The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 40

October 10, 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

Computing Life: National Institute of General Medical Sciences [Macromedia Flash Player, Quick Time, pdf]

Computers are embedded in much of what we do, whether it's a form of instant communication or the navigation of city streets via a GPS unit. Computers have also proved to be extremely useful to scientific researchers, a fact not lost on the people at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The NIGMS has created this virtual online booklet titled "Computing Life" in order to inform young people about the various scientific and medical careers that are open to them and to educate people more generally about the role of computers in scientific inquiry and discovery. The homepage features a set of "Featured Topics" that contains video clips of researchers talking about their work, interactive games, and role-playing exercises. These intriguing topics include "Movie Mania", "The Next Top Protein Model", and "Made Possible By". In the "Web Extras" area, visitors can watch short films (including a simulation of potential pandemic flu in the United States), listen and watch interviews, and take a crack at a crossword puzzle. Visitors who get hooked on the site may wish to sign up to receive updates via their RSS feed. [KMG]

Archaeology: Interviews

If you have always wondered about the relationship between olives and humans, this website will be a most efficacious source of information on that subject. Created and maintained by staffers at Archaeology magazine, this special "Interviews" area looks at the aforementioned subject and many others via a series of lively and informative sessions with anthropologists and archaeologists. On this site, visitors can read a dozen interviews with experts that include archaeology educator Shelby Brown, maritime archaeologist Vello Mss, and David Gill who offers some perspective on the fate of classical antiquities in North American collections. Additionally, visitors should feel welcome to browse through recent editions of Archaeology magazine and maybe even take a peek at their events calendar. [KMG]

National Science Foundation: Discoveries [Macromedia Flash Player]

Everyday, research sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) turns up a new discovery, an interesting facet of a scientific endeavor, and sometimes, just something that might delight and amaze even the casual observer. Recently the NSF created this website to serve as a clearinghouse of information about the work they sponsor. The "Discoveries" site can be searched in its entirety, or visitors can just peruse the chronological list that's front and center on their homepage. Over in the "Research Areas" section, visitors can wander through "Biology", "Education", "Nanoscience", and eight other topical areas. Some summaries that might be of particular interest include "Mysteries of the Unregulated Internet" and "The Bizarre Creatures of Madagascar". Also, it's worth nothing that parties who enjoy the site can sign up for their RSS feed here. [KMG]

Amherst College: Online Resources for Writers

As with many other colleges and universities, Amherst College is dedicated to helping their students become excellent writers. In order to accomplish this goal, they have created a fine set of online resources for use by their own students and members of the web-browsing public. This particular set includes a long list of resources created by staff members at Amherst and at other institutions. These resources are divided into thematic headings such as "Preparing to Write", "Thesis and Argument", "Clarity and Grace", and "Using Sources". On the left hand side of the page, users can view the same list and also learn more about the writing center at Amherst and their work. Overall, it's a fine set of resources, and one that college students in particular will find useful, especially as they approach a paper deadline. [KMG]

University of Wyoming Digital Collections

Since 2002, the University of Wyoming's Digital Initiatives program has been crafting carefully considered collections from their vast storehouse of historical ephemera. The Initiative is a member of the Collaborative Digitization Program, and they have worked on projects such as the Rocky Mountain Online Archive and the Wyoming Memory Portal. This site provides access to all of their digital collections, which include document archives related to the career of noted historian and national activist Grace Raymond Hebard and the travels of Thomas Kennet-Were, an English gentleman who wandered across the United States and Canada in 1868 and 1869. Visitors can search through all of the collections here as they see fit, and educators will also want to click on over to the "Teacher Resources" area for a selection of high quality lesson plans and activities. [KMG]

Creating the United States [Macromedia Flash Player]

