The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 27

July 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

Green Design Institute [pdf]

The Green Design Institute is a "major interdisciplinary education and research effort to make an impact on environmental quality through green design." The primary goal of the Institute is to form partnerships with industry, government, and other foundations in order to develop processes that "can improve environmental quality and product quality while enhancing economic development." Located at Carnegie Mellon, the Institute involves faculty, students, and other partners in their efforts to develop practical pollution prevention technologies and lower costs by recycling scarce resources, using fewer raw materials, and creating better products. Visitors to the site may wish to begin by reading the "About Us" section to learn a bit more about the Institute. After getting acquainted with the goals of the Institute, visitors to should visit the "Research" section to learn a bit about on-going projects on sustainable infrastructure, energy and environment, life cycle assessment, and environment. Perhaps the most useful section of the site can be found by clicking on "Education". Here, a link to can be found, which is economic input-output life cycle assessment software. The model allows users to estimate the overall environmental impacts of producing commodities or services in the United States. In addition, courses and course materials on environmental issues are available here. [KMG]

Medline Plus: Sports Injuries [pdf]

Exercising and playing sports can lead to a sound mind and body, but sports-related injuries can be frustrating for anyone. This very helpful site, offered as part of the Medline Plus series from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, contains dozens of fact sheets, media presentations, and other items regarding various sports injuries. Visitors who know exactly what they need can click on over to the "Related Topics" area on the right-hand side of the homepage, where they will find resources on everything from ankle injuries to general wellness. Their homepage also contains sections like "Basics", "Research", and "Multimedia & Cool Tools". Two items that are definitely worth checking out are the tennis elbow tutorial and the basic overview of sports injuries offered by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. [KMG]

The Synesthesia Project

Synesthesia (or synaesthesia) is loosely defined as "senses coming together." At its simplest level, synesthesia means that when a certain sense or part of a sense is activated, another unrelated sense or part of a sense is activated concurrently. For example, when someone hears a sound, he or she immediately sees a color or shape in his or her "mind's eye." The Synesthesia Project's website presents an abundance of information about this phenomenon including a thorough FAQ section, which answers questions such as "How common is synesthesia?" and "Is there any proof that synesthesia occurs?" In addition, visitors can find details about the Vision and Cognition Lab located at Boston University. Finally, the site includes the opportunity for visitors to participate in two of their web-based experiments. [KMG]

RAND Europe [pdf]

RAND Europe is part of the US-based RAND Corporation and has been active for the past 15 years. Based in Cambridge, UK, RAND Europe conducts research and analysis on the challenges facing many European countries. Visitors may want to start by perusing their home page where they can read up on a spotlighted researcher, highlighted research, or a featured report. After exploring the home page, visitors may also choose to search by area of interest and under the "RAND Research" section, interested parties can browse by such subject areas as "Arts and Culture", "Defence and Security", and "Population and Ageing". RAND Europe also provides a number of their research publications which can be viewed alphabetically, chronologically, or browsed by topic. In addition, a special section on the 2012 Olympics is provided here which includes examinations of many of the issues facing Europe as a member nation (London, UK) prepares to host one of the largest undertakings a country can be involved in. [CMH]

The Boston Indicators Project [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

Coordinated by the partnership of the City of Boston, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and the Boston Foundation, the Boston Indicators Project "aims to democratize access to information, foster informed public discourse, track progress on shared civic goals, and report on change in 10 sectors: Civic Vitality, Cultural Life and the Arts, the Economy, Education, the Environment, Health, Housing, Public Safety, Technology, and Transportation." Visitors to the site can review the Project's most recent report as well as past versions. At the top of the page, there are various sections to visit, which cover the 10 sectors mentioned above. In each of these sections, visitors can read a brief summary, view highlights within each sector, read about the goals and measures of each sector, and find related links to research, resources, and news for each sector. The website also includes the feature "The Hub of Innovation" which highlights some of the most forward-looking local, regional, national and international work in the ten sectors tracked by the Boston Indicators Project. [KMG]

Lectures on Superconductivity [Real Player]

Provided by Cambridge University's Applied Superconductivity and Cryoscience Group this series of lectures on superconductivity features contributions from leading world experts in academia and industry. The project was led by Dr. Bartek Glowacki and was funded by SCENET-2, Pi-Shirt, and the European Science Foundation and the lectures are available free of charge. As the project continues, there are plans to add supporting text, questions, and links to further reading for each lecture. Each lecture includes several chapters, each with an accompanying video. In addition to the video lectures, the site includes links to other related educational resources, an image gallery, and a bibliography of papers and publications related to the lectures. [KMG]

BBC: National Health Service [Real Player]

