The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 5

February 9, 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

General Chemistry I Digital Lecture Material [Macromedia Flash Player]

Dr. Mark Ott, a professor at Jackson Community College in Wyoming, has created a set of compelling screencasts and accompanying audio tracks that are designed to complement his general chemistry lectures. Visitors can look over these materials at their leisure, and they will find very well-thought out lessons that cover such topics as unit conversion, molecular formulae, balancing chemical equations, and ionic and covalent bonding. All of these materials are lucid and might be used both by students who are becoming more acquainted with the world of chemistry, or by educators who might be seeking to assist their students in the learning process. These learning modules are available here in either the Flash format or via Google video. [KMG]

Math Review: Basic Mathematics [ppt, pdf]

A number of community colleges across the United States have been actively working on creating helpful online tutorials and educational guides to a variety of subjects. Created by the staff at the Student Learning Assistance Center at San Antonio College, this site offers a set of online presentations and exercises that review topics such as whole numbers, integers, fractions, decimals, and statistical measurement. For each of these topics, users will find a slideshow overview and a set of short exercises designed to make sure that students understand the material. Additionally, visitors can click on the Mathematics handouts section to examine worksheets that cover the concepts of beginning algebra, exponents, and other more advanced mathematical subjects. [KMG]

The Social Museum Collection

In the early decades of the twentieth century, a number of academics, social welfare advocates, and muckrakers became interested in the living conditions of recently arrived immigrants to the United States. One such person was Professor Francis Greenwood Peabody of Harvard University. In 1903, he founded the Social Museum, which was established to promote investigations of modern social conditions and to direct the amelioration of industrial and social life. For the next thirty years, Peabody and his colleagues at the museum worked on assembling a large collection of photographs, publications and reports related to the international social reform movement. At this site, visitors can browse through the photograph collection, which includes themes such as charity, housing, and education. Visitors will also want to browse through some of Peabodys own publications, including his influential work, The Approach to the Social Question: An Introduction to the Study of Social Ethics. [KMG]

Southern Oral History Program [pdf, Real Player]

Since the rise of interest in social history in the United States, a number of academics and public citizens have remained committed to preserving the voices and perspectives of everyday people. The Southern Oral History Program (SOHP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a rather fine example of such a commitment. Founded in 1973, the SOHP has recorded over 2900 interviews with people from all walks of life, and their website contains a generous sampling of this material. First-time visitors may wish to start by watching Spoken Memories, which provides a nice introduction to the history and work of SOHP. Afterwards, they can sample some of the online audio archives, or listen to the Interview of the Month feature. For those who wish to read as they listen, the interviews are complemented by transcripts in several different file formats. Visitors should also feel welcome to browse through the online finding aid to the SOHPs collection and offer their own feedback or inquiries. [KMG]

Mid-American Earthquake Center [pdf, Real Player, QuickTime]

Understanding earthquakes is a complex process, and the Mid-America Earthquake Center is one of three national earthquake engineering research centers set up to work on a variety of approaches to a broad set of related scientific concerns. Based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Center consists of a consortium of nine core institutions and is funded by the National Science Foundation. The Centers primary work is within four areas, including information technology and consequence-based risk management frameworks. Recognizing that they serve a broad range of visitors to their website, the Center has established a number of informative introductions on their homepage for the general public, potential industry partners, members of the press, and K-12 educators. While a number of visitors may be interested in their technical reports and software packages, most visitors will want to look over the graduate and undergraduate teaching modules, which will be of great use to educators in the engineering and geophysical sciences and their students. Additionally, the Centers site provides access to a number of informative webcasts, including presentations on seismic performances of bridges. [KMG]

The Eurasia Foundation [pdf]

Under the banner of Engaging Citizens, Empowering Communities, the Eurasia Foundation is a non-profit organization supported by the United States Agency for International Development. Incorporated in 1992, the Eurasia Foundation has made over $335 million in grants to countries in the region, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, and Georgia. In general, the Foundation works within three broad mandate areas, including private enterprise development, public administration and policy and civil society. Visitors are invited to learn about their activities on the website, and they may do so by browsing by geographical region, or by looking within the Publications area. This area contains annual reports, news briefs, and feature reports, which include recent titles such as Opening the Georgian Military and Promoting the Non-Profit Sector in the Pamirs. [KMG]

Los Angeles Mapped

Sometimes maligned, often misunderstood, the City of Angels occupies a healthy chunk of Southern California real estate which has been the subject of thousands of thematic maps, dating back to the time of the first European explorers who began to wander around the area some five centuries ago. Recently, the Library of Congress and the Ira Gershwin Gallery collaborated to present a collection of historical maps of the region culled from the collections of the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division. For those who were unable to visit the in situ exhibit, those maps are presented here for the pleasure of the web-browsing public. There are a number of gems among their number, including a composite map plate of the Baja Peninsula from the 17th and 18th centuries, along with a 1906 map of oil fields located right in the city. Visitors can zoom in and out on each map, a feature that will come in handy when examining the 1937 Starland map which features the locations of various Hollywood stars. [KMG]

