The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 11

March 17, 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

MedPage Today [pdf]

Developed by The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a team of administrators and physicians, MedPage Today is a clearinghouse of new and compelling medical news information. Along with these accessible and well-written updates, the site also includes Teaching Brief articles which help clinicians and consumers to understand the implications of these new discoveries and developments in the medical world. From the left-side of the homepage, visitors can peruse the latest news updates by specialty, including psychiatry, nephrology, pediatrics, and others. Visitors who find that they return to the site frequently may also want to sign up to receive email updates every morning in their inbox. Overall, the site will be of interest to medical practitioners as well as the lay public. [KMG]

Folksongs for the Five Points [Macromedia Flash Reader]
Recently, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum invited digital artists to create works that explore contemporary immigrant experiences in New York City. With the kind assistance of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (along with the J.M. Kaplan Fund), this rather remarkable multimedia collection allows visitors to explore this very vibrant and diverse community through sounds, text, and language. Upon entering the site, visitors are presented with a visual representation of the Lower East Side, overlaid with a series of dots. Each dot represents a different audio sample recorded at that particular location, such as the sound of steam coming up through a manhole cover or a seafood salesman at work. Visitors can toggle these sounds on and off as they see fit, and even create their own mix of sounds, if they so desire. In terms of both understanding the culture of urban neighborhoods and interrogating notions of immigration and belonging, this website is a tremendous success and may serve as a model for others who wish to follow in this direction. [KMG]

Poet at Work: Walt Whitman Notebooks 1850s-1860s

During his life, Walt Whitman carried around a number of notebooks in which he jotted down his thoughts and feelings. It is estimated that during his life, Whitman created around 100 of these notebooks, and many of them are now in public repositories. This particular collection from the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress affords visitors access to four of these celebrated notebooks. These four notebooks have a rather interesting story, largely due to the fact that they disappeared from the Library in 1942 and were returned only in 1995. For some background material, visitors may want to begin by reading one of the essays about the re-appearance of these works and their subsequent digitization. Visitors might then want to browse through the collection, which includes the first trial lines of what would become Leaves of Grass or his 1862 Hospital notebook. [KMG]

Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Culture [Real Player, pdf, Quick Time]

Despite the hand-wringing over the disappearance of local and regional cultures throughout the United States, many traditions and folkways are very much alive and well. One rather distinctive organization that studies and documents these traditions is the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures at the University of Wisconsin. Drawing on the strengths of the University and their knowledge resources, the website created by the Center contains virtual exhibits, photo galleries, and access to their biannual newsletter on regional culture. The exhibits are quite delightful, and include those that address the bread traditions of Wisconsin and German-American music. The News & Events section of the site is a good place to learn about upcoming lectures, talks, and outreach efforts sponsored by the Center. [KMG]

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research [pdf]

Organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) is charged with initiating, developing and coordinating high quality international scientific research in the Antarctic region. Given their mission, first-time users will not be surprised to find a number of high-quality resources in their publications area, including complete runs of their bulletins, reports, and topical articles, which address such areas as sea-level changes and climate transformation. For those interested in the governance of the region, there is a separate section dedicated to providing information about the Antarctic Treaty. For more general information, visitors would do well to look at the Antarctic Information section, which provides maps of the region, along with some basic statistics and details about the summer and winter research stations operated by various scientific institutes. [KMG]

Center for Applied Science Technology [pdf]

Founded in 1984, the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) is an organization that is committed to expanding learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through the research and development of innovative, technology-based educational resources and strategies. On their homepage, visitors can learn about their various initiatives, which include significant research projects, professional development, policy implementation, and publications. The publications area is a good place to start, and visitors can read such articles as Twenty online resources on reading with comprehension and engagement and Teaching students to evaluate Internet information critically. Visitors may also wish to examine the Teaching Every Student website that CAST has created, as it provides a detailed explanation of the teaching model that they have named Universal Design for Learning. [KMG]

General Interest

Partners of the Heart [Macromedia Flash Player]

Sixty-two years ago, a somewhat unlikely duo consisting of a prominent white surgeon and an African-American janitor pioneered an innovative procedure that would save thousands of so-called blue babies lives. This companion website to the documentary from PBSs American Experience series offers additional information and material about both Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, and how their lives changed as a result of this partnership. Visitors are treated to information about the operation, along with some interactive features that allow visitors to try their own hand at saving a blue baby. Visitors should also take a look at the section that provides material about other African-Americans in the field of medicine, including Charles Drew and Daniel Hale Williams. An area titled Today, where visitors can learn about the filmmakers, explore an interview with a famous surgeon, and also offer their own feedback on the program, rounds out the site. [KMG]

National Institute of Justices MAPS Program [pdf]

