The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 36

September 11, 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

Darwin 200 [Flash Player, pdf]

Darwin would have been 200 years old this year, and the Darwin 200 website from the Natural History Museum in London lists over 300 events celebrating, explaining, and debating Darwin's work throughout Britain. Visitors to the website who can't make it to the UK still have plenty to look at here, starting with "Darwin's Beagle Voyage Interactive", which is located on the right side of the homepage. The "Related Links" section, also on the right side of the page, has more than half a dozen links, including "BBC Darwin", "15 Evolutionary Gems", "OU Darwin", and "Darwin at Downe". The "15 Evolutionary Gems" PDF is particularly interesting, as it is a resource provided by the journal Nature "for those wishing to spread awareness of evidence for evolution by natural selection." The 15 "Gems" are divided up into Gems from the Fossil Record, Gems from Habitats, and Gems from Molecular Processes. [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

Jacques Burkhardt and the Thayer Collection Expedition to Brazil

Born around 1808, Jacques Burkhardt was a naturalist, an explorer, and the personal assistant to famed scientist Louis Agassiz. Burkhardt was a well-known scientific artist, and his turtle illustrations are considered some of the most elaborate ever created. These illustrations (and many others) were the product of a fifteen-month collecting expedition to Brazil led by Agassiz, and Burkhardt was along to document the entire trip. On this site, visitors can look over 976 scientific drawings, which include 518 watercolor and/or pencil drawings of fishes and other vertebrates and invertebrates. Additionally, the archive also contains five portrait photographs of various party members, including Burkhardt, and a number of non-scientific drawings of Brazilian landscapes. The site is rounded out by the inclusion of a link to the complete Thayer Expedition Papers, courtesy of the Ernst Mayr Library at Harvard University. [KMG]

The Architecture of Jefferson County

As the home of Thomas Jefferson and countless other thinkers and architects, Albemarle County and the surrounding region has a number of architecturally significant buildings. In 2000, K. Edward Lay wrote "The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia". Later, the University Press of Virginia decided to issue a CD-ROM version of the book, and now this website offers a searchable database of 2409 structures, complete with 3359 images. Visitors are welcome to browse the images by thumbnail or title, and the list ranges from "Abbott House" to "Zion Hill Baptist Church". First-time visitors might want to start by looking at the images of the Woolen Mills Workers Houses and then taking a look at the now demolished Crossroads Store & Gas Station. There's a great deal to explore here, and lovers of vernacular architecture will be delighted to learn about this site. [KMG]

University of California, San Francisco: Drug Industry Document Archive [pdf]

This archive is one that will be of particular importance to those with an interest in public health, public policy, and the general activities of pharmaceutical companies. The Drug Industry Document Archive (DIDA) was created by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and it contains over 1500 documents related to pharmaceutical industry clinical trials, publication of study results, pricing, marketing, and relations with physicians. Many of these documents were previously secret, and were only made public as a result of lawsuits filed against a number of prominent pharmaceutical companies. First-time visitors may wish to start by clicking on "The Documents" link on the homepage. Here they can read about some of the crucial lawsuits that generated the documents featured in this archive. [KMG]

Beaked Whale Identification Guide

Can you tell the difference between an Andrew's Beaked whale and a Shepherd's Beaked whale? Worry no more, as this informative and well-executed online Beaked Whale Identification Guide will provide guidance on this matter. Created by the good folks at the National Museum of Natural History's Marine Mammal Program, the site contains detailed identification guides and separate pages for each beaked whale species. In the "Species Identification" guides area, visitors can use either the skull morphology or external morphology offerings to identify species accurately. Moving on, the "Species" pages contain information about each species, including their basic morphology, habits, and geographic distribution. The site is rounded out by a cetacean stranding database and a set of beaked whale links. [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

Human Physiology Animations Homepage at Connecticut College [Shockwave]

Learning about the basics of human physiology can be important for pre-med students and others with an interest in how the various systems of the human body function and interact. This fine resource from Connecticut College can be used in a variety of settings, and the illustrative animations here are divided into sections that include "Muscle", "Endocrine", "Circulatory", and "Digestive". Each section has useful animations, and a few also offer short tutorials, fun quizzes, and explanatory sections that talk about the key processes within each system. The entire site is easy to navigate, and even first-time visitors will find that locating crucial information here is fairly straightforward. [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

Humanimalia: A journal of human/animal interface studies [pdf]

