The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 49

December 12, 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

National Institute of Informatics [pdf]

Informatics is a field that is gaining importance around the globe, and the National Institute of Informatics (NII) in Japan seeks "to advance integrated research and development activities in information-related fields, including networking, software, and content." First-time visitors should note that most of the materials in the site can be located in sections such as "Research", "Services", and "Education". Before delving into these areas, visitors may wish to take a look at the most recent issue of "NII Today" via the homepage. Afterwards, visitors should look over the "Research" area. Here they will find summaries of research projects, working papers, and information about their international partnerships. The "Services" area is well worth a look as it contains links to additional informatics databases that will be of use to scholars and students within the field. [KMG]

State of World Population 2008 [pdf]

In November 2008, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) put out its State of World Population book, along with a Youth Supplement, and both are available in their entirety on the UNFPA website. The book is entitled "Reaching Common Ground: Culture, Gender and Human Rights" and the Youth Supplement is entitled "Generation of Change: Young People and Culture". This website offers so much worthwhile information to the visitor, in part because the entire 108 pages can be downloaded as a pdf by clicking on "Download PDF" under Resources on the left side of the page. The information in each of the nine chapters is eminently readable, extremely heart wrenching, and definitely eye-opening. However, the book does offer hope, as it includes the considerable successes by the UNFPA, which were achieved by being culturally sensitive to the traditions and beliefs of the groups with which they were working. To read the stories from the Youth Supplement, scroll down slightly and choose, from on the left, one of the young people's stories, such as "Grita", "Tsehay", or "Seif". Child marriage, females playing in male sports, becoming a Vietnamese hip-hop sensation, youth in politics, are all examples of topics found among these youth's stories. Visitors should not miss checking out the Photo Gallery, which can be accessed by scrolling down to the middle of the page, and clicking "View," located on the left side of the page. The line "there is laughter every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta," from a Jack Gilbert poem comes to mind upon seeing these photographs. [KMG]

Digital History

The Digital History website is a project of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, designed to educate scholars and the public about the new and fast-growing academic discipline that is digital history. The home page features a semi-globe with links to the different sections atop the globe. The goal of the site is to provide access to presentations of scholars, interviews with scholars, relevant current events and news items, as well as a bibliography of digital history resources. In the "Tool Reviews" link, a visitor can read a thorough review of two tools, a timeline, and an exhibit tool from MIT's SIMILE project on open source tools. In the "Public Lectures" link, accessible from the homepage, the visitor can view portions of ten different presentations by digital history scholars, with subject matter ranging from Malcolm X to the Civil War to the Humanities and the Digital Age. Clicking on the presenter's name will lead the visitor to the portions of the presentation available for viewing, as well as a biography of the presenter, and a "live-blogged entry" about the presentation. The "Project Reviews" link, accessible on the homepage, contains reviews written by graduate students about digital history projects. Academics with projects they'd like to see reviewed, are given a contact e-mail at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. [KMG]

The National Archives: The Cabinet Papers, 1915-1977 [pdf]

Peering into the world of any nation's government can be quite revealing, and this look into the British government is quite a generous one. Created by the National Archives in Britain, this site affords interested parties comprehensive access to Cabinet papers from 1915-1977. Visitors can browse through these papers by themes that include "Diplomacy and foreign relations", "Finance and the economy", and "Total war". Those visitors who might be unfamiliar with the operations of the British government may wish to first stop by the "Cabinet and Government" area. Here they can browse over a "Who's who" section, learn the nuts and bolts of the Cabinet government, and read a selection of previously classified documents that deal with both World Wars. One resource here that shouldn't be missed is the "Maps in Time" area. Here visitors can take a look at relevant resources organized geographically on a series of maps that extend throughout the 20th century. It's a great way to visualize the activities of the British government both spatially and temporally. [KMG]

Economic Indicators [pdf]

