The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 24

June 16, 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

NOAA Ocean Explorer [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

So you want to explore the worlds oceans? Whats that you say? You dont have an advanced degree in oceanography, expensive sea exploration equipment or a major funding source? Visitors to this very thorough and well-designed site may now feel free to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Created by NOAA, this lovely resource offers several categories of valuable content, including the Explorations area, where visitors can follow a number of featured ocean expeditions. For those who find themselves interested in how all of this is made possible, the Technology section offers comprehensive descriptions and explanations of the equipment used on such voyages. Educators will appreciate all of this content, but most importantly, they should feel free to direct their attention to the Education area, which includes standards-based lesson plans that are engaging and well-thought out. Finally, the site also has a light-hearted area titled For Fun, where visitors may download desktop wallpaper and take on an ocean challenge puzzle. [KMG]

United Nations Environment Programme: Maps and Graphics

More and more people are beginning to return the sometimes neglected field of geography to understand the world of environmental change (and degradation). In the process, the skills of highly trained cartographers and geographic information specialists are in great demand. Organized as an official United Nations Environment Programme centre, the GRID-Arendal group provides public policy officials, researchers, and the curious public access to hundreds of their detailed maps via this site. As might be expected, the visual and graphic interface parts of the site are quite user-friendly, and users can view maps by themes (such as water, climate change, and biodiversity). For those looking for a random piece of information, there is the random graphic of the date offered here on the homepage. Its a fine way to get the flavor of the site, and may also spark a new interest. One rather compelling collection is the University of the Arctic Atlas, which can be viewed in its entirety here. Using zoom features and themes that can be toggled (such as lakes, cities, protected areas), visitors can learn a great deal of information about this region of the world. As a teaching aide or as a way to bring together spatial data for research, this is a very commendable site. [KMG]

Journal of Industrial Teacher Education [pdf]

Education in the industrial arts and allied fields has been a common staple of high school and vocational college programs for well over a century. For those persons teaching in these types of fields (or for those who study the field itself), discovering one of the premier journals in this area online will be a real treat. Access to the journal is provided by the Digital Library & Archives at the University of Vermont Library, and visitors can peruse previous issues all the way back to 1994. Visitors will be glad to know that recent articles run the gamut from topics that include the debates over whether teaching is an art or a science and how professors can integrate needs assessment into the technical education curriculum. [KMG]

Center for Rural Studies [pdf]

Located at the University of Vermont, the Center for Rural Studies draws on the strengths of professors, researchers, and community development experts to address the social, economic, and resource-based problems of rural people and communities. Visitors to the site are presented with a wide range of ways to access the reports, data tables, and other such information offered here. Along the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors can look over materials organized into thematic categories, such as education, agriculture, and community development. One of the sites highlights is the Vermont Indicators Online project, which includes detailed information about the towns, villages, and counties contained within the boundaries of this free-spirited state. What is particularly nice about this project is that the data can also be browsed through a visualization tool that allows visitors to zoom in and out across the state. [KMG]

Visible Proofs: Forensic Views of the Body [Macromedia Flash Player]

It seems that the field of forensic medicine is everywhere, particularly in the arena of popular television programs and such. This field has a long and distinguished history, and this engaging story is told rather effectively by this online exhibit created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. First-time visitors may want to begin by looking through the Exhibition area. Within its six subsections, visitors can learn about the emerging technologies of forensic surveillance in the late 19th century and also learn about recent innovations in the field. Along with accessible and lucid essays, visitors will be treated to a number of medical illustrations from the period. The Galleries section presents another treasure trove of material, including detailed examinations of famous early forensics cases. While most of the material on the site may be about as graphic as the average prime-time television program that deals with similar material, users should use discretion when allowing younger children look through the site. [KMG]

Campus Health and [pdf]

