The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 35

September 14, 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


Founded in 2003, the H-Peace electronic network seeks "to broaden understanding about historical and contemporary peace, justice, and disarmament concerns." As part of the larger H-Net network, H-Peace, also affiliated with the Peace History Society, is a most welcome addition. As with other lists and networks within H-Net, visitors can view reviews of books within the field, peruse past discussion logs, investigate high-quality bibliographies, and even browse syllabi submitted by H-Peace members. Visitors wishing to get a basic idea of the discussions offered online can look through the "Recent Messages" area on the homepage. Finally, the site also contains direct links to related lists, such as H-1960s, H-Democracy, H-Genocide, and H-War. [KMG]

EU Reform: A New Treaty or an Old Constitution? [pdf]

The future of Europe is a subject that has intrigued scholars, policymakers, and politicians since long before the Treaty of Westphalia, and this working paper is an interesting reflection on that subject. Released in July 2007, the paper was authored by Vaughne Miller on behalf of the British Parliament's House of Commons. Miller's work takes a critical look at the failure of the European Union (EU) to effectively ratify the 2004 "Treaty Establishing a Constitution For Europe". The report begins with a brief summary, and then goes on to discuss the viewpoints offered by different EU institutions, member states, and the general public. It's definitely worth a look, as it offers both incisive analysis and commentary on the political economy of the EU. [KMG]

State Legislatures GrassCatcher

In some circles, the mere mention of the activities of state legislative bodies may cause people to leave the room. However, even those persons may be converted by the uniformly high quality of this site, which is provided and frequently updated by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Working with a number of partners, the GrassCatcher site brings together news articles and relevant documents on timely topics that include criminal justice, education, energy, the environment, and social policy. Visitors can scroll through some of the recently posted news stories and links, or click on an interactive map of the United States to find out what is going on in various state legislatures. Users can also make their way through the GrassCatcher archive, which features stories that made their way onto the site earlier in the week. Of course, those who are drawn in by these features will want to sign up for their RSS feed and maybe even take in the NCSL podcast. [KMG]

After Katrina: Washed Away?

A number of institutes and organizations continue to investigate the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and just as many groups are offering follow-up analyses of the situation on the ground in and around New Orleans. One such organization is the Urban Institute, and three of their researchers recently released this compelling 15-page review of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the criminal justice system of New Orleans. Authored by Caterina Gouvis Roman, Seri Irazola, and Jenny Osborne, the report draws on interviews with criminal justice stakeholders living and working in greater New Orleans. The authors examine the functioning of the criminal justice system before and after the hurricane and the report concludes with a number of policy considerations and how other jurisdictions might learn from the experiences of those persons in New Orleans. [KMG]

TeachEngineering: Design a Bicycle Helmet [pdf]

The process of designing a bicycle helmet can quite taxing, but this helpful and fun instructional activity offered by the TeachEngineering website makes it all a bit more accessible for both instructors and students. The site begins by offering up a summary of the project's goals and its connections to the field and practice of engineering. After that, it dives right into the learning objective and the list of materials that will be required to complete this project. Additionally, the site includes a set of bicycle helmet design slides, along with several worksheets. [KMG]

Creating Mathlets with Open Source Tools

Crafting new instructional aids for math courses can be difficult, but this helpful new article from Markus Hohenwarter and Judith Preiner will bring much joy to the hearts of mathematics teachers everywhere. This particular article presents information on creating new interactive materials (or "mathlets") with the use of various open source tools. The article includes sections on creating mathlets for discussing tangents to a circle, slope functions, and even offers up some suggestions for creating dynamic worksheets. The piece also describes how to crate interactive exercises with JavaScript and it concludes with a set of additional reference materials and resources. [KMG]

USGS Learning Age: Geologic Age

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has created a number of instructional materials for teachers as part of its Learning Web site, and this particular lesson plan is one that can be used in a number of different settings. The activity and lesson are designed for use by grades 7-12, but these materials could also be used with ease in introductory geology courses at the college level. This set of resources includes a background essay on the use of radioactive decay to determine geologic age, and continues on to provide detailed information on a classroom activity that is both engaging and informative. The materials are rounded out by a set of questions that can be used to guide future discussions. [KMG]

Human Genome Project Education Resources [pdf, Real Player]

