The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 12

March 27, 2009

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 Periodic Table of Videos

While there are many ways to parse out the information found within the periodic table of elements, the University of Nottingham has gone above and beyond with their own novel version. Their version happens to have a short video about each element, and visitors will find each short clip interesting, informative, and fun. Visitors can click on each element as they wish, and they can also learn about some of the presenters who have contributed to this initiative. The "Extras" section contains additional short videos about the chemistry of tea, some holiday specials, and a series of blooper reels. The site is going "global" as well, as a number of the films have captions in different languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, and Indonesian. Praise for the site continues to come from various quarters, including from such personages as Nobel Prize recipient Roald Hoffmann who recently said, "I not only liked it, but loved it like the best reality show I saw." [KMG]

A Nursery of Patriotism: The University at War, 1861-1945

Many universities have reflected on how their institutions have changed during periods of war, and University of North Carolina archivist, Janis Holder, and her colleagues recently created this thoughtful digital collection that looks into that very subject. They began by asking how war affected the university as it carried out its primary educational mission and how students and faculty were directly affected by various wars. The result of their labors is this online exhibit, which brings together primary documents from the university's archives, such as journals, photographs, convocation addresses, and newspaper articles. The different sections on the site include "Civil War", "World War I", and "World War II". Within each section, visitors will learn about the university's response and service as each conflict emerged, and also about the effects that each event had on students, faculty, and members of the local Chapel Hill community. [KMG]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event [Real Player, pdf]

This very helpful website addresses the toll disasters can have on mental health and provides healthy ways to cope. The site includes information on how parents can talk to their children, teachers can talk to their students, and how adults can talk to each other about a disaster. One good place to start is the link "Tips for Talking About Disasters", which is located under the heading titled "Information for Individuals and Families". The link "Video: Coping with a Traumatic Event" allows visitors to watch, listen, or watch with captions, a short podcast that explains how people react differently to traumatic events. The Virginia Tech shootings is the event used to explain how people's reactions can vary widely. A series of downloadable tip sheets, called "After the Storm", are available for adults, parents of children, and parents of youth, in Spanish, English and Vietnamese, each with their own link, found in the middle of the page. Under the heading titled "Information for Specific Groups", at the bottom of the page, are three links to information for "Responders", "Health Professionals", and "States and Planners". [KMG]

Nevada Natural Heritage Program [pdf]

The mission of the Nevada Natural Heritage Program is "to help coordinate the resource needs of Nevada's diverse biological heritage with human activities." Their website presents a wide range of resources for persons who might be interested in learning about their work in such fields as ecology, land management, land use planning, and conservation. A good way to start is in the "Special Program Area" section, which can be found on the left side of the homepage. Here visitors will find "Ecology Program", which provides information about Nevada's diverse biological heritage contained within special reports, vegetation coverage maps, and atlases of Nevada's mountain ranges. That's not all; also available in the special program area are the Rare Plant Atlas, wildflower reports, and information about ongoing efforts to create an online catalog of the mosses, hornworts, and liverworts of Nevada. The site is rounded out by a listing of the laws and regulations which govern the activities of the Nevada Natural Heritage Program. [KMG]

The American Journal of Science

Started in 1818, the American Journal of Science (originally called The American Journal of Science and Arts) is the oldest scientific journal published without interruption in the United States. Today the Journal deals only with geology and related earth science, but for many years it covered a wider range of scientific and artistic endeavors. Recently, staff members at Carnegie Mellon University's library decided to create an online collection, which contains over 140 volumes of the Journal. Visitors can search the entire contents of the collection at their leisure, or they can just browse around for a bit. For historians of science and those with a curiosity about what scientists and others found of importance in the 19th century, this collection will be invaluable. The site is rounded out by a FAQ area and a link to other digital collections created by Carnegie Mellon University. [KMG]

