The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 10

March 14, 2008

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

Disaster Recovery Assistance [pdf]

As one might imagine, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s Disaster Recovery Assistance office works closely with other federal agencies, such as the Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. On their homepage, visitors can learn about their programs in various states, or they may wish to start by viewing some of their latest press releases. The site contains a great deal of specific information on their work rebuilding New Orleans through the Disaster Housing Assistance Program and the Disaster Vouching Program. Users of the site will also be glad to learn that many of the materials are available in Spanish. The site is rounded out by a section on their work addressing disasters in Southern California. [KMG]

Arts & Genomics [pdf]

Based at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, The Arts & Genomics Centre is interested in expanding the "public debate on (future) goals, means, possibilities and use of results of genomics, from the specific point of view of bio-genetic art." The homepage provides ample information about their most recent initiatives, which have included a symposium on food, art and science and a video on their VivoArts program, which attempts to bring together biology and various contemporary arts. Moving on, the "Research" section of the site includes project documents and proposals that deal with their representational space program and the "Imagining Genomics" initiative. The site is rounded out by a collection of links to other germane sites and online resources. [KMG]

Educational Materials in Atmospheric Chemistry [ppt, pdf]

Professor Daniel J. Jacob of Harvard University has compiled this very fine set of educational materials that deal with various aspects of atmospheric chemistry. He draws these resources from his own teaching experience, along with offering slides, presentations, and information from his own introductory textbook on the subject. Visitors can click through sections that contain resources such as Power Point presentations on halogen chemistry, aerosols, and global biogeochemical cycles. Professor Jacob has also been kind enough to include several versions of his 1999 textbook titled "Introduction to Atmosphere Chemistry" for general consideration and use. Finally, the site also contains resources on chemical transport models intended for graduate students. [KMG]

Interactives: The Rock Cycle [Macromedia Flash Player]

How much do you know about rocks? Well, if you are a bit unsure about distinguishing an igneous rock from a sedimentary rock you'll certainly be on solid ground after taking a tour through this feature created by Annenberg Media. Visitors can make their way through graphically-enhanced sections that include "Types of Rocks", "How Rocks Change", and "The Rock Cycle Diagram". In the "Types of Rocks" area visitors will learn about the basic types of rocks and they can even check out a handy chart that will give them some of the finer points of rock identification. The "How Rocks Change" area provides a basic overview of the processes involved with rock creation and transformation through a heady blend of Flash animations and straight-forward prose. Finally, the "Rock Cycle Diagram" provides an illustration of rock transformation over time. This site will be quite useful to educators and anyone who has peered at a rock and wondered: "How did you come to be?" [KMG]

Lauren R. Donaldson Collection

In 1946, Lauren R. Donaldson and several of his scientific colleagues were selected as radiation monitors for Operation Crossroads, which was the codename for the first atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. During this operation, two nuclear bombs were detonated above and below the ocean surface, contaminating the organs and tissues of living creatures and plants with large doses of radioactivity. Over the next twelve years, Dr. Donaldson and his colleagues would return a number of times to perform research related to these activities. Recently, the University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections team digitized selected personal logs, photo albums, papers, and ephemera from the surveys undertaken by this team of researchers. Visitors can browse the collection, or they may wish to get started by looking over the sample searches which include "1946 Operation Crossroads" and "1947 Bikini Atoll Radiological Survey". Also, visitors can learn more about Dr. Donaldson and peruse a finding aid for his own personal and academic papers which are also held by the University of Washington. [KMG]

The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa [pdf]

Created in 2000, The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa is an initiative supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The primary goal of the Partnership is to support the renaissance of higher education in Africa. From the year 2000 to 2005 these partner organizations have contributed more than $150 million to support special initiatives and build core capacity in Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. First-time visitors may wish to read the introductory piece titled "What is the Partnership?" and then continue on to the "Focal Areas" section. Higher education scholars and policy analysts will want to make sure and look through the "Publications" section. Here they will find a number of publications, including recent works like "Public & Private Universities in Kenya: New Challenges, Issues & Achievements" and "Gender in the Making of the Nigerian University System". Finally, the "Resources" area contains a fine selection of external links that address African universities, consortia, networks, and think tanks. [KMG]

Women and Nation-Building [pdf]

