The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 18

May 8, 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

Supercourse: Epidemiology, the Internet and Global Health

The Supercourse website contains thousands of lectures on global health and prevention "designed to improve the teaching of prevention." Their network includes174 countries, and is available in no less than 30 languages. The site is located at the University of Pittsburgh and its core developers include Ronald LaPorte, Faina Linkov, Mita Lovalekar, and Eugene Shubnikov. It's a tremendous undertaking, and first-time visitors may wish to start by clicking through the "What is the Supercourse?" introduction section. After reading a bit about their work, visitors can move on to the "Supercourse Lectures" section. The lectures here are organized topically into headings that include epidemiology, public health, and special diseases. Additionally, visitors can browse the lectures by author or keywords. Further down the homepage, visitors will find the "Special Lectures" area and information for potential authors who would like to become part of this initiative. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Images from the History of Medicine

The National Library of Medicine has a number of very nice online exhibits, and they recently created this all-encompassing image collection to give users access to almost 70,000 images taken from their History of Medicine Division. The collection includes portraits, photographs, genre scenes, posters, and graphic art works that detail and illuminate the social and historical aspects of medicine from the 15th to the early 21st century. Given the size of the collection, new users may wish to start things off by clicking on the "Help with Searching" section. Visitors can use the site to order images, learn about potential copyright issues involved with some of the images, and perhaps even look through their FAQ area. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Asia's Next Challenge: Securing the Region's Water Future [pdf]

The insatiable demand for water will most likely lead to new conflicts throughout the 21st century. The Asia Society's Task Force issued this 59-page report in April 2009 which looks into how this region of the world will grapple with the challenges of maintaining and building sustained access to a safe, stable water supply. The report begins with a discussion of the impending problem and its ramifications, which may include "impaired food production, the loss of livelihood security, large scale migration within and across borders, and increased economic and geopolitical tensions and instabilities." The report is divided into ten short chapters, and it also includes a section on "Institutional Responses to Water Security" and several appendices detailing international freshwater-related agreements in Asia. [KMG]

Jewish American Heritage Month

In an effort to recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture, May was proclaimed Jewish American Heritage Month. To help celebrate, this website was created by a collaboration of various government entities, including the Library of Congress, the National Park Service, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. There are a wide array of topics covered on the site, including the following that are featured on the homepage: the work of Jewish artists and craftsmen from North Africa, films and lectures during the month of May, recordings of Jewish songs, the role of Jewish parachutists in World War II, and Jewish veterans from World War II. On the left side of the page is a menu that includes "Stories", "Exhibitions and Collections", and "Images Used on This Site". The latter link allows visitors to read the bibliographic information of the images used on the site, as well as view the images more closely, in a bigger format. In addition, interested visitors can find events celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month on the right hand side of the page [KMG]

ShortEnd Magazine: Thoughts on Independent Film [iTunes]

Interested in the thoughts and critiques about trends within the independent and student film community? Then the website ShortEnd Magazine should definitely be bookmarked. Among its features is a podcast with talks on independent film, which can be accessed by clicking on "Full Feed", at the top left of the page. What would a movie website be without a "Reviews" section? The most recent review is for "The Yes Men Fix the World", a movie that played at the Sundance Film Festival. Users can rate the article, e-mail the author of the review, and see a list of links to all the articles written on the website by that reviewer. A weblog is also available and can be found at the top of the page under the "Blog" link. Once there, visitors can browse the blog by scrolling, or can choose a blog category, listed on the left side of the page. Some of the blog categories include, "Film Festivals", "On the Process", "Questions Posed", and "Social Issues". [KMG]

Primary Sources on Copyright, 1450-1900

This website, initially funded by the United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Council, uses primary source material from Italy, France, Germany, the UK, and the United States to trace the beginnings of copyright. For each of these geographical zones/jurisdictions, a national editor was responsible for "selecting, sourcing, transcribing, translating and commenting documents." Documents found here include "privileges, statutes, judicial decisions, contracts and materials relating to legislative history, but also contemporary letters, essays, treatises and artefacts." To get visitors oriented to the immense topic at hand, a compact interactive timeline has been provided. At the bottom of the page visitors should click on "The Timeline Interface" to view the full timeline. Moving the gray vertical bar over each 50 year time segment will show all the copyrights for that 50 year period. A high arc in the time period indicates a lot of activity for that time segment. There are colored dots to indicate the country the material is from, and rolling the mouse over each dot will reveal the full record. The site is loaded with information, and various ways to search for material. Searching by "date" and "place" is one way to search. See the menu on the left side of the page to see the available search and browse options, such as "country", "original language", "person", and "place".

