The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 5

February 3, 2006

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

Improving the Lives of the Urban Poor

Concern about the lives of the poor in the developing world continues to be a focus for a number of important organizations, including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. One area of particular interest has been improving the lives of those poor persons in urban areas, areas that are often overlooked by programs designed to alleviate the massive amounts of rural poverty. This recent publication takes a critical look at a number of case studies that are meant to provide a number of basic services through some rather innovative and forward-thinking partnerships. The case studies featured in this report include solid waste management in Bangladesh, community toilets in Indonesia, and providing water to poor communities in the Philippines. Each case study includes a bit of background material, material on the various partnerships created to implement each policy, and the potential ability to replicate each policy effectively in other settings. Overall, this 76-page report is well-thought out and researched, and may be of great interest to practitioners and academicians alike. [KMG]

U.S. Senate [pdf]

The website has been around for over a decade and during that time the site has gone through several incarnations and revisions. Most recently, the site was completely redesigned, and is worth several visits. Visitors to the site will definitely want to take a look through some of the primary areas accessible directly from the homepage, including Senators, Reference, and Committees. In addition to containing copious amounts of information about each senator and committee, the site also contains a complete floor schedule for the Senate, along with This Week in Senate History, which contains a brief historical narrative on events in the Senates distant (and not-so distant) past. The real treat here is the Art & History area, which allows visitors access to oral histories of the Senate and brief essays by Senate historian Richard A. Baker discussing the development of the Senate over the past two hundred or so years. [KMG]

Echoes of Africa [Real Player]

Africas contributions to music around the world are numerous, ranging from the griots of West Africa that later wove their way into the musical idiom known as the blues to the influence of Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Paul Simon. This special site created by the BBC offers musical clips and information about musical instruments across this vast continent, albeit only a tantalizing introductory selection. First-time visitors to the site can select a geographical region of Africa to begin their musical exploration, and then proceed to learn about the various wind and percussion instruments within each region. Visitors should not neglect to listen to the raw sound of the iranzi, the belap (a type of thumb piano), or the bangwe. [KMG]

Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities [pdf]

While a number of web-based initiatives in the sciences were quick to put their proverbial flag in the sand of the Internet, the humanities took a bit longer in adopting these new technologies. One of the leaders in this field has been the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia. Established in 1992, the Institute has created a number of research projects over its history, and many of these fine projects are available here for the consideration of the web-browsing public. Visitors will find interactive projects on the lives of the saints, Leonardo da Vincis treatise on painting, and a history of the circus in America. As one might suspect, all of this fine work has also resulted in a number of publications that deal with the process and challenges that are involved in creating such collaborative online projects. Visitors can also browse some of these valuable musings in their publications area. [KMG]

Internet Society [pdf]

The Internet is certainly a vast and, at times, quite chaotic place. Fortunately, there are organizations such as the Internet Society which provides leadership in addressing issues that confront the future of the Internet. With over 20,000 individual members in over 180 countries, it has a broad range of members located in most corners of the world. Perhaps one of the most important areas of the site is the public policy area. Here, visitors can learn about the governance of the Internet and a host of topics, including access, e-commerce, and spam. Of course, for those emerging cyber law scholars or the generally curious, there is an All About The Internet section. Included in this section are links to important guides to Internet law and a number of relevant online research tools. [KMG]

North Atlantic Treaty Organization [pdf, Real Player]

Created in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an alliance of 26 different countries from both sides of the Atlantic. With a mutual agenda, these countries have worked together on a wide array of ventures, including peacekeeping missions and monitoring terrorist activities. On their website, visitors can learn about their more recent work, as well as previous activities, such as their interventions in Bosnia and Pakistan. The site is well-organized, and provides easy access to NATO speeches, and a quick summary of their policy initiatives. Policy makers and academics will enjoy learning that the website contains archived issues of NATO Review, which is their in-house magazine, published four times a year. For those seeking a wide array of media coverage, the multimedia section of the site contains photo essays, audio archives of speeches, and video briefings. [KMG]

General Interest

Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words

As Americas first proverbial ambassador of goodwill and intelligence, Benjamin Franklin is a fascinating and immediately engaging individual, even three hundred years after his birth in Boston. Drawing on their prodigious collections, the Library of Congress has created this very nice online collection designed to pay homage to Franklin the printer, writer, inventor, scientist, and so on. Complementing an in situ exhibit at the Library, this collection is ordered chronologically, and allows visitors the ability to traipse through Franklins substantial involvement in the Continental Congress, the Treaty of Paris, as well as his own inventive spirit. Some of the documents include Franklins own design for a stove, his 1775 plan for a colonial confederation, and the founding charter for the American Philosophical Society. Visitors can also navigate a complete checklist of objects found on the site and also read about some of the public programs planned to complement the exhibit, such as lectures and demonstrations. [KMG]

Eye Level

Eye level is an art blog written by a collaborative team at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). According to the site, "... the conversation at Eye Level will be dedicated to American art and the ways in which the nation's art reflects its history and culture." The SAAM collection is meant as a foundation for the conversation on Eye Level. A recent post begins by talking about a road trip through the American West to see site-specific artwork, but at least one of the artists mentioned, Andrea Zittel, has a prior affiliation with SAAM. She was the 2005 Smithsonian Lucelia Artist Award winner, and the post links to prior entries on artwork at SAAM, both in and inspired by the American Southwest. These links were to works such as Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (an installation in the Great Salt Lake) and Albert Bierstadt's Among the Sierra Nevada, California, 1868. The February 1 post considers the future of art blogs, and the impact they may have on art criticism, museums, and the art world on the whole. [DS]

Traffic [pdf]

