The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 31

August 17, 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

International Space Station: An Interactive Reference Guide [Macromedia Flash Player]

NASA can really put together a website, and the dramatic visual and audio introduction to their online interactive guide to the world of the International Space Station (ISS) is worth sitting back and watching in its entirety. After the introduction, visitors can listen to Commander Mike Fincke talk about the various scientific endeavors that are part of the Station's mission. The rest of the materials on the site are divided into three sections: "How the Crew Lives", "How it Works", and "ISS 360 Tour". While all of the sections are equally interesting, the "How the Crew Lives" is quite a treat, as visitors can watch videos demonstrating how the crew eats, sleeps, and exercises. Of course, visitors with a penchant for engineering technology should definitely not miss the "How it Works" area, which contains explanations of how the ISS is operated and supported. Finally, the site also contains a music video which blends together what sounds like early 1990s-techno music with in-flight scenes of space scientists at work and play. [KMG]

Exploratorium: Iron Science Teacher [Real Player, Windows Media Player]

People in the Bay Area love to cook, and that can mean mixing up everything from home-grown arugula to free trade pumpkins. The good folks at San Francisco's Exploratorium have cooked up the Iron Science Teacher presentations in an attempt to bring together the worlds of science and the culinary arts. To no one's surprise, they have succeeded, and the results include a fine mix of science activities that are both fun and enlightening. Visitors can dive right in by looking over some of their recent endeavors, which have included such items as candy, apples, chocolate, fruit cake, pumpkins, and marshmallow peeps. There are other areas of the site that bring together previous webcasts that have covered kitchen items, common household items, and even things one might find in a recycling bin. [KMG]

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: Public Policy Discussion Papers [pdf]

All of the Federal Reserve Banks produce discussion papers, working papers, policy briefs and other similar publications. This particular site takes visitors to the public policy discussion papers produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The series began in 2004, and visitors can view an archive of previously published works in the series. Recent titles in the series have included "Social Dynamics of Obesity", "Managing the Risk in Pension Plans and Recent Pension Reforms", and "The Theory of Life-Cycle Saving and Investing". If visitors are interested in other related topics, they should also look at the "Related Links" section, which features direct links to their policy brief archives and other Boston Federal Reserve publications. [KMG]

Notre Dame OpenCourseWare [pdf]

The movement toward providing various course materials online for free is growing steadily, and a number of higher education institutions have recently joined the OpenCourseWare Initiative. Along with institutions like the University of California, Irvine and MIT, the University of Notre Dame is also now part of this very welcome program. On this site, visitors can view a list of available course materials, and they may also just want to look over the list of academic departments in order to locate courses of interest. There is something for everyone here, as visitors can find materials from courses such as "Latino Theology and Christian Tradition" and "Nature and the Built Environment". Additionally, visitors can leave feedback on the site and learn more about the OpenCourseWare program. [KMG]

CAMEO: Conservation & Art Material Encyclopedia Online

Art historians, preservationists, and other types will be most glad to learn about the existence of the Conservation and Art Materials Encyclopedia Online (CAMEO). This is, of course, if they don't know about it already. The original CAMEO was first placed online in November 2000, and it has been significantly enlarged and updated over the past several years. This online resource contains chemical, physical, visual, and analytical information on over 10,000 historic and contemporary materials used in the production and conservation of artistic, architectural, archaeological, and anthropological materials. While some visitors may wish to use the embedded search engine, some may just wish to browse the materials by letter. Visitors can also perform a material search by entering a word, partial word, or a variety of other fields, including composition, density, and boiling point. [KMG]

An Evolutionary Text Book-Evolving by Student Activities

Working on a new calculus textbook can be a daunting project, and it is something that Hkan Lennerstad knows a bit about. He happens to be a faculty member at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, and he recently created this paper (along with two of his students, Maria Salomonsson and David Erman) that describes how he was able to develop new ways of learning calculus while working collaboratively with his students. This paper was released in June 2007, and in the article he talks about the process involved with creating this textbook and how he worked effectively with his students. It's a rather interesting piece, and one that fellow mathematics educators will want to look over and pass along to other colleagues. [KMG]

National Sea Grant Library: Digital Libraries [pdf]

Based at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography, the National Sea Grant Library (NSGL) has a wealth of digital resources available for educators with a distinctly marine focus. Of course, this material is meant to complement their print holdings, and for those who can't make it out to Rhode Island, these digital educational materials will be most helpful. Visitors can click on one of the subject headings to explore these materials, and these headings include "Coastal Hazards", "Diving Safety", "Global Warming", "Marine Careers", and "Harmful Algae". Other visitors may wish to use the more in-depth topical searches, which address aquaculture, habitat restoration, and marinas. There are a number of gems here, including the "Resource Guide for Oceanography and Coastal Processes" and "Coastal Capers: A Marine Education Primer". [KMG]

