The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 43

October 28, 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

The Malcolm X Project at Columbia University [pdf]

A number of digital initiatives have been started in an attempt to disseminate new and important material about the late Malcolm X, and this remarkable site from Columbia Universitys Center for Contemporary Black History is worth several visits. Under the direction of Professor Manning Marable and with significant input from the Shabazz family, the website contains a number of multimedia presentations that offer various perspectives and informed insights into Malcolm Xs life and broader cultural and historical legacy. On the projects homepage, visitors can learn about the initiative, peruse a number of helpful resources (such as a listing of related websites), and take a look at the projects journal. The project journal is offered in the form of a weblog, and is a terrific way to learn about the research the project has uncovered over the past five years. Embedded in the weblog are a number of recent video interviews on one of Malcolm Xs important projects, the Organization of Afro-American Unity. [KMG]

The National Womens Health Information Center [pdf]

The National Womens Health Information Center (NWHIC) is a service of the Office of Womens Health, which was originally established in 1991. Without a doubt, this fine site will be of great interest to health care professionals, educators, and a wide segment of society. Their homepage offers a wide array of helpful resources, divided into topics such as pregnancy and breastfeeding, funding opportunities, and a set of health tools. The health tools area is particularly useful as it offers such resources as ovulation calculator, a BMI calculator, and a heart disease risk test. Visitors to the homepage will also want to look through the days health news, search their event calendar, and access the most recently updated sections. Finally, a number of these resources are available in Spanish. [KMG]

Human Development Report 2005 [pdf, Macromedia Flash]

The notion of human development is one that is quite old, even if it has not always gone by that name. The United Nations understands human development to be about creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive, creative lives in accord with their needs and interests. In this way, of course, many ancient city-states and other such communities of shared interests have always been about creating such an environment. This latest report on the state of human development affords curious individuals an insight into the United Nations work in this area. It offers some insights into the nature of inequalities which affect the potentiality of human development schemes and also looks at other related processes such as the nature of international trade and violent conflict. The report is divided into five primary chapters, and is supplemented by a list of human development indicators and a bibliography. The site also contains an animated file that offers a visualization of the trend of human development. [KMG]

Digital Library Collections: Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library

The collections at the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale are rather extensive, and they have recently made a selection of their holdings available online for general consideration. This particular website includes three digital collections, including the Peter Parker Collection, a collection of portrait engravings and a biography of Harvey Cushing, a noted doctor and medical innovator. The Peter Parker Collection is rather intriguing as it is a collection of 83 mid-19th century oil paintings executed by Lam Qua. The subject matter is one to note as well, as they are all of Chinese patients with tumors who were under the care and supervision of the Yale-trained medical missionary Peter Parker. The collection of portraits is equally compelling, as it includes hundreds of images of such people as John James Audubon and Andreas Vesalius. [KMG]

Exploratorium: Digital Library [pdf, Real Player]

Over the past decade, the Scout Report has reported on many of the websites created by the Exploratorium, and as each one is truly a delight, this one was a welcome find as well. Their Digital Library site brings together digital media and digitized museum materials related to interactive exhibits and scientific phenomena, such as images and a host of educational activities. Two good places to start exploring are the Asset Archive and the Learning Resources Collection. In the Asset Archive, visitors can find many of these materials quite easily, and they include demonstrations of physical properties of objects and images that deal with biological exploration. The Learning Resources Collection is a resource for K-12 educators that will surely delight both due to its broad ambit and the quality of the materials. The site is rounded out by a number of special collections, such as the Microscope Imaging Station, which contains media created from living organisms. [KMG]

People Make Places: Growing the Public Life of Cities [pdf]

Demos is a public policy and advocacy think-tank based in Britain that is well-regarded for its diverse studies on such timely issues as urban governance, the public and the media, and a number of other topics. This latest report from co-authors Melissa Mean and Charlie Tims takes on the always-timely theme of how cities might create more effective public spaces in cities that will work well for a wide host of constituencies. The 41-page report is based on intensive qualitative research done in the British towns of Cardiff, Preston, and Swindon. The report has a broad agenda, as it offers a number of suggestions and policy initiatives for how effective public spaces might boost peoples participation in public space and the wider public life of their town or city. [KMG]

General Interest

National Geographic: WildCam Africa [Real Player]

In 1985, Pete Le Roux dreamed of a wildlife reserve in Africa. Twenty years later it is a successful reality, as the pond he built from an old irrigation system is alive with the sounds of elephants and impalas. Visitors to this site established by National Geographic Magazine can view Petes Pond via a live webcam offered here. Of course, thats just one of the many highlights that visitors may enjoy. They may also want to read through the weblog authored by researchers Jeanette Selier and Villiers Steyn. Here they post highlights of their work, complemented by a selection of high-quality images of the animals they are studying, such as the African wild cat. Those who are cartographically minded may want to take a look at the map of the Mashatu Game Reserve, which is home to Petes Pond and its thousands of different animal residents. Overall, this is a fine educational site, and one that warrants several visits. [KMG]

