The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 30

August 3, 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

Tools for Print Journalists

An aspiring journalist might ask: Where can I find some resources on how to get great anecdotes out of an interview subject? The short answer is this fine site, which was created and maintained by the Committee of Concerned Journalists within the Tools for Print Journalists area of their main site. Although visitors cant search the various resources, they can scan through the several hundred resources as they see fit, and there are dozens of great things to look at here. For example, Pulitzer Prize-winning report Eric Nalder shares his tips for conducting effective interviews in the Loosening Lips factsheet. Moving on, another resource offers a journalists guide to the Geneva Conventions. Overall, the site is a very useful resource for journalists of all stripes, and its one that journalism instructors can also use in the classroom. [KMG]

Faculty Innovation Center: Resources [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

The University of Texass College of Engineering is committed to continual improvement of their undergraduate curriculum and they have created the Faculty Innovation Center in part to work on this process. Along with the work they do in the classrooms at the University of Texas, they also provide a number of tremendously useful online materials that are relevant to both those involved in engineering education and those who teach all manner of college courses. These resources are divided into several sections here, including Teaching and Learning, Teaching with Technology, and Distance Learning. All told, there are over eighty resources here, including a worksheet on developing effective lectures, a best practices overview for videoconferencing, and a guide to using student feedback. [KMG]

OECD Policy Brief: Lifelong Learning and Human Capital [pdf]

Lifelong learning and human capital are terms that are bandied about quite a bit, and some may still find them a bit puzzling. Fortunately, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECED) has crafted this policy brief to explain some of the basics regarding the importance of human capital and its increasing importance to economic growth. Released in July 2007, this particular 8-page brief answers such questions as What is human capital?, Why is early childhood important?, and How is education responding? For persons interested in a wide range of policy issues, including economic development, this short brief will be most useful. The brief also includes a list of additional readings, some of which are available via the OECDs main site. [KMG]

Flash Fractal Maker [Macromedia Flash Placer]

While some may know fractals primarily from their use in abstract painting and African art, fractals are important elements within the world of mathematics. For those who seek to learn more about the construction of fractals and their uses, this very nice Flash-enabled feature from Daniel Gries at Merrimack College will definitely come in handy. This particular Flash applet draws fractals by means of a recursive algorithm, using a simple generator that users draw in the space that it is provided. Before using the application, users may wish read the overview offered online, and also take the time to read the instructions thoroughly. [KMG]

Federal Communications Law Journal [pdf]

Theres a whole lot of material to cover within the world of communications law, and within their aegis, the Federal Communications Law Journal (FCLJ) covers everything from intellectual property to cable regulation. The Journal is published by Indiana University law students, and it also serves as the official journal for the Federal Communications Bar Association. This status also means that the Journal will occasionally feature pieces by members of Congress and commissioners in the Federal Communications Commission. First-time visitors to the site can browse through the contents of the most recent issues, or they can browse through archived issues all the way back to 1993. Also, visitors can view some of their short commentaries in the Forum area and learn about print subscriptions and submitting manuscripts for consideration. [KMG]

U.S.-China Relations after Resolution of Taiwans Status [pdf]

The question of Taiwans status in the political economy of East Asia has been one that has bedeviled policy experts, government leaders, and others for six decades. Recently, the RAND Corporation crafted this 40-page report on behalf of the United States Air Force to assess the nature of U.S.-China relations after the resolution of Taiwans status. The document begins by identifying the principal pathways by which Taiwans status might be resolved and also examines the consequences for relations between China and the United States. The report is divided into three chapters which deal with near-term prospects, longer-term possibilities, and a set of final observations. Finally, the report concludes with a complete bibliography and several helpful tables. [KMG]

The Water Cycle and Global Warming [pdf]
The Baylor University College of Medicine continues to work at a furious pace on their delightful BioEd Online site, and educators everywhere love them for their work and dedication. Recently, they placed this ready-to-go lessson on the water cycle and global warming online, and its a true delight. As with the other lessons in this series, the materials here include a brief description of the lessons objective, along with information on the intended audience, the materials required to complete the lesson, and so on. Teachers will note that they will need to download a slide set, several activity sheets, and a State of the Climate Report offered from the National Climatic Data Center. [KMG]