The Rand Corporation released this provocative and insightful 213-page study in late February 2008, and it's one that policy makers and academics will find well worth a look. The report takes a close look at the role of women in the recent reconstruction activities in Afghanistan and its impact. While some development agencies have argued that pursuing a stronger role for women in nation-building "too soon" will lead to instability, Rand researchers say that their work suggests otherwise. The study suggests that "nations should place a greater emphasis on the broader concept of human security from the earliest phase of nation-building efforts." The study was sponsored by the government of Qatar and conducted within the Rand National Security Research Division's Initiative for Middle Eastern Youth and the Center for Middle East Public Policy. [KMG]

OECD Statistics Portal [pdf],2639,en_2825_293564_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

As part of its mission, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) collects various statistics needed to create reports for both its member nations and the general public. This site provides access to that set of materials, and visitors can select data sets by topic or just look over their latest press releases. The topical sections offered here include development, energy, finance, health and twenty others. Visitors can also use the "Resources" section on the left-hand side of the page to locate specific resources designed for journalists, government officials, and members of civil society. Additionally, visitors can also sign up for RSS feeds and elect to receive email alerts. [KMG]

General Interest

Everyday Sociology

When some people think about sociology, they might think about Max Weber, mile Durkheim, and Manuel Castells. The witty, irreverent, and very insightful sociologists at Everyday Sociology consider those esteemed scholars, but they also examine social dynamics on airplanes, Asian American voters, and the world of celebrity. The Everyday Sociology weblog is edited by sociologist Karen Sternheimer, and her contributors include a wide range of practicing sociologists. Visitors to the site can scroll through recent entries and also browse several categories, which include crime and deviance, sex and gender, social psychology, and popular culture and consumption. Also, users may wish to look through the archives, which date back to June 2007. Along with being eminently readable, the site also includes teaching activities and video interviews. [KMG]

Science of Music: Exploratorium's Accidental Scientist [Macromedia Flash Player]

How do opera singers sustain those high C's in "La Fille Du Rgiment"? Is a birdsong music? These are but a few of the many questions explored, and answered, on this delightful site. Visitors can consider these and other queries through interactive exhibits, a "questions" section, and movies offered up by the Accidental Scientist Music site, created by staff members at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. To start, visitors should browse through the "Online Exhibits" area. Here they can join an online drum circle, explore the world of step dancing, and even create their own remixes. The "Questions" area provides multimedia answers to queries that include "Why does some music give me goose bumps?" and "Why does sad music sound sad?" Finally, the "Movies" area contains a selection of short films that cover everything from the tuning of musical instruments to the blues. [KMG]

Charles Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal

Charles Baudelaire was an acclaimed poet and translator, and during his life he produced works that explored the urban condition, psychological turmoil, and despondency. He took meticulous care when crafting his poems, and his first work, Les Fleurs Du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) was published in 1857 when he was 36. The work was later praised by Gustave Flaubert and Victor Hugo, but the French government took exception to some of the poems contained in the volume and banned them until 1949. This site provides interested parties with access to the complete contents of the 1857 edition, along with the 1861 edition. The site also contains audio recordings of the poems made by Eva Le Gallienne and Louis Jordan for Caedmon Records. The site is quite a find, and users with a penchant for Baudelaire's works will want to return several times. [KMG]

The Jewish Americans

Noted filmmaker David Grubin recently completed a documentary for PBS which explores 350 years of Jewish American history. This compelling profile focuses on the tension between "identity and assimilation" and at its heart is "quintessentially an American story." Visitors to the site can start their journey through the site by watching video clips from the program organized by themes. These themes include "Anti-Semitism in America", "Political Activism", and "Being Jewish in Modern America". Moving on, visitors can click on over to the "Share Your Story" area to chime in with stories about their family traditions and even contribute a recipe or two. The "For Educators" section contains a set of four lesson plans that can be used in conjunction with the program and the accompany materials on the site. [KMG]

American RadioWorks: Design of Desire [Real Player, iTunes]

Wants are much different than needs, though it would seem that various groups do a very good job of convincing individuals that they need all types of consumer goods. This rather insightful documentary from American RadioWorks looks into the world of buying and selling by talking with marketers, scientists, designers, and others. Produced by Chris Julin, Ochen Kaylan, and Ellen Guettler, the documentary explores topics such as the science behind shopping and the quest to market products directly to teenagers. Visitors can listen to the entire program here, read the transcript, take the "spendthrift-tightwad survey", and also view photographs of the American shopping experience. Additionally, visitors can take a look at their very thorough set of external links and resources on this subject. [KMG]