Mapping the location of crime has a long and honorable tradition, and it continues in the present-day due to the diligence and focus of such groups as the National Institute of Justices Mapping & Analysis for Public Safety (MAPS) program. Formerly the Crime Mapping Research Center, the MAPS program was created in 1997 to bring together a host of experts from the field of criminology, criminal justice, and law enforcement committed to utilizing various forms of technology (such as GIS) to analyze the spatial dimension of crime. For the general public, there are a number of helpful resources here, including a recent report titled Mapping Crime: Understanding Hot Spots and a listserv titled CrimeMap, which interested parties can subscribe to. There is also a nice listing of related news items on the right-hand side of the homepage, along with archived stories of note. [KMG]

Nutrition and Health from University of Illinois Extension [pdf]

The extension programs within the large public universities of the United States have long provided innumerable valuable resources to a wide variety of constituents, ranging from farmers who seek new and innovative crop tilling methods to those interested in economic development strategies for depressed regions. In the past few years, a number of these extension programs have developed a strong online presence, and this site from the University of Illinois Extension is a great example. On the site, visitors can enjoy such fine online features as Your Guide to Diet and Diabetes, Turkey for the Holidays, and Food For Thought: Ideas for Parents of Preschoolers. Along with these informative features, the site also provides news updates from experts on topics that include the current state of diabetes research and developing good snacking habits. Those persons who may be in Illinois (or just passing through) may want to look at their list of Extension events throughout the state. Finally, there is also a place where visitors can sign up to receive the latest newsletter via email. [KMG]

The State of the Worlds Children 2006 [pdf]

Known around the world for their work on behalf of children, UNICEF recently issued the latest version of their annual State of the Worlds Children report. While the entire report is worthy of review, visitors who may be pressed for time should first consider the executive summary. In brief, the summary notes that certain inequities among groups of children across the world may be best addressed by tackling poverty-reduction strategies, addressing the situation within fragile nations, and lobbying the international community to prevent and resolve armed conflict. The tables in the report are quite illustrative, and they include those that contain economic indicators, HIV/AIDS infection rates, and child protection measures. The report is available in a number of different languages, including Spanish and French. [KMG]

If These Walls Could Speak [Macromedia Flash Player]

For those who may be particularly attentive as they walk through a neighborhood, the question of What happened in this house? may be one that comes up quite frequently. Through this interactive and visually compelling website, the Atlanta History Center provides some answers to those questions by looking at four historic homes around that fine Southern city. The structures featured here include Tullie Smith Farm, the Shotgun House, the Swan House, and the Rolader Cabin. As users wander through each home, they can take a virtual tour, learn about the former inhabitants, and read about the broader societal forces at work in each home. Finally, visitors can also download classroom activities and also print out images of each structure. [KMG]

Network Tools

AV Music Morpher Basic 2.0.113

While many audio players can perform a number of basic functions, this recent release allows users to perform a number of additional functions with the music of their choice. With this application, users can filter out various frequencies, change the tempo without altering the pitch, and also apply a number of sound effects. This particular version is compatible with computers running any version of Windows. [KMG]

StudioLine Photo Basic 3.4

Within the world of high-quality photo management programs, there are a number of fine options available at no charge. One of the better applications in this genre is definitely StudioLine Photo Basic. Features of this program include the ability to remove the dreaded red-eye as well as 30 different image manipulation and modification tools. For added convenience, photos can be emailed or uploaded as web galleries for friends and family. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Black Maria Film and Video Festival Celebrates Twenty Five Year Anniversary

Black Maria Short Film Fest Marks 25 Years

Black Maria Film Festival [Real Player]

Edison Film and Sound: History of Edison Motion Pictures

Edison National Historic Site: Virtual Tour

Metropolitan Police Service: Black Marias

Questions & Answers: Black Maria

A number of film festivals around the world receive international attention, and are the province of various pop-cultural commentators, tweedy film scholars, and of course, the thousands of beautiful people who actually appear on screen from time to time. This week, a small, yet intriguing film festival celebrated its twenty-five year anniversary, and it is certainly worth a closer look. Founded in 1981 by John Columbus on a shoestring budget, the festival has featured such intriguing short films as The Man Who Could See Far Enough and The Storyboard of My Life. Unlike a number of other film festivals, the Black Maria Festival travels far and wide for screenings, and over the next couple of months it will visit such locales as Reading, Pennsylvania, Buckhannon, West Virginia, and Baton Rouge. The festival takes its name from a rather interesting device created by the Wizard of Menlo Park, Thomas Edison. The Black Maria was essentially a large motion picture studio that rotated on a circular wooden track. By doing so, the studio could follow the sun and illuminate the stage during the whole process. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a National Public Radio story that offers some insights into the festival, along with providing a few clips from a few of the entries that have been submitted over the years. The second link leads to the homepage of the Black Maria festival. Here users can learn about the upcoming festival dates, and also learn a bit about the history of the festival. The third link leads to a fine site from the Library of Congresss American Memory Project that provides background on Edisons Black Maria invention. The fourth link leads to a site created by the National Park Service where users can take a virtual tour of Edisons famous laboratory. The fifth link leads to some additional background material from the Metropolitan Police about the sometimes contested origin of the term Black Maria. The sixth and final link leads to a rather authoritative exploration of the etymology of Black Maria proffered by Michael Quinion. [KMG]

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