Both scholars and those with a penchant for statistics will want to bookmark this fine website created and maintained by the federal government. The site provides monthly compilations of economic indicators covering prices, wages, production, business activity, purchasing power, credit, money, and Federal finance. Visitors can use the search engine to type in their desired terms, or they can browse every month from January 1998 forward via a series of drop down tabs. For those who might be looking for more specific data, the "Search Tips" feature is quite useful. The site also contains links to the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER), which contains economic indicators back to 1948. Overall, the site will be a real boon to those looking for high quality, accurate information regarding current and past economic trends and patterns in the United States. [KMG]

World Health Organization: Health Economics [pdf]

The World Health Organization (WHO) has created this site to provide the general public with high-quality information about their various research initiatives and reports related to the field of health economics. Given the nature of the WHO's mission, the work focuses on key challenges facing global health financing, with particular attention paid to healthcare systems in the developing world. The materials here include a nice fact sheet that provides a global overview of current spending on health care, along with links to related sites that deal with health financing policy and national healthcare systems. In the "Related Links" area, visitors can browse on over to a specialized site dedicated to the health economics of the European Union. [KMG]

Interactive Teaching Units: Green Chemistry [pdf]

As more and more organizations go "green", it makes sense that a number of educational institutions are participating as well. One such institution is the University of Glasgow which has developed this series of "green" chemistry teaching exercises known as Interactive Teaching units (ITUs). Currently, the site contains four ITU's, including "The Age of Refrigeration", "Titanium and the Titanium Dioxide Industry", and "The Atom Economy". The modules all draw on the concept of problem based learning to introduce key concepts of green chemistry and sustainability in an industrial context. All of these materials can be used in the college classroom in order to develop both teamwork and communication skills. [KMG]

Solutions for Our Future

America benefits mightily from its many universities and colleges, and this recent initiative from the American Council on Education (ACE) aims to raise awareness about the mission and work of the country's higher education institutions. The ACE is working with a number of partners on this project, including the Educational Testing Service, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), and Campus Compact. New visitors can start their journey through the site by clicking on the "What is Solutions for Our Future?" section, which can be found at the top right hand corner of the homepage. After reading this brief overview, they should click on the "Solutions" area. Here they can learn about innovative and beneficial programs like North Carolina Community College's work on training biotechnology workers and Tarleton State University's equine assisted therapy program. Further down the site's homepage, visitors can click on a drop down menu to learn more about higher education in their own state, and even sign up to receive email updates. [KMG]

General Interest

A Literary Map of Maine

Sure, you might know that Longfellow was a member of the literati who called Maine home, but did you know that Robert McCloskey was one as well? In case you might have forgotten, McCloskey was the author and illustrator of those children's classics "Make Way for Ducklings" and "Blueberries for Sal". It's easy to learn about dozens of Maine authors via this delightful website created as part of a partnership between the Maine Sunday Telegram and a number of library and humanities groups in Maine. Currently, the map features over 50 sites, and visitors can browse around at their leisure to learn about authors like Longfellow, Stephen King, and Richard Russo. Clicking on each site will pull up a brief excerpt of each author's work, along with a brief bio. Don't leave the site without taking a look at the slideshow of Maine authors that's also offered here. [KMG]

The William Morris Society Website

During his productive life, Scotsman William Morris contributed much to the fields of design and art. The William Morris Society helps to preserve his memory, and to afford interested parties the ability to learn more about his legacy and his influential body of writings. The site's main attractions are contained within four sections: "Life", "Art", "Writing", and "Social Thought". Morris neophytes should read both biographical sketches of the man, and then click on to the "Writings" Section. Here they will find a chronological list of his writings, with links to a number of them, including "Hopes and Fears for Art" and "Art and Socialism". Additionally, visitors will want to click on the "Art" area to see examples of Morris's book designs, calligraphy, furniture, and tapestries. [KMG]

LIFE Photo Archive

Anyone can type in a simple image search into Google, but this new initiative sponsored by both LIFE and Google takes these searches to a whole new (and rather interesting) level. Working together, the two businesses brought together several million images from the 1750s to the present day. Many of the images have never been seen before, and it's quite a bit of fun just to look around their offerings. On the site's homepage, visitors can browse photos by decade, or by a set of basic categories that include "People", "Places", "Events", and "Sports". These categories include everything from Jacqueline Kennedy to the Winter Olympics. If visitors like certain shots, they also have the option to purchase various prints from the site. It's also a bit fun to type in any number of phrases to see what they offer, such as "medicine ball", "lacrosse", or "Robert Maynard Hutchins". [KMG]

