The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 26

June 30, 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

World Urban Forum III [pdf]

There are forums on many topics, ranging from animal husbandry to the latest trends in fashion technology, but there is only one forum sponsored by the United Nations that draws such a tremendously diverse mix of practitioners, politicians, and pundits: the World Urban Forum. In its third edition, the Forum and its participants have descended upon Vancouver, and this website brings together materials they are working on during their time at this third meeting. Visitors can learn about the governing bodies that oversee the Forums operations, read speeches and statements from those speaking at the event, and also learn about a related event, the World Youth Forum. Visitors with specific interests in various aspects of urbanism will want to look over their Programmes area, which contains specific information about the Forums initiatives, including land tenure, housing policies, and urban economic development. [KMG]

ESL Cyber Listening Lab [Windows Media Player, Real Player]

Developed by an educator with a series of experiences spent educating persons in the art of learning English, this website provides a multimedia experience for those seeking to learn the language. The focus on the site is most definitely on developing users listening skills, and it provides dozens of helpful audio features that quizzes students on topics such as renting an apartment, understanding credit cards, and making doctors appointments. Along with these more practical skills, another section of quizzes deals with subjects that students might encounter in other situations, such as the TOEFL or more advanced conversations. The multimedia experience of the site is greatly enhanced through video presentations of long conversations on topics such as family history, investing, and solar eclipses. [KMG]

Mathematics Across the College Curriculum

Most people might be aware that mathematics finds its way into a number of instructional programs and courses that are most decidedly not focused on this important discipline. Math is present in a wide range of courses, ranging from fashion design to sociology. Led by The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) along with a number of community colleges (including Miami Dade College), the goal of this particular effort is to create a mathematically literate society that ensures a workforce equipped to compete in a technologically advanced global economy. The site is divided into several primary sections, including Courses and Projects, Institutes and Conferences, and Books and Resources. Educators and other interested parties will want to head immediately to the Courses and Projects area, as they can look through materials created to enhance the mathematically-informed arrangements of such courses as anthropology, English, urban planning, and policy studies. Additionally, there is a section of the site that contains links to dozens of helpful online materials of note that will assist faculty members and others. [KMG]

The Lincoln Institute

With a long-standing interest and passion for Lincolnania, Lewis Lehrman created The Lincoln Institute, which is dedicated to providing assistance to scholars and groups interested in the study of the life of President Abraham Lincoln. Over the past few years, the website for the Institute has grown to include a number of very fine online exhibits that explore various aspects of Mr. Lincolns life. With simple and declarative titles, such as Mr. Lincolns White House, Mr. Lincoln and Friends, and Mr. Lincoln and New York, these online exhibits provide an entry into understanding Lincolns relationships with these places and tropes that dominated his life. The interactive exhibit exploring Lincolns time in New York (and with notable New Yorkers) is quite a pip, and it includes a section that allows users to learn about where Lincoln spent his time in this bustling metropolis. [KMG]

University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute [pdf]

With all of the rhetoric and puffery surrounding the subject of language, it is refreshing to find another academic research institute that provides high-quality and objective research findings in this area. Established in 1984, The University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute (LMRI) provides research in this area, and also disseminates their work through a variety of print publications, conferences, and this very website. The homepage offers a good idea of what they have been working on as of late, as it offers access to some of their new publications (such as their newsletter), information on upcoming events, and direct access to recent papers, such as the recent Teaching Inequality: How Poor and Minority Students Are Shortchanged on Teacher Quality. Particularly worthy of mention is the Educators area, which brings a host of practical information into the hands of interested teachers, administrators, and other educators. The materials here are divided into a number of sections, including instructional materials, assessments, and teacher research. Overall, this is a site that merits several visits, and it is also one that will be of continuing use to many. [KMG]

Moving History [Windows Media Player]

While it took many decades for some skeptics to realize the importance of maintaining archives devoted to preserving film and television programs, the movement has certainly gained a critical mass of interested organizations in recent years. One particularly nice online resource for such matters is the Moving History website, which serves as a research guide to the United Kingdoms twelve public sector film archives. With support from Britains Arts and Humanities Research Council, the site includes sections that describe each of the collections, along with a lovely selection of 100 film clips. The clips can be browsed by theme and host archive, and they include depictions of British holiday-making trips and segments from the popular British television series, Steptoe and Son. The site is rounded out by the inclusion of a set of links to related organizations, such as the Association of Moving Image Archivists and the British Path Film Archive. [KMG]

LABORSTA Internet [pdf]

