The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 1

January 12, 2007

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

Poverty and Civil War: What Policymakers Need To Know [pdf]

From Indonesia to Sierra Leone, civil war has massively disrupted existing economic and social structures. These countries are but two of the many across the world that are besieged with such problems, and this latest working paper from the Global and Economy Development Group within the Brookings Institution provides some detailed information on the relationship between poverty and civil war specifically designed for policymakers. Authored by Susan E. Rice, Corinne Graff, and Janet Lewis, this 30-page paper explains some of the reasons that poor countries are at increased risk of becoming embroiled by civil war and related conflicts. Some of these reasons include the fact that education levels tend to be low in poor countries and these countries also tend to be natural resource dependent, a relationship that the authors observe would benefit from additional research. [KMG]

Geospatial One Stop

To say that there are a few federal agencies involved with the creation of maps would be quite an understatement. While most people probably automatically think of the United States Geological Survey, there are numerous groups within various agencies creating thousands of maps that draw on the strengths of the field of geographic information systems (GIS). This one-stop location allows users to draw on all of these resources in a timely fashion. To start, visitors can use the basic search engine that asks them to fill in the What (such as a river or lake) or the Where (such as Onalaska, Washington). After filling out one of these forms, the search engine will return all of the available map materials associated with each place. Visitors can then refine their search as they see fit. If all of this seems a bit daunting, visitors can also just browse through any number of special interest maps, such as those related to homeland security, recreation areas, fire mapping, and historical specialties such as those that detail the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Overall, this is a very helpful site, and one that will delight cartographers and anyone else who spends a few moments here. [KMG]

Alfred Russel Wallace Collection

One name looms large for the general public when the word evolution is mentioned: Charles Darwin. Of course, others are quite aware that Alfred Russel Wallace co-discovered the theory of evolution with Darwin, a fact that the prescient individuals at the Natural History Museum in Britain are well aware of. In 2002, the Museum was able to purchase a rather large collection of Wallaces personal and related family papers, correspondence, photographs, and other items from the Wallace family. With the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, the Museum has digitized approximately 200 items from this collection and placed them online at this site. Visitors may wish to start by looking over a brief biography of Wallace, and then taking a look at the detailed chronology of the main events in his life. The Online Collection section is where the heart of the material lies, as visitors can view Wallaces original notes on evolution, read about his encounters with spiritualism, and a number of touching letters that include a note on Wallaces troubles with his cats, Crumpet and Flunkie. [KMG]

Veterinary Medicine Resources on the Web

Iowa State Universitys libraries have been compiling electronic subject guides for a number of years, and this is one such guide that users in the field of veterinary medicine will want to bookmark. Organized thematically, the resources are contained within one single list, and they are divided into categories such as websites, electronic journals, online abstracts, and basic pet care and health resources. Some of the gateway sites are quite helpful, particularly the link to the animal diseases database offered by the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Both potential veterinarian technicians and laypersons will appreciate the pet care links, which include links to the Healthy Pet site created by the American Animal Hospital Association and an overview to animal care created by the American Veterinary Medical Association. [KMG]

By Aeroplane to Pygmyland: Revisiting the 1926 Dutch and American Expedition to New Guinea [Quicktime, Windows Media Player]

Arriving in the Sudirman mountain range in New Guinea in 1926, Matthew Stirling and his anthropologist colleagues from the Netherlands and the United States embarked on an expeditionary mission to document the lives of the so-called pygmy tribes of this region of the world. Eighty years later, Paul Michael Taylor of the Asian Cultural History Program at the National Museum of Natural History embarked on an ambitious project to place materials from the expedition online for the general public, and for those with an interest in the history of anthropology. The site includes some remarkable interpretive essays by Taylor which provide lucid and important material on the expedition, and some fascinating source materials from the expedition as well. These source materials include the journals of both Stirling and his collaborator, Stanley Hedberg, and a geographic navigator which allows users to browse through the journal entries by location. Equally compelling are the expedition photographs, which are also available here, and the film footage, which has a total running time of approximately two hours. For anyone interested in the history of anthropology, this site will warrant several visits. [KMG]

The Knowledge Bank at OSU [pdf]

Within most major universities and colleges, a number of groups tend to work on various digitization projects. Some may be located with the library system, and others within specialized research institutes. The Ohio State University Knowledge Bank is working with a number of partners to create a knowledge management system that will support "the creation, organization, storage, dissemination and preservation of the institutions digital information assets. Even a casual glance at this website indicates that they are well underway in this endeavor, and there is, in many ways, something for everyone here. Visitors can begin exploring these materials by browsing through some of the collections by contributing organization, or by looking around by title, date, or author. Some of these materials include lectures and reports from the American Indian Studies department and an online archive of the Ohio Journal of Science. [KMG]

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse [pdf] (Last reviewed November 30th, 1999)

