The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 43

October 27, 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

Listen: Making Sense of Sound [Macromedia Flash Player]

This very detailed and well-thought out set of online activities gives users the opportunity to listen closely to the particular sounds of the natural world. Based at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, this site was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The site is divided into three sections: At the Museum, Listening Guides, and Online Activities. While the first section is intended for those who will make a trip to the Exploratorium, far-distant (and not-so-distant) users will find the other two sections the most helpful. Listening Guides includes testimonies and suggestions about listening to wildlife, urban environments, and even to build new experimental musical instruments. Users can learn about Bart Hopkin, who makes such instruments, and also play a number of online games. Finally, the Online Activities area lets users watch and listen to a number of fun and interactive features, such as a listening memory game. [KMG]

Finding Exurbia: Americas Fast-Growing Communities at the Metropolitan Fringe [pdf]

In the early 1990s the journalist and social commentator Joel Garreau coined the term edge cities to refer to the growing quasi-urban places that were centered around major suburban freeway interchanges. Some fifteen years later, more and more scholars are interested in the movement towards exurban areas, which in many cases, are further distant than many edge cities. Recently, a team of scholars at The Brookings Institution decided to write a rather compelling report on these fast-growing communities, and this work represents their current thoughts and observations. In this 48-page paper published in October 2006, they present a number of interesting findings based on demographic and economic data from 1990 to 2005. Their findings include a number of geographically informed analyses, such as the fact that the South and Midwest are more exurbanized than the West and Northeast and the residents of the average exurb are disproportionately white, middle-income commuters. [KMG]

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930

While it never really left us, immigration has once again emerged as a central issue for many Americans. For a first-hand look at the history of immigration in the United States from the years 1789 to 1930, this website is quite a pip. Created as part of the Open Collections Program at Harvard University, this online archive includes approximately 1,800 books, 6,000 photographs, and 200 maps. Just to give visitors some sense of what is included here, they will be able to browse through the records of the Immigration Restriction League and take a gander at images Harvards Social Museum, which was established in 1903 to illustrate problems of the social order. Of course, given this bounty of primary documents, visitors will also want to make use of the keyword search feature and a rather nice timeline. [KMG]

Digital UMass Archive [pdf]

Founded in 1863, the University of Massachusetts combines both the applied sciences and disciplines with such traditional liberal arts standards as philosophy, history, and rhetoric. Over the past few years, in keeping with their mission to provide the public with access to their holdings, their librarys Department of Special Collections and University Archives has created some fine digital collections. One such collection is the Digital UMass Archive, which brings together a number of primary materials that relate to the history of the institution. Visitors to the site can look through the annual reports from 1864 to 1932, browse through issues of an early student newspaper, and also peruse a few student handbooks from the early 20th century. For anyone interested in the history of higher education in the United States, this website is quite a find. [KMG]

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin

Dr. John van Wyhe certainly has his hands full with this tremendously helpful and compelling website. As a professor at Cambridge University, he has been behind the scenes here for a number of years, and even persons with only a cursory interest in the work of Charles Darwin will find that this site warrants several visits. As noted by the sites introduction, visitors can find all of Darwins publications here in their entirety, for a current total of over 50,000 searchable text pages and 40,000 images. Casual visitors can look over a complete list of the materials by clicking on the Contents section, and scholars may want to leap on over to the very thorough bibliography, which is based on R.B. Freemans 1977 work, The Works of Charles Darwin: An Annotated Bibliographical Handlist. The site is rounded out by a biographical sketch of the prolific scientist and historian, also included are a number of obituaries of this most unique individual. [KMG]

Virtual Pig Dissection [Shockwave]

Dissection can be an aspect of scientific education that can make some parties queasy, but it is a fascinating way to learn more about the different body systems, their operations, and basic animal anatomy. Entering the world of pig dissection can make budding scientists even more squeamish, but they need never fear, as this site allows these individuals the opportunity to engage in a bit of virtual pig dissection. Originally created by Professor Earl W. Fleck of Whitman Colleges biology department, the site lets users go inside the pig to learn about its various systems, via a set of high-quality color photographs, which can be viewed at different angles and perspectives. Of course, what would a lab be without a quiz? Rounding out the site, visitors can take short quizzes on the pigs anatomy and such. [KMG]

Analyze Math

Developed by Dr. Abdelkader Dendane, a lecturer at the United Arab Emirates University, the Analyze Math website is designed to provide curious minds with access to in-depth tutorials on such topics as logarithmic functions, systems of linear equations, and calculus. The site also covers materials from the fields of trigonometry and the sometimes vexing field of statistics. Utilizing Java applets, the different sections allow for interactive explorations of these areas of interest, and visitors just need to scroll down through the homepage to find the subject they are having difficulty understanding. The sites layout is fairly self-explanatory, and with the use of a projection device, materials from this site could be put to good use in the classroom. [KMG]

