The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 20

May 25, 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

Digital Classroom Resources: Napiers Bones [Macromedia Flash Player]

The Mathematical Association of America has teamed up the National Science Foundation to create an online collection of digital classroom resources. One of their more recent creations is this multimedia feature that teaches students about Napiers Bones. Created by Michael Caulfield and Wayne Anderson of Gannon University, this feature will introduce students to the work of John Napier, a 16th century mathematician who created a procedure for multiplication using sticks or bones. In this presentation, visitors can watch a step-by-step demonstration of this technique and then also enter any two factors of up to six digits each in order to create their own animation of this method. It is a nice way to get students thinking about this rather intriguing way to multiply, and the site also contains several links to other sites about John Napier and his bones. [KMG]

Digital History: A Guide To Gathering, Preserving, And Presenting the Past On The Web

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has consistently broken new ground with their projects, and this online resource is an important part of their work. Created and written by Professors Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, this online version of their book serves as an introduction to the web for those who wish to produce online historical work, or to build upon and improve the projects they have already started in this important new medium. The work is divided into a number of chapters, including Becoming Digital, Owning the Past?, and Preserving Digital History. Leaving hardly a stone unturned, the work covers everything from copyright law to site design, and it is a work that visitors will want to return to more than once. [KMG]

H-Net Reviews

Most people who work in the academic world of either the humanities or the social sciences will have heard of H-Net, which consists of a number of electronic mailing lists that disseminate information about upcoming conferences, seminars, workshops, funding opportunities and so on. What they may not know about is the H-Net Reviews site, which is equally valuable. The site brings together all of the individual reviews posted to the different individual H-Net networks in one readily accessible database. On their site, visitors can read some of the latest scholarly reviews, read up on their review guidelines, and also perform a detailed search for reviews dating back to 1993. Visitors will also want to check out some of the other networks, including H-Human-Rights, H-Memory, and H-Material Culture. [KMG]

Two on Honeybees

International Bee Research Association [pdf]
Honeybee genome [Real Player, pdf]

Are you interested in beekeeping, pollination, beeswax, or just plain old (but never ordinary) bees? This site, created by the International Bee Research Association, is certainly worth a look as it brings together a host of resources on all of the aforementioned subjects. One definite stop should be the FAQ area, which contains answers to such pressing questions as What should I do if I am stung by a bee? and How many honey bees are there in the world? Visitors can also learn about their journals, which include the Journal of Apicultural Research and their newsletter, Buzz Extra. Moving on, the second site offered here is from the good folks at Nature magazine and it includes information about work being done on the honeybee genome, along with a video of scientists talking about this research. The site also offers full-text articles from the magazine on bee-related materials, including Edward O. Wilsons Genomics: How to Make a Social Insect and a classic piece from 1957 on swarm-bee communication. [KMG]

Discover Antarctica [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player, Quick Time]

Antarctica is arguably the continent that most people know the least about, so it is nice to find out that the Royal Geographical Society (in partnership with the British Antarctic Survey) has created this website which explores all aspects of life on this landmass. The Imagining Antarctica area is a fine place to start, and visitors can watch a short video clip about the continent, test their existing knowledge with a short quiz, and then participate in a being there activity. Other engaging sections include A Changing Climate, Living There Today and What Future? The site also lists all of the resources by format, including audio files, video clips, Word documents, and images. Finally, the site also includes a Teachers Area, which offers a number of learning activities for students and teacher notes that are correlated to each of the main sections of the site. [KMG]

The State of Americas Libraries [pdf]

Released in April 2007, The State of Americas Libraries report from the American Library Association offers users a wealth of information about current trends over the past year. Within the 19-page report visitors will learn that investment in e-books at academic and research libraries rose 68 percent from 2002 to 2004 and that school library media centers were hard hit by funding cuts in 2006. The report contains a number of charts that track library use over the past year and the different types of materials contained within the nations libraries. Moving on, the report also contains brief summaries of the expansion of Googles book digitization project and scholarships awarded to minority librarians. Overall, it is an impressive report, and one that will be of great interest to those interested in the policy issues surrounding libraries and those working in the fields of library and information science. [KMG]

The Encyclopedia of Earth

The Encyclopedia of Earth is a very ambitious effort to provide high-quality information on a wide range of subjects related to the Earth, its natural environments and their interaction with society. The About section is a great place to start as visitors can learn about the mission, goals, and future direction of the Encyclopedia. From the homepage, visitors can read featured articles, learn about the contributors, as well as learn more about the content providers, such as the International Society for Ecological Economists. Visitors can then browse the Encyclopedia by article title, author, topic, content partner, or content source. For those who are geographically inclined, the Where in the World? feature lists article by location. Needless to say, this site is a great resource for anyone looking for excellent information on subjects ranging from acid rain to Vladimir Kosma Zworykin. [KMG]

