The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 24

June 22, 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

OpenLearn: Mathematics and Statistics

The Open University had long been dedicated to the proposition of providing high-quality educational materials for persons all over Britain and the world. They were one of the first universities to place such materials online, and their OpenLearn website has received high marks from many quarters. This particular section of materials on their site is devoted to providing instructional units in both math and science. Currently, the site contains about 30 different units, and visitors can stroll through these units and take in their materials at their leisure. The units include such titles as Modeling pollution in the Great Lakes, Exploring data: graphs and numerical summaries, and Using vectors to model. [KMG]

The Calculus Page

From time to time over the past several centuries, the word calculus has caused more than a few college students to break out into a sweat and become a bit anxious. These potentially embarrassing moments can be alleviated by a visit to The Calculus Page. The site is under the direction of Professors Joel Hass and Duane Kouba, and it features dozens of links to valuable online resources that deal with this branch of mathematical inquiry and discovery. The first section of the site is dedicated to providing materials for students of calculus (including calculus animations and sample exams) and a number of resources for instructors follow. The site is rounded out by links to other relevant websites and online portals, so interested parties will definitely want to make several return visits. [KMG]

Quantitative Literacy [Macromedia Flash Player]

Quantitative literacy is rather important, and for teachers working in different areas of the mathematical sciences, it can be of the utmost importance. Working with different schools of the Beyond Crossroads consortium, this website provides a number of helpful resources on this important subject. The site is divided into areas that include What is Quantitative Literacy? and Quantitative Literacy Websites. In the first area, visitors can view video clips of different experts talking about the nature of quantitative literacy and its applications in a number of educational settings, including community colleges. After looking at some of these clips, visitors will want to look at the Books and Articles on Quantitative Literacy area, which includes information about high-quality print and online resources that address this topic. [KMG]

Harvard Iranian Oral History Project [Real Player]

Oral histories can be quite fascinating, and a number of significant collections have been placed online as of late. One of the best-known projects might be Harvard Universitys own Iranian Oral History Project (IOHP). The collection consists of the personal accounts of over 150 individuals who were eyewitnesses (or active participants) to a range of crucial political events in Iran from the 1920s to the 1980s. Visitors can start their journey through this site by going to the About section, where they can learn about the history of the IHOP and the interviewing process. After that, visitors can go the actual Transcripts area, where they can view an index of interviews, and in certain cases, they can listen to audio recordings of these conversations. [KMG]


Online portals that take on policy issues in different parts of the world are increasing in popularity and the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) recently created just such a portal. Working in tandem with a number of existing sites, the Vox site is designed to feature research-based policy analysis and commentary from Europes leading economists. As such, the site consists of original columns that range in length from 500-1500 words in length, which are written at an analytical level that lies between what one might find in a newspaper article and a scholarly journal. Recent pieces that have appeared on the site include Does financial globalization help? and Do Americans really pay too much for pharmaceuticals? Visitors can post comments on different pieces of writing and also sign up to receive RSS feeds. [KMG]

NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Education [pdf, Quick Time, Real Player]

From Monterey to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the United States has a coterie of marine sanctuaries and habitats that are quite rich in their diversity of marine life. Teachers will particularly appreciate the National Marine Sanctuaries Education site as it offers up a number of instructional materials for use in the classroom, including lesson plans and video clips. Much of this material can be found in the For Teachers area, and instructors can make use of the West Coast Field Guide and specialized materials on humpback whales. For those looking for more specific data, there is also an Ocean Data area that features GIS materials on the various marine sanctuaries, along with instructional materials that make use of satellite images. Finally, visitors can sign up to be notified via email when new materials are added to the site. [KMG]

Sitio Conte Online Collection [pdf]

In 1940, the University of Pennsylvania Museum embarked on a massive archaeological expedition to the pre-Columbian site at Sitio Conte, Panama. Their work yielded some rather amazing finds, including the discovery of a cemetery that contained elaborate gold work and painted pottery that dated back to 450 CE. This site brings together the documents created by the expedition leaders, including diaries, various pieces of correspondence, field notes, and so on. First-time visitors will want to read through the expedition summary, and then proceed to some of these documents. They can click on the Document Archives area to learn more about each separate collection, and then make their way through items of interest. Its a very fine collection, and one that archaeologists and those in related fields of endeavor will want to take a close look at. [KMG]

Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion [pdf]

