The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 33

August 18, 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

The Astronomy Center [pdf, Windows Media Player, Quick Time]

The wonder and mystery associated with distant objects in space has fascinated humans for millennia, and young people today remain eager to learn about the world of astronomy. Introducing the various concepts and processes associated with this branch of science in the classroom can be daunting, so educators and the curious public will be glad to learn of the existence of The Astronomy Center website. Sponsored by the American Astronomical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the National Science Digital Library, the site is a clearinghouse of digital resources that can serve as teaching aids, or as just a way to learn more about the world of astronomy. The sites homepage includes an "Astronomy News" area, complete with links to relevant news stories (such as discoveries of newly discovered space objects) and a feature that allows users to browse resources by type (such as labs or simulations) or topic. [KMG]

Macalester College Problem of the Week

Back in 1968, Professor Joe Konhauser at Macalester College started a tradition by creating a math problem for his students every week. Since that time, this long-standing tradition has migrated to the web, and along with the current problem of the week, visitors can also view previous editions dating back to the fall of 1995. Currently, the problem of the week is overseen by Professor Stan Wagon, and visitors can browse through these problems as they see fit. The problems are meant to be accessible to first-year college students, so they can be used in a host of instructional settings, or potentially (one might imagine) as extra-credit. Visitors can sign up to receive the problem each week via email, and it is worth noting that the solution to each problem will be posted the following week. [KMG]

Boston African American Project

Several years ago, the Boston Athenaeum received a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create an online digital archive of materials related to the lives of African Americans in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Drawing on their own holdings, along with those of The Massachusetts Historical Society and The Bostonian Society, they proved up to the task, and this lovely website is proof of their substantial labors. First-time visitors will want to look at the project overview description to get a sense of the materials that are available here, and after that, they should dive right into the "Collection at a Glance" area. Here they can look over abolition-era broadsheets, political cartoons, illustrations, and some rather evocative portraits of urban life. [KMG]

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Ecosystems Research Division [pdf]

Located in Athens, Georgia, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency's Ecosystems Research Division performs research on "approaches to multimedia modeling for landscape, nutrient and chemical stressors of ecosystems." While all of this may sound tremendously complicated, their site does a great job of explaining their work in jargon-free language, along with providing access to their scholarly and research-minded endeavors. On their homepage, visitors can view their latest press releases, take a look at some general EPA resources (such as a chemical contamination calculator), and information about their public seminars. Their "Highlighted Research" area is the one that will be of most interest to the general public, as it contains information on their latest work on such matters as oil spills, gasoline consumption, and brownfields reclamation efforts around the country. [KMG]

The Electronic Hallway [pdf]

A number of scholars and educators have banded together to form online repositories of teaching materials in recent years, and one of the best available resources is certainly The Electronic Hallway. Created as part of the outreach efforts of the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington, the site contains quality teaching cases and other curriculum materials for faculty who teach public administration, public policy, and related subjects. Cases are available in a wide range of topics and policy areas, including education, human services, international affairs, and urban issues. It should be noted that all of these materials are provided at no cost, but users will need to sign up to access all of the materials in the repository. The site's homepage provides some additional information about the scope of the repository, and visitors can also navigate through the sections here to search for case materials and manage their own profile. [KMG]

Columbia Journalism Review Daily

The journalism school at Columbia University is held in high-regard by many for their commitment to training journalists that will hold a high standard of quality investigative reporting that will inspire future generations of like-minded individuals. As with many journalism schools, they have made great headway into offering both critique and comment on the changing world of journalism, and the Columbia Journalism Review Daily is a fine example of such efforts. The Daily was born in 2004 with a mandate to monitor coverage of the presidential election campaign, and has continued over the past several years by offering daily (and, at times, hourly) critiques of political journalism and analyses of the broader forces affecting press performance. Visitors to the homepage can read their commentaries and analyses, and also search the entire contents of the Daily via a handy search feature. Additionally, visitors can make their way through the Daily's archives, if they so wish. [KMG]

Kentuckiana Digital Library

In 2002, the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Virtual Library project received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to digitize around 1,000 books about Kentucky history and literature. Since that time, the project has been expanded several times, and all of those books, along with a cornucopia of oral histories, photographs, and maps can be found at this site. Given the amount of material here, visitors may want to start by looking over some of the category headings on the homepage, which include images, newspapers, and maps. One real gem that should not be overlooked is the collection of photographs from the Lexington Herald-Leader, which documents life in and around the town all the way back to 1895. Visitors should also not miss taking a look through their extensive oral history collection, which includes interviews with individuals involved with the integration of major league baseball and interviews conducted by Kentucky native and author Robert Penn Warren for his book, "Who Speaks for the Negro?" [KMG]

Inside Cancer [Macromedia Flash Player]

