The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 11

March 21, 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

Ethics Updates

Created in 1994 by Professor Lawrence M. Hinman of the University of San Diego, the Ethics Updates site is designed primarily to be used to ethics instructors and their students. However, the site is rather interesting, so members of the general public may find themselves making a few return visits. Visitors can use the drop-down tabs on the top of the homepage to make their way through sections that cover some of the basic theories of ethics and also learn more about applied ethics in relation to such issues as animal rights, torture, and world hunger. Moving on, the "Resources" area includes case studies for discussion, a glossary of terms, classic texts in ethics, and ethics surveys. The site is rounded out by a search engine and a selection of videos that deal with various topics in ethics. [KMG]

The Body Explained [Windows Media Player]

BioEdOnline from the Baylor College of Medicine has been producing high-quality educational resources for a number of years, so it's nice to learn about their rather fun and informative "The Body Explained" resource. Narrated and hosted by Cassius Bordelon, PhD, this video production answers a number of common questions about how the body works. The segments are quite brief, and they may just spark a new interest in a curious student. Currently, there are around a dozen or so segments offered on the site, and they cover topics such as why our ears pop, why we sneeze, and what causes hiccups. Interested parties can also download the short segments for use in their classroom. [KMG]

To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence [pdf]

In 2004, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) published their groundbreaking report, "Reading at Risk," which took a critical look at voluntary reading patterns and test scores, and revealed some rather dire trends along the way. November 2007 saw the publication of another thought-provoking report, "To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence." This 100-page report offers a comprehensive analysis of reading patterns of children, teenagers, and adults in the United States. The report draws on data from over 40 sources, including federal agencies, universities, foundations, and associations. The report includes an executive summary, introduction, and three sections: "Youth Voluntary Reading Patterns," "What the Declines Mean for Literacy," and "Why More than Reading is at Risk." Alternately enlightening and troubling, this report will be of great interest to policymakers, educators, librarians, and countless other parties. [KMG]

National Annenberg Survey of Youth [pdf]

First conducted in 2002, the National Annenberg Survey of Youth (NASY) looked into youth attitudes towards gambling, the stigma of mental illness, and uses of media for both entertainment and information. Under the direction of Dr. Dan Romer, the NASY has continued to produce a number of thoughtful reports over the past several years. Visitors can view said reports on this site, and also look at some of their datasets and press releases. At the bottom of the homepage, visitors will find a chronological list of all these materials. Additionally, they can also click on over to the "Recent News" area to find out the latest information from NASY. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive their RSS feed. [KMG]

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin [pdf]

The primary goal of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin (HHMI) is to tell "the stories of the talented, energetic, and committed people who are the heart and soul of the Institute." Written in a jaunty and erudite manner, the Bulletin contains profiles of researchers working at the Institute, opinion and perspective pieces, and other items. Visitors can find articles on everything from sponges as a source of anti-cancer drugs to compelling pieces on chronic pain. Visitors can also browse through their online archive of past issues, which dates back to January 2001. Overall, this magazine is excellent, and it will be of interest to both members of the scientific community and those who might just appreciate a good read. [KMG]

William J. Meuer Photoart Collection

In some places, collegiate life and so-called "town-gown" activities and relationships are well-documented. The University of Wisconsin is just such a place, and recently the University of Wisconsin's Digital Collections group placed a cornucopia of photographic material online related to just this subject. The Meuer Photoart Collection draws on the work on local photographer William J. Meuer. Meuer and his brother, Roman, opened their photography business on Madison's State Street in 1916. Over a period that spanned forty years, Meuer took photographs of hundreds of faculty members at the University and documented lectures, social events, intramural and informal sporting events, and dramatic presentations. Currently, visitors can page through the first eight volumes of this twenty-five volume collection or they may also search the text of these albums for items of note. [KMG]

National Geographic: Prehistoric Time Line [Macromedia Flash Player]

Humans haven't roamed the earth for long, and our presence on this planet only dates back around 190,000 years. There are approximately 4.3 billion more years of Earth's history to explore, and this interactive and edifying timeline created by National Geographic helps interested persons explore it. First-time visitors can click around within the timeline to read short descriptions of important events and developments in the Earth's history, complete with visual materials. The events covered here include the initial formation of the Earth all the way up to the recent Ice Ages and the birth of modern humans. Along with this timeline, visitors can also view a photo gallery of the Permian Age and learn more about mass extinctions. [KMG]


