The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 19

May 12, 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

Chernobyl [pdf]

Brought online in 1978, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was considered a model plant throughout the USSR. Eight years later, that same plant experienced an explosion and meltdown that had disastrous consequences for local residents. This terrible incident caused serious damage to the global cause of establishing nuclear power as a viable alternative source of energy. This very thorough and well-designed site serves as an excellent gateway to information about the events surrounding that date, and more importantly, about the long-term effects of the event and the organizations that are intimately concerned with these affairs. The Facts section is a good place to start, as it contains an overview of the incidents of 20 years ago, along with information about the consequences for the health of local residents and the environment. Another useful section is in the right-hand corner of the homepage provides news updates about projects, events, and meetings related to the events at Chernobyl. One of the most powerful areas of the site contains first-hand recollections about the events at Chernobyl, and it should not be missed. It is also worth noting that the site is available in Russian, German, and English. [KMG]

The State of the Worlds Refugees 2006 [pdf]

Released in April 2006, The State of the Worlds Refugees annual report (issued by the United Nations Refugee Agency) contains a great deal of helpful information on the contemporary state of refugee populations and their movements. The report does contain a number of positive observations, including the fact that the current number of refugees is at a 25-year low. Unfortunately, there are a number of equally troubling observations and developments, including the fact that there are millions of internally displaced people and widespread confusion over migrants and refugees. The entire report can be viewed here, and visitors are most welcome to view individual sections at their leisure. All told, there are eight chapters, and they include those titled Addressing refugee security and Safeguarding asylum. Buttressed by highly legible graphs and charts, this report is quite timely, and rather essential reading for anyone interested in this subject. [KMG]

Astronomy Education Review

With a backdrop that includes images taken from Uranometria, one of the classic stellar atlases of the early 17th century, even the casual visitor to the Astronomy Education Review website may be persuaded to stay a few minutes longer than previously planned. Started in 2002, the mission of the Review is to provide a meeting place for all who are engaged in astronomy and space science education, in either formal or informal settings. It certainly lives up to its mission, as visitors can browse through articles on how to use role-playing games to teach astronomy and also take a look at surveys on introductory astronomy textbooks. The Review is peer-reviewed, and those who might be interested in submitting a piece for their consideration should take a look at their general guidelines. [KMG]

Losing Louisiana [Macromedia Flash Player]

There are many opportunities to gain knowledge of the current situation in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina by reading technical reports and viewing tables of data. But, those looking for another complementary way to look at the region should take a close look at this rather engaging site. Beginning with a compelling visual introduction that includes photographs of the wetlands of the Mississippi Delta, the site offers an aerial view of the region, complete with interactive elements that allow users to click on a number of locations, including New Orleans. Within each section, visitors will be treated to a series of photographs, augmented by audio features that include interviews with coastal restoration experts and local folks affected by the hurricane. There are even a few Quick Time features that allow users to explore some of the sites profiled here. Finally, visitors can also learn about the history of the levees as well as the ominous phenomenon of subsidence, which Louisianans have dealt with for centuries. [KMG]

Annie Oakley [Real Player, pdf]

For some who might still think of Annie Oakley as Betty Hutton belting out You Cant Get a Man with a Gun in the irrepressible film version of Annie Get Your Gun, this fine website created as part of the American Experience series will add nuance and introspection to the real-life sharp-shooter and noted American icon. To begin, it is worth noting that Oakley, in spite of her burnished Old West image, lived her entire life east of the Mississippi. It is also interesting to note that while Oakley broke down some erroneous notions about the abilities of women, she opposed female suffrage throughout her life. On the site, visitors can learn more about Oakley through an interactive timeline, and also take a look at the gallery section, which includes some gloriously inventive promotional posters for Oakley and Buffalo Bills Wild West show. Finally, visitors can also browse through the special features, which include an interactive poll and a question and interview session with program participants on Oakleys attitudes toward womens issues of the day. [KMG]

Geospatial and Statistical Data Center at the University of Virginia [Last reviewed on November 28, 2000]

As more and more people are discovering the value and importance of spatial data and analysis, discovering new online resources in this area is a real treat. The Scout Report has profiled this site before, and is glad to report that there is a wealth of new material here to comment on. Located in the impressive Alderman Library on the grounds of the University of Virginia, the Geospatial and Statistical Data Center provides a host of services to both the on-campus community and to those who visit their website. With a clean design, the homepage features a Spotlight area and a Quick Links area, which leads to things such as the historical census browser and the rather exhaustive Virginia Gazetteer. Visitors should also take a look at the materials contained within the Collections heading on the homepage. Here they can peruse such items as aerial photographs of Albemarle County as well as other collections of aerial materials. One tremendously helpful feature of the site is the References Resources area, which contains information about codes and symbols used on maps, along with handbooks and user guides to some of the resources offered here. [KMG]