Created at the Dolan DNA Learning Center of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the Inside Cancer site is a rather remarkable exploration of the nature of cancer in the human body. Utilizing graphics and interactive animations that serve to explain this complex condition, the site is divided into sections that deal with the causes and prevention of cancer, its diagnosis and treatment, and how the disease manifests itself. Each section combines well-drawn animations with video clips of scientists narrating brief passages that illuminate the accompanying descriptions and captions. Along the way, visitors will learn about current ways that cancer can be treated, and future directions for cancer research. Overall, the site should be praised for its ease of use, and its applications could include use in classrooms with a wide range of age levels and abilities. [KMG]

General Interest

The Vincent Van Gogh Gallery

Not many websites can claim a dispensation or official approval from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, but this site can claim just that. Created by David Brooks of Canada, this site contains not just some of Vincent van Gogh's oeuvre, but all of it. Thats an impressive amount of material, and it includes 874 letters, 133 letter sketches, and all 10 of his graphic works. Visitors are most welcome to scroll through the homepage to find sections that contain all of the aforementioned material organized by subject matter, date of creation, and a smattering of works inspired by Van Gogh as well. Brooks has also added a set of brief commentaries on Van Gogh's paintings and his own "InSites" into such classic pieces as "Orphan Man with Top Hat" and his 1887 "Self-Portrait". [KMG]

National Association for Business Economics [pdf]

Founded in 1959, the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) has a mission that is both simple and to the point: "To provide leadership in the use and understanding of economics". As such, there is a wide range of material presented on their website that will both interest and delight those with a penchant for business economics and its various applications. First-time users may wish to start by looking over their in-house newsletter, the NABE News, or take a look at some of the articles in the latest issue of their journal, Business Economics. One of the most valuable features on the site is the "Links" area. The area contains links to other helpful sites organized by topic, such as macroeconomic data, regional economic data, economic think tanks, and of course, economics blogs. [KMG]

ShakeMovie: CalTech's Southern California Seismic Event Portal [QuickTime, Windows Media Player]

At times unsettling, and always fascinating, this latest educational and scientific venture from the good people at Cal Tech offers detailed visualizations of recent significant seismic events in the Southern California region. As might be expected the site offers detailed explanations of what visitors will see when they load each movie, and the most recent bit of seismic activity is displayed front and center on the homepage. On the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors can consider a list of past seismic events, complete with information on the magnitude of each event, the closest city to the event, and the date and time of its origin. If any of this gets overwhelming, visitors can quickly move to the FAQ section, which answers such basic queries as "What do these movies show?" and "What causes earthquakes to happen?" The site is rounded out by a "Science" tab, which leads to a detailed, yet jargon-free, explanation of how the data related to such events is both collected, and subsequently visualized. [KMG]

International Journal of Not-For-Profit Law

In an admirable attempt to "reflect the evolving worldwide conversation about civil society", the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law created the International Journal of Not-For-Profit Law (IJNL) in 1998. Since that time, the Journal has worked with their in-house editing team, guest editors, and a deep pool of contributors to create a number of special themed issues. The IJNL is published several times a year, and recent volumes have paid special attention to the Middle East, comparative approaches to civil society, and public benefit organizations. Visitors can view the complete text of each issue, and search their online archive, which dates back to September 1998. Visitors are also welcome to email the editor with any suggestions that might have for future volumes or special issues. [KMG]

McKinley Assassination: A Documentary History of William McKinley's Assassination

To some, President William McKinley may disappear into the ranks of those American presidents whose accomplishments are little-known, if they are known at all. Drawing on the work of recent scholars (and their own keen interest in McKinley), the creators of this website seek to provide information about McKinley (and his assassination, obviously). In this process, they have transcribed a host of important resources, including articles, essays, editorials, news columns, sermons, and so on. These resources serve both as a lens into McKinley's life as well as American history and culture. With a homepage that features a crisp design, visitors can look over such sections as "Quotes About", "Documents", and "Resources". For those uninitiated into the world of McKinley, the "Quotes About" area is a good place to begin. Here they will find quotes about the man himself, his assassin Leon Czolgosz, his successor Theodore Roosevelt, and the assassination. The "Documents" area is a section that is well worth visiting, as it contains a wide range of materials related to McKinley's assassination, and a number of pieces of reporting from the time that are quite valuable. Finally, the site also has a series of indexes, which will help users structure their time on the site in an efficient manner. [KMG]

Playing House: Homemaking for Children

The world of American domesticity in the late 19th and early 20th century was one that placed a premium on oversight of many aspects of the home. While many instructional devices (such as books and manuals) were created to instruct women in the fine arts of cookery, laundry, and other areas, there were equivalent materials created for young girls. As part of their ongoing work, the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections project has created this digital collection that brings together several of these manuals from this period. All told, the collection contains five such works, including Elizabeth Hale Gilman's "Things Girls Like To Do" from 1917 and her oft-cited work from 1916, "Housekeeping". Each work can be viewed in its entirety, and visitors can also perform searches across the entire collection. [KMG]