Learn Spanish [Macromedia Flash Player]

Spanish language instruction has been a staple of instruction in high schools and colleges for years, and there are a number of high-quality online resources for those who would like to learn the language, or just refresh their vocabulary. At this site, visitors can go through a number of tutorials that deal with basic pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. Each tutorial contains an audio section that repeats phrases clearly so that users can learn at their leisure. One fun feature is the Random Spanish Idiom Generator, which at the mere click of a mouse will bring up phrases such as En el momento preciso, which means In the nick of time. The site also contains a list of ten phrases that dont translate well into Spanish (such as Look before you leap) and a list of schools that offer personal Spanish-language instruction. [KMG]

General Interest

Color Theory Tutorial

Color theory has been worked on by a number of individuals over the years, and those with an interest in the field include artists, scientists, and of course, interior designers. Janet Ford, a web designer in Minneapolis, has been interested in this field for over a decade, and her website explores some of the issues surrounding color theory in a way that is both accessible and interesting. On the site, visitors can learn about the basics of color, complementary colors, and concepts such as contrast, dominance, proportion, and intensity. The site is rounded out by a very good Resources area, which contains a bibliography of recommended works drawn from the past several decades. [KMG]

Online Conservatory [Macromedia Flash Player]

Since its earliest days, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has done a splendid job of reaching out to the public beyond its august surroundings along Massachusetts Avenue inside of the lovely Symphony Hall. Several years ago, they teamed up with Northeastern University to create the Online Conservatory. Each interactive feature is based on a series of concerts given by the Orchestra, and for each one, visitors can hear excerpts from the score, and learn about the musical structure and compositional style of each work. There are a number of interesting pairings here, including one concert that brought together performances of John Cages The Seasons and Benjamin Brittens masterful Four Sea Interludes from his opera, Peter Grimes. After a few visits to this site, visitors may find that they are comfortable discussing the differences between Stravinsky and Shostakovich. [KMG]

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary [pdf]

If youve ever been to the central coast region of California, its hard not be impressed with the natural beauty of the various landforms, vegetation, and animal life around the area, and we havent even started talking about whats in the ocean. Created in order to preserve and protect this unique habitat in 1992, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is larger than either Yosemite or Yellowstone National Parks as it extends 30 miles from shore. Some of the other resources within its borders include the nations largest kelp forest and one of North Americas largest underwater canyons. On the Sanctuarys site, visitors can learn about the resource management plan for this area, and of course, learn about visiting the Sanctuary. One helpful resource in this area is their online field guide to the Sanctuary, which can be downloaded and printed out for handy reference. The site is rounded out by a selection of publications, including their newsletters and annual reports. [KMG]

Blueeyes Magazine [Macromedia Flash Player]

The web has opened up a wide world of opportunity for emerging photojournalists, and Blueeyes Magazine is one such unique online venture. Started in 2003 in response to declining editorial space for documentary images, the magazine was the creation of a group of close friends who studied together at the Missouri School of Journalism. As their mission statement notes, the magazine strives to publish longer, more personal, and more intricate bodies of work. Here, visitors can browse through previously published photo essays, including one by Travis Hartman that documents places of importance to the hey-day of jazz in Kansas City and the Lubavitch community in Brooklyn, as photographed by Carolyn Drake. Finally, visitors can also sign up here to be notified when a new issue of Blueeyes is released. [KMG]

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter [Quick Time]

Humans have been to the moon numerous times, but the United States is gearing up to do so again with the creation of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. With a launch date of October 31, 2008, the goal of the LRO is to obtain data that will facilitate returning humans safely to the Moon and enable extended stays. On this site, visitors can learn all of the excellent details about the mission. The site includes a timeline of scheduled events, the particulars about the spacecraft and its instruments, and a wide range of multimedia files and images. In keeping with NASAs high video standards, there are a number of rather remarkable short films here, including one that shows the LRO orbiting the moon. [KMG]

Social Explorer

While the name Social Explorer may conjure up images for some of a new and powerful social networking site, this site is actually a splendid way to learn more about your friends and neighbors. Created by a team of demographers and GIS experts at Queens College in New York, the Social Explorer website offers access to dozens of different interactive data maps including time series maps that chart the ethnic transitions that have occurred throughout New York and Los Angeles over the past decades. Before delving into the maps any further, first-time visitors may want to go to the Getting Started section, where they can read a brief introductory essay about these data maps and their basic objectives. Finally, visitors can also use the site to generate their own specialized maps and reports. [KMG]

