The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 35

September 5, 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

World AIDs Day Map [Macromedia Flash Player]

Created by Lex Talkington Design, Inc. this visually stimulating and engaging website takes visitors into the AIDS pandemic and how it has affected children throughout the developing world. After a brief introduction, visitors will be presented with a rotating series of images that profile different children from Thailand, India, Kenya, and a host of other places. Upon clicking each icon, visitors can then read short narratives about young people like Fred in Uganda, who at age eight became the primary caregiver for his younger brother after his parents both succumbed to AIDS. All told, the site contains over two dozen profiles that offer unique, albeit troubling, portraits of the struggles faced by young people who are coping with the increasingly widespread effects of this disease. [KMG]

P.O.V-Critical Condition [Macromedia Flash Player]

Health care reform has been on the minds of many Americans in the past decade or so, and this recent documentary from the P.O.V. series on PBS takes a critical look at the "human consequences of an increasingly expensive and inaccessible system." Directed by Roger Weisberg, the film draws on the cinma vrit style that he deployed in his film "Waging a Living" from 2006. In this film, Weisberg looks at people struggling to pay their health care bills in places like Austin, Texas, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Los Angeles. On the homepage dedicated to this thought-provoking documentary, users can get basic facts about the uninsured in the in the United States, and also learn what has happened to the people profiled in the documentary since the film was released. As with other P.O.V. sites, visitors can also chime in via the "Talking Back" section and view an interview with the filmmaker. [KMG]

Rural Economy and Land Use Programme [pdf]

The rural landscape of England has been greatly transformed over the past few decades, and this particular research initiative based at the University of Newcastle was created in order "to investigate the social, economic, environmental and technological challenges faced by rural areas." Visitors to the site should note the main divisions, which include "Research", "Events", and "Publications/Press". For researchers and scientists, the "Publications/Press" area will be a special treat, as it features briefing papers, annual reports, and their policy series. The topics covered here are quite diverse and recent paper titles include "Eating Biodiversity: An Investigation of the Links Between Quality Food Production and Biodiversity Protection" and "The Role of Regulation in Developing Biological Alternatives to Pesticides". Policy practitioners and others working in the areas of land use planning and rural economic development will want to return to the site and check up on future developments, and it may even help those looking at comparative studies in these areas. [KMG]

NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research [pdf]

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Research office works to provide "better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters and a greater understanding of the Earth." Visitors can find about those subjects here and they may wish to start their journey through the site in the "NOAA Research From A to Z" area. It's a great way to learn about their work on everything from air quality to zoo plankton, and each section contains links to other relevant sites. Moving on, visitors will also want to click on over to the "Climate Research" area which provides updates on their work on modeling climate change, the ozone layer, and other germane matters. Of course, visitors would be remiss not to look at the "Weather Research" area as this is where NOAA research truly shines. [KMG]

American Heart Association: Healthy Lifestyle [pdf]

The American Health Association doesn't have a monopoly on suggestions for leading a healthy lifestyle, but they certainly have some of the most authoritative information on exercise tips, weight management, and diet. On the "Healthy Lifestyle" site, interested parties can look over sections such as "Health Tools", "Cholesterol Low Down", and "Managing Your Weight". The "Health Tools" area is a good place to start and visitors can download handy charts to keep track of heart health issues like blood pressure and also even take a heart health quiz. Visitors with an interest in physiology may wish to click on the "Your Heart and How it Works" feature. Here they can learn about the workings of the heart via a simple diagram and some explanatory text. While the general public may appreciate the basic information found on the site, public health students and others may value looking at the site as a model of how to convey important health information in a clear and well-organized fashion. [KMG]

Immunobiology Interactive [Macromedia Flash Player]

No one ever said immunobiology was easy, but this handy collection of Flash-animated features from the design company Blink does make a number of processes and concepts a bit easier to understand. What is perhaps most impressive about the site is the ability it gives visitors to tweak certain viewing preferences, sound settings, and even the size of the actual animated feature. Narrated by a pleasant sounding voice, the animated features cover such topics as phagocytosis, rolling adhesion, and gene recombination. It is worth noting that visitors also have the option to fast forward and rewind to segments that interest them, and they can also print out screenshots from each feature. Also, users of the site can change the display format of each feature as they see fit. [KMG]

Mountain Megas: America's Newest Metropolitan Places and a Federal Partnership to Help Them Prosper [pdf]

In the years after the Civil War, the population of the intermountain West began to boom as people moved across the Mississippi River for new opportunities as homesteaders, prospectors, and enterprising dry goods merchants. 130 years later or so, it appears that this region of the United States is experiencing yet another renaissance. This report from the Brookings Institution's "Blueprint for American Prosperity" series takes a close look at the growth this region has experienced in recent years. Written by Robert E. Lang, Andrea Sarzynski, and Mark Muro, the report is divided into six chapters, including "Megapolitan Development in the Intermountain West" and "Forging a New Federal-Mega Agenda for the Intermountain West". Visitors can also avail themselves of a brief executive summary if they are in a hurry, and they may also wish to pay particular attention to the report's conclusions as well. [KMG]