The website for the new journal Humanimalia, published by DePauw University, recently released its first issue. The appeal and importance of the journal goes beyond appearance, as the journal states that the study of the human/animal interface has been a "neglected" area of research. In the "Humanimalifesto" link, a lengthy explanation is given, and it notes that one of the main goals of the journal is "to approach animal/human interfaces without relying on stigmatizing critique of philosophical, political, or cultural antagonists." The first issue consists of articles and reviews, including an article called "Hooters for Neuters: Sexist Transgressive Animal Advocacy Campaign?" and a review of the popular Michael Pollan book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals". Visitors interested in submitting an article to the peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal should check out the guidelines in the "Call-for-Papers" link on the left side of the page. The "Notes and Bulletins" link, also on the left side of the page, has a notice of an Animal Studies meeting at NYU, and the "Links" area includes information on upcoming conferences. [KMG]

Science Careers

Let's say you're looking for a job in biotechnology someplace south of Monterey, but north of Santa Barbara. The Science Careers website can help, and it also features high-quality commentary on the state of the science workplace environment. The site is dedicated to "furthering careers in science and technology" and the heart and soul of this site is the science job database. Visitors can search jobs by keywords, U.S. regions, continent, or even perform a more advanced search. On the left-hand side of the site, visitors will find career-focused articles with titles like "Mind Matters: A Low Stress Semester", "Dealing with Debt", and "The Evolving Postdoctoral Experience". Also, visitors can check out the "Science Careers Forum" to ask questions about future employment opportunities and career development. [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

General Interest

Telegraph: World War II Articles

The seventieth anniversary of the beginning of World War II is being commemorated across the world this year, and a number of media organizations are drawing on their own historic archives to offer a bit of perspective on that moment in world history. The Telegraph is one such organization, and they have created this fine collection of essays, video clips, photo galleries, and original articles from the fall of 1939. In the "As It Happened" area, visitors can view the original articles from the Telegraph and offer their own comments on these events. On the right-hand side of the page, a video player offers clips from newsreels of the day which document subjects like air raids and the movement of important cultural items away from potential bombing sites. The homepage also contains a "WW2 In Focus" area which features commentaries from former soldiers, evacuees, and reporters revisiting key sites around Europe for a bit of perspective on these events. [KMG]

Architectural Drawings of Willis and Lillian Leenhouts

Willis and Lillian Leenhouts were a husband and wife team that specialized in single-family residences, and they were well known around the Midwest for their regional modernist style and ability to effectively utilize solar technology in their designs. From the 1940s to the 1980s, the Leenhouts built dozens of projects, and this digital collection from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries presents 80 drawings from 11 of their projects. Visitors can search the collection by keyword, or look through the offerings here by location or building type. The Leenhouts had some rather forward-thinking ideas, and interested parties shouldn't leave the site without looking at their drawings for the Adyar Library in India. All told, the site provides a valuable lens into two important and interesting architects. [KMG]

Provenance in the World War II Era, 1933-1945

"Provenance is the history of ownership of an artwork or other artifact and provides important information about the attribution (determination of authorship) of the object." The Smithsonian Institution is doing time-consuming detective work to determine if certain objects in their collections were wrongfully taken during World War II by Nazis. Clicking on "What is Provenance Research?" at the top of the homepage takes the visitor to several sections explaining what provenance research is and isn't, and what it shows and doesn't show. It also gives a brief explanation as to "What is World War II Cultural Property?" The Smithsonian's object database allows visitors to learn more about the provenance of their collection, and it is accessible on the right side of the page. Several important additional research resources are also listed on the right side of the page, such as "lost art databases", "provenance websites", and "research sites". [KMG]

Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson [Flash Player]

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago has a fantastic online and offline exhibit of Olafur Eliasson's work. The homepage of the exhibit has a slideshow of four of his works, so visitors will quickly get feel if they are unacquainted. The "About" section is not to be missed, with a chronology of his works that goes back to 1992, in the "Olafur Eliasson" link, and the "Studio Olafur Eliasson" that transports visitors to a very comprehensive list of works, complete with photos. The "Multimedia" link at the top of the page, and the "Images" link within "Multimedia", has a slideshow of 15 of his works. Visitors shouldn't miss the "The Island Series" and "The Aerial River Series", as they are particularly fascinating. The "Gallery Guide" is a PDF of the exhibit layout at the MCA Chicago. Technical details on each piece are offered, as well as a brief description. [KMG]

Denied Dignity: Systematic Discrimination and Hostility toward Saudi Shia Citizens [pdf]

Human Rights Watch, "the worlds leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights", has a revealing report available on their website about the discrimination that has occurred against the Shia religious community in Saudi Arabia. The Report, found in the "Publications" tab of the website, can be read online in English or Arabic (click the yellow "L" near the top of the page), can be downloaded as a PDF, or ordered for purchase. The report includes a summary of the situation at the beginning of the report, plus recommendations to Saudi Arabia from Human Rights Watch to rectify the situation, as well as information about the report's research methodology. Under the "Reports" tab there are hundreds of other reports available online, and they can be browsed by date, country, or issue. Additionally scholars will appreciate that the "Methodology" the Human Rights Watch researchers use to document abuse of human rights throughout the world is available here in a comprehensive document entitled "Our Research Methodology". [KMG]