Foreign Relations of the United States

With the very official title of Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), this important United States government series serves as the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions. Produced by the State Departments Office of the Historian, many of these printed volumes have been digitized and placed online here as part of the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections project. Working with collaborators at the University of Illinois at Chicago, this archive includes those volumes published from 1861 to the year 1960. It is easy to search through the volumes, and visitors may also want to just browse through different volumes at their leisure. Users should also be mindful that the organization of FRUS, while generally chronological, does not always correspond to the dates of documentary history. Fortunately, each volume has a subject and author index available for consultation. Students of political science, United States history, and international relations will find this website indispensable. [KMG]

General Interest

Franklin Furnace Archive [Macromedia Flash Player, Real Player]

For those not in the know, the phrase Franklin Furnace might sound like a type of 19th century heating device. In fact, the Franklin Furnace organization has been dedicated to the proposition that avant-garde art is a very worthwhile endeavor, and their delightful website presents fine information about their work, and about the world of avant-garde art more generally. Based in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, the organization started their work in 1976, and their website offers a nice timeline and introductory essay that documents their own history. Moving along, visitors will definitely want to look over their Archives area, which contain a number of online exhibitions and video interview with artists who have worked with Franklin Furnace over the years. Finally, the site also contains a Scholarly Stuff section, which features essays on the Furnace and some of the interesting archival techniques they have used to preserve avant-garde art for future generations. [KMG]

Songwriters Hall of Fame Virtual Museum [Real Player]

Paul Anka and Francis Scott Key dont usually come up in the same sentence (or paragraph, most likely), but here in the Songwriters Hall of Fame Virtual Museum both men are part of the heady mix that visitors will find on this interesting and entertaining website. This Hall of Fame has a distinguished pedigree as its first president in 1969 was Tin Pan Alley icon Johnny Mercer, who himself was followed by another tunesmith of note, Sammy Cahn. Visitors to the site can browse through the Inductee Exhibits area, which includes information about all the inductees over the past four decades, organized into three broad thematic categories. Along with a brief biographical sketch, visitors can look over a discography for many of the songwriters. For a special treat, visitors can also listen to clips of some of these ditties, including Nat King Coles rendition of Almost Like Being in Love (penned by Alan Jay Lerner) and Bobby Darins very own, Splish Splash. [KMG]

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse [Last reviewed in the Scout Report on July 29, 1994]

The Scout Report hasnt paid a visit to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) website in a few years, but it was good to learn that they are still providing high-quality materials about the subject directly from their site. Created in 1992, the PRC has maintained this site for well over a decade, and visitors will enjoy looking over some of their fact sheets, reports, and their online chronology of data breaches. On their homepage, visitors can browse a list of topical headings that might be of interest. Some of these topics include direct marketing, financial privacy, medical privacy, and external links that expand on these topics. Within each of these topical sections, visitors can view fact sheets that are both well-written and very pragmatic. Visitors can also browse through the first-hand experiences of consumers who have lobbied effectively to protect their own privacy, and also look over a set of relevant blogs on the subject. Additionally, it is worth noting that many of the fact sheets offered here are available in Spanish. [KMG]

TrafficSTATS [pdf]

Working as part of a joint venture, Carnegie Mellon University and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have created the Traffic Statistics on Travel Safety (TrafficSTATS) website and online database. As their homepage notes, the website provides users with an interactive tool to query information about multiple dimensions of traffic-safety risks. Using information from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Household Travel Survey, the site allows visitors to determine risk comparisons for a wide range of situations. Visitors should definitely start by taking a look at the online tutorial offered here, as it will allow them to work through several basic examples, including comparing risks for people inside and outside a vehicle and examining how risks vary across vehicle type. After going through these examples, visitors will feel at ease when creating their own risk comparisons through the sites interactive platform. The site also includes information about their methodology and links to presentations and papers that deal with the TrafficSTATS system. [KMG]

Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms [Macromedia Flash Player, QuickTime, Real Player]

Starting with its rather lyrical title, visitors to this particular National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary website will be taken on a breezy and visually stimulating tour of some of the sites that document Americas aviation history. All told, the site provides information about over 100 sites, including airfields, research and testing facilities, and launch and control facilities. From the homepage, visitors can peruse a list of the sites, look for sites using an interactive map, and read essays on air power, modern aviation, and, not surprisingly, the Wright Brothers. While the sites are spread across 35 states and several US territories, creative voyagers could easily create a number of interesting journeys. Additionally, the site offers a fine set of external links under the Learn More tab. [KMG]

