The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 22

June 8, 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

Darwin Correspondence Project

Started in 1974 by the American scholar Frederick Burkhardt, the Darwin Correspondence Project has been scouring the globe to find all of the letters written by (and to) Charles Darwin. So far, they have collected over 14,500 letters and they have placed transcripts of thousands of these letters online on this very fine site. Currently there are about 5000 digitized (and searchable) letters available here. They include all of the surviving letters from his rather momentous voyage on the Beagle and all of the letters from the years around the publication of Origin of Species in 1859. The site also contains thematic collections of letters that deal with Darwins evolving thoughts on religion, science, ethics, and the very boundaries of science and religion. Without a doubt, this is a site that will warrant several visits and for anyone with a penchant for the history of science this site is one that will be most welcome. [KMG]

Getting Started With Excel

Excel is a very common spreadsheet application, and developing mastery of this powerful tool can be a bit difficult for those who might be less experienced with its various features and analytical tools. This rather useful Excel tutorial is part of the website, which was developed by Professor Sharon Garrison of the University of Arizona. The tutorial is divided into eight sections, which include Entering and Editing Data, Formatting the Worksheet, and Creating a Chart. Each section contains several short paragraphs of text, complemented effectively with a few helpful graphics. The tutorial is rounded out by several problem assignments that will make sure students have mastered some of the basic features of Excel. [KMG]

Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching

Based at the University of Plymouth, the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching has developed many instructional materials designed to help both novice and experienced math teachers. This particular area of their website provides access to a number of interactive mathematics tutorials. The materials are divided into eight units, including those that deal with factors, mathematical diagrams, proportion, and estimating. Within each unit, users will find a number of example questions and related exercises. All of the materials offered here are quite accessible and easy to use, and users will find coverage of everything from prime factors to the sometimes-daunting Pythagorean theorem. [KMG]

Restoring Prosperity: The State Role in Revitalizing Americas Older Industrial Cities [pdf]

American cities have undergone a robust period of renaissance and rejuvenation as of late, but not all cities have been able to partake in this process. This vexing topic is the subject of a May 2007 report authored by Jennifer S. Vey for The Brookings Institution. This particular 84-page report is primarily concerned with examining older industrial cities in the Northeast and the Midwest, and the work notes that while the moment is right for growth and development in these urban locales, state governments need to create a new urban agenda for change. The report also offers up five primary objectives for such an agenda, including transforming the physical landscape of these older regions and working towards growing the middle class in these places. [KMG]

Global Corruption Report 2007 [pdf]

The international organization Transparency International is well-known for its distinguished work on investigating corruption around the world, and this latest report from their research team is timely and tremendously valuable. The 429-page report takes a close look at judicial corruption around the world. As the report notes this disturbing trend undermines economic growth by damaging the trust of the investment community, and impedes efforts to reduce poverty. The report includes findings from dozens of countries, and also reveals that at least one in 10 households had to pay a bribe to get access to justice. Visitors will also appreciate the many tables and charts that populate this document, and of course, they can also search through the document for material of particular interest. [KMG]

Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture: Image and Text Collections

The decorative arts and material culture get their full due at this lovely online collection created by the University of Wisconsins Digital Collections program. With generous funding from the Chipstone Foundation, the staff members at the Digital Collections program have digitized a variety of primary and secondary resources related to the decorative arts, with a particular focus on Early America. The materials offered here for consideration include items from the Chipstone ceramics and furniture collection and a number of important early documents, such as The Gentleman and Cabinet-Makers Director from 1754 and Humphry Reptons 1794 work, Sketches and hints on landscape gardening. The site includes several dozens other works, and visitors can also look through all of the materials via a sophisticated search engine. [KMG]

Get Body Smart [Macromedia Flash Player]

Since the days of Andreas Vesalius, humans have been fascinated with describing and accurately depicting various parts of the body in all of their intimate detail. In recent years, a number of enterprising souls have placed materials online that deal with both human anatomy and physiology. Scott Sheffield is one such individual, and he has drawn on his many years of university teaching to create this fine set of instructional diagrams, drawings, and related items. First-time visitors to the site can look over sections that address the skeletal system, the muscular system, and so on. Within each of these sections visitors can view detailed illustrations of various parts of the anatomy, such as the pectoralis major and the biceps brachii. Additionally, each section contains a quiz and a helpful tutorial. While the site may be most helpful for students of the human form (such as nurses, medical technicians, doctors, and aspiring sculptors), just about anyone will find something of interest here. [KMG]