The trade in wild species is difficult to regulate, despite the presence of numerous international organizations dedicated to this cause. One such organization is TRAFFIC, which is a wildlife trade monitoring network primarily concerned with making sure that this trade does not pose a threat to the conservation of nature. Since its founding in 1976, the group has been concerned with monitoring wildlife trade activities, and their website provides detailed information on their work. First-time visitors may want to first look at the What is TRAFFIC? section, then proceed to the Priority area, which give specific material on the species and eco-regions that are of the greatest concern to the organization. As one might imagine, there are also a number of fine publications available here, including their annual reports and their journal, Traffic Bulletin. [KMG]

Transparency International [pdf]

With headquarters in Berlin, Transparency International (TI) is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to combating corruption in its many guises across the world. As their website notes, TI focuses on prevention and reforming systems. With a well-designed and rather elegant homepage, visitors will find much to admire here. The top of the homepage provides access to their In Focus feature, which draws attention to some of TIs more recent work, such as the Global Corruption Report for 2006. Below this feature, visitors will find links to recent news stories dealing with corruption, such as the recent Kenyan government scandal and anti-corruption initiatives in West Africa. Visitors can also utilize the Corruption: Learn About it area, as it contains FAQs on corruption, and a number of indices, such as the global corruption barometer as well as a number of regional surveys. For pragmatic material, one need to look no further than their How to Fight Corruption section, which contains an anti-corruption handbook and a set of business principles for countering bribery. [KMG]

U.S. Chamber of Commerce [pdf]

One would be hard pressed to find a better slogan for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce than Fighting for Your Business, so it is rather fortunate that they have already effectively trademarked these exact words. With a long and storied history dating back to 1912, the U.S Chamber of Commerce is the worlds largest not-for-profit business federation, representing over 3 million businesses and 2800 state and local chambers. Their website will be most useful to both businesspersons and those with an interest in the role this organization plays throughout the United States in terms of its effect on the creation of national and local policy regarding the climate for small and large businesses. As might be expected, the homepage contains a full-site directory, which will lead visitors to information on international trade, current issues of relevance to business, and the Chambers own Center for Workforce Preparation. Some visitors may also wish to sign up for their free weekly e-newsletters, which cover topics such as corporate citizenship and workforce preparation. [KMG]

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities [pdf]

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities was founded in 1981 to take a close look at how various budget choices have affected the lives of low-income Americans. Since then the center has continued to grow more expansive, covering budget priorities at the state level as well. First-time visitors to the site will find a host of materials of note, including a number of Issues In Depth special features. These features take a close look at such important subjects as budget priorities after Hurricane Katrina and other federal budget issues. The New From the Center area is a great way to become well versed in their most recent work, as it covers such topics as state income trends and Social Security. Users who wish to look for a specific topical area will do well to look at the bottom of the homepage which contains coverage of such topics as low-income housing, health policies, and unemployment insurance. [KMG]

Network Tools

Stanford on iTunes [iTunes]

For those who cant make it to the balmy climes of Palo Alto, this latest initiative from Stanford will be most welcome. With this program, visitors can download audio recordings of lectures, poetry readings, and even Stanford football games directly to their computer. Of course, this is no substitute to attending this fine institution, but the wide range of audio content available at no charge is very impressive. This version of Stanford on iTunes is compatible with all computers running Windows XP or 2000 or Mac OS X 10.3. [KMG]

Download Accelerator Manager Free Edition 2.2

The latest version of Download Accelerator Manager will be of great interest to those seeking to resume and manage their Internet downloads as quickly as possible. The application supports cookies, proxy protocols, and firewalls. It also integrates seamlessly with a number of commonly-used browsers, including Firefox and Opera. The program also features a rather nice user interface, something that is definitely worth noting. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 or newer. [KMG]

In The News

Dissent and Protest Continue to Escalate in Nepal

Nepals Unending Troubles

European Union asks Nepal king to call ceasefire

Police Beat Protesters at Nepal Rally,0,4683264.story?coll=la-headlines-world

Mayoral Candidates Homes Bombed in Nepal

Amnesty urges Nepal to free activists

Human Rights Watch: Nepal [pdf]

The past year in Nepal has been more than a bit trying for many residents, as the royal rule of King Gyanendra has faced increasing difficulties. As of late, the country has been beset with infringements on civil liberties along with sporadic insurgency-related violence. The country has been preparing for municipal elections which will take place on February 8th, but even that has been an uphill battle. This Thursday insurgents who have already actively dismissed the elections as a farce bombed the homes of three mayoral candidates in Katmandu. The political situation in the country is rather complex, as Maoist rebels have sought to establish a socialist government since 1996, and in the process, over 12,000 people have been killed during skirmishes, bombings, and other tragedies. Many Nepalese have grown weary over this continued power struggle, and a number of international organizations have become increasingly concerned over the long-term effect this situation is having on the country. [KMG]

The first link offered here will take visitors to a well-written piece on the problems in Nepal, authored by Charles Haviland of BBC News. The second link leads to a news article from the Times of India, which reports on the European Unions attempts to ask the King to declare a ceasefire in the country. The third link leads to a Los Angeles Times article from this Thursday that talks about the recent unrest at a pro-democracy rally in Katmandu. The fourth link leads to a Washington Post piece about the bombings of the homes of the three mayoral candidates in the city of Katmandu. The fifth link leads to an article from, which talks about Amnesty Internationals recent request to have King Gyanendra release 900 political prisoners. The final link leads to the Human Rights Watchs section dedicated to Nepal. Here, visitors will find recent news releases from the organization about the state of human rights in the country, along with a selection of briefing papers. [KMG]

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