The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 14

April 9, 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

U.S. Impact Studies [pdf, Real Player, iTunes]

U.S. Impact Studies is an initiative started by the University of Washington in order to investigate the "use and users of public access computing centers through a series of studies designed to gather and disseminate information on the impacts these centers have on the individuals, families and communities taking advantage of their services." Their reports are also meant to document the "digital divide" between those who have ready access to the Internet and those who don't. On their homepage, visitors can make their way through sections like "Projects", "Resources", and "Toolbox". One work that visitors won't want to miss is their study "Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries". The report looks at who uses public computers and Internet access in public libraries, and it was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The "Toolbox" area is meant for institutions participating in their surveys, but it can also be used by students of information science and related disciplines. [KMG]

David Rumsey Map Collection: 1979 California Water Atlas

In a state where water has been a serious public policy issue for many decades, creating an atlas of water resources and usage was considered an important undertaking. That's just what happened in 1979 when the state of California released this groundbreaking atlas. After its release that year, it was hailed as a major achievement in cartography and scientific endeavor from a variety of groups and organizations, including the Quarterly Review of Biology and the California Historical Quarterly. Recently David Rumsey and Cartography Associates scanned the entire original volume in all of its detailed glory, and it is now available for general use here. The atlas can be viewed in a number of different formats, including pdf files or an online book, courtesy of the Internet Archive. Plates from the atlas include "Crop Patterns and Applied Water", "Annual Runoff and Seasonality", and "Measured and Unimpaired Streamflows". It's a masterful work, and one that visitors will want to let friends know about. [KMG]

OECD Factblog

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is well known for their vast store of research papers and related items, but they are now entering the blogosphere, albeit in their own erudite fashion. Their "Factblog" brings together graphs, charts, and videos to offer insightful commentary on pressing policy issues and global transformations. Visitors can glance over recent posts, which as of late, have included discussions of China's share of the global economy and the social and economic status of women. With each post, visitors will also find links to other related material from the OECD and other international organizations. Also, visitors can browse through their archive of posts back to July 2008 and, of course, they can subscribe to the RSS feed. [KMG]

National Portrait Gallery: The Struggle for Justice [Flash Player]

The struggle in the U.S. for equal rights for women, African-Americans, Native Americans, the disabled, and gays and lesbians is the focus of the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery exhibition titled, "The Struggle for Justice". The online companion has some great features, including six video clips narrated by Soledad O'Brien, of CNN fame, that were created especially for the exhibit. Visitors can find the several minute video clips in the "Introduction" section. The "Gallery" section of the website has portraits of those people who were instrumental in fighting for justice in the various struggles for equal opportunity that are an integral part of United States history. Visitors can scroll over the numbers at the bottom of the "gallery" to see the names of all those in the portraits. A paragraph on their role accompanies the portrait. Those visitors interested in details about the portrait should click on the "C" found below the paragraph, to read the caption. A lesson plan that can be used in conjunction with the exhibition is also provided, along with related web links and a reading list. [KMG]

University of California: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program [pdf]

The University of California has created a wonderfully informative website with the aim to "provide leadership and support for scientific research and education in agricultural and food systems that are economically viable, conserve natural resources and biodiversity." The site is for ranchers and farmers in regard to production and marketing, but is also for the rural and urban communities to better their understanding of the need for and desirability of using and supporting sustainable agricultural practices. Visitors will find that the last three links on the menu on the left side of the page contain resources for farmers that are essential when it comes to sustainable agriculture: "Cover Crops", "PestCast", and "Soil Quality". The "PestCast" is particularly interesting, as it introduces a new technology to forecast crop disease via a computer-based model. Under the "Resources" heading on the left side menu, there is a link to a seasonal "Newsletter", simply titled "Sustainable Agriculture" to which visitors can subscribe. [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

American Abroad Media [Real Player, iTunes]

The website for America Abroad Media (AAM) was started in 2002, and the organization is committed to a philosophy of independent journalism. It is broadcast on National Public Radio in the U.S., and on NPR Worldwide in 145 countries. In the "About AAM" section, their mission states, "America Abroad is the only public radio program that devotes an hour to a single issue-providing historical context and international perspective." Currently running radio "Programs" and those available in the archives can be found in the "Radio" link at the top of the page. The "Education" link provides educational outreach programs developed for college and university-level students. Each impressive program is a module that uses a multimedia approach to its subjects of study. The modules focus on the Middle Eastern countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey. Radio and television interviews are utilized in the modules, and a diverse group of experts, including artists, politicians, academics and policy makers are interviewed. Visitors interested in listening to AAM should check out the link "Find a Station" to see where it can be heard in the U.S., by city and state. [KMG]

