The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 37

September 19, 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

The Civil Rights Digital Library [Macromedia Flash Player]

Partner organizations including The New Georgia Encyclopedia, the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services have joined forces to create the very impressive Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL). The intent of the CRDL is to promote an "enhanced understanding of the Movement by helping users discover primary sources and other educational materials from libraries, archives, museums, public broadcasters, and others on a national scale." Visitors can browse through the materials by place, people, events, or topics, such as "Community Organizing", "White Resistance", "Economic Justice", and "Voting Rights". Also, visitors can browse the materials by contributing institutions or media type. There's some really terrific material here, including oral histories, archival footage, and still photographs. Overall, it is a site that will be invaluable to historians working in this area, and anyone with an interest in learning about the civil rights movement. [KMG]

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Research [Windows Media Player]

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California has created an eminently readable website about the Aquarium's conservation efforts and research, specifically for sea otters, tuna, white sharks, and open-ocean animals, such as sea turtles, whales and sharks. The various facets of their conservation research on sea otters and white sharks can be accessed on the menu on the left side of the screen. Visitors should check out "Revealing Tuna Secrets", to learn that the Northern bluefin tuna is not only an extremely lucrative catch, selling for more than $100,000 in Japan for a single giant fish, but is also a fish of incredible speeds swimming up to 25 miles per hour and living for as long as 30 years. In the section "Revealing Tuna Secrets" there are several short videos to watch, so that visitors may Tune in to Tuna, including one on tracking and one on tagging. Lastly, but most importantly, the website provides "Seafood WATCH", a downloadable and printable pocket-sized guide to help seafood eaters choose seafood that is sustainable. Sustainability is defined as seafood that is "abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways." "Seafood WATCH" is also available on mobile devices as well. In closing, whether you dine at Red Lobster or Legal Sea Foods, you can now conveniently choose with a conscience. [KMG]

Paleontology Portal [pdf] (Last reviewed in the Scout Report on November 30, 1999)

It's appropriate that clicking on the segments of a nautilus shell can access the different sections of this engaging site, and paleontologists (both neophyte and expert) will find much to pique their interest here. The portal is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, along with the University of California Museum of Paleontology, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and the United States Geological Survey. First time visitors may wish to take the site tour and orientation, and then move on to the "Exploring Time & Space" area. This area couldn't be easier to use, as visitors can just use a clickable interactive map of North America to learn more about the fossil record in any given area, and visitors can also just explore by geological time period if they wish. Moving on, the "Fossil Gallery" lets visitors access high-quality images of plants, fungi, vertebrates, bacteria, and vertebrates. Educators will be delighted to learn about the "Resources" area, which includes maps, courses and lectures, factsheets, and classroom activities. The site is rounded out by the "PaleoPeople" area, which includes interviews with working paleontologists. [KMG]

LSE Information Systems and Innovation Group Video Archive

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has hundreds of different research units, and the Information Systems and Innovations Group recently joined with other departments to form the new Department of Management. Both academic units have sponsored a wide range of guest speakers and scholars over the years, and this website lets interested parties watch these talks at their leisure. All told, there are over twenty five talks currently available, and they include Ricky Burdett's talk on "Social Aspects of Urban Form", Leopoldina Fortunati's "Discussing the Meaning of the Mobile Phone", and Danny Quah's "Digital Goods and New Economy". Visitors can also chime in with their two cents via the weblog discussion thread that resides under each video. [KMG]

Gapminder [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

In London, riders on the Tube are reminded to "Mind the Gap". On the Gapminder website, visitors are reminded to mind a variety of gaps, whether they be in income inequality or quality of health care. This rather absorbing website was created as a non-profit venture to promote "sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by increased use and understanding of statistics and other information." The site makes use of Trendanalyzer software to offer visualizations related to questions that include "Which country has the best teeth in the world?" and "Who gets what: Farm subsidies". Visitors can find such information under the "Latest News" area, and they can also take advantage of the videos, "Gapcasts", and world charts offered here. The "Gapcasts" are quite good, and they cover carbon emissions, public services, and globalization. Also, if visitors have their own set of statistical indicators they can create their own unique Gapminder-like bubble graph on their website. It's a powerful tool, and one that might be important for other non-profits, think tanks, educators, and students. [KMG]

Ben Shahn at Harvard

Social critic and artist Ben Shahn had a relationship with Harvard University that started in 1932 when the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art exhibited twenty-three gouaches from his series "The Passion of Sacco-Vanzetti". Over the next thirty years, Shahn would continue to drop in to give guest lectures, and in 1956 he gave the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, which were later published in the influential book "The Shape of Content". This site pays tribute to Shahn's work by offering a searchable database of more than 6,000 of his drawings, paintings, photographs, and prints. Visitors are welcome to dive right in by using the search feature here, and they may also wish to click on the "Resources" area. Here they will find information about his productive time in New York, his work on a host of New Deal projects, and his excursions to Asia. Finally, visitors can also learn how to order prints of materials featured on the site. [KMG]

