The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 18

May 6, 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 Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology

The ninth issue of the fourth volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Data Mining.

Research and Education

University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics [pdf]

The growing interest in the field of bioethics should surprise few people, as many of the issues in this field continue to be of broad interest to the general public as well as to academics in the areas of medicine, public health, philosophy, and a host of others. The Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto is a place where this type of work goes on in earnest, and in doing so, brings together diverse individuals from these various fields to provide earnest commentary and informed scholarship to the general public and fellow academics. Most persons visiting the site will want to look at the helpful "News Flash" features, which include working papers on such topics as "Nanotechnology and the Developing World" and "Learning from Terri Schiavo". Additionally, the site contains information on the group's various educational programs, lectures, and public outreach efforts, such as its electronic newsletter. [KMG]

Preserving Access to Digital Information [pdf]

The growing concern over how best to preserve information in digital form continues to be of special interest to a number of federal library systems around the world, and the National Library of Australia is no exception. On its Preserving Access to Digital Information homepage, interested parties will find a very diverse set of materials related to these challenges, and a fairly broad set of topics are also covered here, including digital libraries, data documentation, digitization, and content management. Clicking on any of these topics from the homepage reveals a brief topical essay, which is followed by a number of timely articles culled from various sources for general consideration. The site also offers a number of annotated resource lists which include coverage of glossaries, digital projects, and electronic mailing lists of note. [KMG]

Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research [Windows Media Player, pdf]

Founded in 1982 by the noted statesman George Schultz, the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) is a nonpartisan economic policy research organization that brings "economists together with leaders in business, technology, and government to analyze, discuss, and debate economic topics". From the homepage, visitors can learn about the Institute's three primary research centers (such as the Center on Employment and Economic Growth) and view recent media appearances from some of its distinguished research fellows and academics. The "SIEPR In the News" feature on the homepage also allows users to learn about the recent public commentaries made by its members on a number of issues, including inflation and the trade deficit. As might be expected, the Publications area is quite strong, and visitors can download papers and briefs on topics that include traffic congestion and the price of using California freeways and the debates over trade unionism. [KMG]

Mount St. Helens Post-Eruption Chemistry Database

The University of Washington Digital Collections unit continues to produce numerous fine digital collections, spanning a variety of disciplines, and this latest offering is no exception. This particular collection is taken from the work of Professor William Zoller at the University of Washington, who documented the first research trips into the blast area around Mount St. Helens in 1980. During a period of three years, he and his colleagues were allowed access to the site to study the chemistry and impacts of this massive eruption. This site contains 106 slides available for general consideration, and they may be searched by keyword or by theme, such as "aerial views". Finally, this particular collection was created with the assistance of students and staff of the University of Washington Chemistry Library and a grant from the University of Washington Libraries 21st Century Grant Fund. [KMG]

United Nations Development Programme: Tsunami Recovery [pdf]

While the tsunami that devastated a substantial portion of South and South East Asia at the end of December 2004 may have fallen off the radar of the mainstream media, there remains a great deal of reconstruction work going on in the region. The United Nations Development Programme continues to assist with efforts throughout the area, and this website the organization has set up provides information about such endeavors. Visitors to the site can peruse the latest news reports and updates by country (such as Somalia, Sri Lanka, and India) or begin by looking at the regional overview section of the site. The site also contains a link to the full coverage area offered by the Crisis Prevention & Recovery unit, which contains recent assessment reports by country. [KMG]

Ethnomathematics Digital Library

The Ethnomathematics Digital Library (EDL) is "a resource network and interactive learning community for ethnomathematics, with emphasis on the indigenous mathematics of the Pacific region." The collaborative project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and overseen by Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL). Based on the premise that "mathematical ideas are mental constructs created by individuals and groups in response to cultural activities" (such as navigation, building, and trade) the group identifies, reviews, seeks copyright clearance, digitizes, indexes, and archives ethnomathematics materials that they consider high quality. There are about 700 items in this growing collection, which visitors may search by keyword or browse by subject, geographical area, or cultural group. This site is also reviewed in the May 6, 2005 NSDL MET Report. [VF]

Canadian Geographic Atlas Online [pdf]

Online atlases vary widely in quality, but this latest project from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society is a laudable production both in terms of its organization and also its multi-layered content. This highly interactive atlas allows users to explore all of Canada's landforms and boundaries through a pop-up atlas browser that includes a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, interface tool by which users can zoom in or out, measure distances, and even print out the maps they create. Some of the additional features let users explore the country thematically by region (such as the Boreal Shield) or by the dynamic theme of "Extremes of Weather". There is even a "Kid's Atlas", which is specifically designed for young people with the hope that they will also learn a great deal about Canadian places and geography. Much of the material on the site is also available in French. [KMG]

