The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 14

April 11, 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

Mathematics Awareness Month 2008 [pdf]

Voting is on the minds of many these days, including politicians, statisticians, policy wonks, and a number of talking heads. With that in mind, it's not surprising that the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics has offered up "Math and Voting" for the theme of Mathematics Awareness Month 2008. The site is full of compelling activities, contests, and thoughtful essays, and even those who feel some resistance to various forms of mathematics may find themselves completely won over. Visitors should click on the "Theme Essays" section to read insightful pieces like "Roles for Statisticians in Elections" by John S. Gardenier, D.B.A, and "Fair Majority Voting (or How to Eliminate Gerrymandering)" by Michel Balinski. After that, visitors can click through to the "Activities" area, where they can try different voting methods and watch and listen to talks on voting paradoxes and the mathematics of voting. [KMG]

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Webcasts & Video [Real Player, iTunes]

General Robert Wood Johnson was head of the Johnson & Johnson Company and was also a vice chairman of the War Production Board during World War II. In addition, he was a philanthropist, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was created in his name to help support and improve the health care of all Americans. The Foundation's website is a treasure-trove of interesting and timely information on their work and research, and the webcasts & video section is one that will delight and inform health care professionals, researchers, and others. Currently, the site has almost 90 webcasts which cover everything from childhood obesity to improving health care for the elderly. Additionally, the site also has a small selection of podcasts and videos which profile organizations awarded funding from the Foundation. [KMG]

The Urban Institute: Issues in Focus: Child Welfare [pdf]

The Urban Institute has been actively involved in research on urban-themed policy issues and related matters for over four decades. One of their thematic research programs covers child welfare. On this site, visitors can learn about this program, look over recent research reports, and sign up to receive their electronic newsletter. The "About the Program" is a fine place to start, and here visitors will learn that their work includes research on the finances of child welfare programs, adoption, and kinship care. Further on down the homepage, users will find recent reports like "Who Will Adopt the Foster Care Children Left Behind?" and "Trends in U.S. Foster Care Adoption Legislation: A State by State Analysis". The site is rounded out by information on the program team and an area where visitors can sign up to receive the Child Welfare Research Program's quarterly electronic newsletter. [KMG]

Introduction to Chest Imaging

Chest imaging is a common technique used by health care professionals to diagnose and treat a range of medical conditions. Persons attempting to learn about this technique may find this site valuable, as it provides an overview of chest imaging and radiology. Created by experts at the University of Virginia's Medical School, the site provides an introduction to the technique of taking chest images as well as reading and understanding chest x-rays. Moving on, the other useful materials on the site are divided into sections that include "Technique", "Anatomy", "Interpretation", and "Pathology". Each section is complemented with x-ray images, diagrams, and short tutorials. The site concludes with a short test which covers some of the key pieces of information offered here. [KMG]

Institute for Democracy in South Africa [pdf]

The public interest organization, Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa), was founded by Frederick van Zyl Slabbert and Alex Boraine in 1986. Their goal was to help find "an alternative to the politics of repression" and over time they came to work more generally on promoting sustainable democracy based on "active citizenship, democratic institutions, and social justice." First-time visitors will want to start by looking over the "Topics" area, which contains information about their work on human rights, peace building and dialogue, and active citizenship. Within each area, visitors can read book reviews, articles, monitoring reports, newsletters, and fact sheets. Moving on, visitors can also sign up to receive their newsletters which are released every month. It's a well-thought out site, and for persons with an interest in development issues, political science, and related fields, it's a site they will want to return to several times. [KMG]

The Aldo Leopold Archives

Like environmentalists before him (such as John Muir), Aldo Leopold was a passionate advocate for conservationism. While he contributed to many disciplines, perhaps his best-known work remains "A Sand County Almanac", which was published shortly after his death in 1949. Leopold was a professor of game management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and this collection from the University of Wisconsin's Digital Collections group brings together his diaries and journals for consideration by scholars and members of the general public. The project was funded in part by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and visitors are welcome to browse through his voluminous journals at their leisure. Also, visitors can look at the online finding aid to his papers, which may be helpful for those looking to do more in-depth research in person. [KMG]

Global Climate Change: Economics, Science, and Policy [pdf]

How will various institutions respond to global warming? It's a multifaceted question, and one that forms the basis of this thoughtful course offered by MIT's Sloan School of Management. Materials for the course are offered as part of MIT's OpenCourseWare initiative, and they include a syllabus, reading suggestions, lecture notes, and several assignments. The course was originally taught in the spring of 2007 by Professors Henry Jacoby and Ronald Prinn, and it also draws on research from the university's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Visitors can get a sense of the course's basic objectives by looking over the readings and the lecture notes, and interested parties may even want to take on some of the homework assignments offered here. [KMG]

The Global Crop Diversity Trust [pdf]

