The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 46

November 17, 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

Stanford Initiative on the Environment and Sustainability [pdf]

Sustainability is a phrase that is bandied about frequently and at times it is hard to determine if an adequate definition exits. Stanford University is intimately concerned with this subject, and they recently created the Initiative of the Environment and Sustainability to deal with questions raised by this phrase and other such thorny areas of inquiry. On their site, they pose this query which will give visitors to the site pause: Can we adequately meet current human needs while protecting and restoring planetary life support systems for the welfare of people today and generations to come? A good way to start browsing through the site is by clicking on one of their four primary areas, which are represented by small graphic symbols that read Energy & Climate, Fresh Water, Land Use & Conservation and Oceans & Estuaries. Perhaps one of the most intriguing sections of the site is Sustainability at Stanford area, where visitors can learn what initiatives they are working on at their own campus in Palo Alto. [KMG]

Ocean Flowers: Anna Atkinss Cyanotypes of British Algae

In the middle of the 19th century, Anna Atkins wondered how she might be able to create accurate impressions of algae specimens. She was an amateur botanist who was primarily interested in the art and science of taxonomy and scientific illustration. After a long period of experimentation, she came up with the idea of using an existing blueprinting process to create the multiple copies that would later back her Photographs of British Algae. This was also the first photographic work by a woman, and also the first book produced entirely by photographic means. Thanks to the fine work of the staff at the New York Public Librarys Digital Gallery, interested parties can browse through this monumental achievement at their leisure. Visitors can search the entire work, or just browse through the 285 images. As one might imagine, each image is accompanied with a complete bibliographic record. [KMG]

Office of Tribal Justice [pdf]

Interactions between the United States and various American Indian tribes have, at times, been quite contentious. For laypeople it can be difficult to understand some of the various nuances of the legal relationships between these different groups. Fortunately, the website of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Tribal Justice (OTJ) contains answers to some of these questions. It also provides information about different aspects of law enforcement on reservations. The site is divided into four primary sections, including Issues, Press Room, Resources, and About OTJ area. The Issues section is a good place to start, as it provides information on some of the OTJs primary interactions with various American Indian tribes, which include civil rights, gambling, and litigation. The Resources area is worth a look as well, and visitors can also find a helpful FAQ area here that provides brief answers to questions such as What is the relationship between the United States and the Tribes? [KMG]

Waters Journey Everglades Currents of Change [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

Understanding the ecological history and operation of the Everglades is complicated, and when one considers the role that humans play in its transformation, things get even more complex. This website, created by Karst Productions (with substantial support from the Florida Department of Agriculture and the South Florida Water Management District) does a nice job of bringing web users a wealth of information about the history and contemporary situation in and around this massive area. Clicking on the Begin Your Journey link brings up an interactive map of south Florida that contains conceptual animations of the Everglades water flow before human impact, the current water flow, and the planned flow after the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CREP) is completed. Visitors should then proceed to the Everglades Historical Timeline, which tracks the earliest human interventions into the area all the way up to the present day through photographs and other primary documents. Finally, a splendid section of educational resources offers lesson plans, teaching modules, and other such material. [KMG]

Convocation on Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing Regions, States, and Cities [QuickTime, Power Point, pdf]

How does one bring together university presidents, industry leaders, elected officials, and other such types? Well, it probably helps to have a worthy cause, and in the case of this recent convocation, this cause is certainly one that is of growing interest to many of the aforementioned groups. Convened by the National Academies in September 2006, this particular convocation was designed to address the topic of maintaining a competitive environment in the United States for innovation, research, higher education, and K-12 science and mathematics education. All of which are worthy topics, and on this site, visitors can view presentations from this gathering, along with video presentations and a summary of the days events. Some of the video presentations include remarks by Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, a forum on how to enhance innovation efforts in higher education, and a selection of remarks by officials that include Senator Pete Domenici from New Mexico. The site is rounded out by a link to the complete companion publication that served as the inspiration for the convocation. [KMG]

