The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 32

August 14, 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 World Bank: Climate Change [Flash Player, pdf]

Climate change continues to be of grave concern to many, and the World Bank is particularly concerned with the ramifications it will have on people in the developing world. Their Climate Change site is designed to provide an overview of their work on this vexing problem including information about their current projects, data sets, research papers, and books. Visitors should start by looking over their weblog, and then take a look at their "What's New" area. Here, they can learn about innovative carbon trading programs, engineering projects, and international agreements designed to mitigate the effects of climate change. The "Research & Analysis" area has dozens of free publications, including the very relevant "Climate Resilient Cities" work, which discusses how city governments can better understand how to plan for the impact of climate change through sound urban planning. [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

Unseen Life on Earth: An Introduction to Microbiology

Viruses, DNA testing, and the world of microorganisms are but a few of the topics covered by this fine series produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting. Presented as part of the Annenberg Media website, this video series consists of twelve half-hour video programs designed primarily for college and high school students. Throughout the programs, students get to meet up with scientists working in the lab and in the field. Some of the programs here include "Genetic Transfer", "Microbial Evolution", and "The Unity of Living Systems". Visitors to the site can watch the videos and they should also look over the "Related Resources" area. Here they will find related programs sponsored by Annenberg Media as well as links to other resources. [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

The International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy [pdf]

The International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy is sponsored by a range of international organizations, including the World Bank and the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance. The primary directive of the Centre's website is "to facilitate policy learning through the international exchange of knowledge and information concerning public policy and career development issues." On their site, visitors can look over sections titled "Policy & Research", "Symposia", "Forums", and "Resources". A good way to get started is to check out the "Policy & Research" area. Here visitors can find information about topics that include the Centre's work on expanding access to educational guidance, improving career information, and assessing educational effectiveness in partner countries. After that, visitors can look through the "Categories" listing on the left side of the homepage to look for materials on everything from "Algeria" to "Training and Qualifications". [KMG]

Washington State Department of Natural Resources: Geology & Earth Sciences [pdf]

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources website provides an abundance of interesting and practical information. Here, visitors can find a "How-To" section that can be used to report an earthquake, landslide, find a reported landslide, or research State Trust Lands. There are eight how-to guides for the Geology and Earth Sciences, all of which can be accessed by clicking on "View All How-To Guides" on the homepage. There are topics, and subtopics for visitors to explore as well. The Topics section includes "Geologic Hazards & Mapping", "Earth Resources", "Geosciences Data", and "Geology Publications & Library". The subtopic "Coal Mine Subsidence", under Geologic Hazards and Mapping, will take visitors to a link to the "Washington State coal mine map collection", which is used to help prevent mine collapse and other mine hazards. Back on the homepage, the "Publications" section includes maps, data, reports, agendas, as well as forms and minutes. The Related Links on the right side of the homepage provides links to the Department of Natural Resources, Special Media Release[s], and Other Links for visitors looking for more information. [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

Place and Location [pdf]

Throughout recorded history, humans have explored and thought about their relationship with the world around them through writing, art, philosophical musings, and so on. The people behind the Place and Location journal are interested in such matters, and they have created this annual periodical in order to explore creative connections in human-environment relations, the dynamic environment, and other topics. The journal commenced publication in 2000, and visitors with a penchant for such affairs can look at the complete contents of the issues published thus far. All the articles can be read in English and some of them are also available in Estonian. Within these digital pages, visitors will find articles including "The Wilderness City: An Essay on Metaphorical Experience" and "How Spatial is a Whale? Places and Processes in Zoomusicology". [KMG]

Fossils in Antarctica: British Antarctic Survey

Although marching penguins add to Antarctica's allure, The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has found fossil evidence that dinosaurs, marsupials, and forests inhabited the area long before penguins charmed the world with their trademark waddle. Since 1940, when the fossil collection of the BAS was started, it has grown to 40,000 specimens. The "Fossils" section of the BAS website can be found on the left side of the homepage in the "About Antarctica" area, and is divided into two explanatory sections: "Fossils from the Antarctic" and "Fossil Locations in Antarctica". There are also links in each section, near the top right hand corner of the page, to "Type and Figured Fossil Collection" and "Fossils Picture Gallery". In the "Fossils from the Antarctic" section, the types of fossils found are explained and include: molluscs, arthropods, echinoderms and plants. The "Fossil Locations in Antarctica" section has a map of the three islands where a large amount of fossils have been found, along with descriptions of each island and what general types of fossils have been found on them. [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

New Hampshire History: Digital Collections Initiative [pdf]