The world of labor is a tremendously important one, and even a cursory examination of the many statistics associated with the field can be a bit overwhelming. For the seasoned expert and the casual neophyte, there is the LABORSTA website. Drawing on data and metadata sets compiled by the International Labour Office, the site contains information culled from over 200 countries or territories. First-time visitors can view and extract data relating to employment, unemployment, hours of work, wages, consumer price indices, occupational injuries, and strikes. If this werent enough, the site also contains access to periodic data, public sector labor data, and employment by sex for detailed occupational groups. While such a collection might seem a bit daunting, there is, fortunately, a Help section that will make navigating the site relatively painless. [KMG]

NativeWeb [Last reviewed in the Scout Report on January 12, 1996]

A number of websites are dedicated to providing information about various groups and organizations, and NativeWeb just happens to be one of the best known sites dedicated to disseminating information from and about indigenous nations, peoples, and organizations around the world. For the past ten years, the site has grown tremendously, and it functions as a very nice clearinghouse for materials ranging from ongoing archaeological excavations to higher education grants for organizations that serve indigenous peoples. With its relatively clean design, the site is easy to navigate, and first-time visitors will appreciate their In the News section, which offers selected recent news items that relate to indigenous and native groups around the world. The real substance of the site can be found in the tremendous Resources section, which contains thematically organized links to high-quality online materials. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive updates when new resources are added to the site. [KMG]

General Interest

Cabspotting [Macromedia Flash Player]

Have you ever wondered about the secret lives of cabs and the places they frequent? Well, wonder no more, as this delightfully intriguing and fascinating website reveals the patterns of their byways and the like. Drawing on data provided by the Yellow Cab company, the Cabspotting website allows users to create their own artistic projects using this data. Visitors may wish to get started by looking at the Cab Tracker area, which averages the last four hours of cab routes into a rather ghostly image, and then the draws the routes of a number of cab rides in progress over it. One area that should not be missed is the Time Lapse section, which reveals a number of temporal-based variations in cab movement, including rush hour, marathons, traffic jams, and of course, major holidays. Finally, visitors should definitely take a look at the Featured Projects, which include Tomas Apodacas Fly Cab, which looks at one cabs travels over the course of several days from an aerial perspective. [KMG]

Take Pride in America [pdf]

The United States government has had a long and honorable role in promoting volunteerism and other such civic-minded programs through a wide variety of organizations and initiatives. The Take Pride In America partnership, established by the U.S. Department of the Interior, is one such program. Tracing its roots back to 1985, the program was re-launched in 2003, and is dedicated to installing a sense of volunteerism and good stewardship in all public land users. Upon arriving at the sites homepage, visitors can quickly search for any number of volunteer opportunities through the handy search engine offered here, or just look through a list of upcoming events designed to promote such laudable initiatives as International Coastal Cleanup Day. Organizations and their leaders may wish to look through the information kits offered here, as they provide detailed instructions on how to get a project started. [KMG]

S.O.S. Mathematics

With a development team that includes several well-regarded mathematicians and other such folk, the S.O.S. Mathematics website is a high-quality resource for persons who might find themselves in need of a bit of refresher on topics ranging from algebra to differential equations. Started in 1995, the site currently includes more than 2500 web pages that contain concise explanations of topics that can sometimes be quite confounding. Visitors can use the search engine provided on the homepage, or click on one of the primary sections, which include differential equations, matrix algebra, and complex variables. Within each of these sections there are many more subheadings that provide even more information. Of course, in the unlikely event that ones question cannot be answered by one of these pages, there is also the Cyberboard feature, which allows users to post their own question on one of the many message boards. [KMG]

Growing Better Cities: Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Development

Throughout the history of cities, many persons grew some of their own food in local garden plots, and in some cases, they were able to supplement their household income with the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. As the United Nations has recently predicted that 60% of the worlds total population will live in cities by the year 2030, more and more concerned parties have become interested in encouraging urban agriculture, particularly in the developing world. In this provocative work, Luc J.A. Mougeot of the International Development Centre (based in Canada), reviews the work of his own institution in this area of human endeavor, and also offers some concrete recommendations for policymakers hoping to maximize the potential of urban agriculture. The report is divided into five chapters, and contains some helpful sections which include, Managing municipal wastewater, Easing ecological problems, and Growing gardens with greywater. [KMG]

The Reading Matrix

In the fall of 2000, a group of concerned educators came together to form The Reading Matrix, which was designed to create a place where both teachers and other interested persons could come together to find resources about reading and writing. Most of the resources are geared towards the language needs of ESL and international students, but given the cornucopia of materials here, there is really something for everyone. Scrolling down from the sites homepage, visitors will come across areas that include a job database, the Reading Matrix Archives, interactive reading exercises, and a list of germane online journals. The Archives are a good place to start, as users will have the opportunity to look through subject-oriented resources for English-language learners that range from dictionaries, grammar quizzes, and speaking and listening practice. [KMG]

The Colors of Clay: Special Techniques in Athenian Vases [Macromedia Flash Player]

