The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 13

April 2, 2010

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


Is the United States government in the business of making films? As it turns out, the answer is a hearty "Yes". As part of a joint venture between the National Technical Information Service and Public.Resource.Org, the Internet Archive has created this excellent archive of government training films from the past six decades. As with other Internet Archive thematic collections, visitors will find a "Spotlight Item" on the left-hand side of the page, and users are also encouraged to browse the collection by title or subject. The films come from a wide variety of government agencies, including the U.S. Army, the U.S. Information Agency, and NASA. Visitors might want to start by looking at one of the "Most Downloaded Items Last Week". Recent selections from this list have included the 1967 film "China: The Roots of Madness" and "Apartheid in South Africa" from 1957. [KMG]

Barely Hanging On: Middle-Class and Uninsured [pdf]

In recent times, the ability of middle-class persons to secure adequate health care insurance has been compromised by a number of factors. These are the findings of a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released in March 2010. The work chronicles state-by-state health coverage trends since 1999, and it was prepared by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota. The report notes that the total number of uninsured, middle-class people increased by more than 2 million since 2000 and that the average employee's cost for health insurance rose 81 percent from 2000 to 2008. Visitors can peruse the 10-page reports various charts and tables at their leisure, and the report is of particular interest to those in the fields of public health and health care management. [KMG]

Click! Photography Changes Everything

The Smithsonian's exhibition about photography entitled "Click!" is a very down-to-earth approach to thinking about photography. The goal of the exhibit is have well-known people, as well as Smithsonian visitors, tell their stories of how photography affects their lives. There are six themes in the exhibition: "Who We Are", "What We Do", "What We See", "Where We Go", "What We Want", and "What We Remember". Each theme has a short video introduction on the right side of the theme's homepage, and the "Where We Go" theme's video is about the Giant Pandas at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., which have so many fans that take their pictures, that those photographers are called the Pandarazzi. The "Where We Go" theme also has two great essays with photos about land use, "Photography Changes Our Experience and Understanding of Cities" and "Photography Changes Land Use and Planning". The "What We See" theme has over a dozen essays, one of which is called "Photography Changes Medical Diagnosis and Treatment" by an ophthalmic photographer. [KMG]

Monterey Terrorism Research & Education Program

Based at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Monterey Terrorism Research & Education Program (MonTREP) "conducts in-depth research, assesses policy options, and engages in public education on issues relating to terrorism and international security." Their team of scholars looks at violence-prone extremist groups and their historical evolution, organization structure, and operational methods. Most people will want to look at their Islam, Islamism, and Politics in Eurasia Reports (IIPER). The IIPER is a bimonthly compendium of news and analysis on politics involving Islam in the former Soviet Union. The reports are written and edited by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn, and the series also accepts independent submissions as well. Visitors are welcome to browse through the reports here, and they may end up forwarding them to friends and associates. Finally, the site also includes a "News & Student Stories" area which reports on the activities of current members of the team, alumni, and students. [KMG]

CME Group: Education [pdf]

The CME Group is the world's largest futures and options exchange, and it was formed through the merger of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade, and the New York Mercantile Exchange. Everything from T-bonds to soybeans are traded as part of their daily operations, and the "Education" section of their website is a great way to learn about such matters. In this section, visitors can view featured videos created by the CME Group which cover topics like "Trading Techniques within the Gold Market" and "Energy's Role in National Security". Moving along, the "Education Resources" area includes areas with fact sheets, videos, and daily reports on "Commodities", "Energy", "Options", "Interest Rates", and ten other areas. For students of finance, economics, and business, this site will be an invaluable resource. [KMG]

International Labour Organization [pdf]

Founded in 1919 in the wake of World War I, the International Labour Organization (ILO) became the first specialized agency of the United Nations in 1946. The ILO is truly the only "tripartite" United Nations agency in that "it brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programmes." The primary focus of the organization is to advance opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. First-time visitors will probably want to start their journey through the site by looking at the "What we do" area on the homepage. Here visitors can read about their basic functions, read their latest jobs reports, and take a look at their different databases. Further down the homepage, visitors can view recent "Featured Reports", including the "Global Wage Report" and updates on global employment trends. Additionally, visitors will want to check out "ILO TV", which features video reports on their work and activities. [KMG]

Immigration, Incorporation and the Prospects for Reform [pdf]

Immigration has been on the forefront of American policy issues for sometime now, and the foreign population in the United States is approaching historic levels. In March 2010, the Brookings Institution's Audrey Singer and John Mollenfkopf offered a presentation that examines this transformation. The presentation is focused on the "numerous affects of the country's changing demographics, from shifts in the job market to how second-generation immigrants will socially incorporate themselves into American society." Visitors will note that the presentation contains 31 separate slides including helpful graphs, charts, and policy suggestions for the future. One of Mollenfkopf and Singer's suggestions include "eliminating political gridlock on the federal level to help push through comprehensive reform." [KMG]

Notulae Scientia Biologicae [pdf]

