSDL MET Report. [VF]

USDA Rural Development

The USDA Rural Development agency is committed "to helping improve the economy and quality of life in all of rural America". Its various financial programs and loans support the development and realization of such public facilities as water and sewer systems and also aid in various economic development initiatives aimed at improving conditions in rural settings across the country. On the site visitors can view the latest news from the agency along with reading about various grant and loan programs, such as water and waste disposal improvement programs. Thematically, the site is divided into areas such as community development, cooperatives, and utilities. Rural officials and policy specialists will find much to look over in the publications section, such as rural development factsheets, and equally importantly, the archives of the Rural Cooperatives Magazine, which is published six times a year. [KMG]

New Horizons: NASA's Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission [QuickTime, Windows Media Player]

For the past thirty years, NASA has sponsored numerous highly ambitious space exploration missions that have dramatically expanded the existing knowledge base about various planetary bodies throughout our universe. The agency's New Horizons project intends to begin a mission to explore Pluto and Charon sometime in the near future, and the hope is that the project would also explore a variety of objects in the Kuiper Belt Region beyond Neptune. The project's site contains a number of well-organized sections, and most visitors will want to start by looking at the Science section. Here they can learn what is currently known about Pluto, Charon, and the Kuiper Belt, along with browsing a glossary of terms. For up to date information about the status of the mission, visitors will want to take a look at the mission statement and the team responsible for making sure everything goes smoothly. Rounding out the site is the Gallery area, which contains artist renderings and educational posters that may be downloaded and printed out for any number of uses. [KMG]

General Interest


If there was ever a city that seemed to embody the dynamic American economy of the early 20th century, it may have been Detroit. The city was awash with massive civic buildings, a well-developed mass transit system, and a thriving cultural scene. Much of this began to change as the century progressed, and by the late 1960s, the city was the embodiment of the so-called urban "crisis" that was faced by just about every major city in the United State's Rust Belt. This website offers visitors some insight into the contemporary urban environment in and around the Motor City as documented by a lifelong Detroit resident and artist, one Lowell Boileau. The site has been online for almost 10 years, and visitors can take any number of topical photographic tours of the city, including those dedicated to the lost synagogues of Detroit and a clutch of 19th century mansions. The site also features a number of lively discussion boards where visitors may chime in about any number of issues affecting the city. Overall, this is a very well-designed site, and one that will fascinate urbanologists everywhere. [KMG}

Performing Medieval Narrative Today: A Video Showcase [QuickTime]

Faculty and staff from New York University's French Department and Bobst Library, with support from an anonymous donor, have created this site to present video clips of performances of medieval narratives. The intent of the site is to use performance to improve teaching medieval literature, since most medieval narratives were originally intended for performance. Video offerings include a performer singing the opening lines of the Nibelungenlied accompanying himself on an Irish harp; a student reciting from memory a passage from Chretien de Troyes, Perceval, in which the Grail appears and Perceval remains silent; and an excerpt from a public performance of Beowulf. Search for clips by selecting criteria, such as language, title, author, or musical instruments, from drop-down menus, or select "list site contents" to see all available clips listed. The videos are accompanied by full catalog records, with background on the performance, plot summaries, and length of the clip. [DS]

Idealist [Last reviewed in the SR for Business & Economics on August 13, 1998]

As spring approaches and numerous college students and others begin to think about their plans for summer and beyond, it seems fitting to revisit the Idealist website. Administered by the nonprofit organization Action Without Borders, this site serves as a portal for anyone interested in a career with a nonprofit organization, volunteering, or internships in a related setting. The homepage is a good place to start, as it contains updates about upcoming nonprofit career fairs, news pieces related to social service and nonprofit groups, and some themed resources for volunteers, nonprofit managers, job seekers, and teachers. The site's homepage also contains a comprehensive search engine that is linked up to each and every database provided here. The Career Center section is a real find, as visitors may peruse sections dedicated to writing effective resumes, working abroad, and also look through a nonprofit job forum as well. Finally, visitors can also sign up for personal email updates and look at the site's contents in Spanish and French. [KMG]

Building the Alaska Highway [QuickTime, RealPlayer, Macromedia Flash Player]

The most well-documented road-building program in the world may in fact be the construction of the U.S. interstate highway system. However, the most dramatic project may have well been the construction of the Alaska Highway during World War II. As part of the highly celebrated Public Broadcasting System series, "American Experience", this site complements the recent edition of this program that examined this 1,500-mile road. Construction of the road commenced in May 1942, largely because of the very real possibility that Japan might invade Alaska. The highway took eight months to complete, and along the way the soldiers assigned to this project encountered substantial mountain peaks, snow, and primeval forests. After reading a brief synopsis of the film, visitors will want to take a look at the site's special features, which include an online poll, a fun section titled "How to Build a Road", and a virtual "road trip" along the route of the highway. The site is rounded out by a timeline and some bonus interview transcripts from various persons who participated in the construction of the Alaskan Highway. [KMG]