Over the past few years, a number of university and college campuses have grown increasingly interested in creating places where students and others can come to learn about how to create healthy and safe environments for young people during their time at their various institutions. For those looking for high-quality information on these subjects, this website is a fine place to start. With funding provided by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the site contains examples of prevention approaches that professionals and concerned citizens can implement on their own campuses and surrounding communities. Tabs at the top of the home page allow visitors to directly access materials dealing with alcohol, mental health, and violence. Additionally, the site wisely digests these materials appropriately for different audiences, including administrators, parents, and students. Persons who may already be working with such a prevention plan will want to look at the Key Processes area of the site. Here they will find information on how to best evaluate their own existing programs and how to also adopt an effective strategic plan. [KMG]

General Interest

Gulag: Soviet Forced Labor Camps and the Struggle for Freedom

Certain words that reference specific places or locales can have a chilling effect on their readers. One need only think about those places associated with the Holocaust to be reminded of this fact (such as Buchenwald or Dachau). Of course, there is the word gulag, which for many brings to mind these rather well-known labor camps in the Soviet Union. Drawing on an innovative partnership between the Gulag Museum, the National Park Service, and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, this exhibit tells the story of these places through both primary documents and short essays. The exhibit is divided into four parts, including those that deal with the growth of the gulag under Stalin and the human rights movement that attempted to redress the grievances of those forced to work and live in such places. The site is rounded out by an area that allows visitors to offer their own comments on the online exhibit. [KMG]

The BoxTank

These days, most persons dedicated to thinking about the American landscape fall into two camps: those who consistently rail against what is known as big-box retail and its deleterious effects and those who delight in such places and their low, low prices. Well, the people at the notable weblog, The BoxTank, provide a healthy dose of skepticism all around, and visitors with an interest in urbanism (and suburbanism) will want to draw close. As a collaborative focused on retail and urbanism, The BoxTank contains postings on cul-de-sacs, big retail, and the world of New Urbanism. With embedded links to news coverage, online articles, and other such content, the site presents a good blend of materials on these (and other) subjects. Of course, if all this browsing around is too tiring, visitors can also look at their entries by category, which include such timely themes as gentrification, economics, and exurbs. [KMG]

Madison-Celebrating 150 Years

Every states capitol city has a story to tell, and the story of Madison, Wisconsin is one that is intimately connected with its location within the state (and on a narrow isthmus, to boot) and to its relationship with the University of Wisconsin. Drawing on the resources of the Wisconsin Historical Society, this site is designed to offer a host of primary documents and visual ephemera related to the history of this fair city. The site contains sections that highlight exhibits related to the citys 150th anniversary, along with sections on buildings and places throughout the city, as well as stories of the town as told by a host of individuals. This last section is a great place to start, as it contains reminisces of the city from those told by the first child born in Madison, Wisconsiana Hawley, and tales of dorm life at the University by that noted environmentalist and wanderer, John Muir. The buildings and places area is a real treat, as it includes photographs of the Native American mounds that are remarkably wide-spread through the city and images of buildings constructed by August Kutzbock, an architect who worked there in the 1850s and 1860s. [KMG] [pdf, Real Player]

As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once opined, Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. True indeed, and certainly a sentiment that motivates the staff at, a project sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The project is designed to monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by numerous politicos in their speeches, debates, news releases, and the always important, television advertisements. On their website, visitors can look through their latest FactCheck reports, which include rigorous examinations of the use of the term amnesty in political rhetoric and, of course, a host of recent campaign ads. Visitors will also be glad to know that they can view some of the television campaign ads that FactCheck reports on. [KMG]

AmeriQuests [pdf]

In their quest to increase their visibility and general accessibility, a number of academic journals are going online. In some cases, they are just starting online in the first place. One journal of note that is just starting online is AmeriQuests, which is defined as a forum for writing and research about real and metaphorical quests towards America, defined as either an absolute but an achievable objective, or as some place in the Americas. Drawing on an impressive editorial board, current editor and founder, Professor Robert Barsky of Vanderbilt University, has published four volumes. All of these volumes are available on the site in their entirety, and they include editions dedicated to exploring public intellectuals and the media as well as the culture of borders. The articles are quite compelling within these virtual pages, and visitors will want to keep abreast of future volumes as they arrive. [KMG]

MedLinePlus: Dental Health [pdf]

