The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 39

October 3, 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

American National Election Studies [pdf]

Established in 1977 by the National Science Foundation, the American National Election Studies (ANES) remains as vital a national research resource as ever. Their website provides important information about public opinion in the United States along with sophisticated election databases that will be useful to policy makers and social scientists. Along the left-hand side of their site visitors will find the "Reference Library" area, along with the "Data Center", and the equally important "Help Center". A good place to start looking around here is the "Guide to Public Opinion" area. Here visitors are afforded immediate access to tables and graphs that display the "ebb and flow of public opinion, electoral behavior, and choice in American politics over time." The tables and graphs contain data from 1948 through 2004, and they cover everything from partisanship to political involvement. Further along, the "Reference Library" area contains both pilot study and technical reports that may be of greater interest to academics. Additionally, there is a section where visitors can sign up to receive email updates. [KMG]

Center for Retirement Research at Boston College [pdf]

As more and more baby boomers move into retirement, there is a growing body of scholars who are fascinated with research related to this topic. One such group of scholars exists at Boston College, which serves as the home to the Center for Retirement Research. In a nutshell, their goals are "to promote research on retirement issues, to transmit new findings to a broad audience, to help train new scholars, and to expand access to valuable data resources." Casual visitors may wish to click on the "About the Center" area for a brief overview, and then move on to the "Recent Publications" area. Here they will find reports titled "The Decline of Career Employment", "The Housing Bubble and Retirement Security", and many others. In their "Special Projects" area, visitors can play the "Get Rich Slow" game, which is meant to serve a form of motivation for active engagement in retirement planning. The site is rounded out by a "Data" area which contains a number of germane data sets for scholars, including those that detail home ownership by age and the average retirement age for men during the period 1961 to 2004. [KMG]

Religion Newswriters Association [pdf]

Founded in 1949, the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA) works "to advance the professional standards of religion reporting in the secular press as well as to create a support network for religion reporters." Their site is a great place for current members of the RNA, but in many ways it's just as good for those who wish to cut their teeth in this important area of journalism. To start, visitors with an interest in the field may wish to read and download "Reporting on Religion: A Primer on Journalism's Best Beat". The primer offers a basic overview of reporting on religion, along with resources about potential pitfalls. Moving on, the site also has a set of "Best Practices", which includes such down-to-earth advice as "Rely on people power" and "Remain calm amid conflict". The site also includes a section on reporting contests, training opportunities, and a link where visitors can sign up to receive the latest religion news via email. [KMG]

Medieval Imaginations: Literature and Visual Culture in the Middle Ages    

Medieval Imaginations: Literature and Visual Culture in the Middle Ages is a website created and maintained by the University of Cambridge's Faculty of English. The purpose of the site is to provide access to the "images corresponding to the main episodes dramatized in the English Mystery Plays, because these present the medieval view of human history from the Creation to the Last Judgement." This website is extremely well organized and provides multiple ways of finding images. The "Collection Highlights" link at the top of the page is one way to see some fantastic images with relative ease. Once you have chosen an image, you can view it with or without the applet. Viewing it with the applet allows you to zoom in and navigate in the image. Without the applet, the image quality is the same, but more detailed navigation is not possible. Another way to view images is by century, which can be accomplished by choosing "Timeline" at the top of the page. Visitors can move around from the 12th-16th and once they have chosen a century, they will see a list of clickable images that correspond with the major works of literature of the century. The dates of the image and the medium of the visual (i.e. stained glass, manuscript, etc.) are also included. Visitors can also search via episodes of the English Mystery Plays by using the tool found in the middle of the home page. Once an episode chosen visitors will see, in chronological order, all the images related to that Mystery Play. If you want to read what story a Mystery Play tells, click on "Mystery Plays" at the bottom of the page. From there you can read the story, and also view all of its corresponding images. [KMG]

Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs [pdf]