C-SPAN: American History TV

C-SPAN offers a variety of thematic programs, and their American History TV runs every weekend for most of the day and into the late evening. The programs offer up conversations with authors and historians, along with first person accounts of American history. Visitors can use this site to view their programming, and the homepage includes a complete schedule of past and upcoming programs, along with featured interviews. Some of the recent features have included interviews with former Representative Dan Rostenkowski, Senator Bob Dole, and Frank Yamasaki, a Japanese-American who was interned at the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho during World War II. Moving on, visitors can also take advantage of the "Web Resources" area, which includes links to the U.S. Congress homepage, the Supreme Court, and legislative bodies around the world. [KMG]

Delaware Notes

The University of Delaware Library has been expanding their online offerings in the past few years, and this addition of the "Delaware Notes" archive is most welcome. The series consists of a variety of publications created by the University from 1923 to the present, and the subject matter covered within these pages is quite diverse. Here visitors will find a very exhaustive history of the University of Delaware ("University of Delaware: Ancestors, Friends and Neighbors"), an academic appraisal of Longfellow's wanderings ("Longfellow and Germany"), and an early paper on aerodynamics titled "Aerodynamics of the Psychrometer". Visitors are encouraged to search the collection by author, title, subject, or date. It's an impressive potpourri of scholarly works, and one that might pique a new interest among curious visitors. [KMG]

General Interest

Nettleton Civil War Letters at the Electronic Text Center

These rather fascinating letters were given to the University of Virginia in 2000 by one Corrine Carr Nettleton, and they were subsequently digitized and placed online here. The correspondence is between Charles N. Tenney, a Union soldier from Ohio, and Adelaide E. Case, a friend from the small town of Mecca, Ohio. The collection offers some rather intriguing insights into the lives of both individuals, and the broader social and historical context of this period of American history. Visitors to the site can look over the "Guide" area on the site for a complete and thorough background on the entire correspondence. Of course, visitors should also feel welcome to dive right in by clicking on the "Letters" heading. Here users will find sections titled "Addie's Letters" and "Charlie's Letters". Finally, visitors are also welcome to search the entire collection by word, phrase, or date. [KMG]

2010 Found Math Gallery

The good folks at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) are always on the lookout for mathematical principles in the least likely of places, and this gallery of "found math" is a tribute to their perspicacity. The exhibition includes prizewinners from the Joint Mathematics Meetings Exhibition of Mathematical Art and a weekly "found math" object. Visitors can make their way through items like simplex lamp shades over a bar in Venice and a butterfly in South America that appears to have an "88" on its wing. A number of the objects have more extensive explanations of their various mathematical nuances, and a few of the more recent additions lead to posters that can be downloaded for use in the classroom. [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

Richard Throssel Photographs

Born in Marengo, Washington in 1882, Richard Throssel entered the world of photography at the age of 20. He had recently moved to the Crow Reservation in Montana, and he quickly became interested in taking photographs of the people and the land around him. Throssel would remain on the reservation until 1911, and he took over 1000 photos of Crow Indian life before he left. This digital collection from the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming presents over 570 of his images. Visitors can browse the collection by subject or date, and each item contains a complete bibliographical record. As one might expect, visitors can zoom in and out around the photo as they see fit in order to look for various details and nuances. [KMG]

Chicago Urban League Photos

The National Urban League was founded in 1910, and it remains one of the oldest social service, research, and advocacy organizations in the United States. The Chicago League branch was created in 1916 to address the needs of the African American community throughout the Windy City. Over the past century, the League has worked on issues like affordable housing, racial injustice, and police brutality. This engaging photo collection from the University of Illinois at Chicago contains over 250 photographs from the organization's archives. The images here include photographs of League activities like alley cleanups and rallies, prominent League leaders, and guests of the League, such as Le Roi Jones (Amiri Baraka) and Vernon Jordan. The collection provides some nice documentation of the organization's work, along with visual insights into Chicago's recent history. [KMG]

Exploratorium's Origins: From Jungle to Lab: The Study of Life's Complexity

The Exploratorium in San Francisco has a smart-looking website that highlights the cooperation between London's Natural History Museum and the Las Cuevas Research Station in Belize. The subject of this joint effort is the complexity of life and why it is studied with such intensity. The website is divided into the sections "People", "Ideas", "Tools", "Place" and "Live". The section entitled "Place" explains the connection between the Natural History Museum and the Las Cuevas Research Station. The "People" section highlights the researchers at the Research Station in the jungle of Belize, and what they study specifically. Visitors can scroll over the pictures of the researchers to read a brief bio. Particularly interesting is the "Tools" section, which shows the level of detail the researchers get at with their tools. "DNA analysis", "Scanning Electron Microscope", hand collecting, and "Geographic Information Systems" are the tools that visitors can learn more about by scrolling over the respective images. [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

Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art [Flash Player]