The Pew Hispanic Center has worked on numerous reports and studies during its existence, and this recent report may be one of its most compelling. Released in April 2007, the report takes an informed and broad look at the ways in which Latinos are transforming American religion. Working in collaboration with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, the Pew Hispanic Center conduced over 4600 interviews in order to create an accurate portrait of the ways in which Latinos worship and how the emergence of Latino-oriented churches is changing the broader religious landscape across the United States. The report is divided into eight chapters, which include Religious Practices and Beliefs, The Ethnic Church, and Ideology and Policy Issues. Its an important look at these trends, and visitors with an eye towards religion and public policy will enjoy browsing through the report or forwarding it to colleagues. [KMG]

General Interest

Academy of Natural Sciences [pdf]

Like many great institutions in Philadelphia, the Academy of Natural Sciences has a long and storied history. The Academy was started in 1812, and in no time at all, the members of this institution were making expeditions to all corners of the globe. Today, they still sponsor such scientific expeditions, and their website is a great way to learn about their educational outreach activities as well as their museum. As with many institutions in this vein, the Academys online exhibits are rather compelling, and visitors can access them through the Museum tab from the homepage. Exhibits include a photographic tour of Thomas Jeffersons famed fossil collection and an overview of the work of Joseph Leidy, a noted 19th century paleontologist and anatomist. If that wasnt enough, the Scientific Research area of the site provides copious amounts of printed literature (including reports and briefs) based on research done at the Academy. Overall, the site will be of great use to the generally curious and to those working in science education and instruction. [KMG]

Amazing Grace [Real Player]

Many Americans might think that the hymn Amazing Grace was written in the United States, but in fact it was penned in 1779 in England. The song is without a doubt one of the best-known hymns in the United States, and this lovely site, created by the Library of Congresss Performing Arts Digital Library, explores the history behind this song. Visitors should definitely start by looking at the About Amazing Grace area, which includes an illustrated timeline of the song, along with a piece on the creation of the song and an essay on the history of sound recordings of the number. After all of that, visitors should make their way to the digital collections area, where they can view scores of the work and then they may wish to listen to a number of recordings of the work by such artists as Johnny Cash, the Soul Stirrers, Chet Atkins, and Skeeter Davis. [KMG]

Harlem Hospital WPA Murals [Real Player]

In 1936 the Works Progress Administrations Federal Art Project joined the Harlem Renaissance, when the WPA commissioned a set of murals designed for the Harlem Hospital Center. In an era where African American visual artists had a particularly difficult time finding work, this project represented a unique opportunity. While the murals fell into disrepair over the decades, they were finally restored to their original glory in the 1990s. Created by the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University, this site tells the story of these murals, their creators, and the controversy surrounding their subject matter. The site contains a number of video clips that talk about the artwork, along with some nice biographical portraits of the artists, who included Charles Alston, Vertis Hayes, and Georgette Seabrooke. Of course, the murals can also be viewed in their entirety here, and they are simply wonderful to behold. [KMG]

World Lung Foundation [pdf]

Lung diseases and related conditions are serious matters, and the World Lung Foundation is dedicated to improving lung health in all regions of the world. The Foundation works with a number of like-minded organizations, including the World Health Organization and the STOP TB Partnership. The Foundation is primarily concerned with researching lung ailments such as acute respiratory infections and tuberculosis, and they also have created a number of education and training programs for health personnel. The site contains six primary thematic areas, including Tobacco, TB and Lung Disease, and Lung Health News. First-time visitors will want to look at the Lung Health News area first, as it contains a number of direct news links to recent articles that deal primarily with the worldwide fight against tuberculosis. The site also contains a rather helpful photo image library that includes images of air pollution, tobacco use, and asthma. [KMG]

Brooklyn Museum: Hiroshiges One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Many things from Japan have migrated over to the borough of Brooklyn, but none of them probably have the elegant simplicity of Utagawa Hiroshiges prints of his hometown of Edo, now known as Tokyo. Working through the 19th century, Hiroshige created 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth century Tokyo. While the actual prints are rather delicate, they can be viewed at ones leisure online, courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, where they reside. The site contains an essay on Hiroshige and his life and a very helpful primer titled How to Read a Japanese Woodblock Print. Of course, there are the actual images themselves, which can be browsed by season or by keywords, which include rain, dawn, and of course, city life. [KMG]