Mathematics Resources

Good resources for mathematics educators can be difficult to find, but fortunately Kathy Schrock has brought together a very nice set of links that will be of interest to those looking for materials on algebra, trigonometry, probability, and any number of other related fields. The links are organized alphabetically, and visitors can also use the search engine that appears in the top right-hand corner of the page. Some of the highlights on the site include links to Ask Dr. Math, Math Forum, and the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives for Interactive Mathematics. Visitors may also use an online form to contact Schrock if they have any questions or comments. [KMG]

General Interest

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly [Real Player, pdf]

Produced by Thirteen/WNET New York, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly has been a PBS fixture since September 1997. The program takes on the important subjects of religion and ethics in a manner that is rather engaging, and the same can be said of their very fine website. First-time visitors to the site will want to look over the This Weeks Stories to get a sense of the programming offered here. Of course, they can also just listen to the entire weekly show in its entirety, or download it and take it with them on their personal audio device. Educators will want to take a look at the For Teachers area, which features a number of lesson plans and teaching tips designed to be used in conjunction with segments from the program and related websites. Finally, visitors can also search the contents of the site via a handy search engine that sits at the right-hand corner of every page. [KMG]

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Seafood Watch Program [pdf]

As an old saying goes, There are only so many fish in the sea, and this is a saying that is becoming more and more true each year. With that in mind, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has developed the Seafood Watch site to help people make informed decisions about purchasing different types of seafood. The site contains sections such as Which Seafood To Buy & Why, Why Your Choices Matter, and What You Can Do. In the Which Seafood to Buy & Why section, visitors can take a look at some regional seafood guides and also learn which types of seafood are most endangered. Visitors can also order free copies of these guides online and also sign up to receive their free newsletter. [KMG]

Arts and Culture in the Metropolis: Strategies in Sustainability [pdf]

Many policy analysts and urbanologists are interested in the role that cultural institutions play in cities, and this report from the RAND Corporation explores the interaction between these institutions and the different cities in which they are located. Released in March 2007, this 124-page report was authored by Kevin F. McCarthy, Elizabeth Heneghan Ondaatje, and Jennifer L. Novak. After starting their research in Philadelphia, this team of researchers moved on to study systems of support for the arts in eleven different metropolitan areas, including Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh. Their findings include the observation that while the nonprofit arts sector flourished over the past decade, the sector continues to face a number of challenges, including shifting funding patterns and a public that is skeptical of government growth or increased taxes. As one of the authors commented in the report, It is crucial that cities like Philadelphia realize how much the arts can contribute to other city goals, such as economic competitiveness, tourism, and quality of life. [KMG]

Exploration: Vanderbilts Online Research Magazine [Macromedia Flash Player]

Theres a great deal of interesting research going on at Vanderbilt University, and their in-house online research magazine titled Exploration offers up detailed stories about some of this compelling work. Visitors to the site will enjoy looking through detailed multimedia presentations on the cosmological nature of diamonds, the facts of life in a cancer laboratory, and those unstoppable racing neurons. Visitors can also browse these features by themes, which include social sciences, life sciences, and engineering. Additionally, visitors can sign up to receive RSS feeds and chime in with their opinions via a contact page. Overall, this site is quite a nice find, and one that inspire other universities and colleges to set up a like-minded site. [KMG]

Electric Motorboat Drag Racing [pdf, Windows Media Player]

If you thought Electric Motorboat Drag Racing was the name of a hip new band, you would be wrong. However, if you thought a moment and decided it might be a useful online hands-on physics project for students you would be correct. Drawing from a range of disciplines (such as engineering and physics) this site contains information for educators who seek to help their students learn about these fields in a way that is both educationally sound and quite a bit of fun. Visitors can start by reviewing the project rules and also looking through the online photo gallery, which includes video clips of the boats in action. Additionally, the sites Information for Teachers section features information on how to create the actual boats and on how to effectively incorporate this project into their science curriculum. [KMG]

The World of Jack London [Windows Media Player]

Jack Londons life included trips to the Yukon, a front-row seat at the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 and many journeys aboard his beloved sailing vessel, the Snark. During his short life, London found time to write over a dozen novels, numerous short stories, and hundreds of articles on socialism and other weighty matters of his day. Later, he would also become the hero of another literary Jack, who happened to enjoy wandering on the road and in various subterranean locales. Maintained by Dave Hartzell, this site is a virtual cornucopia of all things Jack London, including full-text version of his novels, rare articles penned by London, and copious amounts of information about his family and his ranch in the Sonoma Valley. Visitors can also look over a number of scholarly works related to London, including a complete bibliography of his poetry and the first English-language translation of Dr. Vil Bykovs two volume biography of London. Finally, visitors should not depart the site without taking a look at Londons first published story, Two Gold Bricks, which is also available here. [KMG] [pdf]