Overseen by the University of New Hampshire Digital Library Committee, the Digital Collections Initiative seeks to document the unique holdings of the University of New Hampshire Library. The materials in these collections deal with a wide range of subjects, including geology, early journalism in the Granite State, literature, and official records of the University. Currently there are fourteen collections online, and first-time visitors may wish to start by perusing The Granite Monthly, which was a New Hampshire based magazine devoted to history, biography, literature, and the state congress. After that, it's a good idea to click on the Hurd Town & City Atlas of New Hampshire from 1892. The Atlas contains maps of each county and town in the state, along with brief sketches of local scenes and buildings of note. Other collections here include the Bulletin of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station and hundreds of annual town reports from the 19th to the 20th centuries. [KMG]

Working Class Movement Library

Based in Salford in the United Kingdom, the Working Class Movement Library offers a "unique collection capturing the stories and struggles of ordinary people's efforts to improve their world." First-time visitors should click on the "Our Collection" link at the top of the homepage to get a sense of the holdings, which include primary and secondary materials on trade unions, politics, activists, and protests. After that, the "Galleries" section is a good place to look over, as it contains some digitized galleries of trade union emblems, political posters, and banners. Researchers and scholars will appreciate the "Catalogue" area. Here they can search the online catalogue for items that might be of use for their own work and scholarship. Also, visitors can sign up to receive their RSS feed and learn about upcoming talks, events, and conferences. [KMG]

General Interest


Who hasn't whiled away a few hours playing "Ace-King-Queen" on the side of a bodega? Perhaps you haven't yet, but you might be inspired to do so after spending some time at the Streetplay website. The mission of this site is "to document the great city games that we know and love." Visitors can get a sense of these much-loved games by clicking on "The Games" area on the left-hand side of the homepage. Here they will find primers on stickball, handball, skully, and hopscotch. After that, visitors will want to move on to sections like "Stories", "Features", and a bit of "Fun & Prizes". The site also has a "Featured Articles" that cover topics like the street games of Spain, hanging out at the corner candy store, and there are even a few video highlights of celebrated street games. [KMG]

Minnesota's Historic Shipwrecks

Many a sailing vessel has found its way to the bottom of the Great Lakes, and there are hundreds of submerged shipwrecks scattered across the state of Minnesota in Lake Superior and other bodies of water. This website, designed by the Minnesota Historical Society, allows users to learn about these shipwrecks through historic photographs, preservation documents, and maps. Visitors can get started by looking over ships in the "Minnesota Lake Superior Shipwreck Exhibit". Here they will find information about ships like the Thomas Wilson, the Hesper, and the U.S.S. Essex, which now lies underneath the water outside of the Duluth harbor. Each profile contains information about the ship's history, its tonnage, and its current disposition. Moving along, the "Minnesota Lake Superior History" area contains an overview of human activity on the lake, along with information about the vessels that have plied their trade in the area. The site is rounded out by a copy of the state's shipwreck preservation plan. [KMG]

Design Build Network [pdf]

When architects, designers, and construction engineers want to get the latest scoop on what's going on in their profession, one of the places they go is the Design Build Network website. The site contains a great deal of information for people working in these industries, including reports on innovative construction projects, list of product providers, and information on suppliers. Along with this more focused information, the "Features" area contains thoughtful essays on New York's High Line, reviews of architectural exhibits, and interviews with people like French designer Andree Putnam. After looking over some of these pieces, visitors can sign up to receive their newsletter, and look at their publication, The LEAF Review. Finally, the site also has a search engine, a job board, and other career-related resources. [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

Union Pacific Railroad: History and Photos

Telling the history of the Union Pacific Railroad is a tall order, but this delightful site does the job quite effectively with historical photographs, maps, and thematic essays. The materials on the site are divided into sections that include "Union Pacific History and Chronologies", "Historical Equipment", "Photos", and "Reference". In the "History and Chronologies" area, visitors can learn about the company's history, read up on their distinctive logo, and learn about key people from the company's past such as Edward Henry Harriman and Jay Gould. In the "Maps" area, visitors can view current and historical maps of the company, and also learn about the construction timeline for the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. Finally, visitors will want to use the "Reference" area to learn about past and present jobs on the railroad. [KMG]

Hard Times in Middletown: How the Middle Class Became the Brittle Class [iTunes]

Muncie, Indiana is the subject of this American Radio Works program, and accompanying website. The site profiles several sad, sometimes hopeful, and all-too-familiar tales of how people have changed their dreams, or been forced to go a different direction with their lives, because of the economic downturn. In addition to being able to "download" the radio program, "listen" to it online, or "read" the transcript, visitors can look at the other multimedia sources that give context to these people's lives. For example, a link to an article about the move from "manufacturing to service economies" is located directly across from "Gear Shift", a story covering Charlie Saubert's experience after the closing of the BorgWarner plant in Muncie. A link to a slideshow of "Muncie's early industrial life" is across from "Cancel my Reservation", the story of an employed husband and wife saddled with so much student loan and consumer debt that they have decided they can't afford to start a family. The story "Writing a New Chapter," at the bottom of the page, tells about a program in Muncie that helps people get out of poverty, one person at a time. [KMG]