ABC Science Podcasts [iTunes]

The ABC in question here happens to be the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and they have come up with a smashing collection of science podcasts. Visitors can sign up to receive new podcasts via RSS feed, but they should definitely test the waters here by listening to any one of Dr Karls Great Moments of Science or an edition of Talking Science, which features interviews with various luminaries in the worlds of science. Further on down the homepage, visitors will encounter programs that deal with the mind (All in the Mind), the world of occupational health (Life Matters) and the philosophical musings of thoughtful people (Ockhams Razor). Overall, there is some very delectable material here, and one can imagine that such podcasts could be passed along to science classrooms everywhere. [KMG]

General Interest

American Cancer Society: Life Kiosk [Macromedia Flash Player]

The American Cancer Society is intimately involved with cancer prevention and creating various tools to help people who might be dealing with the effects of cancer. They have recently created this site that can be used by the general public or people working in the field of public health. From the homepage, visitors can look over sections that include When should the doctor check for cancer, Quitting Smoking, and Eat Well & Be Active. Within each of these sections, visitors will find helpful and well-researched tools designed to help them in each of these different areas. The Health Tools section is definitely worth a look, as it contains an interactive body mass index calculator and a feature that tabulates the cost of smoking based on an individuals particular habits. [KMG]

The MacDowell Colony Exhibition [Macromedia Flash Player]

Artist colonies have always fascinated the American public, and whether they have been informally organized or not, they seem to provide great opportunities for a variety of collaborations. One of the oldest of these colonies is the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The colony was started in 1907 by the composer Edward MacDowell and his wife Marian, and over the past century it has been host to the likes of Willa Cather, Leonard Bernstein, Thorntown Wilder, and James Baldwin. This site was created in conjunction with an in situ exhibit at the Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress, and visitors to the site will be able to learn about the history of the colony through first-hand accounts, video clips featuring the curators of the exhibit, and objects that have been part of the colonys history. Some of these digitized objects include photographs, manuscripts, and musical scores. [KMG]

Design Life Now [Macromedia Flash Player, iTunes]

Design is one of those elements that we encounter hundreds of times each day in our wanderings, yet many give it nary a second thought. This recent exhibition from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York has given it about 86 second thoughts, as it features the work of 87 designers and firms. All told, they include those in the fields of architecture, robotics, interactive media, landscapes, interiors, and film. Visitors to the site can click on an alphabetical list of the designers featured here, or they can take a look at a list of popular tags, such as defense research, magazines, and animatronics. Not surprisingly, the site includes a number of podcasts that feature interviews with selected designers, including fashion designer Han Feng and textile designer Jessica Smith. The site is rounded out by a blog, which includes the posts The Craft of Manufacturing and Are Designers the Enemies of Design? [KMG]

G8 Summit

Every year, the member states of the Group of Eight (G8) convene in one of their countries to discuss a wide variety of subjects, including globalization, economics, and other weighty matters. This year, the G8 Summit will take place in the German city of Heiligendamm on the Baltic Sea. With all of the preparations going on, it makes sense that the German government has created this site as a clearinghouse of material on the summit. Visitors will find an outline of the summits agenda, news updates, and an extensive section that details the history of these international forums. Also, the Video/Audio section contains webcasts of various events at the forum, including press conferences, meetings, and different briefings. The site is rounded out by an area that lets visitors sign up to receive both email updates and RSS feeds. [KMG]

Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media [pdf]

Started in 1993, The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is part of WGBHs Media Access Group. They are primarily interested in creating appropriate policy and technology programs to make sure that various media and technologies are accessible to people with disabilities. On their site, visitors might wish to start by reading over their Whats New? area, which features some updates on their latest projects, such as their work on simplified captions and access to in-flight entertainment. Moving on, the Projects area contains information on their ongoing and completed projects, which include work on increasing access to emergency alerts and research on edited captions for profoundly deaf children. This area also includes a number of useful publications, such as the 2006 document, Accessible Digital Media: Design Guidelines for Electronic Publications, Multimedia and the Web. [KMG]