Churchill Speech Interactive [Macromedia Flash Player]

A number of highly coordinated online "rich content" digital projects have come online in the past few years, and a number of them are indicative of the far-reaching possibilities of such endeavors. One such project is the Churchill Speech Interactive website which is a special initiative in Web learning that features a multi-media presentation of Winston Churchill's "Sinews of Peace" speech delivered at Westminster College. The speech is best known for introducing the famous phrase "Iron Curtain", and users will find the complete audio speech here, but enhanced entirely through the ability to weave through a clickable interface that provides content information about the broader historical context of world events, organized around a number of key themes, such as "Europe in Ruins", "The Atom Bomb", and "Churchill and Europe". Overall, the site is quite fascinating. [KMG]

General Interest

Turning Points of Wisconsin: Original Manuscript Letters of John Muir, 1861-1914

From his days as a young man studying at the University of Wisconsin to his time in the wilderness areas of California, John Muir evolved from a "fundamental Christian to tree-hugging Transcendentalist", and these rather glorious letters that he wrote during this long period are now available on this site, provided by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Here visitors can peruse more than 100 pages of original letters written by Muir which deal with a wide range of topics, including his student days in Madison, the birth of his first child, and the publication of his now famous autobiography. Perusing the collection, visitors can view the original handwritten letters side by side with typed versions and their transcriptions. Overall, this is a fine collection, and anyone with an interest in Muir or the history of the American conservation movement will enjoy it. [KMG]

Whatever Happened to Polio?

This Smithsonian National Museum of American History exhibit celebrates the 50th anniversary of effective vaccines to prevent polio. On April 12, 1955, Dr. Jonas Salk, a virologist working at the University of Pittsburgh with funding from the March of Dimes, announced his vaccine against the disease. In 1957, trials of Dr. Albert Sabin's vaccine began. Between 1955 and 1957, the incidence of polio in the U.S dropped by 85 to 90 percent. Since it draws upon the vast collections of the Smithsonian, the exhibit is lavishly illustrated with historical photographs, and all kinds of ephemera, such as an advertisement for Drinker-Collins respirators, "Polio Pioneer" buttons given to children who participated in Salk vaccine clinical trials, and a March of Dimes bank. The exhibit provides background information on polio-related topics including the March of Dimes, established by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938, an organization that took in millions of small donations to support the care of people who contracted polio and research into prevention and treatment; the history of vaccines; and the differences between Salk's killed-virus vaccine, and Sabin's live-virus vaccine. [DS]

The Business of Baseball [Microsoft Excel, pdf]

Major league baseball is an industry that involves billions of dollars of substantial investments, including those in player salaries, litigation, capital investment into stadia, and so on. This compelling site, developed by Maury Brown and Gary Gillette (the co-chairs of the Business of Baseball committee of the Society for American Baseball Research), provides a host of data on the "business end" of professional baseball. First off, there is the data section of the site, which includes detailed player salary information from 1985 to 2004, arbitration results, franchise valuation information, and league attendance from 1884 to 2004. Next there is the section that provides details on new stadium construction and on those stadiums currently being renovated. The site also contains additional articles on a wide variety of baseball-related topics and an interview section, where users can read well-thought-out Q&A sessions with such baseball luminaries as Bowie Kuhn and sports economist Andrew Zimbalist. [KMG]

Einstein Year 2005 [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

Einstein Year marks the centenary of the three papers that Albert Einstein published in 1905, which of course, included the paper on photoelectric effect that led to his Nobel Prize in Physics. The primary aim of Einstein Year is "to enthuse young people, and those who influence them, about physics, whilst building a sustainable increase in public awareness of physics and its role in society." On the site, visitors can learn about the various ongoing activities being coordinated around the world, read a biography about Einstein, and check out the "Experiment" section, where users can explore physics through a number of simple and thoughtful experiments. A real highlight of the site is the "If you could teach the world just one thing about science" feature, which was conducted by the online magazine, spiked. The magazine asked dozens of scientists what "one thing" they would pick to teach the world about science, and their responses (including a few video clips) are posted on the site. [KMG]

National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth [Macromedia Flash Player]