The Bunraku Collection

Bunraku is a form of tremendously complex puppet theater that is the result of the extremely focused efforts of puppeteers, narrators, and musicians. The art form was first developed in the seventeenth century, and its popularity peaked in the eighteenth century as major playwrights began to develop elaborate plot lines. Drawing on the remarkable Bunraku collection of Barbara Curtis Adachi, the Columbia University Libraries has created this gallery which includes photographs of different productions, information about authors, and performers. Those persons new to Bunraku will want to start by clicking on "The World of Bunraku" area. Here they can read an essay about noted Bunraku author Chikamatsu Monzaemon and listen to music from a Bunraku production. After that, visitors can search the entire online archive, or browse through the collection by play title, author, performer, or production. [KMG]

New Europe

Started in 1993, New Europe is a weekly publication that covers 49 countries, with a particular focus on institutions in the European Union (EU). Their site offers access to the contents of their print publication, along with additional information on their outreach activities that involve higher education, media groups, and think tanks. Users may wish to start by looking through the "EU Update" area on the left-hand side of the page. Here they will find news stories and investigative reporting that looks into the governmental organization and politics surrounding the European Union. Further down the page, visitors can look through sections such as "Business Update", "Regional News", and the individual country news area, which covers nations from Albania to Uzbekistan. [KMG]

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics: Podcasts [iTunes]

Based at Santa Clara University, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is dedicated to creating and sustaining meaningful research and dialogue on ethical issues in critical areas of American life, such as bioethics and character education. Along with their important publications, they have also made some other nice resources available on their website. One resource is the "Heard on Campus" series of podcasts that can be listened to here in their entirety. The offerings extend back to September 26, and currently there are 50 podcasts available. Some of the conversations and lectures here include titles like "Bailouts, Fairness and Moral Hazard: Ethnical Challenges in Dismal Economic Times", "The Scope of Executive Power", and "No-Bid Contracts for Iraqi Oil". Taken as a whole, this site is a veritable cornucopia of thoughtful discussions and debate about a wide range of topics that are both timely and eternal. [KMG]

General Interest

The Burnham Plan Centennial [pdf, Flash Player]

When Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett collaborated with the Commercial Club of Chicago in 1909 to create a dramatic vision for the greater Chicago Region they took on the task with vigor and sustained commitment. The Burnham Plan Centennial group is made up of organizations that include the Adler Planetarium, the American Planning Association, and the University of Chicago. Visitors can get a sense of their work by clicking on the "About the Centennial" section. Here they can learn about upcoming events and lectures sponsored by member organizations, their staff members, and their press releases. Moving on, the "Our History, Our Future" area includes links to the complete original 1909 Plan, along with links to the "Virtual Burnham" project at Lake Forest College and information about current exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago. Finally, the "Learning Resources" area is a gem, and visitors can view classroom resources, a bibliography of books and web publications on the Plan of Chicago, and a kid's portal. [KMG]

Images of Russia and Caucasus Region, 1929-1933

William O. Field spent much of his long and interesting life as a geographer, pioneer glaciologist, and active member of the American Geographical Society. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Field made three visits to the Soviet Union. During his time there he photographed some of the highest peaks in the Caucasus and also found time to document a variety of historical churches, towers, and settlements in the surrounding area. As part of their ongoing work with the archives of the American Geographical Society, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Libraries scanned and digitized over 700 of Field's images for this fine collection. Visitors to the collection can browse through the images via thematic categories like "Architecture" or "Cities and Towns". As a special bonus, visitors can also view Field's travel notes and diaries from these sojourns. [KMG]

Beautiful Science: Ideas That Changed The World [Flash Player]

Ideas that change the world can be few and far between, so it's nice to learn about this fine digital collection from The Huntington Library. Designed to complement the renovated Dibner Hall of the History of Science at the Library, this site peers into the world of astronomy, natural history, medicine, and light. After reading a brief overview about the exhibit, visitors should click on over to the "Learn More" section. This area is truly a treat as users can look at a series of interactive timelines. Using digitized materials from their collection, visitors can learn about the history of astronomy and natural history via key dates, persons of importance, and vital discoveries. Moving on, the "Modern Perspectives" area features videos of scientists and historians talking about the beauty of science in its many combinations and permutations. Finally, the "Digital Book Samples" contains a selection from several important works featured in the collection, such as Englishman Mark Catesby's tome "Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, 1731-1743". [KMG]

