The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 32

August 24, 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

Rediscovering Biology: Molecular to Global Perspectives

Getting ahead in the field of biology is important to young scholars, and staying on top of the material is important to their teachers. The Annenberg Media group has created this thirteen part video course for educators, and recently they placed the complete set of videos online here. The programs include interviews with expert scientists, detailed animations that provide a micro-level view of biological processes and techniques, and a number of learning activities. Visitors can take in each program at their leisure and they can also avail themselves of the link to the interactive website designed in tandem with the video series. Here, they are welcome to look over in-class activities, annotated animations, and case studies that will illuminate the materials introduced in the series. [KMG]

The Universe in the Classroom [pdf]

From dark matter to the transit of Venus, "The University in the Classroom" has all the astronomical bases covered for educators. This electronic educational newsletter is published by The Astronomical Society of the Pacific and has been published since 1984. Each issue is designed to help teachers learn more about astronomy themselves, and then they can bring this new knowledge into their classroom. On the newsletter's homepage, visitors can read the current issue, subscribe to receive updates, and also browse through the archives, which stretch back to late 1984. Within each issue, visitors can read an in-depth exploration of a certain astronomical subject, complete with classroom activities and links to other related resources. [KMG]

Native Words, Native Warriors [Macromedia Flash Player]

Throughout World War I and World War II, American Indians were asked to join the United States armed forces. They served in many different campaigns, and in many different capacities, but perhaps one of the best known groups of American Indians were the "Code Talkers". The "Code Talkers" were asked to develop a way of transmitting secret messages using their own native languages, and they were tremendously successful. This beautifully designed and multi-layered site developed by the National Museum of the American Indian presents the voices of the "Code Talkers", along with other voices, all of which are combined seamlessly with historic images, graphics, and songs. Visitors will learn about the "Code Talkers" experiences in the military, their reintegration into society upon their return from war, and subsequent recognition by both the French and United States governments. [KMG]

Actionscript 3 Tutorials [Macromedia Flash Player]

The Mathematical Association of America's online Digital Classroom site offers no faint praise for this interactive set of tools, noting that "it is exciting, fast, and fully object-oriented". This is all true, and educators in both mathematics and the sciences can use this application to create their own customized, web-based learning aids. Developed by Doug Ensley of Shippensburg University and Barbara Kaskosz of the University of Rhode Island, these tutorials come complete with an overview, some basic information on its constructs and interactions, and a set of guidelines to follow to create meaningful and compelling learning aids for students. Overall, it's a very fine resource, and one that interested parties will be able to use in a variety of settings. [KMG]

Marine Biological Laboratory [pdf]

In 1888, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) was started in Woods Hole, and since then it has served as a place for world-class biologists and ecologists to gather and work together. Their ambitions are very broad and admirable, and visitors should start by reading through the introduction in the "About MBL" section before looking around further. Most visitors will then want to go to the "Education" area. Here they will find such resources as a marine organism database, a number of full-text classic works on marine organisms, and several image databases. Moving on, visitors might also want to look at the "Research" area, which contains materials on their laboratories, research opportunities at the MBL, and an overview of their current research projects. [KMG]

World Bank: Africa [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

The World Bank does a great deal of development work throughout Africa, and it is by far the largest provider of assistance on the continent. As of 2007, their portfolio of projects under implementation was over $19 billion. They are also involved with working with a wide range of government partners on the "Africa Action Plan", which is concerned with everything from reducing and mitigating violent conflicts to promoting private sector-led growth and job creation. Visitors can learn about the Plan on the site, and they can also utilize the drop-down menus on the homepage to learn about initiatives and topics in every country on the continent. Along the left-side of the homepage, visitors can explore a number of thematic areas, such as "Data & Statistics", "Development Topics", and "Partnerships". Additionally, visitors with very specific needs can look under the "Resources For" area. Here there are resources organized for government officials, businesses, youth, and so on. [KMG]

Investing in Innovation [pdf]

The Pew Charitable Trusts sponsors a number of research groups, centers, and organizations, and in July 2007 their Pew Center on the States published a 76-page report that might be considered "required reading" for a number of government officials and economic development specialists. Working with the National Governor's Association, they created this report which details how states can effectively attract and retain new types of economic development through smart investments in research and development. For the report, a team of researchers spent six months looking at policy solutions in this area devised in all fifty states. The report contains a number of important findings, but none is perhaps more important than the idea in the introduction which notes that how an individual state spends its money on research and development is crucial. The report goes on to state, "Key to this truth is the notion that R&D efforts must be considered investments, not expenditures." [KMG]