The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs was created in 2006 as part of the office of Georgetown University's President. The mission of the Center is to build knowledge, promote dialogue, and to support action "in the service of peace." On the site's homepage, visitors will be presented with five primary sections, including "Programs", "Events", "People", "Media", and "Databases". Many visitors will want to head straight away for the "Databases" area. Here they will find resources designed for students, scholars, and citizens which address faith, gender, and development, along with faith-inspired organizations in the Muslim world. After having a look there, visitors will want to click on the "Recent Publications" section. There's some really terrific material here, including reports on evangelicals and foreign policy, international religious liberty, and religious pluralism. Finally, visitors who are planning a visit to Washington, D.C. can click on the "Events" section to learn about upcoming talks, lectures, and symposia sponsored by the Center. [KMG]

World Bank: Global Challenges: Fragile States [pdf],,contentMDK:21708932~menuPK:4851994~pagePK:51123644~piPK:329829~theSitePK:29708,00.html

The World Bank is concerned with many parts of the developing world, but they are particularly interested in the so-called "fragile states". Loosely defined, "fragile states" are countries "facing particularly severe development challenges such as weak institutional capacity, poor governance, political instability, and frequently on-going violence or the legacy effects of past severe conflict." To provide policy makers and others with information on their work in this area, the Bank has created this website. The material on the site includes a number of slideshow features and essays that address the fight against poverty in these countries, along with "best-practices" approaches to solving some of these seemingly intractable problems. Near the bottom of the page, visitors can click on sections such as "Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction" to learn more about the Bank's work in places like the Sudan and also take a look through the tremendously helpful "Economics of Conflict" website. [KMG]

Artists in the Workforce, 1990-2005 [pdf]

To anyone who might ask, "Where have all the artists gone?", the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has a very good answer. That answer is parsed out in this well-research 148-page publication titled "Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005". Released in June 2008, the publication offers a nationwide look at artists' demographic and employment patterns in the 21st century. Working with extensive data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the report also provides detailed information on specific artist occupations. Among other findings, the report notes that there are almost two million Americans who describe their primary occupation as artist, and that as a group, they represent almost 1.5 percent of the U.S. labor force. Not surprisingly, the report also notes that most artists cluster in a very select group of metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington, and Boston. Taken as a whole, it's a thoughtful report that will be of particular interest to policy makers and artists alike. [KMG]

The European Values Study [pdf]

Curious minds want to know: "What exactly do Europeans believe?" It's an important and interesting question, and the directors and researchers in charge of the European Values Study (EVS) have been looking into this subject since the early 1980s. Based in the Netherlands the EVS concerns itself with asking Europeans about religion and morality, politics, work and leisure, and relationships. On their homepage, visitors can learn about their work by clicking on the "Organization" area. After learning a bit about their organizational structure, visitors will want to look at previous and current surveys. These are located along the left-hand side of the homepage, and they include surveys from 1981, 1990, 1999, and 2000. While visitors do not have access to the raw data on the site, they can look at the questionnaires and read publications based on this research. However, visitors do have access to the World Values Survey (WVS) data, which is available in the "Values Survey, 1981-2004" section. [KMG]

General Interest

Didaskalia [pdf]

For those interested in the arts of Greek and Roman terpsichore, dance, and music, the electronic journal Didaskalia will be a welcome find. The journal is an English-language publication that is focused on how these artistic endeavors are performed in contemporary society, and the name comes from the inscriptions used to record the outcomes of drama and music festivals in Athens. The journal was first published in the spring of 1994, and it has been periodically published since that time. Many of the more recent issues have a specific theme, such as "Crossing the Ancient Stage" and "Responses to Ancient Drama in Contemporary Performance". Visitors can browse through each volume, or they can also search the entire contents for specific topics. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive news updates electronically on their homepage. [KMG]

University of Washington Libraries: Moving Image Collection [Quick Time]

Once again, the University of Washington Digital Collections group has gone above and beyond the call of digital collection duty and service with this small, yet very satisfying, collection. This particular collection brings together 23 compelling short films that include home movies from the Seattle World's Fair in 1962, aerial views of the University campus in the post-World War II period, and footage of a group of Japanese Americans picnicking on Mt. Rainier in 1935. Visitors can browse through the entire collection by name, look around by subject heading, or perform a more sophisticated and nuanced search across the entire collection. That's not all, as the site also includes a handy film preservation manual titled "Low-Cost and No-Cost Suggestions To Care For Your Film". On a related note, visitors shouldn't leave the site without viewing a film of a motorcycle race from 1915 and the delightful images of farmers packing the world's largest box of apples in Yakima. [KMG]