The Official Roman Baths Museum Web Site in the City of Bath [Macromedia Flash Player]

There are baths all over the world, and then there are the very unique baths in Bath, England. As the official site for these marvelous edifices proclaims, they are the best preserved Roman religious spa from the ancient world. For first-time visitors, the best place to start is The site today, which is a section that will take visitors around the different parts of this World Heritage Site. In the Curators Comments area, visitors can read comments from Stephen Clews about the ongoing work being done at the site. The site also includes helpful sections on planning a visit and the various collections that are available for use by both the general public and scholars. [KMG]

Introduction to C Programming

Computer programming can be both a delight and a challenge, so it is nice to know that there are a number of online tutorials designed to provide information about entering the world of C programming and other such applications. This particular C programming tutorial was created at the University of Leicester and is designed to provide both an overview of this type of programming, along with some introductory materials on the structure of such programs. This online tutorial is divided into eighteen different discrete sections, such as Control Loops, Conditional Execution, and File Handling. A course assessment form and a database of example programs round out the tutorial. [KMG]

A Hidden Picasso [Macromedia Flash Player]

This short web feature from SFMOMA (the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) shows how art conservators discovered a nightclub scene that 19-year-old Pablo Picasso had painted over completely, transforming the painting into a street scene. Conservator Will Shank believes that Picasso may have done this because the artist thought the street scene would be easier to sell. In a video at the web site, Shank points out that Picasso returned to the nightclub theme in later paintings, further justifying his obliterating this early example. The web feature also includes archival photographs and drawings by the young artist, and views of Paris in 1900. [DS]

Network Tools

Gizmo Project

The Gizmo Project is another application designed to let users make phone calls via their computers, and it has a number of helpful additional features as well. Users can take advantage of free voicemail and conference calls and the sound quality is quite good. This particular version is compatible with all computers running Windows 2000 and XP. [KMG]

Opera 9.21

The web-browser program Opera has been through a number of versions, and this latest iteration offers a number of new features that will catch users attention. Perhaps the most compelling new feature is the Speed Dial option, which allows users to populate this feature with their favorite sites for easy access. Additionally, this version contains an embedded BitTorrent application for downloading large files and advanced fraud protection. This version is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X 10.3.9. [KMG]

In The News

Herds of goats enlisted in the fight against kudzu

In Tennessee, Goats Eat the Vine That Ate the South

Invasive Species: Plants: Kudzu [pdf]

Kudzu-Goat Interactions [pdf]

James Dickey: Kudzu

Kudzu Recipes

Ode to Billy Goats [Quick Time]

In his time, Benjamin Franklin once observed, In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes. Had he visited certain parts of the American South in the early 21st century, he might have added kudzu, effectively completing that troika. This very fast growing vine has spread with amazing speed since its introduction to the United States in 1876, via the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. For decades it was used as an ornamental, but by the 1950s the plant was a ubiquitous part of the landscape in Mississippi, Alabama and other parts of the South. Recently, the city of Chattanooga has decided to enlist a new partner in the ongoing horticultural battle with this noxious weed: goats. The citys public works department decided to allow the goats free reign over a prominent ridge in town that is covered in kudzu, and so far, the results have been encouraging. Of course, things havent been easy, and there is the laugh factor that was recently mentioned by a city forestry inspector, Jerry Jeansonne. Similar programs are also underway in the cities of Tallahassee and Spartanburg, South Carolina, though it remains to be seen whether or not this program can be duplicated on a wider scale. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a New York Times article which talks about the use of goats to control the kudzu of Chattanooga. Moving on, the second link leads to a very thorough website offered by the United States Department of Agricultures National Invasive Species Information Center. Here, visitors can learn about kudzu and the ongoing efforts to control this very hearty species. The third link leads to an important 1992 study that investigated the potential to control kudzu with the use of goats. The fourth link will take users to James Dickeys compelling poem on this very prolific vine. The fifth link leads to a number of creative recipes from one Jane Linton that make use of kudzu in such delights as kudzu blossom jelly and apple cider. Finally, the last link will take users to a recent musical number recorded in tribute to the hard-working goats of Chattanooga. [KMG]

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Copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-2007. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

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