The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 9

March 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

Moving Image Collections

These days, there are a multitude of websites dedicated to moving images of all types, and it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. Fortunately, the Moving Image Collections (MIC) has been working on creating such collections since 1994, and they have done so with the kind support of the Library of Congress, the Association of Moving Image Archivists, and the National Science Foundation. Essentially, the MIC contains a number of online collections of different archived media, and in many cases, visitors can view the moving images themselves directly from the site. Visitors can use the Collection Explore feature to search the MIC Union Catalog, which lists moving images collected and managed by participating organizations. Fourteen total organizations participate and they include the CNN Library, KYUK-TV, and the Academic Film Archive of North America. A simple search using the word history returned programs on archaeology and wine production, beekeeping, and bioterrorism, and visitors can customize other searches as well. [KMG]

Tech Nation [Real Player]

With thousands of websites and blogs dedicated to providing the latest technology news, it can be difficult to find a place that contains intelligent and thoughtful conversations about the impact of technology on society. TechNation is a weekly public radio program that fills the bill quite nicely, and visitors can listen to the show on this website. On the site, visitors can learn about the programs host, Dr. Moira Gunn, and also listen to past shows. Some of the compelling topics in recent months have included explorations of gene therapy and related biotechnology developments and the latest innovations in brain surgery. Overall, the program is a fine way to keep up to date with some of the developments in the world of technology and their broader implications for the general public. [KMG]

International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance [pdf]

Democracy building and creating constitutions anew are difficult and quixotic things, so it is good to know that the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) provides resources in these two areas, as well as a number of related subjects. Their additional areas of expertise include electoral processes, democracy and gender, and democracy assessments. First-time visitors may wish to start their journey through the site by looking over the About Us section, then they might move along to their Latest Publication area, which includes the full-text of such document as Politics and Poverty in the Andean Countries and Political Parties in South Asia: The Challenge of Change. Visitors who are seeking information on specific geographic regions of the world can click on an interactive map to look over reports, working papers, and press releases dealing with these various regions. Additionally, the site features access to several prodigious databases, including one on voter turnout and political finance laws and regulations. [KMG]

International Potato Center [pdf]

With headquarters in La Molina, Peru, the International Potato Center seeks to reduce poverty and achieve food security through research activities on not only the potato, but also on the sweet potato, and other root and tuber crops. The Center has a staff of scientists from 25 countries working on these pressing topics, and visitors with like-minded interests will appreciate the diversity of materials offered on the site. The site has a number of sections, and those dedicated to the potato and the sweet potato are most deserving of a visit. Within each of these sections, visitors can learn about each crop, its conservation, the pests and diseases that threaten each one, and a wide array of related statistics. It should be noted that the homepage itself is a great source of updated news reports on these plants, and recent items have included information on new growing techniques for potatoes (such as aeroponics, which involves suspending tubers) and the nutritional benefits of these plants. [KMG]

African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts

Massachusetts was home to a number of powerful abolitionist and anti-slavery groups during the 18th and 19th centuries, and this fine online exhibition created by the Massachusetts Historical Society brings together a number of primary documents that tell the stories of African Americans and abolitionist movements in the commonwealth. With financial assistance from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Society has crafted an exhibition that is divided into a number of thematic sections, including The Struggle for Freedom, The Legal End of Slavery in Massachusetts, and Revolutionary Participation. Each of these sections contains an informative essay, coupled with images of historical documents ranging from receipts for slaves to letters written by various individuals involved in the anti-slavery movement. Visitors will also appreciate such little-seen gems as letters from African Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War. [KMG]


Drawing on new and rather novel computer-aided mapping programs, scholars have been able to bring together a number of disparate data sources that deal with a diverse set of disciplines. One such project has recently appeared online, and it is called HEALTHmap. Created by a team of researchers based at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology, the project brings together aggregate data on diseases around the world, and in doing so, has created an important new way to visualize and think about various public health situations and potential epidemics. Specifically, the site draws on data from the World Health Organization, Google News, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Using a series of boxes, visitors can toggle on and off various diseases on the world map, including dengue fever, meningitis, E.coli, and dozens more. Overall, its a very good resource for anyone with an interest in public health or data visualization. [KMG]

Insights Into Algebra 1: Teaching for Learning

Teaching algebra can be a difficult proposition, and at times, those who have just entered the field of mathematics education can feel a bit overwhelmed. Stepping in to provide a bit of assistance is this series of instructional videos, created by WNET in New York, working with funding from the Annenberg Media Foundation. The program contains eight parts, and interested parties will have the opportunity to explore strategies for teaching a number of topics, such as variables, systems of equations, linear functions, and exponential functions. After visitors complete a free registration form, they will have access to all eight parts of the series. Its a well-done set of instructional programs, and the exercises draw on a number of practical situations, such as a proposed hot dog vending scheme and other business situations. [KMG]

