The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 47

November 25, 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

NOAA's Aquarius [pdf]

Off the shore of the Florida Keys sits the Aquarius, the world's only undersea research station. The station is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and their research and education programs are quite impressive. On their website, visitors should check out the "About Aquarius" area to learn about the daily operations of the laboratory and its operating costs. In the "Mission Info" area, visitors can look over profiles of the aquanauts on duty aboard the Aquarius, read their blog, and ask these intrepid souls questions about their work. Educators should look over the "Lesson Plans", which include activities based around teaching students about buoyancy and pressure. Finally, visitors should look over the "Missions & Project Info". Here they will find information about recently completed projects, including scientific work on coral restoration and the role of sponges in coral-reef ecosystems. [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 Physics Classroom: Shockwave Physics Studios [Shockwave]

On this interactive site, visitors with a penchant for velocity-time graphs, kinematics, and the world of motion will be well-served. Created as part of "The Physics Classroom" portfolio of educational materials, this collection of interactive Shockwave files simulate a series of physical situations. Visitors to the site can manipulate a variable in each activity and observe the outcome. All told, the site has around two dozen different activities, and many of them are accompanied by an activity sheet which provides basic directions for users. One of the most interesting activities here is the "Riverboat Simulator", which allows users to explore concepts of relative velocity by investigating the motion of a boat across a river in the presence of a current. [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 National Security Archive: The Soviet Origins of Helmut Kohl's 10 Points [pdf]

Twenty years ago the Berlin Wall fell, and this dramatic transformation has continued to fascinate historians and political scientists. The National Security Archive at George Washington University recently released this electronic briefing book which offers some fascinating documents related to this subject. Some of these documents include transcripts of conversations between President George H.W. Bush and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and excerpts on Germany from the Malta summit between Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Visitors to the site can read these documents in their entirety, and they may also want to sign up for the National Security Archive's email list. Also, visitors can learn about the forthcoming book, "Masterpieces of History: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989". [KMG]

Monroe County Library System: Pathfinders

Named after President James Monroe, Monroe County is part of upstate New York. The industrial metropolis of Rochester sits within its boundaries, and one of its key institutions is the Monroe County Library System. Over the past several years, the System has created this treasure trove of digital collections which dissect and organize the history of the area through historic maps, architectural guides, and an online history tour of places in Rochester that played a role in the abolition movement and the Civil War. First-time visitors might want to start out by looking over the "Raising the Flag: Patriotism in Rochester, 1892-1922" photo gallery and then move on the Susan B. Anthony Letters Collection. Library staff members have also created nine fine research guides for scholars and others, and they include a guide to Rochester immigrants and a house history guide. [KMG]

Coptic Chant at the Library of Congress [Real Player, iTunes]

The Library of Congress' Performing Arts Encyclopedia features a large collection on Coptic Chants, one of the oldest liturgical chants performed today. Visitors unfamiliar with the Copts of Egypt, and their music, should peruse the "Introduction" for an excellent few paragraphs about them. Going back to the menu of Galleries at the top of the homepage, visitors will find the "Music Recordings" link, where they can listen to MP3s of the recordings or they can listen to them on RealMedia. Choose "View Music Recordings Gallery", and then from there choose any of a number of CDs containing the chants, including holiday selections and those for special services. A gallery of photographs is available via the "Photographs" link, and can be viewed by topic, or as a whole. There are also several "Videos" for visitors to watch here, including the 100th birthday party for the Institute of Coptic Studies' ethnomusicologist Ragheb Moftah, as well as his funeral. [KMG]

China's Uygurs

The National Geographic website contains a considerable amount of content from the current issue of its magazine, as well as past issues. Visitors will enjoy the photos in the online articles, as they are every bit as stunning as those in the physical magazine. This article, "Uygurs: The Other Tibet", is about a population of Muslims living in western China and it contains a "Photo Gallery", "Map: Exploiting a Rich Frontier", along with the "Feature Article". The "Photo Gallery" contains many images of the contrast between the newly arriving Han Chinese, and the resident Uygurs. The brief captions below each photo of the slideshow provide insight into the sometimes very unfamiliar sights. The interactive map details the decreasing population of Uygurs since 1941, which has declined from 80% to 46%, and the simultaneous increase in the population of Han Chinese, which has increased from 5% to 39%. The map also illustrates the types and location of energy produced in the Xinjiang region. To enlarge the map, visitors should click the "+" sign above the map to see it in a new window, and then click on the map. [KMG]