Life of a Vertebrate Fossil [Macromedia Flash Player]

Unless you have a very large research grant, it can be difficult to find fossil bones. Fortunately, this very fine online learning module from the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum can help both young and old to learn about locating fossil bones, among other things. Through this multimedia feature created by the History Museum's department of paleobiology, visitors will learn what paleontologists do in each stage in the life of a vertebrate fossil. With the assistance of short video clips, interactive diagrams, and photographs, visitors will learn about how fossils are prepared for examination and how scientists unravel the stories of these paleontological finds. Finally, visitors will also learn how fossils are stored and preserved. [KMG]

General Interest

Colorados Historic Newspaper Collection

From Cripple Creek to Grand Junction, the Colorado's Historic Newspaper Collection (CHNC) will help users get better acquainted with the history of the state. The funding for this digitization project came from a variety of sources, including the Collaborative Digitization Program, the Colorado Historical Society, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Currently, the archive contains materials from 117 newspapers from the years 1859 to 1930. All told, the Collection contains well over 394,000 digitized pages. New visitors to the site can search the archive by browsing around an interactive map of Colorado, or they can also perform a more detailed search. On the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors should also make use of the "Tips on Searching Historic Newspapers" section and the "Quick Guide to using CHNC". [KMG]

Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine [QuickTime]

Johns Hopkins University has a number of public outreach programs designed to get the good word out about their various research findings, and their online Public Health Magazine fits quite neatly into their comprehensive program. Each issue contains news briefs, feature articles, expert essays, and a number of online extras. Visitors can read the most current issue, or they can delve into the online archive, which dates back to 2001. Recent issues have featured articles on advances in blocking the transmission of malaria, the benefits of group therapy for displaced adolescent girls, and the increased risk of lead-based paints in toys. In the "Extras" section, visitors can watch interviews with public health experts based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The site is rounded out with the inclusion of an online forum on aging and health which welcomes participation from all corners of the globe. [KMG]

Prokudin-Gorskii Collection

Born in the town of Murom, Russia, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii was educated as a chemist and dedicated his life to the advancement of photography. He spent many years documenting the Russian Empire, and he was even outfitted with a railroad car-darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II. Along with this equipment, the Tsar also gave him access to certain restricted areas. After Prokudin-Gorskii died in 1944, his sons sold his collection of photographs, glass negatives, and sepia-tone prints to the Library of Congress in 1948. This site allows visitors to view these images, which include photographs of prominent religious structures, public works, industrial areas, and people in traditional dress. Visitors can also look over some of the thematic albums, which include his travels to Central Asia in 1911 and his journey along the Oka River south of Moscow in 1912. [KMG]

Knocking [Real Player, Windows Media Player]

The Independent Lens series has taken on a number of controversial subjects, but this recent documentary about the world of Jehovah's Witnesses is quite an eye-opener. While some people can be dismissive of this faith, this documentary provides a nuanced and rather fascinating look at both those who practice this faith and their involvement in a record number of important Supreme Court cases. Visitors might do well to start by looking over the "Myths and Realities" section, which provides answers to questions such as "Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in drinking and dancing" and so on. Clicking on the "Jehovah's Witnesses" section of the site brings visitors to materials on their role in Supreme Court cases of note, their beliefs surrounding blood and blood transfusions, and their community structure. Additionally, visitors can view select clips from the program and also read interviews with two of the Jehovah's Witnesses featured in the film. [KMG]

Prints, Drawings & Watercolors from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection

Anne S. K. Brown began collecting military ephemera in 1930 when she started purchasing miniature lead soldiers manufactured in Europe and Great Britain. She was still collecting when she passed away in 1985. After her death, her prodigious collection went to Brown University, and recently that institution's Center for Digital Collections began digitizing the 15,000 individual prints, drawings, and watercolors in the collection. Visitors to the archive's homepage can read several essays about Anne S.K. Brown, along with reading the text of a speech she gave at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 1968. After that, visitors can search the collection by keyword or field, or they can also take advantage of the embedded help feature. [KMG]

Mozilla Digital Memory Bank [Real Player, pdf]

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University doesn't shy away from provocative digital archive projects, and the Mozilla Digital Memory Bank is certainly one such work. Drawing on support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation this site serves as a permanent, open, peer-produced digital archive of Mozilla history. Users are welcome to start by browsing the "Memory Bank" section, which includes blogs, interviews, documents, testimonials, and press releases. For those with a geographical bent, there is the "Mozilla Map", which lets users find out where in the world Mozilla developers and users are located. And for those who can't make up their mind about where to start, they can just click on over to the "Featured Bank Deposit" and start reading. [KMG]

