The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 32

August 12, 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

Two on College Writing

Dartmouth Writing Program
University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center

As students begin to return to college campuses across the country, they may be curious to know that there are a number of fine online resources that will help them develop their college-level writing skills. The first site offered here comes from the Dartmouth College Writing Program, and contains a number of helpful materials, such as some well-written essays that answer the question "What is an academic paper?" and also provide information on researching topics for papers. The site also includes information on such topics as writing about film, writing for sociology courses, and helpful suggestions on writing from fellow students. The second site is offered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Writing Center and contains material on how best to cite references and avoiding common grammar and punctuation mistakes. Taken together, these sites provide a host of materials that will allow students to become better writers in their various courses during their time in the world of higher education and beyond. [KMG]

California Academy of Sciences [pdf]

Founded in 1853 as the first scientific institution in the American West, the California Academy of Sciences is based in San Francisco and is the home to a number of public exhibits and eight scientific research departments. The Academy's online presence is quite prodigious, and contains copious information about its various outreach activities, its lecture series, and of course, its natural history museum. The homepage allows entry to many of these features, including the AntWeb, which warrants at least one detailed visit. The AntWeb serves as a clearinghouse of information on the ant faunas of both California and Madagascar, and visitors can learn about these different creatures here. Another nice feature is the "Science Now" area of the site. Here visitors can learn about the various research projects underway at the Academy, such as those projects on the dart frogs of Suriname. [KMG]

Tuttle: The Presence of Simple Things

Tuttle: The Presence of Simple Things, an interactive website from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), introduces visitors to the art of Richard Tuttle, using video of Tuttle at work and commentary by the artist and SFMOMA curators, as well as images and sound. For example, one of the movies shows Tuttle working on one of his Wire Pieces, which are assembled from scratch each time they are installed in a gallery; Tuttle draws on the gallery wall, and traces the lines with florists' wire. The Web exhibition feature is strong on process, but may leave some visitors wishing to see more of Tuttle's finished art. For them, there is the 388-page illustrated catalogue, and "The Art of Richard Tuttle," on view at SFMOMA through October 16, 2005, featuring 300 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from the artist's 40-year career. [DS]

Global Voices Online [RealPlayer]

Many public interest media organizations are concerned about listening to the voices and opinions of those around the world, particularly in the developing world. One such group is the nonprofit global citizens' media project, Global Voices Online, which is sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School. Its ultimate goal is "to foster better international communication and understanding between ordinary citizens of different countries, using internet, wireless and radio technologies." On the project's well-designed homepage, visitors can access compelling blogs from dozens of countries around the world and view profiles of persons working in a variety of important fields related to these emerging technologies. Another very important aspect of the site is the area dedicated to Podcasts from around the globe, including those offered by Ahmad Humeid in Jordan and several interviews with Chinese bloggers. [KMG]

Virginia Historical Society [pdf]

At its first organizational meeting in 1831, the Virginia Historical Society elected Chief Justice John Marshall as its first president, and from this auspicious beginning the Society has grown by leaps and bounds in its efforts to collect and document the history of the "Old Dominion." While visitors to the site will enjoy learning about the various outreach programs of the Society and its fine in situ exhibits and research materials, those visiting the website itself will find a number of fine online exhibits. One of the real finds here is "The Story of Virginia: An American Experience," which offers a broad and inclusive perspective on the state's history and development. Complemented by a number of primary documents (such as archival photographs and maps), each short essay is well-written and concise. [KMG] [Macromedia Flash Player, RealPlayer]

The Open University and the BBC have teamed up to create this very informative online learning portal that draws on the strengths of both organizations. The site contains several primary sections, including those dedicated to providing online learning content, discussion forums, and broadcast programs on television and radio. The learning section of the site includes a section where visitors can learn how to make their own catapult and find out about the geology of the British Isles. In the "Open2 Today" area, visitors can learn about the programs featured that day. The moderated discussion forums also provide access to additional debate and discussion on topics brought up by some of the primary programs, including those on the English language and migratory birds. [KMG]

General Interest

The Cool Spot [Macromedia Flash Player]

There is growing concern about alcohol abuse and general usage by young teens in the United States, and a number of federal organizations have begun to address this issue in earnest. This website is an important component of these outreach efforts, and was created by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The content of the site is based on a curriculum for grades six through eight developed at the University of Michigan, and much of the material will be of interest to young people, parents, and professionals who work with young people on such issues. Some of the features of the site include a "Reality Check" that quizzes young people about how much drinking goes on in the US and another section that discusses how peers may try to tempt other young people into drinking. Finally, the site is rounded out by a selection of external resources that may be of assistance to persons with a drinking problem, or for those with a family member who is having a problem with drinking. [KMG]

Institute for Justice [pdf]

Founded in 1991, the Institute for Justice is concerned with protecting civil liberties around the United States, and is currently involved in a number of projects, including investigating the use and application of eminent domain laws and the issue of free speech in the state of Washington. The Institute's homepage provides a good place to start exploring the content offered within their site, as visitors can peruse its in-house publications, such as the newsletter, Liberty & Law, and a report on eminent domain titled, "Public Power, Private Gain." Of course, visitors can also learn about the Institute's ongoing and completed cases and they may also learn about job opportunities with the Institute and its programs for undergraduates and law students. [KMG]