The MassTransit website is dedicated to "Better Transit Through Better Management", and their offerings include industry news, email newsletters, video profiles, and opinion pieces about the world of mass transit. The site is mostly dedicated to providing information about mass transit systems in the United States, though visitors will note that there is some coverage of international transit systems as well. The "Current Issue" section includes full-text version of most of the articles found in the print issue, along with an archive dating back to 2005. For more up-to-the minute coverage of transit affairs, the "Daily News" area digests ongoing legislation, transit improvements, and long-range plan updates from a variety of sources. The "MassTransit Interactive" area allows users to read and comment on editor's comments on the news affecting the transit world, including issues such as federal funding mechanisms, light-rail initiatives, and union contracts. [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 Becker Collection: Drawings of the American Civil War Era

Back in the nineteenth century, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly Newspaper was the LIFE magazine of its day. Illustrators would work on rendering everything from bucolic rural scenes to maritime settings for various stories and so on. This outstanding digital collection from Boston College contains images from the Becker Collection, which features largely unpublished drawings created for the newspaper. First-time visitors should check out the "About the Collection" area for a bit of background context, and they can go on to look through the "Featured Images" section. The drawings here are amazing, and they include Civil War camp scenes, early warships, life on the frontier, and an amazing rendering of the siege of Charleston. After this, visitors will feel more confident about searching the archive on their own, and they should also check out the detailed artist biographies as well. The site is rounded out by a "Related Resources" area that includes links to the U.S. Military Institute and the Civil War Preservation Trust. [KMG]

General Interest

Only A Game [iTunes]

Whether it's hockey, baseball, or volleyball, it's just a game, right? To some it might be, and that's actually the title ("Only a Game") of this compelling radio program produced by NPR and WBUR in Boston. The show is hosted by commentator Bill Littlefield, and the witty and interesting program covers topics like "the explosion of interest in women's sports, competitive opportunities for the disabled, and the business of sports." Past guests on the show have included Robert Pinsky, Roger Angell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Muhammad Ali. Visitors to the site should start by listening to the most recent show, and then move on to the "Archives" area. Here they will find book reviews, links to past shows, and photo galleries. The show's topics as of late have been far ranging, and they have included exploration of the art of hockey mask making and bull racing in Indonesia. [KMG]

Lincoln Memorial Interactive [Flash Player]

It is hard not be moved by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and this engaging and interactive exhibit captures the essence of this moving tribute to the nation's 16th president. The site is divided into two areas, "Reflections" and "Memorial". In the "Reflections" area, visitors can listen and watch park rangers talk about their own memories and remembrances of this august and somber place. There are seven separate profiles here, and it's a good idea to start with Kawther Elmi's thoughts on her childhood in East Africa. The "Memorial" area includes dramatic and multi-perspective views of the Lincoln statue and the Memorial grounds. Visitors may also use the "Downloads" area to download audio files of the ranger's talks, along with images of the Memorial. [KMG]

Michelangelo Public and Private: Drawings for the Sistine Chapel and Other Treasures from the Casa Buonarroti [Flash Player]

Michelangelo produced a sizeable body of work during his long lifetime, and for many persons, a visit to his moving frescoes at the Sistine Chapel is an absolute must. Of course, if you can't make it to the Sistine Chapel, why not take a look at this interactive exhibit created by the Seattle Art Museum? This online audio slideshow complements an in situ exhibit at the Museum, and it features studies and preparatory drawings for the Sistine Chapel. Visitors can listen to Dr. Gary Radke, curatorial advisor for the exhibition, talk about four different works here. The works discussed include a study for Adam and another study of two nudes. The site wraps things up with a five minute film that also talks about the exhibition and the work of Michelangelo. [KMG]

Princeton University Historical Postcard Collection

From its grand edifices to its more modest buildings, the campus of Princeton University has changed greatly over its centuries-long development. The Princeton University Library Digital Collections group digitized well over 1000 images that tell the story of the campus via postcards of campus buildings, along with items from the town of Princeton and its surroundings. The items are divided into four separate series, including "Buildings", "Campus Ornamentation", and "Honoraria". The viewing tool for these images is quite user-friendly, and a toolbar allows visitors to view the items as a slideshow or in a grid layout. Each item is accompanied with a description. Visitors shouldn't miss the "Postcard Booklets" area, as they'll find a warm look at the campus activities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [KMG]

The Hale Scrapbook

Not many institutions can boast that they have a dedicated cartoon library and museum, but The Ohio State University is one such place. The institution serves as the home to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and they have the papers of noted cartoonists Milton Caniff, Will Eisner, and other influential persons from the world of cartoons. The Ireland Library & Museum has created a diverse portfolio of digital offerings, and The Hale Scrapbook fits squarely into their oeuvre. The Hale Scrapbook was designated as such by historian and collector Draper Hill, and it contains hundreds of engravings by the leading artists of Georgian England. Visitors can scan through the images here, and they are organized by page number. Currently, the folks at the Cartoon Library are working on creating a more organized set of details on the restoration and digitization of this collection, so visitors should make sure to stop by again in the future. [KMG]

