The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 33

August 31, 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

Skylight: The Science Centre for Learning and Teaching [pdf]

Established in 2001 at the University of British Columbia, the Science Centre for Learning and Teaching was created in order to create "an environment that supports reflective science teaching and learning practices." While Skylight's work is primarily focused on working on improving these efforts at the University of British Columbia, they have also created a number of online resources designed for science teachers everywhere. Perhaps one of the best resources on the entire site is the "Teaching Large Classes" area. Within this section, visitors can find highlights from the research literature on teaching, descriptions of practical strategies to enhance learning outcomes, video clip demonstrations, and a selection of links to other relevant resources. There are even other features worth perusing, such as the document "Why Calculus Workshops Really Work" and an interactive presentation on how to create a highly interactive classroom. [KMG]

Math Science Center [pdf]

Developed by Peter C. Esser and John W. Pluemer of the Math and Science Center at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, this site brings together a veritable cornucopia of resources related to learning about applied math, occupational math, elementary algebra, technical science, and the fundamentals of chemistry. First-time visitors will want to start by looking at the "Resources" section. Here they will find online tables and scientific calculators, sets of tips such as "Fractions: The Basics" and "Using the Place Value System", and some rather fine tutorials that cover health occupations and culinary mathematics. Moving on, the "Topics" area provides access to the various resources on the site organized into subtopics such as "Finance", "Geometry", and "Statistics". [KMG]

Biological ESTEEM [Microsoft Excel]

Introducing students to different software packages and applications for use in biology and math courses can be quite a challenge. With that in mind, teachers in these areas will definitely appreciate this rather helpful site from the people at the Mathematical Sciences Digital Library. These particular simulations and tools draw heavily on Microsoft Excel, so users will need to make sure that they also have this program installed. Visitors can click on the "Resources By Category" to access modules that deal with chemical equations in biochemistry, protein analysis, biodiversity, and island biogeography. It is worth noting that other subjects are covered here, including genetics, epidemiology, and ecology. [KMG]

The Fig and the Spade: Countering the Deceptions of Treasure Hunters [pdf]

Certain salvage groups and treasure hunting corporations have presented themselves with a certain veneer of heroism and righteousness that seems a bit unseemly and at times duplicitous to certain persons. This is the subject of the very well written piece offered by Professor Jerome Lynne Hall, who teaches anthropology at the University of San Diego and was a past president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University. The piece first appeared in the AIA Archaeology Watch from August 15, 2007, and it takes on the eight deceptions that are often skillfully deployed by those private individuals who have designs on various underwater archaeological sites. Professor Hall closes the piece with a section titled "What May Be Done?" which offers a few policy prescriptions, including the suggestion that is important to "redress the deceptive prattle of treasure hunters within the popular media." [KMG]

Global E-Government, 2007 [pdf]

The "Inside Politics" website is maintained by Professor Darrell West of Brown University, and visitors to the site will find some of his publications, lectures, and related materials. One of his recent additions to the site is this paper on the state of global e-government from August 2007. This is actually the seventh annual update on the state of global e-government from Professor West, and within its 25-pages, there is a wealth of valuable information. For this work, Professor West analyzed 1,687 national government websites for 198 nations around the world. Some of his findings include the observation that 96 percent of these websites provide access to publications and 80 percent have links to databases. The report includes a number of tables, graphs, charts, and several useful appendices. Given the scope of this work, it will be very illuminating to persons with an interest in political science, information science, and governance studies. [KMG]

Equally Spaced? [pdf]

Urbanologists and other types have been interested in the interactions between different groups of people in cities for hundreds of years. There is quite a broad literature on studying different types of communities and public spaces, and this recent paper from the Demos group in the United Kingdom adds to that body of work. This 40-page report was first published in July 2007, and it was authored by Hannah Lownsbrough and Joost Beunderman. As the report's subtitle suggests, it is primarily concerned with presenting a dynamic look at how public places can effectively encourage interaction between diverse communities in urban areas. For this work, the researchers looked at three separate locations in Britain, and this report presents some of their findings on what works well (and not so well) in terms of creating and maintaining high-quality public places. The report is both thoughtful and thorough, and persons with an interest in urban planning, sociology, and related fields will find it quite compelling. [KMG]

X or Y-Does it Make A Difference? [pdf]