All Recipes

Since time immemorial, people have loved to cook. Whether it be for themselves after a hectic day or for a dinner party of 20, the experience of dining is something that can be both relaxing and energizing at the same time. Fortunately, the All Recipes website, started in 1997 by a group of Web developers with a passion for cooking, has over 26,000 recipes for the consideration of the discerning epicurean. Users may just elect to search for a recipe from the top of the site's homepage, or they may want to browse the recipes by collection, such as desserts, pasta dishes, or soups. The "Ideas" area contains a smaller offering of recent submissions, such as layered seafood dip and garlic and onion burgers. Visitors to the site may also leave feedback on each recipe, along with a brief commentary. The site also contains a recipe calendar linked to upcoming holidays so that visitors may plan their festive meals accordingly. If that weren't enough, the site also includes an area where visitors may sign up to receive various electronic mailings, such as those for persons planning to eat healthier meals or just the latest recipes contributed to the site. [KMG]

Odd Wisconsin at the Wisconsin Historical Society

The guiding disclaimer that informs this website offered by the Wisconsin Historical Society is that well-known dictum, "Je n'impose rien; je ne propose rien: j'expose," which means: "I do not impose anything; I do not propose anything: I expose." By drawing on its vast holdings of compelling and curious primary documents, the Wisconsin Historical Society offers these small portions of odd and unusual historical items that are quite worth perusing. The project was started in January 2004, and visitors can view the current items, or look through the monthly archives. The selections offered here may also be browsed by categories, such as odd lives, strange deaths, bizarre events, and animals. Some of the rather intriguing events that visitors can read about here include a first-hand account of the deep freeze of 1838 and Wisconsin's first poet, the rather eccentric James Gates Percival. It may truly be said that this site has "something for everyone". [KMG]

Just Move

Sponsored and maintained by the American Heart Association, this site is designed to help individuals learn about the benefits of staying fit, eating right, and exercising on a regular basis. The site includes a helpful exercise diary, which helps individuals keep track of their daily progress. The Fitness Resources area should prove to be quite a boon to visitors as well. It features a FAQ section on exercise and heart disease, several factsheets, and information about women and cardiovascular disease. The "My Fitness" area contains detailed material on the benefits of daily physical activity and eating healthy in order to remain fit. For those who wish to spread the good word about this site and its contents, there is also a place where one may send a "heart-to-heart" e-card greeting. [KMG]

Network Tools

Pod2Go 1.1.4

While some users may enjoy just listening to music on their iPods, there are a number of other exciting uses that may prove equally worthwhile. With Pod2Go 1.1.4, users can sync news from over 300 RSS sources into their devices, or link up to a Fact of the Day feature. Equally pragmatic is the ability to sync weather forecasts and find out about movie listings and theater schedules. This version of Pod2Go is compatible only with Mac OS X 10.2.7 or higher. [KMG]

Drupal 4.5.2

Drupal is an open-source platform and content management system that can help both individuals and community groups develop dynamic websites. With this platform, users can facilitate discussion, aggregate news feeds, and also control certain metadata functionalities. The possibilities are obviously quite variegated, and the platform might be used to support everything from a personal weblog to much larger community-style sites. This version of Drupal is compatible only with Microsoft Windows 98 or newer. [KMG]

In The News

U.S. Supreme Court hears key eminent domain case

Land war goes before Supreme Court
Property seizures land in high court
Institute for Justice: Private Property Rights Cases: Kelo v. New London [pdf]
NPR: Slates Jurisprudence: The Powers of Eminent Domain [RealPlayer]
Eminent Domain Watch
The State Role in Urban Land Redevelopment

The practice of eminent domain is one that continues to generate extremely intense feelings across the United States, and this week saw the debate continue to grow in scope as the Supreme Court began to hear preliminary arguments in a well-publicized case that originated in New London, Conn. In this case, the city government of New London is hoping to use eminent domain to acquire a number of private residences in what has been classified as a primarily industrial urbanized area, and turn the land over to private developers so that they can build a number of new buildings. The city is hoping that such new projects will increase New Londons tax revenues and serves as a spur for other like-minded urban developments. This case is considered a test case as it essentially looks at whether local and state governments can use the policy of eminent domain to acquire private properties and turn them over to other private property owners in order to raise additional revenues. One local homeowner in New London whose property would be demolished for such a new urban redevelopment project summed up the sentiments of many other property owners when she commented that Its obvious they dont want us here, and theyve done everything in their power to make us leave. They are simply taking our property from us private owners and giving it to another private owner to develop.

The first link leads to news coverage of this eminent domain case as provided by CNN, and reported by Bill Mears of the news network's Washington, D.C., bureau. The second link will take visitors to additional coverage of the case, provided by the Detroit Free Press. The third link leads to a very detailed site provided by the Institute for Justice, which is assisting the property owners in New London with their case. Here visitors can read additional information about the case and other germane news briefs. The fourth link will take visitors to a nice audio feature from National Public Radio that features legal analyst Dahlia Lithwick discussing the implications of this case with NPRs own Madeleine Brand. The fifth link leads to a rather interesting weblog that provides news items related to eminent domain as compiled by Alan Krigman. The sixth and final link leads to a paper authored by Nancey Green Leigh (for The Brookings Institution) on the role of the state in urban land redevelopment that is pertinent to the discussion regarding eminent domain. [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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