The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 20

May 23, 2008

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

Special Edition Scout Report: Best of 2007-2008

As another academic year draws to a close, the Scout staff thought we would commemorate a fruitful and interesting year of the Scout Report by publishing a Special Edition: Best of 2007-2008. We hope you enjoy reviewing some of the great resources from the past year and, as always, we look forward to continuing to provide our readers with more in the years to come.

All the best,
Chanda Halderman
Managing Editor

Research and Education

National Cancer Institute [pdf]

Established by the National Cancer Act of 1937, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is one of the preeminent cancer research centers in the world. Over the past seventy years, their work has helped advance human understanding of human physiology, genetics, and cell biology, along with supporting the research efforts of at least twenty Nobel Prize winners. On their homepage, visitors can learn more about the various types of cancer, view their latest NCI Cancer Bulletin, and also read through the "NCI Highlights" section. Along the left-hand side of the homepage, the "Quick Links" area includes a link to their dictionary of cancer terms, the NCI drug dictionary, and information about funding opportunities. Further down on the homepage, there is a handy "Cancer Topics" section which includes fact sheets on "What is Cancer?", "Coping with Cancer", and "Smoking and Cancer". Overall, this site is very well-organized and accessible to both the general public and scholars. [KMG]

Species Explorer [Macromedia Flash Player]

Among other things, the Internet is a great way to bring together geographically distant pieces of information and observations. The Species Explorer website does just that, by allowing visitors to contribute their observations of wildlife via their computer or mobile phone quickly and simply. The goals of Species Explorer are diverse and they include the idea that it is important "to encourage the level of 'citizen science' in the general public" and "to provide a platform for parent-child learning." After reading a bit of background about the project, visitors can continue on to the "Components" area to learn exactly what they will need to participate. After registering, visitors can also explore the existing observations via the Species Explorer Online application. It's a remarkable site and a remarkable idea, and one that will hopefully spur others to participate and maybe even to create new innovations in a similar vein. [KMG]

The Endangered Species Program: Introduction to Bats

Bats tend to get a bad rap, in no small part due to their bizarre depictions in everything from cartoons to horror movies. They are, of course, tremendously helpful to humans as they consume tremendous numbers of insects and they also have remarkable echolocation abilities. This introduction to the real life and world of bats was created by the Fish and Wildlife Service and it dispels a number of myths and misconceptions, along with providing high-quality information about bat biology, hibernation and migration, and the reasons for their decline. From the homepage, visitors can click on the "Common Myths and Misconceptions" area and then learn a bit more about the endangered bat species which reside in the United States. After that, visitors can click on through to the "Bat Biology" area which features some more facts about these mammals. One can imagine that this site would fit in perfectly with a biology or zoology course, and it might even spur a new interest among young and old. [KMG]

Business of the Bomb: The Modern Nuclear Marketplace

The people at American RadioWorks don't shy away from difficult or controversial topics, and one of their latest documentaries takes on the rather touchy subject of the modern nuclear marketplace. On the site dedicated to the documentary, visitors can listen to the entire program, and even follow along with a transcript. While many still imagine this marketplace run by terrorists attempting to move nuclear bombs and devices across the world, this portrait is actually inaccurate. Among the many interesting and revealing aspects of this documentary is the fact that much of the nuclear bomb business now conducted by those rather white-collar in orientation. The site also includes a number of short essays on the nuclear power renaissance and the American Atoms for Peace program. The documentary is fascinating, and it could be effectively used in a political science or international relations course. [KMG]

Normal Faults in Sand in a Shoe Box

A great deal can be learned by observing a sand box, and this delightful instructional resource offers ample proof. This resource was developed by Betsy D. Torrez of Sam Houston State University and it is designed to help students use sandbox models "to investigate the characteristics of normal faults and parameters that influence their development." The resource is intended for use by students in structural geology, and the site includes an overview of the context in which the activity should be used, along with a complete set of notes for instructors. Finally, the site also includes several student handouts and a list of supporting materials and references. [KMG]

Nanking Massacre Project

In December 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded Nanking in China and what transpired over the following six weeks became known as the Nanking Massacre. Many people have offered their accounts of what happened during this period, and this particular collection from the Yale Divinity School Library offers the perspectives recorded by a number of Westerners who remained in Nanking after the Japanese invasion. For the most part, these Westerners were businessmen and missionaries and their letters and photographs are available on this site. Visitors can click on their names as they wish or also look through the "Documents" list to peruse each document at their leisure. Additionally, the site also includes several dozen photographs which document everything from refugee camps to military parades. [KMG]