The Nation Health Service (NHS) was launched in 1948 with the proud expectation that it would make the UK the "envy of the world." On this site, visitors can follow the history of the NHS from the early planning stages through to its fully fledged "but sometimes problematic service." The site provides programs, documents, and images covering the birth of the National Health Service. Programs include video and audio of Sir William Beveridge outlining his proposals for a new welfare state in 1942, "How We Worked Then" where doctors and patients share memories of medical treatment before the NHS, and a 1973 broadcast of a debate about the state of the NHS. In addition to these fascinating programs, several documents are available for examination. Overall, this site is a captivating look into the UK's national health care system and should prove interesting to both scholars and those interested in a question that troubles many countries, including the U.S., today. [CMH]

General Interest

The World of Opera [Real Player]

This website should prove useful and interesting to the most dedicated opera aficionados and opera neophytes. The World of Opera "brings listeners compelling performances from top American and international opera companies." Beyond just performances, World of Opera goes beyond "traditional, operatic vernacular" to showcase opera as anything but an elitist form of art. Each opera presented here is accompanied by a short introductory article (with an available audio version as well). After the introduction, visitors can view video clips from a performance, listen to interviews which may include a conductor, stage director, and performer of the show. Also available is a short synopsis of the opera, act-by-act, as well as additional links to related NPR stories. Overall, this is a fantastic site dedicated to the World of Opera and it does a remarkable job of making this art form more accessible. [CMH]

Victory Mail

Victory Mail (better known as V-mail) operated during WWII in order to expedite mail service for American armed forces overseas. Delivering such a large volume of mail posed a number of problems for the War Departments and the Post Office as they sought to reduce the bulk and weight of letters. Using the model of the British Airgraph Service, officials started microfilming messages for dispatch in order to eliminate much of the bulk. The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum has provided this site as a complement to an in situ exhibit in Washington D.C. The site provides several sections "Introducing V-mail", "Operating V-Mail", "Using V-Mail", "Letter writing in WWII", and "References". Each section provides an introduction, several related links to additional resources or articles, and a series of relevant images. For WWII or postal historians and enthusiasts this site should prove quite a treat. [CMH]

The Urban Institute: Five Questions

In the mid-1960s, President Johnson saw the need for independent nonpartisan analysis of the problems facing America's cities and their residents. The President created a blue-ribbon commission of civic leaders who recommended chartering a center to do that work and in 1968, the Urban Institute became that center. Today the Urban Institute analyzes policies, evaluates programs, and informs community development to "improve social, civic, and economic well-being." Working in all 50 states and abroad, the Institute shares its research with policymakers, business leaders, and academics. On this site, visitors can enjoy the Institute's series of interviews entitled "Five Questions For" which poses five questions to the people behind the Urban Institute's research. Here, experts talk about the nature of their work and offer insights on what they've learned. The collection allows visitors to browse a chronological list of this series of interviews and each interview is easily emailed and is also available in a printer friendly format. [CMH]

Louisiana Aerial Photographs

The Louisiana State University Cartographic Information Center currently holds 107,000 aerial photographs of Louisiana taken between 1939-1987. A fascinating collection, these photographs allow users to investigate both the historical and geographical changes throughout the state. If you are interested in the Mississippi Delta region, the loss of coastal lands, or any other number of subjects this collection should prove quite useful. While the collection holds over 100,000 photographs, only 5,000 have been digitized and made available here. Areas covered in this core group represent the major metropolitan areas of Louisiana including East and West Baton Rouge Parish and Orleans Parish. Visitors can search by creator, subject, and title or they can just browse the collection as a whole. [KMG]

I've Known Rivers: The MoAD Diaspora Stories Project [Macromedia Flash Player]

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) has taken on a number of interesting and thoughtful projects in the past few years, and this website offers up material on one of their most compelling works as of late. The intent of the project is "to collect, publish, and archive 'first voices' narratives about people of African descent." As the project site notes, the endeavor is inspired by the historic WPA Federal Writers' Project. First-time visitors to the site can look through sections titled "Origins", "Movement", "Adaptation", and "Transformation" to listen and watch some of the stories they've collected thus far. Most recently, the project has been collecting stories of young people, so visitors should take a look at works that document the feelings and ideas that they have about their own family history and migration. [KMG]

NOVA: The Perfect Corpse [Macromedia Flash Player]

Most have heard of "bog bodies", those well-preserved corpses found in the bogs of northwestern Europe, but few are aware that North America has peat bogs with their own well-preserved remains of ancient people. This website is designed to complement the NOVA program and provides articles, slideshows and interactive exercises. Visitors to the site should start with the article "America's Bog People" by Peter Tyson. Here, readers will receive a thorough introduction to "America's premier bog-body site" including details about the recovered bodies and their lifestyle 8,000 years ago. After getting acquainted, visitors can view a slideshow, view other bog sites across Europe, and meet the most famous and well- studied bog body of all "Tollund Man". As a special treat, visitors can also listen to Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney recite his poem dedicated to this remarkable find. [CMH]

