The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 28

July 14, 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

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science

To some, the idea of using the case method to teach science may seem a bit like a novelty. This pedagogical method is quite common in the fields of law and medicine, and in recent years, it has been gaining a foothold in some of the sciences. Fortunately for those interested in learning more about this method of instruction, there is the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, based at the University of Buffalo. Over the past fifteen years, they have been working on using this method in large and small classes, and they have developed a number of helpful resources along the way. Visitors can look over the case study collection, which is divided into topical areas, such as anthropology, astronomy, food science, and nutrition. Interested parties may also wish to take a look at their upcoming conferences and workshops. Overall, this is a most valuable resource, and one that science educators will want to revisit several times. [KMG]

Veterinary Anatomy Instruction

With one of the most well regarded veterinary schools in the United States, the University of Minnesota continues to break new ground in the training of new veterinarians. Of course, more and more of these training materials are finding their way to the web, and this site will be quite helpful to those persons with an interest in this particular field. Created by different faculty members, the materials here are categorized by the course they are most commonly associated with, such as gross anatomy or neurobiology. In the gross anatomy section, visitors will find materials that include a glossary of terms related to veterinary anatomy and dissections, animations that illustrate the major gaits of various quadrupeds, and the nervous system pathways of canines. The neurobiology section contains instructional materials that include information about brain dissection neuroanatomy and neurohistology. [KMG]

American Sign Language University

As more people become interested in learning American Sign Language, there have been a number of individuals who have begun to create websites that offer free resources related to this language. Dr. Bill Vicars is one such individual, and his site contains resources for students, teachers, parents, and your garden-variety web surfer. In the section designed for students, visitors can use the online sign language dictionary (complete with demonstration photographs), fingerspelling lessons, and numbers lessons. The section for teachers is a real gem, as it includes a number of sample syllabi, general guidelines for instructors, as well as an online library that includes subjects such as regional dialects in ASL, Chinese Sign Language and the National Theater of the Deaf. Finally, the site contains a special section for parents. Here, they can learn more about communicating effectively with their child who is deaf. [KMG]

The Society for Historical Archaeology [pdf]

Some of you gentle readers may be asking: Whats historical archaeology? Simply put, this field is the study of the material remains of past societies that also left behind some other form of historical evidence. With a membership base that ranges from newcomers to seasoned professionals, The Society for Historical Archaeology is a group whose work will be of general interest to those with a yearning to learn more about history and archaeology. After delving into their About section, visitors should mosey on over to their Projects & Research area. Here a number of organizations and research teams have submitted websites that document their own recent excavations, such as those around Harpers Ferry and West Point. Finally, the sites Futures section contains helpful information on careers in archaeology and a guide to programs in historical and underwater archaeology. [KMG]

Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures [Macromedia Flash Player, iTunes, Real Player]

As Alan Lomax recorded the sounds of hundreds of different indigenous musical traditions throughout his sixty-year career as a musicologist, the legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau did similar work throughout the worlds oceans. Following in his footsteps, his son, Jean-Michel Cousteau continues to inform and delight with his own series of programs on public television. On this site, visitors can learn more about the work of Cousteau and his colleagues as they examine the lives of sharks, gray whales, and the unique underwater ecosystems off the coastline of the continental United States. For each of these episodes, visitors can view clips of each program, learn about the goals of each expedition, download podcasts, and read a glossary of terms. Of course, there are also some fun items here as well, including free ringtones, interactive games, and screen savers. [KMG]

Financial Markets in a New Age of Oil [pdf]

In the 1970s and 1980s, many countries in the Middle East found themselves flush with an oil boom, both in terms of production and in terms of its buying power and price. This recent 142-page report created by the World Bank reports on what some of these countries are planning to do with these increasing revenue streams, and some of the results may be a bit surprising. The report notes that oil producers are turning these monies gleaned from oil into a way to pay down debt, build up substantial savings, and also to set up oil stabilization funds. The report also notes that this windfall has not necessary translated to some of the more resource-poor economies in the area, such as Lebanon and Morocco. [KMG]

The National Hurricane Survival Initiative [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

After the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a group of organizations (including the National Hurricane Center and the National Emergency Management Association) decided to band together to crate the National Hurricane Survival Initiative. Along with their other public outreach programs, they created this website to bring information about hurricane preparedness to the general public. The site includes a storm readiness checklist, a hurricane questionnaire, and basic hurricane evacuation procedures. The Storms Stats area provides a primer on what exactly hurricanes are, along with concise summaries of the wind and water damage that hurricanes can inflict. The sites materials are also available in Spanish, and it is worth noting that the music that is synchronized with the homepage is rather loud. [KMG] [pdf]

