The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 41

October 17, 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

Exploring Genes & Genetic Disorders [pdf]

More and more excellent data continues to be produced by the Human Genome Project, and a number of government organizations have created top-notch educational resources based on this information. The Gene Gateway website was originally produced as a companion to the Human Genome Landmarks poster and has evolved into a "collection of guides and tutorials designed to help students and other novice users get started with some of the resources that make these data available to the public." Here visitors are introduced to various Internet tools that anyone can use to investigate "genetic disorders, chromosomes, genome maps, genes, sequence data, genetic variants, and molecular structures." Visitors can download the Gene Gateway workbook, which contains five activities, complete with screenshots and step-by-step instructions "designed to introduce new users to genetic disorder and bioinformatics resources on the Web". Moving down the homepage, visitors can look into sections such as "Bioinformatics Tools", the "Genetic Disorder Guide", and an outstanding "Chromosome Viewer". The viewer provides a great backdrop for those seeking to understand the physical makeup of human chromosomes. Also, visitors can order a free copy of the wall poster "Human Genome Landmarks: Selected Genes, Traits, and Disorders". [KMG]

Plant Evolution Timeline [Macromedia Flash Player]

Designed for plant scientists at the University of Cambridge, the Plant Evolution Timeline website will be of great interest to anyone with an interest in the development and evolution of plant life. This interactive timeline was created by Nicola Peart and Ben Roberts and first-time visitors will want to start by looking through the "Help" section offered here. Here they can look at a sample interactive screenshot of the timeline and also learn how to toggle various data sets on and off as they explore the entire timeline. Visitors will notice that the timeline includes information on leaf evolution, mass extinction events, photosynthesis, physiological developments, and total number of species. The organization of the timeline is well thought out and visually quite appealing, and it is a resource that visitors will want to pass along to friends and colleagues. [KMG]

British Museum: Middle East

This website from the British Museum lets visitors explore the Middle East in an online tour. The main page of the Middle East section allows the visitor to explore the Middle East via the themes of "Agatha Christie and archaeology", "The kingdoms of ancient South Arabia", "The Queen of Sheba", and "Iran before Islam: The Sasanians". After the visitor clicks on a theme, they will see thumbnails of artifacts to click on, which when chosen, will be accompanied by an explanation of the artifact. Related photos, drawings, charts, etc. may also appear below the photo of the artifact, and can be enlarged by clicking on it directly. Visitors should not miss the "Queen of Sheba" theme to see some works of art that have depicted this austere leader throughout recorded history. [KMG]

Akkerman Fortress Project [pdf]

Located on a site near the Dnister River within southwestern Ukraine, the Akkerman fortress has been the subject of an ongoing archaeological dig for many years. The team working on the project has created this engaging website to keep interested parties abreast of their work and findings. Fondation Max Van Berchem and the British Institute at Ankara fund the project, and their work is primarily interested in examining traces of the Ottoman period in and around the fortress something that has been previously ignored by earlier archaeologists. The materials on the site are divided into six primary sections, including "Image Galleries", "Documents, "Reports", and "Publications and Events". A basic overview of the fortress site and general locale can be obtained by clicking on the "Fortress Site" heading. Moving on, visitors can learn more about the team working on the project and then look at some of the scholarly reports they have crafted thus far. [KMG]

The Art of Teaching the Arts: A Workshop for High School Teachers

Teaching the arts is, as one might expect, an art in itself, and teachers young and old alike will find much to engage their attention on this delightful website. Created as part of the Annenberg Media's educational resource website, this site offers an eight-part professional development workshop for use by music, theater, dance, and visual art teachers. The site includes all eight of the one hour programs, and visitors just need to complete a free registration form to view them in their entirety. The programs all include demonstrations, sample activities, and other pedagogical elements. Visitors should note that the programs include titles like "Developing Students as Artists", "Creating Rich Learning Environments", and "Fostering Genuine Communication". The site also includes support materials and "Channel talk", which is the email discussion list for this set of workshops. [KMG]

Centre for the International Business of Sport [pdf, iTunes]