Arab Media & Society

What's going on in the Arab world and media you might ask? It's an immensely interesting subject, and one that is tackled with persistence, aplomb, and timeliness by the staff members at the Arab Media & Society website. The website was created by a working partnership between the American University in Cairo's Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research and The Middle East Centre at Oxford. It is a bold mission, and their primary intent is to cover not just television but "all forms of media, and their interaction with society-at-large, from politics and business to culture and religion, as well as the way in which Arab media change resonates in the broader Muslin world." Visitors can view recent articles and posts by topic along the left-hand side of the site and also view featured articles that cover everything from insurgent video propaganda to an exploration of the BBC Arabic satellite channel. Additionally, visitors can view videos clips and listen to a number of audio selections. For anyone with an interest in journalism in the Arab world, this site will be simply invaluable. [KMG]

The British Museum: Research

British Museum staff members are constantly engaged in research projects from fieldwork to cataloguing and scientific investigation, and this site provides insight and access to a wealth of information about these endeavors. First-time visitors to the site should glance on over to the left-hand side of the homepage, where they will find sections like "Research Projects", "Publications", "Libraries and archives", and "Research News". It's probably best to look at the "Research News" area first, as it offers a nice portrait of some of the Museum's primary projects. Recent topics covered here include their collaborative work with the Smithsonian Institution on examining crystal skulls and research trips to the Arctic. Moving on, visitors can then make their way to the "Publications" area which includes full-text versions of works like "Albrecht Drer and his Legacy" and "Cleaning and Controversy: The Parthenon Sculptures 1811-1939". Lastly, visitors can also use the embedded search engine to make their way through over 250,000 objects. [KMG]

General Interest

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Written by the Persian mathematician and astronomer Omar Khayyam in the 12th century, the Rubaiyat consists of approximately 1000 quatrains. The Rubaiyat has been translated into over 70 different languages to become the most widely known poem in the world and both the beautiful poetry and the underlying philosophy of the Rubaiyat are responsible for its widespread and enduring popularity. Without question, one of the most famous verses from this collection is "Here with a loaf of bread beneath the bough/a flask of wine, a book of verse-and thou". This site is dedicated to exploring all aspects of this famous collection of writings, and visitors to the site can read a number of translations of this work and also learn more about Khayyam, Fitzgerald, and others who have been involved with the Rubaiyat. Visitors can also learn more about the celebrations which will take place in 2009 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Fitzgerald's masterful translation of this beautiful work. [KMG]

North Carolina Museum of Art: Far From Home [iTunes]

When artists are working in different parts of the world, how do they choose to interpret what they find? It's an engaging question, and one that is explored thoroughly by this recent exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The online version takes visitors through the exhibit by offering up images in the "Works of Art" area. There are many highlights here, but visitors shouldn't miss Ledelle Moe's "Congregation" or Jose Bedia's "Clavado a su suerte". The site also includes biographical information about each artist, and several podcasts featuring interviews with several of the artists. Also, the weblog here is a real find, as it really allows artists to offer their intimate thoughts on how their own personal history is reflected in their work. [KMG]

National Portrait Gallery: Ballyhoo! Posters as Portraiture

Since their creation, posters have been used to promote everything from toothpaste to teen idols, and along the way many critics have asked questions about how these devices depict their subjects. The National Portrait Gallery has created this exhibit with just that purpose, and they are also interested in looking at the poster as a form of popular portraiture. The exhibit explores a number of themes, chief among them "Broadsheets & Show Posters", "The Poster Craze", and "Export of American Culture". Each of these themes is accompanied by a selection of images from the exhibit, along with a brief narrative introduction. Visitors will definitely want to check out the audio slideshow of the exhibit, which is narrated by curator Wendy Wick Reaves. Also, visitors can read her thoughts on the exhibition on the National Portrait Gallery's weblog, "Face to Face". [KMG]

How To Go Organic

People have been wondering about how to "go organic" for decades, and interest in organic everything seems to be growing exponentially. Created by the Organic Trade Association, this website provides in-depth information for producers, processors, and individuals about how to make the transition to organic. The primary sections of the site include "Pathway for Producers", "Pathway for Processors", and "Key Resources". Most people will want to start by looking over the "Key Resources" area, as it includes thematically organized resources that deal with crops and farming, business and marketing, certification, and livestock and ranching. This area provides a broad range of web-based resources, most of which are available at no charge. Moving on, the "Regional Guide" section features an interactive map that includes the best organizations, web sites, and publications available across the United States. [KMG]

Leadership and Legacy: Athletics and the University of Oregon

The history of athletics at the University of Oregon is the primary subject of this site created by the University of Oregon Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives department. While telling the basic story of this history is important, the site also tells "the story of athletics in higher education." Visitors can peruse topics that include "The Track and Field Legacy", "The University's Response to Title IX", and "The University's Approach to Changes in Athletics". Within each section, visitors can view photos and other original documentary materials that tell the story of such luminaries as track legend Steve Prefontaine and others. Additionally, visitors can view their highly interactive timeline of events, which features options that allow users to toggle various sports on and off as they move through time. As expected, those who know what they are looking for can also search the collection by keyword. [KMG]

