The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 47

November 24, 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

Water on the Web: Curricula [pdf]

Water is the essential element of life, and efforts to understand it and its use (and abuse) can form part of an essential learning experience in the natural sciences classroom. Created by the University of Minnesota (in tandem with a wide range of other organizations), the Water on the Web curricula website offers instructional materials in two areas: basic science and water science. In the basic science area, visitors will learn through study lessons that detail such important topics as solubility, conductivity, and the basic properties of water. The water science section of the site contains materials that could be used by instructors who are teaching students about data collection and management in a water resource management course. [KMG]


Wikis are increasing in popularity, and recently the well-established Chance mathematical site went just plain wiki. The original Chance newsletter was started in 1992, and was intended to review current issues in the news that use probability or statistical concepts. As one might surmise, the newsletter was geared primarily towards educators, but since then it has gained a broad following. Visitors to the site will enjoy reading the newsletter, as it contains articles that take a critical look at statistics in the popular media, and also provides a number of helpful learning exercises and graphics to utilize with students in the classroom. Since the site is set up as a wiki, visitors can also register to modify various pages and add to the discussion as they see fit. [KMG]

Capital Eye

Some cynics (and those who are not so cynical) might say that money is the sine qua non which politics in the United States cannot do without. It is certainly important to know where funds are coming from in political campaigns and other such activities in and around the Beltway, so it is quite nice to have the Capital Eye newsletter available on this website. Published by the Center for Responsive Politics, the electronic publication details the money-in-politics situation in a detailed fashion, and much like the oft-repeated catchphrase from a popular movie of the 1990s, it will show users the money. Visitors can browse the online archive which dates back to May 2002 if they so desire, or they can just read more recent features on the campaign finances during the 2006 election cycle or learn about the role of lobbyists in the Capitol. [KMG]

Voices on Genocide Prevention [iTunes]

Genocide is a difficult topic, and one that is most deserving of attention and time from both the media and the general public. Presented by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this series of podcasts is offered under the able direction of Jerry Fowler, who is the staff director of the Committee on Conscience at the Museum. The program was started in 2006, and since then Fowler has interviewed researchers from the Human Rights Watch program about violence in Darfur, scholars investigating the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other such individuals. Visitors to the site will enjoy listening to these shows as well as taking a look at the sites blog entries. Finally, visitors also have the option of subscribing to the podcast and contacting the staff members at the Committee on Conscience. [KMG] [Last reviewed in the Scout Report on August 8, 1997]

As might be expected, the Wall Street Journal is fairly well-versed in helping upwardly mobile individuals learn about new jobs and how to obtain such positions. Over the past few years, their CareerJournal website has expanded significantly, and they are dispensing some of their sage advice right here. Starting with the Whats New section on the top of their homepage, visitors can learn about job-counseling resources, the challenges of dealing with disabilities in the workplace, and how new employees can learn the unwritten rules that dominate many a workplace. In the How Can We Help You? area, visitors can maneuver through a number of drop-down menus to get hints on preparing for an interview, writing a resume, and even learning how to prepare for business school. One of the finishing touches on the site is a section dedicated to podcasts which deal with topics such as dealing with a recruiter and the importance of self-confidence. [KMG]

Can I Have A Word? [Macromedia Flash Player]

Just a single word can make all the difference in a poem, an essay, or an entire novel. Educating students of all ages about the importance of words, particularly in creative writing, can be a difficult task. Fortunately, this visually refreshing and well-laid out site created by the Barbican Education group is quite inspiring. The site is divided into four projects including the elements, the human body, the Odyssey, and changing voices. In the elements area, visitors will learn how to create descriptive writing through watching visual presentations and listening to new poems by a variety of authors, including Margot Henderson, Jackie Kay, and Michael Rosen. Also, this section (as with all the other sections) includes classroom activities for teachers. Overall, the site is easy to use and will hopefully serve to inspire a new generation of creative writers. [KMG]

CBC Archives [Real Player]

Throughout its long history, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has documented, through both radio and television, the many facets of life in the country of Canada and around the world. Recently, they created the CBC Archives website which brings together hundreds of clips that deal with everything from the fabled Grey Cup to Brian Mulroney. Given the vast amount of material here, visitors would do well to start by exploring the Archives Timeline, where they can browse through such thematic areas as Politics & Economy, Disasters & Tragedies, and Conflict & War. Visitors can also browse through the materials by topic, or just by an alphabetical listing of all the available clips. The staff members have also created an index of Great Interviews, which range from short talks with Errol Flynn about his time in Cuba during the 1959 revolution to an intriguing interview with Malcolm X from February 1965. [KMG]