Preventing Chronic Disease [pdf]

Persons with an interest in public health will want to make a beeline for this rather helpful and well-done journal offered by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This online-only publication was started in January 2004, and contains a healthy mix of peer-reviewed articles, CDC announcements, and general interest pieces. The journal's interests are quite broad and include reproductive health, oral health, health risk behavior, and the value of policy and legislation in preventing chronic disease. Some of the recent articles in the journal have included pieces on childhood obesity prevention legislation, diabetes and tooth loss, and more specifically, "The Cradle to Prison Pipeline: An American Health Crisis". The site also contains an online archive and information for potential authors, peer reviewers, and information about email updates about new issues. [KMG]

General Interest

Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase [pdf]

When a young United States finalized the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, they in some ways literally didn't know what they were getting. Certainly a number of surveyors, explorers, and Native Americans had traversed different segments of this vast territory, but it had by no means been completely explored and documented. Recently, the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress created this rather delightful online collection that tells the historical and cultural story of the European explorations of these lands. The collection contains 119 items such as a Native American map of the Upper Missouri from 1801 and the "Accurate Map of North America" by Emmanuel Bowen from 1767. First-time visitors should make a point of reading the 118-page explanatory essay offered here. It covers such topics as the cartographic setting of the Purchase and Louisiana's tenure as a Spanish colony. [KMG]

Selections from The Curriculum Library's Historical Collection

If you have ever sat up at night wondering, "Where is the C in CAKE and COD?" you will need to wonder no more after you turn the digital pages of "Dolly's ABC" from 1854. Along with "Dolly's ABC", this delightful collection from the Curriculum Library's Historical Collection at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers up nineteen complete children's books of historical importance. This collection contains very short picture books, along with several other instructional manuals for teachers, such as "Teaching Boys and Girls How to Study", by Peter Jeremiah Zimmers. For students with a passion for the history of education, this site will be quite a find, and it will merit several return visits. [KMG]


Started in 1997, Archipelago offers up a farrago of poetry, fiction, photo collages, and other such artistic endeavors once (sometimes twice) a year. It's a delight to learn about, and interested parties will appreciate looking over their most recent offerings. Of course, they won't want to stop at the latest material, as they can also delve into their online archive. To give curious parties a sense of Archipelago's contents, they have recently featured Frank McGuinness' piece "Andy Warhol Says A Mass", the poems of Katherine E. Young, and the transcript of a talk on Thomas Jefferson and intellectual property rights given by Jeffrey H. Matsuura. Visitors wishing to take a copy of Archipelago away from their computer screen can also click on a PDF version that is more than appropriate for printing out and taking to their favorite coffeehouse or literary salon. [KMG]

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies [pdf]

With a broad mission, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are involved in everything from disaster response and management to capacity building all over the globe. As one might expect, visitors to the site can learn about some of their more well-known programs in the "Get Involved" area on the homepage. Their homepage is also an excellent place to learn about some of their research publications, which include their annual "World Disasters Report" and their in-house magazine, "Red Cross, Red Crescent". For more nuts-and-bolts type information on the organization, visitors should browse through the "Who We Are", "What We Do", and "Where We Work" sections. Additionally, visitors can enter the "Our Programmes" section to learn about their various outreach efforts in different regions of the world. [KMG]

The Calligraphic World of Mi Fu's Art [Macromedia Flash Player]

As one of the four greatest calligraphers in the Sung Dynasty, Mi Fu was particularly fond of working with large wet dots of ink applied with a flat brush. During his life he was seen as eccentric by members of his family and acquaintances, but his legacy remains quite assured and this online exhibit gives even casual visitors some nice insight into his visual style and body of work. The exhibit is accompanied by some rather lovely music, and visitors would do well to start by clicking on the section titled "The Itinerant Official". Here they will learn about his early life and they will also be whisked around via a collection of interactive maps that are interspersed with brief text passages and examples of his work. Throughout the sections titled "Poetry and Prose", "The Mi Boat", and "Pure Enjoyment", visitors will be treated to glimpses of Mi Fu's genius and general flourishes of calligraphic brilliance. [KMG]

StarDate Online [Real Player]