With financial support from The Joyce Foundation, The Center for Responsive Politics created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Watch in 2001. As one might expect, the objective of the FEC Watch is to increase enforcement of the nations campaign finance, lobbying, and ethics laws. Students of political science and the general public will enjoy perusing this site, as they can learn about the Watchs recent activities and also learn more about recent campaign reform activities in Congress. New visitors may wish to start by looking over the How Things Work section. Here they will learn about how the FEC enforces federal campaign finance laws and about related matters, such as rulemaking, litigation, and advisory opinions. Additionally, the Watch site contains a set of annotated links to other related centers, such as the Annenberg Public Policy Center and the Brennan Center for Justice. [KMG]

Faraway Places, Fabulous Journeys: Travels on Paper, 1450-1700

Using this small web feature from the National Gallery of Art, visitors can closely examine four relatively fragile and little seen works from the Gallery's collections: The Triumph of Dionysus, ca. 1598, an etching by Pierre Brebiette; The Land of Cockaigne, 1564, an etching by Niccol Nelli; seven scenes from The Journey to Constantinople, published 1553, a woodcut by Pieter Coecke van Aelst; and Etow Oh Koam, King of the River Nation, ca. 1710, a mezzotint by John Simon. What these works have in common (as well as the sixty works on paper on view at the museum thorough September 16, 2007) is that they were created to give Europeans a glimpse of distant and imaginary places, at a time when images were in much shorter supply than at present, and photography did not exist. Each print is presented with numbered details that can be moused over for more information. For example, in the mythical Land of Cockaigne there is a pot on top of a mountain of cinnamon that spews out pasta. It is also possible to zoom in on any of the images, for a close up of additional details, such as the turtle totem of Etow Oh Koam. [DS]

Network Tools

eNewsletter Manager Free Edition 2.3.20

Electronic newsletters cover every subject from gender studies to smart growth, and those persons who publish them will appreciate these handy application. This version of eNewsletter manager gives users the ability to manage up to three newsletter databases, create alternate HTML and text message versions, and also to send personalized email messages to recipients. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, and Vista. [KMG]

Adium 1.0.4

Adium X 1.0.4 is an instant messaging application that brings together a host of stimulating visual interface options with the ability to function correctly with messaging applications that include MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and AIM. Users can search their previous messages and they can also organize their contacts in a single list. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Celebrated jumping frogs of Calaveras County continue to jump, despite some disagreements

Winning jump almost a record break

Celebrating, and Quarreling Over, Frogs

Frog jumping world is split in twain over money

Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee

California red-legged frog, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Mark Twain and American Humor

In 1865, Mark Twain was a little known journalist working in the boomtown of San Francisco. He would soon lose his anonymity upon the publication of his first short story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, a tale that brought together a compulsive gambler and his frog in a literary endeavor that was equally parts American folklore, satire, and wit. Twain wouldnt have been surprised to learn that eighteen years after he passed away that a group of central Californians would come together to start the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, but he might have been surprised at all the fracas that has surrounded the event as of late. The dispute, as with many things of this world, revolves around money, and involves a disagreement between the Angels Camp Boosters (who have organized the frog-jumping events since the events began in 1928) and the organizers of the Calaveras County Fair. Despite these factional disputes, the events went on as planned this past Sunday and the frog Lisa Can Do won big at this fabled event with a triple-jump of 21 feet, 4 inches. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece from the this Mondays Union-Democrat about the results of the Calaveras County frog jumping competition, peppered with a few quotes from the winning frog-handler, Brent Bloom of Sacramento. The second link leads to a piece from the New York Times about the monetary dispute that threatened this years competition. Moving on, the third link whisks users away to an article from the Telegraph about both the competition and the recent controversy surrounding it. The fourth link leads to the rather fun website dedicated to the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. Those who missed the frog jumping will be glad to learn that they still have time to make it to the upcoming Calaveras County 4-H Junior Livestock Auction Buyers Dinner, which is scheduled to take place on May 31st. The fifth link leads to a page that provides some details about the endangered California red-legged frog, which happens to be the frog featured in Twains short story. Needless to say, this tiny frog is strictly forbidden from being utilized in competitive frog-jumping. Finally, the last link leads to a great set of curriculum activities offered by EDSITEment for teachers who wish to engage students in a discussion about Mark Twain and American humor. There are a number of nice items here, including the complete version of Twains tale of frogs, gambling, and the Old West. [KMG]

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