Amidst the backdrop of climate change and staggering world population growth, many agronomists, scientists, and government leaders are concerned about both food security and availability. The Global Crop Diversity Trust is intimately concerned with such matters, and their primary goal is to maintain and preserve crop diversity through a variety of creative and innovative techniques. Information on the site is divided into five primary sections, which include "Crop Diversity", Programmes", and "Media Room". The "Crop Diversity" area is a good place to begin, here queries such as "What is crop diversity?" and "How is diversity conserved?" are given concise answers. As with many of the other materials on the site, Spanish and French translations of these writings are available as well. In keeping with this theme, visitors can also take in an interactive tour of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Scholars, journalists, and the generally curious will want to click on over to the "Publications" area. Here they will find copies of the Trust's annual reports, press releases, and video clips which describe the different facets of their work. [KMG]

General Interest

National Portrait Gallery: Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture [Macromedia Flash Player]

The lyricism and social consciousness of hip-hop music has been a source of inspiration for many artists working in photography, painting, film, and even contemporary multimedia projects. Recently, the National Portrait Gallery decided to create an exhibit that would explore some of these relationships and exchanges, and this website offers a taste of what visitors will find at the actual exhibition space. First-time visitors to the site can click on over to one of the main themes on the right-hand side of the homepage. Actually, the "Photography" area is a great place to start, and visitors can listen to an interview with photographer David Scheinbaum about his work and artistic vision. After that, visitors can look over a sampling of his images, which include concert photos of Gang Starr, Mos Def, and KRS-ONE. Moving on, the "Painting" area features the work of Kehinde Wiley, who is known for his large and vibrantly-colored paintings of young African American men. Some of the works featured here include portraits of Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, and Ice T. Overall, it's an interesting collection, and one that allows the National Portrait Gallery to break out into new territory. [KMG]

SurveyLA: Los Angeles Historic Resources Survey

If you mention "historic preservation" and "Los Angeles" in the same sentence, some people might raise their eyebrows. The City of Angeles has constantly reinvented itself during its relatively brief existence, and much of the city's urban fabric has been chewed up by bulldozers and ambitious developers over the past several decades. However, the J. Paul Getty Trust is providing financial backing for the very exciting and ambitious project known as "SurveyLA". The intent of SurveyLa is to complete a citywide survey that will identify and document historic resources representing significant themes in the city's history. Visitors to the site can learn about the survey's methods, read a FAQ section, and also locate historic properties. It's a very well-done website, and it's one that other historic preservation officials and persons with an interest in such matters may want to consult as they think about their own efforts in this area. [KMG]

World Food Situation [pdf]

Founded in 1945, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is concerned with defeating hunger through a broad range of strategic and targeted programs. One of their public service and awareness initiatives includes this site, which is designed to provide high-quality and rigorously researched information on the state of food and agricultural production across the world. Scholars will want to click on over to the "Analyses and Reports" area, which includes short, medium, and long-term reports on crop prospects, the rice market, and the overall world food market. Moving down the homepage, visitors will find the "Key Issues" area. Here they can read a list of countries in crisis, learn about food emergencies, and take a look at the FAO Food Price Index. [KMG]

National Poetry Month

T.S. Eliot wrote that "April is the cruelest month". Hopefully, National Poetry Month can clear the skies a bit and offer a bit of hope and insight. National Poetry Month has been celebrated every April since 1996, and was started by The Academy of American Poets. This site provides a cornucopia of resources designed to help everyone celebrate and enjoy the festivities of National Poetry Month. Visitors can start their journey through the site by clicking on the "What is National Poetry Month?" area, and then moving on to read more about related events across all of the 50 states. Educators will want to look over the "Resources" area, as they can peruse resources designed to motivate students to enjoy poetry in the classroom. Everyone who visits the site should also click on over to the "Poem-A-Day" feature, which allows visitors the opportunity to receive a poem each day during National Poetry Month. [KMG]

Earth Revealed

What goes on during an earthquake? Who came up with the theory of plate tectonics? What can the fossil record tell us about the evolution of life on Earth? These are all fine questions, and students and educators with a thirst for geological knowledge will find the answers to these (and many more) questions in the "Earth Revealed" television series. Offered as part of the Annenberg Media website, the 26-part series includes such episodes as "Geologic Time", "Mountain Building", and "The Birth of a Theory". As with many of the Annenberg Media offerings, visitors can view entire episodes here, and they can also take a look at a list of additional resources. [KMG]

National Geographic: History [Macromedia Flash Player]

The National Geographic Society takes a broad and inclusive approach to history in their print magazine, and their website dedicated to the subject is no different. The site is full of multimedia features, such as video clips, short interviews, and interactive maps, and it is updated frequently. On the top of the homepage, new and timely history-related news stories scroll through, accompanied by arresting visual images. Visitors can click on the images, or also navigate their way through a list of stories below the image box. Additionally, the site contains a "History Video" area, which includes video clips documenting everything from the annual donkey race in Italy to various archaeological museums. Because the site maintains the high-quality standards of the print magazine, many visitors may find themselves acquiring an enduring interest on some of the topics covered here. [KMG]