Points of View: Capturing the 19th Century in Photographs

The British Library has a spectacular online and physical exhibit of photographs of the 1800s made available here. The website has a minute-long video introduction to the exhibit that starts upon arriving at the homepage. Visitors can "view exhibition online" by clicking on the entitled link near the bottom of the page. The exhibition is divided into eight themes of 19th-century life, such as "Art", "Portraits", "Science", and "Travel". The "Learning" link on the far right hand side of any page, leads to the ten workshops available to students age seven to secondary and higher education, as well as further education and ESOL. Pre-visit and post-visit activities are included in the details of each workshop, so the students can get the most out of the activities. A "Points of View Blog" about the exhibit can be found in the link on the right hand side of the video introduction. One entry compares photographs of buildings from the 1800s and now. Another entry further down in the blog has video demonstrations of two different photographic processes. [KMG]

Dallas Museum of Art.TV

Originally started as the Dallas Art Association in 1903, the institution became known as the Dallas Museum of Art in 1984, and their website offers "Films", "Podcasts", and "Exhibitions". In "Films", visitors will find "Artist Films", "Legacy Films", and "Discovery Films". The "Exhibitions" take the form of audio, video, and still images. The Summer Spotlight exhibition features a two and-a-half minute film entitled "Jackson Pollock" and shows the artist working outside on a very large canvas, along with his narration about his physical approach to painting. There are also two interesting films about the Tiffany glass windows at the museum which are narrated by the curator of the museum's decorative arts and design. The latest exhibition is called All the World's a Stage, and it's online component uses five short videos to address how visual artists have depicted the performance arts, spanning almost 3,000 years. The exhibit is in honor of the opening of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts and the completion of the Dallas Arts District. [KMG]

Network Tools

Apple Safari 4.0.4

Not all web browsers are made equal, and this latest iteration of Safari makes that quite clear. This version includes the cover flow feature, which allows users to flip through their site history much like a photo album. Also, the top sites feature creates a preview of favorite websites thats viewable as a grid. PC users will appreciate the fact that there's a native look and feel when using Safari. This version is compatible with computers running Windows Vista and XP or Mac OS X 10.5 and newer. [KMG]

WeatherMate 3.4

From Petaluma to Phnom Phem, WeatherMate 3.4 keeps track of the weather, whether it is in the form of hail, rain, or clear skies. This tiny program includes a system tray icon which displays the temperature of the users' primary city, and users can add additional locations as well. Visitors can tweak the program to include seven-day forecasts and even a radar image. The weather details are updated from the Weather Channel and this version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

In the realm of Pilgrim lore, legend, and history, Provincetown makes a bid for more recognition

On this rock, a myth was built

At Plimoth Plantation, feasting as the Pilgrims did

Plymouth Rock Foundation

US Census Press Releases: Thanksgiving [pdf]

Plimoth Plantation

First "National Day of Mourning"

Each Thanksgiving, a number of news crews and other pundit types descend on the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts to catch some b-roll shots of the very famous, if not exactly historically accurate, Plymouth Rock. Of course, it wasn't the first place the Pilgrims landed; that all happened around what is now the town of Provincetown on the far reaches of Cape Cod. Local boosters in Provincetown want people to know their side of story, and they are adopting an aggressive campaign to get the good word out. This week, the town leaders started their campaign in earnest, and they started by drawing attention to the Pilgrim Monument, a 252-foot tower that makes a grand statement. For those who are curious, Provincetown was the place where the Pilgrims celebrated the first European birth in New England and where the Mayflower Compact was signed, among other "firsts". Some find the whole business a bit strange, including Richard Pickering, the deputy director of the well-regarded living history museum, Plimoth Plantation. "It's very odd that the second landing gets greater notoriety than the first", Pickering remarked, "But for the Pilgrims and their descendants in Plymouth, the first landing place may not have been sentimentally important." [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to the Boston Globe story about the recent attempts by Provincetown to recapture part of the Pilgrim-themed tourist trade. The second link leads to a piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer's Marshall S. Berdan on the excellent Pilgrim feasts featured at the Plimoth Plantation. Moving on, the third link leads to the homepage of the Plymouth Rock Foundation. Here visitors can learn about upcoming events and tours sponsored by the Foundation, and also learn more a bit about the fabled Plymouth Rock. The fourth link whisks users away to a very fun and interesting fact sheet on Thanksgiving provided by the US Census Bureau. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the Plimoth Plantation, which features information on visiting the site, along with some interactive exhibits. The last link leads to a piece from that recounts a 1970 Native American protest of a Thanksgiving feast in Plymouth. [KMG]

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