When one wants to discuss early American history, one must include the city of Brotherly Love. If one is talking about that fine citys history, one must discover one of its most well known organizations dedicated to preserving that citys past, namely the Independence Hall Association. Founded in 1942, the Association moved to secure the future of the Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and other such historical structures. Since that time, their mission has expanded greatly, and they have become interested in similar projects all over Philadelphia. This website provides a treasure-trove of material on such Philadelphia notables as Betsy Ross, Benjamin Franklin, as well as historic places, such as the Paoli Battlefield and Germantown. Along with these features, visitors can watch an actor playing Benjamin Franklin talk about the Internet and take a gander at a video of historic Philadelphia. [KMG]

General Interest

PreserveNet [pdf]

The Internet allows many interested communities that may be spread across great distances to share information, and PreserveNet is just such a community. Since 1994, preservationists have had a fine resource to draw on at the PreserveNet website. The site has been redesigned several times since its creation, and currently visitors to the site can find out about funding sources for projects, employment opportunities, and upcoming conferences and related events. Along with these sections, visitors may also wish to take a look through the Legal section, which offers links to summaries of court cases related to historic preservation and also to the codes of federal regulation. Finally, the site also has a links area, which contains numerous links categorized by theme, such as cultural studies, sprawl, and maritime resources. [KMG]

World Monuments Fund [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

In the early 1960s, Colonel James A. Gray started the organization that would become the World Monuments Fund (WMF). With a keen eye towards preserving places and monuments associated with the great cultural achievements spread across the continents, the WMFs first project was to assist in the restoration of the medieval churches in Lalibela, Ethiopia. With offices in New York and across Western Europe, the Fund continues to work on over 150 sites in 50 countries. On their site, visitors can learn about some of these projects in the Fieldwork area. Ever vigilant, the WMF also maintains a World Monuments Watch list, which documents those sites that are in most need of attention. Visitors can view the list by country, and even look at previous lists of endangered monuments. The site is rounded out by their Press Room area, which affords users the opportunity to read about media coverage of the WMF and also browse through some of their latest press releases. [KMG]

Art of the States [Real Player]

WGBH in Boston has long been known for its high quality radio and television programs. Arts of the States is a show that has been around since 1993, and is committed to collecting and disseminating new musical works from around the United States. In 2002, they created this website to facilitate access to their programs, and there is some glorious material here. To get a sense of their offerings, visitors may start by listening to one of their Current Features, which includes collections titled, Music of Memory and Parody Pieces. From there, visitors can search the music archive by composer, performer, instrumentation, time period, or genre. A few highlights on the site include Edgard Vareses Nocturnal and Colon Nancarrow playing his own Studies for Player Piano No. 1 and 36. [KMG]

College is Possible [pdf]

The pathway to college from high school can be a bit bewildering for some, particularly if they are the first one in their family to make the transition to a college or a university. Given this situation, the American Council on Education (ACE) has created the College is Possible program to motivate and provide assistance to students from underserved communities to seek a college education. The site offers a number of basic primers on such subjects as financial aid programs, a glossary of financial aid terms, courses students should take to prepare for college, and so on. Perhaps the most helpful section is the Choosing the Right College module, which includes some rudimentary information on how to search for a college, along with offering a list of recommended websites, books, and brochures. [KMG]

American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works [pdf]

Conservation is a growing field, and the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC) is a good place to learn more about this discipline, and to also learn about possible job opportunities. First-time visitors should look at the About AIC area to learn more about what the Institute does. Within this area, users can read such timely documents as Defining the Conservator: Essential Competencies and Definitions of Conservation Terminology. Beyond this area, the site also contains information about the different specialty groups within the AIC, their committees, and their online library. The online documents here include previous volumes of the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation and materials designed to help those who need to recover and restore documents after disasters strike. [KMG]

Matthew Barney: Drawing Restraint [Macromedia Flash Player,QuickTime]

SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) appropriately uses multimedia to present this Web feature about multimedia artist Matthew Barney, who works in an interrelated way in sculpture, film, and installations. Barney often appears in his works, in character and in costume. He has been working on his Drawing Restraint series for almost 20 years, and the Web feature presents excerpts from DRAWING RESTRAINT 9, a recent portion of the series. DRAWING RESTRAINT 9 includes a feature-length film set on a Japanese whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru, along with related photography, drawing, video, and sculpture. The film follows the transformation of an Occidental couple brought on board the whaling ship, played by Barney and the singer Bjrk, who also composed the soundtrack. See the "What Happens in the Film" section of the Web feature for still images and video of Barney discussing how the film was made, then move to the "Do These Sculptures Tell Stories?" section to see sculptures made by Barney to reinterpret the film experience for the gallery (and online) viewer. [DS]