As with other countries, the United States is very much a "work in progress". Of course, the nation's founders made a concerted effort to form a republic that would be able to govern effectively across a large geographic region and a plethora of different cultural traditions. This thoughtful and introspective online exhibit from the Library of Congress brings together a set of interactive resources and activities organized around themes that include "Creating the Declaration of Independence" and "Creating the Bill of Rights". Clicking on these themes will bring visitors to a brief narrative essay that sets the tone for the primary and secondary historical documents within each area. Here visitors will find such gems as an early map of the Appalachians, woodcuts of early Presidents, and the musings of Thomas Paine, among many others. Moving on, visitors should not miss the "Interactives" area. Here they can test their mettle by connecting particular phrases and ideas set down in the Declaration of Independence with the key texts that preceded it. And if visitors aren't stumped there (or even if they are), they can try the same tasks with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. After a visit to this site, some may even find themselves dusting off their old civics textbooks or at least planning a strip to a local government facility for further edification. [KMG]

William Penn Brooks and the Sapporo Agricultural College [pdf]

This website presents the digitized collection of correspondence and other ephemera of William Penn Brooks, of the Massachusetts Agricultural College. From 1877 to 1888, Brooks helped organize and run the Sapporo Agricultural College in Japan, which had been established by the Massachusetts Agricultural College, faculty and students, in Hokkaido, Japan. Most of the correspondence is between Brooks and his sister, while he was in Japan. Each letter is in offered as a pdf file, and Brooks faithfully wrote to his sister about every month. The letters are well-preserved, making them easy to read, and they catalog the daily goings on of the newfound agricultural college. There are also photographs and biographical works about Brooks' influence on agriculture. Visitors to the site should not miss the Japanese paper from 1915 titled "A Historical Sketch of the College of Agriculture, Tohoku Imperial University: What America Has Done for a Japanese Government College". In it, the authors describe Sapporo as becoming an "experiment station for American civilization" due to the Agricultural College's strong influence. [KMG]

The Digestive System

Colorado State University has produced this website as a hypertextbook on the subject of pathophysiology of the digestive system. In the "Introduction and Guide" link, they describe it as an education experiment that hopes to bypass the drawbacks of traditional paper and ink textbooks. The layout of this hypertextbook has a clickable table of contents, and at the bottom of each page is a helpful navigation device to show you what topic is next and what topic precedes it. Explanatory drawings or pictures accompany each concept, which makes for an excellent way to learn about the subject. Visitors should not forget to click on the "Hypertextbook" menu to see the other pathophysiology and biomedical sciences topics that are available as hypertextbooks at Colorado State University. [KMG]

General Interest

Bay Bridge 360 [Macromedia Flash Player]

This website was created by the various California transportation agencies that are involved in the enormous job of retrofitting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to protect it from being damaged by seismic activity. It is an extremely well thought out website, with an interactive aerial graphic of the Bridge on its homepage that introduces visitors to their work. If you click on the colored circles on the bridge, you can see a slideshow of the construction on that section of the Bridge, and some of the Bridge sections include a time-lapse video of the construction. Additionally, there is a short film visitors can watch to get an overview of the project, by clicking on the blue circle above "Bay Bridge Overview" in the right-hand corner of the homepage. Clicking on the arrow in the left-hand corner of the homepage takes you inside the website where you can find links to "Closures and Detours", "Environmental Issues", for the Final Environmental Impact Statement, detailed explanations of the construction methods under the "Information Center" link, and even "Construction Cams". If you just can't get enough of traffic where you live, just click on "Construction Cams" and see Bay Bridge traffic. [KMG]

Drawing Babar: Early Drafts and Watercolors

From stories told by his wife to their young son came the fanciful world of Babar the Elephant, and seven decades later they remain popular tales. After the death of Jean de Brunhoff, the mantle was taken up by his son Laurent de Brunhoff, who continued illustrating tales of Babar's many journeys and adventures. Recently, The Morgan Library & Museum decided to offer an exhibit of early drafts and watercolors of these works. Along with the in situ exhibit, they also created this website, which provides access to the first maquette created by Brunhoff as he set about creating the story of Babar. Visitors to the site can learn about the maquette, and use a set of tools to zoom in and out of the entire 37-page artwork. It's a delightful trip through the early life of Babar, and it is one to be shared with both young and old. [KMG]


