The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 21

May 27, 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 eleventh 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 Urban Wildlife. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about the History and Evolution of Physics.

Research and Education

Building a Successful Palestinian State [pdf]

During the past 50 years, there has been much debate and hand-wringing over how best to create a self-sustaining and independent Palestinian state. While many attempts have been made, in some sense very little substantial progress has been made. A team of researchers at the RAND Corporation has created this 453-page monograph that contains a singularly comprehensive set of recommendations for the success of an independent Palestinian state. Released in April 2005, the report contains proposals for a number of transportation links between the West Bank and Gaza that would hopefully open the door for access to jobs, food, water, health care, and other such public services. The report itself does not comment on how Israelis and Palestinians can reach a settlement to create such a state, but rather focuses almost entirely on what would happen in such a state were created. Based on research conducted from 2002 to 2004, this report will definitely be thought-provoking and compelling for persons with an interest in political economy, development issues, and the future of this highly contested region. [KMG]

Statistical Abstract of the United States [pdf]

The US Census Bureau creates hundreds of products and publications for the public, and one of their most popular publications is the often cited and browsed Statistical Abstract of the United States. The 2004-2005 edition was released quite recently, and persons with a love of demography and statistics will want to visit the online version offered here numerous times. On the site, visitors can view important information organized thematically into areas such as agriculture, population, elections, educations, transportation, and domestic trade. Visitors can also browse earlier editions of the Statistical Abstract, and also download information from versions dating all the way back to 1901. Also, the site offers interesting state rankings in such areas as total population, infant mortality rate, and doctors per 100,000 population. The site also includes tables of information organized around different ethnic groups, such as American Indians and Latinos. [KMG]

American Experience: The Carter Family: Will the Circle Be Unbroken [Quick Time, Real Player, pdf]

The long-running PBS program American Experience has recently turned their attention to the Carter Family, and in the process they have created yet another insightful and compelling portrait of one of American's most beloved musical families. Their story began in 1927 when A.P, Sara, and Maybelle Carter showed up at a recording studio in Tennessee to audition for a talent scout. Over the following two decades, the Carter Family would record numerous songs that drew upon their own musical upbringing in rural Appalachia. On the site, visitors can learn about each member of the group, and learn about important events in their own musical history, such as their legacy and their early recording sessions. The "Special Features" section of the site includes an online poll, selection of Carter Family songs as performed by contemporary artists, and excerpts from an interview with Gillian Welch about the influential techniques of the Carter family. [KMG]

Lightning and Atmospheric Electricity Research at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) [wav, gif, QuickTime, pdf]

The Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) educates users about lightning and the techniques involved in their lightning and atmospheric electricity research at this website. To begin, users should visit the Lightning Primer, where they can discover the history of lightning research, the characteristics of storms, and types of lightning discharge, and the many methods used to study lightning. Students and educators can then explore the attributes of the Optical Transient Detector, the Lightning Mapper Sensor, the Lightning Imaging Sensor, and additional space-based sensors. Researchers can locate numerous lightning-related datasets and can learn about lightning campaigns and ground validation. This site is also reviewed in the May 27, 2005 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [RME] [pdf, RealPlayer]

There are many websites dedicated to providing the public with information about the biological sciences, but may be one of the best around. Started in 2000 by a group of concerned scientists and educators, the site provides articles by scientists, science educators and students on issues related to seven primary areas, including genomics, biotechnology, evolution, and biodiversity. All of the pieces on the site go through a peer-review process and are written with a keen eye towards providing information in a way that is largely jargon-free and highly accessible. From the homepage, visitors can look for articles in one of seven thematic areas, look for materials in Spanish, and peruse materials created just for educators. Visitors can also view lectures from the American Institute of Biological Sciences from 2000 to the present in the Virtual Library section of the site. The lectures deal with a host of interesting topics, such as invasive species, bioethics, and agricultural biosecurity. [KMG]

USGS Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program [pdf]