Learning Center: Tutorials

One hundred years ago, telephony was a bit simpler. A variety of short courses, and one could be connecting Doctor Brown to a specialist in a far away city, such as New York, Boston, or even Green Bay, if the situation demanded it. In contemporary society, those interested in a viable and productive career in telephony must stay on top of the emerging technologies on a regular basis. This website from the Performance Technologies corporation can help them do just that. The site offers a number of tutorials on a number of networking and related telecommunications technologies and programs, including the global system for mobile communication (GSM), the common channel signaling system (or SS7), and the voice traffic over Internet Protocol (VOIP). [KMG]

General Interest

Video Nation [Real Player]

The British have long been interested in studying and documenting various forms of social organization and human interaction, and their much-revered BBC has also been involved in letting residents have their say on a number of programs, including the notable Video Nation. The program started in the early 1990s, and with the rise of the Internet many of these short vignettes have been folded into this very informative and engaging website. With eighteen regional centers, visitors can view videos from such locations as Kent, Birmingham, and Manchester. Visitors looking for videos on certain topics can delve into the Archive section and look through headings such as Africa, football, lomography, and summer. Other sections of the site allow users to learn more about making a short film and the history of the Video Nation program. [KMG]

Advancing Women in Leadership Journal

More and more women are now located amongst the upper echelons of leadership in a number of professions, including higher education, business, and the entertainment business. As a result, there has been an increased interest in scholarly publications and journals on the subject of women in leadership. In 1997, a group of scholars convened to electronically publish the first issue of the Advancing Women in Leadership Journal, and since then they have worked diligently to maintain the high standards of this online journal. Published several times a year, the journal has featured articles on Hispanic female school superintendents, the experiences of black women in historically black institutions, and gender politics. Visitors should feel most welcome to peruse the back issues of the journal offered here, or they may also consult the most recent issue at their leisure. [KMG]

Celebrating Wildflowers

While it may be a bit obvious to some, this website offered by the USDAs Forest Service starts off with a list of seven reasons why visitors should be intrigued by the world of wildflowers. They include aesthetic, biological, and economic reasons, and after taking a look at the list, members of the general webbrowsing public will most likely find themselves considering the entire site for their own purposes. First-time visitors should start by consulting the regional map of the United States that will let them move around through the different wildflower recreation areas that are under the stewardship of the Forest Service. After learning about the different areas, visitors may want to return to the sites homepage and look over the wildflower news updates and learn about the various creatures that help in the pollinating process. Additionally, the Special Features section includes information on the Plant of the Week and it also contains a number of images that visitors can download to use on their computer as backgrounds. [KMG]

One Laptop Per Child

Several years ago, noted researcher and computer-aided design pioneer Nicholas Negroponte embarked on a program to develop a laptop computer that would be sold for use in the developing world. The catch was that the computer needed to be very affordable, and in fact it needed to cost around $100. Now it looks as is if that project has come to fruition, as the laptop will be shipped shortly to a number of countries in the coming months. Visitors who are interested in this type of development strategy will appreciate learning about this site, which contains information on the actual laptop, along with some material about the overall goals of this project. The FAQ section is quite a pip in itself, and visitors will also not want to miss their in-house wiki, which contains a good deal of additional material about the project, complete with frequent updates. The site is rounded out by a Downloads section, which contains some nice renderings of this very compact and sturdy $100 laptop. [KMG]

Holy Image, Hallowed Ground (Getty Center Exhibitions)

This Web exhibition created by the Getty allows visitors to view Byzantine icons from the remote Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai, the world's oldest continuously operating Christian monastery, and also the largest repository of Byzantine icons. Tools provided on the Web site allow you to zoom in on the icons, and see their details from a much closer vantage point than viewing in the museum would allow. The section entitled "Holy Space" provides a virtual tour of the church, going both forward and backward in time - showing how the Monastery of Saint Catherine looks today, as well as where the icons were probably placed in the 11th and 12th centuries. Many audio clips are provided, including curators' commentary, a pilgrim's account of seeing Saint Catherine's relics, and Father Justin of the Monastery telling the story of John Climacus, an abbot at Sinai in the early 7th century, illustrated by a 12th century icon, The Heavenly Ladder of Saint John Climacus. There is also a video tour that runs a little over 9 minutes, that begins with chanting monks celebrating Christ's resurrection. [DS]

Off The Map [Macromedia Flash Player]