Basic Principles of Ultrasound

Created by a team of medical professionals and health-care specialists, the main Echo Web site contains a wide range of resources dealing primarily with diagnostic ultrasounds, sonography, and the field of echocardiography. One of the most helpful of these resources is the Basic Principles of Ultrasound online course, which is available here at no cost. The course itself is divided into six different sections, along with a bibliography and FAQ area. Visitors can use the online course to learn about the basic principles of ultrasound, the basic science behind related devices and instruments, and the ways to use these devices safely. Instructors might also do well to use this website in conjunction with lectures on the subject, or as away to give students an additional resource to consult at their leisure. [KMG]

Hotel & Motel Management: Human Resources/Training

The world of hotel and motel management is one that has its peaks and valleys, much like any other part of the tourism industry. A number of print publications have been expanding their online offerings as of late, and Hotel & Motel Management is definitely part of this trend. Recently, they began to place some of their archived articles online, including those that deal with on-site dining operations, pest control, and transportation. Another section that is most intriguing is the area of the site that contains the well-written and timely articles on human resources and training in the industry. With pieces on the benefits of training front desk staff and taking advantage of a diverse staff, this resource could be well used by instructors in a hospitality classroom setting or for those seeking professional development updates. [KMG]

Network Tools

Mozilla Firefox

Users who may have never tried Mozilla Firefox may want to give this latest version a go, and those who already know the browser well will find several noteworthy new features here. Along with features designed for sophisticated web-browsing, this version of Firefox allows users to reorder tabs by dragging and dropping them. Additionally, cleaning up one's surfing history has gotten even simpler. Of course, users will still find such popular features embedded in the application, including RSS feeds and a download manager. This version of Firefox is compatible with computers running Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, and XP. [KMG]


Many savvy computer users use RSS aggregators on a regular basis, and SharpReader may be yet another such device that is worth examining. Along with performing the normal wrangling task of keeping various feeds in order, SharpReader also detects and shows connected items together in a threaded fashion. Finally, the application can also group subscribed feeds into custom categories. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, and XP. [KMG]

In The News

Report reveals immigrants coming to live in a wider range of locales throughout the United States

Immigrants now head all over the U.S.

Area immigrants top 1 million

More foreign-born calling Indy home

NPR: Pennsylvania Town Takes Stand Against Immigrants [Real Player]

Census Bureau Data Show Key Population Changes Across Nation

Pew Hispanic Center [pdf]

Forum: How has the influx of immigrants to the U.S. changed the political and cultural landscape?

From the Mayor's Desk

Immigration to the United States continues to be a highly contested topic in classrooms, political life, and everyday conversation. For every study that shows that immigrants with minimal or no formal education are displacing native-born workers, there is a study that argues the converse side of this argumentative coin. This week, another interesting nuance was revealed as a result of the American Community Survey conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Census. This particular nuance happens to be spatial in nature (and perhaps economic as well), as the survey found that immigrants tend to be bypassing traditional "incubator" areas for new arrivals, such as New York and California, and heading straight for such places as South Dakota, Delaware, and Indiana. Audrey Singer, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, noted, "What's happening now is that immigrants are showing up in many more communities all across the country than they have ever been. And a lot of these are communities that are not accustomed to seeing immigrants in their schools, at the workplace, in their hospitals." While the situation has not exactly resulted in a widespread kulturkampf, as some critics have predicated, there have certainly been tense moments. Recently in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, the town's mayor, Louis J. Barletta, has been adamant about passing a local ordinance that would punish companies that hire illegal immigrants, among other things. Other politicians in the state have criticized Barletta's efforts, including Governor Ed Rendell, who called the ordinance "mean-spirited" and stated that such measures "feed off hatred and divisiveness". [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece about the recent report from the Census Bureau that appeared in this Tuesdays Contra Costa Times. Moving to the second link, visitors will find a nice bit of reporting on how this new immigration trend has transformed Washington DC and Northern Virginia in recent years. The third link leads to a piece from National Public Radio that reports on the recent ordinance regarding illegal immigrants in the town of Hazleton. The fourth link leads to a news release from the Census Bureau that provides some summary information culled from the recent survey, along with a selection of data tables. The fifth link whisks users to the very fine Pew Hispanic Center website, where users can download recent reports that detail various aspects of the Hispanic experience in the United States. The sixth link leads to an interesting forum on the New York Times website that allows users to comment on the ways in which immigrants, new and old, have transformed the country. The final link takes visitors to a letter written by Mayor Louis J. Barletta regarding his town's efforts to curb the arrival of illegal immigrants to his corner of Pennsylvania. [KMG]

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