National Economists Club [iTunes]

Founded in 1968, the National Economists Club (NEC) is an educational organization which "aims to encourage and sponsor discussion and an exchange of ideas on economic trends and issues that are relevant for public policy." They sponsor a wide range of activities and one of their most compelling efforts of late can be found on this site. In January 2007, they began recording their luncheon speeches and making them available here as podcasts. With well over fifty podcasts currently available, visitors can browse through them at their leisure and also sign up to receive their RSS feed. So far, the talks have included such interesting topics as "Getting Serious about Renewing and Modernizing Public Education", "Where is Europe Heading?", and "Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century Economy". [KMG]

Southern Poverty Law Center: Intelligence Project [pdf]

The Southern Poverty Law Center has been monitoring the activities of hate groups and extremist activities since 1981. Today, their Intelligence Project continues to track over 800 hate groups across the United States. First-time visitors to the site can look over the "Top Hatewatch Headlines", which offer brief synopses of current activities within the various groups. From there, visitors will want to visit the "Intelligence Report" section. Here, they will find the current issue of this magazine, which frequently includes guest editorials, interviews with former hate group members and leaders, and information about how the Center is combating these different groups and their activities. Additionally, the site also includes an interactive map of active hate groups in the United States. [KMG]

Take Your Time: Studio Olafur Eliasson [Adobe Flash Player]

Previously mentioned in the September 21, 2007 Scout Report, , the physical version of Olafur Eliasson's exhibition "Take Your Time" has migrated from San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), where it was organized, to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. The associated web exhibition is different enough to be worth a second look as well. For example, the web display of the piece 360 room for all colours 2002, in the San Francisco exhibition takes the user inside the circular, multicolored room created by the artist, and includes audio commentary by curator Madeleine Grynsztejn. In contrast, the MoMA version provides more textual "label" type information about the piece, placing it in the artistic tradition of panoramas, and provides a closer look at the outside. In addition, while interview footage of Eliasson was shot at SFMOMA, the videos have been updated with views of his artwork installed in New York. [DS]

Network Tools

Free Audio Dub

Whether you're modifying a speech for inclusion on your own personal website or just trying to parse out a particularly long audio track, Free Audio Dub should fit the bill nicely. The application allows users to delete unwanted parts from audio files without re-encoding. Additionally, it also happens to support a number of audio formats, including MP3's and WAV files. This version is compatible with computers running any version of Windows. [KMG]

ReadAir 1.1.1

Read Air brings together Google Reader and the Adobe AIR platform in one easy package. It's a newsreader that is meant to work most efficiently with Mac OS X, and users can access all of their feeds simply, share stories, and also add or remove feeds and tags. This version is compatible with computers running all versions of Mac OS X. [KMG]

In The News

National Trust for Historic Preservation releases 2008 list of endangered sites

California parks, NYC neighborhood top list of 11 endangered sites

With place on National Trust's endangered list, Dallas' Statler Hilton isn't going anywhere

Chicago's Michigan Avenue 'streetwall' named to list of nation's 11 most endangered places

Boyd Theater makes endangered list

National Trust for Historic Preservation Announces 2008 List of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Thirteen/WNET New York: Tenement Museum

What do a mid-twentieth century hotel in Dallas, Chicago's fabled Michigan Avenue faade, and an Art Deco movie theater have in common? For one thing, they are all in cities, and they all also happen to appear on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2008 list of the United States' most endangered historic places. This Tuesday, the National Trust released the list in order to raise awareness about the potential dangers these places face in the near future. Other places on this year's list included the entire California state park system, the Charity Hospital in New Orleans, and Manhattan's Lower East Side, which faces the imminent specter of gentrification that has engulfed the majority of the entire borough in the past two decades. The National Trust began offering these lists in 1988, and while they do not offer or create any legal protection, they have a high success rate, as only 7 of the 200 sites or so mentioned on the annual lists have been demolished. In a recent interview with the New York Times, the National Trust's president, Richard Moe, remarked, "We don't argue that every old building should be saved, but the purpose is to illustrate the most important kinds of structure or sites that can and should be saved." [KMG]

The first link will whisk users away to a news article about the list from this Tuesday's USA Today. The second link leads to an article from The Dallas Morning News about the modernist masterpiece that is the Statler Hotel in Big D. Moving on, the third link leads to an excellent piece by the Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin about the Michigan Avenue faade in Chicago's Loop. The fourth link will take visitors to a piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer's Inga Saffron about the history and potential future of the Art Deco Boyd Theater. The fifth link leads to the 2008 National Trust for Historic Preservation's official list of the 11 most endangered places, complete with up-to-date details on the current status of each place. The last link leads to a great site that provides an interactive tour of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in Manhattan. [KMG]

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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
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