The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 29

July 24, 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

National Science Foundation: Science Nation [Flash Player]

Billed as "The Online Magazine That's All About Science for the People", the online magazine Science Nation reports on important science breakthroughs. Created by the National Science Foundation, the site reports on scientific and technological developments by using video clips, first-hand reporting, and well-written articles. On the homepage, visitors can take in their latest report, and then move on down to the "Science Nation Topics" area. Here they will find reports on tornadoes, new technologies for the visually handicapped, and the effect that climate change will have on Emperor penguin populations in Antarctica. Each topic is accompanied by related images and links to additional websites of note. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive updates from the site via email and they are welcome to send along their feedback. [KMG]

The Georgia State Fair, Macon, 1886-1960

Seven decades ago, one "Jaydee the Great" wowed crowds at the Georgia State Fair in Macon with his high trapeze novelty act. That wasn't all that was happening at the State Fair of course and visitors with an interest in American history, entertainment, state fairs, and Georgia history will find plenty to hold their attention within this nice digital collection. The collection was created by the Digital Library of Georgia, and it documents the evolution of the state fair in Macon from 1886 to 1960. Here visitors can look over 150 black and white photographs, along with a selection of fliers advertising the fair. Most of the photographs depict county agricultural exhibits whose function was to promote a variety of farm produce and homemade items. The collection also has a number of photographs documenting community canning projects which took place during World War II. Visitors can search the collection via a search engine, or they may just wish to just browse around, which can be pretty fun as well. [KMG]

Discoveries from Mars: Using a Planetary Perspective to Enhance Undergraduate Geoscience Courses [pdf]

As more and more data is returned from various missions to Mars, educators have unique opportunities to corral this data in the service of teaching young people about petrology, hydrology, and sedimentology. This set of teaching resources comes from The Cutting Edge website developed at Carleton College. Designed to provide information and teaching resources for geoscience faculty, this new section of the site includes a searchable collection of Internet resources, activities and assignments using Mars data, and a number of visualizations relating to Mars. Visitors may also want to view the presentations on this subject which originated from a workshop held by at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University. Also, visitors with their own relevant resources can learn about how they can make their own contributions as well. [KMG]

Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy [pdf]

Started in 2005, the peer-reviewed, open-access journal Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy (PCSP) provides "innovative, quantitative and qualitative knowledge about psychotherapy process and outcome, for both researchers and practitioners." The publication is sponsored by the Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, and first-time visitors can get a feel for their work by looking over the table of contents of the current issue on the right-hand side of their homepage. Visitors should also feel free to browse through the archives, register to receive the latest edition of PCSP via email, and also learn about their submission policies. Additionally, visitors can also sign up for their RSS feed and create their own collection of PCSP articles. [KMG]

The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925

Designed as part of a series of four local history collections presented by the National Digital Library Program as a component of the American Memory archive, this rather unique collection draws its attention to the Chesapeake Bay region and Washington, D.C. All told, visitors can peruse over 139 books that detail the history, geography, and cultural milieu of this region. First-time users can check out the "About the Collection" to get their bearings, and then should wade into the rich digital waters of this site. One might get their feet wet by reading the "Reminiscences of Georgetown, D.C." by T. B. Balch to obtain one person's memories of this area in the mid-19th century. For another perspective on the region, visitors can read through the 1909 publication "Work of the Colored law and order league", written by one James H.N. Waring. After that, visitors should feel welcome to browse through the remaining titles by subject index, author index, or keyword. [KMG]

American Museum of Natural History: Climate Change [Flash Player]

Climate change is at the forefront of international public policy these days, and this superb online exhibit on the subject will add to the general public's understanding of the issues and the science surrounding this area of concern. The in situ exhibit was organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, with the collaboration of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage, Chicago's Field Museum, and a number of other institutions. On the site, visitors will find interactive features that mirror the in situ exhibits, complete with charts, informative text, photographs, and graphs. Some of the sections included here are "How Did We Get Here?", "Climate Change Today", and "Changing Land". Moving on, the "Climate Change Resources" area contains free resources that will help visitors learn more about the topics covered here, and there is even a cool activity that allows users to build their own terrarium to learn more about the greenhouse effect. The site is rounded out by their weblog, "Signs of Change". [KMG]