Studying how people use YouTube and other digital technologies is a rapidly growing academic enterprise, and Professor Michael Wesch and his colleagues at Kansas State University are doing some interesting work in this area. Visitors can learn about their work by clicking on the Our Projects section which includes profiles of their separate research initiatives, such as Explorations of Mediated Culture and Digital Ethnography of YouTube. As one might expect, the site is not populated with research reports, but a selection of rather compelling YouTube videos that cover such ground as The History of YouTube, Authenticity on the Tube, and A Global Community. The site is rounded out by the World Simulation Project, which is an interactive and recursive classroom experience that is designed to create a map that mimics the geographical, environmental, and biological diversity of the real world. [KMG]

General Interest

Universcale [Macromedia Flash Player]

Created by Nikon, this website provides a bit of insight into the world of scale and the equally enigmatic world of comparing and understanding things which cannot be physically compared. Its a bit hard to compare the size of an elephant to say, Saturn, but this visually stimulating site makes it happen, in a matter of speaking. After a brief introduction, visitors can use the Universcale interface to move in and out of various scales, ranging from that of the known universe to the microscopic. Along the way, visitors can also click on the Help button to get tips on how to navigate the graphic interface. Its pretty easy to imagine that science teachers at a variety of grade and skill levels could use this site to complement class lectures and other activities. [KMG]

Photographic Resource Center at Boston University [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

The Boston Globe once referred to the Photographic Resource Center (PRC) at Boston University as one-stop shopping for the photo buff. For visitors who cant make it into the Hub, the PRC website offers a cornucopia of visually elegant online exhibits, coupled with more basic information about their various programs and educational resources. First-time users of the site may wish to stop by the Northeast Exposure Online area, which offers a web-based showcase of emerging photographic artists from New England as selected by staff members at the PRC. Those persons interested in visiting the PRC should take a look at their Exhibition section, where they can also find look over some of their recent online exhibitions such as the excellent Document: Contemporary Social Documentary Work from Greater Boston. [KMG]

Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count [pdf]

Bringing a more diverse student body into the world of higher education is important, and a number of organizations have teamed up to help more students reach their individual goals, which may include earning a community college certificate or degree. The organizations involved with the Achieving the Dream initiative include The American Association of Community Colleges and The Community College Leadership Program. Visitors to their site can learn more about this initiative and then learn about various community college strategies and events across the United States. Moving along, the Data and Research area is a real gem, and visitors can learn about their research reports and read their monthly newsletter, which addresses such topics as financial aid and developmental math and science courses. [KMG]

Sustainable Development in Coastal Regions and Small Islands [pdf]

The phrase sustainable development may not seem to be an obvious fit for certain coastal regions and small islands, as development in these regions tends to be focused on tourism of the decidedly non-sustainable sort. Many of these areas are concerned about these trends, and working with UNESCO, they are growing more interested in creating policies that encourage sustainable development. As a statement on the site remarks, this program allows for the voices of small islands to be amplified and there is also the intention that indigenous knowledge will be mobilized for equitable resource governance. On the site, visitors can learn about some of these initiatives, read about the hopes and aspirations of youth in these affected areas, and also read up on their field projects. These projects are well worth a look and they include underwater archaeology efforts in Alexandria, Egypt and plans to create sustainable livelihoods for fishers in Jamaica. [KMG]

UnderCover Artists Sketchbooks [Real Player]

Ever wondered what is in an artists sketchbook? Luckily, if you have wondered just such a thing, the Harvard University Art Museums happen to have a number of artists sketchbooks, and they recently digitized a selection of these revealing works for this site. The site was designed to complement a recent in situ exhibition, and visitors can look inside the sketchbooks of John Singer Sargent, Reginald Marsh, Christopher Wilmarth, and others. Visitors can start their journey by listening to an audio clip of the curator, Miriam Stewart, talking about these works, and then can dive right into the digitized sketchbooks. One sketchbook that should not be missed is the sketchbook created by Jacques-Louis David for his work, The Coronation of Napoleon I. Visitors can look at both the verso and recto sides, and within these pages they will find outlines of Josephine, Napoleon, and such minutiae as the colors and fabrics of their costumes. [KMG]

Facing Up To The Nations Finances [pdf, Real Player, Macromedia Flash Player]

A nonpartisan project on the long-term challenges of the federal budget might seem like an impossibility, but a number of organizations have banded together to address this rather important and timely subject. Some of these organizations include the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation, and Viewpoint Learning, and they are all concerned with calling for meaningful action in confronting the various challenges to long-term fiscal stability. As they note on their site, some of these challenges include the impending retirements of the Baby Boomers and the growth in health care costs. First-time visitors may wish to explore the Why It Matters section at length, and then they should take a look at the Resources section. Here visitors will find a number of Fast Facts documents, a glossary of terms, and a selection of widgets. Visitors can also look over the blog and sign up to receive email alerts. [KMG]