Women's History Month [pdf]

More than half a dozen government cultural agencies, including the Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have contributed to this website celebrating Women's History Month. The theme for 2009 is "Women's commitment to the environment", but this website also has information on influential women in all areas. Visitors can read more about the current theme by clicking on the link "Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet" on the far right side of the page, near the top. Once there, click on the big square logo to learn more about this year's theme, and its honorees. Back on the homepage, visitors can link to "Exhibits & Collections", using the menu on the far left side of the page. Some of the categories to view are "First-Person Accounts", "Politics", and "Women and War". In the link to "Audio/Video", also located in the menu on the far left side of the page, visitors will find a variety of authors discussing their books, as well as other podcasts, webcasts, and readings from the annual National Book Festival.
Moving on, in the "For Teachers" link, in the left side menu, visitors will find lesson plans, student activities and research aids, all incorporating primary sources from Library of Congress, National Archives, National Gallery of Art, and the National Park Service. [KMG]

International Year of Natural Fibres [Flash Player, pdf]

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has designated 2009 as the International Year of Natural Fibres. The goals of this year are three-fold: to raise the profile of natural fibers in a market increasingly dominated by synthetic fibers; convey the value of using natural fibers to consumers; and help sustain the income of the often poor farmers of natural fibers. This very interesting website for the "Year" is available in English, French, Chinese and Spanish. Visitors interested in learning about the history of natural fibers, as well as what different types of natural fibers there are, what they look like, and what they are used for, will find this website fits the bill. On the menu on the far right side of the page, visitors can click on the link "15 Natural Fibres" to peruse a brief history and learn about the different natural fibers that come from plants and animals. Most of the fibers featured include information on what the fiber is, who produces it, how it's produced, and how much is produced, which can be accessed by rolling the mouse over the name or picture of the fiber, and clicking. The link on the menu on the far right side of the page entitled "Fibre Stories" has four stories about new innovations for several different natural fibers. There is a story about cotton in Asia, hemp in China, alpaca in Peru, and sisal in Tanzania. Events around the world celebrating the International Year of Natural Fibres can be found on the far right menu, at the "Events" link. [KMG]

Arabic Script: Mightier than the Sword

The British Museum has a fascinating online exhibit of Islamic art that showcases how Arabic writing is often used in art for its decorative qualities. The importance of Arabic was such that it was learned in conjunction with local languages, and Arabic writing often displaced local scripts. The pieces in this exhibit range from the 7th century A.D. to modern times. Each of the 35 images in the online collection is accompanied by a very informative description, as well as a zoom function, that can be accessed by clicking on the "Larger Image" link. Visitors should not miss image six, which is a double page of the Qur'an from the 14th century that has a very light, airy quality, and is executed in gold and colored inks. Image seven, a modern piece of calligraphy, is by the artist Osman Waqialla, and has smaller script inside of a larger letter that is stunning from a distance, and in detail. [KMG]

The Art of the First Fleet

The Natural History Museum of London website features an online collection of some of the artworks that were created by the members of the First Fleet, the group of nine ships that set sail from Portsmouth to establish a colony in New South Wales, Australia. The artworks are considered to be "outstanding drawings of aboriginal people, the environment and wildlife found on arrival as well as of the early foundation of the colony." Bird lovers out there will find this collection quite a treat, as there are a slew of drawings of birds. Mammal lovers will get to see drawings that are some of the only know record of species that have become extinct since 1788. The drawings are divided up into four different topics, "Natural History", "Ethnography", "Topography", and "History", and can be accessed by their links on the homepage. Each topic can be viewed as a "list" or "gallery", with the gallery view providing thumbnails and the title, and the list providing the title and the name of the artist. Once visitors have chosen a drawing to view, they can click on it to see the dimensions and date of the drawings, as well as an enlarged image of the drawing. Those with interest in more details, such as the donor of the drawing or where it's held at the Museum, should click on "show notes". The "interactive enlargement" link below the image allows visitors to zoom and pan within the image. [KMG]

Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice [Real Player]