Terminal01 [Real Player, Macromedia Flash Player]

Given the current state of air travel, many people may not wish to give the architecture of airports or the contemporary in-flight experience a second thought. Those people may give those matters a second thought when they take a look at the Terminal01 website. Designed to complement an ongoing exhibit at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, the project is being curated by David Jhave Johnston and Michael Alstad of the Year Zero One Collective. All five of these different interactive art projects are available on the site, and visitors can look over them here. First-time visitors may wish to start by clicking over to "ETA", which is an interactive and dynamic visual representation of the departing flights leaving Pearson International Airport. Moving on, visitors should also check out David Clark's "Touch and Go", which explores "the secret life of the airport icon". It's rather humorous, and worth a look. [KMG]

Physics To Go

Many things in this world are offered on a "to-go" basis. Some might not immediately think of "Physics To Go", but thank goodness the talented people at the American Physical Society and the National Science Digital Library have done just that. Essentially, this site is an excellent collection of websites where visitors can learn physics on their own through a variety of formats, including webcasts, online exhibits, and games. Educators will enjoy these materials a great deal, and they may wish to recommend the "Physics in Your World" section to fellow travelers and students. In this section, visitors can learn about centripetal force through the world of water-skiing and the principles behind optical microscopy. There's also the "Physics at Home" archive which brings together information on building a telescope at home and ways to learn about diffraction with just a few pencils and a miniature light. [KMG]

Network Tools

Weather Alarm Clock 2.1

This handy application is fairly self-explanatory: It displays both the weather and tells the time. Now, it does so in a visually pleasing manner, and for that alone it should be praised. It comes with a few customized skins, and users can create alarms which can be accompanied by pop-up messages. Finally, for those who are quite particular about the exact time, the clock feature can be synchronized with various omnipotent atomic clock servers. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and 2003. [KMG]

Avast Home Edition 4.7.1029

In a networked world where computer viruses can spread as fast as the news about James Frey's fabricated roman a clef, its important to have effective and thorough antivirus software installed. This latest version of the Avast program is just such a piece of software, and it's one that is worthy of time and consideration. With this latest version, users can select which parts of their computer they wish to scan and they can also scan downloaded files and emails. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, and Vista. [KMG]

In The News

Welcomed within Graceland, Elvis impersonators gather for finals of the first "Ultimate Elvis" contest

Graceland Makes Way For Elvis Clones

The King serves motorists at Roseburg Albertson's, will entertain for employees

Ultimate Elvis Contest [pdf]

How Did Elvis Get Turned Into a Racist?

Joe Moscheo's The Gospel of Elvis Presley

Elvis: 30 weird and wonderful facts

Amazing Grace [Real Player]

If imitation is in fact the sincerest form of flattery, then the late Elvis Presley must certainly be flattered someplace in the great beyond. Even before he passed away thirty years ago, there were Elvis impersonators (some prefer the term "tribute artist") who traveled the globe performing as the King of Rock and Roll in a variety of guises. The permutations are seemingly endless, and they include those who adopt Elvis's signature late 1960s massive sideburns and still others whose sartorial style is not complete with a jumpsuit overloaded with sequins and other trappings. The folks who have managed Elviss estate and Graceland have generally been dismissive of these tribute artists. However, this indifference has recently changed into a rather warm welcome as the company that operates Graceland will pay host to the first annual finals of the "Ultimate Elvis" contest this Friday. The contest has been going on since March, and one grand prize winner will be selected in what promises to be quite a competition. While some Elvis devotees may still look askance at such events, Paul Jankowski, the marketing chief of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. was emphatic as he spoke about this event: "This is not an impersonator contest. This is all about paying tribute to Elvis." [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a piece from this Tuesday's Washington Post which talks about the "Ultimate Elvis" contest at Graceland. Several thousand miles away in Roseburg, Oregon, The News-Review recently reported on Jerry Norby, a newly minted Elvis, and his first day on the job. Visitors can read about Norby and his work pumping gas and singing "My Way" at the second link. The third link leads to the homepage of the Ultimate Elvis Contest. Here, visitors can learn about the finalists and read a letter from Elvis to a tribute artist. The fourth link leads to a recent editorial by Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick which first appeared in the New York Times. In the piece, Guralnick addresses the "absurd claims" that contend Elvis was a racist. For another perspective on Elvis's life, visitors will want to check out the fifth link, which contains an excerpt from Joe Moscheo's recent book which recalls his time performing with Elvis and his well-documented love of gospel music. The sixth link leads to a listing of thirty little-known facts about Elvis, including the observation that his Grammy Awards all came from his numerous gospel recordings. The final link leads to one such recording, which happens to be his 1971 recording of "Amazing Grace". [KMG]

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