With multinational corporations owning professional sports teams across the globe, the business of sport is certainly a global affair, and one that intrigues the dedicated team at the Center for International Business of Sport (CIBS). Based at Coventry University, the CIBS and its affiliates are primarily interested in researching the world of sport management. On their homepage, visitors can learn about the scope of their work, their thematic research projects, and read their weblog. Scholars and others with an interest in this work will want to look over their working paper series. Recent papers have included "The Only Way Forward for African Sport?" and "The circumstances in which English football clubs become insolvent". Additionally, visitors can also check out their podcasts which feature commentary on such subjects as the "Financial aspects of football" (soccer), "Sport Marketing", and "David Beckham". [KMG]

Yearbook of the United Nations [pdf]

Since 1946, the United Nations (UN) has produced an annual work known as the Yearbook. This volume serves as the principal reference work on the United Nations and their various activities. Recently, the UN digitized the Yearbooks from 1946 to 2005 and placed them on this very handy website. Visitors to the homepage can use the drop down menu offered here to look through any of the volumes that interest them. Within each volume, visitors can read through chapters, which usually include sections on political and security matters, economic and social questions, and a host of legal questions. For those persons looking for specific topics, each volume can be searched individually, or users may also wish to use the "Power Search" feature to refine their search even further. Finally, a "Share" feature allows users to share their findings via Google, Digg, Facebook, and other popular social networking sites. [KMG]

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse [pdf]

This website, a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is an extremely useful tool for those interested in digestive diseases - patients and health care workers alike. The site is designed for those who have been diagnosed with digestive diseases, who have not yet been diagnosed, for those who want to participate in clinical trials, and for those seeking even more resources on digestive diseases. Additionally, this site is for the health care community seeking easy-to-read and Spanish-language publications on digestive diseases, and for U.S. statistics on digestive diseases. Visitors should go to the "Statistics" link on the homepage to view not only NIH's "Digestive Diseases Statistics for the U.S.", but also a link to "Other Sources for Statistics", which has a list of nine other organizations that have statistical information on digestive diseases. Check out the "Clinical Trials and Guidelines" link on the homepage to find patient studies regarding digestive diseases that are underway in Maryland, at the National Institutes of Health research hospital, as well as several other U.S. locations. [KMG]

General Interest

Terra Madre [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

The "slow-food" movement continues to gain steam around the world as more and more people are concerned about sustainable agriculture, eating locally, and so on. Since 2004, the Terra Madre organization has held an international conference every two years, which brings together cooks, academics, and others who are interested in "increasing small-scale, traditional, and sustainable food production." On their website, visitors can learn about these meetings, learn about their ongoing projects, read their weblog, and read through the "Voices" section. The "Voices" section is worth singling out for special attention, as it offers up first-hand perspectives on the ways in which different individuals are participating in various innovative local food production techniques and networks. Most people will find the "Multimedia" section particularly entrancing. Here visitors can view events from the conference, including interviews, short films, and photo slideshows. One feature that shouldn't be missed is "The Edible Schoolyard", this short "how-to" film aims to inspire school children to make their own gardens at their schools, and there is also helpful information for teachers included in the film. [KMG]

Podcasts from the University of Oxford [iTunes]

The University of Oxford offers free podcasts of lectures by Oxford professors on this very fine website. Nine different divisions of the University are represented, including the Humanities, Medical Sciences, Continuing Education, and Life Sciences. By clicking on "show media items" under the description of each lecture, you can see all the titles in the lecture series, and choose from there. In "Philosophy" under the Humanities division are the distinguished John Locke Lectures, which include twelve different talks. In the Social Sciences Division, you will find topics such as the "Environmental Change Institute Podcasts from Oxford University" that consist of lectures, seminars, and interviews. "Forced Migration Online Discussions" include exchanges between experts, interviews with refugees, and lectures at the Refugee Studies Centre. Overall, the site is a great educational resource and one that could be used in any number of classroom settings. [KMG]

Francis Bacon [Macromedia Flash Player]

