The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 26

July 6, 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

CIA Special Collections: Cold War Era Hard Target Analysis of Soviet and Chinese Policy and Decision Making, 1953-1973 [pdf]

The CIA has been involved in many activities and secret missions since its creation, and only recently has the general public been privy to the formerly classified analytic monographs and reference aids that the agency has created from the past. This particular release happens to highlight the CIAs efforts from the 1950s through the 1970s to research various aspects of Soviet and Chinese internal politics and Sino-Soviet relations. All told, this collection contains 11,000 pages of analysis, spread across 147 documents. The documents are rather fascinating, and they include such titles as Death of Stalin from July 1953 and a rather intriguing piece titled The Decline of Mao Tse-Tsung from 1962. For anyone with an interest in international relations or political science, this collection will prove quite invaluable. [KMG]

Re-thinking Policies to Cope With Desertification [pdf]

The phenomenon and process of desertification is one that is currently threatening one-third of the worlds population from Algeria to China. In December 2006, the United Nations convened a large panel of expert researchers to create a set of new, and hopefully, more effective policies that will help international organizations, national governments, and other concerned parties deal with the very real threat of massive desertification. The report itself is 37 pages and contains sections like Innovations to Mainstream Desertification in the Policy Agenda and Connecting Policies for Desertification, Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss. Fortunately, the report has a number of pragmatic solutions, including the adoption of environmentally sustainable farming practices, such as encouraging forests in dryland areas. [KMG]

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies [pdf[

Named after one of the 20th centurys great physicists, the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies conducts advanced basic research on the governance of modern societies. With a team of researchers working on a wide range of topics, the Institutes home is in Cologne, and they have formal research agreements with the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies, among others. From their homepage, visitors can read about their latest research, examine fellowship opportunities, and their public lecture series. Scholars will want to begin by visiting the Research section, which features information on their project areas, which include the sociology of markets, the governance of global structures, and institutional change in contemporary capitalism. The site also includes the Publications area. Here, visitors can read the latest working papers, discussion papers, and research reports written by researchers and staff members affiliated with the Institute. [KMG]

Building Design [Macromedia Flash Player, Windows Media Player, iTunes, QuickTime]

The Building Design site bills itself as the architects website, and it is a claim that is quite accurate and apropos. Designed to complement their print publication, the site is a treasure-trove of material for just about anyone who is involved in any aspect of building, including architects, design theorists, planners, and so on. As the magazine is based in the United Kingdom, theres definitely a British Isles focus. Readers probably wont mind as the site offers excellent coverage of the field in the News section, where they can sign up to receive email updates, watch some slideshows of new and proposed buildings, and read long-form pieces. Not surprisingly, the site is keeping up with the proverbial Joneses by offering a smattering of intelligent and lively blogs, coupled with podcasts that mix contemporary interviews and discussions with archived materials such as talks with Buckminster Fuller on his environmental philosophy. [KMG]

Mapping the Growth of Older America [pdf]

As the American population continues to age, there is a growing concern in some quarters that the government and the private sector might be ill-prepared with the increased demands of an older population. The Brookings Institution published a rather insightful 28-page paper on the growth of older America, authored by noted demographer William H. Frey. Drawing on analyses performed with data from past U.S. Censuses, Frey comments on a number of trends, including the migration of older Americans into economically dynamic Sun Belt areas such as Austin, Atlanta, and Dallas. The report makes excellent use of maps, charts, and graphs that track the projected growth of senior populations by state and the counties with the fastest-growing senior population. For urbanologists and planners, this report will be quite helpful. [KMG]

Resource: Teaching High School Science

Both new and experienced science high school teachers will find something of interest within this six-part series created by WGBH Boston. The creation of the program was supported by the Annenberg Media organization, and visitors can view all of these programs in the comfort of their home (or classroom). As the program site notes The Teaching High School Science library will help teachers integrate national science standards and inquiry learning into their curricula. The programs include classrooms investigating chemical reactions, experiments involving crickets, and explorations into how the Mars landscape may have formed. After viewing these programs, visitors can also view a list of related programs that are also made available as part of the Annenberg Medias online video library. [KMG]

Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles

Created by Alexander Bogomolny, this site is a clearinghouse of fun and engaging mathematics exercises, puzzles, and other such activities that teachers can utilize in their classrooms. Of course, students might happen across the site and they might become math converts along the way. First-time visitors might wish to read Bogomolnys manifesto for the site, and then they can dive right into the material offered here. The offerings are divided into a number of sections, including Visual Illusions, Algebra, and Probability. One particularly nice feature of the site is that many of the exercises and activities here are accompanied by helpful Java applets that include charts, graphs, and other such dynamic elements. Finally, visitors shouldnt leave without visiting the Mathematical Droodles section as its both engaging and thought-provoking. [KMG]