Drawing on the very fine resources of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, this particular section of the MedLine Plus website provides a number of high-quality resources dealing with the area of dental health. Dental practitioners, students in the field, and the general web-browsing public will want to look at the content guide on the left-hand side of the homepage for starters. Here, they can quickly locate areas of specific interest, including prevention, nutrition, and specific conditions dealing with dental health. This guide to the sites dental health materials is complemented nicely by a Latest News feature, which includes reports from a variety of dental health organizations and news wire services. Finally, visitors can also use their built-in Go Local search engine feature to learn about services and providers for dental health in their particular geographic locale. [KMG]

Network Tools

RSS Bandit

While many people may already be familiar with the world of RSS (Real Simple Syndication), there may be a few persons lurking out there wondering: What can RSS do for me? RSS can do quite a bit actually, and so they might do well to take a look at this latest version of the RSS Bandit application. With this application, visitors can view news items in customizable newspaper views and also create fine-grained controls that will help them manage how items are downloaded. As with many similar applications, adding new feeds is just a one-click operation. This latest version is compatible with all computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

HTTrack Website Copier 3.40-2

Despite the efforts of many private businesses and municipalities, there are still a few spots left around the country without wireless internet access. Users who may need to look through a website before entering one of these dead zones will definitely want to take a gander at HTTrack Website Copier 3.40-2. With this application, users can copy entire website for offline browsing, and they also have the option to customize such downloads. Some of these customizations include the ability to have the program only download certain classes of files (such as Word documents) from a given site. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Noted Philadelphia Cheesesteak Eatery at the Center of Debate About Language, Immigration, and Such

Restaurants English-only policy discriminates, Philly agency says,0,3157681.story

Genos hit with bias complaints

NPR: One Philly Steak With? Better Order In English [Real Player]

Talkin turkey about Genos


The Best Philly Cheesesteaks

Over its long and venerable history, Philadelphia has truly been a survivor among the pantheon of noted American places. As the city has undergone a veritable urban renaissance over the past decade, this rather fun and culturally diverse city has worked to shed the indignities heaped upon their piece of the Eastern seaboard by W.C. Fields, John Kruks shaggy mane, and of course, Sylvester Stallone in the various installments of the Rocky saga. All of that may be undone by the recent debate that has gone on at another hallowed part of the city, namely the corner of 9th and Passyunk in South Philly. About six months ago, noted cheesesteak purveyor and owner of Genos Steaks, Joseph Vento, placed a sign in his restaurant window that read: This is America: When Ordering Speak English. Recently, Vento has come under fire from a number of groups, including Juntos (a Hispanic neighborhood organization) and the citys Commission on Human Relations, which filed a discrimination complaint against Genos. In a recent interview with a local NBC affiliate, Vento commented that We got troops (that are) getting blown up, and here weve got this big, bad Joey Vento whos got the audacity to try to teach people to speak English in America where the language is English and if you dont know it, youre not going anywhere. Of course, some unkind wags have already suggested that most residents of South Philadelphia (regardless of their ancestry, origin, and other such details) dont exactly adhere to the Kings English. Meanwhile, the noted cheesesteak eatery across the street, the equally venerable Pats, has reported increased sales as of late. [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article from the Allentown Morning Call that reports on some of the tastier aspects of this ongoing imbroglio. The second link will whisk users away to an article from Tuesdays Philadelphia Inquirer that reports on the bias complaints filed against Genos. The piece also contains an audio feature with local patrons chiming in with their take on the controversial sign. The third link leads to an audio feature on this whole business, straight from the inquiring mind of Joel Rose, a reporter from WHYY. The fourth link will take users to a rather risible piece of commentary on the whole affair by David Brown, who is the president of a multicultural marketing firm in Philadelphia. The fifth link will take users to the homepage of Genos Steaks, where they can learn about the restaurant and the many celebrities who have stopped by this mainstay of the culinary landscape of South Philly. The final link leads to the rather appetizing page maintained by John Russ, which as its title suggests, provides users with information about where to find the best cheesesteak in their own state or city. Interestingly enough, neither Montana nor North Dakota seem to have any place to find adequate cheesesteak sustenance. [KMG]

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