Earthquake Science Explained-A Series of Ten Short Articles for Students, Teachers, and Families [pdf]

That swirling bard of American letters and transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, once opined We learn geology the morning after the earthquake. This need never be the case for educators and members of the general public who give careful consideration to this excellent pamphlet created by the United States Geological Survey. Compiled by Matthew A. DAlessio, this document contains ten short articles on earthquakes designed for classroom use. The articles originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, and they include such titles as Find the Fault: Recognizing Active Faults, Looking into the past with earthquake trenches, and How do we make buildings and roads safer?. Additionally, each article contains helpful graphics, illustrations, and photographs. [KMG]

CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship

In 2003, the National Park Service started The Journal of Heritage Stewardship in an effort to share new insights across cultural resource disciplines. To this end, the Journal includes peer-reviewed scholarly articles, viewpoint essays, interviews with experts in a range of relevant disciplines, and compelling reviews of exhibits and websites. For example, in a recent issue the Journal included an essay on cultural heritage and poverty eradication in Uganda, a review of an exhibit on Americas culinary heritage, and a critical review of a book on Mexicans at Hull House. After looking at a couple of issues, visitors may also wish to consult the submission guidelines or opt to contact one of the editors with an idea of their own. [KMG]

Network Tools

Opera Widgets

Earthquake updates, a virtual aquarium, and a ninja maze are but a few of the hundreds of widgets that users of the popular Opera browser can find on this site. First-time visitors to the site can search the Editors Picks, or just browse around through the wide, wide world of these widgets which have been created by various free spirits and other more stolid corporate entities. For those who are looking to return to the pre-digital age, theres even an analog clock widget available. Needless to say, visitors who wish to use these widgets need to have Opera 9 installed on their computers. [KMG]

ePrompter 2.0

Oh, the bother of checking multiple email accounts! For those who are bothered by such matters, never fear, as ePrompter 2.0 is here. ePrompter 2.0 lets users automatically check up to sixteen different password-protected email accounts, including such popular services as those offered by AIM, Hotmail, Gmail, and so on. Visitors can even make use of five screensavers that allow them to see how many new messages they have in each account. This version of ePrompter is compatible with computers running any version of Windows. [KMG]

In The News

Charged with war crimes during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, interrogator says he was following orders from the top.

Cambodian Tribunal Indicts Khmer Rouge Prison Chief

First Khmer Rouge Leader charged

As It Happens Daily: Khmer Rouge [iTunes]

Cambodian Genocide Project [pdf]

Tuol Sleng: Photos from Pol Pots Secret Prison

After years of wrangling over a variety of important procedural details and other matters, an UN-backed tribunal has brought formal charges against former Khmer Rouge leader, Kang Kek Ieu. This Tuesday, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia charged him with crimes against humanity. Ieu was the Khmer Rouges chief interrogator and he was responsible for overseeing the Tuol Sleng S-21 prison, where 14,000 inmates died of torture, disease and execution during the reign of the Khmer Rouge and its leader, Pol Pot. Prosecutors are also interested in locating some of the other suspects involved with this genocide, including Ieng Sary, the former Khmer Rouge minister and Meas Muth, Pol Pots son-in-law. Ieu has been detained since he was located in 1999, and in his initial interrogation he maintained that he was only following verbal orders from the top. Many hope that these forthcoming trials will bring a measure of closure on this traumatic chapter in Cambodias history, and survivors of these notorious interrogation camps are seeking answers. One such survivor, Chum Manh, has said that As a Buddhist, I dont want to avenge violence with more violence. But I do want to hear a public apology for what he did. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a Washington Post article which discusses the charges that were recently brought against Kang Kek Leu. The second link leads users to a news brief from the BBC which expands on the situation of Kang Kek Leu. Additionally, this link contains a video clip of Leu and links to other recent pieces on the tribunal. Moving along, the third link will take visitors to a podcast from the CBC program As It Happens Daily, which also provides commentary on this ongoing tribunal. The fifth link leads to the very compelling Cambodian Genocide Program site, created by Yale University. Here, visitors can learn more about the tribunals, view online databases, and read other materials in a variety of languages, including Thai, Khmer, German, and Armenian. The final link leads to a moving selection of photographs of the prisoners held at the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh. [KMG]

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