General Interest

Virtually Missouri

While it seems that almost every state historical museum or library has set up a digital collection or twelve, coordinating access to these lovely offerings has proved to be a bit tough. Fortunately for those collections created in the state of Missouri, there is the Missouri Digitization Planning Project, which has created this fine site. Sponsored with monies from the Institute of Museum & Library Services, Virtually Missouri serves as a place where institutions can place their digitized collections, and not surprisingly, the generally curious public can take a look at their creations. From the homepage, visitors can take a look at the featured collection, or delve right into the other materials by searching the catalog of collections or by just browsing a list of the collections. The offerings here are quite impressive, as they include exhibits on the African American community of northeast Missouri created by the Hannibal Free Public Library and images from the now-defunct newspaper, the St. Louis Globe Democrat. [KMG]

The Center of Juvenile and Criminal Justice [pdf]

With offices in such gritty locales as Oakland and the nations capital, it follows that The Center of Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) is well-positioned to offer well-thought out policy research and technical assistance in the field of juvenile and criminal justice. Founded in 1985, the CJCJ works in a number of arenas, such as sentencing reform and community-based alternatives to juvenile detention. A good place to start for first-time visitors is the publications area, which contains links to recent works created by staff members on juvenile justice, adult corrections, and sentencing. One highlight of the site is the juvenile justice area. Here visitors can learn about the CJCJs work in the state of California with alternative sentencing options and also view video clips from their conference on youth reform. [KMG]

Youth Radio [Real Player]

With an impressive headquarters in downtown Oakland, Youth Radio is fast becoming a compelling and insightful media phenomenon that should be watched closely. Their mission is a laudable one, and as their website puts it, . is to promote young peoples intellectual creative and professional growth through training and access to media and to produce the highest quality original media for local and national outlets. Of course, the real heart of the site contains the actual programming, which is streamed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Along with unique mix of music, individuals can listen to a host of stories reported by young people. Visitors can also browse a list of recently added stories by topic, which include relationships, society, sports, poetry, and health. Those who are hoping to get some of the basic flavor of the offerings here would do well to take a look at the story featuring reporting from a group of Berkeley High School students at the World Social Forum in Caracas, or by listening to the commentary offered by Lauryn Silverman on the modern conundrum of multi-tasking. [KMG]

Book TV [Real Player]

To some, the very phrase Book TV might seem to be anathema, potentially even heretical or at the very least distasteful. Regardless, the past few decades have witnessed a dtente between these two seemingly contradictory, and potentially even combative, forms of mass media, and C-SPAN 2 has done a fine job of bringing noted authors to this program to talk about their recent printed endeavors. On the site, visitors can peruse some of their programmatic sections, including After Words, History, In Depth, and Public Lives. Within each section, visitors can view current and archived interviews with individuals like Christopher Hitchens, Francis Fukuyama, Shelby Steele, and Camille Paglia. For those long-time CSPAN viewers, there is also a section dedicated to Encore Booknotes, which serves as the current incarnation of the program Booknotes, which went off the air in 2004. While all of this would certainly be enough for any site, the other features include areas dedicated to the traveling Book TV Bus (which visits book festivals and such events around the country) and a place for visitors to submit questions to authors who will be appearing on the program in the future. [KMG]

Higgins Armory Museum [Quick Time]

During the waning years of the Gilded Age, a local captain of industry from Worcester, Massachusetts made a portentous purchase in Venice: a reproduction of a suit of armor. From this auspicious moment, John Woodman Higgins would devote much of his time and personal fortune to amassing a staggering collection of armor from all across the globe. By the late 1920s, Higgins became increasingly concerned about where to keep all of his treasures. He decided to build a museum, and in 1931, the Higgins Armory Museum opened to the public. On their lovely site, visitors can learn more about their collections, browse through their calendar of events, and of course, learn how to visit the museum itself in scenic Worcester. Some of the best material on the site can be found in the Virtual Exhibitions area. Here, visitors can learn about the martial arts of medieval Europe and the techniques of combat during this era, complete with some rather nice footage of reconstructed techniques. [KMG]

Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale [Real Player]