Mexico as Muse [Adobe Flash]

Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, photographers active in the first half of the 20th century, lived and worked together in Mexico for several years, and both believed that the country - and each other - provided an important source of inspiration for their art. This exhibition explores the intersections of Modotti and Weston's personal and artistic lives. Modotti learned photography from Weston, and her pictures, depicting workers on construction sites, loading bananas for shipment, or reading a Communist newspaper, are more politically motivated than Weston's. Modotti, however, was the first of the two to photograph still life up close, creating images of flowers. Weston took up still life as well, creating some of his most famous pictures of vegetables and shells. The online exhibition includes film of Modotti and Weston, an interview with art historian Patricia Albers, photographs by and of both artists, as well as digital versions of letters, albums and scrapbooks. [DS]

In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000 [Macromedia Flash Player]

If the average reader thinks that understanding Joyces Ulysses is difficult (and at times, downright impossible), the stories behind the creation and history of the book we call the Bible is as complex, if not more so. This delightful interactive online exhibit was created by staff members at the Freer & Sackler Galleries Smithsonian Institution, and was created by guest curator, Michelle P. Brown. The exhibit brings together (with some nice audio commentary) a number of important early Hebrew and Christian bibles. The sections of the site tell the stories of the earliest printed Bibles and also how readings from early Bibles brought the Old and New Testaments to life in a very vivid fashion. The exhibit site is rounded out by some very fine extras, such as a bibliography, a chronology, and for those who find themselves a bit confused by all the names that are bandied about, a Whos Who. [KMG]

Network Tools

WatchMouse Site Monitor 2.0.4

Widgets are becoming ubiquitous, and they can perform a variety of important functions. This particular widget gives users the ability to check their website from their Mac at different intervals, and in doing so, they can stay alert to any errors or operating problems. This particular version is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X. [KMG]


For those wondering, How are things in Glocca Morra? this little extension program may be just the thing. Of course, Glocca Morra is just a fictional locale featured in the musical Finians Rainbow, but visitors can use this program to look up current weather locations in several thousand real places. Visitors can customize the small toolbar as they see fit, and the program is available in a number of languages, including Bulgarian and Turkish. This particular version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98, Me, 2000, and XP. [KMG]

In The News

30,000 pumpkins appear in the middle of Boston and a world record is broken

Boston breaks out pumpkins to break record

A love in Common for pumpkins

Morton, Illinois: The Pumpkin Capital of the World


Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Carving 101

Its scientific name is cucurbita maxima, and it provides sustenance and nutrition to millions of people around the world. The pumpkin is a New World crop that has gone global over the centuries, and no one really knows exactly when someone first decided to cut designs on the outside of this humble, yet important, variety of winter squash. Many thousands of designs, both simple and elaborate, were on display this past weekend in Boston Common, which is one of Americas oldest parks. The aim of this event was simple: to assemble the most jack olanterns in one single location, thereby creating a new world record. The existing record was held by the town of Keane, New Hampshire which in 2003 brought together an astounding 28,952 carved and lit pumpkins at their annual Pumpkin Festival. However, that record was eclipsed with the help of many energetic Bostonians who helped bring in over 30,000 pumpkins to the heart of that fair city. The residents of Keene have not offered any formal response, but a few people in the know have already remarked that this town of 22,000 in New Hampshire was able to muster up a total number of pumpkins that far exceeded the number of local residents. [KMG]

The first link leads to a piece from this Mondays online edition of USA Today that offers some nice coverage of the recent pumpkin-centered festivities in Boston. Moving along, the second link will take users to an article from the Boston Globe that reports on the successful effort made to break this world record, and how it all unfolded. The third link leads to the homepage of the Morton Pumpkin Festival. Morton, Illinois is the self-professed Pumpkin Capital of the World, and visitors to this site can learn about their festival and view photographs of the punkin chuckin contests, which involve heaving pumpkins to their certain destruction with the aid of mechanized catapults and air cannons. The fourth link is fairly self-explanatory, as it contains information about growing very large pumpkins. The site contains some rather fun pumpkin-themed cartoons and a thorough listing of existing world records from the annals of pumpkin propagation. The fifth link leads to 224 recipes that utilize the pumpkin in some fashion, offered up by the good people at The last link leads to a site where both novice and more experienced pumpkin carvers can learn about improved pumpkin carving technique, tools, and of course innovations in pumpkin lighting. [KMG]

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