Scholars and members of the general public will be excited to learn about H-LatAm which is a member of the H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences Online initiative. The general purpose of the forum is to facilitate the scholarly discussion of Latin American history. On the homepage, visitors can find recent messages posted to their listserv and also look over recent reviews published by contributors. The left-hand side of the homepage contains links to the listserv archives, syllabi, bibliographies, presentations, journals, discussion threads, and even relevant links for those engaged in this field. Additionally, the site contains information about electronic subscriptions to H-LatAm, a list of their editors, and members of their advisory board. The site is rounded out by an embedded search engine and job announcements. [KMG]

General Interest

Spalding Base Ball Guides, 1889-1939

On a cold and blustery day in November 1887, a group of Chicagoans were eagerly awaiting inside the Farragut Boat Club for the telegraphed results of the Harvard-Yale football game. George W. Hancock was one of their number, and while waiting he created a game that used a boxing glove for a ball and a broomstick for a bat. This game was known as indoor base ball, and it was the predecessor to the sport which would later be called softball. This delightful collection from the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress contains 35 of the official indoor base ball guides published between 1889 and 1939. The guides include editorials from baseball writers on the state of the game, a selection of photographs, and of course, a slew of statistics. The guides are fun, informative, and who knows, they might serve as the timely spark to start a revival of this pastime. [KMG]

Multiple Interpretations: Contemporary Prints in Portfolio at The New York Public Library

While this particular exhibit closed in January 2008, visitors with a penchant for printmaking and the visual arts in general will be glad to learn that this online exhibit is still available for viewing. The exhibit was funded by Miriam and Ira D. Wallach, and it takes a close look at some of the many contemporary prints which reside in the New York Public Library's Division of Art, Prints and Photographs. Visitors can start their journey through the prints by first reading an introductory essay on the exhibition. After that, they can click on an alphabetical list of the artists whose work is included here. While there are many compelling works available, visitors should not miss the prints by Olafur Eliasson, Wayne Gonzales, and Elliott Green. [KMG]

Mostly Medieval: Exploring the Middle Ages

Mostly Medieval accurately describes this webpage, and it's a rather fine potpourri of information related to the Middle Ages. The site was created by Susan Wallace as the result of a research for a novel set in 13th century Scotland. Visitors can make their way through sections such as "Ballads," "Beasties," "Book of Days," "God and War," and "Heradlry." The "Ballads" area is a nice place to start; users can read (and perhaps sing) through such ballads as "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne," "Gude Wallace," and "The Battle of Harlaw." After that bit of warm-up, visitors should take a look inside the "Book of Days" section to learn more about holy days and celebrations throughout the months. Finally, visitors can also use the A-Z index to look up specific topics of interest. [KMG]

Universal Leonardo [Macromedia Flash Player]

To say Leonardo da Vinci was a bit of a polymath is akin to casually mentioning that Rachmaninov had some facility on the piano. His works spanned the visual arts, engineering, mathematics, anatomy, and many other areas which have fascinated and confounded humans for millennia. This website serves as an tribute to his prodigious skills, and it warrants several visits. On the top of the homepage, visitors will find sections that include "Visit," "Explore," "Play," "Discover," and "Research." Visitors would do well to look through the "Explore" section first. Here they can take in interactive exhibits which look into da Vinci's work on human anatomy, the natural world, and his thoughts on light and vision. Moving along, the "Play" section is truly fun for all ages, as visitors can make their own monster, interact with a series of pulleys, and even make the Mona Lisa smile. Additionally, the "Discover" area discusses the various scientific techniques used to explore and analyze da Vinci's "Madonna of the Yarnwinder." [KMG]

ArtsEdge: Articles & Reports [pdf]

Located at the Kennedy Center, the National Arts and Education Network (known as ArtsEdge) "supports the placement of the arts at the center of the curriculum and advocates creative use of technology." Along with creating online teaching resources, activities, and exhibits, they also have a substantial research initiative. On this site, visitors can browse over 35 different reports and articles that have been created by ArtsEdge or one of its partners. Visitors can scroll through the list of available documents or also perform a quick keyword search. The titles offered cover everything from arts education to educational technology, and they include "Arts, Artists, and Teaching," "Media Paints Arts Education in Fading Light," and "What Are They Teaching Art Students These Days?" [KMG]

The Infinite Mind [Real Player]

Broadcast on National Public Radio, The Infinite Mind program takes a close investigative look into the inner workings of the human mind through interviews with various medical professionals, artists, and those coping with mental illness. Guests of the program have included everyone from comedienne Margaret Cho to left-handed boxers, or "southpaws," as they are known in the business. Recent programs have included shows on the nature of altruism, shoplifting, Tourette's syndrome, and internal body clocks. Visitors can listen to the various shows online here, read about the radio stations that broadcast the program, and learn more about the company that produces it, Lichtenstein Creative Media. [KMG]

