The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 17

April 29, 2005

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries.

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 ninth 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 Animal Reproduction. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Meteor Showers.

Research and Education

Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge Economy [doc, pdf]

The attention paid to the burgeoning "knowledge economy" continues to grow, particularly within the halls of higher education, the federal government, and in the private sector. This past January, the National Science Foundation (in collaboration with other institutions) convened a conference designed "to broaden and deepen common understanding of how difficult-to-measure knowledge resources drive an increasing virtualized economy and to assess prospects for advancing and regenerating knowledge infrastructure, institutions, and policies." While the conference itself is finished, users interested in these themes will appreciate this site, which offers some material about these various issues, along with material on the program itself and the work presented there. After examining these background materials, visitors will want to peruse the draft papers presented at the conference, which deal with networks of knowledge, measuring knowledge, and knowledge clusters. [KMG]

Combating Terrorism in the Horn of Africa and Yemen [pdf]

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University has a number of thematic areas of research, ranging from work on international security to work on the intersection between science, technology, and public policy. This particular paper comes from the Center's program on intrastate conflict, and is authored by Deborah L. West. The 38-page paper comes out of discussions held at a conference on governance and policy in Yemen and the Horn of Africa in November 2004. Within its pages, the paper offers some expert recommendations for combatting terrorism in these two regions and also includes an overview of the current state of affairs and potential terrorist activity in the area. [KMG]

Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy [pdf]

The work at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) comes out of its predecessor institution, the Bureau for Applied Social Research, which was established at Columbia University in 1944. Today, ISERP continues in this tradition, serving as the research arm of the social sciences at Columbia, and offering a host of online resources to the general public. From the homepage, visitors can look through some of the group's latest offerings, which include brief articles, working papers, and details about upcoming books. For the most up-to-date material, users will want to peruse the Institute's quarterly newsletter, which contains information on the events it sponsors, along with full-text articles based on its research. Academics will want to also read about the Institute's funding and post-doctoral research opportunities. [KMG]

The Society for Planetary SETI Research [pdf]

"The Society for Planetary SETI Research (SPSR) is an organization of scientists and scholars from a variety of disciplines formed around their common interest in anomalies on planets and their satellites whose origins may be the result of intelligent activity." Users can discover the challenges faced by the group and its main research interests. The website supplies peer-reviewed journal publications and recent articles written by members of the Society. Individuals can find professional information about the members as well as links to several of their websites. This site is also reviewed in the April 29, 2005 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [RME]

Development Gateway: Public Sector Transparency

The Scout Report has profiled various offerings from the Development Gateway in the past several years, but one of the group's latest creations is both thought-provoking and helpful for policy-makers and persons generally interested in the subject of governance. This particular site casts an eye on the question of transparency in governmental transactions through interviews with leaders from a broad range of sectors, along with allowing space for individual feedback. The "Points of View" section is a good place to start, as it includes commentary from government officials from Bolivia, Guatemala, and Tanzania about the question of public sector transparency. Other sections on the site address such thorny questions as "What tools help sustain public sector transparency?" and "What practices promote public-private partnerships?" Those visual learners coming to visit the site may appreciate the gallery of charts that offer indicators of levels of governance and transparency for more than 209 countries. [KMG]

Correcting Course: How We Can Restore the Ideals of Public Higher Education in a Market-Driven Era [pdf]

The world of higher education in the United States continues to change dramatically, and despite the amount of press the subject receives, many (including quite a few persons in higher education) continue to remain oblivious to the broader scope of these transformations. This latest 15-page report from the Futures Project (released in February 2005) provides some valuable insight into these diverse transformations. Written by Lara Couturier and Jamie Scurry, the report points to several symptoms of the coming crisis that will affect public higher education. They include inadequate financial support for low-income students, rising costs and unaffordable tuition, and elusive outcomes. This last may be one of the most compelling aspects, as it reflects the continuing trend that "the higher education community has not found a satisfactory way to measure, report on, and improve performance." [KMG]

History Explorer [Macromedia Flash Player]