The Asia Society's website has an exhibit that explores the art that has derived or been inspired by Buddhist pilgrimage in Asia. Visitors unfamiliar with Buddha and Buddhism might want to watch the "Curator's Introduction", in the right hand corner of the homepage. The art objects in the exhibit are divided into three main parts, "The Buddha and the Sacred Site", "The Journey", and "Memory, Memento and Sacred Bond". Each part has several paragraphs explaining the significance of the art, and visitors can click on each image to see it in greater detail and to learn what it's about. There are also short films that accompany each part that are about a specific event in Buddha's life, such as his enlightenment, his first sermon, and his death. The "For Educators" link, near the top of the page, offers many resources from the Asia Society website, and a "Teacher Resource" specifically for the Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art exhibit. [KMG]

African Development Bank Group [pdf]

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) was founded in 1964, and its mission is to "promote sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty in Africa." Their website is extremely thorough in discussing its guidelines for lending, its source of funds, and current projects. On the homepage, in the middle of the page is a link to a book called "Africa Achieves", and it contains text and photos about people and communities in Africa that are "taking charge of their destinies and improving their lives" through projects financed by AfDB. Visitors can click on "Download Full Report", or they can download chapter by chapter under the "Table of Content" heading. The first chapter, on the consequences of living without electricity, reveals many roadblocks to achieving electrification in rural areas. In the "Selected Projects" link, which can be found on the far right hand side of the homepage, visitors can browse projects, or search for them by "keyword", "country", "sector", "status", "finance source" or "approval date". There is a good deal of information on this website that is worth exploring. [KMG]

Milwaukee Repertory Theater Photographic History

This digital library project from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee makes 1,800 images of Milwaukee Repertory Theater performances available online in digital form. The black and white photographs in the collection date from 1977 - 1994, and they document 195 performances from 17 seasons of the Milwaukee Rep. The collection can be browsed by play title, playwright name, or season. Extensive metadata, including description, costume designer, lighting designer, stage, character names, and subject, has been provided for each image, so keyword searches on a variety of terms will retrieve results. If you think you know someone who has either appeared in or had something to do with the production of a play in Milwaukee, this resource is the way to find out. [DS]

Network Tools

StatPlanet Map Maker 2.2

Interested in making a map? Well, StatPlanet may be just the ticket for first-timers who would like to do just that. The application is an interactive data visualization and mapping tool used by a range of international organizations and universities for a variety of purposes. Visitors can use data on over 250 world development indicators to create interactive maps, graphs, and charts. The program also contains an extensive help file and a tutorial. The installed version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer, and the web-based version requires Adobe Flash Player (version 9) and supports Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. [KMG]

Sonogram 3.0

Scholars of speech will appreciate this helpful application created by German developer Christoph Lauer at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. Visitors can use the program and its visualization features to look at sound spectrums and other technical aspects of speech. This version is compatible with computers running Windows, Mac OS-X, and Linux operating systems. Java and Java 3D are also required. [KMG]

In The News

"Tattoo for tacos" deal is revived by a San Francisco eatery

Free Tacos for the Price of a Tattoo

Casa Sanchez restaurant offers customers free tacos for life if they get a tattoo of their logo

San Francisco: The Mission

Founding of the Mission Dolores

The Cambridge World History of Food: Mexico and Highland Central America

Tattoos: The Ancient and Mysterious History

Through the ages, tattoos have been symbols of many things, including membership in certain organizations (nautical or otherwise), but it's pretty safe to say that they haven't meant "free tacos" before the Casa Sanchez restaurant came along. Recently, the San Francisco restaurant decided to revive a tradition they started in 1999 as a type of "stimulus special", as family member and manager Martha Sanchez calls it. The deal is pretty simple: customers must agree get a small tattoo of the Casa Sanchez logo, which happens to be a little boy with a sombrero riding a giant ear of corn. For this display of permanent gustatory loyalty, the customer is entitled to one free meal a day for life, along with a drink of their choice. Ms. Sanchez attributes the success of the program to San Francisco's notably quirky denizens, and they still have a number of the original customers from 1999 who show up to partake of their "tattoo-for-tacos" pact. [KMG]

The first link leads to a recent Wall Street Journal article on the Casa Sanchez promotion, and it even has photos of some dedicated patrons and their tattoos. The second link leads to a video news report from the ABC affiliate station in San Francisco on this rather unique promotion. Moving on, the third link leads to a basic guide to the Mission District created by the San Francisco Chronicle. The fourth link will take users to a page from the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco, which tells the story of the founding of the Mission Dolores, which is the structure that gives the neighborhood its name. Culinary historians will enjoy the fifth link, which provides a detailed history of the foodways of Mexico and Highland Central America. Finally, the last link leads to an exploration of the history of tattoos, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

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