The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 43

November 9, 2007

A Publication of Internet Scout
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

A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns, 1787-1825

Ever wonder about the results of the 1823 election for the position of lieutenant governor in Connecticut? Maybe so, maybe not, but it's hard not to get excited about this very ambitious site dedicated to American election results. Assembling all of this data has been a decades-long process, and much of this work was done by Philip J. Lampi, an expert in the area of early American politics. This ongoing project represents collaboration between the American Antiquarian Society and Tufts University Digital Collection and Archives. With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the project will eventually include data from all 25 states that existed during this time period. First-time visitors to the site may wish to read over some of the introductory materials in the "About" section. After that, they can navigate over to the "Quick Search" function, or they can also browse by candidate, office, year, or state. Finally, visitors can also take a look at their data entry progress area, and they may also wish to download data for offline analysis. [KMG]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services: Fisheries and Habitat Conservation [pdf]

With a penchant for invasive species management and habitat restoration, the Fisheries and Habitat Conservation Program within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is interested in creating an environment for both "healthy fish" and "healthy people" through its various initiatives and partnerships. The homepage presents a rotating series of photographs that feature various fisheries facilities, and visitors will find the site quite easy to navigate. Along with a directory and a sitemap, users can look over topics that include pollution, restoration, working with Native Americans, along with eight others. Within each of these areas, visitors will find brief overviews of each topic, complete with links to relevant policy documents and external links. The site is rounded out by a "Special Events" area and information about requesting documents through the Freedom of Information Act. [KMG]

The 1918-1920 Influenza Pandemic Escape Community Digital Document Archive [pdf]

Researchers and scholars looking at historical pandemics frequently study the communities that were strongly affected by these various occurrences. However, this fascinating digital archive from the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School looks at seven communities during the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic that experienced low rates of influenza during this period. Drawing on the expertise of a team of scholars, they decided to focus their efforts on places such as the San Francisco Naval Training Station and Bryn Mawr College. Visitors can click on any of the seven communities to read an extended essay about each location, and they can then look over dozens of primary sources from the period. These sources include internal planning reports, newspaper articles, and other items. Overall, this collection is a tremendous find, and is one that should serve as an inspiration to other institutions with similar interests. [KMG]

Center for Digital Democracy [pdf]

How is the Internet organized? Is it a democracy? Or is it increasingly controlled by large media corporations bent on limiting what people can do or see on various websites? These are valid questions, and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) is intimately involved with such matters. Founded in 2001, the CDD has worked on developing the campaign for an open broadband Internet, along with leading efforts at the Federal Trade Commission "to promote new polices governing online privacy and responsible interactive marketing practices." Visitors can learn about these initiatives and others through sections on the site that include "Current Projects", "Resources", and "Issues". Actually, the "Issues" section is probably the best place to start as it contains brief overviews about key issues such as broadband access, journalistic integrity in a new media environment, and so on. Moving on, their series of up-to-the minute news coverage on their homepage is also very good and inspired guests should also look over the "Get Involved" section. [KMG]

Bentham Open Access

Are you fascinated by fascia? Might you find silica scintillating? Look no further gentle reader as Bentham Open Access can provide information about these topics. Bentham Publishers recently launched over 200 peer-reviewed open access journals, and visitors should feel free to browse around at their leisure. Visitors can browse titles by discipline, and everything from agriculture to virology exists within these electronic pages. Of course, for those who already know the title of the journal they are looking for, there is an "A-Z" section as well. In each journal, visitors can browse through the articles, learn about the editorial board, and also take in their manuscript submission requirements. Overall, it is an ambitious journal and one that may spur other electronic publishers to action. [KMG]

The World of Chemistry

One doesn't have to be a Glenn Seaborg or a Lord Ernest Rutherford to learn about chemistry, though it probably couldn't help to have some of their curiosity about the world of chemistry. Young chemists and their teachers will definitely benefit from this nice resource offered by the Annenberg Media project. This original video series was produced by the University of Maryland and the Educational Film Center, and it consists of 26 half-hour programs. With industrial and research chemists demonstrating a number of high-intensity experiments and processes, the series is quite a find. The installments include such titles as "Modeling the Unseen", "The Atom", and "The Busy Electron". [KMG]

Disappearing Marine Iguanas: A Case of Population Collapse [pdf]

The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science has been the host to dozens of helpful educational resources, and their series of case studies is one that every science educator should be well acquainted with. One recent addition to their archive comes from Conrad Toepfer of Brescia University in Owensboro, Kentucky. This resource deals with the disappearing marine iguana population in the Galpagos Islands, and it is framed as a conversation between two friends who grow concerned about this trend and decide to explore the subject further. It includes well-phrased questions, complete with tables and charts, and is written in a way that will be compelling to both students and teachers alike. [KMG]