Exploring the world of the human genome project can be quite an undertaking for students new to the subject. Fortunately, the U.S Human Genome Project website contains a veritable cornucopia of accessible and age-appropriate educational materials for use in the classroom. First-time visitors may wish to start on the left-hand side of the page, which includes a FAQ area, a glossary, and a basic overview of genetics, appropriately titled "Genetics 101". After that, visitors may wish to look through the primary resources, which are organized into sections that include "Posters", "Presentations", "Online Educational Modules", and "Downloadable Teaching Aids". There are over several hundred resources contained within the site, and visitors can also make use of the search engine embedded on the homepage to look for specific resources. [KMG]

General Interest

MFA Boston: Missing Van Gogh Discovered [Macromedia Flash Player]

Boston's lovely Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) has been in possession of Vincent Van Gogh's painting "Ravine" for years. What curators at the Museum did not know until recently was that there was yet another Van Gogh painting underneath "Ravine". Working with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, preservation experts at both institutions noticed that there was a second painting underneath the paint surface. After close examination, it was revealed that this painting was in fact a draft of what later became the work "Wild Vegetation". This site provides information on this important discovery as well as a fascinating interactive tour of the works of Van Gogh held within the MFA's collections. [KMG]

Design News

Learning about the world of design can be rather fun, and for persons interested in entering this industry, it can be essential to stay on top of ongoing developments. Design Week launched their site in November 2006, and as the publication is based in Britain, the coverage of design events and trends is primarily focused on the British and Continental scenes. Visitors can take a look at the recent news postings of their homepage, and they can also look through the "Design Disciplines" area, which includes important stories related design trends in furniture, graphics, interiors, and packaging. From those thinking about looking for a new job in the field, the site also contains job postings and suggestions for those going on the job market. The site is rounded out by a place where visitors can also sign up to receive news alerts via email. [KMG]

Worlds Transportation Commission

Around the time of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, railroad publicist Joseph Gladding Pangborn organized the World's Transportation Commission. After the Exposition was finished, he decided to pack up his things and begin gathering information about international transportation systems for American businesses who might be interested in new markets. He took with him the noted railroad engineer and photographer William Henry Jackson. During their time abroad, Jackson took hundreds of photographs and lantern slides of everything from unique landforms to images of the local residents. Visitors to this site can explore that collection, which includes over 500 images arranged both chronologically and geographically. Additionally, they can also view Jackson's career chronology and a selection of works for further reading. [KMG]

Counter-Terrorism Training and Resources for Law Enforcement [pdf]

With the growing interest in counter-terrorism training and related resources, it's not surprising that the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs created this site. The site draws on expertise provided by a number of public and private organizations, including the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the Office for Domestic Preparedness. The site is divided into sections that include "Conferences", "Funding", "Research & Statistics", "Equipment", and "Publications". Scholars who arrive at the site may wish to look at the "Research & Statistics" section first, as it brings together a number of resources in this field, such as aerial photographs, a number of recent FBI reports, and a global terrorism map. Additionally, the "Publications" area contains thematically-organized publications that cover port security, threat assessment, and weapons of mass destruction. [KMG]

My Wonderful World [Macromedia Flash Player]

National Geographic has been keeping tabs on the geographic literacy of Americans young and old for decades. Some of their findings are a bit depressing, but they've always believed in well-thought out outreach programs, and this website is just one such program. The "My Wonderful World" site is intended for young people, but anyone will benefit from the numerous interactive activities, quizzes, and such offered here. Visitors can start by taking the National Geographic Roper Survey, and then take a look through the "Games & Cool Stuff" area. Here, they can take a look through the world of map "mashups", learn about wayfaring, and even take an aural trip around the globe. Additionally, there are sections designed specifically for parents, educators, and teens. Overall, it's a delight and for those yet unconverted to the importance of geography, this site will likely win over a new cadre of budding geographers. [KMG]

BlackPast: Remembered and Reclaimed [pdf, Real Player]

Professor Quintard Taylor of the University of Washington and his colleagues have created this very fine online resource that covers six centuries of African American history. The site includes an online encyclopedia of hundreds of famous and lesser known figures in African America, along with full text primary documents and major speeches of black activists and leaders from the eighteenth century to the present. Visitors should make sure and visit the "Perspectives on African American History" area, which includes rather fascinating pieces such as "Gentrification, Integration or Displacement?: The Seattle Story" and "Juneteenth: The Birth of an African American Holiday". The site merits numerous return visits, and those with a penchant for African American history, and United States history in general, will find some stellar materials here. [KMG]