Defining what constitutes outsider art has been the subject of significant debate for years. What if the artist in question took a two-week painting class are they still an outsider? The debate will no doubt continue into the future, but this lovely and thoughtful website from PBSs own Independent Lens series offers some insights into the world of ten artists who might well be considered outsider artists. These individuals were asked to create a vision of their own paradise of earth, and they proved to be up to the challenge. Using an interactive map of the United States, India, South Africa, and France, visitors can make their way to Nek Chands rock garden in Chandigarh or Dr. Evermors Forevertron outside of Baraboo, Wisconsin. Within each of these ten visions, visitors can learn more about their respective creators and take an in-depth look at different elements of each creation. Finally, those who are so moved can also elect to create their own backyard paradise on the site. [KMG]

Listen to Your Buds! [Macromedia Flash Player]

Hearing loss is possible at any time, and prolonged exposure to certain loud activities (such as a functional jackhammer or the roar of lions) can create serious hearing problems. Of course, there is the more common danger of creating a hearing loss problem through the unsafe usage of personal audio devices. The site was created by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and is directed both towards educators and young people. The sites visual and audio features are quite catchy, and the various interactive activities offered here include a game that informs listeners about the various decibel levels that they may encounter during the average day. The site is rounded out by a short section of videos that demonstrate both how the ear works and how loud noises can cause hearing loss. [KMG]

CDL Online Practice Questions

Aspiring truck drivers and those who seek a commercial driving license will appreciate this website a great deal, as it features a number of practice questions that may be found on the test that is required for such certifications. The site features over a dozen self-assessment modules that cover such topics as air brakes, hazardous materials, and of course, transporting passengers. Within each section, visitors will find both true-false-style questions and their equally well-known counterpart, the multiple choice query. Also, for those getting acquainted with teaching others how to prepare for this exam, this site may be most handy. Whether one is on their way to Bangor, Maine, or just in need of this certification to meet up with a midnight train, this site will get them on their way. [KMG]

Network Tools

eNewsletter Manager Free Edition 2.3.17

Electronic newsletters have been a regular feature of the Internet for over a decade, and perhaps some of our users have their own newsletters they would like to distribute to a ready and willing audience. With this application, that process is made quite easy. The features of this program include the ability to send personalized HTML messages and send welcome and goodbye confirmation emails to subscribers. This edition is available in a number of languages, including Spanish, Italian, and French. This edition is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, 2000, and XP. [KMG]

FastStone Capture 4.8

Faster than a moving pop-up advertisement, FastStone Capture 4.8 is able to capture just about anything that appears on the monitors of those who decide to try out this program. Visitors who utilize the program can capture such features as scrolling windows and other objects. The other features of the program include the ability to resize and crop these captured features. This version is compatible with all computers running any version of Windows. [KMG]

In The News

List of fictional billionaires reveals the fortunes of popular characters from the worlds of film, cartoons, and board games

The Forbes Fictional 15

How to Make Faux Billions

Billionaires Lock Out Millionaires from Forbes List [Real Player]

Rich Uncle Pennybags

Comics Page: Annie

The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Suit [Real Player]

Lists of wealthy persons around the world seem to fascinate some, and repulse others. While the Gates and Buffetts of our day seem much more benevolent than their 19th century predecessors, some remain skeptical about the accumulation of wealth, property, and other possessions. But what about the supposed wealth of, say, fictional tycoons and others of their ilk? In this week of plenty, the Forbes Fictional 15 made its annual appearance, documenting the wealth of such notables as Oliver Daddy Warbucks, Jed Clampett, and of course, one of the most famous alumni of Yales storied class of 1914, one C. Montgomery Burns. There were some dramatic changes on the list this year, as noted bringer of holiday cheer Santa Claus dropped off the list entirely as well as that all-too fashionable Cruella da Vil. So far, none of the 15 members of the list have commented publicly on this latest turn of events. [KMG]

The first link leads to the article on the list, offered by Forbess own Michael Noer and David M. Ewalt. The article contains profiles of those billionaires who made the list this year, and those who disappeared as well. The second link will take users to a video feature from Forbes that provides additional commentary on the list and those who climbed the ranks this year. Moving along, the third link leads to a piece from NPRs Morning Edition on the changes within Forbess list of 400 real-life wealthiest Americans. The forth link leads to a detailed profile of the 6th individual on Forbess list of fictional billionaires, one Rich Uncle Pennybags, who is known to most persons as Mr. Monopoly. The fifth link leads to the Comics Page feature on Annie, which serves as the home of Annie and her Daddy Warbucks. Finally, the last link leads to a fine episode of This American Life in which various commentators offer their versions of encounters with Santa Claus. [KMG]

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From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2006.

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