Located within the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program (GAM) conducts various geographic assessments around the United States with an eye towards fostering a greater understanding of the causes and consequences of natural and human-induced processes that shape the landscape over time. Currently, GAM is engaged in dozens of projects, and this website provides summary information about the focus of each specialized endeavor. Visitors can begin their search by looking at an interactive map of the US. By clicking on each state, visitors can learn about the ongoing work in each locale. Additionally, visitors can also browse the current studies by theme, such as fire science, human health, environmental hazards, and topographic science. For persons looking for studies with a broader directive, the site also lists national and international studies, such as those looking at Lyme disease and the status and trends of the nation's transportation network. [KMG]

Global 3.0 [RealPlayer]

Often the word "globalization" is thrown around rather carelessly, and many people just associate it with the expansion of such familiar icons as Starbucks and McDonalds into the far-flung corners of the world. Fortunately, there are programs such as this one from American Radioworks, which is sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio, with significant assistance from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This program explores the broad concept of globalization in three parts, beginning with a look at the transformation of the famed "Rust Belt" region in the United States. The hosts for the program are reporters Chris Farrell and John Biewen, and visitors can listen to the program in its entirety and follow along with the transcript provided on the site. The site is rounded out by a selection of helpful resources and online links. [KMG]

University of Minnesota Insect Collection [pdf, EndNote]

During the past 125 years, the holdings of the University of Minnesota Insect Collection "have grown from a regional collection of 3,000 specimens to a major national and international resource of almost 3,400,000 specimens." Specimen loans are available to researchers by request, and the Insect Collection website provides a list of Loan Conditions. The site also contains information about Collection holdings in separate pdf files listed by order. In addition, the website provides information about faculty and research associates and various projects in the areas of Revisionary and Monographic Studies, Faunistic and Biodiversity Studies, and Phylogenetic Studies. Collection databases include the UMSP Trichoptera Holdings Biota Database and the Neotropical Trichoptera Literature EndNote Database. This site is also reviewed in the May 27, 2005 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [NL]

General Interest

World Learning for International Development [pdf]

A number of international organizations have seen fit to engage in broad-based projects in order to create and sustain social change in various parts of the world. The World Learning for International Development organization is one such entity, and for the past eight decades it has been involved in programs that "are based on local partnerships with people who have an active and respected role in addressing their own development challenges". Currently, the organization's programs take place in more than 50 countries, and are organized around the themes of education, civil society, and training and exchange. From the homepage, visitors can view some of the organization's timely publications and also read about its latest success stories in place such as Albania and Malawi. [KMG]

Cybercrime [pdf]

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has been concerned about so-called "cybercrime" for more than a decade, so it makes sense that the agency would have a useful site dedicated to providing the concerned public with information about its efforts to combat such crimes. Provided by the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the DOJ, this site offers information about the recent activities of the CCIPS, along with various documents, such as the current manual that lists guidelines for electronic search and seizure investigations. First-time visitors may want to start at the top of the homepage, as they can go ahead and search the entire site by keyword, or look through a few thematic areas, such as those dedicated to hacking, intellectual property crime, and information about cyberethics. Finally, the "General Information" area of the site provides details on how to report Internet-related crime and employment opportunities with the CCIPS. [KMG]

Plant Cultures

With its radiant colors and well-thought-out design, the Plant Cultures website's primary goal is "to convey the richness and complexity of links between Britain and South Asia, through the story of plants and people". The project covers both the historical and contemporary aspects of Britain and South Asia through a wide range of resources, including historic images, recipes, and other items. Through a series of tabs at the top of the homepage (such as "Themes" and "Stories"), visitors can begin to explore the diverse content offered here. The "Plants" area is a good place to start, as visitors can learn about garlic, henna, holy basil, sugar cane, and 21 other plants. One rather fun area of the site is the Story Library, where visitors can place their own stories regarding the use of different plants, and read those from previous guests. [KMG]

Sustainable Table

The sustainable agriculture and food movement continues to garner attention from many quarters, and the focus of this site is to educate consumers about the many aspects of supporting such efforts in their own homes. Appropriately enough, the centerpiece of the homepage is in fact a dining table. From this virtual table, the different sections of the site (such as "An Introduction to Sustainability") may be accessed. Visitors may elect to learn about the issues surrounding sustainable agriculture, view recipes, learn about sustainable food in school lunches, and how they may choose to get involved. The site's homepage also contains a "Features" section, where visitors can access the Sustainable Table's blog and view articles on different food preparation techniques, such as grilling. [KMG]