Antique Spectacles & Other Vision Aids

There are some sites that cover the world of eyeglasses and related ocular devices, and then there is the site maintained by retired ophthalmologist Dr. David Fleishman. On his site, Fleishman brings together spectacle-related material about art, history and collecting all in one place. First-time visitors should stop by the "Introduction & News" area to learn about the overall scope of the site and to find out about the site's layout and organization. The "History & References" section is quite splendid, as visitors can read a developmental history of spectacles here, take in a recommended reading list, and translations of key historical documents related to spectacles, including the Sforza Letter of 1462. Visitors should not miss the "Interesting Topics" section, which includes features on famous religious leaders and their spectacles, representative examples of vision aids, and persons associated with the creation of new ocular devices, such as Benjamin Franklin and Dr. J. William Rosenthal. [KMG]


Based in Japan, this innovative and interesting site takes on industrial design in all its many manifestations. First-time visitors to the site will notice that the "Browse PingMag" section contains listings for "Arts & Crafts", "Conscientious Design", and "Manga", along with a dozen other topics. Right next to that section is the "Recent Articles" area. Here visitors can read pieces like "Swiss Graphic Design in Tokyo", "Street Art in Colombia", and "Yatai: Tokyo's Mobile Food Bars". Not surprisingly, the site features a number of photographs of new design items, desktop environments, and so on. Additionally, the site also contains a link to "PingMag MAKE!" which contains weekly interviews with innovative craftsmen across Japan. [KMG]

Luxury for Export: Artistic Exchange between India and Portugal around 1600 [Macromedia Flash Player, iTunes]

By the early 1500s, the Portuguese had established a range of trading ports across the world. These ports were located in Africa, Asia, and India. Over the next several centuries, traders returned to the western edge of Europe with a wide range of luxury objects crafted from ivory, crystal, gold, and gemstones. This arresting and visually stimulating online collection from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston allows visitors to leisurely explore the various items that were brought back by these traders. Visitors can look over items such as a wood and ivory inlaid folding game board and a writing cabinet by using the collection's interactive homepage. For those with more specific interests, there's also a timeline and sections that place the items into broader thematic categories, such as "foliage" and "Christian images". [KMG]

Network Tools

Flock 1.1

Billed as a "social browser", Flock allows users to draw on a wide range of resources for their webbrowsing, including blogs and RSS feeds. This new release also allows users to monitor their friend's activities via Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube. For users who are intimately linked in to various social networking sites, this browser is definitely worth a look. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP and Vista. [KMG]

TeamViewer 3.5.4011

If you are working with a friend on a joint project and he is in Houston and you are in Shanghai, what do you do? You could take a glance at TeamViewer, a program that allows for desktop sharing and file transfer. Visitors just need to run TeamViewer on both machines and the program can also be used to create and display presentations. This version is compatible with computers running Window 95 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Despite decline in number, pay phones remain important means of communication for some

Pay phones may appear to be gathering dust, but some still use them

Where are the pay phones?

Payphone Project

Pay Phone History

The Antique Telephone History Web Site

Telephone Game

In 1889, the first public coin telephone was installed by inventor William Gray in a bank in Hartford, Connecticut. Over the next one hundred years, pay phones would find their way into American popular culture. Some people used pay phone booths to change identities (a la Superman) and still others used them to check in on a loved one who might be thousands of miles away. Despite their continued presence in convention centers, large hotels, and bus stations, the number of pay phones across the United States continues to decline significantly. In 1998, there were approximately 2.6 million pay phones in use. The most recent data indicates that there are around 1 million in use today. Recently, AT&T announced that they will be leaving the pay phone business, and they will be joining other telecommunications companies like BellSouth, who exited this segment of the business in 2001. While the decline of this particular aspect of telephony can be traced to the rise of cellular phone use, for many people, pay phones remain an important way of communicating cheaply with friends and family members. [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article from this Tuesday's Boston Globe in which staff reporter Irene Sege looks around the Hub to find out a bit more about pay phone usage. The second link leads to a passionate letter to the editor from Sarah Dowling of Vallejo where she asks, "Where are the pay phones?" Moving on, the third link leads to the Payphone Project site. Here visitors can look at photographs of pay phones in French Polynesia and Germany and also get the latest news about these devices. The fourth link leads to a site where visitors can learn about telephone collector clubs, take a look at a pay phone history timeline, and even read a list of highlights from pay phone history. The fifth link will whisk users away to the Antique Telephone History site, where users can view historic telephone wiring diagrams and where they might be able to procure replacement parts for their favorite Princess model phone. The last link will lead visitors straight into the instructions for that perennial party-favorite game, "Telephone". The game is appropriate for all ages, and it includes a few tongue twisters, including "Lesser leather never weathered wetter weather better." [KMG]

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