The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 26

July 1, 2005

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

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

Research and Education

BioEd Online [pdf, Microsoft Powerpoint, RealPlayer]

Ever since the early days of the Internet, various educational organizations and foundations have sought to use the Web to disseminate important pedagogical tools to fellow educators and interested parties. This very fine site sponsored by the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas A&M University does exactly that for the field of biology with great aplomb. First-time visitors will want to start by perusing the homepage, which includes links to "Hot Topics" in biology (such as flu prevention), a "Biology News" section (which digests important news from the field), and a selection of recent additions to the site. Educators will also want to take a look through the slide sets offered here, in the PowerPoint format, which include topics such as human body systems, ecosystems, and Mendelian genetics. Additionally, the site also features a number of streaming video presentations for classroom use on a wide range of biological topics. [KMG]

Global Museum [pdf]

While there are numerous sites about different museums of all sizes around the world, there are also numerous sites about the wide world of museology and exhibition techniques. One such site is the Global Museum, which provides information about important and new exhibits around the globe, along with job postings from a wide range of museums. Persons interested in a course of study on museums would do well to look at the site's listings of internationally accredited museum studies courses, which is offered in the Study area of the website. Visitors can also look through the online bookstore, which contains a wide array of titles that are of great relevance. Finally, the site is rounded out by an Ideas area that focuses on providing external links to sites that deal with marketing, conservation, and World Heritage sites. [KMG]

Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704 [Macromedia Flash Player, QuickTime, pdf]

The interpretation of historical events in colonial America as regards the interactions between Native Americans and colonists has at times been depicted as a series of violent uprisings that resulted in the tragic deaths of numerous settlers. This interactive feature and exhibit offered by the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association in Deerfield, Mass., offers a highly nuanced and complex narrative of the well-known raid on the town which took place on February 29, 1704. Within the site, visitors can learn about the various cultures that converged on this region of the New World, the artifacts produced by these different groups, and of course, a very detailed chronology of the raid on Deerfield. Another way to begin learning about the events of the raid is to peruse the various biographical profiles of the people involved (directly or indirectly) in those events. For those with a penchant for cartography and geography, there is also a fine section that offers some maps of how the raid was conducted and a map of settlement patterns in the Connecticut River Valley. [KMG]

Ancient Observatories: Chichen Itza [Macromedia Flash Player]

Located on a limestone plateau in the northern area of the Yucatan peninsula, the dramatic ruins of Chichen Itza stand as a testimony to the ingenuity of the Mayan civilization. Many visitors flock to the area to view these structures, and now it is also possible to view them via this fine exhibition created by the Exploratorium Museum. With substantial funding from the McBean Family Foundation and NASA, this site explores the use of these structures as ancient observatories. Visitors will want to begin by looking through some historical essays on Chichen Itza, then proceed to learn about the expert alignments of the structures that allowed Mayans to observe different celestial bodies. The site also includes fun activities, such as Mayan math exercises and a Mayan calendar. [KMG]

SAGE Crossroads [pdf, Windows Media Player]

With a growing percentage of the American population entering later life, it would seem to make sense that there would be an increased online presence of sites to provide information on related topics. SAGE Crossroads is a "public forum on the ethics, politics, and economics of aging research and longevity science." The site has been in existence since March 2003, and was developed by a collaborative arrangement between the Alliance for Aging Research and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The two primary features of the site include "News & Views", which digests news on aging-related research and policy and the "Live Debates" section, where visitors can view debates on subjects that include "Women and Aging: Ethical Implications for 2005 and Beyond." Additionally, visitors may sign up to receive updates when new material is added to the site. [KMG]

Virtual Museum and Archive of the SEC and Securities History [pdf, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player]

On the surface, the subject may not seem terribly interesting, but the importance of providing historical materials relating to the growth and development of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is tremendously important. Since 1999, the Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society has been collecting materials in this area, and for the past several years it have included many of these materials on this website. On the site, visitors can view a timeline of the SEC's history, peruse (and listen) to a number of oral histories, and view crucial primary documents. The "Online Programs" area is also worth a look, as it contains full broadcasts with experts on such topics as "Developments in the Mutual Fund Industry" and "Transformation of Wall Street". The site is rounded out by a photograph archive, which can be browsed alphabetically. [KMG]

General Interest

This Old House [Windows Media Player]

Summer certainly isn't a bad time to start a new home (or apartment) improvement project, whether it be a gut rehab or just fixing a wobbly toilet seat. Fortunately, the This Old House television program website is a good place to look for a wide range of information about just such endeavors. While the site certainly has a number of advertisements on it, there is still a good deal of very reliable content for use by the general public. The homepage contains a number of "Improvement Highlights", ranging from how to install a garage floodlight to how to tile a floor. Of course, most users will also want to check out some video highlights from the popular television show. Users may also want to submit a question for consideration by the This Old House staff. [KMG]

World Myths & Legends in Art

Primarily for teachers and students (but fun for anyone), this website from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts uses 26 works of art selected from its collections to explore mythology from around the world. Each work of art has a corresponding essay that includes key points; the story that inspired the work of art; background, such as history, cultural context and style; and suggested discussion questions. For example, the entry for a Navajo ketoh includes a Navajo creation myth describing the adventures of the earliest beings as they moved through the first four worlds; explains that while this particular piece is decorative jewelry, the ketoh form is based on wrist guards worn by archers to protect their forearms from the snap of their bowstrings; and also provides background information on the Navajo, and their arts and crafts. [DS]

