The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 37

September 28, 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

Bouncing Balls and Geometric Series [Real Player, Windows Media Player]

The introduction to this intriguing exercise and article begins "If a ball bounces an infinite number of times, it must take an infinite amount of time to finish bouncing!" This piece appeared in The Journal of Online Mathematics and Its Applications in May 2007, and it was authored by Robert Styer and Morgan Besson of Villanova University. This particular article and its accompanying teaching module "explore the time and distance of a bouncing ball and leads to a study of the geometric series." Along with the actual article, this site also includes a video clip and several interactive Flash mathlets. It's a fun way to get students thinking about geometric series, and mathematics educators will definitely want to tell colleagues about the site as well. [KMG]

Teaching Resources in Structural Geology

To some, the terms folds, faults, and shear zones might suggest a type of elaborate and cutting-edge style of origami. Those in the know will think immediately of the field of structural geology, and this site is a fine resource for information within that area of geology. Rob Butler, Martin Casey, Geoff Lloyd, and Andrew McCaig, all of whom work in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Leeds, created these teaching resources. Visitors can start their journey through the site by clicking on the "Basic Principles" section, which contains a nice overview of the patterns of rock organization and how geologists understand the history of rock patterns. The other sections of the site provide basic overviews of shear zones, fault patterns, minor structures, and strain. The site is rounded out by a few virtual field trips, which will be quite helpful for those who can't make it to the Himalayas or the fabled Western Gneiss region of Norway. [KMG]

Institute of Museum and Library Services: Primary Source

Most professionals working in a library or museum in the United States will be quite familiar with The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The Institute happens to be the primary source of federal support for both libraries and museums, and their primary mission is "to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas." Given the importance of their work, persons working in these areas will want to take note of their online newsletter, "Primary Source", which is available on this site. Created in 2005, the newsletter is published eleven times a year and it contains a message from the IMLS director, feature pieces, and "The Latest News", which includes information about IMLS grant and funding opportunities and other relevant items. [KMG]

Art Education 2.0

Craig Roland created this site for fellow travelers and art educators in order to help colleagues find out how to use new technologies in their classrooms. First-time visitors will need to start out by signing up for a free account, and after that they are most welcome to participate in forums, groups, blogs, RSS feeds, and photo and video sharing. Some of the groups include "Art Partners", "Students of Art Education 2.0", and "First Year Art Teachers". The forums are quite useful, and recently they have included discussions on summer research opportunities, arts censuses, and the use of streaming video in the classroom. For art educators, this site is quite a find, and others who are interested in art and technology more generally will also find it useful. [KMG]

The Carlyle Letters Online

The nineteenth century satirist, historian, and general man of letters Thomas Carlyle is perhaps best known for his works on the French Revolution and his insightful study of heroes and hero-worship. He also happened to write many thousands of letters, along with his wife, Jane Welsh Carlyle. In 1999, Duke University Press began to think about creating an online database of these letters, and the project recently went online. Currently, the archive contains over 10,000 letters, and visitors can browse these documents by date, recipient, or subject. Additionally, visitors can also sign up to receive email updates when new letters are released to the site, and they can perform advanced searches through the archive if they so desire. [KMG]

The Broad Benefits of Restoring the Great Lakes

With good reason, there is a great deal of concern about the future of the Great Lakes. Collectively, these bodies of water account for 90 percent of the United States' and 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water. Beyond that crucial fact, the Great Lakes represent an enormous economic and cultural resource to the region. Recently the Brookings Institution's own John C. Austin, Soren Anderson, Paul N. Courant, and Robert E. Litan crafted this 16-page paper which addresses the benefits of restoring the Great Lakes ecosystem. The report begins by outlining the major elements of the restoration strategy, and it also details the costs of cleaning and preserving the ecosystem. It's a thoughtful and well-laid out report, and policymakers and others will want to take a look at their findings. [KMG]

The Guantanamo Testimonials Project [pdf]

A number of organizations are interested in exploring the effects of the United States' war on terror, and many of these groups have focused in on the situation at the detention facilities at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One organization that is intimately involved with documenting the situation is the University of California- Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas (CSHRA) The goal of The Guantanamo Testimonials Project is "to gather testimonials of prisoner abuse in Guantanamo." They have done a fine job, and visitors can examine a wide range of testimonials organized into categories that include prisoners, FBI agents, prosecution lawyers, the Red Cross, and interrogators. It's a very compelling project and website, and for anyone interested in human rights and various aspects of the law, it will certain warrant multiple visits. [KMG]