BioLEARN [pdf]

Started in 1999, the BioLEARN initiative was started as a project by the Center for Biology Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Drawing on the significant human capital of Wisconsins talented science educators, the BioLEARN program began developing and testing a collection of biology education materials to place into an online archive. Educators can browse around the materials, which are organized by disciplines such as botany, ecology, genetics, and molecular biology. Some of the activities include a module on familiarizing students with the uses of plants in biological research and on the process of writing up lab reports. As the site remains in development, visitors will want to return to the site in the coming months to see what new materials have been added. [KMG]

Against All Odds: Inside Statistics

Despite its rather daunting title, this series of instructional videos offers a way for teachers and students alike to enter the world of statistics with confidence. Originally produced by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications, this 26-part series is hosted by Teresa M. Amabile. Intended for a wide range of students, each episode lasts for approximately 30 minutes. Visitors to this site can view the episodes, and they may wish to move around from such topics as distributions, time series, and the ever-popular significance tests. Users will need to sign up to view each program, but this process is offered at no charge. [KMG]

MIT OpenCourseWare: Anthropology [pdf]

MIT has been receiving praise from around the world for their OpenCourseWare initiative, which they started several years ago. Interested self-learners and educators have appreciated the ability to look at lecture materials and syllabi from all over the world, and they have received testimonials from Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. One subject covered is anthropology, and visitors to this particular segment of the OpenCourseWare site will find a host of resources from different courses taught in this discipline at MIT. Currently, there are resources for about twenty undergraduate and graduate courses, including Anthropological Theory, Identity and Difference, and Ethnic and National Identity. Visitors can look over lecture notes, syllabi, and other items. Finally, they can also sign up for an RSS feed. [KMG]

General Interest

Keeping Score [Macromedia Flash Player]

Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas has embarked on a number of intriguing and worthy projects during his career, including a series of ambitious recordings with the San Francisco Symphony and a number of well-received concerts with the late Sarah Vaughan in the 1980s. Most recently, he has teamed up with PBS (and his colleagues in the San Francisco Symphony) to create the Keeping Score: Revolutions in Music television series. Visitors to this site can explore the very fine multimedia presentations that are meant to accompany and enhance the entire educational and aesthetic experience of the television programs. Currently, there are multimedia profiles of Stravinskys Rite of Spring, Beethovens Eroica Symphony and the development of Coplands approach to creating an American sound. Each site features a brief introduction by Thomas, and then visitors are invited into the score to follow along as the piece progresses. In the top left-hand corner of the score, visitors can watch Thomas as he conducts. Overall, the experience of this website is stimulating and edifying, without being visually (or aurally) overwhelming. [KMG]

Animated Periodic Table of the Elements [Macromedia Flash Player]

The odds are that most Scout Report readers have never seen such a highly animated version of the periodic table of the elements as this, well, rather highly animated table of the elements. Upon entering the site, visitors can browse through the alkali metals, the alkaline earth metals, and both the lanthanide and actinide series. As users move their mouse across the table they can learn each elements boiling point, its oxidation states, its atomic weight, and its density. One of the other nice features of the site is that visitors can also look at each elements bonding structure. Its a very well-designed site, but if visitors find themselves confused, they can also click on the question mark for help and general assistance. [KMG]

Equal Access Libraries [pdf]

The work of public librarians is tremendously important, and it also comes with a unique set of challenges. In order to address some of these challenges, Libraries for the Future launched the Equal Access professional development program in 2003. They also took the time to create this website, which brings together a wide set of resources designed to assist public librarians. Specifically, the program is interested in exploring new uses of technology and serving an aging population more effectively and efficiently. First-time visitors will want to jump right in and look over the Tools & Resources area. Here they will find information on such topics as outreach, public awareness, and effectively managing volunteers. The resources are drawn from the experiences of libraries across the country, and visitors will appreciate the breadth of materials. Additionally, there are a number of online forums that are worth viewing. [KMG]