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library [pdf]

President Woodrow Wilson had a distinguished career before he assumed the office of the President in 1912, and some may not know that he was also the only United States president to hold a PhD. Located in Staunton, Virginia, The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library serves as an excellent repository of primary and secondary historical documents related to his life as both an academic and as an elected official. Visitors will get a real sense of the man and his legacy just from the materials on the homepage, which include a "Facts & Photos" area where visitors can learn about his visionary ideals and his "surprising sense of humor." Moving on, there is copious information about visiting the museum and the library, but perhaps more importantly for online visitors, there is an "eLibrary" full of telling documents. Here, visitors can read some of his famous speeches, including his well-known "Peace Without Victory" address and his "Fourteen Points for Peace". Educators who might be interested in using materials at the library can take a look through the "Learn at the Library" area. Finally, the site also includes information about how interested parties can support the library's mission. [KMG]

Next America [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

Next America's website implores the visitor to "Debate. Decide. Connect". It's all part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a bipartisan think tank in Washington, D.C. The website gives young future leaders the opportunity to debate the future of U.S. foreign policy with their peers, on issues such as "Energy & Climate", "Economic Integration", "Defense and Security", and "Human Rights and Development". To see what specific topics from these issues are currently being debated on the site, click on the "Debates" section. From there, you can see a photo of the person from each side of the debate, and read what they have to say. Those who have registered to be a member of the site can comment on the debaters' responses, in writing or by creating a YouTube video. If the visitor continues to scroll down the "Debates" page, they can see previous debates, with members being given the same opportunity to comment on the debaters' responses. The purpose of the all the debating and commenting on the site is to enable the staff of Next America to put together a memo outlining the policy priorities of the "twentysomething" generation, and give it to the new administration. It's a rather fine idea, and the site may inspire debates and fruitful conversation. [KMG]

The Leonard Bernstein Collection

The online Leonard Bernstein Collection that is part of the Library of Congress American Memory project is rich with a variety of media, including: "Professor Lenny", an essay about Bernstein from the New York Review of Books; many endearing photographs; over 1,100 pieces of correspondence to and from family, friends, and colleagues; 177 scripts from his "Young People's Concerts"; and a timeline of his life from 1918-1990 which records his musical career, as well as his personal life. In order to assist visitors with all of this wonderful material, a helpful finding aid for the collection is also provided. Click on the "About This Collection" section on the left side of the page, to quickly find the links to the above-mentioned sections. The visitor should not miss looking at some of the photos from the "Gallery" area. Many of the photos are divided up into one to three year sections, and some are divided up by decade, making it a very manageable gallery. Under the "1955-1957" tab you will find some wonderful photos of Bernstein's wife and young children, Jamie and Alexander. The gallery is filled with images of him with his family, many of which had been made into holiday cards. [KMG]

MAA Minute Math

The good folks at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) keep on turning out engaging and interactive mathematics resources, and this latest release follows in that admirable path. The MinuteMath feature brings together a host of problems from the MAA's American Mathematics Competitions, and these playful problems can be used in a variety of settings, including the classroom or a good-spirited mathematics get-together outside the classroom walls. The site was launched in September 2008, and so far the offerings here are quite nice and they include questions that deal with sums, geometry, and positive integers. Each question is also rounded out with an interactive version of both the problem and the solution. [KMG]

NOVA: Sputnik Declassified [Macromedia Flash Player]