The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas

With art work from the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, and the Peabody Institute Art Collection of the Maryland State Archives, the Essence of Line is a comprehensive database of over 900 nineteenth-century French drawings by artists such as Eugne Delacroix, Honor Daumier, Paul Czanne, and Edgar Degas. The site provides several approaches to viewing the drawings - in addition to a variety of searches - author's name, drawing title, category - browse 27 highlights of the collection, or leaf through several sketchbooks (by Antoine Louis Barye, Karl Bodmer, Charles Emile Jacque), as well as two albums compiled by collector William T. Walters. The albums hold more finished works, such as The Confessional, a water color by Tissot, comissioned by Walters in 1867. [DS]

Independent Lens: Interactive [Macromedia Flash Player]

Over the past few years, Independent Lens has produced a number of well-received documentaries that have aired on PBS and other places. They have also created some very nice websites in an attempt to enhance the viewing experience of their programs. The Independent Lens: Interactive site offers some additional web-original projects for the interested public. Some of these features include Beyond the Fire, which introduces visitors to the stories of fifteen teenagers living in the US, who have survived war in seven different regions. One very compelling highlight of the site is the Off the Map feature. Here visitors can learn about the visionary art produced by a selection of persons working in various media, such as bottle caps, matchsticks, and chewing gum. For those looking for something with a unique perspective on the world and its inhabitants, this website will definitely bring a smile to their eyes. [KMG]

The Revealer

For those interested in insightful and critical analysis of issues regarding religion and its portrayal in the media, it can be difficult to sift and winnow through the myriad of material offered on the web. Jointly sponsored by the New York University Department of Journalism and New York Universitys Center for Religion and Media, The Revealer is a well-thought out review of just such matters, and one that will be of great interest to persons with a penchant for the subject. The review is divided into three playful headings: Today, Timely, and Timeless. As might be expected, the Today section culls media coverage from that particular day. The Timely section offers links to media coverage of particularly germane issues and events, while the Timeless area offers some exclusive commentaries on photography and the occult and the relationship between science and religion. Finally, visitors can zero in on the religion of their choice by looking through the material as organized by faith, such as Hinduism, Paganism, and Christianity. [KMG]

Jane Austen Centre

While for a number of centuries Bath was home to numerous noble Romans, perhaps the ancient citys most notable resident was Jane Austen, the author whose novels continue to fascinate and delight readers today. The Jane Austen Centre website is designed to provide information on the interpretive center on Gay Street in that fair city, and no doubt potential visitors will want to use the site to plan a potential visit. Other visitors will want to look through The Jane Austen Magazine, which contains articles on Regency-era fashion, biographies of Austen and her contemporaries, and a host of media reviews of film and theater adaptations of her works. For those looking for a bit of material off the track of such works as Pride and Prejudice, the minor works area contains some miscellaneous writings by Austin, including some of her earliest plays, such as Frederic and Elfrida. [KMG]

Network Tools

3D Photo Browser 8.3

No doubt there are many users seeking a new way to view their own images, video clips, and 3D files. Those persons may wish to take a look at the latest version of the 3D browser which allow them to view high-quality thumbnails and also edit their own images and videos at their leisure. The program also offers a number of other options, such as the ability to create slide shows and stereo images. This application is compatible with computers running Windows 98 or newer. [KMG]

Open 2.0

Those who are in the know about open-source office productivity suite programs may already be aware of Open 2.0, but new users will definitely enjoy the program just as much. With this office productivity suite, users will have an elegant spreadsheet application, a presentation tool, and a word processor. Some of the new features of this latest version include an enhanced word count feature, a mail merge wizard, and floating toolbars. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 or newer. [KMG]

In The News

Amazon Forests Depleting Rapidly

Amazon stealth logging revealed

Does Brazil have to choose between economic growth and preserving the endangered Amazon?

Deforestation patterns in the Amazon

The causes of Deforestation are Complex

New highways drive accelerating deforestation in Amazon

Stanford scientist develops satellite to study Amazon

Amazon drought emergency widens

Despite earlier claims by the Brazilian government that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon had fallen by as much as 50%, scientists from the U.S. and Brazil have found that the Amazon Rainforests are being depleted more rapidly than previously thought. The deforestation is so rapid and expansive that the only effective means by which to measure is by using satellite imagery. Satellite imagery not only detects vast tracts of clear cutting, it is also able to detect selective logging. Selective logging is a process in which loggers only cut down valuable trees, leaving the remainder of the forest alone. Logging companies claim that this process is much more environmentally friendly than clear cutting. While this may be true, environmentalists believe that tree removal of any kind can be detrimental to an ecosystem. They claim that the process of building roads and bringing heavy equipment into these forests is disruptive and damaging. The scientists producing this study claim that deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has been underestimated by as much as 60%. The Brazilian government stated that although they welcomed the research the numbers were exaggerated. Deforestation is only one of many environmental calamities causing harm to the Amazon. A severe drought, coupled with severe cases of industrial pollution, is making the Amazon a severely endangered ecosystem. [CMH]

The first link is to a BBC News article on the new evidence on stealth logging as well as the new deforestation numbers based on the satellite images. The second link is to an article studying the economic issues of deforestation. The third link illustrates the deforestation patterns in the Amazon using the satellite images. The fourth is a link, which examines the many issues surrounding deforestation in social, economic, and environmental terms. The fifth link is an article discussing issues of highway construction and its connection to deforestation and pollution. The sixth link is to an article detailing the satellite developed at Stanford University designed to study the Amazon. The final link is an article by the BBC with information on the severe drought plaguing the Amazon. [CMH]

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