NASA Images

The NASA Images website is an extremely well organized and good-looking website, with its interactive spaceflight timeline on the homepage serving as a great introduction. Sliding the mouse along the timeline allows the visitor to see how long each craft was used in the space program. By clicking on one of the voyages, the visitor is taken to all images related to that voyage. Clicking on the Pioneer brings up only 168 images, Apollo 4,278, but clicking on the International Space Station brings up a whopping 18,287 images. Everything from astronaut publicity shots, artists renderings of a craft's trajectory, montages, and even short films are presented among the images. The entire site boasts 100,000 images. Once the visitor has made it beyond the homepage, one can hit the Explore button at the top of the page, and choose to view images based on when they were taken (1949-present), who took them, what geographical region they were taken of (Afghanistan to Mars to Zambia) and their subject matter (Andromeda to Weightless Environment Training Facility). Before departing from the site, a visitor should type in Northern Lights in the search box on the right side of the page. When scrolling down through the results, there will be images both beautiful and eerie. [KMG]

Dig It! The Secrets of Soil [Macromedia Flash Player]

When it comes to change, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has got it covered. The online exhibitions of their "Forces of Change" series covers the current changes the world is facing, from sky to soil, and everything in between. Exploring the world of soil is the focus of "Dig It! The Secrets of Soil" and visitors can start off by listening to a podcast of a Bureau of Land Management soil scientist and the Dig It! Exhibit developer. Look in the featured topics section to explore, among other things, what soil is, how it forms, how it stays alive, what different types look like and where they are found. Under the "For Educators" tab are activities that extend the exhibit themes for use in the classroom or at home. Visitors should be sure to take a look at the "Wise Choices" section under the Exhibition tab, to see what farmers, builders and entire nations can do, and are doing, to save their soils. [KMG]

General Interest

Magic Lantern Slides Collection from Japan

The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) has a collection of approximately 1,500 magic lantern slides in its Japan Collection, which it has digitized with the permission of the Japan Foundation. The magic lantern was the precursor to the modern slide projector, and was extremely popular in Europe and Asia in the 1800s, with people going from towns to villages doing public shows. The slides featured on the UHM website are those that were produced and distributed by KBS, a group that was the predecessor of the Japan Foundation. To view the collection, you can browse alphabetically by title, category (from alcohol to fan making to Western clothes), and by slides with recent comments made about them. Visitors to the website shouldn't leave the site without browsing under the "University" category. With few exceptions, all the buildings are Western in style, and reminiscent of many U.S. colleges with their columns, stone, and tendency to sprawl. [KMG]

Anatomy: The Foundation of Medicine: From Aristotle to Early Twentieth-Century Wall Charts [Macromedia Flash Player]

Anatomical drawing and illustration has been an important tool of doctors and physiologists since the time of Galen. The University of Virginia's Claude Moore Health Science Library has created this breezy and informative tour through the history of anatomical study and drawing and placed it here for use by the general public. First-time visitors will want to take in the "Brief Essay on Anatomical Drawing" by Hal Sharp. Illustrated with anatomical drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Vesalius, the essay offers a solid introduction to the work of these early masters of the form. Moving on, visitors will want to spend some significant time perusing the images from W & A.K. Johnston's Charts of Anatomy and Physiology by Dr. William Turner. Medical students would have encountered these images in the anatomy laboratory or classroom, and their visually elegant style and execution served as a model for those pedagogical devices that followed. [KMG]

Aviation News

Whether you're a fan of Airbus or Boeing, Quantas or Aer Lingus, this website provides very thorough coverage of the airline industry. The Flight Global group's motto is "serious about aviation", and it shows on their homepage, where visitors can find over thirteen sections dedicated to air transport, helicopters, training, and spaceflight. The more casual user may just wish to click on a few of the "Latest News Headlines", but dedicated aeronautics devotees may wish to sign up for their e-newsletter and their RSS feed. Moving down the site's homepage, visitors can cruise on in to the "What's Hot" area and the "Jobs" section, which might be useful for future members of a flight crew or those looking to make a more dramatic career change. Of course, any visit to this site would be woefully incomplete if visitors didn't take a look at profiles of the Airbus 380, the Boeing 747, and many other planes in the "Dynamic Aircraft Profiles" area of the site. [KMG]

Crustaceans and those who love to learn about crustaceans now have an excellent online home in the form of this website provided by the Australian Museum. The site was started in 1999, and its basic purpose and reason for existence is to "provide an interactive information retrieval system for the world crustaceans." Visitors to the site can read a brief introduction and then click on the "World Crustacea" link to get started. Here visitors can click on different species and also take a look at the identification guides, take a look at relevant monographs, and also read an extensive list of references. Additionally, visitors can read through their recent announcements and learn about upcoming workshops and conferences. [KMG]

Patagonian Expedition Reports, 1896-1899

Many famous people have wandered around the lands of Patagonia, including scientist Charles Darwin and noted travel writer Bruce Chatwin. This region of South America has also played host to a range of American science expeditions, including those headed by Professor William B. Scott of Princeton University, who made three trips to the area between 1896 and 1899. Along with his colleagues and fellow travelers, Professor Scott kept observations about what they encountered and discovered during their time in Patagonia. Recently, Princeton University Library's Digital Collections group digitized the published reports from these expeditions and made them available here. Visitors can browse through the 386 digitized pages here, or also skip around by chapter. The report also includes a map of Patagonia which is quite helpful. [KMG]

