The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 37

September 15, 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 Grapes of Staph: Microbiology

With its witty appellation, the Grapes of Staph website is the creation of one Professor Gary Kaiser, who teaches microbiology at the Community College of Baltimore County. Over the past few years, Professor Kaiser has assembled a prodigious collection of materials that can be used by fellow educators and aspiring microbiology students from Neah Bay to Nepal. First-time visitors will want to delve right into the lecture guide, which provides hundreds of lecture note pages, illustrations, animations, and photomicrographs. Students who have just entered college will want to take a look at Professor Kaisers very helpful Study Tips area, which offers six specific suggestions on how to succeed in any college-level course. The Tutorials area also serves as a nice supplement, as it contains nice explanations of such processes as cellular respiration, photosynthesis, and of course, protein synthesis. The site is rounded out by a selection of external sites of interest, including links to the American Society for Microbiology and Science.

NOAAs National Geophysical Data Center [pdf]

Educators in the geophysical sciences will find much to work with on this site created by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administrations National Geophysical Data Center. Utilizing data captured over time by their team of scientific experts, the site includes a climate timeline informational tool which can be used to demonstrate the transformation of the Earths climate over the past 100,000 years and a section titled All About Snow, which provides answers to questions about snow. The real treats here are the interactive hands-on activities that include an origami balloon of elevations and an even more complex dodecahedron globe that offers a three-dimensional visualization for use by students and teachers. Finally, the Visualizing Data area contains a few recent additions that can be used in the classroom, such as several animated dives to the bottom of the Marianas Trench off of the Philippines. [KMG]

Representative Poetry On-line

Created and maintained by Professor Ian Lancashire, Representative Poetry Online is both a nod back to poetrys past in terms of its content, and a look to the future (and present) as it exists online here at this site. The approximately 3100 hundred or so poems offered here are culled from the volume, Representative Poetry, which was first published in 1912. In fact, this is the third version of this very site, and poetry lovers everywhere will want to keep this site handy, whether it is for reference or just sheer joy. Visitors can view a complete index of all the poems included on the site, or take a look at the poems arranged chronologically, all the way from Bedes Death Song (penned in the 8th century) to the verses of the post-moderns. Equally delightful is the glossary of terms, which provides insights about dozens of terms, including adonic, gnomic verse, and iambic trimester. [KMG]

Bethlehem Digital History Project

In the minds of some, the mere mention of the city of Bethlehem conjures up images of an industrial landscape complete with massive steel mills. These days the city has been greatly transformed, and before the period of heavy industrialization in the late 19th century, the city was quite different. With funds (and active participation) from a host of organizations, the Bethlehem Digital History Project brings together digitized primary source materials, translations, and transcriptions that relate the story of the city during the years 1741 to 1844. After reading a bit about the actual project mission, visitors should read the brief essay, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 1741-1844, as it offers information about the Moravians who founded the city and their influence on the citys growth and development. There are some terrific historical materials here, all of which are neatly organized into topical areas such as education, land, community records, art, and music. The personal papers area is rather moving, as it contains first-hand accounts by early settlers that document their religious experiences, encounters with Native Americans, and various tribulations. Finally, the Scholars Corner provides a few extra items for those who can read German script, as these diaries, death records, and speeches are only available in that form. [KMG]

National Institutes of Health: Radio [Real Player]

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have always done a fine job of getting the word out about their latest research findings, and their web presence has been a constant source of high-quality materials for well over a decade. Recently, they have struck out into a new venture, and the fruits of their labor may be found on this site. These fruits include their in-house radio news service, which has been adopted by over 630 radio stations as of late. All told, visitors can access almost two years of archived radio reports, which deal with such timely matters as reports on chronic drinkers, the link between obesity and infertility in men, and the role of certain chemicals in reducing lung functions. In keeping with the times, the NIH also began creating podcasts in March 2006. Visitors also have access to the current and archived podcasts, which generally have a running time of anywhere from 17 to 30 minutes. [KMG]

Home Sweet Home: Life in 19th Century Ohio [Real Player]

Social historians and musicologists both agree: Music can tell us much about societys aspirations, mores and other such matters. In that spirit of inquiry and edification, the Library of Congresss Music, Theater & Dance digital initiative brings this marvelous exploration of music in the life of 19th century Ohio families to the curious public. This collection is primarily focused on Cincinnati, and includes introductory essays by Kathryn Kish Sklar and Jon Newsom. The topical sections include Singing Schools, Religion, Rural Values, and Temperance. Within each section, visitors will learn a bit more about the role of each topic in the lives of these families, and they can also listen to recordings that include such firm indictments of temperance as Wholl Buy? and Where Home Is, which celebrates the sentimental image of domesticity. This fine collection is rounded out by a bibliography and a listing of related websites. [KMG]

Gulf of Maine Research Institute [pdf]