Pregnancy Center

The Mayo Clinic is responsible for this very nice site dedicated to providing the web-browsing public with comprehensive and highly readable information about pregnancy. Visitors to the site will find information on planning a pregnancy, understanding pregnancy tests, and managing pregnancy symptoms. Within each of these sections, visitors will find brief articles on specific topics that include weight gain during pregnancy, sings of labor, and coping with pregnancy loss. Additionally, many of these sections also have additional multimedia features, including videos of a fetal ultrasound and a slide show of labor positions. For visitors who dont find their specific question about pregnancy addressed here, theres also an area where they can submit their query to a Mayo Clinic specialist. [KMG]

Reports from a Warming Planet [Real Player]

Never afraid to take on controversial topics, American RadioWorks has recently released this special report on the early signs of climate change. For this particular report, they brought together a team of eleven young reporters who were led by noted environmental journalist Sandy Tolan. Their assignment was to identify different places around the world where global warming was making changes to both life and landscape. Visitors to the site can listen to the entire radio documentary, or they can also read about some of the individual locations profiled in this presentation. Some of these areas include the fabled snows of Kilimanjaro, the island of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean, and the town of Churchill in Upper Manitoba, which has been known as The Polar Bear Capital of the World for decades. [KMG]

BPJ - Beloit Poetry Journal

With this website visitors can read selected poetry from the current issue of the Beloit Poetry Journal, which has been published since 1950, but only on the Web much more recently. In addition, in 2006 the full-text archive of all 227 issues of the Journal published since the fall of 1950 was made available online. The editors of the Journal point out "rare texts such as Anne Sexton's first published poem, Langston Hughes' translations of Federico Garcia Lorca's Gypsy Ballads, and a memorial chapbook for William Carlos Williams edited by David Ignatow in 1963 whose list of contributors reads like a Who's Who of mid-twentieth century American poetry." To find any of these highlights, there is an author index which will allow visitors to easily find these texts and many more. For those who like to view the cover art, searching the Archive section provides a browse by decade, with thumbnail images of all the covers, and links to the full text. [DS]

Network Tools

WordPress 2.1

While this latest version of WordPress is a very fine way to create a weblog, it is quite a bit more than that. With WordPress 2.1, visitors can auto-save their drafts, take advantage of a streamlined visual editor interface, and also implement a number of new plugins. One of the best features of WordPress is that they offer a number of helpful instructional materials on their website, including information on how to install the application correctly and information on creating an effective and visually cohesive design for a new blog. Finally, their well-put synopsis titled What is a blog? should be considered a first-step for neophytes to the world of blogs. This version is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X and newer. [KMG]

FastStone Capture 5.2

Screen capture software can be quite helpful and potential applications include looking at graphics for use in a report or just reviewing visual material later for other purposes. The latest version of FastStone Capture allows users to capture full screen rectangle regions, scrolling windows, and other objects. The application takes up a small amount of memory, and it also allows users to add comments to each captured image. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Long and Winding Road Leads to a Trademark Settlement Between Apple Inc. and the Beatles

Apple, Beatles Settle Trademark Lawsuit

The Two Apples Bury the Hatchet

The Trademark Blog

BBC: Music Profiles, The Beatles [Real Player]

Abbey Road Studios [Real Player, Macromedia Flash Player]

All About Apples

Before the late 1970s, when most people heard the word apple, they probably thought of Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and perhaps the McIntosh. Of course, after the ever-so popular Apple II was released in 1977, many people became to associate the word with the quickly growing computer company that seemed to release a groundbreaking product every couple of years. Now, there was another apple of sorts in the picture, namely Apple Records, which was the record label founded by the Beatles in 1968. Since 1978, there have been a number of trademark infringement lawsuits between Apple Records and Apple Inc., and some have wondered whether the disputes would ever be completely resolved. There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel this week as Apples CEO Steve Jobs announced that there was a formal settlement of their long-running trademark dispute. Many members of Apple Inc.s management team are self-professed devotees of the Beatles, as Jobs himself noted when he remarked We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks. It remains to be seen how long it will take for Beatles songs to appear on iTunes, but many fans remain hopeful. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a Washington Post article that offers additional details on the recent settlement between Apple, Inc. and Apple Records. Moving along, the second link leads to a nice bit of reporting from National Public Radio on the settlement between these two well-known companies. The third link leads to the very interesting blog created by the Schwimmer Mitchell Law Firm, which provides commentary on current trademark law cases in the news. The fourth link will take users to a site on the Fab Four created by the BBC. Here, visitors can read profiles of each of the Beatles and also listen to a number of interpretations of Let it Be. The fifth link leads to the impressive website of Abbey Road Studios and visitors can enjoy a full virtual tour of the Studios and also read an in-depth history of this most hallowed recording locale. Created by Glen Sanford, the sixth link here leads to one of the many sites that provide an informal history of Apple Inc. Here, visitors can view original ads promoting the Apple II, and learn about the various products the company has released over the years. The final link leads to a site about actual apples and what to do with them in terms of baking, cooking, and how to grow them in your own orchard. [KMG]

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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

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