BioEd Online has providing helpful resources for biology teachers for years, and they have recently placed this "ready-to-go" lesson online for use by educators. The basic objective of this particular resource is to have students learn to describe the functional differences of X and Y-chromosomes. To make this possible, the lesson includes four articles, worksheets, and several discussion questions. Instructors can also download a complete lesson plan, along with extensive notes. Finally, the site also includes information about the National Science Standards covered within this unit, along with an estimate of how long this unit will take to complete. [KMG]

eHistory at OSU

eHistory has been around in one form or another since 1995, when it was created by the budding historian Scott Laidig. These days, eHistory is operated and maintained by The Ohio State Universitys history department. Dedicated to all things historical, the site contains primary sources and documents, original book reviews, digitized books, maps, and multimedia features. These multimedia features are uniformly quite good, and they cover topics such as the internment of Japanese-Americans in the United States during World War II and responses to immigration over the past 125 years. Historians will want to look through the "Primary Sources" area at length, as it contains letters and diaries from the Civil War, along with the oft-cited "The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies" in all of its 128-volume glory. [KMG]

General Interest

Human Rights Watch: Beijing 2008 [Real Player, pdf]

The Human Rights Watch is involved with a number of ongoing projects exploring media freedom in different parts of the world. This particular site offers up a broad look at the human rights situation in China as the country is preparing to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. After viewing a brief introduction to the site, visitors should click on the "Issues" section, which provides a multimedia presentation that explores some of the rather contentious issues surrounding media freedom in China in the past and present. Moving along, the "Timeline" area provides additional perspective on the suppression of certain news stories in China dating back to 1996. Finally, the site includes an "Agenda for Reform" area which details some of the major issues that China faces in the coming year, including dealing with labor rights abuses, forced evictions, and the repression of ethnic minorities. [KMG]

Manufacturing Extension Partnership Source for Manufacturers

Located within the United States Commerce Department, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) consists of not-for-profit centers whose "sole purpose is to provide small and medium sized manufacturers with the services they need to succeed." On their site, they provide access to a number of resources that support supply chain integration and also provide access to information about technology that will increase productivity. First-time visitors may wish to begin by looking over the "Success Stories" area, which tells about those manufacturers that have created useful partnerships through the program. Visitors who might be studying these types of manufacturers may wish to look at the "Economic Indicators" area of the site and the "Tools" section, which contain a number of e-business tools designed for these types of manufacturers. Additionally, visitors can also use an interactive map to find their local MEP Center. [KMG]

Legal Portraits Online

The Harvard Law School Library has quite an impressive collection of legal art and visual materials, and as of late, they have been working to digitize these works and place them online for the web-browsing public. The collection includes images of jurists, political figures, legal thinkers, and lawyers that date from the Middle Ages all the way up to the late twentieth century. As the website notes, the collection is quite strong in its coverage of eighteenth and nineteenth century British and American lawyers, including such luminaries as Jeremy Bentham and John Marshall. Visitors can search the collection at their leisure, and they can also look at the online exhibition titled "The Legal Portrait Project Online", if they wish to do so. [KMG]

Mind Online [Real Player, iTunes]

The University of Chicago has served as the intellectual home for a diverse group of scholars, including Leo Strauss, Saul Bellow, George Beadle, and Enrico Fermi. Recently, the University's Alumni Association created this website to provide both alumni and the general public with access to conversations and lectures with persons doing work at the institution. First-time visitors can search the archives by title or author, and they can also browse the archive by category, date, or theme. The categories area follows some of the academic areas at the University fairly closely, as it includes Egyptology, Film Studies, Economics, and others. There are some real gems here include a conversation with Nobel Prize recipient James Watson and a discussion with noted theologian and philosopher Martin E. Marty on his new book, "The Mystery of the Child". [KMG]

Green Energy News

Bruce Mulliken has been covering news and commentary on the world of clean, efficient, and renewable energy since 1996. His Green Energy News site is geared towards a broad audience that includes the general public, industry professionals, and government officials. First-time visitors will want to look at the "News Stories" on the front page which in recent editions have included pieces on the growing hydrogen economy, the potential of parking lots as a form of solar power, and the possibility of a zero emission electric vehicle with two wheels. Those looking for previous news features can browse the "Archives and Resources" area, which dates back to April 1996. Those looking for "green" events should browse over to the "Events Calendar" section, which provides links to upcoming events such as renewable energy conferences and clean vehicle expos. [KMG]

The Passenger Pigeon

The passenger pigeon no longer graces the North American skies, and for many this represents the disturbing ability that humans have to destroy a particular species. Fortunately, there is another "passenger pigeon" in existence, namely the official scholarly publication of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. The Society is an organization of professional and non-professional ornithologists, and they are dedicated to the study of Wisconsin birds. The journal was first published in 1939, and it continues to feature original information about birds in the Badger State, along with season reports and such. Recently, the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections group saw fit to digitize all of the issues from January 1939 to Spring 2005. Visitors to the site can browse through the archive and also take a look at some of the other collections that deal with ecology and natural resources. [KMG]