This website is Print magazine's online presence. Established in 1940, Print magazine features writing about visual culture and design, with special attention paid to work that looks at design in its social, political, and historical contexts. Print's tagline is "Design Culture Comment", and essentially it's a thinking person's guide to graphic design. Clicking on "Current Issue" on the left side of the page will allow visitors to peruse some of the main articles of the current issue. Visitors can, of course, also view selections from past issues. Importantly for readers of this type of magazine, Print has a section called "Competitions" that gives designers the potential opportunity to get their design ideas heard. Visitors should not miss the "News" link for a daily dose of design news and the "Daily Heller", which offers up witty, scathing, and informative commentary on current design ideas and issues. [KMG]

Pueblo, USA: How Latino Immigration is Changing America [Real Player]

Latino immigration continues to transform the United States in many ways, and it isn't just in the Southwest or California that these changes are occurring. Siler City, North Carolina and Minneapolis, Minnesota are just two of the seemingly unlikely places where one can glimpse this transformation to the American landscape. This offering from the American RadioWorks organization takes a heartfelt and investigative look into the ways in which Latino immigration is remaking the country. The documentary is divided into two sections: "Precarious Prosperity" and "Nuevo South". In the first, visitors will hear about the broader transformations wrought by Latino immigration across the country, and in the second, visitors can listen to the ways in which this process is playing out in the small town of Siler City. On the site visitors can also read about profiles of immigrants attempting to become legal residents of the US and the ways in which Latinos breathe new life into long neglected urban communities. Finally, visitors can also download the entire program and read the transcript here as well. [KMG]

2010 Census [pdf]

Policy analysts, mayors, government officials, and many others are anxiously awaiting the results of the 2010 Census. It's not taking place for a few years, but the U.S. Census Bureau has already created this website to provide information to a wide range of interested parties and stakeholders. On the homepage, visitors can learn about the nuts and bolts of the Census, read about the "Census in Schools" educational initiative, and also access information from previous censuses. The other material on the site is divided into four sections, including "Jobs", "Timeline of Activities", and "FAQs". One can also use the embedded "Population Finder" to learn about basic census data for just about every place in the country. Also, a "Did You Know?" section contains interesting and fun facts about the history of the Census and its operations. [KMG]

Debating Our Destiny [Macromedia Flash Player, Real Player]

PBS has crafted this compelling look into the history of presidential debates "through the eyes of those who were there." The documentary is headed up by Jim Lehrer, who has spent much of his career interviewing and talking with both presidential and vice-presidential candidates. On this website, visitors can take a closer look behind the past 48 years of presidential debates by reading background essays, viewing video clips of these meetings, and also by watching the documentary in its entirety. Visitors can select an election year that interests them, check out some of the "Quotes", and look over the "For Teachers" area. This section is quite useful, as it contains lesson plans and other educational materials. Additionally, the "Behind the Debates" area features two helpful background essays: "Why Debate?" and "Preparing for the Debate". [KMG]

BBC Caribbean [Real Player]

The BBC (or "Beeb" to those in the know) provides high-quality investigative news reports and thoughtful conversations on topics ranging from the Middle Ages to globalization. Some people may not know that the BBC also offers fine coverage of the Caribbean region, and this website is a good way to stay on top of current events in the area. A good way to get a flavor of the site is to listen to one of their reports, which include "Caribbean Report", "Morning Report", "Caribbean Magazine", or "Sports Caribbean". All of these reports are frequently updated (some on a daily basis), and they truly give listeners a sense of the issues of the day. Further down the site, visitors can look through country profiles, features on cricket, and special thematic reports on topics like remittances, tourism, and environmental degradation. [KMG]

