The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 47

November 25, 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

Governance Divide: A Report on a Four-State Study on Improving College Readiness and Success [pdf]

Many policy analysts and commentators have been bemoaning the fact that the United States substantial lead in the worlds of technology and scientific discovery seems to be fading rather quickly. A number of policy think-tanks have preoccupied themselves with exploring this question, and The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education has been exploring the very complex link between K-12 and postsecondary education policymaking as of late. One of their latest reports, released in September 2005, examines the efforts made by four states in order to improve the transition from high school to college. The report was jointly written by the Center, the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research, and the Institute for Educational Leadership. Among its findings were that states should ensure that students in high school understand what the expectations in college will be and that states also provide better information about education for policymakers and the public. [KMG]

Policy Review

The Hoover Institution at Stanford University publishes a number of important and widely read publications, and perhaps one of its best known periodicals is Policy Review. Under the guidance of editor Tod Lindberg, Policy Review continues to publish a wide range of pieces on topics ranging from affirmative action to eminent domain. On their site, visitors can learn about the mission of the publication and they can browse their extensive archive, which dates back to 1995. A section titled Special features interviews with Dick Cheney from 1993 and Joseph Lieberman from 1990. The most recent issue of Policy Review available on the site features pieces on the current state of Russia and how America might effectively restore its image around the world. Many pieces in Policy Review will be both thought-provoking and potentially controversial, and for those reasons, they are definitely worth a look. [KMG]

The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement [pdf]

Funded by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education, The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement is designed to assist schools and districts involved in school reform by providing information about research based strategies to help achieve this goal. First-time users of the site will want to take a look at the Research and Publications area of the site as it contains a nice database of information about school reform and improvement and research briefs on such topics as high-achieving middle schools for Latino students in poverty and teacher leadership. The site also has a Guides and Tools area that provides some best practice information on topics such as tools for evaluating school progress and data-drive decision making. Interestingly enough, the site also has a section of noteworthy podcasts available for download. [KMG]

Institute for Womens Policy Research [pdf]

With over ten years of experience, the Institute for Womens Policy Research (IWPR) continues to inform the general public and policymakers about the critical issues that affect women and their families. The IWPR is primarily focused with addressing questions of poverty and welfare, employment and earnings, health and safety, and womens civic and political participation. From their homepage, visitors have immediate access to some of their latest research findings, including papers on the gender wage gap, state strategies to improve the quality of family child care, and women and Social Security. Along with basic press releases and basic information about the IWPRs mission, one real gem on the site is The States of Women in the States report. Visitors clicking on the link to this annual report will be able to read state-by-state reports about womens economic status and the provisioning of child care and education as well. Finally, visitors can also read about upcoming conferences and special events sponsored by the IWPR. [KMG]

Teen Content Creator and Consumers [pdf]

With more and more young people using the internet for a wide variety of purposes, there has been an increased effort to study what exactly they arte doing online. This latest research report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project looks at how teenagers create content for the internet (such as weblogs) and how they choose to download content off the internet. Authored by Amanda Lenhart and Mary Madden and released in November 2005, this 29-page report reveals that over half of all the teens surveyed for this report create content for the internet and that thirty-eight percent of all teens surveyed read blogs. The report also contains a number of helpful charts and tables that will be of interest to those with an interest in the changing nature of internet usage patterns. [KMG]

The Papers of Justice Tom C. Clark

While several Texans have served as President of the United States, so far only one has served on the Supreme Court. Tom C. Clark was appointed to the position of Associate Justice in 1949 by President Truman and served in that capacity until 1967 when he stepped down. Clark is perhaps best known for his support of anticommunist policies during the Cold War and his unwavering support of civil rights. Recently, the staff of the University of Texas School of Law created this fine online collection, which contains a sampling of Clarks papers and legal documents. Visitors can browse the collection at their leisure, or they may also elect to look through a series of topical sections (such as those that address school prayer or desegregation) of related documents. Visitors will also appreciate the glossary that is contained on the site, as it offers some brief explanations of germane legal terms. [KMG]

General Interest

Village Voice 50th Anniversary

The history of independent weekly newspapers in the United States is quite compelling, and it would seem that almost every American city has at least one of these types of papers. New York has many of these ferociously independent papers, the best known is most likely the Village Voice. Founded 50 years ago by a group of literary types (including Norman Mailer), the paper continues to be a vital force in independent journalism, and remains well-regarded for its erudite book reviews, film critiques, and other forms of criticism. This site pays homage to their first 50 years, and it includes an interactive slideshow of some of their most notable covers, along with a timeline that offers the Voices own unique perspective on various happenings within New York, such as the rise of punk and the career of Lenny Bruce. The site is rounded out by a selection of book reviews from the pages of the Voice over the years, including short pieces on Franny and Zooey and The Confessions of Nat Turner. [KMG]

National Adoption Information Clearinghouse [pdf]