Success in Mathematics

Many students arriving at college may find that they have forgotten some of the basic skills required to learn various mathematical concepts. Some educational researchers and mathematicians of note have commented that learning math is more than a bit like learning a new language. Keeping that in mind, this site provided by the mathematics department at St. Louis University may be useful for both students and educators alike. The site provides information on . how to study mathematics, how to approach problem-solving. and when and how to get help. The material here is contained within subsections that address such matters as Active Study vs. Passive Study and Solving a Problem. In all honesty, students cannot go wrong with such a nuts and bolts approach to mathematics, and this sites effective message will ring true with educators. [KMG]

The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the early days of the Internet, a number of universities and affiliated research libraries began ambitious digitization projects, including several that were primarily focused on works in the humanities. Started in 1994, the University of Michigans Humanities Text Initiative is certainly one of the oldest, and most respected, of these initiatives. The entire collection is worth taking a look at, and one of their most recent additions is a real gem. An anonymous donor recently donated funds to the library so that they could place The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (originally published in 1903) online. Visitors can browse through these works if they so choose, or perform simple or proximity searches across the entire text. One does not need much extra initiative to take a look through such works as Self-Reliance and The Over-Soul. [KMG]

Network Tools

Maxthon 1.5.6

A number of browsers out there attempt to offer improvements for existing products, and some do the job quite admirably. Maxthon improves upon Internet Explorer by offering autoscrolling, a newsgroup-browsing mode, and customizable skins. Additionally there are a number of unique security features that provide protection against those who would use the Internet for their own unscrupulous purposes. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

AirPort Radar 1.1

People and their computers are growing hungry for more wireless options as they travel for work, pleasure, and sometimes, journeys that combine a little bit of both. This handy tool will be quite useful for such persons as it scans the surrounding area for nearby wireless networks. The program will tell users the signals strength, and also allow them to attempt to connect to open networks. This application is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X 10.4. [KMG]

In The News

A new house brings an end to epic trading journey for Canadian man

From paper-clip to house, in 14 trades

How to swap a paper clip for a house,,26909-2264564,00.html

one red paperclip

Forty Media: Interview: Kyle MacDonald

5 Questions for Kyle MacDonald

Swaptree (beta)

Informal trading and bartering is a practice that can strike some as completely antiquated, but the practice is quite common in open-air markets and other such places. Trading can be quite rewarding as well, as Kyle MacDonald recently found when he traded a role in a movie for a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan. Well, theres quite a bit more to this whole story actually. MacDonalds epic began last year when he found himself staring at a red paper clip on his desk. To some, this paper clip might have seemed likewell, just a paper clip. MacDonald placed this essential office supply online as an item worthy of trade, and he shortly found himself the proud owner of a pen that resembled a fish, courtesy of two women in Vancouver. Thirteen trades later, MacDonald had met up with noted rocker Alice Cooper, found himself temporarily with a 100-watt generator, and in the presence of Corbin Bernsen, star of the Major League and L.A. Law franchises. By this point, MacDonald had with him a snowglobe featuring yet another set of rockers, namely the 1970s shock-rockers, KISS. In a strange moment of serendipity, it turned out that Bernsen was a huge snow-globe devotee. Bernsen offered to trade MacDonald a role in a film he was producing for the snow-globe in question, and MacDonald answered in the affirmative. This past week, the town of Kipling offered MacDonald a small farmhouse in exchange for the role in the upcoming film. The deal was completed this past Wednesday, but MacDonald has already commented, This is not the end. This may be the end of this segment of the story, but this story will go on. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a recent news story from the CBC that reports on MacDonalds recent triumphant trade which landed him a modest farmhouse in Saskatchewan. The second link leads to a piece from the Times Tuesday edition that offers details on some of MacDonalds trades. The third link leads to MacDonalds blog, where visitors can view videos of him in action, read some of his short stories, and learn a bit more about this highly motivated Canadian. The fourth link leads to an interview with MacDonald conducted by the folks at Forty Media. In the interview, MacDonald reveals that the motivating factors behind this whole trading business include the desire to have fun, tiredness of paying rent, etc. The fifth link leads to another interview with MacDonald, this time conducted by Ken Schafer of One Degree. Finally, the penultimate link leads to the beta version of Swaptree. While Swaptree is not yet up and running, it promises to allow people to trade books, CDs, DVDs, and other related items in the near future. [KMG]

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