The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 29

July 21, 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

American Society for Microbiology

Professional and academic scientific organizations have long had a strong web-based presence, and many of them have contributed mightily to online educational initiatives. The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has done their part by creating this set of resources for undergraduate educators working in the fields of bioterrorism, microbiology, and related topics. One of the strongest sections here includes the curriculum guidelines, which include basic recommendations for what an introductory course in microbiology should cover in terms of skills, safety, and laboratory content. Additionally, visitors can also learn what bioterrorism related topics should be covered in similar courses. The site is rounded out by a set of links to external resources, such as the Bioscience Education Network, the National Academy Press, and a collection of science videos from the Annenberg/CPB Learner website. [KMG]

ESL Gold [Real Player, pdf]

Gold is a precious commodity, and the quest to obtain even modest amounts of this substance has consumed the lives of many men and women throughout recorded history. To find a website titled ESL Gold may raise the skeptical eyebrows of some, but truly many of the resources on this site will be just that valuable to English as a Second Language educators, students, and other concerned parties. The homepage is a bit busy in its visual design, but users navigate it fairly easily. The sites primary materials are thematically organized into categories such as Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. Within each of these sections, visitors can take a look through topical resources that compartmentalize different more digestible themes, such as Topics for Writing or Organizing and Composing. As might be expected, visitors can also find materials for beginning, intermediate, or advanced level students. [KMG]

Knowledge Media Laboratory [pdf]

How do students learn in the classroom? How can teachers best utilize new and emerging technologies in the classroom? What can teachers do to seamlessly incorporate technology into the learning experience? These are all questions that are asked by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teachings Knowledge Media Laboratory. On their website, users can learn about their work with communities of teachers, faculty, programs, and institutions over the past several years, and also look over some of their informative case studies. The Gallery of Teaching and Learning is a good place to start ones exploration of the site, as it contains a number of exhibitions that look at how web-based tools can be used in teaching and how scholarship may change as a result of an increasingly networked milieu. One seminal resource on the site is the KEEP Toolkit. With the Toolkit, teachers and others can create engaging knowledge representations on the web for their own use. For visitors who might feel a bit overwhelmed by this, there is also a nice tutorial that explains how the Toolkit can be used. [KMG]

United Nations Office on Drug and Crime [pdf, Real Player]

Created in 1997 with an international mandate, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has around 500 staff members working in 21 field offices across the world. Their basic mission is to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. Its a broad mission, and in order to inform the public and policy experts about their work, they have created this site. In the center of the homepage, visitors will find recent reports of note, including their annual Word Drug Report. To the left-hand side, visitors will find all types of technical reports, data tables, and other related materials organized by theme, such as drug supply reduction and terrorism. Finally, users can also find employment opportunities with the UNODC or look at materials provided in languages such as Russian, Spanish, and French. [KMG]

Algebra: In Simplest Terms

The Annenberg Foundation has been an active part of creating educational and professional development tools and instructional aids for teachers for many years. To reach the broadest audience possible, their Annenberg Media website also contains many of their programs in their entirety. Math educators and aspiring students of algebra will be delighted to learn that their popular series Algebra: In Simplest Terms is one of those programs found on their site. All told, there are a total of 26 episodes in the series, and they deal with such topics as linear relations, the ellipse, rational functions, and geometric sequences. Narrated by Sol Garfunkel, the series uses practical examples as illustrations of various principles and axioms. It should be noted that to watch the videos, visitors will need to fill out a free online registration form. [KMG]

The American Council of Learned Societies [pdf]

Founded in 1919, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) was meant to assist in collaborative research and publications in the fields of philology, archaeology, history, and the moral, political, and social sciences. Scholars in these fields will be happy to know that their website provides ample material on ACLSs fellowship and grant programs, along with a selection of links related to related opportunities at other organizations that deal in such matters. Visitors will want to make sure and peruse their publications area, as it contains the ACLS Annual Reports, their occasional paper series, and the full text of the Charles Homer Haskins Lectures. Started in 1983, these lectures contain insights from such noted intellectuals as Robert K. Merton, Yi-Fu Tuan, and Donald W. Meinig. [KMG]

Center for Science in the Public Interest [pdf]

Started in 1971, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has been an advocate for sound science, nutrition, and food safety for over thirty-five years. With close to 900,000 members, the Center continues its outreach work through such activities as creating policy briefs, sending out their Nutrition Action Healthletter, and providing news updates on items of relevance to the general public. Their homepage contains much of this material, all contained in thematic areas, including biotechnology, food safety, integrity in science, and nutrition policy. Each one of these self-contained sections includes fact sheets, legislative updates, publications, and press releases. Visitors looking for some of their most comprehensive reports will want to look through such titles as Dispensing Junk: How School Vending Undermines Efforts to Feed Children Well and Food Safety Around the World. All told, the site will be of great help for persons in the fields of public health and policy, and the concerned public at large. [KMG]

ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law

The study and practice of international law can be a tough area to get a handle on, and with numerous online resources available for both areas, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Since 1997, The American Society of International Law (ASIL) has been continuously updating and revising their Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law, under the able direction of Marci Hoffman and Jill Watson. Within each of its eight primary sections, users can read about various high-quality online resources for each topical area (such as international organizations and human rights), and then read brief summaries of what each online resource features in terms of its content and scope. As might be expected, the site also contains information on relevant and helpful weblogs that deal with international law. [KMG]

General Interest

The American Language

H.L. Mencken, a journalist who was one of the most celebrated American writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was often referred to as The Sage of Baltimore. Writing in a number of Baltimores daily papers, Mencken developed an acerbic wit and a penchant for syllogisms that would serve him well for decades. As a defender and scholar of American English, Mencken wrote The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States in 1921. The work was very well received, and continues to serve as a helpful resource today. has placed the entire work online here, and visitors are free to wander through its nine chapters, bibliography, and handful of appendices at their leisure. Visitors can also search the contents of the work from the homepage, or just move their way to such sections as Americanisms in England and The Influence of Webster. [KMG]

Jonko Auto Repair Online

In the twentieth century, humans began to explore the outer boundaries of the known university, delving further into the realm of cosmology, string theory, relativity, and other such heady and uncharted waters. One area of inquiry remains elusive to many mortals: car repair. Fortunately, there is, which is a nice way to learn more about auto repair, whether one is a practicing mechanic or mere curious neophyte. The site is easy to navigate, and the sections include repair forums, photo galleries of classic cars, and full-length articles. The Auto Diagnosis Center can be used to answer such basic questions about strange smells emanating from cars or problems encountered with starting the engine. The site also includes a number of basic tutorials that can help users change their cars thermostat or check their coolant system circulation. [KMG]

Panda, Inc. [Macromedia Flash Player]

Pandas have captured the imagination and interest of millions of people in the United States over the past several decades, and a number of well-publicized visits to some of the nations zoos have helped fuel this interest. Despite the fact that pandas are tremendously expensive to care for, many zoos continue to argue that the visits are important in terms of the cultural exchange opportunities they offer for Chinese and American scientists to work together. This online feature created by National Geographic explores the scientific and financial aspects of hosting pandas in the United States, and includes a photo essay, an essay on the subject, and an online discussion forum. Accompanying the photo essay are Field Notes written by photographers Fritz Hoffmann and Michael Nichols. These are a real treat, as they both talk about photographing these shy creatures, and also about the politics of doing such work in China. Finally, the site also includes a Learn More area which features answers to a number of questions (such as Are pandas really bears?) and a host of related links and suggested readings. [KMG]

Wildlife Habitat Council [pdf]

Cooperation among industry and conservation groups can be rare indeed, and when the Wildlife Habitat Council was formed in 1988, it was certainly an unusual arrangement. Over the past several decades, the Council has worked to ease some of these tensions to search for innovative joint ventures in environmental stewardship. Visitors interested in such matters will appreciate the organizations website, which brings together materials on brownfield remediation, nest monitoring, and wildlife management tools. Additionally, visitors can also learn about some of their recent industry partnerships, including the Cuyahoga Habitat partnership and the St. Clair River Waterways for Wildlife Project. The site is rounded out by a Publications area which contains a number of web-only articles by staff members and a list of books on sustainability and wildlife habitat management handpicked by WHC staff members. [KMG]

The Home Sewing Association

While the era in which most people sewed their own vestments has long passed, sewing is a skill and an art that some find relaxing and worthwhile. A number of trade organizations promote this craft, and the Home Sewing Association is one of these groups that has been thoughtful enough to also create a website that contains helpful information about all aspects of this activity. The Sewing Enthusiast section is a good place to start, as it contains sewing projects such as a bug bonnet, a hooded towel, and a laundry bag. For those new to the craft, there is a set of sewing guidelines that cover such elementals as notions, hand stitches, and fabric. For those thinking about starting a sewing business, their in-house newsletter HAS Connections will be most efficacious. [KMG]

Intended for the commercial bakery industry, gives the rest of us, from culinary school students to baker wannabes - a glimpse into what's going on in the baking world. One of the features of the site is Modern Baking, a publication that even non-members can view in its entirety, as well as searching an article archive. In the June 2006 issue, read about the current popularity of cupcakes, since they are smaller than a whole piece of cake, or, from the archives, in "Extreme carrot cake", Chef John Kraus, pastry chef and instructor at The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago, talks about how to transform this traditional dessert into something extraordinary. The site also includes industry headlines (from Modern Baking), formulas, classified and employment ads, buying guides, and the Baker's Rack - a showcase for bakery equipment companies, with links to their web sites and online catalogs. [DS]