Notulae Scientia Biologicae is a peer-reviewed journal focused on disseminating important new original research and reviews on life sciences and medicine. The quarterly journal is based at the University of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine in Romania, and their editorial team includes scientists in Spain, France, and the United States. The journal began publication in 2009, and visitors can click on the "Current" tab to look over the most recent issue. Recent articles include "Phenology of German Chamomile and its Changes under Different Irrigation" and "Genetic Engineering for Viral Disease Management in Plants". Visitors are encouraged to register for email updates when new issues are released, and they can also contact the editorial team as well. [KMG]

General Interest

Encyclopedia of Alabama

Sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Foundation and Auburn University, the Encyclopedia of Alabama (EOA) is a veritable cornucopia of material about the Yellowhammer State. The EOA draws on the work of many trustworthy and learned authors, and as a statement of the homepage notes, "Alabama's problems are not glossed over, nor are its accomplishments and successes overlooked." Visitors who might not be familiar with the state in the least are encouraged to read historian Wayne Flynt's fine essay on Alabama featured on the homepage. After that, visitors can look over the entries alphabetically, or they can use of the thematic headings (such as "Peoples" and "Religion") to start their journey. The "Features" articles are a treat as well, and they include "Alabama and the Civil War" and "College Football in Alabama". The site also includes several photo galleries, a glossary, and some educational resources for teachers. [KMG]

MoMA: Rising Currents [Flash Player]

As climate change continues to affect various parts of the globe, a number of organizations have called upon unique combinations of artists, architects, and scientists to look into how waterfront areas might be transformed in the coming decades. Recently, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center convened a group of five interdisciplinary teams to re-envision the coastlines of New York and New Jersey around New York Harbor. Specifically, the teams were asked to think about new ways to occupy the harbor with "soft" infrastructures that would be sympathetic to "the needs of a sound ecology". Visitors to this website can view video clips from the installation of these works at MoMA, and they include such thematic works as "Oyster-Tecture" and "Working Waterline". The site includes information about each design team, along with substantial information about their project philosophy and basic approach. Additionally, visitors can view a list of exhibition events and offer their own appraisals of the works. [KMG]

University of South Carolina Student Exams

What exactly did university students study in the 19th century? Better yet, what were their exams like? Both questions are answered in part by this digital collection offered up by the University of South Carolina's Digital Collections group. Drawing on their holdings, this collection features student exams in a variety of subjects from 1854 to 1917. The exams are indicative of the changing nature of the university's curriculum over this period, as visitors will note that after the 1870s there is a distinct movement towards more practical materials. Some of the exams are dated, and others can be linked to a certain professor or general time period. Visitors can look at a list of the exams, and then use the viewer to scrutinize the details. Along with the questions, some of the exams have hand-written answers, which are of great interest as well. [KMG]

Eric A. Hegg Photographs

The first thing that will strike visitors when they go to the University of Washington Libraries collection of Eric A. Hegg's photography is the photograph "Miss Gracie Robinson, Yukon, 1898" that appears on the homepage. She's wearing an intriguing smile, a garment of furs, cinched tight at the waist, a rifle over her shoulder, and an elaborate headpiece that looks birdlike and completes the outfit. The photo was taken in a studio by Hegg, and there are no notes to say whether she was playing dress up or was really going to be joining in the gold rush. Eric Hegg documented the Klondike and Alaska gold rushes, and the digital collection of his photographs held by the University of Washington Libraries numbers 730 images, out of over 2100 in the entire physical Hegg collection. The collection can be browsed in its entirety, or by subject. Helpfully, there are even "Sample Searches" given on the right hand side of the page. Some of the suggestions given include "Mining", "Transportation Methods", "Women of the Klondike", and "Disasters". [KMG]

Copyright Criminals: Music Sampling and Copyright Law

The website for Independent Lens, PBS' independent film arm, has some great online features to go along with their new film about what was once called "borrowed melody". In the 1980s and 1990s, it became easier for musicians to "borrow" from existing recordings of other musicians, and a case for copyright infringement came to light. But, this thoughtful PBS film is not just about a legal battle, it "examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the related debates over artistic expression, copyright law and money." To understand the complexity of the debate over sampling and copyright law, visitors should check out the link "Sampling" near the top of the page, which provides "Sampling: an Overview", a "Timeline", which can be viewed as a flipbook, list, map, or traditional timeline, and a "Glossary of Terms". The "Classroom" feature for the film is for 9th-12th graders, as well as for college students. Video modules explain the different issues in the debate, such as "Can You Own a Sound?", "Sampling in Other Forms of Media and Industry", and "Hip Hop Sampling Theft or Tribute?" All the "Educational Materials" including "Educator Guide", "Teacher and Student Handout", and "Discussion Guide" are available below the video modules, and are free to download. [KMG]