George Plimpton: Man of Letters, Man of Action [Macromedia Flash Player]

George Plimpton passed away several years back, but visitors to this site might forget that he is no longer around when he almost jumps off the screen as this website opens up. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that a photograph of him dressed in admiral-type regalia pops up, but given his penchant for investigative and interactive journalism, this probably wont surprise Plimptonites. Designed as a tribute to the life, times, and spirit of the late founder of The Paris Review, this website contains an interactive timeline of Plimptons life (appropriately titled Chronicles of George), coupled with a photograph gallery. Beyond a doubt, the most delightful section of the site is the Arcana area which is an assemblage of different photos of Plimpton. As users move their pointer across each image of Plimpton, there are treated to a bit of his writing, which range from his (very brief) experience as a Detroit Lion to his travels with Muhammad Ali. [KMG]

Moving Images Pinewood Dialogues [iTunes]

For aspiring auteurs and other such types interested in film and television, it may be difficult to get an audience with Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, Mira Nair, or David Cronenberg. However, all of those persons are available here at the Moving Images Pinewood Dialogues online archive. Created by the Museum of the Moving Image, these fascinating conversations were originally recorded as part of a lectures series sponsored by the Museum. In total, there are 41 dialogues offered here, and they date back to March 1, 1989, when they sat down to talk with Sidney Poiter. Other guests who have dropped by include the late Chuck Jones, David Lynch, George A. Romero, and Atom Egoyan. Visitors can listen to each program, or download each conversation to take with them. Transcripts also accompany many of the programs. [KMG]

Transit of Mercury [Real Player, pdf]

It isnt every day that one gets to view a transit of Mercury. In fact, its an event that only occurs approximately twelve times a century. For those of you who missed this event on November 8th, the researchers and scientists at the Exploratorium in San Francisco have created this program that contains the complete event and offer it to visitors to this lovely website. The transit was recorded from Kitt Peak in Arizona, and visitors to the site can watch a brief introduction to the program, and then watch various images from the webcast, complete with audio commentary at the beginning of each hour of coverage. [KMG]

Manet and the Execution of Maximilian [Macromedia Flash Player]

This small web exhibition from MoMA shows how an artist responded to a political event in the 1860s. There was photography in the mid-19th century, but making a picture required a long exposure. Because of this process, events were not often photographed as they happened, and the images that were produced were not circulated instantaneously as they are today. Between 1867 and 1869, Edouard Manet produced three large paintings, an oil sketch, and a lithograph depicting the execution of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, who had been installed by Napoleon III of France, a ruler Manet opposed. He used written and graphic accounts from French journals and newspapers such as "L'Indpendance belge" and "Le Figaro" as the basis for his works. The best feature of the web exhibition is the Timeline, which is arranged with Manet's creative events on the left, historical events on the right, and many links to supporting information throughout. For example, as Maximilian was arriving in Mexico in the spring of 1865, Manet was completing his painting The Dead Christ and the Angels. By beginning with the Timeline visitors can see the convergence of these events, and then find links to more information as well as a larger view of the painting, currently owned by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. [DS]

Aviation Education Multimedia Library [Power Point, Quick Time]

Purdue University is well-known for their various engineering programs, and they have also distinguished themselves through their work in aeronautical engineering research and practice. This website is designed to provide instructional materials for aviation educators, and one can imagine that such materials might work well in classroom slide presentations as well as for students who might be seeking a visual aid. The materials are basically organized in one long continuous list, and visitors can just scroll through them at their leisure. Among these materials, visitors will find photographs of landing gear equipment, squat switches, crush plates, and the tell-tale corroded electrical terminal. Finally, in their General Materials area, visitors can look over a presentation on turbocharger systems and consider a presentation on engine theory. [KMG]