The Skyscraper Museum [Macromedia Flash Player]

Some regular Scout Report readers may be asking the question: "How do you fit an entire skyscraper online?" Well, the people at the Skyscraper Museum in Battery Park have done just that, and have even found room for a few virtual exhibits and some great material on the World Trade Center Memorial project. The museum itself was founded in 1996 and is an "educational corporation devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future." On the site, visitors can find out how to visit the museum, read about its current exhibits, and peruse rather well-designed Web projects. All told, there are four Web projects here, including the Banker's Trust Virtual Archive, which contains important historic photographs of the construction and demolition of a number of notable buildings in Manhattan. [KMG]

Extension 720 [RealPlayer]

In a day and age where many radio programs rely on the powers of mere shock value, Extension 720 offers discerning and insightful commentary on a very wide range of issues. Based out of Chicago, the program is hosted by Milt Rosenberg, who is a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago. Since 1973, the program has featured the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Charlton Heston, William Safire, and Calvin Trillin, among others. On the site, visitors can listen to the current program, or browse through the extensive archives, which date back to 2003. Additionally, visitors can also view highlights of interviews from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Some of the more recent programs have focused their attention on the world of stand-up comedy, organized crime in Chicago, and the current state of various Great Books curricula in American high schools and colleges. [KMG]

Network Tools

Weather Watcher 5.5e

As a popular quip (incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain) goes, "Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it." Well, Weather Watcher may not allow users to "do" anything about the weather, but it may help them keep track of weather conditions on their computer. With this application, users can keep track of weather information for more than 77,000 cities worldwide, including such important locales as Bangor, Maine, to Sheffield in the United Kingdom. This version is compatible with Windows 98 or newer. [KMG]

Movable Type 3.1

Movable Type has been around for some time, and users who may have not heard of it before will appreciate its various features and applications. The Movable Type publishing system allows individuals or organizations to effectively manage and update weblogs, journals, and other content on websites. With this demonstration version, visitors are not entitled to support for the application, but it remains a powerful tool for online publishing and other related uses. This version is compatible with most Web servers and browsers. [KMG]

In The News

Veterans Issues Surface Before Memorial Day Celebrations

Veterans Sue Over Care at D.C. Home
Veterans extract promise from VA
US Department of Veterans Affairs [pdf]
National Gulf War Resource Center [pdf]
Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project
Bob Dole Recounts Life Story [RealPlayer]

As many communities around the United States plan tributes to those who have given their lives in the service of their country for Memorial Day, a number of veterans groups continue to voice their concerns emphatically. In Washington, D.C. a group of veterans living at the US Armed Forces Retirement Home filed a class-action suit against Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the operating officer of the home this past Tuesday. In the suit, the veterans have alleged that they can no longer get prescriptions and regular doctor checkups due to service cuts. One resident of the home, Homer Rutherford, remarked that These cuts are affecting our health. If I could sit with Secretary Rumsfeld or Senator Warner, I would tell them: This isnt right. In the Midwest, veterans in Illinois were able to pressure Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson to set up a special unit to take a closer look at old disability claims of veterans who feel that their cases did not receive adequate appraisal. Many veterans in Illinois were quite relieved, particularly since a recent report from the inspector general released the week before showed that Illinois has ranked last in disability payments to veterans for the past 20 years.

The first link will take visitors to a Washington Post news article that details the recent lawsuit filed by the veterans at the US Armed Forces Retirement Home. The second link leads to an article from Saturdays Chicago Sun-Times which provides some details about the decision of the VA Secretary to examine the claims of veterans living in Illinois. The third link leads to the homepage of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, where visitors can learn about various VA facilities and other services for veterans. The fourth link leads the National Gulf War Resource Center webpage, which is designed to provide resources for veterans who participated in these military conflicts in the Middle East. The fifth link leads to the very nice Experiencing War website, provided by the Library of Congress. Here users can read personal narratives sent in by veterans from all wars and learn more about the human side of these different military engagements. The final link will take visitors to a special interview from Voice of America with one of World War IIs most celebrated veterans, Bob Dole. [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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