Freshwater Ecoregions of the World [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

Designed as a collaborative venture between the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund, the Freshwater Ecoregions of the World (FEOW) site provides a dynamic visual representation of the Earth's freshwater biodiversity. Visitors to the site can find detailed information about 426 different freshwater systems from China to Chile. First-time users can click on the map of the world on the homepage, or they can also click on the "Highlights" area. Visitors with defined interests can also use the "Find an Ecoregion" section to perform a detailed search across the entire database of regions, and they can also browse by country, major habitat type, and major rivers. It's easy to see how this site would be a terrific resource for ecology students in high school or college. [KMG]

General Interest

The Canary Project [Macromedia Flash Player]

More groups and organizations are thinking about creative and thoughtful ways to raise awareness about global warming, and The Canary Project is one such group. Through their use of visual media, events, and artwork the Project aims to visualize global warming in compelling ways, investigate questions about current ecological crises, and also cultivate media attention. Visitors can learn more about their work via their website, and they will want to start by looking over the "Photos" area of the site. Here they can look at photographs of disrupted ecosystems like the barrier reefs off the coast of Belize and evidence of the rising sea level as it manifests itself around Venice and Bangladesh. Afterwards, visitors can move along to their "Projects" area. This area offers a diverse range of documents on their public art projects, their supported works and collaboration, and their outreach efforts, which include school visits and television spots. The site is rounded out by a section where visitors can learn about their past and current exhibitions. [KMG]

Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes Digital Collection

Despite the peaceful sounding phrase "town-gown" relations, the relationship between universities and their surrounding region (town or otherwise) have often been fractious. The St. Scholastica Riot of 1355 pitted the townspeople of Oxford against a few young scholars from the University of Oxford, and it was a matter that was not forgotten for four centuries. Happily, the residents of Iowa City and the University of Iowa have enjoyed a peaceful and productive relationship and this lovely digital collection from the Iowa Digital Library documents both the "town" and the "gown". The collection brings together the photographic talents of Professor Samuel Calvin and Frederick Wallace Kent. Combined these two men were snapping photos for well over a century, and visitors can browse over 3,400 of their photographs here. The pictures include shots of fraternity houses, prominent members of the faculty, laboratories, and pedestrian bridges. Visitors will want to make a few leisurely sojourns to this site, and it may even inspire a road trip. [KMG]

Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982

In the life and cultural landscape of northern Nevada in the 20th century, the Ninety-Six Ranch looms large. It seems quite appropriate that the ranch forms the core of this very fine online collection from the Library of Congress' American Memory project. The collection includes 41 motion pictures and 28 sound recordings that tell the story of life and work on the Ninety-Six Ranch from the 1940s to the 1960s. Additionally, visitors can also browse through 2,400 still photographs, which portray the sites, traditions, and people of other ranches in the area. Visitors will also want to read some of the thematic essays here, which include "Buckaroo: Views of a Western Way of Life" and "Haying, Irrigation and Branding: Tradition and Innovation". Overall, the collection is one that will intrigue and delight not only those who have a curiosity about ranching, but also those with an interest in the myths and realities of the American West. [KMG]

Portrait Gallery of Canada [Macromedia Flash Player]

From Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, there are many faces that represent the nation of Canada and its diverse heritage. The goal of the National Portrait Collection is document those "historical personalities important to Canada's development." Their work is designed to have a broad appeal, and it contains over 4 million paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, photographs, films, and caricatures. First-time visitors can make their way through the sections of the site which include "Collection", "Exhibitions", "Learning" and "News & Events". Clicking over to the "Exhibitions" area is a good way to start a peripatetic journey through the site, and visitors can view eclectic offerings such as "Portraits in the Street: Quebec 400" and "Portraits in the Courtyards", which features images of Canadians who are both "known and unknown in downtown Ottawa." The exhibition area also includes "Talking Portraits", which contains video interviews with Canada's first female official war artist and the artist Jin-me Yoon. Heading back over to the "Collection" area, visitors can view a few highlights, take in their recent acquisitions, and also learn about their portrait commissioning program. [KMG]

NYPL Digital Library: Cigarette Cards: ABCs

Back when smoking was a bit more socially acceptable, it was fairly easy to find elaborate cigarette or tobacco cards attached to premium tobacco products that depicted film stars, the sporting life, plants, animals, monuments, and military-related ephemera. For the most part, these cards featured illustrations on one side with related information and text on the other. This rather amazing digital collection from the New York Public Library features thousands of these cards, culled from over six decades. Visitors can start their journey through the collection by reading the brief introductory history and then by browsing through the various series. Using the source guide, visitors can take a look at series that include "children with rosy cheeks", "caricatures of famous cricketers", and "fortune telling". [KMG]

Chicago "L".org [Last reviewed in the Scout Report on February 10, 1998]