Maines oceanic shoreline has long been one of the richest in North America, both in terms of natural resources and its importance to the local economy. One important organization that is committed to this valued ecosystem is the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Based in Portland, the Institute is designed to educate Maine residents and visitors about Maines fresh and saltwater resources and to facilitate and conduct collaborative research. Their website contains some of these resources, and first-time visitors should start their journey here at the Science section. As might be expected, visitors will be able to learn about some of the Institutes ongoing survey work, including their comprehensive survey of the regions shrimp stocks, the impacts of mobile fishing gear, and cod-tagging. Every good institute worth its salt has a strong education component, and this institute has got the web-browsing publics best interests in mind. In their Education section, they have placed a number of interactive and multimedia features, including such areas as All About Lobsters and Undersea Landscapes. [KMG]

Educational technologies continue to press onwards and upwards, and screencasts would seem to be one of the latest trends in this area. Screencasts basically combine narration with on-screen writing in order to demonstrate various procedures, principles, and processes. This website brings together a number of screencasts designed to teach various mathematical endeavors, and it will be quite helpful for teachers and those students who find themselves confounded by such matters as graphing points on a grid and the dreaded quadratic formula. Visitors can browse these mathcasts by topic or by specific subject matter. Additionally, the site contains information on how to use these devices in the classroom and how interested parties might create their own mathcasts. [KMG]

General Interest

Behind the Chair

The demand for cosmetologists and hairdressers in the United States seems to be insatiable, and the breezy world of personal care has been transformed over the past few decades. Those who aspire to seat behind the chair as they say, will appreciate the information presented here, which includes information on the latest trends in the field. Users browsing for the first time will need to complete a free registration form, but after that is completed, they will have full access to the materials offered here. The site is divided into nine different primary sections, including Hair, Haircolor, Multi-Cultural, and Nails. Of course, visitors will need to traverse some advertisements, but subsections titled Hair Step by Steps provide information about creating some of the latest hairstyles. And for those going on the job market, the Salon Jobs section lets users perform detailed searches for current openings across the country. [KMG]

National Forensic League [pdf]

Over its eighty year history, the NFL has graduated such notable alumni as President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Pauley, and Don Ameche. They never played a moment in the NFL that celebrates the legends of the gridiron, but rather they honed their powers of persuasion and oratory in the National Forensic League. Over one million additional alums have joined these well-known personages, and persons who wish to know more about the organization and its operations will want to take a close look at their site. From the homepage, visitors can move through sections that provide hands-on resources that will help both students and coaches get familiar with the world of debate. Most of these resources are located in the Coaching Resources area, and are divided into such topics as speech assignments, vocabulary, and peer evaluations. [KMG]

The Sonic Memorial Project [Macromedia Flash Player]

As a way to cope during the difficult period after the attacks on the Word Trade Center on September 11, 2001, many people began to revisit their memories of the buildings themselves. With a keen eye towards preserving some of these materials, National Public Radio brought together artists, historians, and other interested parties in order to collect and preserve various audio traces of these impressive structures. Through an impressive browsing feature, visitors can aurally move through the audio clips contained within the archive, such as an interview with a Taiwanese tourist and a voice mail from a concerned fellow fire fighter based in Austin to his fellow firefighters. Visitors can also search all of the materials by theme, such as commute, elevators, witness, work, and concourse. The For Educators section is a real gem, as it contains a number of lesson modules that will help teachers use the site to talk about the nature of historical events, memorials, and civic practices. [KMG]


More and more people are rediscovering crafts these days, and craft mavens such as comedienne, writer, and hobbyist Amy Sedaris are dusting off the world of the crocheted tea cozy and finger puppets in a number of innovative and inherently hip ways. Sponsored by the magazine Craft, this site contains a weblog of compelling craft projects, excerpts from their print magazine, and a number of community forums where visitors can kvetch and commune about their diverse craft experiences. The Projects area is a delight, as visitors will get introduced to multi-colored spiral crochet hats and funky skirts made out of fabric from a broken umbrella. There are even a few projects that may gain the attention of costume-oriented visitors, such as a rather compelling pattern for a knitted wig that will allow the wearer to resemble Princess Leia of Star Wars fame. Like a child at a candy store, even casual visitors may find themselves dipping back into this sites proverbial jar of craft treats and projects repeatedly while no ones looking. [KMG]

The Living History Farm [Macromedia Flash Player, QuickTime]

In 1881, one Diedrich Wessels left Germany and came to America in order to seek a better life. Not an uncommon story for many immigrants from Europe at that most propitious moment, but his legacy certainly lives on in an interesting fashion. Upon his death, it was revealed that Wessels left a condition in his will that a certain amount of land and capital should be set aside to establish the Wessels Living History Farm. His will was done, and today, this farm still stands in York, Nebraska as a testament to his life and to the importance of family farms. There are a couple of great features right off the bat on the sites homepage, which contains a reading by Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and a film that documents a modern corn harvest. This is just the beginning, however, as the site also contains sections that also offer insights into the lives of farmers in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1930s. Each of these areas contains brief topical essays on elements of farming such as plowing and fertilizing, coupled with interviews with farmers about some of the technological changes that were underway in each decade. For those who would like a first-hand view of the farm, this is also covered on the site by a series of live web cams that look onto various parts of the grounds. [KMG]