Over the past few years, the notion of service-learning at all levels of formal education has become engrained in many places and institutions. The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC) is perhaps the best known organization working in this area, and on their website visitors will find a cornucopia of information and educational resources designed for persons interested in this growing field. First-time visitors may wish to take the site tour offered here, and then move along to the Highlights section. Here, users will find links to the NSLCs own Journal for Civic Commitment and toolkits designed to help institutions of higher education create meaningful service-learning relationships with community groups. Visitors will also be glad to learn that the site has a very user-friendly search engine, and that they can also browse materials at their leisure. The site is rounded out by an Events & Jobs area that brings together complete calendars of service-learning related conferences and activities, along with an updated list of job opportunities in the service-learning field. [KMG]

Human Security Centre: Human Security Brief 2006 [pdf]

While the concept of human security is a relatively new one, there is a growing consensus that the subject is one that will continue to be of the utmost importance in the coming years. Generally, the term is used to describe "the complex of interrelated threats associated with civil war, genocide and the displacement of populations. Recently, the Human Security Centre (located at the University of British Columbia) published its annual Human Security Brief, and placed it online at this site. The report analyzes the findings of several datasets that track trends in such areas as organized violence against civilians and the conclusion of armed conflicts worldwide. While this ambitious work does have some positive findings to announce, there are a number of other troubling trends, such as the fact that four of the worlds six regions have experienced increased numbers of conflicts since 2002. [KMG]

General Interest

WGBH Forum Network [iTunes, Real Player]

It would be pretty great if one could go and listen to Chuck Close talk about his work, follow that up with a discussion about global warming, and then listen to a number of experts talk about the songs of penguins. Of course, such an endeavor could cost a small fortune, but fortunately there is the website of the WGBH Forum Network. With significant help from the Lowell Institute, WGBH has created this online archive of free public lectures culled from events held at a number of cultural and educational organizations throughout the Boston area. These organizations include Emerson College, the New England Aquarium, the Boston Public Library, and Harvards Graduate School of Education. Visitors to the site can browse archived content by category (such as health or poetry) or look through a list organized by contributing institution. Visitors can elect to watch or listen to these lectures from their computer, or they can also download them for use on the go. [KMG]

Wired Science [Windows Media Player]

PBS has been exploring a number of new partnerships, and one of their latest is this collaborative effort with Wired, the popular science and technology magazine. Produced in collaboration with PBS member station KCET in Los Angeles, the program is designed to bring an irreverent attitude to this type of programming, and this website is a nice way to get acquainted with their endeavors. On the homepage, visitors can learn about the hosts and also watch the pilot episode of the program. The content of the site is primarily divided into sections titled Vaporware, Geek Beat, and Conversations. The Conversations area is a good place to start, as it contains interviews with individuals such as Elon Musk, who was the co-founder of PayPal, and who is now interested in developing new automotive technologies. Additionally, the Rants and Raves section allows visitors to chime in about the program. [KMG]

Yale University Library: Manuscripts & Archives Digital Images Database

Bringing together primary and secondary materials from their extensive archives and manuscript collections, the Yale University Digital Images Database provides interested parties access to a wealth of various ephemera. While the site doesnt contain any specific finding aids, savvy users will be able to use the search functions to locate materials quickly. Additionally, visitors can browse through digitized manuscripts that tell the story of the university in words and images. These archives can be quite a bit of fun, as they include a wide range of architectural drawings and maps that tell how the campus was developed over the centuries. All told, its a nice way to learn about Yale and some of the people who have been associated with this august place over the years. [KMG]

Improvement and Development Gateway [pdf]

Through trading ideas about good governance, many cities can find ways to transform themselves over the short and long term. One such group that is committed to that idea is the Improvement & Development Agency (IDeA). Based in the United Kingdom, the organization has created this website as a way for local councils to learn about various initiatives and policy movements that have been set in motion from Sheffield to Dover. On the sites homepage, visitors can use the Quick find drop-down menu to read about recent initiatives, or they can also browse here to learn about recent white papers and case studies. For those who might be new to all of this, there is also a glossary which defines terms ranging from area devolvement to virement. [KMG]

The Island Institute [pdf]

Since 1983, the Island Institute has employed a wide range of individuals, including photographers, artists, policy experts, and others, all in the name of maintaining the viability of the fifteen year-round island communities in the Gulf of Maine. They have become well-known for their outreach efforts, and their website will be of great value to anyone interested in this region, or how various island communities remain economically, culturally, and ecologically sustainable. Resources located on the Institutes homepage include information about fellowship opportunities and links to full and annual reports on the Atlantic herring spawning project. Visitors who are hoping to get a sense of the flavor of this unique region should definitely peruse their monthly publication, The Working Waterfront. Recent articles include opinion pieces on fish hatcheries, the lobster business, and news profiles of local islanders. [KMG]