The Paley Center for Media [Real Player, pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

Founded in 1976, The Museum of Television & Radio recently changed its name to The Paley Center for Media. The inspiration came from the life and legacy of noted television pioneer and CBS chairman, William S. Paley. The Center for Media has locations in both New York and Los Angeles, and it is primarily interested in examining "the intersections between media society." To this end, they have worked on providing a number of forums for media professionals to discuss the evolving media landscape and they also have a collection that contains over 140,000 television and radio programs in their archives. On their site, visitors can learn about visiting either location in person and they can also watch past events in the "Inside Media Videos" area. These videos are quite a treat, and they include talks with Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher as well as other titles like "The Unseen Dylan" and "Blogging and Elections". [KMG]

Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries

This exhibition from the Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery traces the importance of Portugal in the 16th and 17th Centuries, a time period often called the Age of Discovery. Explorers from Portugal traversed the globe, bringing back news of exotic people, animals, foods, and spices to Europe. The web exhibition highlights Portuguese voyages to Africa, Brazil, China, and Japan, and around the Indian Ocean. By simply following a few links, it is possible to view the exhibition in Google Earth, free software that will plot the routes of the Portuguese explorers, along with a chronology, as well as display the informative captions prepared for the exhibition. Images are also included, such as a salt container, heliotrope spoon, and an ivory casket or box, all from Sri Lanka, the source of cinnamon to the thriving spice trade that Vasco da Gama found when he sailed his four ships into the Indian Ocean in late 1497. [DS]

Network Tools

Google Earth

The first several versions of Google Earth let users explore the Earth, and it is not surprising that with this latest version users can go into outer space as well. Essentially, the "Sky" function within this version allows visitors to look around at a hundred million stars and two hundred million galaxies. Additionally, this application contains images from the Hubble telescope. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and XP. [KMG]

Quicksilver 1.0b51

Looking for files and applications can be a bit of a bother, to say nothing of time-consuming over the long run. Quicksilver 1.0b51 is a keyboard-shortcut launcher that benefits from having a visually pleasant interface and a number of customization options that are quite unique. It lets users create a task viewer, a "shelf" for storing frequently accessed files, and a clipboard history. This particular version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3. [KMG]

In The News

Two years after Katrina, New Orleans continues to struggle with a number of challenges

Summertime - and after Katrina, life still ain't easy,,2157830,00.html

Two Infusions of Vision to Bolster New Orleans

"It ain't easy in the Big Easy"

Colorful village rises for New Orleans musicians

NPR: Dear New Orleans: I'm Leaving You [Real Player]

Louisiana Digital Library: State Museum Jazz Collection [Real Player]

The past two years have been particularly trying for the city of New Orleans, and emotions around town have included jubilation, sadness, frustration, and at times, a steely-eyed determination. While the Army Corps of Engineers has been working on repairing levees, other contingents have been working on repairing the musical fabric of the city. This has been quite a challenge, as many local musicians left the city shortly before Katrina touched down in the area, and some are more than a bit reluctant to return. One of the city's most storied legends is still around, and "Fats" Domino has been adamant about his desire to remain. Domino's love of the Crescent City is well known, and he frequently talks about his favorite restaurants and other haunts. At a recent performance at the jazz club Tipitina's, Domino said, "I think we will be all right." Everyone, particularly his fellow musicians, does not share Domino's buoyant optimism. It is estimated that of the 3000 musicians who made New Orleans their home before Katrina that only about 1800 have returned so far. Bringing together feelings that might be shared by everyone in the city, the local musician's union president Deacon John Moore recently opined, "It ain't easy to be in the Big Easy". [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a news article from this Wednesday's Guardian which reports on some of the continuing challenges faced by residents of New Orleans. The second link whisks visitors away to an architectural review from the New York Times which provides images and commentary on two new proposed projects for New Orleans' downtown. Moving on, the third link leads to a piece from Salon that talks about the specific challenges faced by musicians in the Big Easy. The fourth link leads to a piece from CNN which talks about the construction of a new "musicians' village" in the city which was built through a partnership between Habitat for Humanity, several corporate partners, along with Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. The fifth link will take users to a heartfelt bit of commentary by NPR commentator Eve Troeh on why she recently decided to leave the city she cares about so much. Finally, the last link takes visitors to the very fine digital collection of photographs, audio recordings, and musical instruments from the collections of the Louisiana State Museum. [KMG]

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