As the longest-running science feature in the United States, StarDate has covered everything from the Big Dipper to super novas. The program serves as the public education and outreach arm of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, and is broadcast in both Spanish and English. Visitors can listen to their latest radio program, and there is so much more to take in on this fine site. Amateur astronomers will want to look at their daily "Stargazing Tip" which is featured on the homepage, and then can look at the "Featured Image". After that, it's definitely worthwhile to look more closely into the "Stargazing" section. This section includes weekly tips, a stargazing almanac, a beginner's guide, and tips for viewing the planets and meteors. Finally, educators will want to look at the "Teachers" section, as it features lesson plans and classroom activities. [KMG]

The Jewish Museum [Macromedia Flash Player]

Up on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, The Jewish Museum remains the preeminent museum in the United States "devoted exclusively to the scope and diversity of 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture." The Museum is quite fantastic, and their website offers up selections from their collections and special exhibits along with ample information about their educational programs and membership opportunities. First-time visitors should begin by looking over the "Collections & Exhibitions" section which includes multimedia explorations of works by noted sculptor Louise Nevelson and a multi-layered look at Frida Kahlo's family portrait from 1936, titled "My Grandparents, My Parents, and I". After that, visitors should definitely utilize the search feature offered on the site and perhaps even check out their online store. [KMG]

What To Expect Your First Year Teaching [pdf]

The Teachers First website has been offering up high-quality lessons, teaching units, and web resources for teachers for almost ten years. Along with these resources, they have also created a number of papers and presentations that are designed to support the careers of teachers who are just entering the profession. One such resource is the helpful 48-page manual by Amy DePaul titled "What To Expect Your First Year of Teaching". The document was prepared under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement and it contains a cornucopia of insights and observations from both veteran and first-year teachers. Visitors can skip around the report at their leisure and they may also wish to forward it along to other fellow educators. [KMG]

Network Tools

Opera 9.23

The Opera Browser has been around for a bit, but they recently released a new version that has a few new and fun features. One of these features is the "Speed Dial", which lets users populate this "dial" with their favorite sites merely by dragging the tab of a new site to a speed dial slot for access later on. Other features include a fraud protection feature, an embedded BitTorrent application, and a content blocker. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

WebLog Expert Lite 4.2

Whether you have a website designed to promote a collection of Louis XIV chaise lounges or just one to document your own life activities, this handy application will suit many different types of sites. WebLog Expert Lite 4.2 allows users to find out information about visitors to such sites, including how they got there and which operating systems that were using. The program also produces simple HTML reports, complete with tables and charts. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Corn Dogs and Other Staples of State Fair Fare Meet Trans-Fat Free Cooking Oil

Yes, Deep-Fried Oreos, but Not in Trans Fats

Illinois State Fair launches breakfast-stick contest

State Fair: Fitness, food a fair challenge

State Fair Recipes

Minnesota State Fair

Wisconsin State Fair Historical Gallery

In 1945, Rodgers and Hammerstein penned the musical "State Fair", and it stood as a testament to pie contests, young love, and naturally enough, the state of Iowa. People enjoyed state fairs for decades before and after their musical, though there is one remarkable change afoot in the world of state fairs that is worth noting. This year, the Indiana State Fair decided to require food vendors to use trans-fat-free cooking oil. To many, this seemed to fly in the face of all that is most right and true about the culinary offerings at a quality state fair. Of course, this rather mirrors trends in other parts of American life, but some would claim that a corn dog or a funnel cake that was fried without trans-fat is a form of culinary sacrilege. A number of other state fairs around the country will be providing trans-fat free offerings this summer, including the fairs in Texas and Minnesota. One Indiana State Fair patron, Glenn Nice, commented upon finishing one of the trans-fat-free corn dogs, "I've eaten a lot of corn dogs in my life, and I can't taste any difference at all." [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a piece from this Tuesday's New York Times about the ban on trans-fats. The article also discusses the complex world of deep-fried Pepsi, which is well worth learning about. Moving on, the second link leads to an article in the Bloomington Pantagraph which talks about the intriguing breakfast on a stick contest that was held recently at the Illinois State Fair. The third link leads to a piece from this Monday's Sacramento Bee which talks about the difficulty of staying fit and making sensible dining decisions while at the California State Fair. For those individuals who can't get to a state fair this summer, the fourth site provides easy access to dozens of interesting recipes culled from state fair recipe contests. The Scout Report does not officially offer any endorsements of any particular state fair, but the fifth link offered here does lead to the homepage of the Minnesota State Fair, which is quite a fine one indeed. The last link leads to a digital collection of historical images from past Wisconsin State Fairs created by the Wisconsin Historical Society. [KMG]

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