1969: The Year of Gay Liberation

The New York Public Library's excellent online exhibit on the year of gay liberation opens with an inviting digital poster with all the names of the gay liberation groups represented in the exhibit. Visitors can click anywhere on the poster to enter the exhibit. Take a look at the "Introduction" to learn about the history of gay liberation groups. About half a dozen or so of the groups are featured on the left side of the page, and the visitor can click on each one to read the story of their involvement in the gay liberation movement. Visitors who will be in New York City July through November can catch the "Traveling Panel Exhibition" at various libraries throughout the city, however, those visitors who won't be anywhere near the Big Apple during those months, can "Download a PDF of the Panel Exhibition". Finally, visitors should definitely not miss out on the link to the "LGBT Resources at the NYPL", located in the lower left hand corner of the page. There are collections devoted to LGBT health, seniors, history and teens, as well as a list of other digital collections that are available. [KMG]

National Woman's Party Digital Collection [pdf]

As this website declares, "The Sewall-Belmont House and Museum celebrates women's progress toward equality and their continuing contributions to our society." Located on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., it holds the National Woman's Party (NWP) historic collection of "records and artifacts that document the mass political movement for women's full citizenship in the 20th century, both in the United States and throughout the world." The physical and digital collection of the NWP consists of suffrage banners, the Suffragist magazine, political cartoons, and historic objects of women important to the suffrage movement, such as the chair of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the desk used by Alice Paul to write the Equal Rights Amendment. Visitors interested in browsing the collection can click on the "Browse Collection" tab at the top of the page to start browsing. The four time periods, "Suffrage", "Equal Rights", "International", and "Contemporary", are available to browse, and there is an interesting feature that allows the visitor to learn more about the period, before choosing one, by rolling their mouse over the title of a period. After visitors have chosen the period, the media type and media subtype can be chosen--everything from "Artifacts" "to "Sculptures" to "Records". [KMG]

General Interest

Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions [pdf, Flash Player]

First appearing in 1893 at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR), is "recognized as the birth of formal interreligious dialogue worldwide." Since then, CPWR has had Parliaments in South Africa, Spain, and Chicago. This December the Parliament takes place in Melbourne, Australia, and includes speakers such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. Visitors can check out the bios of more than two dozen other major speakers, by clicking on the "Program" tab at the top of the page, and then going to the "Major Speakers" link. For more information on what is discussed at these engaging interreligious gatherings, visitors should click on the "Resources" tab and go to the "Publications and Reports" link. There they will find downloadable reports from past Parliaments, as well as other documents that were introduced at the Parliaments. Finally, visitors should look under the "Resources" tab to find a link to a fast-paced six-minute video, where religious practitioners that value an interfaith approach to such issues as environmental degradation, conflict resolution, and access to clean water, speak of their involvement in the upcoming Parliament in Melbourne. [KMG]

National Museum of African Art: Artful Animals

The Smithsonian Institution's Museum of African Art has a delightful online kid-friendly exhibit, and it can be explored in detail here. The "Introduction" explains that African art depicts some animals more than others, and some not at all. The cheetah and the zebra do not appear to be found in any of the art, and the ostrich and gorilla appear only rarely. The main page divides the artwork up by general animal type, such as "Leopards and Lions", "Mudfish, Water Spirits and Snails", and "Look for the Animals", which is a work of art that has several different animals in it. Many of the images of the artworks also have a link called "Kids! Click Here" that lead to fun facts about the animals in the artwork. The descriptions of the art that accompany the images inform visitors about the animals depicted, but also about the role or use of the animal in African societies. Finally, visitors shouldn't miss the recording of the director of the National Museum of African Art reading an Asante tale, called the Leopard's Drum, at the end of the exhibit. [KMG]

Publishers Weekly

Are you interested in learning what forays university presses are making into the world of electronic publishing? Perhaps you'd like a selection of thoughtful weblogs on new literary works? The Publishers Weekly website has all of that covered, and a great deal more. Designed to complement their print publication, the site has a "Latest Stories" section front and center on their homepage. Checking this area out (and perhaps signing up for their RSS feed) is a good way to stay abreast of important developments in the world of publishing. Also on the homepage visitors will find four sections of primary interest: "Blogs", "Talkback", "Podcasts", and "Photos". The "Talkback" frequently features well-reasoned commentary from readers on recent stories and the "Blogs" area includes links to weblogs maintained by Publishers Weekly staff members. Further down the homepage, visitors can expect to find new book reviews and sections dedicated to children's literature, comics, and independent news. [KMG]

College of Europe: EU Diplomacy Papers [pdf]