Texas Historic Sites Atlas

Most everything is a bit bigger down around the Rio Grande, and the Texas Historic Sites Atlas fits neatly into that bit of folk wisdom about things in the Lone Star state. All told, the Atlas contains close to 300,000 historic and archaeological site records documenting Texas history. As all of this information is linked up to mapping software, visitors can find a historic sites location and its current condition. To give users a sense of what they can locate here, the database includes records for Texas Historical Markers, county courthouses, cemeteries, and even the fabled East Texas sawmills. For persons with a penchant for historic preservation, cultural geography, or just the state of Texas, this site is a real treat. [KMG]

Science Caf [iTunes]

More and more, research institutes and specialized centers of learning are turning to the world of podcasts, vodcasts, and other such multimedia devices to reach out to people from Peoria to Patagonia. The University of California, San Francisco recently opened up their own virtual science caf, and this website represents an attempt to provide lively and interesting conversations about the story of science. As a statement on their website remarks, From stem cells and what sells to great ideas, yeasty trends and budding controversies, we will be developing a menu for your mind. They have delivered on this intriguing promise quite well, as visitors to the site will quickly discover. With close to a dozen talks online so far, visitors can learn about the mysteries of aging from researcher Cynthia Kenyon and how the world of basic science research differs in the United States as compared with Germany. One can imagine that this program could be used as a nice complement in science education courses for both high school and college. [KMG]

University of Wisconsin-Madison Zoology Museum Collection

A recent addition to the University of Wisconsin-Madison digital collections, the Zoology Museum (UWZM) Collection includes digitized versions of heavily illustrated biological journals, a few dated as early as 1859, and the majority from the first half of the 20th century, allowing visitors to page through the published observations of naturalists in the field. In addition to searching, journals can be displayed in a gallery view, so users can jump quickly to pages of interest. The Galpagos Collection, an important subcollection at the UWZM, includes skeletons, slides, pictures, books, and research papers collected and produced by UW-Madison scientists and researchers during ten expeditions to the Galpagos since 1969. The digitized portion currently is 20 volumes of materials, such as volume 10 of the National Geographic Society research reports: abstracts and reviews of research and exploration authorized under grants from the National Geographic Society, that includes a 1978 report on Galpagos tortoises by William G. Reeder and Craig G. MacFarland. [DS]

Network Tools

ImageEye 7.3

Some newer image viewers may come with too many bells and whistles, so discovering this latest version of ImageEye may be a real treat for some users. As its name implies, ImageEye is just for viewing images, though the program can rotate, mirror, zoom, and adjust contrasts with the best of them. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

Aviation Weather 1.2.5

Whether one is planning an ascent via dirigible, zeppelin, or Cessna, this widget may prove to be most indispensable. Available in German, Swedish, and several other languages, Aviation Weather 1.2.5 utilizes weather data intended for pilots and places it on users' computers for their personal use. Visitors can look at the time of sunrise and sunset, examine current cloud conditions, and of course, visibility. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Novel opportunity arises as worlds tiniest state goes up for sale

Buy Your Own Country: Sealand [Real Player]

Smallest state seeks new owners

Tiny North Sea tax haven for sale

Welcome to Sealand. Now Bugger Off

The Principality of Sealand

CIA: The World Factbook

The start of the new calendar year often brings resolutions to complete certain tasks and a belief in fresh starts. For the royal family of Sealand, a self-styled independent state which sits off the coast of Essex, it was time for another type of task: sell Sealand to the highest bidder. Its rather an odd state of affairs as Sealand has never been recognized by either the United Kingdom or the United Nations as a sovereign nation. With a total area of 10,000 square feet, Sealand consists entirely of an anti-aircraft platform built by the British during World War II to defend the important port of Essex. Abandoned for several decades, the platform was taken over by Major Paddy Roy Bates in the 1960s, and he and members of his family have lived there for the past forty years. Sealand has been noted as an interesting case study in international law over the years, and it has seen a number of hasty attempts to overthrow its government, including when a group of recalcitrant German and Dutch businessmen tried to seize control of the platform in the 1980s. For those who might be interested in such a purchase, Michael of Sealand (son of Paddy Bates) has given word to the press that Sealand has what you would normally expect in a small village, really. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to an appropriately brief audio profile of Sealand and its upcoming sale, courtesy of National Public Radio. The second link will take users to detailed coverage of the events surrounding Sealands impending sale as reported this Monday by the BBC. Additionally, users can also watch a video clip of Prince Michael of Sealand discussing the future of his beloved anti-aircraft platform. Moving along, the third link offers further commentary on these events, direct from the Australian Broadcasting Company. The fourth link offers a bit of past news coverage of Sealand, direct from the July 2000 issue of Wired magazine. In the piece, Simson Garfinkel comments on the attempt by a group of libertarian swashbucklers to turn Sealand into a type of global networking hub that would be outside the jurisdiction of the worlds nation states. Its an interesting piece, and definitely worth a look. The fifth link will take visitors to the official homepage of the principality of Sealand, where visitors can learn more about their history and also be presented with the opportunity to purchase postcards of Sealand, complete with a personal message from a local resident. The final link leads to the online CIA World Factbook, which contains information about all of the countries of the world, with a notable absence between the countries of Saudi Arabia and Senegal. [KMG]

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