The role of government in assisting with the adoption process has increased substantially over the past several decades, and this website is part of that commitment. The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC) is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and was established in 1974 to assist professionals and concerned citizens who are interested in learning about programs, research and legislation designed to promote the safety and well-being of children and families. Starting with the homepage, visitors will appreciate the design of this introduction to their programs. The site is designed for use by both professionals and the general public, and both groups will want to browse through sections that deal with the legal issues involved with adoption. They may also want to look through the publication, Childrens Bureau Express, which covers news, issues, and trends in child welfare and adoption. It should also be noted that the site also contains a great deal of information in Spanish as well. [KMG]

Bound for Glory: America in Color, 1939-1943

For many people, the world of Depression-era photography in the United States can be characterized by the somber black-and-white images of rural poverty or by the vivid depictions of everyday struggles. Interestingly enough, there were a number of color images taken by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information from the years 1939 to 1943. The Library of Congress has created a delightful digital exhibition of these images to complement a current exhibition in their headquarters in Washington, DC. Visitors to the site can read an introductory essay on the collection, and then begin by perusing photographs of small children at the Vermont State Fair, homesteaders in New Mexico, and a street corner in Dillon, Montana. The site is rounded out with a link to the entire collection of color photographs hosted by the Library of Congresss American Memory Project. [KMG]

American Hospital Association [pdf]

Founded in 1898, the American Hospital Association (AHA) is the national umbrella organization that represents a wide range of hospitals and health care networks. While some of the sites contents are designed for health care professionals and executives, the general public and some scholars will find some of the features, such as their quarterly reports on the latest in hospital trends, quite valuable. A good place to start is the Resource Center section of the site, which contains helpful guides to locating the information on the site itself. There are a number of free resources available here, such as a fact sheet about Americas hospitals and studies, including The State of Americas Hospitals: Taking the Pulse and Costs of Caring: Sources of Growth in Spending for Hospital Care. [KMG]

Alcatraz Island [Real Player, Windows Media Player]

The Rock, the oft-used vernacular phrase used to describe Alcatraz, is perhaps one of the Bay Areas most dramatic landscapes, and certainly its best known island. Over the past several hundred years, it has served at times as a place for protest by Native Americans and a place of incarceration for some of Americas most hardened (and colorful) criminals. The National Park Service recently created this rather well-done online exhibit that allows users to view objects from Alcatrazs past (such as escape materials and historic photographs) and also to allow them to take a virtual tour of the prison and its grounds. Visitors can also listen to a number of compelling sound clips that discuss the infamous Battle of Alcatraz and the cellhouse rules. The site also features a number of thematic slide shows, including one that addresses the occupation of the island by members of the American Indian Movement from 1969 to 1971. [KMG]

Network Tools

Internet Download Accelerator

While speed may not be of the essence for certain activities, many internet users wish to download a wide range of materials quickly. This latest version of Internet Download Accelerator will allow users to do just that, as it has the potential to increase download speeds by 500 percent. The application can resume broken downloads and can also allow users to manage downloads by organizing them in categories. This particular trial version can be used for 30 days at no cost, and is compatible with all computers running any versions of Windows. [KMG]

Kea Coloring Book 3.4

Young people have found great pleasure in coloring books for years, and now they may do so through this rather fun and interesting application. With the Kea Coloring Book, visitors can download the application and then color in a number of pictures by utilizing the toolbars provided within the program. The application comes with a number of pre-set colors and users can also mix up colors to their hearts content. This program is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, 2000, and XP. [KMG]

In The News

Happy 100th Birthday E=mc

Einstein equation marks 100 years

Einstein's E=mc inspires ballet

Rampart Dance Company: Constant Speed

American Museum of Natural History: Einstein

Albert Einstein Biography

Einsteins Big Idea

The Center for the History of Physics: Albert Einstein Image and Impact

E=mc is perhaps the most well known equation in the world. In 1905, German-born physicist Albert Einstein, yet to land a teaching post, published this equation in a series of papers. Scientists are now celebrating 100 years of this equation and Einsteins genius. The seemingly simple equation that brings together energy, mass, and the speed of light in an equation even the lay person can remember, furthered Einsteins Theory of Relativity and eventually led to the technology behind the atom bomb. Images of Einstein are still instantly recognized, the bumbling professor with a thick accent and a kindly face. Yet despite looking accessible and providing a seemingly simple equation, he was undeniably profound. A genius above geniuses who discovered just by thinking about it, that the universe was not as we believed. Einstein was the pre-eminent scientist in a century dominated by science. The hallmarks of his era, the Atom bomb, the Big Bang theory, and quantum physics all carry his imprint. Today, he still remains one of the most recognized scientists despite and because of the sheer complexity and genius of his ideas. [CMH]

The first link is to a short BBC article giving a brief history of E=mc. The second will take you to another BBC article describing a ballet, Constant Speed, inspired by Einsteins equation. The third will take you to the website of the Rampart Dance Company performing the ballet, with details on the performance and its inspiration. The fourth link will take you to an interactive website developed by the American Museum of Natural History dedicated to Einstein. The fifth link will take you to the Nobel Prize Organizations website with an interesting biography of Einstein. The sixth will bring you to a site from PBS Nova program, with interesting links including how scientists today are using the equation, an interactive version of Einsteins time paradox, as well as the legacy of E=mc2. Lastly, you will find a link to the Center for the History of Physics Albert Einstein site, which includes essays about Einstein along with a pictorial biography. [CMH]

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