The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 10

March 16, 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

American Women Through Time

There are many resources that detail the contributions of women in American history, but this particular site does so in an organized and intelligent fashion. Created by Ken Middleton, a reference librarian at Middle Tennessee State University, the site is chronologically organized, and visitors can read through each area to learn about various online resources that deal with each historical era. The primary timeline covers the world of Native Americans all the way up to the year 2001. The site also has a Other Timelines section, which includes links to timelines that tell the stories of notable women in history and topical ones as well, such as those dealing with feminism, Jewish women, and women in the military. [KMG]

Reconnecting Massachusetts Gateway Cities: Lessons Learned and an Agenda For Renewal [pdf]

Economic restructuring in the United States has taken many forms over the past few centuries, and the rise and fall of different regions can be charted by looking at some of these staggering changes. One well-known story is the transformation of Massachusetts in the past century as many cities in the state went from traditional industrial powerhouses to finding themselves with high levels of unemployment and in economic decline. This fascinating report from the Brookings Institution takes a look at some of these cities (such as Worcester), which have struggled in recent decades to reinvent themselves as centers of other economic activity. This 68-page report, published in February 2007, discusses how Worcester and other gateway cities might be rejuvenated through a sustained commitment on the part of various government entities and private corporations. [KMG]

Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment [pdf]

The British government created the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) in order to improve citizens quality of life through good design. It is a lofty and admirable mission, and persons with an interest in architecture, urban design, and public space will enjoy wandering around this site. First-time visitors can look over the news updates on the homepage to get a sense of CABEs mission and focus, and then move on over to the Latest Publications area. Here visitors will find a number of gems, including the instructional manual Better public building and Actions for housing growth: creating a legacy of great places. Visitors looking for high-quality case studies on designing commercial buildings, educational facilities, and civic buildings will find plenty to view on the site. Finally, the site is rounded out by the Teaching Resources area, which includes instructional materials for educators seeking to teach their students about what makes places work well for different users. [KMG]

Economic Opportunities for Indigenous Peoples in Latin America [pdf]

With an increasing interest in the role of indigenous peoples in the economy, the World Banks Latin America & Caribbean division has created this 55-page report on that very subject. Published in February 2007, this report is primarily concerned with the fact that more than 80 percent of Latin Americas indigenous population still lives in abject poverty. Some of the results from the paper include the finding that many indigenous persons tend to be concentrated in few occupations, and that they mostly work in the informal economy. The reports authors, Emmanuel Skoufias and Harry Patrinos, do have a number of policy suggestions, including designing development programs that improve infrastructure in areas where indigenous persons live and also raising the general awareness of the needs of indigenous people at the national and international levels. For persons with an interest in this region and public policy issues, this report will be a most valuable read. [KMG]

Understanding Race [pdf]

As this website opens, users will see a set of overlapping images of different human faces, as a narrators voice intones: Race: Are we so different? Its an intriguing and important question, and one that is addressed through a number of lenses on this site, created by the American Anthropological Association, with funding from the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation. As their website observes, The Race project explains differences among people and reveals the reality-and unreality-of race. The site is divided into three primary sections, which include History, Human Variation, and Lived Experience. In the History section, visitors can move through the timeline that looks at the history of race in the United States, and along the way they can read different essays that talk about subjects such as the civil rights movement, U.S. control of American Indians, and so on. The Human Variation section contains interactive and informative essays on human genetics, the variation in human skin color, and several quizzes on these materials. Finally, the Lived Experience area includes a race blog, an interactive feature on Who is White?, and a blog where visitors can talk about their own experiences with race. [KMG]

National Association of Biology Teachers: Instructional Materials [ppt, pdf]

For several years, the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) has created a number of very fine instructional materials designed for use in the classroom, and even seasoned educators will find new approaches to teaching bioethics, gene sequences, and other related topics on the site. The materials are arranged in one simple list, and they include lesson plans that take on the subject of forensic science and the world of the hooey stick. The hooey stick exercise is quite a bit of fun, and along with being aligned with National Science Education standards, it allows students to learn about empiricism and logic in science. Overall, there are some very good resources for educators here, and a few of the resources are so intriguing that even casual visitors may find themselves making repeat visits here. [KMG]

WomenWatch: Feature on Women with Disabilities [pdf]

Millions of women around the world live with disabilities, and this site from the United Nations Women Watch initiative provides information on this particular group of individuals. On this site, visitors can learn about the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and also look over a related fact sheet about girls and women with disabilities. Visitors should also look over the Resources section, which includes links to online materials from other UN websites, including the Regional Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the World Health Organization. Finally, visitors can also watch a webcast of the United Nations committee Ad Hoc Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. [KMG]