There are many ways to explore the various facets of history, and some of the world's leading museums have come up with a host of online multimedia tools to bring people into this subject that is sometimes erroneously perceived to be dry and uninteresting. The inventive people at the National Museum of American History have recently developed the History Explorer which allows those surfing the Web to browse through an interactive timeline of American history. The interface is composed of items from the Museum's various online collections, exhibitions and programs, such as Plymouth Rock and a world map from 1511. Visitors can zoom in and out through the timeline and its objects and also elect to toggle on or off various themes, such as "Arts and Culture", "Peopling America", and "Politics and Reform". Overall, this is a very well-thought-out tool for learning about American history and one that will engage a wide range of persons. [KMG]

A History of Fly Fishing

This website about the history of fly fishing is sure to delight many an aficionado. The site was developed by Dr. Andrew Herd, the Associate Editor of Waterlog Magazine and a member of the Flyfishers Club in London. Derived from material in Dr. Herds book, History of Fly Fishing, the website contains informative sections on The Origins of Fly Fishing, Fly Fishing in Medieval Times, The Gaudy Salmon Fly, and Fly Fishing in the Years 1800-1850, to name a few. The Special Features segment of the website offers sections on Hooks, Salt Water Fly Fishing, Refinishing Old Silk Lines, The Macedonian Fly, Coq de Leon, and more. The site also includes a bibliography, contact information for several antiquarian book dealers, and a 2001 paper (co-authored by Dr. Herd) titled Astrus, The First Fly Fishing River. This site is also reviewed in the April 29, 2005 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [NL]

General Interest

World Bank Institute [pdf, RealPlayer],,pagePK:208996~theSitePK:213799,00.html

The World Bank has a number of specialized units designed to perform research in order to allow the organization to make informed policy decisions throughout the world. This website happens to provide information on the World Bank Institute, which effectively serves as the capacity development arm of the Bank and also "helps countries share and apply global and local knowledge to meet development challenges". On the Institute's site, visitors can find out about its various programs, which include work on preventing HIV/AIDS risk in the Balkans and scholarships designed to promote knowledge sharing and capacity building in the developing world. Visitors will want to pay close attention to the Publications area, as they may view or download working papers from a wide range of topics, including energy policy, labor force development, and development economics. [KMG]

The Hive and the Honeybee

Back in 1925, Professor E. Franklin Phillips of Cornell University had a rather novel idea: Why not begin a repository of literature on bees and beekeeping for current use and for the use of future generations? In just one year, he had amassed thousands of books and pamphlets on the subject and the Phillips Beekeeping Collection at Cornell came into existence. With the kind support of beekeepers and beekeeping organizations, the Albert R. Mann Library at Cornell has digitized ten of these fine volumes in order to make them accessible to the general public. Each of the works is fully searchable, and visitors will also appreciate a brief essay which provides some background on the history of this rather intriguing collection. Volumes offered here include C.C. Miller's classic "Fifty Years Among the Bees" and the 1879 volume, "The A B C of bee culture: a cylcopaedia of everything pertaining to the care of the honey bee, bees, honey, hives, implements, and honey plants".

Independent Lens: A Lion's Trail

The road to creating a popular song can take decades and often includes a number of incarnations before the listening public finally becomes interested. Such is the complex and at times painful story of the song "Mbube" (which is perhaps best known in the United States by the version titled "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"), which was first recorded by Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds in 1939 in South Africa. This compelling website, designed to complement an Independent Lens/PBS documentary, provides substantive background into the stories of the people associated with this song, and its rather nuanced history during the past seven decades. On the site, visitors can learn about the filmmakers, the song itself, and also provide their own feedback on the controversy surrounding the song and the documentary itself. [KMG]

Religion & Public Life: A Faith-Based Partisan Divide

There was a great deal of discussion during the 2004 US presidential election about the so-called "faith-based" partisan divide. This insightful publication from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life takes a closer look at this divide in its 18-pages and provides a number of observations. The report begins by noting that Americans who regularly attend worship services and hold traditional religious views increasingly vote Republican, while those who are less connected to religious institutions tend to vote Democratic. Drawing on a number of polls and other surveys, the report also looks at other galvanizing issues such as opposition to gay marriage and attitudes towards stem cell research. The report also offers some interesting tables that look at how persons holding a variety of religious beliefs feel about the role of government and corporate welfare. [KMG]

