The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 49

December 21, 2007

A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries.

A Note to our Readers

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

A Note to our Readers

Scout Holiday Publishing Schedule

The Scout Report will be on vacation December 28th and January 4th. We will return with the January 11th, 2008 report. [CMH]

Best Holiday wishes and see you next year,

Chanda Halderman
Managing Editor

Research and Education

Crisis Guide: The Korean Peninsula [Macromedia Flash Player]

The Council on Foreign Relations has created a number of interactive guides that address everything from Africa's conflict zones to the region along Pakistan's Afghan border. This particular interactive feature deals with the ongoing political situation on the Korean Peninsula. After a brief audio and visual introduction, visitors can take in eight chapters that cover the region's historical background, military history, and nuclear facilities. Along with graphics such as charts and tables, some of the chapters include interactive timelines and maps. One chapter that should not be missed is the one dedicated to exploring the subject of "Military Balance". In this chapter, users can learn about the military assets in the region held by the United States, Japan, China, Russia, and South and North Korea. It's quite an overview, and this site could also be used in an introductory political science or international relations course. [KMG]

Global Health Reporting [pdf, Real Player]

Information on global health conditions online is quite extensive, though it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Created and operated by the Kaiser Family Foundation (with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), the Global Health Reporting site is designed for journalists and the general public. The site is a frequently-updated and high-quality resource on information about the global health situation regarding HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The site provides country-level data on these conditions, along with a "New & Noteworthy" area, which provides recent articles on these matters. Journalists will appreciate the "Reporting Tools" section, as it features glossaries, reporting manuals, disease tutorials, and multimedia offerings. Additionally, visitors can sign up to receive email notifications and RSS feeds. [KMG]

A Student's Guide to the Medical Literature

As any new medical student knows, exploring the existing medical literature can be a real challenge. Fortunately, this site offered by the University of Colorados Health Sciences Center provides a nice guide to navigating these potentially treacherous waters. Created by a fourth year medical student, Katherine McLucas, the guide begins with a short tutorial that outlines a simple four-step approach to reading medical literature. Additionally, the site also includes a section on search strategies, an interactive glossary with hyperlinked terms, and version of the guide that can be used on a PDA. Overall, the site is well-thought out and executed, and is something that medical students will want to revisit when they are in need of some assistance. [KMG]

USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center [pdf]

The United States Geological Surveys Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC) was officially created in 1994, but a variety of predecessor organizations had been working on similar projects for several decades before that. With field stations located across the West, FRESC works on a variety of scientific endeavors, including studies related to wildlife ecology, conservation genetics, restoration ecology, and landscape dynamics. Users can browse around the "Research" area for information on ongoing studies and they can also look in the "Current News" section for details about their latest findings and discoveries. Members of the general public with a penchant for these topics should click on the "Fact Sheets" area. Here, they will find well-written and accessible publications such as "Biological Research on Fire in the West" and Ospreys in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. [KMG]

More or Less [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

The "More or Less" program created by the BBC and the Open University was "born of the sense that numbers were the principal language of public argument." As statistics and data are everywhere from the newspaper to the grocery aisle, their statement makes a great deal of sense. This program asks everything from What is economics? to the various aspects of probability in everyday life. First-time visitors will want to start by looking over the "Essential Guides" area, these guides cover averages, economics, probability, and statistics through the use of straight-forward examples and illustrative devices. Moving on, the "Behind the Numbers" area takes on the notion of chance, media statistics, and the use of tables. Overall, the site is a great place for those who might be generally curious about statistics and related matters. [KMG]

Human Development Report 2007/2008 [pdf]

Released biennially by the United Nations Development Programme, the Human Development Report offers informed commentary and analysis of issues that affect humans across the world. In past years, the report has dealt with civil wars, starvation, economic growth, gender inequality, and a wide range of pressing matters. Released at the end of November 2007, this edition of the Human Development Report takes on the development impact of climate change "that could bring unprecedented reversals in poverty reduction, nutrition, health and education." The 399-page report offers a portrait of the challenges presented by widespread climate changes by looking at growth in certain parts of the world, growing carbon footprints, and how developing and developed nations might mitigate some of these changes. [KMG]

ide@s [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

The University of Wisconsin Extension program is well-regarded for their work throughout the Badger States rural, suburban, and urban areas, and they provide everything from rigorous agricultural tips to economic development assistance. One of their recent initiatives is the Interactive Dialogue with Educators Across the State (IDEAS) program. This program brings together teacher-reviewed and tested lessons, interactive tools, video and other resources which can be used in the classroom or for curriculum development purposes. Visitors can make use of the search engine on the homepage, or they can also browse materials by grade or subject. The subject list includes almost two dozen topical areas, such as music education, business and information technology, and social studies. One area that should not be missed is the "videoide@s" section. Here, visitors can view video programs that cover acid rain, Native Americans in Wisconsin, and the Bernoulli Effect. [KMG]

