The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 39

September 29, 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

Employment Law

Ross Runkel is a retired professor of law, and given his long experience with employment and labor law, it seems quite natural that he would be the founder of the site, Employment Law. Along with a team of other equally qualified professionals, he has created this site to serve as a clearinghouse of material about the world of employment law and its many facets. First time visitors may wish to check out his employment law or arbitration blogs, then move on to one of the most popular features, a list of recent and pending cases in the field that have been heard before the US Supreme Court. Additionally, the Articles area contains pieces authored by Runkel and others, including a piece on how to find an employment lawyer and several timely pieces on the National Labor Relations Board. [KMG]

Earth Climate Course [pdf]

Through their interactive website and educational outreach efforts, NASAs Goddard Institute for Space Studies brings many of their research findings to the general public. In this particular learning module, educators and students will get the chance to learn about how a planets climate is determined. The primary aim of the module is for students to develop a scientific view that our environment is a system of human and natural processes that result in changes over various space and time scales. Educators are most welcome to download the entire set of teacher notes, student activities, and data sets for their use. Each section may also be downloaded individually as well, and visitors would do well to read the thorough introduction. [KMG]

Illuminations: Math Lessons

To some the word Illuminations may bring to mind Walter Benjamins classic work, and still others may imagine those manuscripts that were a product of the medieval intellect and imagination. In this case, the illuminations in question are a set of mathematical teaching and learning tools designed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Their website was redesigned in early 2006, and is now quite user friendly. From this page, visitors can search all 524 lesson plans at their leisure. They may wish to look through the materials by grade level, subtopic, or by specifying specific keywords. Along the way, visitors may also wish to send these resources to their colleagues via email or offer their own comments on each lesson plan. [KMG]

The National Centers for Career and Technical Education [pdf]

At various points in the history of the United States, career and technical education has assumed an enhanced sense of importance, and at the National Centers for Career and Technical Education (NCCTE), they have always been intimately concerned about such matters. Over the past six years, they have worked out of two primary offices in Columbus and St. Paul in order to improve the practice of career and technical education at local, state, and national levels. There is truly something for everyone on their site, as the material offered here includes webcasts, podcasts, scholarly reports, and a News & Announcements section that gives users up-to-date information on some of their work. Visitors should be sure to take a look at the Workforce Education webcasts, as they include explorations of such themes as how to improve community college achievement and how to enhance mathematics instruction. Of course, many additional webcasts are archived, and users should avail themselves of these materials as well. The Publications section is well-organized, and includes policy briefs, an electronic newsletter, and the latest reports on their ongoing projects. Overall, persons with a vested interest in the future of career and technical education will find this site useful and worth returning to multiple times. [KMG]

National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service [pdf]

With significant funding from the United States Department of Agricultures Rural Business-Cooperative Service, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) is committed to providing visitors to their site with the latest information on sustainable agriculture practices, innovation, alternative crop and livestock enterprises, and of course, organic certification. For a succinct introduction, first-time visitors will want to click on the What is Sustainable Agriculture? link, which leads to a number of pieces that address just that question, along with overviews of organic crop production, integrated pest management, and permaculture. After that, visitors can browse around in sections dedicated to field crops, horticultural crops, water management, livestock, and farm energy. Visitors can also sign up to receive the Weekly Harvest e-newsletter which is a web digest of sustainable agriculture news, resources, and funding opportunities that staff members at ATTRA have located on the internet. [KMG]

Field Trip Earth [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

Going around the world can be nigh impossible for many students and teachers, fortunately, Field Trip Earth offers a fine experience that will allow various groups of people access into the lives of different animal species around the world. With the participation of places like the North Carolina Zoological Park, visitors can learn about the lives of Eastern Box turtles, red wolves, and the elephants of Cameroon. With visuals that are both informative and appealing, each section offers materials such as field reports, essays from wildlife experts, and resources for educators seeking to enhance students experiences learning about conservation and population biology. Just clicking on Choose a Field Trip will bring up all of the currently available sites, served up on an interactive map. After considering some of these materials, visitors will probably feel up to contributing to one of their discussion groups, which take on such weighty questions as Should human beings take the lead in recovering endangered species? [KMG]

NOVA: Mystery of the Megavolcano [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

As if the possibility of a regular volcanic eruption wasnt disturbing enough to some readers, it turns out that there is another class of volcano whose destructive power is much more frightening. Known to scientists as a supervolcano, this type of volcano produces at least 240 cubic miles of magma in a single eruption. A recent documentary produced by NOVA looks into the possibility of a recrudescence of such an ancient supervolcano, and attempts to offer a balanced and introspective portrait of these phenomena. Visitors can learn about historic eruptions of this magnitude on the site, and also consider an interactive slide show that provides information about Toba, a supervolcano that flourished on the island of Sumatra 75,000 years ago. Additionally, the site includes a number of tools for educators and a question and answer session with Dr. Drew Shindell, a climatologist at NASAs Goddard Institute for Space Studies. [KMG]