The word "Aluka" is derived from a Zulu word meaning "to weave". It's an appropriate title for this international, collaborative initiative, which is committed to building and maintaining a digital library of scholarly resources from and about Africa. While it might be best to describe some websites by what they have, it's almost better to ask the question of what Aluka doesn't have on its very thorough site. From the homepage, visitors can search the entire contents of the collection, or just browse on through some of the "Aluka's Choice" items, which might include anything from a drawing on animal skin or an architectural rendering of a temple in Ghana. The site also features several library tools, including a 3D viewer, a specialized page viewer, and an image measurement tool. Visitors can also take a look at the "News" area or just check out the "Image of the Day" feature on the homepage. [KMG]

Inspiring Impressionism [Macromedia Flash Player]

"Daring. Provocative. Revolutionary." This is how the curators for the "Inspiring Impression" exhibit describe the Impressionists. But, this exhibit does more than display Impressionist masterpieces, it also shows how these "painters of modern life were influenced by artists of the past." The exhibition explores the relationship between the Impressionists and the Old Masters that inspired them. If you can't make it to Denver to see the show, then this website provides a worthwhile taste of the exhibition. In the "Featured Artworks" section, visitors can compare the likes of Hobbema and Monet, Puget and Czanne, and others. Here, an inspirational work by an Old Master is set next to an Impressionist work clearly influenced by its predecessor. The site also offers a timeline, which allows visitors to "learn more about Impressionists and their relationships to the Old Masters." Finally, the "Teaching Resources" section of the site provides a wealth of information on where to find more on either the Old Masters or the Impressionists in cyberspace. [CMH]

Network Tools

Sakina Privacy Protector

Cleaning up anything can be hard, and even just cleaning up a browser history can be troublesome. Sakina Privacy Protector helps users do just that, along with offering a way to delete cookies, clean up the cache, and also remove temporary files. This particular version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

CrossLoop 2.11

What if Bob is in Shanghai working on a project and Jane is in Dubai and needs access to something on his desktop? There are a number of ways to solve this quandary, and one of them happens to be the CrossLoop application. With CrossLoop, users can virtually share computer desktops across all sorts of borders, whether political or other. Guest users can save files to the other desktop and also use any application. This version is compatible with computers running Windows NT and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Rising food prices raise questions about both food security and political unrest

Food price rises threaten global security

Price of rice continues record surge

US government ready to export rice to Philippines

Poor Thai farmers guard their fields as rice prices soar

Amber Waves: February 2008: Rising Food Prices Intensify Food Insecurity in Developing Countries [iTunes]

Development Gateway: Food Security [pdf]

While the rising cost of consumer goods such as various foodstuffs can be troublesome in the United States, in other parts of the world it has the possibility to lead towards much broader social and political unrest. This was the message delivered this week by Sir John Holmes, who serves as the United Nation's top humanitarian official. At a meeting in Dubai this week, Holmes commented that escalating prices would most likely trigger protests in vulnerable nations. Holmes also remarked that "Current food price trends are likely to increase sharply both the incidence and depth of food insecurity." His comments seem to be corroborated by recent events around the world, including demonstrations about the rising price of food in Egypt, related riots in Haiti that left four people dead, and some very violent protests in Ivory Coast. Rice is one crop that officials and others are particularly concerned about, and a number of Asian countries have slowed or stopped their rice exports in order to maintain their stores for their own residents. Some countries have already agreed to send rice to places like the Philippines, and the hope is that other nations will follow suit. [KMG]

The first link will lead visitors to an excellent piece from the Guardian's David Adam which talks a bit about the recent and sustained increase in food prices. The second link will take visitors to an article from this Wednesday's Ottawa Citizen about the recent problem with rice hoarding in the Philippines. The third link will whisk visitors away to a piece from the Manila Times which talks about the United States government's decision to export rice to the Philippines to ease some of the rice shortage there. Moving on, the fourth link leads to an article which discusses the increasing problems with rice theft that farmers in Thailand are encountering. The fifth link will take users to a compelling interview with Stacey Rosen and Shahla Shapouri about the situation regarding rising food prices. The sixth and final link leads to the Development Gateway's specialized information page on food security and related issues. [KMG]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The Scout Report.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2008.

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Internet Scout, 1994-2008. Internet Scout (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

Internet Scout Team
Max GrinnellEditor
Chanda HaldermanManaging Editor
Edward AlmasyCo-Director
Rachael BowerCo-Director
Andrea CoffinMetadata Specialist
Clay CollinsInternet Cataloger
Emily SchearerInternet Cataloger
Tim BaumgardWeb Developer
Kyle MannaTechnical Specialist
Benjamin YuleTechnical Specialist
Lesley Skousen-ChioAdministrative Support
Debra ShapiroContributor

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout staff page.