Utah Geological Survey: Teaching Geology Resources [pdf]

From Arches National Park to the towering cliffs at Castle Rock Campground, Utah has some remarkable geology on display. The Utah Geological Survey decided to draw on these fantastic "outdoor laboratories" and create a set of resources designed for science educators. While some of the resources are geared towards users in Utah, many of the sections contain helpful overviews that will help all educators remain on a steady foundation of geologic knowledge. One key area on the site is the "Earthquakes & Geologic Hazards" section. Here, visitors can find well-composed and straight forward summaries on topics like liquefaction, ground cracks, and fault lines. Moving on to the "Teacher Resources" area, visitors will find the delightful "Glad You Asked" articles and the very useful "Teacher's Corner" column which provides information on reading a stone wall and geologic stretching. [KMG]

General Interest

Hemingway Archives [pdf]

Ernest Hemingway was a red-blooded man of letters, and one of the 20th century's most celebrated and demonized writers. In 1968, Mary Hemingway arranged to have his papers donated to the Kennedy Library. Over the past several decades, materials related to Hemingway's long career have continued to become part of this very extensive collection. The Kennedy Library has created this specific page to provide both researchers and members of the general public with some basic information about their holdings, along with offering access to a selection of these papers. Visitors can start by clicking over to the "Online Resources" area, which includes essays on Hemingway by various scholars and a nice piece by Megan F. Desnoyers on how the collection came to the Kennedy Library. Moving on, the photograph galleries are a real treat, as they cover everything from Hemingway's youth in Oak Park all the way up to his last days in Idaho. [KMG]

The Center for International Environmental Law [pdf]

There are a number of organizations working to use international law and institutions to protect the environment. The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is one such organization, and they work to solve environmental problems through a variety of advocacy and education programs. Visitors to the site will find that navigating the content offered here is quite simple, and that most of the sections (which include "Chemicals", Biodiversity", and "Climate Change) are organized topically. Each of these sections contains links to calendar events, full-text publications, and information about their goals for each topical area. Students and others will appreciate the fact that they also offer up information about available fellowships, internships, and potential job opportunities in their organization. [KMG]

If you could invite Christopher Hitchens and Al Sharpton into your home to talk about the existence of God, would you? That question is no longer just a hypothetical, as visitors to the website can do just that. Under the tagline, "The world is thinking", the site provides access to hundreds of delightful talks, conversations, conferences, debates, and more than a few stimulating arguments. Drawing on a broad range of new media experts, brings together content from the Hoover Institution, the Global Philanthropy Forum, the World Affairs Council, the American Jewish Committee, and dozens of other organizations. First-time visitors to the site can take a look through the "Popular Programs" section, and then maybe they might want to look over the blog. For users who don't find any of the programs to their liking, they should make a beeline for the "Pitch a Program" section. [KMG]

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation [pdf, Real Player] (Last profiled in the July 14, 1995 edition of the Scout Report)

General Robert Wood Johnson (of Johnson & Johnson renown) was an adamant supporter of training for hospital administrators, and out of this interest came the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Today, the Foundation is "devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans." From their headquarters in Princeton, the Foundation supports research into human capital, childhood obesity, health insurance coverage, substance abuse policy, and numerous other areas. Casual visitors to the Foundation's homepage will want to click on some of the "Popular Topics" so that they can quickly access recent publications and research findings. Of course, members of the public and scholars alike will benefit from the "Publications & Research" area which lists publications by type (such as webcasts, charts, and grant results) and by topic. Visitors seeking grant assistance for their research should peruse the "Grantee Resources" area, which provides nuts and bolts type information about applying for grants, and equally importantly, how to fill out grant reports and related materials accurately. [KMG]

Webmaster Resources

The man behind the BoogieJack website is Dennis Gaskill, and he's been serving up compelling pieces of web design wisdom on this site since 1997. On the homepage, he invites the curious visitor to "Look around, make yourself at home". It's a fine idea, especially considering that the site contains a number of helpful HTML tutorials, cascading style sheets (CSS) tutorials, and a selection of free web graphics. While the site doesn't have an embedded search engine, visitors can scroll up and down through the homepage to locate the instructional materials they desire. In the "HTML Tutorials" area, visitors will find several dozen short overviews that cover topics like tag attributes, line breaks, headings, and of course, CSS. Additionally, visitors can sign up to receive his ezine "Almost a Newsletter", which comes out several times a month. [KMG]

Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911

An essay on this fine American Memory collection site refers to Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter, Anne Fitzhugh Miller, as "Two Awesome Ladies". It's hard to contest that appellation, particularly when one considers their important role in the women's suffrage movement in the United States. Between 1897 and 1911 these two women created seven scrapbooks which contained letters, press clippings, photographs, and other items related to the suffrage movement and its conventions. Visitors to the site can browse through the seven scrapbooks here, and they are also encouraged to browse the collection by title, subject, or place name. Other features of the site include an interactive family tree and a detailed essay titled "Catch the Suffragists' Spirit". The site is rounded out by a list of further resources on the Miller's and a bibliographic note on the organization of the scrapbooks. [KMG]