The 19th Century Trade Card

During the 19th century, the ever-popular trade card was a way for American businesses to effectively promote their goods and services. Some examples include a colorful business card depicting freshly caught mackerel in a net (appropriately enough for "Deep Sea Mackerel") and the Charter Oak Lawn Mower, which feature two Victorian women enjoying a leisurely mowing session in a pastoral setting. This online collection was created by Harvard Business School's Baker Library, which happens to have over 8000 of these cards. The online archive contains around 1000 cards which date from the 1870s to the 1890s. Visitors can search this archive via Harvard's Visual Information Access (VIA) union catalog which will allow them to focus in on subjects of particular interest. Finally, visitors can also avail themselves of the site's digital exhibition entitled "A New and Wonderful Invention: The Nineteenth-Century American Trade Card". [KMG]

The Engines of Our Ingenuity [iTunes]

This website is from the public radio program The Engines of Our Ingenuity, which has been airing on the radio from the University of Houston for 20 years. The radio show is about the human inventiveness that informs our culture and it's no wonder the program has been on the air for so long, as such a topic seems inexhaustible. Because the show is only available on 30 public radio stations, using the website may be the only way some fans can hear each episode. Visitors can find the latest episode next to "Click here for the newest Engines episode" on the homepage. From there visitors will be transported to a page that contains a transcript of the episode along with a link at the top of the page which will allow visitors to hear the episode by John Lienhard. Not only do visitors get a written version and an audio version, they also get photos pertaining to the topic, links to sites that provide further information on certain aspects of the topic, and in some cases, diagrams and charts further illustrating the episode's topic. There is also a link near the top of the homepage, "Click Here," which provides recent episodes of the radio show as podcasts. On the homepage the visitor can also find a list of all the stations that broadcast the show, by clicking on "Stations That Carry Engines" under "About the Radio Program," on the lower right side of the page. On the left side of the homepage there are links to "Engines Transcripts" and "Full Titles of Episodes, With Keywords." For the latter link, click on the number next to the episode to be taken to the audio version of the episode, as well as the transcript of it, and any accompanying links, graphs, photos, and diagrams. There are over 2000 episodes, so no visitor should be left wanting. [KMG]

Reading Rockets [pdf]

Reading Rockets is a program, initiated by public television and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, that addresses how young children learn to read, why they struggle to read, and how adults can help. The Reading Rockets website takes a multimedia approach to getting information out to parents and educators. To read the site in Spanish, click on "En espanol" halfway down the page, on the left side. Also on the left side of the page visitors can find the multitude of media that the site provides. Click on "Podcasts and Videos" to listen to podcasts of interviews with children's authors and reading experts or "Watch and Learn" to see video clips of a variety of teaching methods. Clicking on "Blogs About Reading" will transport visitors to the blogosphere of "Sound it Out", which is written by a teacher/writer/mom/researcher blogger. For those interested in the Reading Rocket's shows broadcast on public television they can just click on "Our Shows on PBS" to view some of the shows online for free, catch them when they are on PBS, or purchase their own DVD copies. Visitors looking for recommendations for little readers should check out the "Find Great Kids' Books and Authors". The books recommended by Reading Rockets are arranged by theme and include "Award-Winning Books", "Holiday Buying Guides", and "All About Choosing and Using Kids' Books". [KMG]

Investigating Atheism [pdf]