Dali: Painting and Film [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

The late Salvador Dali was a rather brilliant artist and a very effective self-promoter. Throughout his long life he remained interested in the power of cinema and he engaged in a number of collaborative works with Luis Buuel, Alfred Hitchcock, and Walt Disney. Recently, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) decided to launch both an in situ exhibit and this interactive website in order to explore some of these collaborations. After reading a brief narrative essay, visitors can wander around an interactive version of his 1929 work, "The First Days of Spring", to learn more about some of these projects. Clicking on each element of this surrealist work will take visitors to a different collaboration (such as his work with Buuel on "L'Age d'or") where visitors can read a bit about each project and also view images, sketches, and photographs related to each project. [KMG]

Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul [Adobe Flash Player]

The website for the National Gallery of Art exhibition - Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul - primarily consists of an interactive timeline of artifacts from Afghanistan dating from the Bronze Age, 2200 - 1900 B.C. through the 2nd century A.D. For example, view gold bowls from Tepe Fullol, a site discovered in 1966, providing the first evidence of Bronze Age Culture in northern Afghanistan; or a gilded silver ceremonial plate from the former Greek city of A Khanum, founded by a follower of Alexander the Great in 300 B.C. The purpose of the exhibition is not only to showcase, but also to preserve, the rich but endangered history and culture of Afghanistan. In ancient times a crossroads of the Silk Road, Afghanistan in the 20th and 21st centuries has been ravaged by wars and conflict. Visitors should also check out the link "History and Maps", which leads to more information from the National Geographic Society, a co-organizer of the exhibition. [DS]

Network Tools


For anyone who loves OpenOffice, but is looking for something that is a bit leaner Go-OO may be just the help you need. Go-OO displays an enhanced interface and is much easier to use. The layout is easier to navigate and comes with an importer to handle DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX formats and natively supports SVG files. Graphics rendering is also improved, and Go-OO includes VBA support, Mono integration, better display of Chinese characters, and support for WordPerfect graphics. OpenOffice must be installed before Go-OO can be loaded and it is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer. [KMG]

WordWeb 5.5

The Wordweb free edition is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows, which can work online and off-line. The program can look up words in almost any program and then provide a definition, pronunciation, related words, and list of synonyms. The dictionary includes over 150,000 root words and 120,000 synonym sets and covers American, British, Canadian, Australian, Indian, and global English. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer. [CMH]

In The News

Modern Day Voyageurs Seek Out the Growing Network of Water Trails

In San Francisco, Mapping Out a Trail on the Water [Free registration may be required]

House votes to maintain Gateways Network

California Coastal Conservancy: San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail [pdf]

American Canoe Association: Water Trails Database

Congaree River Blue Trail Guide

Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trails Map

10 scenic spots with no cars

Most people are probably familiar with cultural trails and markers that point out land-based features and the like, but how about the world of water trails? It might strike some as odd to create a water trail, but an increasing number of organizations and government entities are doing just that. Essentially, a water trail creates a template for water-based travel, and usually for leisure excursions. Visitors are free to use the markers along the trail as they see fit, and follow them in any order they wish. One area that is fairly well documented is the San Francisco Bay, and the California Coastal Conservancy has been working on implementing a vast network of water trails. Many of the sites along this particular water trail had already been in use as picnic sites and so on, but this latest effort will offer visitors a more detailed vision for their future water-based explorations. Of course, these projects are going all around the country, so interested parties should browse around their own regions for like-minded efforts. Perhaps Conservancy project manager Ann Buell said it best when she recently opined "Having a water trail right here makes much more sense than driving off to some faraway lake to find your fun." [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article from this Tuesday's New York Times about the water trails in the San Francisco Bay. The second link leads to an article from the Chesapeake Bay Journal about a recent House of Representatives vote that created additional assistance for the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Water Trails Network. Moving on, the third link leads to information on the plans for the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, provided courtesy of the California Coastal Conservancy. The fourth link leads to the American Canoe Association's Water Trails Database. Here visitors can learn about water trails in their own region and it may even spark an idea for an upcoming vacation or day trip. The fifth link leads to the very excellent online water trail guide to the Congaree River in South Carolina. The sixth link whisks users away to the equally fine interactive Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trails map, complete with detailed information on each potential water trail. Finally, the last link leads to a nice feature from CNN Travel about 10 places where visitors will see nary a car, including Michigan's Mackinac Island and Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine. [KMG]

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