Education at a Glance 2007 [pdf],3343,en_2649_39263294_39251550_1_1_1_1,00.html

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published the "Education at a Glance" report since 2001, and it presents a wealth of information about the comparative state of education across its member countries. As the introduction to the report notes, "The indicators look at who participates in education, what is spent on it, and how education systems operate and at the results achieved." This site provides users access to the entire 451-page report from 2007, complete with numerous tables and charts. If this "glance" is a bit too much for casual visitors, there is also an executive summary available here. Visitors will also find "Briefing Notes" for each OECD country covered in the report, along with a host of PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, and report summaries twenty different languages. [KMG]

General Interest

Casselman Archive of Islamic and Mudejar Architecture in Spain

The late Eugene Casselman was quite an Iberian enthusiast, and during his thirty years of travel in the region, he created over four thousands color slides and black and white photographs documenting the architecture of Spain. Most of these items focus on the Mudejar style, which was an ornate court style largely inspired by Spanish Islamic architecture. Recently, the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections project took on the task of organizing, describing, and scanning this collection in order to place it online. Visitors can now take in this marvelous collection, and they can search these materials by place, date, subject, or title. Looking around via the subject groupings isn't a bad way to start, and they include "Visigothic", "Asturian", and "Romanesque". [KMG]

Indianapolis: A Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary [Macromedia Flash Player]

The National Park Service has created over forty "Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary" guides since the program started, and this recent guide to the heritage of Indianapolis continues in that tradition of quality material. Working together with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, the guide highlights 59 locations listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can start their journey through the site at the "Essays" area, which include pieces titled "Ethnic Indy" and "Go Diagonal", which looks at the distinctive diagonal thoroughfares which give the city quite a bit of character. The "List of Sites" area lists each site mentioned in the essays, and the "Maps" feature includes interactive maps of the city and the downtown area. [KMG]

American RadioWorks: An Imperfect Revolution [Real Player]

For those who experienced federally-mandated school desegregation in the 1970s and 1980s, it was something many of them will never forget. American RadioWorks recently took on this very compelling era in American history by sending Kate Ellis and Catherine Winter to Louisville and Charlotte to talk with people about their experiences with school desegregation. They returned with many hours of recordings, and visitors can take in the substantial fruits of their labors on this site. Visitors can listen to the complete radio program here, read a transcript, and also offer their own recollections with this process as well. For those who might be pressed for time, they can also click on photographs of interviewees to take in their individual memories of this period. Educators might find that this program could be used in the classroom as an additional multimedia activity to start discussion about a wide range of topics. [KMG]

Kansas State University Herbarium

Located in Manhattan, Kansas, Kansas State University is well-known for their various agricultural outreach programs, and their Herbarium is a fascinating place for botanists and the general public. For those who can't make a trip out to Kansas, they also have a nice website. Visitors to the site can start by looking over the "Information" section, which includes information on the history of the Herbarium, along with offering up a nice answer to the question, "What is an herbarium?" Moving on, visitors can also query their online database of plant species from Kansas and learn about their forthcoming Central Great Plains Network. The site is rounded out with a list of contact information and other noteworthy links. [KMG]

Basic Immunology

Some individuals might blanch at the idea of a "basic" immunology overview, but Professor Vladimir V. Klimov provides just such a resource on this site. As the homepage notes, the site is designed to assist undergraduate students learning about the basics of immunology through essays, images, animations, quizzes, case histories, and external links. Visitors can begin by looking over the "Table of Contents" area, which includes seven complete chapters of information. These chapters include "The Immune Responses", "Effector Activity", and "Functional Organization of the Immune System". While some of the materials on the site require a paid subscription, there's enough free material here to get students on their way to learning more about this field of study. [KMG]

Campaign 2008: Issue Coverage Tracker

It's already a bit difficult to keep tabs on all of the many presidential candidates for the 2008 race, but the Washington Post has created this very nice issue coverage tracker to help out in this area. Visitors to the site can review press coverage and opinion writing on the various candidates and the major issues here, and they can also add this entire feature to their website or MySpace page, if they are so inclined. The issue tracker draws on a wide set of website sources across the political spectrum, including news services, interest groups, bloggers, unions, and activists. It's a fine resource, and one that could be used to generate discussion in political science and civic courses across American classrooms. [KMG]