The Russian satellite Sputnik was one of the many very visible and tangible markers of the Cold War, and it was effectively the first proverbial shot fired in the so-called "Space Race" during the 1950s and 1960s. Recently, PBS's NOVA program decided to draw on newly released top-secret documents to offer a portrait of this famous satellite and the early days of the Space Race. Visitors can get started by watching a short preview of the program, and then dive right into the "Build a Rocket" feature, which as one might imagine, will let future (or current) rocket scientists assemble a German V-2 rocket. Visitors looking for a broader exploration of the events of the Space Race, will want to look at the interactive timeline and then continue on to the "What Satellites See" area, which talks a bit about how images from these devices are used by scientists on the ground. Additionally, the site contains a helpful teacher's guide and a collection of external links and suggested reading. [KMG]

SFMOMA: Frida Kahlo [Adobe Flash Player]

Available in both English and Spanish, this online feature from SFMOMA presents documentation on the life and work of Frida Kahlo. The first section "The Faces of Frida" includes some of Kahlo's self portraits, beginning with a 1931 example, painted while Kahlo's style showed the influences of husband Diego Rivera. The selection also includes The Broken Column, 1944, in which Kahlo depicted herself in a more Surrealist style, illustrating her injured back by showing her torso captured in a harness reminiscent of a dressmaker's form, and her skin punctured with pins. The "Faces of Frida" section also includes a video of her life at home as well as Kahlo in photographs. Going back to the main page, visitors will find other fascinating sections, which include "Kahlo's Wedding Portrait", "Kahlo's Experience in the U.S.", "Was Kahlo a Surrealist?", and "Kahlo's Artistic Legacy". [DS]

Network Tools

Anti-Malware 1.28

Anti-malware programs aren't uncommon in the least, but ones that are both effective and free are rare. This latest release of Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware application offers a quick scan that takes a bit under 10 minutes and it supports multiple drive scanning and a scan-on-demand feature for individual files. This version can be used for free, but real-time protection is only available for the paid version. This application is compatible with computers running Windows NT and newer. [KMG]

Rockbox Utility 1.0.7

Those persons looking for an open source replacement firmware for a wide range of portable digital audio players need look no further than this latest release of the Rockbox Utility. It supports a wide range of popular models (including various iPods) and visitors are welcome to customize it as they see fit. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

After its first half-century, NASA celebrates and considers the future of its work

Voice of America: NASA, Probing the Solar System for 50 Years [Windows Media Player]

Two halves of NASA merge at half-century

NASA at 50: Johnson Space Center being put to the test

50 Years in Space: NASA's Roadmap to 2058

The Hubble Space Telescope [Real Player, Macromedia Flash Player]

NASA Human Space Flight [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

For fifty years, the work of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has fascinated children and adults both here in the United States and around the world. NASA officially opened its doors for business on October 1, 1958 and since that time they have sponsored hundreds of research missions that made household names of people like Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin. In recent years, the agency has weathered a number of criticisms, including some pointed critiques of the space shuttle program. One of the current programs that NASA is working on involves bringing robotic and human exploration together, rather than keeping them separated, which has been the practice for most of their history. Currently, NASA has a number of long-range plans to fix the Hubble Space Telescope, finish the international space station, and also return to the moon. Of course, one long-standing question that remains unanswered (and also quite controversial) is whether or not involving humans in spaceflight at all is worth the risk and expense. In a recent interview, physicist Robert Park remarked that manned spaceflight is an "old-fashioned way" to do things. In response, NASA administrator Michael Griffin noted, "Human spaceflight is about expanding the range of human action. And I think that matters." [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece from this Wednesday's Voice of America that discusses both the past accomplishments of NASA and their future challenges. The second link will whisk users away to a thoughtful piece by MSNBC's Alan Boyle on NASA's attempts to bring together the work of both robots and humans for future ventures and missions. The third link will take visitors to an article from this Monday's Houston Chronicle on the future of the Johnson Space Center, which is more commonly known to millions around the world as "Mission Control". Moving on, the fourth link leads to a fine piece from aerospace consultant Jim Banke on what can be expected from NASA in their next fifty years. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the Hubble Space Telescope. Here visitors can read about this tremendous piece of technology, view images, and also learn about its future missions. Finally, the last link leads to NASA's Human Space Flight website, where visitors can learn about future voyages to the moon and Mars. [KMG]

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