Teaching Mathematical Thinking Through Origami

Many people find doing origami relaxing, and others find it can be even a fine group activity to while away many pleasant hours. This particular website offers up some ways to use origami to teach mathematical thinking. Created by Daniel Meyer, Jeanine Meyer, and Aviva Meyer, this site includes a background essay on this art, a set of teaching strategies for incorporating origami into the classroom, and some sample models. The Teaching Strategies area is a good place to look after reading the background essay, and users should also make use of the "Origami Sources" area, as it features external links to other origami sites. [KMG]

General Interest

Sustainability: American Public Media [Real Player]

Sustainability has become a popular buzzword in the past few years, yet it can be a puzzling term to some who encounter it. In the words of this American Public Media site, "its about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." They have decided to contribute to the ongoing public conversation about sustainability by using this site to showcase stories produced by their radio programs, which include Marketplace, Speaking of Faith, and Weekend America. Visitors can dive right in via the "Stories in the Radio" section, where they will find pieces on electric cars, climate treaty agreements, and fuel economy standards. Moving on, visitors can also read their weblog and take in special reports on "greening" Las Vegas and the nature of the consumer society. Its a fascinating site, and one that can be used to spark new conversations among friends, colleagues, and students. [KMG]

Proportionality in Similar Triangles: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

In the introduction to this site we learn that, "A fundamental result of geometry, used often in secondary and collegiate mathematics, is the equality of ratios of corresponding sides in similar triangles." Accordingly, this concept is expected knowledge of students in physics, engineering, and the sciences, "since its simple statement is rather useful in finding unknown lengths of elementary figures in plane geometry." Recently, Professor Jerry Lodder of New Mexico State University decided to explore how similarity theorems might be best used in the math classroom. This article offered here contains a set of curricular materials that draws on the ancient Chinese principle of area known as the inclusion-exclusion principle. Educators can use these resources to craft a discussion that includes a cross-cultural comparison of these concepts, and then draw on the student exercises that are also included in this piece. [KMG]

The New Museum of Contemporary Art [Macromedia Flash Player]

Boston and Seattle have been working on new art museum buildings for several years, and the public and critical response to both structures has been quite positive. New York has a few well-regarded art museums of its own, and now it has one that is "new" in several senses of the word. Sitting cheek and jowl amidst the late-nineteenth century urban fabric of the Bowery, The New Museum of Contemporary Art's building was designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. Visitors who might be unacquainted with this institution may wish to peruse the "About" section for its overview and for splendid details about their new home and its construction. Also, the "Learn" area of the site includes several audio features about the museum and their "Museum as Hub" site, which provides a way of learning about their "new model for curatorial practice and institutional collaboration." [KMG]

Surgical Planning Laboratory [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

As a laboratory within the Brigham and Womens Hospital, the Surgical Planning Laboratory (SPL) does research and development in image processing algorithms, software systems, and medical applications. While visitors with an interest in these matters will appreciate the sections of this site that provide details on this work, visitors from the health sciences will also appreciate the educational materials offered in the "Resources" area even more. In the "Training and Tutorials" area, visitors can learn more about medical imaging through a self-paced tutorial. Moving on, the "Image Gallery" area contains over forty medical images that can be useful for those who are looking to learn about identifying various neurological conditions. Finally, the site also has a database of publications created by members of the research team at the SPL. [KMG]

Five Keys to Safer Food Manual [pdf]

The World Health Organization has crafted many public health publications for use in countries all over the world, and this food safety manual complements their existing work quite nicely. The 30-page report focuses on five essential steps to keeping food safe, and it is meant to be used for training those who work or prepare food. The sections of the report will be quite familiar to anyone who has worked in a food service setting before, and they include hints on cooking foods thoroughly and keeping food preparation surfaces clean. Additionally, the report also contains a glossary of terms and some short quizzes. [KMG]

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [pdf]

While people may have seen individuals with a jacket that reads "ATF Agent", they may have only a vague understanding of what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) does. As a law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice, the ATF is "dedicated to preventing terrorism, reducing violent crime, and protecting our Nation." On the homepage, users can read about their latest work and activities through a variety of press releases divided into sections such as "Violent Crimes" and "Gangs". The site also has a "Field Divisions" area, where users can learn about the activities of the field offices from Maine to Los Angeles. Criminologists and others may want to visit the "Publications" area for some of their latest findings. Here, visitors can look over reports such as annual accountability reports and newsletters. [KMG]