This web exhibition from The Getty takes you on a gently guided tour of the various ways in which Athenian vase painters decorated clay vessels between 550 and 340 B.C. Eight styles and techniques are explored: Bilingual, Coral Red, Six's Technique, Added Clay and Gilding, Outline Drawing, White Ground, Plastic, and Kerch Style. Zoomable images of artifacts, textual captions, and, in a few cases, audio curators' commentary are used at the site to explain the eight techniques. Learn, for example, that the Bilingual style is called that because pieces have red-figure painting on one side, and black-figure painting on the other, hence they are bilingual. Coral Red was only used for a short time, and by only a few workshops, but this type of piece was prized since the color was enhanced by wine. [DS]

Australian Museum Online [Macromedia Flash Player]

Established in 1827, the Australian Museum has long been a buzzing hive of activity, with a wide a range of scientific discoveries to its credit, and a long tradition of educational outreach. For those who cant make a journey to the Museum, this website affords users remarkable access to specific materials created for this website and materials culled from in situ exhibits. Visitors should begin at the Features section, as it contains over fifteen compelling exhibits, ranging from explorations of the Great Barrier Reef to the process of decomposition. If these engaging exhibits werent enough, the Explore area allows users access to fact sheets that deal with bats in Australia, the aboriginal people of coastal Sydney and meteors that have found their way onto the continent. The site is rounded out by the Research and Collections section, which allows users to learn more about the Museums different departments, which include herpetology, marine ecology, and biodiversity. [KMG]

Environmental Health Science Education [pdf, Real Player]

Developed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, this website provides access to quality educational resources that deal with this timely topic. As one might expect, the site is divided into three primary sections: students, teachers, and scientists. With this rock-solid triumvirate, visitors can peruse these sections for specific materials that will be of use for their own specific purposes. In the students section, visitors can find links that will assist them with their assignments, and also learn from a number of interactive activities that deal with topics such as food safety, public health, and water pollution. Educators will breathe a sigh of relief when they get to the Teachers section, as it is easy to navigate, and it contains over sixty separate pieces of curricular material, all arranged by subject area (such as cancer or assays). [KMG]

Network Tools

Mr. Tides

For persons who make their livelihood on the worlds seas and oceans, the importance of understanding the motions of the tides cannot be underestimated. Even for the casual visitor, tracking the tides can be useful. With this application, visitors can display current (and future) tide information for a variety of locations around the world on their desktop. This version of Mr. Tides is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X 10.1 and newer. [KMG]

SightSpeed 4.6

In our rather well connected times, people can transmit streaming audio and video across continents, oceans, mountains, and in some cases, just across the ever-so treacherous adjoining cubicle wall. With SightSpeed 4.6, all of these boundaries can be surmounted, and the application also offers free PC-to-PC voice calls and video blog recording. Visitor to the applications homepage can learn about all of the related features of the program, and also offer feedback on the applications uses. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and XP. [KMG]

In The News

Cell phones and other devices continue to transform the experience of wandering around

Whats that? In Japan, phone has answer

The Organic City [iTunes]

Museum Podcast Tours [iTunes]

Garmin: What is GPS? [pdf]

Cultural Tourism DC: Historic Neighborhoods

Walking by Henry David Thoreau

Jazz legend and cautionary tale Chet Baker used to regale audiences with his smooth vocals on the Jimmy McHugh standard, Lets Get Lost. Well, getting lost is getting harder to do these days, particularly with the exponential rise in way-finding services, aided in many instances by the global positioning system (GPS). Recently, another advance in such technologies was made, and not surprisingly, it was part of a collaborative effort between three Japanese companies and a firm based in the United States. With the use of specially-equipped cell phones and satellite-based navigation, users can essentially point the phone at a given landmark (such as a hotel or a historical marker), and the phone will pull information from the Internet about any given feature of the built environment. Currently, the technology is only available in Japan, but this technology has a rather remarkable degree of accuracy, which can ease navigation and information-gathering in dense urban locales. Of course, there is still a great deal to be said for just wandering around, but for those who find themselves unnerved by such activities, these devices may prove quite useful. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a news story about this new piece of way-finding technology offered in the International Herald Tribune this past Wednesday. The second link leads to the Organic City homepage. Here visitors can download podcasts that offer interesting neighborhood tours of various parts of Oakland. The third link whisks users away to a very fine page that provides access to a host of museum podcast tours, including those created for the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia and The Delta Blues Museum. The fourth link provides a concise explanation of what GPS is, as well as its importance. The fifth link provides access to information about some of Washingtons culturally and historically important neighborhoods, including Foggy Bottom and Lafayette Square. The final link leads to Henry David Thoreaus well-known panegyric to the importance of peripatetic wandering titled simply: Walking. Thoreau took his walking seriously, a passion that is evident in this comment that appears early on in his remarks: I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least,-and it is commonly more than that, -sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. Strong stuff, and words to live by. [KMG]

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