Network Tools

Earth Alerts 5.0.274

Tsunamis, volcanoes, and floods, oh my! No one enjoys extreme weather events, so it is reassuring to know that a group of program developers have created Earth Alerts 5.0 to keep interested parties in the know about such activities. With this handy application, users will be kept aware of various worldwide manifestations of such phenomena, along with special overviews on severe weather occurrences in the United States. Visitors can also elect to receive email notifications as well. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP, 2000, and Vista. [KMG]

Ebbinghaus 1.3

A number of programs have been released in recent months that are designed to help computer users learn a bit more in any number of subjects. One such program is Ebbinghaus 1.3, which gives visitors the opportunity to create flash cards and then review them at their leisure. Visitors can export these boxes of cards to devices such as an iPod and use them as they see fit. On the Ebbinghaus homepage, visitors can take a look at some screenshots from the program and also read a few testimonies from satisfied users. This particular version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Voters in Washington vote down subsidies for sports teams, and it appears the Sonics will leave the Emerald City

Why Seattle is losing the Sonics and Storm in 10 easy steps

As Sonics Pack to Leave Town, Seattle Shrugs

Seattle SuperSonics

Seattle Center at 40: 1962 Worlds Fair [pdf]

Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums

Citizens for More Important Things [pdf]

Save our Sonics and Storm

The Seattle Pilots Baseball Team

Back when a certain coffee shop still just had one location in Seattles vibrant Pike Place Market, the Seattle Supersonics won the NBA Championship in the early summer of 1979, which brought the city its first (and only) championship in a major sport. Now it appears that the Sonics will be moving away from the Northwest, as voters in that fair city voted yes on a proposition last week that effectively ended public subsidies for professional sports teams. The subject of public subsidies for sports teams has been a fractious one for many communities, as economists and public policy types have tended to disagree about the potential economic effects (both immediate and distant) that such massive outlays of capital have on their surrounding areas. Chris Van Dyk, one of the founders of a group that actively worked to pass the initiative remarked that he has little patience for team owners who demand such public subsidies, and noted Seattle doesnt have to lure anybody. A number of groups are still holding out hope that the Sonics will be able to relocate locally, and a few people have suggested that the Sonics make the trip across to Lake Washington to find a new home in the tiny suburb of Bellevue. Should this not happen, it is widely believed that the Sonics will move to Oklahoma City in 2010, per the wishes of the group that purchased the Sonics back in October. While the online message boards offered by a number of concerned citizens (on both sides of the issue) continue to hum along with activity, one post offered this simple statement: As long as they stay in our State it will be OK. [KMG]

The first link will take users to an insightful piece offered by Seattle Times staff reporters Bob Young and Jim Brunner that offers ten reasons why Seattle appears poised to lose both the Sonics and the Storm, the WNBA team that also plays their games in the Key Arena. Moving right along, the second link leads to coverage of these recent developments offered in this Mondays New York Times. The third link will take users to a well-written essay by Dan Johnson that traces the history of the Sonics from 1967 to 2001. The fourth link leads to a multimedia feature that looks back at the legacy of the Seattle Worlds Fair of 1962, complete with photographs of the grounds under construction, the Monorail, and the structure that would later become the Key Arena. The fifth link leads to a very useful and influential book written by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist that takes a critical look at the economic impact of sports teams and stadiums. Browsing along to the sixth link, users will find themselves at the homepage of the Citizens for More Important Things organization, which was intimately involved in lobbying to pass the initiative that would prohibit future public subsidies for sports teams. The seventh link leads to the homepage of the very dedicated Save our Sonics and Storm group, which is committed to keeping both the Sonics and the Storm in the Pacific Northwest. Finally, the eight link leads to a homepage that offers up informative and entertaining material on the Seattle Pilots, who came to town in 1969, and decamped the next year to become the Milwaukee Brewers. It would be eight long years before Major League Baseball returned to town, but never again would Seattle know a team that had what appeared to be scrambled eggs on the brim of their players hats. [KMG]

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