Tate Britain's interactive online exhibitions always offer a fabulous, well-designed alternative to visiting the physical exhibit. From September 2008 to January 2009, the Tate Modern is featuring the work of Francis Bacon, and in addition to images of Bacon's work, videos, and audio recordings, they also offer up snippets of interviews of the artist himself. By far the best way to view the exhibit is by clicking on "Launch guide" to use the interactive exhibition guide, where you can follow the arrows to explore themes running through Bacon's work, or just go your own route. Instructions are provided for navigation, and clicking "Instructions" in the upper right hand corner of the exhibition map allows you to view helpful instructions at any time. Clicking on any of the thumbnails of artwork or text in the rooms will enlarge the room. Additionally, right clicking on the background of the exhibit allows you to see a list of the rooms in the physical exhibit. The first three rooms feature paintings of Bacon's disturbing images of screaming men, who are often crouching in animalistic poses. By the 1950s Bacon was painting pictures of men and women with distorted bodies and faces. Since he was influenced by photographs, it is interesting to see, in room seven, some of the photos in question. By rolling over the blank spaces next to the paintings, you will see the original photographs appear. [KMG]

Inside the Middle Class [pdf]

What is the middle class thinking? And who exactly is in the middle class? This thoughtful 169-page report from the Pew Research Center looks at the attitudes and lives of the American middle class in a way that will fascinate journalists, policy practitioners, and others. The report was released in April 2008, and visitors can read the entire report at their leisure, or they can also glance over an executive summary. The document is divided into two large chapters: "A Self Portrait" and "A Statistical Report". Along the way, visitors will note that there are numerous graphs, charts, and tables sprinkled through the text that help visually illuminate key patterns and trends. Overall, the report offers up a number of interesting findings, including the observation that about half of all Americans think of themselves as middle class and that for the past two decades middle income Americans have been spending and borrowing more. [KMG]

African Press Network for the 21st Century

The diversity of the African press presents certain challenges and opportunities, and the African Press Network for the 21st Century (RAP 21) website brings together a number of high-quality resources designed to "facilitate the exchange of innovative ideas and the latest information about the business of newspapers, issues related to press freedom and career development opportunities". RAP 21 was launched by the World Association of Newspapers and the Union of Publishers in Central Africa in September 2000, and is currently supported by the Swedish press group Stampen. On the homepage, visitors can delve into the "Newspaper Management Archive", which contains recent news articles about issues facing African newspapers and media, including ethics, new technologies, media laws, online publishing, and reporting on HIV/AIDS. Additionally, users can also search the complete archives and sign a protest letter to assist the cause of journalism should they so desire. [KMG]

Frances Benjamin Johnston Photograph Collection

Frances Benjamin Johnston was a photographer who spent a significant portion of her life documenting the vernacular architecture of Virginia, North and South Carolina, Maryland, and a number of other states in the South. She began this documentary work in 1933 with financial backing from the Carnegie Corporation. After her work was completed, Johnston deposited almost 1000 of these photographs at the University of Virginia. Recently, the University of Virginia Library's Digital Collections group digitized these items and placed them online here. Visitors to the site can search the entire collection, or browse through a list organized by photograph title. The collection offers a broad and breezy tour of the all-too-often ignored world of vernacular architecture, and visitors will find photographs of debtor's prisons, austere log cabins, and a variety of seemingly mundane outbuildings. [KMG]

Exploratorium: How Do We Know What We Know? [Macromedia Flash Player]

To some, science may seem neat and tidy. Of course, scientists know better, and taken as a whole, the process of doing science is often quite messy. This fascinating interactive website created by the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco takes on the task of observation and investigation into human origins. The interactive exhibit and feature contains five primary sections, including "Observing Behavior", "Collecting Clues", and "Finding Patterns". Each section begins with an introductory essay and a selection of video clips featuring interviews with various scientists discussing their research and work. The subjects covered here are quite broad and they include fossil analysis, the evolution of primate behavior, and using new technologies to learn more about humans from their teeth. Finally, visitors will want to listen to a few of their podcasts. It's worth noting that the site is also available in Spanish. [KMG]