World Beach Project [Adobe Flash Player]

Sometimes visiting a website makes you want to dash out, leave your computer behind, and get busy doing whatever the site's talking about. The World Beach Project is one of those sites. It's a gallery of art made by all kinds of people, using stones gathered on beaches all over the world. Starting from the map or by searching (after clicking on "World Beach Project Map & Gallery" on the left side of the homepage), visitors to this site can browse images of these creations, and read a little bit about how each work came about. For example, there are 64 projects in North America, and 232 in Europe and visitors can travel (via the artwork) from the beaches of England to Malaysia to Mexico in seconds. The World Beach Project was devised by artist-in-residence Sue Lawty in association with the Victoria & Albert Museum. Detailed instructions are provided so that anyone can participate in the World Beach Project, or, from the map, simply click the button labeled "I want to add my beach project to the map". [DS]

Network Tools

Download Accelerator Plus 8.7.05

The sine qua non of this program is a deep and abiding commitment to faster and more responsive download times. It certainly delivers, as it effectively splits large files into smaller pieces, along with actively searching for mirror sites along the way. Additionally, the application can also preview some media files while downloading. This latest version of Download Accelerator Plus is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

Art Text 2.0.1

If you're looking for a tool to jazz up designs for a new website, this helpful application will come in handy. With Art Text, users can customize existing designs, draw on a variety of pre-formatted graphics, and also browse through fifty different creative fonts. It should be mentioned that this is a free trial version, and visitors who wish to use the complete version of Art Text will need to pay $39.95. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Dubai makes plans to build the world's tallest structure (Again)

Now, a kilometre-high tower in Dubai

New plans for world's tallest building unveiled in Dubai

Boomtown Feels Effects of a Global Crisis [Free registration may be required]

Generation Faithful: Young and Arab in Land of Mosques and Bars [Free registration may be required]

Burj Dubai [Macromedia Flash Player]

Nakheel: Where Vision Inspires Humanity [Macromedia Flash Player]

Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat [pdf]

Throughout history, humans have built monuments to the gods, commerce, and sport. Over the past century, the construction of massive structures stretching towards the sky has grown quite feverish, and in the past decade, the skyline of Dubai has continued to burgeon with dozens of new skyscrapers. One only need to look at a photograph of the view along Sheik Zayed Road running through the heart of this metropolis to get a sense of what the city has become in recent years. This week, despite the growing financial crisis, the Dubai developer Nakheel announced that they would be starting work on what would be the world's tallest structure. It should be noted that Dubai already contains what will shortly be the world's tallest structure in the form of the Burj Dubai, which is scheduled for completion in September 2009. At a press conference this past Sunday, company spokesman Christopher O'Donnell stated that this new building would be the centerpiece of a new development in Dubai's inner harbor. Plans for the building indicate that the structure will be over 200 stories high and over 3200 feet tall. The Nakheel company is already well versed in such mega-projects, as they also recently worked on the massive man-made island project in the shape of a palm tree and the world in Dubai. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece from NDTV Arabia which talks about this plan to build a 200-story structure in Dubai. The second link will whisk users to a piece in this Monday's Telegraph which talks about the particulars of this ambitious plan. The third link will take users to an article from this Sunday's New York Times discussing some of the potential financial challenges that may affect economic growth in Dubai. Moving on, the fourth link leads to a recent piece from the New York Times which talks about the challenges and opportunities facing young Muslims in modern Dubai. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the Burj Dubai. Here visitors can learn more about this rather amazing structure and take an online tour. The sixth link leads to the homepage of the Nakheel development company, and visitors can explore and learn about some of their upcoming and recent projects. Finally, the last link leads to the delightful homepage of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Here visitors will find basic answers to the question, "What is a tall building and how is its height measured?" along with news updates on new construction and a tall building image database. [KMG]

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