The Great War

As many historians know, the Great War was meant to be the war to end all wars, but this was regrettably not the case. During this period, many artists and members of the literati offered their impassioned feelings about the conflict and its aftermath in the form of poetry. Created by the scholar Harry Rusche, this site was designed as a resource for courses in World War I poetry. The site contains sections such as Poetry, Postcards, and Links. Visitors will want to begin their journey through the site by clicking on the Poetry area, where they will find digitized versions of rare poetry volumes that address various aspects of this world conflict. Specifically, they might do well to look over the Flower of Youth: Poems in War Time volume, which contains the poems A Girls Song and To One in Grief. The Postcards section offers a number of postcards created during World War I that deal with different aspects of nationalism, the military, and life on the homefront. [KMG]

Wisconsin Blue Books

Published since 1879, the Wisconsin Blue Books comprise a veritable treasure trove of information about the Badger State. Recently, the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections group digitized all of the Blue Books from the first volume up to the 2003-2004 volume. Within each volume, visitors can browse the complete contents, which include U.S. Census statistics, election statistics, information on state finances, and biographical sketches of various persons within the state. Visitors may also wish to perform a more detailed search across all of these volumes, or they can also use the table of contents for each volume to hone in on different topical areas of interest. [KMG]

Cooperative Conservation [pdf]

Started as an initiative by the United States government, Cooperative Conservation describes the efforts of landowners, communities, conservation groups, industry, and governmental agencies who join together to conserve our environment. Their website provides substantial details about their programs, which range from professional training opportunities to an online library of documents related to the creation of this initiative. In the training opportunities area, visitors can learn about programs offered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Services National Conservation Training Center. The homepage also provides information about recent success stories, including the creation of the Northwest Florida Greenway Project. [KMG]

Network Tools

JetAudio Basic

Multimedia software can be a bit pricey at times, so it is with great relief that the Scout Report can report on a new version of the visually stimulating JetAudio Basic application. With its compact design, this application allows visitors to create their own Internet broadcasts, and it also can play all major file formats. For those who love audio effects, the application can also create nice cross-fade and also bridge transitions between songs as well. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

Ad-Aware 2007

Ad-Aware is known for its well-crafted spyware removal programs, and this latest free version of their program continues in that tradition. Users will find that the programs interface utilizes two skins and six tabs in the navigation bar, and that they can initiate file scans and also peruse the results of such scans after they are complete. This version also supports a number of browsers and it can also perform an extensive web-history cleanup. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

After another veto, supporters of increased funding for embryonic stem cell research regroup

Bush vetoes stem cell funds bill

Bushs second veto frustrates supporters of stem cell research

NIH Stem Cell Information Home Page [pdf]

NPR: Key Moments in the Stem-Cell Debate

NOVA: Stem Cells [Real Player, Quick Time]

Embryonic Stem Cell Research at UW-Madison [Quick Time]

Research that draws on embryonic stem cells has been the subject of a very passionate debate over the past several years. Some have claimed that using embryonic stem cells for research purposes involves the destruction of potential human life, and others maintain that the promise of using these cells for research could possibly lead to cures for diseases from Alzheimers to Parkinsons. Since 2001, President George W. Bush has effectively limited funding for this type of stem cell research to those stem cell lines that were in existence as of August of that year. This Wednesday, President Bush once again vetoed another bill that would have eased the existing restraints on providing additional federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Bush commented, Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical. And it is not the only option before us. Bush continued on in his remarks to note that there had been several important discoveries made in this area which utilized adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid. This was only the third presidential veto exercised by President Bush during his time in office, and a number of politicians who are greatly upset by this decision (along with their constituents) are calling for a veto override. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a news article from the BBC, which reports on President Bushs veto of the stem cell research bill, along with a number of helpful visual illustrations and links to several Q&A features on the subject of stem cell ethics. The second link will take visitors to an article from this Wednesdays Salt Lake Tribune that offers reactions from Utahans on this recent development. Moving along, the third link whisks users to the National Institute of Healths Stem Cell Information Site. Here, visitors can learn more about stem cells and about the existing federally funded stem cell lines. The fourth link will lead interested parties to a very nice overview of important moments in stem cell research history from 1981 to the present day, offered by National Public Radio. The fifth link leads to an excellent feature from NOVAs Science Now program on stem cells. Visitors to the site can view a fifteen-minute video program on stem cell research, take an interactive poll, and also learn more about the cloning process. Finally, the last link leads visitors to a site which provides information about the research being done with the embryonic stem cell lines at the University of Wisconsin. [KMG]

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