Seemingly ageless, Frank and Joe Hardy have been solving a host of mysteries since 1927. Despite the rather formulaic nature of their book-length adventures, they remain immensely popular, a fact that this website makes quite plain. On the site, visitors can learn much about the history of the series and its many incarnations in such media formats as LPs, television series, graphic novels, and so on. The site also contains hundreds of images of the book covers through the years, including a number of international editions. Those who remember the different television series based on the boys' adventures will want to take a look through the television series section of the site, as they will no doubt enjoy seeing that oh-so popular 1970s teen "squeeze" Shaun Cassidy as Joe Hardy. [KMG]

Bye Bye Blackboard: From Einstein and others

Educational theorists, professors, and other such types have long predicted the demise of the blackboard in the classroom. While many remain skeptical of other forms of transmitting knowledge (such as the use of tools such as PowerPoint and the like), it is certainly true that blackboards are disappearing from many classrooms. With that in mind, the Museum of the History of Science at the University of Oxford has created this online exhibit that pays tribute to the blackboard and its many uses. Visitors to the site can view eighteen different blackboards from contributors that include Albert Einstein, Brian Eno, Glenda Jackson, and Alain de Botton. Visitors can view large images of each blackboard and its contents and also view some brief commentary from each contributor. [KMG]

Taking America To Lunch

No one loves collecting both the monumental and (seemingly) trivial aspects of American material culture more than the National Museum of American History, which has created this fine online exhibit to pay tribute to that unsung hero of midday, the lunch box. This website is designed to complement an in situ exhibit that is currently on view in the Museum's lower level. On this site, visitors are greeted by photographs of such notables as Shirley Jones, Meadowlark Lemon, and June Lockhart all placing lunch containers into the exhibit during a recent event at the Museum. The site contains four areas documenting the evolution of the common lunch container, ranging from the early days of the common worker's lunch bucket all the way to the more tranquil "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" lunch box of 1974.

The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II : A Collection of Primary Sources [pdf]

In timely fashion, the National Security Archive has released another of one of its well-devised electronic briefing books for consideration by the general public. This particular book is edited by William Burr and contains 77 declassified US government documents on the atomic bomb and the end of the war in the Pacific theater of operations. As the site notes, "Interested readers can see for themselves the crucial source material that scholars have used to shape narrative accounts of the historical developments and to frame their arguments about the questions that have provoked controversy over the years." As with previous electronic briefing books, each document is complemented by a brief statement of its importance and general relevance to this overall theme. Additionally, there are notes that contain detailed bibliographic information of external sources used to expand on the details for each document. [KMG]

Network Tools


The continued growth of online radio stations that offer streaming audio was interrupted by a number of lawsuits filed by a number of corporations in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Fortunately, some legal options are now available, including Mercora, which is an Internet software system that includes a universal Internet radio tuner linked to many different channels and users. After downloading the Mercora client application, users will be able to search for music that interests them online. This version of Mercora is only compatible with Windows 2000 and later. [KMG]

Acoo Browser 1.20

As summer begins to draw to a close, some regular Scout Report readers may be interested in taking a look at a new Web browser. One such browser of note is the Acoo Browser, which allows users to surf multiple sites within one browser window. The browser also contains a number of features, such as an ad filter, a pop-up blocker, and script error suppression. This latest version of Acoo is compatible with Windows 98 or newer. [KMG]

In The News

John H. Johnson, Publisher of Jet and Ebony, Passes Away

John H. Johnson, 87, Founder of Ebony, Dies [Free registration required]
Media Giant John H. Johnson Succumbs
Johnson leaves imprint on media industry
Johnson didnt get mad, he got smart, successful
Selected quotes by John H. Johnson
The HistoryMakers: John H. Johnson

Once upon a time, the noted curmudgeon and celebrated journalist A.J. Liebling remarked that Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one." John H. Johnson, was one such person who had such freedom," and he used his business acumen and savvy to develop a number of publications that portrayed African-Americans in a positive light to an outside world that at times seemed to ignore their presence, or merely relied on popular stereotypes when writing about their experiences in the United States. Johnson died this past Monday at age 87, and he left behind a legacy that included two immensely popular magazines aimed at African-Americans, Ebony and Jet. In many ways, Johnson was the very real personification of that Horatio Alger rags to riches archetype, as he grew up in rural poverty in Arkansas, and later went on to become the first African-American on the Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans. Along with offering images and articles about middle-class black America, Johnsons publications also confronted important social issues of the day, such as the civil rights movement, and most notably, the murder of Emmett Till. In a press release, US Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. noted that Johnson dealt fully with all the news in the African-American community-the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly."

The first link will lead visitors to an obituary for Johnson which appeared in Tuesdays New York Times. The second link will take visitors to the official press release announcing Johnsons passing from the Johnson Publishing Company website. The third link leads to a piece by Corey Hall of the Chicago Defender newspaper about the impact of Johnsons career and personal character. The fourth link will take visitors to an editorial by the _Chicago Sun-Times_ own Mary Mitchell who notes that Johnson showed us the power wrapped up in small dreams." The fifth link leads to a selection of quotations by Johnson, including the observation that Every day I run scared. Thats the only way I can stay ahead. The sixth and final link leads to a nice biographical sketch (complete with helpful hypertext links) of Johnson from The HistoryMakers Project, an oral history archive based in Chicago. [KMG]

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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

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