Geology of National Parks

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a historic tour of the Colorado River Canyon? Wonder no more, as this site from the U.S. Geological Survey makes just such a sojourn possible. Drawing on thousands of historic and contemporary photographs, views, documents, and other items, the USGS has created these fine 3D and photographic tours of dozens of national parks. On the site, visitors will find an alphabetical list of the parks, along with links to the 3D image galleries, standard image galleries, and selected online field guides. There's a great deal to recommend here, but visitors should definitely look at the stereograph images from the Powell Survey Expeditions of the Colorado River from 1871 and 1872 (in the "Other park-related resources" section) and the guidebook titled "Where's the San Andreas Fault?" Along with providing entertaining edification, this site might also spark some ideas for an upcoming trip. [KMG]

Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today [Macromedia Flash Player]

This fun exhibit from MOMA uses the commercial color chart as its organizing function, which allows visitors to look at art several ways. Browse artists alphabetically from Bas Jan Ader's "Primary Time" video, featuring red, blue and yellow carnations to Christopher Williams' photographs of bright red, yellow and green plates in dishwashers. Select "by Medium" to see work sorted into categories: a few media, 16 photographs, a handful of sculptures and other installations, 8 drawings and prints, and almost four dozen paintings. You can also view the art work on a timeline by year beginning with Marcel Duchamp's "Tu m'" as the only 1918 entry and moving to Robert Rauschenberg's "Rebus" from 1955 makes 1962 seem a watershed year for color, with several stripe paintings by Frank Stella, a couple of paint-by-number Andy Warhols, as well as five of his Marilyn Monroes in different color schemes. It's also possible to view online videos of four artworks as they are being installed at the Museum. [DS]

Network Tools

iDump 27

The purpose of iDump is deceptively simple, and for many it will be a most welcome discovery. iDump allows users to transfer the contents of their iPod to a PC. After installing the application, users can select the songs they wish to transfer, and then pick a destination directory. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and Vista. [KMG]

NetNewsWire 3.1

Keeping tabs on the news (or anything else) online can be a bit overwhelming, so it's nice to know that NetNewsWire 3.1 can help out. While this RSS reader can perform the usual tasks of fetching and displaying news from thousands of different websites and weblogs, it also includes a weblog editor that allows users to post to a host of different popular blogging sites. The program also features an integrated podcast manager, which will automatically send new podcasts to a selected music jukebox. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 or greater. [KMG]

In The News

After an absence of seven decades, the Second Amendment appears again in the Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court wades into gun-rights debates

Nation awaits D.C. handgun ruling

Statement of Paul Helmke President of the Brady Center on Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Fighting for Our Right to Bear Arms

Guns Out of Control

FIndLaw: U.S. Constitution: Second Amendment

Massachusetts Militia Roots: A Bibliographic Study

This week, the Supreme Court began to address the complex question of the Second Amendment. The Amendment states that a "well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The last time the Supreme Court directly addressed the meaning and intent of this amendment was in 1939, when it upheld a law that restricted sawed-off shotguns on the grounds that this type of weapon had no "ordinary military use." The meaning (and wording) of this amendment has been debated at all levels of society and jurisdiction since it came into existence, and if this week's deliberations are any indication, it may take several months before the Supreme Court issues a ruling in this matter. The case came to the Court because a Washington, DC security guard wanted to take his gun home at night, but is currently unable to do so because the city has a handgun ban. The Court's initial discussion on the matter was far-ranging, as justices touched on everything from debates during the writing of the Bill of Rights to an 18th century ordinance in Boston which required individuals to keep gunpowder on the top floors of their homes for safety reasons. Certainly, it's a development that is worth keeping tabs on, as it could have far-reaching ramifications across the country. [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article from this Wednesday's International Herald Tribune which discusses the Supreme Court's recent discussion and debate on the Second Amendment. The second link leads to a news story from this Monday's Washington Times which talks about the potential ramifications for the District of Columbia, which has had a ban on handguns for over thirty years. Moving on, the third link leads to a statement from the president of the Brady Center, Paul Helmke, on the recent arguments heard before the Supreme Court. In the statement, Helmke stated, "Think how much safer we would all be if we made it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons nationwide, not just in a few areas." The fourth link will take users to an editorial on the right to bear arms which appeared in the Boston Globe on Tuesday. The author, Robert A. Levy, comments on how Washington's ban on firearms might coexist with an interpretation of the Second Amendment that secures the right of individuals to own such weapons. The fifth link leads to a "Flashbacks" feature from The Atlantic magazine that contains links to previously published pieces that debate the true intentions behind the Second Amendment. The sixth link contains an annotated version of the Second Amendment, provided courtesy of FindLaw. Finally, the last link leads to an intriguing document authored by Captain Robert K. Wright, Jr. which traces the roots of the Massachusetts Militia all the way back to the late 1620s. [KMG]

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