Screen Search Fashion

The Royal College of Art and a regional screen archive, Screen Archive South East, both in England, have collaborated to create a website of 1920s and 1930s fashion as depicted in film. The website divides the films by "Work", "Sport", "Leisure", and "Travel", as well as by decade. Each decade is further divided by "Womenswear", "Menswear", "Childrenswear", and "Formal Wear". There is also a "Bibliography" and "Glossary", and the "Glossary" includes the theme in which the word is referred to, such as "Sports", "Work", etc. Visitors should definitely read the "Context" that heads the several paragraphs at the beginning of each theme and decade. These provide excellent explanations of what was going on politically, technologically, and sociologically in the time period, all of which are factors that may have influenced or dictated the particular styles of the times. In the "Work" theme, visitors will notice that the first section is on the dress of the "Working Class", which the commentary notes as often being overlooked in favor of middle and upper class fashions. The films in this section include work men, a roof tiler, builders, and a female bus conductor. [KMG]

Textile World

Textile World is a website for textile industry professionals, manufacturers, investors, as well as those who would like to offer students, young or old, a glimpse into the world of textile production. This website is the perfect vehicle to see all that the textile industry encompasses. One look at the menu on the left hand side of the page informs visitors of several different areas of textile production, such as the "Yarn Market", "Nonwovens/Technical Textiles", "Fiber World", and "Dyeing Printing and Finishing". The "Nonwovens/Technical Textiles" link takes visitors to articles such as "Nonwovens Focus: Human-Centered Applications", which discusses the various types of products that constitute nonwovens. Those products include baby diapers, feminine products, hygiene products, and medical and protective textiles, such as surgical gowns and drapes, and those textiles that protect humans against liquid, biological and chemical agents. An evenhanded look at the increasing friendliness towards the environment that is being manufactured into baby diapers is discussed thoroughly in the article, as is the growing demand for nonwovens in some countries. [KMG]

Forest Peoples Programme [pdf]

Almost all of the forests that cover the Earth are inhabited. Despite this fact, the forest policies of most countries regard the forest land as empty and exploitable. Additionally, some conservation projects that hope to establish wildlife preserves also deny the rights of forest people. The website of the Forest Peoples Programme, a 20-year-old British based-group, offers insight into what they do, their "publications and reports", "how to donate", and an e-newsletter in English, Portugese, and French that is published every two months. The "What We Do" option in the menu across the top of the page has numerous sections to show visitors "Strategies", "Success Stories", and "Themes of Work". Some of the "Themes of Work" include "Environmental Governance", "Legal and Human Rights Support", "Extractive Industries", and "Intellectual Property Rights". There are dozens of publications available free online, or visitors can also order hard copies for a fee. The purpose of the publications is to "influence debate, support legal interventions and inform peoples internationally". [KMG]

Network Tools

FlipAlbum Standard 7.0.4

If you want to create a highly interactive and rather fun photo album, FlipAlbum Standard is worth a look. Visitors can use the application to create their own 3D style albums, and they can also include their own annotations and even add various multimedia files to the mix. The program also contains an extensive help file, and this version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and Vista. [KMG]

TeamViewer 5.0.8081

Whether you're working on a group project for a class or sharing material between business partners, TeamViewer is a good bet. The application sets up easily, and can be used for group presentations, file transfers, or video conferencing. Users can also control the level of access that different partners have, and the application also has a web-based version for remote connections to home from public machines. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer and Mac OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Proto-PC Inventor, and inspiration for Microsoft, Henry Edward (Ed) Roberts passes

PC Maker, Inspiration for Microsoft Dies in Ga.

Remembering Ed Roberts

News stand saved

MITS and Altair history

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science: StartUp Gallery

40 Years Later, Looking Back At the Internet's Birth

Dr. Henry Edward Roberts is best known for inventing the Altair 8800, a personal computer that would spark the home computer era. Dr. Roberts died yesterday after complications from pneumonia. Dr. Roberts founded Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), which was originally started to sell electronics kits to model rocket hobbyists. The firm began to struggle in the mid-1970s, and Dr. Roberts began developing a computer kit for hobbyists. The result was the Altair 8800 with an Intel 8080 microprocessor. The kit was available for $395 and was featured on the cover of Popular Electronics in 1975. This cover inspired Paul Allen and Bill Gates to contact Roberts with an offer to write software code that would help people program the machine. Allen and Gates eventually moved to Albuquerque (home to MITS) and founded Micro-Soft to develop their software. Dr. Roberts eventually sold his company and retired to Georgia where he eventually fulfilled a life long dream of earning a medical degree and became a small-town doctor. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was saddened to learn of Robert's death stating in an email, "He [Roberts] took a critically important step that led to everything we have today."

The first link leads to a story from the New York Times about the passing of Dr. Roberts. The second link will take visitors to a tribute remembering Ed Roberts from Bill Gates and Paul Allen. The third link leads to a story on the saving of the newsstand that sold Paul Allen the famous Popular Electronics magazine that started it all. The fourth link will take visitors to a history of MITS and Altair 8800. The fifth link leads to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science StartUp Gallery. This is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the personal computer revolution and the many breakthroughs that happened in Albuquerque. If all this talk has you thinking about how far computers have come, the last link should suit you, as it leads to a piece (audio or transcript) from NPR's All Things Considered which takes a look at the 40 years since the birth of the Internet.

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