University of Miami Libraries: Lydia Cabrera Papers

The University of Miami Libraries' Cuban Heritage Collection is the home of the Lydia Cabrera Papers. Visitors unfamiliar with Cabrera will be enlightened by the digital collection of "correspondence, manuscripts, original drawings, field notes, interviews, photographs, illustrations, and paper laces." Those familiar with her documentation of Afro-Cuban culture and religion will surely learn some new information from this extensive collection. The "Lydia Cabrera Papers Finding Aid" link on the right hand side of the homepage will take visitors to this "work-in-progress" finding aid that contains Series I (correspondence) and Series II (personal papers). Back on the homepage, visitors can "search" or "browse" the collection. Once a document has been opened, users can "add document to favorites", "add page to favorites", or copy and paste the URL for future use. [KMG]

U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian [pdf]

The Office of the Historian website was recently launched by the U.S. Department of State in order to provide better access to the official historical documentary records of U.S. foreign policy. The Office is responsible for writing and researching historical studies on various aspects of U.S. diplomacy for use by policymakers, and for the public at large. On their site, visitors can find various scholarly reports, a number of educational videos, and information about upcoming and previous scholarly conferences. On the homepage, visitors will find selected new reports, along with updates about relevant events and talks sponsored by the Office of the Historian. Also, visitors can read biographies of famous diplomatic figures on the site and also browse their Foreign Relations of the United States series. [KMG]

Network Tools

Voca 4.2

If you're looking to brush up on a bit of Turkish before a visit to Istanbul, you may want to give Voca 4.2 the once over. Visitors can use the "Help" file to learn about how the program works, and they should also note that they will need to download a vocabulary list before getting started. After doing so, users can see words in their native language, the foreign language, or a mix of both. Visitors can test their knowledge this way, and they may also want to use Voca to take a practice exam. Finally, visitors can also use the program to learn grammatical inflections and pronunciations. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer and computers running Linux. [KMG]

FStream 1.4.3

Perhaps you're listening to a Romanian news broadcast online and you'd like to save it for future reference? Well, you're in luck if you happen to have FStream installed on your Mac. This small application allows users to listen and record Internet radio stations, and its size is definitely one of its strongest selling points. Visitors will note that FStream comes preloaded with a number of iTunes and Shoutcast stations, and even a selection of stations from Europe. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.5 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

As a new academic year starts around the United States, college students hear critiques and words of wisdom

College Advice, From People Who Have Been There Awhile [Free registration may be required]

Student Debt Grows Dramatically

Myth-Busting: The Value of College

LI Colleges gearing up for swine flu

Stover at Yale


New Virtual-U

With swine flu lurking around in some scholastic precincts, the rising cost of a college education, and the usual pressures of life on the quads, what's a student to do? It is the start of a new academic year for students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle in the far northeastern corner of the United States all the way west to students at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. This time of year is always rather exciting, as students return to the many college towns around the country and their presence definitely enlivens the surroundings. Some colleges have been concerned about potential swine flue outbreaks, and the concerns run particularly strong within the athletic community on campuses. A number of professors (including Martha Nussbaum and Stanley Fish) have been offering words of wisdom in the pages of the New York Times to entering students, while other faculty members remain more sanguine about the state of affairs throughout the higher education system. In addition, as the new school year begins, there have been several prominent editorials discussing the pros and cons of having more and more people attend four-year institutions. [KMG]

The first link leads to a recent New York Times piece that features various scholarly types offering thoughtful advice to college students. The second link will take interested parties to a news article from last Friday's Wall Street Journal about the increasing debt load of American college students. The third link whisks users away to an excellent post from the "Economix" weblog over at the New York Times. The post by David Leonhardt offers timely commentary on the proposition "Is a college education worth the debt?" and other related matters. Moving along, the fourth link leads to a piece from Newsday that talks about how various college athletic programs on Long Island are addressing any potential swine flu outbreaks. The fifth link leads to an online version of the classic college "All-American" tome, "Stover at Yale". Originally published serially in 1911, F. Scott Fitzgerald once called the work "the textbook of his generation". The sixth link leads to the beloved film "College", starring the great silent-film star Buster Keaton. If you ever wanted to run your own college or university, the last link will be a true delight. The simulation game is called "Virtual-U" and it allows the curious to experience the highs and lows of creating and maintaining their own higher education institution, complete with athletic teams and the thrills of facilities management. [KMG]

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