Scout Report readers with a penchant for urban transportation (past and present) will find much to catch their attention while visiting the Chicago "L" site. Created by transportation history guru and expert Graham Garfield, this site provides videos, historical and contemporary photographs, essays, and other items related to Chicago's elevated transit system. Under the "What's New" banner, visitors can check out the latest station photographs and profiles and then move on to the ""L" News Headlines", which cover the latest and greatest news regarding the Chicago Transit Authority. Visitors can then look over to the left-hand side of the page to perform a closer investigation into various "L" routes, track maps, articles, chronologies, and past, present, and future transit plans in the Windy City. Those persons planning a visit to Chicago will want to read up on Garfield's historic station tours and also learn more about the specialized argot that describes and defines the "L", which can be found at the bottom of the homepage. [KMG]

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Founded in 1984, the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College (Chicago) works to collaborate with artists, photographers, communities, and institutions throughout the region and across the world. On their homepage, visitors can peruse information about their upcoming events and lectures, learn about their classes, and also view some selected materials from their collection. The "Collection Highlights" contains works by Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Dave Jordano, and Mark Klett, and each photographer profile includes a brief biographical essay and a selection of their images. Finally, visitors can also read up on the Museum's visiting hours and current gallery exhibitions. They may also want to look over their online shop, which features fine prints, books, and exhibition catalogues. [KMG]

Guggenheim Museum: Louise Bourgeois [Macromedia Flash Player]

The Guggenheim Museum presents this online version of its retrospective exhibition of the work of the French-born, American artist, Louise Bourgeois, who is aged 97, and still working. The works on the website are arranged in categories, some reflecting Bourgeois's major series, such as Femme Maison. Other groupings include Bourgeois's smoothly perfect, anthropomorphic marble sculptures, which, even in small digital images, seems almost to breathe. Visitors can also peruse examples of her drawings, and fabric sculptures. There is also a video documenting the current installation of Bourgeois's piece "Confrontation", a combination of site-specific sculpture and performance art, at the Guggenheim Museum. The video also includes archival footage of the first showing of the work at the Hamilton Gallery of Contemporary Art in 1978. [DS]

Network Tools

BitMeter 3.5.7

As its name implies, the BitMeter application serves as a bandwidth meter that allows users to visually monitor their Internet connection. Visually, the meter is set up as a basic scrolling graph and users of the application can modify it to display historical data and also set up alerts and audio notifications. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

Camino 1.6.3

In Spanish, the word "camino" means "path" or "way", and over the past few years the Camino web browser has carved out its own "path" throughout the world of Mac users. This latest version of Camino features a newly redesigned interface that is clean and visually cohesive. Additionally, the browser features automated RSS feed detection and an embedded dynamic spell check feature. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3, 10.4, or 10.5. [KMG]

In The News

As the price of a popular New England delicacy falls, fishermen and others grow concerned

Demand and Price Are Falling for Lobster [Free registration may be required]

Shellfish Disease Plaguing Lobster Industry [Windows Media Player]

Rock lobster season 'prosperous' in south

Gulf of Maine Research Institute: Lobster Den [Macromedia
Flash Player]

The Lobster Institute [Real Player, pdf]

How To Eat Lobster

For centuries, Homarus americanus (also known as the American lobster) was considered food for the poor, and it wasn't until the 1840s that members of the upper crust began to consume these crustaceans in significant quantities. Now, when people visit states like Maine and Massachusetts, sitting down to eat lobster can be the sine qua non of their entire trip to New England. The entire world of lobster consumption in that corner of the United States has been rent asunder in recent months as fewer people are choosing to order this delicacy as part of their dining experience. Like diamond-encrusted skulls by Damien Hirst and pied-a-terre in Manhattan's Upper West Side, lobsters are often thought of as a luxury item, and many people can be quick to cut such an indulgence out of their discretionary budget. Record lobster catches around New England haven't helped the economic situation for lobster fishermen as prices for this aquatic morsel continue to drop, while the price of fuel and bait remains high. Commenting on the situation, Bob Bayer of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine remarked, "This means hard times, and it means some [fishermen] are not going to make it." [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to an article by the New York Times' Katie Zezima on the recent fortunes of the lobster industry. The second link leads to a recent piece from the
Maine Public Broadcasting Network which discusses the shellfish disease that has begun to impact the lobster population in both Maine and Rhode Island. On a more positive note, the third link will take visitors to a news story from this Tuesday's Southland Times about the very fruitful harvest that rock lobster fishermen are enjoying this season in New Zealand. The fourth link will whisk users away to an intriguing video of a lobster den, provided courtesy of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Moving on, the fifth link will take interested parties to the homepage of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine. Here visitors can learn about lobster biology, take a lobster quiz, and even learn about their popular "Lobster College". Finally, the last link leads to a bit of helpful information on how to eat a lobster, which answers such questions as "Should you have a soft-shell or hard-shell lobster?" and "What is the nutritional value of lobster?" as well as other items of lobster interest. [KMG]

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