Cosmic Journey: A History of Scientific Cosmology

Understanding the universe and space in all its complexity has consumed the passions of many people over the millennia. With an interest in bringing material from the world of scientific cosmology to the web-browsing public, the American Institute of Physics and the Center for History of Physics have created this website. The site is divided into two primary areas, titled Ideas and Tools. In the Ideas section, visitors can read essays about the development of cosmology from the time of the Greeks all the way up to the present. And moving over to the Tools section, visitors can learn about important related events, including the invention of the telescope and the golden era of refractors. The site is rounded out with a collection of links for further reading, such as the Cosmology 101 site created by NASA and a 1955 National Academy of Sciences briefing on cosmology. [KMG]

General Interest

6 Billion Others [Macromedia Flash Player]

Yann Arthus-Bertrand is well-known for his multimedia projects which have taken photographic journeys across the globe, and this latest project continues in that visually rich tradition. His latest project, which is documented on this lovely site, looks at the lives of people from all around the world. Visitors to this site should start by listening to Arthus-Bertrand speak about his inspiration for this project, which came to him while speaking with a villager in Mali. After that, visitors can listen to some of the interviews which have been recorded so far, including conversations with Silvia in Brazil and Gianmaria in Italy. Additionally, the site contains a podcast that is available to download. Such an ambitious project might be the envy of many a journalist or social scientist, and it is a site that warrants several visits. [KMG]

Astronomy Online

Ricky Leon Murphy decided to create this website when he was working towards a masters degree in astronomy, and he still keeps it updated regularly, along with the assistance of his wife, Chanthirar. The site has been the recipient of several awards over the past few years, and visitors looking for basic and accessible information about the world of astronomy will not be disappointed. Near the top of the homepage, visitors will see a number of thematic areas, including Our Galaxy, Cosmology, Exoplanets, and Astrophotography. In the Our Galaxy section, visitors will find a number of short and informative essays on our own galaxy, along with pieces about the evolution of formation of other galaxies. Visitors will also appreciate the wide range of images available in the Astrophotography section, which happens to include both professional and amateur images. [KMG]

Blue Waters of the Bahamas: An Eden for Sharks [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

Papa Hemingway hunted them frequently, and was furious when they got to the end of his fishing line before he did. Herman Melville wasnt a fan of them either, and he referred to them as pale raveners of horrible meat. The them in question happens to be sharks, and they continue to suffer from an image problem, even as their numbers dwindle almost uniformly in the worlds oceans. It may strike some as strange then that they are doing rather well in the calm waters around the Bahamas. This online feature from National Geographic explores the sharks that live in these waters, and it also takes on the delicate balance between creating new developments around the islands and providing a safe haven for these often misunderstood creatures. Visitors should start by reading the introductory essay by Jennifer S. Holland and then continue on to the exquisite photo gallery that includes eighteen images of various sharks from photographer Brian Skerry. Finally, the site also includes a nice map and a multimedia area that includes clips on tiger sharks and mangrove nurseries. [KMG]

Eudora Welty Foundation [Macromedia Flash Player]

In the summer of 2001, noted author Eudora Welty passed away in her home state of Mississippi. Throughout her ninety-years she made significant contributions to the art of the short story and other literary forms, and she remains the subject of scholarship and admiration in many quarters. Fortunately, the Eudora Welty Foundation was established in 1999 to celebrate her works and also to make sure that her various writings remain an essential part of academic curricula in high schools and colleges. On their site, visitors can view an interactive timeline of Weltys life and also peruse a calendar of events sponsored by the Foundation and other related entities. Most visitors will benefit greatly from a trip over to the Resources area of the site, which includes a complete bibliography of her works, along with information on the Eudora Welty House and links to other Welty societies and organizations. [KMG]

Alliance for Nonprofit Management [pdf]

As its name suggests, the Alliance for Nonprofit Management is devoted to improving the management and governance capacity of nonprofits. To that end, their website complements their mission quite well, and those working in this field (or those who hope to do so) will find some high-quality resources here. First-time visitors will note that the homepage primarily contains information about upcoming conferences and professional development opportunities, so they may want to take a quick look here, and then move along to the Resource Center. Here they will find working papers and toolkits that can help their organization with such matters as fundraising, crafting successful grant proposals, and attracting new volunteers. One area that should not be overlooked is the significant set of resources dedicated to providing information on attracting and retaining baby boomer volunteers. [KMG]