Physics for Humanists [pdf]

Modern physics can be a curious beast indeed, and it is "full of ideas that are weird, counterintuitive and wondrous." So goes the introduction to this most engaging online course site provided by the Tufts University OpenCourseWare initiative. The materials come from the course "Physics for Humanists", which was taught by Professor Gary R. Goldstein. As the course notes remark, "Physics for Humanists is intended for those who are intellectually and emotionally curious but do not intend to specialize in the natural sciences." The course site includes a syllabus, calendar, lectures, exams and quizzes, assignments, and lecture handouts. It's a real treat for anyone with a passion for the subject, and even those who might be intimidated by the subject matter may leave with a newfound interest. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Oregon Maps

In the introduction to this fine collection, the curators note that "People create maps to indicate how to get from one place to another and, more broadly, to reconstruct as best as they are able the world around them." It's an important statement, and one that sets the tone for this digital collection created via a partnership between the University of Oregon Libraries and the Oregon State University Libraries. The exhibit focuses on maps dealing with the state's development, and visitors can browse a variety of road maps and other types of maps that document the state's geological makeup and political geography. The road maps afford visitors a unique look into the massive transformation of the roads throughout the state in the early 20th century, particularly during the 1910s. All told, there are over 110 maps in this collection, and the site is rounded out by a set of links to related resources. [KMG]

General Interest

Academic Service [iTunes]

Founded as part of the Backdoor Broadcasting Company, Academic service "specializes in web-casting academic conferences, symposia, public lectures, workshops, and seminars in order to further the dissemination of academic research." Visitors can listen in to the fruits of their labors on this site, which includes both live broadcasts, and a range of archived events. It's easy to get started here, and visitors can click on the "Archive" to view some of their past events. Some of their latest additions include "Teaching History in Deep Time", "States of Mind: Development and the Life Cycle", and noted author Alain de Botton commenting on "The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work". Another nice feature of the site is that visitors can view a list of upcoming events and take a look at their interactive calendar. [KMG]

UN Millennium Development Goals E-Learning Materials [pdf]

The United Nations continues to work on its Millennium Development Goals, which are meant to address human suffering throughout the world. While various media outlets have offered some coverage of these goals over the past ten years, some people may have not heard much about them. The unique learning materials offered on this site provide a bit of background about the goals and an increased understanding of the data that the United Nations collects in order to measure progress in these areas. Along the top of the site, visitors can look through the "Glossary" of terms and click on a link to get further help with using the site. The primary educational materials are contained within four separate sections that help users learn about the Economic and Social Data Services (ESDS) database, which is the primary data source for these types of international databases. Finally visitors can look through the "Activities" section to take in some hands-on activities that use various data sets from the ESDS database. [KMG]


Google has been expanding their periodical offerings through their archive of digitized books, and recently they continued their work in this area by offering access to Ebony magazine. The magazine was started by the late John H. Johnson in 1945, and since that time it has focused its work on offering insights and commentary into the African-American experience. On this site, visitors can read the majority of the back issues of this magazine, and they can use the site to perform detailed searches within each issue. The "Browse all issues" allows interested parties to view separate issues from the past six decades. As with other magazines scanned by Google, visitors can also look at the interactive "Places mentioned in this magazine" map near the bottom of the site. Also, a "Key Terms" section provides a brief summary of some of the places, events, and persons mentioned in each magazine. [KMG]

The Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings

This remarkable collection sponsored by the Los Tigres del Norte Foundation and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center offers users access to thousands of Mexican and Mexican-American vernacular recordings. On this site, visitors can access lyrics, music, and various tales contained within these invaluable primary source materials. First-time visitors can get a feel for the materials here by clicking on the "Browse" tab near the top of the homepage. Here they can browse through the songs by genre, subject, label, or name. Visitors who might be more familiar with the site can use the advanced search option to search by keyword, subject, or format. Ethnomusicologists and others will no doubt want to revisit this site and let their friends know all about it. [KMG]

AgeSource/AgeStats Worldwide

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) covers aging and aging-related topics quite well, and this website is one of their many compelling initiatives. The databases, AgeSource and AgeStats, on AARP's international website are designed to "facilitate the international exchange of policy and program-relevant information in aging." Under the "Aging Everywhere" tab is an interactive map that allows the visitor to read "Country Profiles" as well as read articles about a region selected from the map. A "Comparative Data Search" can also be done by clicking on the link above the map. There are multiple ways to search the information in the databases. On the left hand menu visitors can explore by topic or by region. Some of the topics include "Aging & Society", "Economic Retirement & Security", "Livable Communities" and "Long-Term Care". Searching for a particular topic can be accomplished by using the keyword search box in the middle of the page. The search can be further limited by deciding which databases to search, and by information type, geographic coverage, and language. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Fashioning Felt [Flash Player]

Some may not know that felt is more than the green squares found at craft stores or the material found on billiards tables. Felt is a wool product that when made by hand, takes hours and hours to produce using water, agitation, such as rolling, pressure, and patience. This online version of the "Fashioning Felt" exhibit at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum has works that are comprised of hand made felt as well as works created of machine-made felt. Visitors can explore this unique medium by the keywords "Architecture", "Fashion," "Furniture", "Hand-Made Felt," and "Product Design" or by designer's name. The menu on the right side of the page has both of these options. There are many impressive pieces in the online exhibit, and the zoom and pan features that accompany each image allow the visitor to almost "touch" each piece. Visitors should not miss the fabulous piece entitled "Cityscape-New York Rug", which is a thick piece of cream-colored felt with a topographic map of NYC carved in it. Zoom in as far as allowed in order to "feel" it. The rug can be found by clicking on "Hive U.K.", under Designer. Visitors who want to find information on seeing the in situ exhibit can click on "Visit" at the top of the page to get directions to its New York City location. Check out the "Events" link, also at the top of the page, to find out what programs of interest are also going on at the museum when visiting. [KMG]