IPI Global Journalist [RealPlayer]

The University of Missouri's School of Journalism is one of the most respected journalism schools in the United States, so it comes as no surprise to know that it sponsors the International Press Institute's (IPI) Global Journalist magazine. The publication comes out quarterly, and on this site visitors can read the latest edition, or browse issues from 1999 to the present day. Each issues contains feature articles, a calendar of events, letters to the editor, and reports from the IPI. Some of the articles from the most recent issue include coverage of the Chinese media, the variety of coverage in Moldovan newsrooms, and other topics. The site also includes archived editions of the Institute's thoughtful radio program, "Global Journalist Radio". Here, visitors can listen to mediated discussion on topics such as nuclear proliferation, democracy in Central Asia, and the Iraqi elections. [KMG]

PEN American Center

Founded in 1922, the PEN American Center works "to advance literature, to defend free expression, and to foster international literary fellowship". To support these ideals, the organization sponsors a number of public literary programs and forums on topical issues, administers a number of well-known literary prizes, and also offers loans and grants to writers facing financial or medical emergencies. The organization's website contains explicit details of these different programs, along with a complete list of writers who have received one of the PEN's prestigious writing awards. Visitors can also look through excerpts from PEN's journal, which includes reflections on the poetry of Pablo Neruda and the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Finally, visitors may also want to sign up for membership on the website and also elect to support PEN's programs. [KMG]

Network Tools

DSL Web Hosting 2.02

For many computer users, there continues to be significant interest in running their own built-in Web server. Fortunately, there is this free DNS client program that allows users to run their own Web hosting service from home on a DSL connection with a dynamic IP address. Utilizing this service, other Internet users can type in the domain as well. This version of DSL Web Hosting 2.02 is compatible with Windows 95 or newer. [KMG]

TCExam 2.0.010

During the past few years, the field of online distance education programs has grown by leaps and bounds. For those persons working in this area, the application TC Exam 2.0.010 may prove to be quite helpful. The application is a Web-based tool that allows users to generate and manage online tests and exams. The program includes a variety of features, including support for a number of different languages, a security system, and a protected administrators area. The application is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Art group takes on gated communities

Guerrilla art group mocks L.A. enclaves
Heavy Trash Gated Communities
Territory, control and enclosure: The ecology of urban fragmentation [pdf]
The Fortress UK? Gated Communities, The Spatial Revolt of the Elites and Time-Space Trajectories of Segregation [pdf]
Los Angeles Public Library Photographic Collection

Protest movements in cities are often thought of as being generally directed towards corrupt leaders, social injustice, the treatment of the homeless, and other timely issues. Rarely does one think about an artistic statement that calls into question the nature of gated communities, but that is exactly the idea behind the latest action taken by the group known as Heavy Trash. The coalition consists of anonymous architects, designers, and urban planners who have previously set up large-scale billboards touting a fictional subway line and a 2,000-pound staircase that provided access to a park that city officials had hoped to keep homeless persons out of. In its latest maneuver, the coalition set up mock twelve-foot guard towers around three tony Los Angeles neighborhoods in order to protest the continued development of gated communities. As one member of the coalition commented, Walling off one section of the city from another section is not the right solution. Local residents seemed a bit puzzled by the appearance of the structure, and one resident remarked that Im not sure I agree with putting stuff down on somebody elses property.

The first link leads to a news story from the online version of CNN International this Wednesday about the recent action taken by the Heavy Trash coalition. The second link will take visitors to the Heavy Trash website, where they may learn about the group's various activities. The third link leads to an buyer's international guide to gated communities. The fourth link leads to the homepage of a rather intriguing conference on the gated community phenomenon, complete with a number of helpful working papers that document the gated community experience around the world. The fifth link leads to another compelling paper on the phenomenon of the gated community within the United Kingdom, authored by Rowan Atkinson and John Flint. The sixth link leads to the fine photographic archive developed by the Los Angeles Public Library where visitors can peruse historic photographs of such things as the neighborhoods around the contemporary gated communities. [KMG]

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