Tacoma Narrows Bridge: Extreme History [RealPlayer, Quick Time]

Stretching across the southern portion of Puget Sound, the elegant Tacoma Narrows bridge is considered one of the finest suspension bridges in the United States. The current bridge is the second on the site, as it was constructed in 1950 to serve as a replacement to the famous "Galloping Gertie" bridge, which collapsed in a windstorm in the fall of 1940. Currently, the Washington State Department of Transportation is building a bridge to replace the existing structure, and it is anticipated that it will be completed in 2007. This site offers a host of materials on all three structures, including ample information on the construction of the bridges and their aesthetic appeal. Along with these materials, the site also provides a glossary of related terms, Weird Facts, and some information about the dog "Tubby", who perished when "Galloping Gertie" collapsed on that fateful fall day back in 1940. [KMG]

The International Perfume Museum [Macromedia Flash Player]

It may be hard to imagine a website about perfume without the actual fragrances, but the International Perfume Museum does its subject matter proud with this very nice exhibit. The Museum was created in 1989 and its collections "retrace the history of perfumes", along with those of soap and cosmetics over the past 40 centuries. Visitors will want to begin by looking through a virtual visit of the "greenhouse," where they may view the raw materials that form the basis of many perfumes, and then proceed to the section titled "Leading techniques". A real treat is the "History of Perfume" area, which offers a broad chronological overview of the various incarnations and uses of perfume from antiquity to the present day. [KMG] was founded in 2000 by Jonathan Dube, a print and online journalist who wanted to provide a site that offers news and resources on "how the Internet, convergence, and new technologies are changing the media". The site contains helpful tips, news and commentary about online journalism, digital storytelling, and how the Internet can be used as a reporting tool. One rather compelling feature of the site is the Great Work Gallery, which highlights very effective examples on online journalism, thematically organized into such areas as Breaking News, Student Work, Use of Flash, and Civic journalism. The site is quite pragmatic as well, as it also contains extensive job postings in the field. Not surprisingly, the site also features "The Weblog Blog", which is, in fact, a weblog about blogs and their use in journalism. [KMG]

California Connected [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf, Quick Time]

Even as public interest programming on television seems to constitute less and less of the average programming schedule, there remain a few bright spots on the dial. One such program is California Connected, which is a public affairs television show that focuses on issues throughout the state of California. The program is produced through a collaboration of four of the state's PBS stations, along with generous assistance from a number of foundations, including The Annenberg Foundation. Visitors can view each show in its entirety on the site, and they may also want to browse the archives, which date back to 2002. There are a number of compelling programs here, including episodes on the efforts to create a solar-hydrogen fuel system and the state of California's biotech industry. If users of the site wish to search the contents of the archive by keyword or topic, they may do so here as well. [KMG]

Network Tools

INetFormFiller Freeware 2.8.08

In order to properly utilize many websites, one must often fill out a number of forms. This can be rather time-consuming and monotonous, but with this latest application, this process can be less onerous. INetForm Filler can be customized to automatically fill out such forms, and also allow users to create individualized settings for specific webpages. Users of this program can also use it to manage passwords and export or import user profiles. This particular version of INetForm Filler is compatible with Windows 2000 or newer. [KMG]

ZoneMinder 1.21.2
One potential use for the home computer is as a monitoring device, whether it be to check in on a child in another room or to keep an eye out for potential intruders into the home. ZoneMinder 1.21.2 allows visitors to do just that, and also to capture various images recorded with the use of one or more cameras attached to their computer. Users can also choose to be notified by email when the camera records any new images, if they so desire. The website for ZoneMinder also includes a FAQ section, along with various screenshots. Zoneminder is compatible with the Linux operating system. [KMG]

In The News

NASA's Deep Impact to Meet Comet Shortly

Spacecraft is on a Collision Course With a Comet, Intentionally
Science meets a comet head-on
Comet to go kaboom on 4th
Astronomers ready for show [Free registration required]
Deep Impact Mission [QuickTime, pdf] Deep Impact Special Report [Windows Media Player, QuickTime]

On July 4th at 1:52 AM Eastern Standard Time, a massive probe launched by NASA is scheduled to forcibly collide at the speed of 23,000 mph with the comet Tempel 1. This very intriguing project is part of the Deep Impact project, and it is hoped that the images transmitted by the probe will afford new insights into conditions in the early solar system. So far, the closest that scientists have come to a comet was when a previous NASA mission probe passed with 167 miles of the comet Wild 2 in 2004. The information sent back from the probe and its mothership will at the very least hopefully answer some basic questions about comets, such as whether or not comets are comprised of compact matter or more akin to snow cones. Needless to say, astronomers are becoming quite excited about the prospects of seeing such an event, though it is highly unlikely that the average observer on Earth will be able to see much without a well-trained telescope.

The first link offered here is from Tuesday's New York Times, and provides some very thoughtful insights into this important mission. The second link leads to a USA Today article on the nature of the Deep Impact project, along with an animated look at Deep Impact's upcoming encounter with Tempel 1. The third link leads to a Chicago Sun-Times piece about the kaboom effect of this portentous meeting between probe and comet. The fourth link leads to a San Jose Mercury News news article that discusses the efforts of astronomers to view this historic event. The fifth link leads to the very fine homepage developed by NASA to provide extensive information about the Deep Impact mission, complete with visualizations, short video clips, and technical information. The final link leads to a similar type of site offered by the people at [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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