Silent Era

The early years of silent film made international stars of people such as Tom Mix, Lon Chaney, Douglas Fairbanks, and countless others. Directors sensed new opportunities, and they also flourished in this environment for three decades. This rather fun and interesting site pays homage to this era in cinema, along with providing valuable information on where to find silent films on a variety of media formats. Visitors can learn about upcoming silent film events, browse a series of short biographies of various silent era film stars, and view a list of "Lost Films" as well. Overall, it's quite a nice site, and film buffs of all stripes will want to keep tabs on developments through this collection of materials. [KMG]

Craft in America [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

Craft in America is the web site component of a multi-year, multi-faceted project to showcase the work of American artists working in clay, wood, metal, glass and fiber. In addition to the web site, the project includes a PBS documentary, aired earlier this spring, and now available on DVD; a traveling exhibition; a book; and a set of resources for educators. The exhibition will go to 8 cities by 2009: Little Rock AK, Portland OR, San Diego CA, Houston TX, Bloomfield Hills MI, Oklahoma City OK, and Brockton MA. The web site serves as a clearinghouse for information about all the other components of the project, but also provides a great deal of material in its own right. There is virtual exhibition with 130 examples selected from the traveling show. Educator guides grouped around 3 broad themes - Memory, Landscape and Community - are available for download. And there is extensive information about the artists, from images of their work to portraits of them, as well as videos of artists at work, such as ceramic artist Matthew Metz talking about his career while throwing a pot, a group of glass artists executing a Dale Chihuly design at the Museum of Glass in Washington, or Pat Courtney Gold describing the imagery on her baskets. [DS]

Network Tools

Undelete Plus 2.92

Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes they can even be corrected. Undelete Plus 2.92. is a way to help out in these situations, as it allows users to retrieve accidentally deleted files. Files can be removed from the recycle bin, a network drive, and from a DOS window. Visitors can also look at the application's homepage to see screenshots and take a look at their FAQ section. This version is compatible will computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

Inquisitor 3.0

Can a simple computer application read one's mind? Well, probably not, but Inquisitor 3.0 can help users out when they are pondering which website to visit. When a user starts typing search terms, Inquisitor will quickly display a list of relevant links and search variants. The application is set to work with the Google or Yahoo search engines, but visitors can also add additional search engines. This version is compatible with Mac OS X 10.4. [KMG]

In The News

Ship breaking continues unabated in certain parts of the world, but opposition and concern grow

The Ship Breakers of Bangladesh

Toxic Trade News: Blue Lady's fate uncertain as activists to challenge SC

End of the Line

1998 Pulitzer Prizes: The Shipbreakers

Greenpeace: Ship Breaking

U.S. Maritime Administration: Information on Ship Disposal [pdf]

Shipbuilding is truly an exhilarating activity to watch, and it has been a hallmark of technological endeavor and ingenuity for millennia. Fewer people might be familiar with the harrowing and dangerous task of ship breaking, though in recent years it has been receiving more coverage in the media. Today, a great deal of ship breaking takes place in countries like Bangladesh, Turkey, and India, and the work is tremendously difficult and there is frequently little or no workplace oversight. The environmental damage brought by ship breaking in the developing world can be, and frequently is, tremendous. Everything from radioactive material in fire alarms to tons of asbestos makes its way onto the beach and into the water, with predictably dire results for humans and animals alike. What is perhaps most amazing about this process is that most of this work is done by hand with fairly basic implements, and often the most advanced tool used will be a basic blowtorch. While some countries now require environmentally sensitive techniques to be used in ship breaking, it remains to be seen whether certain pressures will be brought to bear on places that have traditionally had fewer restrictions on how and where this activity takes place. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a recent 60 Minutes profile of the ship breaking industry in Bangladesh. Viewers can view the entire segment and also read a complete transcript on the site. Moving on, the second link leads to a recent news pieces from the Basel Action Network which reports on the attempts of a non-governmental organization to stop by the dismantling of a massive Norwegian cruise line ship in India. The third link takes users to a rather revealing photo essay on ship breaking by Brendan Corr. The fourth link whisks users away to the 1997 Baltimore Sun articles on the ship breaking industry by Gary Cohn and Will Englund, both of whom were awarded the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. The fifth link will take users to a site on ship breaking offered by Greenpeace. Finally, the last link leads to a site offered by the U.S Maritime Administration which talks about the ways in which they dispose of obsolescent seagoing vessels. [KMG]

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