Persons interested in the affairs of Europe will find the College of Europe's Diplomacy Papers site to be most helpful. These working papers are part of a series "dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the European Union's external relations and external aspects of EU internal policies." Currently, the site contains about two dozen papers that date back to 2006. The papers are authored by a range of experts, including individuals from the University of Dresden, the University of Heidelberg, and the Universit Libre de Bruxelles. Some of the recent papers include "A Misleading Promise? Rethinking European Support for Biofuels" and "The EU and Iran's Nuclear Programme: Testing the Limits of Coercive Diplomacy". [KMG]

U.S. National Park Service Photos & Multimedia

From the Cape Cod National Seashore to the Muir Woods in California, this excellent site covers the full range of the National Park Service (NPS) holdings. This recently redesigned section of the NPS site includes webcams, photo galleries, multimedia presentations, and virtual tours. In the "Multimedia Presentations" area, visitors can take in interactive activities from the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Kansas and watch videos from the Arches National Park site in southeastern Utah. Moving along, the "Webcams" area lets users take a long wistful look at the Cape Cod National Seashore and around two dozen other sites from Big Bend National Park in Texas to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Finally, visitors can also look over 70 photo galleries that document the historical importance and natural beauty of sites ranging from Crater Lake in Oregon to Weir Farm in Connecticut. [KMG]

Typography for Lawyers [pdf]

This is an intriguing website that focuses on typography as a means to make legal documents look better aesthetically, and arguably, more professional and more persuasive. The founder of this website is a typographer-turned-lawyer, and he gives ample examples to back up his theory that presentation is tantamount. Visitors unfamiliar with typography can learn about it by clicking on the links "What is Typography?" and "Why is typography important?" Once visitors have digested that, they can take actual lessons in typography, from basic to advanced. Some of the topics covered are "Straight Quotes and Curly Quotes", "How to Pick a Font", "Condensed vs. Squished Fonts". The website's author mentions in "How to Use This Website", that he does not include all the lessons that would usually be in a typography course or treatise, but rather he includes only those that would be useful to a lawyer. For the disbelieving lawyers out there who think the courts restrict what fonts can be used in their court system, go to the link "Appendix: Court Rules Regarding Fonts" to read official court rules regarding font, for the 50 states and the federal system. [KMG]

Network Tools

WordPress 2.8.2

If you want to get the word out about your new recipes, the doings in your neighborhood, or pet care and maintenance, you might want to take a look at this new version of WordPress. For the uninitiated, WordPress is a personal publishing platform that allows visitors to easily set up their own weblog and customize it to their heart's content. The WordPress site contains extensive documentation, and is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

AV Music Morpher Gold 4.0.77

As a musical jack of all trades, AV Music Morpher is a pretty handy application. This music editor and player allows users to copy, paste, and edit songs for just about any purpose. The application also allows users to customize a wide range of surround sound configurations. Additionally, the application can be used to burn CDs and organize music. This version is compatible with computers running Windows Vista or XP. [KMG]

In The News

Consumer groups and others express concern over the withholding of data regarding driving while using cellphones

U.S. Withheld Data on Risks of Distracted Driving [Free registration may be required]

Should cell phone use by drivers be illegal?

Car cellphone ban likely this year

Road Phone Bans Inevitable

Whirling Dervish Drivers [Free registration may be required]

The Center for Auto Safety

Concerns about the safety of using cellphones and other devices while driving automobiles have been growing for years, and recent events in the news (including a well-publicized subway crash in Boston in May) have piqued the interest of various consumer groups and other advocacy organizations. This week, the New York Times reported that a major study looking into the safety risks posed by cellphone users driving automobiles and other vehicles was effectively squashed back in 2003. The Times reported that the former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dr. Jeffrey Runge, said he was urged to hold off on such a study, and that members of Congress might construe such a study as a form of lobbying states to make policy changes. A number of groups have expressed grave concerns over this situation, including the Center for Auto Safety. In a recent interview, the director of the Center, Clarence Ditlow, remarked, "We're looking at a problem that could be as bad as drunk driving, and the government has covered it up." [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article from this Monday's New York Times about why the proposed study never occurred. The second link leads to a piece from Consumer Reports on whether cell phone use by drivers should be illegal, along with links to opinion pieces from several experts. Moving on to the other side of the world, the third link leads to a piece from this Wednesday's New Zealand Herald which suggests that a ban on cellphone use in cars will take place there by the end of the year. The fourth link leads to a thoughtful column from Tom Eblen of the Lexington Herald-Leader on this subject. Further along, the fifth link will take interested parties to Maureen Dowd's take on the subject, courtesy of the New York Times. Finally, the last link leads to the homepage of the Center for Auto Safety. Visitors can read up on their research regarding cellphone use and driving, along with information on fuel economy, defect investigations, and pending lawsuits. [KMG]

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