Presenters University

Everyone has to give presentations at some point in their career, whether they are in the field of criminal justice or animal husbandry. Fortunately for all such persons who might be experiencing presentation anxiety, there is the Presenters University website. While this university does not grant any honorary doctorates, they have assembled a fine selection of articles on presentation dos and donts, along with a section where visitors can Ask The Professor about their most vexing presentation quandaries. The most useful material on this site is contained in the Courses area. Here, visitors can read such timely pieces as Storytelling-A Leadership Development Tool, Themes in PowerPoint 2007, and How to Write and Deliver a Dynamite Speech. [KMG]

Team Building Resources

Anyone who has been to summer camp knows how difficult it can be to get a team of people working effectively on any number of projects, including the construction of a canoe or developing a plan to craft leather wallets. It can be even more trying to create team-building exercises for adults in any number of professions, including health care experts, vehicle maintenance specialists, and so on. This website provides interested parties with access to a number of team-building tools, including articles on developing efficient meetings, ethical conflict resolution, and performance review systems. The site is rounded out by a brief selection of team building games, including one that draws on the use of tennis balls and another that involves paper plates. [KMG]

Jeff Wall: In His Own Words [Macromedia Flash Player]

The best part of this Web exhibition of Jeff's Wall's painterly photographs is being able to read Wall's interviews and essays while you are viewing thumbnail representations of his pictures. These texts are based on interviews conducted with Wall since 1985, collected from a wide variety of publications, that you may not happen to have tucked under your arm when viewing the pictures full size in the gallery (although these writings have been compiled in "Jeff Wall: Selected Essays and Interviews", an anthology published to accompany the show). It's hard for Web reproductions to do justice to Wall's photographs, despite the fact that back-lit display on a computer screen is somewhat similar to Wall's technique of presenting his pictures on lightboxes. This points out another great value of the Web exhibition - to build interest in the physical exhibition, now on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and traveling to the Art Institute of Chicago in June; and San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art in October. [DS]

Network Tools

KlipFolio 4.0,download

Its nice to have a dashboard in ones car, and even better to have one handy on a computer desktop. With its rather compact size, KlipFolio 4.0 allows users to monitor stocks, the weather, RSS feeds, and even online auctions. The program features Klips in over 24 languages. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and Vista. [KMG]

AirPort Radar 1.1.1

This handy tool created by Apple, Inc. allows users to look for a variety of wireless networks, and for those who are frequently on the road, it will be most efficacious. With this tool, users can find out about signal strength in the area and they can also remember lost networks that may drop out of the picture temporarily. This version is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

The World Cricket Cup Arrives in the West Indies

Cricket outsiders seek to prove their worth at World Cup

Marleys Ghost to Welcome Fans for Cricket World Cup

ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 [iTunes]

The Rules of Cricket

Cricket for America

In the year 1611, two men in Sussex found themselves in a spot of trouble as they were prosecuted for playing cricket on Sunday instead of attending church. The draw of this immensely popular sport has continued unabated for four centuries, and like many other things associated with the British Empire, it spread quickly, and passions surrounding the sport and its matches often dominate conversations everywhere from Islamabad to Kingston. This March finds cricket fans looking towards the West Indies, as they will be playing host to the Cricket World Cup. In past years, the event has been held in India and South Africa, and this year finds a number of countries in the region (including Guyana and Jamaica) hosting different matches. This years World Cup has seen a number of logistical challenges, not the least of which is the difficult problem of obtaining travel visas for all of the players, coaches, and support staff. Fortunately, most of these issues have been resolved, and the coming weeks promise to be rather exciting ones for those people with a penchant for all-rounders, cabbage patches, and of course, googlies. [KMG]

The first link leads to a delightful story from the Pakistan Daily Times which talks about a number of cricket outsiders, including Canada, Scotland, and Bermuda, and their respective chances in the Cricket World Cup. The second link leads to a recent piece from the New York Times which talks about the various preparations going on in places such as Kingston and Barbados for the huge influx of die-hard cricket fans that is due to begin shortly. Moving on, the third link leads to the very thorough official Cricket World Cup website, which includes press releases, information on the teams, and details on the venues themselves. Visitors to the site can also listen in on the official song of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, which happens to be sung by Faye-Ann Lyons of Trinidad and the Jamaican-born artist, Shaggy. The fourth site leads to the official and complete rules of cricket, which has been canonized into 42 laws. The fifth link will whisk users away to, which serves as the independent voice of West Indies Cricket. The final link will be most helpful to those who may be confused with argot used in the world of cricket. This online version of The Devils Dictionary of Cricket by Miss Frances Bush will answer many, many questions about dozens of cricket terms. [KMG]

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