Virtual Microbiology

Created at the University of Wisconsin, the Virtual Microbiology site contains a wide range of high-quality scientific educational materials that are meant to supplement and enhance more traditional materials. This particular item is an online textbook, divided into eighteen chapters. Of course, there are the traditional text passages and charts to enhance all of the material, but there are also number of nifty videos that provide additional exploration of topics like pond microbes and hands-on demonstrations. Visitors can also sign up to receive updates about new materials that make their way to the site and they can also provide user feedback. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Tate Liverpool: Glenn Brown

Glen Brown is a member of a loose group of British artists called the YBAs (Young British Artists), which also includes Chris Ofili, Gary Hume, and Peter Doig. Brown's paintings borrow from art history and popular culture by transforming a "familiar visual history into something extraordinary and alien." He has borrowed from Rembrandt, Fragonard, Salvador Dal, Frank Auerbach and many others, including science fiction novels, but he does not use the original images for inspiration, instead he uses reproductions including postcards, books, and digital images from the internet. Brown's technical skill is legendary; he has the ability to create canvases as smooth as glossy magazines, although the works in the current exhibition use a much rougher style of brushwork. The exhibit covers Brown's work from the last eighteen years and is arranged into nine thematic rooms. Visitors to the website can see one example from each room, as well as a list of the other paintings in situ. For example, Room 1 features Brown's The Loves of Shepherds (after 'Doublestar' by Tony Roberts) 2000, what appears to be a space ship orbiting a sun; Room 7 focuses on the human figure and its representation in paint; while Room 9 contains Brown's most recent work. For an extra challenge, the online exhibit also provides an almost impossible online slider game, which cuts a Brown painting into squares, similar to Rubik's Cube, that participants must attempt to reassemble. [DS]

Network Tools

Ubuntu 9.04

Ubuntu is a community developed operating system for laptops, desktops and servers. The word "ubuntu" is an African word that means "Humanity to others", and it seems like an appropriate name for a free operating system that contains a slew of applications such as a web browser, document and spreadsheet software, instant messaging, email applications, web server software and programming tools. For those looking for an operating system that can be downloaded, used, and shared free of charge, Ubuntu is definitely worth a look. [KMG]

Moo0 System Monitor 1.4.0

With the Moo0 system Monitor, visitors can keep a close eye on how their operating system is utilizing different resources. From the left hand side of the homepage find the "System" heading, then click on System Monitor. Once downloaded, the resource monitor appears as a long vertical bar that provides basic data on CPU, network, and memory utilization. Additionally, the bar can be shrunk so it is a bit less intrusive. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer. [KMG]

In The News

With an urban renaissance underway, Hartford begins to think about their hockey heritage

In Hartford, Fans Still Harbor Hope For N.H.L. Team [Free registration may be required]

The Blowhole! Hartford Whalers

Brass Bonanza

The Sports Economist

Grateful Dead Live at Hartford Civic Center on October 10, 1984

Mark Twain House

Since 1997, the city of Hartford has been searching for some new whalers. Of course, they aren't looking for a few old salts to go out and hunt those gentle beasts of the deep (that's generally prohibited by international treaties and Hartford is more than a harpoon toss from the Atlantic Ocean), but rather an intrepid band of die-hard hockey fans are searching for the former NHL team known as the Hartford Whalers. This industrial town and noted insurance capital has been without major league hockey since the Hartford Whalers pulled up stakes and moved to the generally ice-free city of Raleigh. Interestingly enough, the Hartford Whalers Booster Club keeps the hockey home fires burning by hosting various events, and they have recently created an online petition to build support for a new NHL arena in Hartford. During the mid-1990s there was a spate of NHL team relocations as the Quebec Nordiques decamped to Colorado and the Winnipeg Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes. Whalers fans remain dedicated to the spirit and legacy of the team, and long-time fan Marty Evtushek said it best when he noted recently that, "They were more rooted in the community. In New York, they were in their high-rises and didn't bother with the average fans. The Whalers were our neighbors." [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article from the New York Times about the hockey lobbying efforts of the Hartford Whalers Boosters Club. Moving on, the second link leads to a site that provides users with a slew of information on the history of the Whalers, complete with rosters, uniform information, and so on. The third link is an audio trove of Whalers-related sounds, including the final outgoing message from the team store answering machine. Most people will also want to listen to "Brass Bonanza" here, the Whalers' Herb Alpert-like theme song. The fourth link will whisk users away to an excellent weblog on sports economics written by a team of economists from schools such as College of the Holy Cross and Clemson University. The fifth link leads to a much celebrated Grateful Dead concert (courtesy of the Internet Archive) that took place at the former home of the Whalers, the Hartford Civic Arena. Finally, the sixth link leads to the homepage of the Mark Twain House. Twain lived in Hartford for seventeen years, and this site provides a host of material on Twain's life and this rather impressive building. [KMG]

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