Lesson Plans on Aging Issues [pdf]

As the average age of persons in the United States continues to rise, there is a growing need to educate people about various aspects of gerontology. At Ithaca College, the staff members at the Gerontology Institute have worked to create a range of lesson plans that deal explicitly with aging issues. All of these plans have been field tested in the classroom and they were designed to meet rigorous New York state standards. After reading the About The Project section, visitors should head for the Lesson Plans area. Here teachers and other parties can download lesson materials such as The Baby Boomers and Social Security and Myths and Facts About Aging. The site also includes a list of suggested readings and related weblinks. [KMG]

General Interest

Foundation for Landscape Studies [pdf]

Geographers, historians, landscape designers, urban planners, and poets have all been fascinated with both natural and human-made landscapes for centuries. The mission statement of the Foundation for Landscape Studies might resonate with many of these groups of people: To foster an active understanding of the importance of place in human life. From the organizations homepage, visitors can learn more about their organization, read about their overarching goals, and examine their photo gallery. In the gallery, they will find photo essays that include Ancient Sites of the Andean Desert and New Orleans After the Flood. The site is rounded out by their in-house journal, Site/Lines. Visitors can look over the complete run of the journal, which includes pieces on landscape architecture, landscape management, and the portrayal of idealized landscapes. [KMG]

The Carter Center [pdf, QuickTime, iTunes]

After their tenure as chief executive of the United States, some presidents retire from public life, some become Supreme Court justices, and many of them continue their dedication to public service. The Carter Center at Emory University is testimony to Jimmy and Rosalynns Carter commitment to public service. Established in 1982, the Carter Center is committed to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering. Specifically, the Center is primarily interested in a broad range of thematic initiatives and public outreach programs dealing with peace and public health. Visitors can learn about these programs within the Peace and Health sections of the site, where they will find information about their work in combating malaria around the world, observing various elections, and other related initiatives. More casual visitors may wish to just browse through the Carter Center News area, or if they are so inspired, they can even learn about internship and volunteer opportunities at the Center. [KMG]

Profiles in Science: The Mary Lasker Papers [pdf]

Jonas Salk referred to the late Mary Lasker as a matchmaker between science and society. Lasker passed away in 1994, but her influence is still felt today, as she was a major player in the struggle to expand the National Institutes of Health after World War II. During the post-war period, Lasker successfully entered the largely male-dominated world of policy making and scientific research. On this site created by the National Library of Medicine, visitors can read primary documents related to Laskers life and career. Visitors can start by reading a biographical essay about Lasker, and they can delve into some of the digitized documents offered here. These documents include letters to Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator Ted Kennedy, and other politicians of the period. The site is rounded out by the Further Readings area, which contains links to helpful web-based resources, books, and articles. [KMG]

Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era [QuickTime, iTunes]

The memories of 1967s Summer of Love may have faded from the minds of some, but for those who were there it will be hard to forget the music or the spirit of those times. The Whitney Museum in New York has not forgotten this brief, yet productive, period in American contemporary art and popular culture. To explore this period from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, they have brought together a wide ranging selection of paintings, photographs, sculptures, important posters, and other ephemeral items from that period. While the show will not leave New York, the Whitney has created this nice selection of materials from the galleries and placed them online here. Visitors can listen to a podcast about the show, click on digitized versions of some of the artworks, and also view a timeline of some of the periods notable happenings. [KMG]

GeoBirds [Macromedia Flash Player]

There are in fact many, many sites about ornithology, but few have as much of a user-friendly and lively appearance as Geobirds. Billed as your online birding community, the site contains sections like What bird was that?, Share, and Learn. In the What bird was that? area, visitors are taken into the colorful BirdBrain interface, which allows them the opportunity to navigate around the United States to begin determining which type of bird they may have spotted. Its quite a bit of fun, and the interface is easy to use. In the Share section, visitors can let fellow users know what they have seen recently by adding their bird-watching data to this interactive map of North America. The site is rounded out by the Learn section, which includes an online field guide (complete with photographs and full descriptions) that allows users to learn about everything from the Alberts Towhee to the Zone-tailed hawk. [KMG]

JAMA Patient Page [pdf]

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has been committed to providing the general public with a number of high-quality print and online resources in recent years, and their collection of Patient Pages is quite thorough and most welcome. With over 390 entries, each Patient Page contains a basic overview of such topics as Lyme disease, dementia, lymphoma, and dozens of other conditions, medical procedures, and practices. Along with succinct and accessible summaries for each entry, visitors will also find illustrations, graphs, and diagrams that help explain each topic. All in all, this site is a tremendous resource, and it is worth noting that many of these Patient Pages are also available in Spanish. [KMG]