Asia Society: Islamic Calligraphy [Macromedia Flash Player] [Deb]

This website from the Asia Society is actually two exhibitions in one: Traces of the Calligrapher and Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur'an. The former focuses on the men and women who have practiced calligraphy, or beautiful writing, the most esteemed of the Islamic visual arts, while the latter provides a few samples of their craft. In the opening section, "Tools and Materials", visitors can view pens, brushes, and all manner of writing instruments, including containers in which they are stored. "The Training and Practice" section offers a glimpse at exercises used by calligraphers to hone their skills, such as an album of calligraphy exercises (mrekkebat) from Turkey, 189697. Finally, the section "Writing the Word of God" displays leaves from the Qur'an, arranged chronologically - from a folio of a Qur'an in Hijazi script, mid-7th century to a selection of the Qur'an in muhaqqaq script, Iraq, probably Baghdad, ca. 1370. [DS]

Network Tools

Memeo Share 1.0.1092

After a big Columbus Day gathering (or any other type), many people may want to share their photos with friends and loved ones. Memeo Share allows users to do just that, as visitors can just sync the files in question to be shared with one or more contacts. Visitors can also use the program to upload videos to YouTube if they have an interest in sharing their files with a broader audience. This version of Memeo Share is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer. [KMG]

Opera 9.6

Web browsers come and go, but over the years Opera has maintained quite a bit of staying power. This latest version includes new desktop widgets, integration with email and chat clients, and sophisticated drag-and-drop functionality. Opera's homepage also includes a helpful FAQ section that will answer any number of queries. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer or Mac OS X 10.3 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Inner-city hospitals continue to struggle and face an uncertain future

Nonprofit Hospitals Leave The City for Greener Pastures

City trying to buy Methodist Hospital in eastern New Orleans

Hospitals Fall Victim to Spreading Credit Crisis [Free registration required]

Credit Crisis Spreads to Hospitals, Colleges [Real Player]

New Orleans Three Years After the Storm: The Second Kaiser Post-Katrina Survey, 2008 [pdf]

Running a Hospital

People may be generally familiar with the effects a bank closure might have on a community, but what happens when a hospital closes? This is a trend that many inner-city areas continue to struggle with, and large cities such as Detroit and New Orleans find themselves in a precarious position in this regard. This public health problem grows more serious every year, and many nonprofit hospitals choose to close up shop in poor areas and work to establish elaborate facilities in more affluent locales where people generally have private insurance health care plans. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported on the situation in Detroit involving Ascension Health, which is the country's largest nonprofit hospital system. Last year, Ascension Health elected to close its only hospital in Detroit's east side as it prepared to open a new $224 million hospital in an upscale suburb of the Motor City. Along with other aspects of life in Detroit, the situation regarding hospital access and availability remains somewhat dire, as there are now only four hospitals left in the entire city. Meanwhile in New Orleans, the city government is attempting to buy the shuttered Methodist Hospital on that city's eastern side. The hope is that the hospital would include an emergency room and other facilities which are desperately needed to serve the neighborhoods hit hard by Hurricane Katrina three years ago. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece from the Wall Street Journal's Tuesday edition which reports on the situation involving Riverview Hospital in Detroit. The site also includes a video clip of local residents talking about their search for healthcare options and several interactive graphics. The second link leads to a piece from the New Orleans Times-Picayune on that city's efforts to purchase and rehabilitate the Methodist Hospital. Moving on, the third link leads to an article from this Wednesday's New York Times about how the ongoing credit crisis is affecting hospitals. The fourth link will whisk users away to an audio report from WBUR's Curt Nickisch with further discussion about the current credit crisis and its effect on nonprofits including hospitals and colleges. The fifth website contains a report from the Kaiser Foundation which discusses the ongoing recovery effort in New Orleans. Lastly, the final site leads to a fine weblog written by the president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Appropriately enough, the weblog is titled "Running a Hospital" and it contains some interesting insights into that subject. [KMG]

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