The Global Technology Revolution 2020 [pdf]

The RAND Organization never shies away from complex or difficult questions, and in one of their most recent publications, they have taken on a weighty topic indeed. Released earlier this year, this report authored by a team of experts addresses the ongoing technology revolution in a variety of sectors, including biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technology. In this 316-page work, the authors assess a sample of 29 countries across the spectrum of scientific advancement with respect to their ability to implement a number of key technology applications, including cheap solar energy and wireless communications. Along with the works four primary chapters, visitors can also make use of the eleven appendices, which include explorations of related themes, such as technology and terrorism and leading trends in information technology. [KMG]

General Interest

An Agenda for Harnessing Globalization [pdf]

Getting a handle on what the phrase globalization means can be a bit like trying to lasso a fast-moving cloud. Does globalization mean the cross-pollination of different musical styles? Is it the vast geographical expansion of major multinational corporations into remote locales? Well, of course, its both of these things and quite a bit more. In a paper that appeared in the Autumn 2006 edition of The Washington Quarterly, two Brookings Institution colleagues articulated an agenda for harnessing the power of globalization. In their 14-page work, Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart offer their own appraisal of globalizations appeal (and potential shortcomings) in terms of creating opportunity for many of the worlds people. The paper will be of great interest to persons concerned with or interested in substantial policy issues, political economy, and economic development. [KMG]

Museums and the Web

Museums have been gravitating to the web for over a decade in order to educate the public about their collections, and in recent years, they have also used the web to form online communities for themselves. Museums and the Web is one of the ways that museum specialists can gather together to learn more about each others work, and also to engage in online discussion and research activities. First-time visitors to the site should take a look through some of these ongoing discussions, which include discussions about educational practices and in-house evaluation practices. The site includes an impressive search engine which allows users to look for previously submitted papers and comments. Visitors can access most of the material here without officially registering, but should they wish to do so, they will also be able to use the site to network with colleagues at different institutions. [KMG]

Physician Assistant History Center

Like so many others, perhaps some of our Scout Report readers have wondered: Where can I find out more about the history of physician assistants? Those persons need wonder no longer, as this very thorough website provides a cornucopia of material that addresses all aspects of that very query. The site was created by a group of responsible organizations, including Duke University Medical Center and the American Academy of Physicians Assistants. The sites Timeline section is a good place to start as it offers a chronology of the different phases of the history of this profession, which dates back to 1650 when German military medical assistants were introduced into Russian armies by no less a personage than Peter the Great. Other sections include biographical essays of pioneering physician assistants such as Richard Smith and Marvin L. Gliedman. The site is rounded out by a collection of photographs of important artifacts (such as a stethoscope used by Dr. Eugene Stead, Jr., who founded the profession) and a bibliography. [KMG]

USGA: Course Construction and Renovation [pdf]

The United States Golf Association is considered one of the premiere organizations that has a truly vested interest in the world of golf course management, construction, renovation, and in some rare instances, rejuvenation. In order to maintain their exacting standards, they have created their own construction education program. They have also seen fit to place some of their information about the aforementioned topics online at this site. For those working in this field, starting their career in the field, or those just interested in creating a backyard putting green, the "Case Studies" section should be considered first. Here they will find timely primers on building short courses for young players, tee leveling, and bunker renovation. Moving right along, the "Course Construction" section contains a variety of articles, thematically arranged into such areas as "Greens", "Tees", and once again, "Bunkers". A few of the highlights among their number include "Avoiding the Hazards of Golf Course Renovation" and "Tee Construction With Laser Technology". [KMG] [Windows Media Player]

On January 16, 1928, seven passengers riding aboard a Fokker-7 inaugurated Pan American World Airlines passenger services as they flew from Key West to Havana. Over the next six decades, PanAm would grow and prosper, as it created an extensive system of routes that took early jet-setters all around the world. While the airline did experience a rebirth in the mid-1990s, its demise was hastened after the tragedy onboard Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.Created by Beth Cozzi-Stewart, this site provides interested parties with access to a great deal of colorful material on the history of the company. Some of the offerings include a detailed history spanning PanAms years, a chronology of the aircraft they utilized, and information about the various accidents that befell the company. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the site is the Multimedia section, which includes the PanAm jingles Just Say Hello to PanAm and We Fly the Way the World Wants to Fly. [KMG]

Private Sector Development

The World Bank is perhaps one of the worlds premier organizations regarding development opportunities, and they are widely recognized for their work in the developing world. With this latest outing, they have created the Private Sector Development (PSD) Blog, which is designed to be both quirky and opinionated, qualities which are never in short supply as one wanders around the web. Having said that, the site is rather erudite, as it provides intelligent comments on topics that include disaster recovery, foreign direct investment, and corporate governance. New users will want to browse through some of the recent posts, and then perhaps look at the Categories section on the left-hand side of the page for future explorations. As might be expected, each post also contains links to external readings from a diverse set of publications, such as the Financial Times and like-minded ventures. [KMG]