Lush flesh, portraits of fur-draped nobles, and plenty of angels and religious imagery characterize this exhibition presented by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese, superstar painters of the Italian Renaissance, created these works for the burgeoning art market in 16th century Venice. The exhibition details the rivalry between these three artists by showing works each created on similar themes, side by side. A slideshow concludes with Titian's Venus with a Mirror, Veronese's Venus with a Mirror (Venus at Her Toilette), and Tintoretto's Susannah and the Elders, all depictions of beautiful nude women. The site includes a feature on the conservation of Tintoretto's The Nativity, a large painting from the 1580s. The conservation process was undertaken just before the exhibition was mounted, and answered some questions about the painting, but also managed to uncover further mysteries. There is also a series of audio highlights, which feature recordings of curators speaking about the exhibition. [DS].

Network Tools

WinPatrol 16.0.2009

The goal of the WinPatrol program is quite simple: to help users identify which programs are running on their computer and to alert them to any new programs that might be added without their permission. The WinPatrol mascot is a Scotty, and this dog serves as an appropriate symbol for their work. The program works to look for alterations created by various malware programs and visitors can view full reports about what WinPatrol finds during the course of its work. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

GIMP 2.6.6

As it may be time to get out the digital family photo album, it's nice to have a bit of help along the way. That's where the GIMP program can be of assistance. GIMP stands for GMU Image Manipulation Program and it performs as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, and a mass production image renderer. The program also includes a full suite of advanced painting tools and it has compatibility with a wide range of file formats. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.5.6 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Food activists seek to change agricultural policy from Oakland to Orono

Sustainable-food campaign reaches a critical mass of influence in the United States

With Food Democracy now, Iowan Dave Murphy Is Challenging Corporate Farming

Safeguard Food Supply But Respect Small Farms

Big Island Video News: Sustainable farming with tilapia

Even city folk can make vegetable gardens flower,0,4687726.column

USDA: Sustainable Agriculture [pdf]

University of California: Agriculture and Natural Resources Free Publications [pdf]

Years ago, some might have heard the words "food advocacy" or "sustainable agriculture" and thought of well meaning groups based in large cities on the West or East Coast. As of late both of these ideas have been gaining currency across the country, and they continue to grow dedicated supporters in states where agribusiness had been a dominant feature of the landscape for many decades. One such supporter is Dave Murphy, an Iowa native who returned back to the heartland after working in Washington, D.C. for years. Murphy's organization, Food Democracy Now, recently circulated a petition calling for more sustainable food policies, along with offering a list of six progressive candidates for secretary of agriculture. It could be argued that the Midwest has lacked an authentic voice as regards to agricultural policy reform, which may be due to the high profiles maintained by well-known celebrity chefs and food pundits who hold sway in the major media markets like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Murphy has also made some compelling new suggestions about how to recast the struggle to get young people to eat more fruits and vegetables. He, along with others, has suggested that it might be useful to pitch this argument as one that will work as an economic engine for small farmers and rural America overall. As Murphy recently stated in an interview, "If you want to change the ballgame, you have to address the policies that are responsible for the system we have in place." [KMG]

The first link leads to an article from this Wednesday's Washington Post which talks about Murphy's food advocacy work. The second link will take users to a piece from this Sunday's International Herald Tribune which talks about the growing "critical mass" of influential policymakers and organizations calling for a renewed focus on sustainable agriculture. The third link will take users to a timely editorial from the Tampa Tribune that talks about both protecting the nation's food supply, while still supporting small farmers who might not be able to afford new costs associated with more stringent oversight and regulation. On a related note, the fourth link leads to a video feature featuring Richard Ha, who's working on a sustainable aquaculture project with tilapia on the Big Island. The fifth link leads to an astute column by Chicago Tribune writer Mary Schmich on how urban dwellers can grow their own vegetable gardens. Moving on, the sixth link leads to the USDA's Sustainable Agriculture homepage. From here, visitors can learn about their efforts to support such endeavors by reading recent reports and briefs. Finally, the last link leads to the free publications section of the University of California's Agriculture and Natural Resources division. There's a great deal to check out here, including helpful gardening publications, suggestions for agritourism, and nutritional fact sheets. [KMG]

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