Globalization and Health

Open-access peer-reviewed journals continue to grow in number and in scope, and those dealing with the future of public health are no exception. One of the latest is Globalization and Health, which provides a platform for research, knowledge sharing and debate on the topic of globalization and its effects on health, both positive and negative. With such a broad range, it is no surprise that the journal has included articles on the tobacco industry, intellectual property rights, the effect of trade agreements on health, and the dissemination of Western diets across the globe. The journal currently publishes everything from book reviews to debate articles, so interested parties should definitely take a look at their work and requirements for publication consideration. [KMG]

Smithsonian Photography Initiative [Macromedia Flash Player]

This year, the Smithsonian Photography Initiative (SPI), which is dedicated to promoting the use of Smithsonian photographic resources -roughly 13 million images located in approximately seven hundred collections -, launched a new Web site. The Web site serves several purposes: an online repository of images, a gateway to exhibitions, and a community where visitors can find not only images, but can also connect with others with similar interests, ranging from experts to amateurs. The site also includes Enter the Frame, an interactive interface where visitors can browse images from 19 Smithsonian museums, arrange selected images into sequences, and tag, or apply descriptive keywords to images. Sequences can then be saved, and viewed by subsequent visitors. For example, a sequence entitled "August" - submitted August 21, 2006 - included an 1855 Daguerreotype of a tree-lined street in Savannah, Georgia; a cyanotype portrait of Thomas Smillie (chief photographer for the Smithsonian from 1870 until his death in 1917) from the Smithsonian Archives; a 1992 photo of an African girl with flowers in her hair from the American Art Museum; and an 1865 albumen print taken by Julia Margaret Cameron, among its 10 selections. [DS]

South African Voices [Real Player]

The digital collections at the University of Wisconsin continue to be intriguing for both scholars and the general public, and the South African Voices website is another small triumph that is worth of consideration. This particular collection brings together the three-volume collection titled South African Voices, which was researched and brought together by Professor Harold Scheub. Drawing on his fieldwork beginning in the late 1960s, this set of works explores the histories, oral storytelling traditions, and poems that were part of various peoples in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the former country of Swaziland. Visitors are welcome to search through the entire contents of all three volumes, and along the way they can also listen to various audio excerpts from the collection. [KMG]

Network Tools

Peer2Mail 1.61

As more and more people navigate through their email accounts, they may find themselves wondering: How can I send large files to all of these different accounts? This whole process is made much simpler with the Peer2Mail application, and users may find a variety of uses for it. The program automatically zips each email segment, and in doing so, users will save room within each of their accounts. Released last week, this particular version of Peer2Mail is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

Lucas_Dambergs 0.8.1

Aspiring filmmakers and auteurs will find that this program gives them the ability to add notes onto their Quick Time movies, and these notes can help with the editing process. Essentially, the application allows users to insert a text file at various time intervals, making it a handy reference tool in the filmmaking process. This version is compatible with all computers running Max OS X 10.3.9 and Quick Time. [KMG]

In The News

History, tradition, and innovation link MIT students to a long line of campus pranksters

MIT students place fire truck on dome to honor Sept. 11th

The Great 06 Cannon Hack

The MIT Hack Gallery

The Top Ten College Pranks of All Time

Student Pranks at Princeton

Bascom Hill Pink Flamingo

Stretching back through the annals of student life, there have been those in the leafy groves of higher education who have sought out shared solace in designing and executing various pranks. Pranks, by their very nature, are of course not meant to be malevolent or mean-spirited, but rather to bring a smile to the face of an elderly dean or an outright moment of laughter for a professor who has spent many an hour in the section of the library dedicated to viticulture in ancient Gaul. No doubt young students might have played a few tricks on Abelard, the noted professor of theology in medieval Paris, and the historical record gives ample information about the various jibs and jabs played on various administrators at the University of Wisconsin in the late 19th century. In recent years, an anonymous group of MIT students have become quite well known for their campus-based endeavors in this area, and also for a few that have been played on their friendly rival, CalTech. This week, a group of students placed a fire truck on the schools massive Great Dome, and placed the Latin phrase memininum (which means we remember in English), as a way of offering tribute to those who perished on September 11th, 2001. The schools administration refrained from commenting on the prank directly, but noted these objects are always installed and taken down safely. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece in the Boston Herald that proffers some brief details about the prank that took place on the MIT campus earlier this week. The second link contains a piece from the Technology Review that recounts the history of the famed cannon hack, that can only be described as truly bicoastal in scope and execution. The third link takes users to a very nice gallery that contains photos of such well known MIT hacks as the appearance of a replica of a 2006 Olympic gold medal on the Great Dome and the manifestation of a Waffle House banner strung along the exterior of a dorm on campus that bears some resemblance to the surface of a waffle. The fourth link leads visitors to a list of the top ten college pranks of all time, which recounts such endeavors as the theft of the sacred cod from the Massachusetts State House by a few members of the Harvard Lampoon in 1933. The fifth link recounts a number of like-minded events performed by a variety of Princeton students over the years. Finally, the last link leads to a photo (and explanation) of the 1,008 pink flamingos that greeted students as they made their way up Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin on the first day of classes in 1979. This tropical-themed prank was the brainchild of the Pail & Shovel Party, and the event is still fondly remembered to this day. [KMG]

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