The Endeavour Botanical Illustrations

Upon entering this Web exhibition from the UK Natural History Museum, you can follow along on the first Pacific voyage of the Endeavour, commanded by Captain James Cook. The Endeavour's scientific expedition, lasting from August 1768 until July 1771, had several aims; one of these was to collect plant and animal specimens, organized by Canadian naturalist Joseph Banks (1743 - 1820). Several artists were on the ship, including Sydney Parkinson (1745 - 1771; Parkinson died from a fever aboard the ship in January 1771) who made the first drawings of the plant specimens encountered and collected. In the Web exhibition, the Endeavour's route is plotted on a map, and clicking on any of its collecting stops - Australia, Brazil, Java, Madeira, New Zealand, the Society Islands, and Tierra del Fuego - will retrieve images of plants found in each place. Size is not indicator of quantity, at least in the Web exhibit - clicking the large country of Brazil only reveals 10 specimens, while the almost-invisible-on-the-map Society Islands have 30 specimens to view. [DS]

Museum of Nebraska Art [Macromedia Flash Player]

Looking for works by John James Audubon, Karl Bodmer, Thomas Hart Benton, or Douglas Martin on the web? Pieces of art from all of these artists can be found at the Museum of Nebraska Art, located in Kearney. Fortunately, the museum also has this nice website, which provides those curious web-browsing individuals with access to parts of their collection, along with information about their various outreach programs designed for educators. From the homepage, visitors can look over their in-house newsletter, find out about the museums shop, and also learn about membership opportunities. In terms of content, the Artists area is quite nice, as it contains thematic lists of artists represented in the museums collection. Clicking on each name will also bring up samples of their work, along with a brief biographical sketch. [KMG]

Network Tools

Avvenu 2.2.1

If you find yourself away from your computer and you need a file, or perhaps an image, what might you do? You could rush home, or perchance, you might have already installed Avvenu. Avvenu allows users to access their home or office computers remotely, and as a result, might very well save them cab fare or perhaps a lengthy trip back home via subway, bike, or ferry. This version also gives users the option of allowing other trusted persons access to their files. Interested parties will be heartened to find out that this application may be operated on all computers running Windows XP. [KMG]

OpenPlanning 2.1.11

There is nothing wrong with bringing together complex (or not-so-complex) projects together over the internet, and OpenPlanning can help users make it happen seamlessly. With this latest version, users can use their community project planning environment to bring together other professionals who may work from great distances. Additionally, there is a repository of previously created projects that may provide new users with some ideas about what has been done with the application so far. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Experts continue to explore the nature and origins of hysteria

Is Hysteria Real? Brain Images Say Yes [Free registration required]

Sigmund Freud: Conflict & Culture

Emotions and Disease: Psychosomatic Medicine

Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive

Hysteria by T.S. Eliot

Nerves and Narratives: A Cultural History of Hysteria in 19th-Century British Prose

The history of the condition formerly known as hysteria (now formally known as conversion disorder) dates back several millennia. Hippocrates once suggested that the most appropriate treatment for the condition was marriage, and for hundreds of years, the condition was erroneously considered to primarily affect women. While interest in this relatively unexamined condition waned in recent decades, a number of researchers and scientists have once again begun to embark on more complex projects to search for the origins of this condition. Despite the fact that functional neuroimaging devices such as PET scans can record changes in brain activity, there remains dissent within the scientific community about how the condition should be classified, and what criteria should be used to evaluate various aspects of the condition. For many, one of the most important discoveries about the nature of hysteria was posited by Sigmund Freud, who in working with that very famous patient, Anna O., was able to observe that the body might be acting out the internal dramas of the mind. While work continues in the field, many scientists remain optimistic about the search for greater understanding about the condition, and many would agree with Dr. Peter Halligan, a professor of neuropsychology, who recently commented, Were only at the beginning. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a fine article from this Tuesdays New York Times that provides both some background about the nature of hysteria, and the current research that is being done on the condition. Moving along, the second link will take visitors to an insightful online exhibit about Freuds work with Anna O. that includes both selections from his journals and images of historical documents, such as his classic, Studies in Hysteria from 1895. The third link leads to an online exhibit created by staff members at the National Library of Medicine that explores the early attempts by the French clinician Jean-Martin Charcot to learn more about the origins of hysteria through observation and research with patients. The forth link will whisk users away to a fantastic site that provides visitors with dozens of primary documents (including maps, first-hand accounts and monographs) that tell the story of the Salem Witch Trials, which at the time, were supposed to have been partially caused by hysteria. The fifth link leads interested literary types to the full text of T.S. Eliots poem, Hysteria. Finally, the last link will take users to the complete text of a recent monograph that explores the representation of hysteria in 19th century British prose. Authored by P. Melville Logan, the work contains chapters titled Narrative and Self-Violence and The Body in Need of Nerves. [KMG]

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