Identity Theft Resource Center [pdf]

These days, persons who find themselves the victim of an identity theft have a number of resources they can draw on to deal with their predicament. In 1997, things were quite different, and at that time Linda Foley found herself victimized by this crime. Several years later, Linda founded the Identity Theft Resource Center, and since then the Center has been commended for its work by the Department of Justice and Senator Dianne Feinstein. From the Centers homepage, visitors can access victim information guides, learn about recent (and some classic) consumer scams. A great deal of this information is tailored specifically for different audiences, such as law enforcement and children. One area that may be particularly helpful is the In the Workplace section. Here, visitors can learn how to avoid identity theft in the workplace, and also browse through a list of prevention tips. [KMG]

Streetscape and Townscape of Metropolitan New York City, 1860-1942

Interested in the New York home of Washington Irving? Want to see the urban fabric of 5th Avenue in 1911? Users need look no further than this lovely collection of historic images, offered here by the New York Public Librarys own Digital Gallery. This particular collection brings together a number of discrete collections, including street views photographed by Alice Austen in 1896, the aforementioned 5th Avenue series, and even more streetscapes captured by Percy Loomis Sperr in the 1930s and early 1940s. The collection that contains the photographs of Irvings home on the Hudson River (and his grave), is well-worth a look, as are any of the 335 photos contained within the Sperr collection. [KMG]

Network Tools

iNetFormFiller 3.5.09

In this rather hectic world of deadlines, due dates, and decision-making, it can be hard to remember: Did I fill out that form correctly? While this program cant help with that exact aspect of a busy lifestyle, it can make it a bit easier for users to fill out online forms. iNetFormFiller can be used to edit online forms, store personal data, and also record any order of actions required to accurately fill out such forms. This free trial version will work on computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

JAlbum 6.5

Whether they are images of the lovely Jersey shore or the tremendous vistas to be found among the peaks of the Olympic National Rainforest, all photos can be cataloged, displayed, and sent on to friends via JAlbum 6.5. Visitors can customize their photo albums appearance with different skins and also create any number of image folders. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, or XP. [KMG]

In The News

The City of Big Shoulders Takes on Trans-Fats

Chicago Weighs New Prohibition: Bad-For-You Fats

The City of Broad Shoulders-Not of Trans Fats

Aldermen ask fast-food giants to explain use of trans fat oils,1,4395530.story?coll=chi-newslocalnearnorthwest-hed

Revealing Trans Fats


Check, Please!,5

Chicago, which had the dubious distinction of leading the nation in homicides throughout much of the 1990s, is now taking on another deadly phenomenon: trans-fats. To be sure, Chicago has never been known to be a city of moderation, whether one considers the citys massive urban renewal projects or the towering facades that line the land close to the shores of Lake Michigan. As a growing group of people both in the city (and nationally) grow increasingly concerned about public health matters, the groundswell for change has resulted in the city council passing a no-smoking ordinance (which does not go into full effect until 2008) and looking into other partnerships to keep Chicagoans healthy. Now, under the direction of long-time alderman Edward M. Burke, the council is considering banning trans fats in restaurants. If Mr. Burkes proposal passes, restaurants that fail to take out these fats could be fined up to $1000 a day. Understandably, a number of trade organizations representing the citys restaurant industry are more than a bit upset about the proposal, and even Mayor Richard M. Daley has remarked, Is the City Council going to plan our menus? The immediate future appears safe for lovers of the citys famous pierogies, Italian sausage, and cheese fries, but change may be on its way. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a news article from this Tuesdays New York Times which offers some insights into the parties involved with the proposed ban on trans fats in Chicago. The second link will take users to a recent bit of radio reporting from National Public Radio on trans fats offered by Kim Serverson, who has written a book on the subject of eating healthy. The third link leads to a piece from Dan Mihalopoulos of the Chicago Tribune, who reports on the efforts of city aldermen to question CEOs of fast-food chains on their continued use of trans-fat oils. The fourth link leads to a very informative fact sheet from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about trans fat. For those who love to dine out and compare notes on their experiences, the fifth link will be most interesting, and probably a bit fun. On the Chowhound site, visitors can peruse features such as A Tale of Two Chowhounds, and look over their rather prodigious message boards, which include such posts as What to do with fresh sardines? and Where do you like to eat in Redondo Beach? Of course, if one has a great deal of spare time, its worth looking at the ongoing debates about the best hot dog eateries in either New York or Chicago. The final link leads to the homepage of Chicago public televisions very own show, Check, Please! Here visitors can read reviews offered by every-day Chicagoans as they try out different restaurants, and also take a look at some fine recipes. [KMG]

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