National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research [pdf]

Eunice Kennedy Shriver's recent death serves as a reminder of her advocacy on behalf of those with mental retardation and her commitment to research about human development. The National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research is her legacy, born of her concern for her sister Rosemary's treatment, who was born mentally retarded and later lobotomized because of it, "Mrs. Eunice Kennedy set out to help the scientific community, policy makers, and the general public recognize the importance of such research [in itself and] as a bridge to understanding broader, more general aspects of human development, which would help all people." The website for the NCMRR has a number of available resources on the right side of the webpage, such as Funding Opportunities, Research Resources, and News Releases. Scientists interested in "Scientific Meetings, Conferences and Events", can find them by clicking on that very link on the left hand side of the page. "AtoZ Health and Human Development Topics", from AIDS to Turner Syndrome, can be found under the "Health Information" tab on the far left hand side of the page. "Clinical Research & Clinical Trials", "Health Education" and "Publications & Materials" can also be accessed under that tab. [KMG]

Xeno-Canto: Bird Sounds From the Americas [Real Player]

Xeno-Canto is a fabulous website that exemplifies how the Internet can bring together people from around the world who have a common interest. This website offers bird songs, recorded by ornithologists and amateur birders alike, of almost 4500 species from around the world. The site is divided up into "Americas", "Asia", "Africa", "Europe", and "Australasia", and visitors can click on any region they desire, in the far right hand corner of any page. There are many ways to view the information in the site, keeping in mind that the English and Latin are used to identify the birds. Under Collection, on the menu found on the left side of any page, visitors can click on the link "All Species" to see a list of all the species with recorded songs, for the region they selected. The number of recordings of each species of bird is listed next to their name. The fun "Mysteries" link, underneath the "Participate" section also found on the left side menu, has bird recordings that the recorder can't identify and has posted for discussion hoping for some insight. [KMG]

Network Tools

Free YouTube to MP3 Converter

If you've ever wanted to just listen to a particular YouTube video at your leisure as an mp3 file, this application may be just the thing. Visitors simply need to install the program and drop the YouTube URLs in question into a box. The application will convert the files into the mp3 format. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP or Vista. [KMG]

Librarian Pro 1.4.4

This application is a nice way to create an organized and cross-referenced catalog for books, movies, and music. Visitors can keep track of loaned material, and they can easily import detailed cataloging information from popular sites like Amazon. Also, the application allows users to export these lists onto iPod and other such devices. This version can be used for fifteen days at no cost, and it is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer and those running Max OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Amidst ongoing financial difficulties, the United States Postal Service thinks about the future

Talking Business: The Postal Service May Be Headed the Way of the Pony Express [Free registration may be required]

Fixing the Mail: Neither Snow nor Rain norRed Ink?

US Postal Service faces protest over cutbacks

Federal Eye: Do New Postage Stamps Help or Hurt?

National Postal Museum

HowStuffWorks: "How the U.S. Postal Service Works"

Things have changed mightily since Benjamin Franklin assumed the office of Deputy Postmaster General in 1753 for the North American colonies. The United States Postal Service has many feathers in its cap, including the creation of rural route delivery and six days a week service, but its financial difficulties continue to grow. This week it was announced that the Postal Service will lose approximately $7 billion in 2009. The company doesn't have much wiggle room to cut back on certain expenses, as most of its employees have clauses in their contracts that forbid layoffs. A number of policy analysts and public administration experts have discussed a range of potential solutions, including reducing service, closing more branch locations, and privatizing the entire system. Also, the Government Accountability Office recently added the Postal Service to its list of "high risk" agencies, noting that it would need to restructure in order to maintain long-term financial viability. [KMG]

Visitors will want to dive into this pressing issue via the first link, which leads to a piece from the New York Times that features commentary from the Postal Service's chief executive, John E. Potter. The second link leads to a piece from this Monday's Business Week on how to run the agency in a competitive fashion. Moving on, the third link will lead users to a news article from the Guardian which talks about the potential closure of over 700 post offices in the US. The fourth link leads to a post from Ed O'Keefe writing for the Washington Post's "Federal Eye" feature. In the piece, O'Keefe talks about the pros and cons of creating new commemorative stamps. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the National Postal Museum. Here, visitors can take in interactive exhibits and learn about visiting the Museum. Finally, the last link will take users to a feature from the HowStuffWorks website on the daily operations and functions of the Postal Service. [KMG]

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