Introduction to Accounting

Accounting can strike fear into the hearts of many, particular around the ides of April here in the United States. Beginning students of the field and small business owners will breathe a bit easier after looking over this easy to use and informative site. As the homepage remarks, this site will help users learn the basics of accounting and also give them the opportunity to solve common-place accounting problems. The four primary sections of the website include Lessons, Problems, Solutions, and Downloads. In the Lessons section, visitors can make their way through eight separate lessons which cover the elements of financial reporting all the way up through natural resources and depletion. The Problems section contains a basic set of accounting problems keyed to the eight lessons mentioned above, and the Solutions cover all of the problems and their execution in detail. [KMG]

General Interest

Infomat: Fashion Industry Business Information

The fashion industry has many facets, and aspiring students who hope to break into the field may find themselves wondering about such aspects as marketing, industry trends, and the expansive world of fabrics and textiles. All of these subjects are covered on the Infomat website, which includes a Guides section, where visitors can learn about accessories, apparel marts, designer collections, and modeling agencies, among other areas of interest. Instructors will also appreciate the sites versatility, as they may be intrigued by the News area, which contains news digests from the areas of textiles, retail, and apparel. The site is rounded out by a Community area, which features a searchable calendar of events and a Whos Who section that provides brief biographies of industry leaders like Yves Saint Laurent and Issey Miyake. [KMG]

The American-Scandinavian Foundation [pdf]

Founded in 1910 by the Danish-American industrialist Niels Poulsen, the American-Scandinavian Foundation facilitates and promotes a variety of educational and cultural exchanges between the United States and Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Visitors with a penchant for such exchanges and opportunities will find much to hold their attention here, as the site includes details on their grant and award programs, along with information on available fellowships and study abroad opportunities. The site also includes a number of instructional materials for educators who wish to teach their students about the Nordic region. The site is rounded out by an archive that contains recent issues of their in-house newsletter, Scan. [KMG]

London: A Life in Maps

Sometime in the middle of the thirteen century, the monk Matthew Paris created a diagram using ink and various pigments to illustrate his route from London to Apulia. In doing so, he created a document which forms part of the cartographic history of a city that would grow exponentially over the coming centuries. This document, along with thirty nine others, form part of the online exhibit, London: A Life in Maps. Created by staff members at the British Library, visitors can click on an interactive map (rather appropriately) to locate these various maps which go all the way up to the 21st century. Another fun feature on the site allows users to download a Google Earth layer that includes a selection of these maps, including one of Regents Park in 1841 and a plan of the London Docks from 1797. The site is rounded out by an area where visitors can send electronic cards to friends and colleagues that incorporate images from these maps. [KMG] Four Docs [Macromedia Flash Player]

User-generated content remains a rather popular topic of discussion by Internet commentators and just about everyone who comes in contact with the web these days. Some have suggested that it would be nice to have some type of structure to some of this content, and fortunately this lovely site created by Channel 4 in London fits the bill quite well. As its title suggests, the Four Docs website is designed to give users the opportunity to submit their own four minute documentary, provided that it conforms to certain technical and legal requirements. The About area is a good place to get some more background on the whole affair, and then visitors should dive right in by watching a few of the films. A good way to do this is by looking at the thematic list, which includes such headings as animal rights and globalization. Those persons looking for historical materials will want to click on over to the Archive, which includes an interactive timeline which traces the history of documentary film making in Britain. Along the way are films such as 1933s Industrial Britain and 1953s Operation Hurricane, which documents the creation and testing of Britains first atomic bomb. [KMG]

Frontline: News War [QuickTime, Windows Media Player]

Its not an understatement to say that mainstream news in the United States has been in a bit of a tizzy in recent years, with a number of journalists serving time for refusing to reveal their sources and other such activities. The times seem right for an investigative report into the challenges facing the news media, and Frontline has stepped forward with a very fine four-part series on the subject. Visitors to the site can watch the program in its entirety here, but before doing so, they may wish to read the introductory essay which can be found from the homepage. As might be expected, the site contains a number of nice extras, including a place to submit feedback, a teachers guide, and reactions from the press regarding the series. For visitors pressed for time, there is also the option to look over selected interviews from the series in the Interviews area. There are over 50 journalists profiled here, and visitors can view an alphabetical list, or take a look at some topical responses organized into sections such as The Future of the News and The Internet and New Media. Broad in its scope and conforming to the rigorous standards of the Frontline series, this program and its accompanying website should be required reading for all journalists and journalism students. [KMG]