Air & Space Power Course

While Alfred Thayer Mahan may have been obsessed with the role of naval power in warfare, the 20th century saw the rise of air and space power in a way that might have surprised even Mahan himself. Persons with an interest in the history of air and space power in the United States will definitely appreciate this interactive online course, which was created by the United States Air Force. After completing a free registration form, visitors can go through modules that deal with airpower theory, the foundations of airpower doctrine, and some of the deviations from airpower doctrine that occurred from 1947 to 1986. Some of the material offered here may be most relevant to those serving in the Air Force, but as the site notes Air and space power enthusiasts of all persuasions are welcomed. [KMG]

How We Are: Photographing Britain

At first glance, the web site for this show of photography at the Tate Britain the first major exhibition of photography ever to be held at the museum - doesn't seem to include digital version of many photographs from the physical show. There are two albums of historical photos: Mr. & Mrs. Welford's photograph album, and The Ragged School Union, that hold roughly 200 hundred pictures, along with handwritten texts and captions that, although faithfully scanned, are a bit hard to read. There are also a few examples of professional and documentary photography on the site. First impressions can be deceiving though, because the other first about this exhibition, is that the Tate Britain is inviting members of the public to contribute, using the photo sharing service, Flickr. The section entitled How We Are Now links to hundreds of photographs submitted to the exhibition's Flickr pool, in four categories: portrait, landscape, still life or documentary. Submissions will close on July 25th, and curators at the Tate will select 40 images - one from each category - and these final 40 images will be added to the exhibition's website. [DS]

Network Tools

NewsGator Online Free RSS Reader

Are you enamored of the theater scene in Sri Lanka? Perhaps you have an interest in the latest cricket matches in Pakistan? Either way, the NewsGator Online Free RSS Reader can keep users up to date. With this latest edition of this news aggregator, users can search their database of 1.5 million feeds and pick the ones that are of interest. The homepage for the reader even includes a quick video tour of the new features available in this new release. This particular version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and Vista. [KMG]

Picasa 2.7

Created by the folks at Google, Picasa 2.7 is an application that allows users to organize all of their prized photos. Of course, the application also lets users share these photos with others through email and the web, and curious parties can also add different effects as they see fit. As with other Google products, visitors will find that there is ample support offered via Picasas website, including a glossary of terms and information on the latest updates and fixes. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and Vista. [KMG]

In The News

Continuing its travels, the original On the Road manuscript returns to Jack Kerouacs birthplace

Fans stage marathon reading of On the Road

On the Roads Bumpy Journey [Real Player]

Jack Kerouac: From Lowell to Legend

C-SPAN: American Writers II, Jack Kerouac [Real Player]

NPR: Jack Kerouacs On the Road, Present at the Creation [Real Player]

Kerouac Kalendar

The Art of Fiction: Jack Kerouac [pdf]

On October 21, 1969, Jack Kerouac, the prolific American author died of an internal hemorrhage in St. Petersburg, Florida. Despite Kerouacs desire to be known primarily as a writer, many remember him because of his iconic status as a leader of the so-called Beat Generation. Perhaps his best known work is his sprawling, stream of consciousness travel narrative, On The Road. Recently, the book celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in print, and while Kerouac has been gone for almost forty years, the original manuscript of this book continues to travel through the United States. The entire work is contained on a 120-foot scroll, consisting of a series of single-spaced typed twelve-foot long rolls of paper that have been taped together. This remarkable document has been traveling around the country for the past few years at the request of its owner, Jim Irsay, who also happens to own the Indianapolis Colts. Recently, the scroll went home, in a matter of speaking, as it began a four-month residency at the Boot Cotton Mills Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts. As Lowell is Kerouacs birthplace, it seems fitting that it will get a chance to be around the places and milieu that informed a good deal of his own writings, musings, and reflections. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a news story from the CBC about a recent marathon reading of On The Road which took place this past Saturday at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Created by WBUR in Boston, the next link leads to an audio news piece about getting On the Road published. Moving along, the third link leads to a very interactive feature about Kerouacs life in Lowell from the Lowell Sun. Here, visitors can view some great photographic slide shows, take a glance at a walking tour, and read some articles about Kerouacs legacy. The fourth link leads to a two-hour presentation from C-SPANs American Writers II series that features interviews with historians, Kerouacs friends, and others. The fifth link whisks visitors away to a multimedia site created by NPR that contains excerpts from On the Road, clips from conversations with Kerouac and his friend Neal Cassady, and a short video clip of Kerouac reading his work while Steve Allen tickles the ivories. The sixth link leads to the very comprehensive Kerouac Kalendar. Here, visitors can read all about the scrolls upcoming stops, conferences, readings, and all other events dealing with Kerouac. The last link leads to a long interview with Kerouac conducted by The Paris Review in 1968. [KMG]

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