MAA NumberADay

How much can you really learn from one number a day? Quite a bit actually, and this fun feature from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) may prove to be rather addictive. Posted daily since September 2008, the MAA posts a number (for example, the number 11,185,272) and then offers a selection of that number's properties. Visitors to the site can click on some of the external links, look over the weblog archive, and also subscribe to their RSS feed. First-time visitors may wish to start by looking at the number 1529 (September 12, 2008), which happens to be the numerical address of MAA headquarters in Washington, D.C. [KMG]

Two on Anne Sexton

Poetry Foundation: Anne Sexton
Modern American Poetry: Anne Sexton

During her life, Anne Sexton became well-known for her poetry, which was written in what may have called the "confessional" style. Her contemporaries included poet Robert Lowell, and before she took her own life in 1974 she managed to compose hundreds of exemplary poems. This first site about her life and times from the Poetry Foundation contains poems such as "All My Pretty Ones", "Crossing the Atlantic", and numerous others. Visitors to the site can also read an extended biographical essay about her life, check out a bibliography of related works, and also check out some suggestions for future reading. The second link is provided by the Modern American Poetry website and here visitors can read an essay about Sexton's career by Diana Hume George and also read a few critical interpretations on her work. [KMG]

Index of Medieval Medical Images

Images from medieval medical manuscripts held by major libraries - including the National Library of Medicine, Rosenbach Museum and Library, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Vermont, and Yale University - make up the Index of Medieval Medical Images. The indexing project began in 1988, and in 2001, a pilot project was started to digitize about 500 images and make them available online. To start, click on "Search Images". We found browsing to be the most productive way to begin searching, as it makes it possible to select search terms such as subject and image type, date and country of origin. Once familiar with the database, keyword and advanced searches are also fruitful. Another useful tool "My Virtual Collection" allows users to add notes to images and save them - creating their own collection, users can then choose to email their personal collection to themselves, students, or colleagues. [DS]

Network Tools

AirRadar 1.0.7

Finding a wireless network will be much easier with this helpful application. Visitors can use AirRadar 1.0.7 to search for nearby wireless networks, and they can also elect to tag favorite networks if they wish to do so. This particular version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3 and newer. [KMG]

PageNest Free Edition 3.11

In the off chance that you might have to go off-line, PageNest Free Edition 3.11 is worth a close look. Visitors can use the application to copy a single webpage or an entire site for consultation while in any number of settings. The application's interface is quite simple to use, and visitors can organize the sites they download as they see fit. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Friends and colleagues remember author David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace, Influential Writer, Dies at 46 [Free registration may be required]

Wallace Invented 'New Style, New Comedy'

Author created 'Jest' in Syracuse

In Memoriam: David Foster Wallace [pdf]

Considering David Foster Wallace [iTunes]

David Foster Wallace: Harper's Magazine [pdf]

David Foster Wallace: Commencement Speech at Kenyon College

Friends, acquaintances, fellow writers, and others all offered memories of author David Foster Wallace this week in articles, online treatises, weblog posts, and editorials. Wallace, who was perhaps best known for this sprawling masterwork "Infinite Jest", was thoroughly catholic in his interests, and his work was peppered with references to everything from Continental philosophy to the behavior of cruise line passengers. Writing in this Tuesday's New York Times, fellow writer Verlyn Klinkenborg commented, "His writing could subsume the DNA of any language, any form it encountered, while remaining completely his own." During his 46 years, Wallace was awarded the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant", and also taught at Illinois State University and Pomona College. While many websites offer a way to comment on Wallace's work and life, the "In Memoriam" site created by Pomona College provides a fine glimpse into the effect he had on those he taught and influenced. One comment offered by Sean Pollack is particularly poignant: "We mourn for a humane and generous teacher and lover of the language." [KMG]

The first link will take interested parties to the New York Times' obituary for David Foster Wallace which appeared in print this Monday. The second link will lead visitors to a remembrance of Wallace from fellow writer David Lipsky. Moving on, the third link leads to a Syracuse Post-Standard piece from this Tuesday about Wallace's time in Syracuse in the early 1990s. The fourth link leads to the previously mentioned Pomona College "In Memoriam" site created for Wallace. The fifth link leads to a special edition of "Politics of Culture" hosted by bookworm Michael Silverblatt. Joined by book critic Anthony Miller they discuss Wallace's impact on fiction, his generation, and American culture. In addition, a collection of interviews with Wallace culled from the archives of KCRW's "Bookworm" program is also available. In terms of celebrating Wallace's life and writing, the sixth link is a very welcome find indeed. It contains links to many of his non-fiction pieces, including his very observant and wonderful take on a cruise-line adventure, "Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise". The last and final link leads to a transcript of the honest and insightful commencement address that Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005. [KMG]

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