Alaska and Western Canada Collection

The University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections continues to break new and interesting ground with one of their latest offerings, which happens to focus in on Alaska and the Canadian provinces of Yukon Territory and British Columbia. With extensive archival holdings in both areas, they are certainly well poised to do so, and this particular collection includes visual materials related to the famed Gold Rush of 1898 to 1900, mining activities, and World War II installations. As with previous collections from this series, visitors can type keywords into the search engine, or they can search by category. The Gold Rush section is a real gem, as it includes 225 images in total. They include an illustration of a miners working outfit from 1897, a photograph of a mining town dance from 1900, and a harrowing photograph of a boat navigating the treacherous Miles Canyon along the Yukon River. [KMG]

Journal of Online Mathematics and its Applications

Published by The Mathematical Association of America, the Journal of Online Mathematics and its Application was started in 1998. All of the materials in the Journal are peer-reviewed, and each issue contains original research articles on student learning via online materials, class-tested web-based learning materials, and substantive reviews of important online resources. First-time visitors may wish to utilize the online keyword search engine, or they can also view a drop-down subject list that covers such topics as number theory, basic algebra, and arithmetic. Of course, visitors can also look over the Featured Items on the homepage, if they wish. Some of the featured items in the past have included primers on how to use HTML to create math worksheets and how to effectively use video conferencing as a way to tutor students in math. Finally, ambitious visitors may also wish to look over the Journals requirements for submitting material to be considered for inclusion in future issues. [KMG]

Identity by Design: Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Womens Dresses [Macromedia Flash Player]

This web exhibition from the National Museum of the American Indian pairs historic dresses with commentary and memories from contemporary Native American women designers, who work in traditional styles. For example, a painted Sioux dress from 1890 that depicts warrior scenes is accompanied by comments from Juanita Growing Thunder. She describes a dress made for the daughter of her mother's adopted brother, beaded with eagle feathers to recall his service in Vietnam. The dress "meant that he had gone to war and had fought. It all ties in with the warrior societies of the past." [DS]

Network Tools

Zotero 2.0

For those trying to complete any lengthy citations (or even brief ones), Zotero will be a most welcome find. The program works as a Firefox 2.0 extension which helps users collect, manage, and cite research sources. As it functions within the browser itself, visitors can automatically capture citation information from web pages, and users can also take notes along the way as they work. The program also comes with complete documentation and is compatible with all computers running on either Windows or Mac operating systems. [KMG]

Google Desktop 5.0.703.5398

Slogging through the contents of any hard drive can be a laborious process, so it is nice to know that many aspects of this task are improved with the use of this version of Google Desktop. With this application, search results are returned in a web-page format which resembles the Google site. Visitors can also customize the program to add various gadgets, such as a calendar, a National Public Radio gadget, and a virtual flower pot. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows XP, 2003, and Vista. [KMG]

In The News

Mathematicians and others gather to celebrate Pi Day

Most things come and go, but pi, for many, is forever

Pi day adds up to a way to celebrate geekiness

2007 19th Annual Pi Day Celebration Page

Math Forum: Ask Dr. Math About Pi

The Digits of Pi

This Wednesday, those persons dedicated to the world of pi gathered in conference venues, living rooms, and other locales to pay homage to that humble (yet important) number that defines the ratio of a circles circumference to its diameter. It happened to be Pi Day, or March 14th, which is the closest calendar approximation of 3.14 (or 3/14). The exact origins of Pi Day are lost in the misty haze of the late 1980s, but the Exploratorium in San Francisco first began its annual celebration of the event in 1987. The date also happens to be Albert Einsteins birthday, so often there are joint celebrations on this auspicious day. The events of Pi Day usually involve recitation contests to see who can memorize pi to the most places, pie-eating contests (insert homonym joke here), and the sharing of haikus that feature pi in some fashion. Speaking about the events at the University of Alberta, Marcel Ball remarked, Its just a way to celebrate our geekiness. Others have found a different type of communion with pi, such as Akira Harguchi, a mental-health counselor in Japan, who noted, What I am aiming at is not just memorizing figures. I am thrilled by seeking a story in pi. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a news article from this Mondays Seattle Post-Intelligencer which provides a bit of background information on Pi Day. The second link will take users to a piece from the Ottawa Citizen that gives information on how March 14th is celebrated across Canada. Moving along, the third link leads to the Exploratoriums Pi Day Page, which includes a number of fun activities, including a primer on cutting pi by way of string, scissors, and tape. The fourth link leads to the official Pi Day website, which features e-cards, a calendar of events, and discussion boards that include I Love Pi Because The fifth link whisks users away to the Math Forum at Drexel Universitys About Pi area, which answers a number of questions, such as What is pi? and What is it for? Finally, the last link contains the first ten thousand digits of pi. [KMG]

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