LUMEN: Structure of the Human Body

For medical professionals, learning about the human body is crucial. A number of sites hold vast stores of knowledge about the human body, and this interactive site is one resource that persons in this field should know about. Created by Dr. Frederick Wezeman and Dr. John Santaniello of Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine, the site contains a series of interactive dissection exercises, a cross-sectional tutorial, and some very helpful flash cards. One feature that should not be missed is the "Learn 'Em" area. Here, visitors can learn about the structure and location of various arteries, nerves, and dermatomes. The site concludes with a thematically-organized collection of external anatomy links. [KMG]

Joseph Cornell: Navigating The Imagination [Adobe Flash Player]

Navigating The Imagination, a Joseph Cornell interactive created by the Peabody Essex Museum, allows a visitor to open up some of this artist's boxes, shake out the objects, and play with them (at least virtually). Short on text and long on pictures, the interactive begins with a compartmentalized box holding details from Cornell's works. Cornell's magic and mystery is preserved as viewers navigate through various sections of the web site by clicking and selecting images that seem to float by, coming closer and then receding. For example, "Geographies of the Heavens" begins with what looks like a map of the constellations, and features an engraving of a gentleman wearing a ruff and gold chains, and a Cornell box with balls of cork, cordial glasses, and blue marbles. It takes some experimenting to discover that repeatedly clicking the gentleman reveals additional images of other Cornell works, and it takes consulting the illustrated Web checklist, helpfully provided in .pdf, to find out that the gentleman is likely astronomer Tycho Brahe, the box is Cornell's Soap Bubble Set, and several of the other images are from a pleated book collage that Cornell created in 1924, entitled Panorama. [DS]

Network Tools

Lightning 0.7

Jumping clogged calendars faster than a speeding T3 connection, this handy application from Mozilla will prove to be quite helpful. Lightning 0.7 is an extension for Mozilla Thunderbird that adds an integrated calendar to the email client. With Lightning, users can view both their inbox and their calendar at the same time and they can also perform detailed calendar searches. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 or XP along with Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5. [KMG]

IrfanView 4.1

With an icon that resembles a red dog decked out with a bandit's mask, IrfanView is a graphic viewer with considerable staying power. This latest version allows users the opportunity to use a basic drawing palette, which contains several nice commands and customizable features. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, and Vista. [KMG]

In The News

At the conclusion of a brief campaign, a popular television host considers his future

Colbert Ends White House Bid

Colbert Ends White House Bid: A Nation Tries to Heal

Colbert Shut Down

Campaign 2008: The Presidential Field

Summary of Findings: Modest Interest in 2008 Campaign News [pdf]

Internet Archive: Best of Washington Humor

Many presidential campaigns have met an untimely end, and the past few decades have certainly seen more than a few whose initial successes were derailed by a myriad of reasons. This past week saw the conclusion of talking head and noted comedic wag Stephen Colbert's very brief campaign to become president as the South Democratic Executive Council voted 13-3 to effectively keep him off the state's primary ballot. In a statement offered by Colbert on Monday, he noted, "Although I lost by the slimmest margin in presidential election history-only 10 votes-I have chosen not to put the country through another agonizing Supreme Court battle." Colbert's short campaign junket included a memorable exchange with fellow news personality Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" and a fiery speech in Charleston in which he opined, "I love South Carolina almost as much as South Carolina loves me!" Normally Colbert would be able to immediately return to his popular nightly news parody program, but due to the writer's strike, that is not an option for the former candidate. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to the New York Times' lively political blog "The Caucus". Here they can read a brief story (complete with some nice external links) about the conclusion of the Colbert campaign from Monday. Moving on, the next link will take interested parties to a like-minded blog entry from the San Francisco Chronicle. The third link leads to a thoughtful opinion piece from Brian Ahern, the news editor of the UNLV student newspaper, "The Rebel Yell". In the piece Ahern comments that the major difference between Stephen Colbert and the other candidates is that he "is willing to admit that his public persona is simply a character." The fourth link leads to a very helpful site from The Washington Post which offers detailed profiles of all the 2008 presidential candidates. The fifth link leads to a report from The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press which offers some perspective on the current level of interest among members of the American public about the 2008 campaign. The sixth link will whisk users to the complete version of an album from the early 1960s titled "Best of Washington Humor". Here, visitors can listen to legendary news anchor Chet Huntley introduce clips from Sargent Shriver, President John F. Kennedy, and Adlai Stevenson. [KMG]

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