Teaming up with PBS, National Geographic has created an intriguing four-part documentary series titled "Strange Days on Planet Earth" that is meant to explore a number of events and processes (such as climatic change and invasive species) and their long- and short-term effects across the planet. Hosted by actor Edward Norton, the series producer's have also created this complementary website where interested parties can learn more about these processes. For example, in the "One Degree Factor" section (which explores global climatic change), users can read interviews with experts working in this field and also learn about the relevance of this process to their own lives. The site also contains a nice glossary of terms and a place where individuals can offer their own comments on the program. [KMG]

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues [pdf]

During the 20th century, there has been a concerted effort by a number of transnational organizations and advocacy groups to effectively lobby for the rights and protection of indigenous groups in all parts of the world. In 2000, the United Nations Economic and Social Council established the Permanent Form on Indigenous Issues to effectively address the needs of the 370 million indigenous peoples around the world. On the site, visitors can read official documents and proceedings created by the Forum's work, peruse a photo gallery of indigenous peoples, and read the text of various speeches on indigenous issues. Finally, visitors will also want to peruse the list of upcoming events sponsored by the Forum and also review its latest press releases. [KMG]

The Jane Goodall Institute [pdf, QuickTime]

Founded in 1977 by the noted primatologist Jane Goodall and Genevieve, Princess di San Faustino, the Jane Goodall Institute's primary mission is to "advance the power of individuals to take informed and compassionate action to improve the environment of all living things." Of course, many of its activities center around the importance of increasing overall awareness of primate habitat conservation and this is definitely the focus of this timely website. A fist stop for any visitor to the site should be the "Chimpanzee Central" section, where they may learn about the behavior of these primates, their use of tools, and the various issues surrounding the conservation of their habitats. Another compelling area of the site is the "Roots & Shoots" section, which provides educational information about these service-learning projects that "promote care and concern for animals, the environment, and the human community". [KMG]

Network Tools

AbsoluteShield Internet Eraser Lite 2.57

Many users will appreciate the features of AbsoluteShield Internet Eraser Lite 2.57, which will clean their browser's history, cache, cookies, typed URLs, and saved passwords. It also cleans tracks in Windows and has an "intelligent blocker" included which allows users to avoid ad windows and pop-up advertisements. This version of the application is compatible with Windows 95 or newer. [KMG]

Apple QuickTime Broadcaster 1.5

With this latest application from Apple, users can effectively produce professional-quality live events for online delivery around the world. The combination of the various QuickTime technologies and application makes a wide range of activities possible, including transmitting business meetings or lectures to a host of different online users. The user-friendly interface provides a basic overview that makes utilizing the application quite easy. This application is compatible with Mac OS X/Server 10.3.9 and QuickTime 7.0. [KMG]

In The News

Important new dinosaur located in Utah

Dinosaur Missing Link Found in Utah
Bizarre New Dinosaur Shows Evolution to Plant Eating, Study Says
Dinosaur embraced vegetarianism
Walking with Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs: Facts and Fiction
Paul Sereno: Paleontologist [pdf]

Recently, a team of researchers in a remote area of eastern Utah led by Utah state paleontologist James I. Kirkland made an important discovery that has been described as a type of dinosaur missing link. Essentially, this link represents a rather primitive plant-eater that evolved from the meat-eating raptors that also gave rise to modern birds. The dinosaur has been named Falcarius utahensis, which means sickle-maker from Utah, largely due to its claws. The results of this important find were documented in this Thursdays edition of the journal Nature, and this material supports earlier contentions that link the plant-eating dinosaurs known as therizinosaurs to raptors. Matthew Lamanna from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History remarked that Its an extremely significant find. Before this discovery, the oldest known animal recognized as a therizinosaur came from China, and this one is just as old and seems to be more primitive anatomically. It appears to be the final piece of the puzzle.

The first link leads to an article from this Wednesdays Washington Post that offers some perspective on the find from the paleontologist James I. Kirkland. The second link will take visitors to a fine news story from the National Geographics website that provides a good perspective on this important discovery. The third link offers some informed insights from Natures own Michael Hopkins on this discovery. The fourth link leads to a very informative site from BBC on dinosaurs, which includes fact files on a number of dinosaurs, a timeline, and some interactive games and screensavers. The fifth link will take visitors to a very useful FAQ site, offered by the United States Geological Survey, which answers a number of common queries about dinosaurs, such as Where did dinosaurs live? and Did dinosaurs communicate?. The final link leads to the homepage of that noted University of Chicago paleontologist, Paul Sereno. Here visitors can learn about his work and expeditions, among other things. [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.