The Bates College Museum of Art has put together a Web exhibition that explores the "fertile margins of the history of science and museums, taxonomy, myth, creativity and discovery." Cryptozoology, the search for proof of mythical creatures such as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, is itself a marginalized science. The featured show has entries for the 15 artists, which are in various stages of development - there is at least one work by each of them, and additional biographical and contextual information for most. Works submitted include installations, such as Mark Dion's Museum of Cryptozoology Director's Office, as well as sculpture, paintings, and prints. There is also a film series associated with the exhibition, that will screen a 1972 film, "The Legend of Boggy Creek", a docu-drama that looks for proof of the existence of a monster in an Arkansas swamp, and the 2002 Discovery Channel production, "The End of Extinction: Cloning the Tasmanian Tiger". [DS]

Network Tools

ScrapBook 1.0.3

Scrapbooking has become quite popular as of late, though this particular application is geared towards the scrapbooking of web pages, as opposed to the paper-glue-scissors method that has been enjoying a renaissance. With ScrapBook 1.0.3, users can save snippets of webpages, various elements of webpages (such as embedded files and such), and linked pages as well. After doing so, the entire collection can be organized the same way one would organize a collection of webpage bookmarks. Finally, users can also perform full text searches across the entire body of saved materials. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer and Firefox 1.0 to 1.5.0 [KMG]

WeatherDock 2.4.1

Mark Twain probably wouldnt be happy that today we cant do more about the weather, but we are lucky enough to be able to monitor weather conditions in a rather obsessive fashion. Adding to this ability is the latest version of WeatherDock offered by its creator Alwin Troost. Working with information supplied by, the application displays a host of current weather information about a location (such as wind speed, dew point, and visibility), along with 10 day forecasts. This particular version is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X 10.3.9 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Despite rumbles of popular discontent, Barry Bonds appears poised to pass Ruths home run record shortly

Ruth family wont be present when Bonds passes Babe

A big year for Babe

NPR: Babe Ruth Gave Home Runs Their Due [Real Player]

Special Report: Comparing Bonds, Ruth, Aaron

Why Selig Should Be There For Bonds

While the debate over whether or not Barry Bonds used steroids (or other performance-enhancing substances) will continue to embroil major league baseball and its legions of fans for months, if not years, one thing is certain: Shortly, he will surpass Babe the Bambino Ruth in the category of career home-runs. Many die-hard fans remain skeptical of Bonds more recent efforts, in no small part due to the incessant media coverage of his race to become the career home-run leader, coupled with the contention that he has used performance-enhancing substances. Of course, some baseball historians and raconteurs have long contended that Ruth himself used liquor in epic proportions, though most are split on whether or not the use of such a substance would enhance ones performance on the diamond. Interestingly, Ruths grandson, Tom Stevens, has declined to be on hand for the game in which Bonds will pass the Babes record. Stevens noted I have been advised to just avoid the controversy without making a statement. I wish him luck. Another planned no-show is the commissioner of major league baseball, Bud Selig, who has publicly stated that since Bonds wont be passing up the all-time career home run leader (who happens to be Hank Aaron, in case you had forgotten), its not particularly important or not whether hes in the stands. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a story from this weeks Sports Illustrated about the Ruth familys decision not to be in the stands when Bonds passes the Bambinos home run mark. The second link leads to a good piece in the Sacramento Bee, which profiles various members of the Ruths family and their thoughts on their illustrious relative. The third link whisks users to a nice audio feature from National Public Radio that includes an interview with Leigh Montville who recently wrote a biography of Babe Ruth. The fourth link leads to a feature from MSNBC that compares the home run stylings of Ruth, Bonds, and Hank Aaron. The fifth link leads to a piece by San Jose Mercury News sports columnist Mark Purdy that offers a very impassioned argument for why Bud Selig should come out for Bonds history feat. The final link leads to the very intriguing and quite compelling website. For those with a few minutes (or a few hours) to spare, the site contains all types of compelling minutiae, such as naming the state where the most baseball players have been born and such. [KMG]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The Scout Report.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2006.

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-2006. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

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

Internet Scout Project Team
Max GrinnellEditor
Chanda HaldermanManaging Editor
Rachael BowerCo-Director
Edward AlmasyCo-Director
Debra ShapiroContributor
Nathan JohnsonInternet Cataloger
Michael GrossheimSystem Administrator
Kyle MannaTechnical Specialist
Christopher SpoehrWeb Developer
David MayerWeb Site Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.