After brushing up on one's Shakespeare, it is probably a good idea to catch all of the latest news and activities about the world of theater at the Playbill site. As their website notes, they have been "Serving theatre since 1884", and visitors with a compelling interest in these matters will definitely want to spend sometime online here. Astute followers of the Great White Way (and touring productions) will want to click on over to the "Features" area, where they can read information on Broadway grosses, upcoming screen adaptations, and also the "Week in Review" feature. Visitors will also want to look at the "News" area, which includes obituaries and information on the Tony Awards. For those making a trip to Broadway, there is also a fine "Reference" section that includes seating charts and information on restaurants. The Scout Report does not endorse any restaurants, but dining at Sardi's is always a safe bet. [KMG]

Vancouver Art Gallery: Emily Carr [Macromedia Flash Player]

Created by the Vancouver Art Gallery (with a little help from the Virtual Museum of Canada), this is possibly the largest, most comprehensive web site devoted to the works of Canada's beloved artist, Emily Carr. The site includes a featured works section, where, using Flash, visitors can view Carr's works arranged on a timeline and zoom in for more information. There is also an extensive biography of Carr, outlining all the phases of her varied career, such as her work as an artist, documenting the First Nations cultures of British Columbia using Native American motifs, painting magical forests and totems, as well as creating crafts such as bowls and rugs. Carr is also known as an author of books such as "Klee Wyck", Carr's tales of First Nations communities, and for her literary depictions of nineteenth-century Victoria. The search function of the web site searches all 1,688 works by Carr held by the Vancouver Art Gallery, and will retrieve digital images of Carr's paintings, drawings, crafts, and sketchbooks, many accompanied by captions, for example, Haida Totems, 1912 with a quote from Klee Wyck describing the totem's setting at Cha-atl on Queen Charlotte Island. [DS]

Network Tools

Acoo Browser 1.70.798

This latest version of Acoo Browser contains some rather nice new features, and visitors who haven't tried this Internet browser may wish to do so. The browser has dockable panel groups, along with advanced features that include a built-in calculator, easy access to RSS feeds, and integrated search engine support. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer and Internet Explorer 5.0 and newer. [KMG]

DoBeDo 3.0

Sure enough, Old Blue Eyes was known to throw a "do-be-do" around near the end of a choice lyric, but this particular "do-be-do" happens to be a timely widget. DoBeDo 3.0 integrates up with iCal to allow users to easily view, add, edit, and delete "to-do" items. This particular version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4, Dashboard, and iCal 2.0.5. [KMG]

In The News

Animal rights advocates continue to question the use of live animal mascots

Animal Advocates Target Use of Mascots

Live college mascots reflect obsession with traditions

Issues & Answers: LSU Chancellor's Office

PETA: School Spirit 101: Live-Animal Mascots Get An " F"

Bucky Badger History

The 10 Strangest College Mascots

For colleges and universities across the United States, a mascot is often seen as a type of "must-have" element to satisfy the totemic desires of students, alumni, and members of the local community. In recent years however, a number of human mascots have come under fire as being generally insensitive, and in some cases, brazenly racist. With that situation serving as a general backdrop, it is not surprising that criticisms directed at institutions that keep live animal mascots have started to rise in number and in their general tenor. One particular mascot that a number of animal rights groups and others have found troubling is Mike VI, who happens to be the Bengal-Siberian tiger that serves as the mascot for Louisiana State University. The tiger was acquired several months ago to replace the previous tiger, which died as a result of kidney failure at the age of seventeen. A representative from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) remarked in a recent interview that "Keeping wild animals in captivity is cruel" and continued by saying "The whole idea of carting this animal to a sporting event with screaming people is stressful to any wild animal." LSU is certainly not the only school to keep live animal mascots, and it seems that other schools may be taking a closer look at their policy regarding the keeping of live animals as mascots. [KMG]

The first link will lead users to an article from the Lakeland (Florida) Ledger, which talks about the ongoing debate about the use of live animals as college mascots. The second link will take users to a very nice piece from USA Today about the well-documented fascination with live college mascots. Moving on, the third link whisks users away to the "Issues & Answers" online feature where the chancellor of LSU responds to criticisms about their use of a live tiger as a mascot. The fourth link leads to PETA's own online information area dedicated to the use of live animals as mascots. The fifth link leads to a nice historical essay about the celebrated mascot of the University of Wisconsin, Bucky Badger. It is also worth mentioning that the University has not used a live badger since 1947, when the badger got loose at a campus football contest and made its way towards the sidelines. The delightful and quizzical "10 Strangest College Mascots" site rounds out this selection of links. Just to give fair warning, boll weevils, anteaters, and fighting okra can all be found here. [KMG]

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