William Tennent III: Journal/Diary and Album of Collected Papers

The life of William Tennent III may not be well known to many outside of South Carolina, but it is a life that is quite well served by this recent digitization project created by the University of South Carolina Library. Tennent was first a Presbyterian minister in the colonies of New Jersey and Connecticut in the middle of the 18th century before he arrived in Charleston to minister to a new flock of adherents. The collection offered here documents his travel through the "Up Country" of South Carolina in 1775 utilizing Tennent's journal. The site also offers his album of papers from his time in the various colonies. Visitors can browse through the travel journal by locations or date, and they should also read an essay about the political situation in South Carolina at the time, written b y L.L. Owens. [KMG]

National Galleries of Scotland: Education [Adobe Flash Player]

In recent years, the vast majority of museums have deemed public education an imperative. The Education portion of the National Galleries of Scotland's web site provides a nice mix of activities for web site visitors, as well as for those fortunate enough to be able to get to the museum itself, in Edinburgh. Among the interactive web site features is "Decoding Boticelli". This feature offers a chance for visitors to interpret the symbolism in Boticellis's Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child, recently restored by the National Galleries of Scotland. Next, visitors can compare the symbolism with two other Boticellis, located in other museums: Primavera, at the Uffizi in Florence, and Mystic Nativity at the National Gallery in London. Web site visitors can also listen to lectures using PodCurator, and download QuickTime versions of museum events from the downloads section. These events include Tom Sokolowski, Director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, delivering an illustrated talk to open the exhibition "Andy Warhol: The Art of Camouflage". Sokolowski begins his speech comparing Pittsburgh to Edinburgh; pointing out that Pittsburgh can be regarded as a little Edinburgh due to influence of Andrew Carnegie, and both are sooty cities. [DS]

Network Tools

FStream 1.3.1

Listening to the radio online can be relaxing and fun, especially when one considers that online programs cover everything from gardening tips to conversations about the state of modern literature. Of course, some online radio players can be large and bulky, so visitors may wish to take a look at this version of FStream. The application includes an equalizer and added search capability. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

FxFoto 5.0.066

The end of the year can be a joyous time, but assembling holiday photos can be a real challenge. FxFoto 5.0.066 is a nice way to edit and assemble photos with relatively little fuss. The application can remove red-eye and blemishes from photos, add frames and borders, and even correct colors. As with most programs of this type, user can also create a slide show with seamless transitions and snappy captions. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, and 2003. [KMG]

In The News

Ten years after Dolly, cloning livestock continues

US biotech firms launch tracking system for cloned livestock

Cloned Cows' Milk, Beef Up to Standard

Dolly for dinner? Assessing commercial and regulatory trends in cloned livestock;jsessionid=8257A00C1E76BAF39148F917A35D1712

FDA and Pew Initiative on Food and Bio-technology workshop

Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology Survey

A decade on from Dolly

It has been over ten years since the birth of Dolly the sheep was announced. The event received enormous media attention at the time, but since then the cloning of livestock animals has continued without the media scrutiny. Those who clone livestock hope to improve breeding efficiency, enhance and enrich food, preserve endangered species and even clone pets. In the past two years, researchers with the FDA have determined that milk and meat from cloned cattle are almost identical to those from conventionally bred cattle. Numerous countries and independent research groups continue to compare the products from cloned versus conventionally produced animals. The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) published a draft executive summary entitled 'Animal Cloning: A Risk Assessment', in which it concluded "edible products from normal, healthy clones or their progeny do not appear to pose increased food consumption risks relative to comparable products from conventional animals." Most in the industry believe that products derived from the offspring of cloned cattle and pigs will enter the food chain more widely by 2010. Several thousand clones of livestock species now exist globally at both research organizations and commercial enterprises. As the cloning of livestock animals becomes more economically feasible, regulatory agencies will likely need to closely monitor the products. Just recently, a US biotechnology firm launched a program to track cloned cattle and pigs in anticipation of the possible end of a moratorium on meat and milk from cloned livestock. Although this issue seems to have been on the backburner over the past few years, it is certain that the cloning of animals to produce human food will again become a focus of public and media attention. [CMH]

In the first link users can find out more about the new tracking system designed for cloned livestock and how feasible this system may be if begun in the early stages of producing cloned animals for food. In the second link, visitors can read about the research done on cloned meat and milk and discover why it is believed they are up to standard. The next piece comes from as they assess commercial and regulatory trends in cloned livestock in a detailed and in-depth article. The fourth link leads to a FDA and Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology workshop, visitors who want to know more about cloned or transgenic animals should definitely pay a visit. By clicking on either of the Proceedings on Transgenic Animals or the Proceedings on Cloned Animals, visitors will be taken to a PDF of these very clear and succinct presentations. The fifth link is a PDF, again from the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, but this time visitors will find a comprehensive survey of U.S. consumer sentiment about the application of genetic engineering to agriculture and livestock. Finally, the last link is a nice piece from the BBC discussing Dolly and the cloning industry over the past ten years. [CMH]

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