With their website, Investigating Atheism, the University of Cambridge hopes to add some clarity to the subject. Despite the attention recent books on atheism have received, they have had a mixed reception from the religious communities and from fellow atheists and agnostics. The goal of the site is to "set these contemporary "God Wars" in their historical context, and to offer a range of perspectives (from all sides) on the chief issues raised by the new atheists." A good place to start exploring this very well organized website is by looking in the Selected Features box on the right side of the homepage. There, a visitor can get an overview of the issues and the players, by clicking on "Current Controversies", "Atheist Politics", "Atheism and Meaning", "Arguments for Disbelief", and "Links". The "Links" section is divided up between Atheistic/Humanistic and Responses to the Debate. Visitors will find that studying atheism can be more complicated than it seems. The "History" tab points out the difficulty in recounting the history of atheism, because there is disagreement over its beginnings and players. Click on "Demographics" on the left side of the page to read about the obstacles faced when trying to get an accurate count of the number of atheists in the world today. Imperfect data is available, however, and such data suggests between 500 million and 750 million people don't believe in God. [KMG]

American Society of Limnology and Oceanography [pdf]

If you've ever wondered about the fields of limnology or oceanography, you need look no further than the homepage of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO). On their site, visitors can learn about their professional activities, which include international symposia, conferences, and their scholarly journals. In their "About ASLO" area, visitors can learn about the discipline and read up on ASLO history. Most visitors will get the most use out of the "Programs" area. This section of the site includes an image library, articles about ethical considerations in the field, resources for early career scientists, and programs for current students. The image library is a highlight here, and it includes well over 2000 images submitted by registered users covering everything from estuaries to sampling techniques. [KMG]

Network Tools

You Send It Express 1.7

Sending large files to colleagues and friends around the world can be cumbersome, so it's nice to learn about YouSendIt Express. Visitors who sign up to use the application can send up to 2GB, convert files to the pdf format, and also take advantage of password protection and certified delivery. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP, Vista, or Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher. Additionally, it's worth noting that this is a trial version which is offered for free for fourteen days. [KMG]

Process Terminator 1.0

Getting rid of an unresponsive program or process on a computer can be frustrating, so it's nice to learn about this application. Process Terminator allows users to list the running processes, examine them, and quickly terminate the processes in question. You can find the program by clicking on "Downloads" from their homepage. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Marks 60th Anniversary [Real Player]

Cuban activists say they were beaten on eve of 60th human rights anniversary

BBC News: World Marks UN Human Rights Day

Human rights violations in our own backyard

Mary Robinson: Climate change is an issue of human rights

Human Rights Day 2008 [Real Player, [pdf]

United Nations Audio Library: Radio Classics [iTunes]

This Wednesday marked the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A number of groups around the world, including the United Nations and Amnesty International, used the observation of this event to bring attention to some of the continued human rights challenges and abuses around the world. Of course, sixty years ago, just getting the Declaration approved by the new U.N. General Assembly was quite a challenge, as individual countries had their own separate ideas about what constituted human rights. As Larry Cox, the director of Amnesty International USA, points out: "It was no longer a question of individual states doing whatever they want to for their citizens, because the way that governments treat their citizens affects the whole word and especially the peace and security of the whole world." Also this week, a number of commentators, such as Mary Robinson, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights remarked that global climate change may be the next frontier in terms of thinking about human rights, especially in regards to the world's poor. [KMG]

The first link will lead visitors to a piece from the Voice of America News which talks about the legacy and future of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The second link leads to a piece from this Thursday's Christian Science Monitor which comments on a group of Cuban activists who said they were beaten while readying for a rally related to the anniversary of the Declaration. The third link will lead visitors to an excellent site created by the BBC to commemorate this event. The site includes a news article, an interactive slideshow, and a general Q&A section about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moving on, the fourth link leads to an editorial by Sumayyah Waheed on the state of California's prison youth system, which appeared in Wednesday's San Francisco Chronicle. The fifth link will whisk users away to an impassioned piece by Mary Robinson about the relationship between climate change and human rights. The sixth link leads to the official United Nations homepage on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Here, visitors can read the text of the Declaration in hundreds of different languages, watch short video presentations, and take a look through the "World Voices" project. Finally, the last link leads to a fascinating collection of audio documentaries produced by the United Nations over the past sixty years. While visitors do have to register to listen in, the range of voices is quite accomplished. The archive includes Edward Murrow talking about needy children in a post-WWII Europe, Helen Hayes narrating reports on the Korean War, and the unbeatable troika of Michael Redgrave, James Mason, and Orson Welles narrating the history of diplomacy. [KMG]

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