The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 21

May 28, 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

North American Jewish Data Bank [pdf]

The North American Jewish Data Bank (NAJDB) was created in 1986 by the Council of Jewish Federations and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Part of their mission is to "provide empirical survey data sets about the North American Jewish community" and also to "encourage academicians, students, communal professionals and others to utilize Data Bank holdings." This is, in part, accomplished by their website, which features questionnaires, reports, and data files from the National Jewish Population Surveys of 1971, 1990, and 2000-2001. Visitors can look at these reports directly from the homepage, and they will also want to click on the "American Jewish Year Book" area. Here they will find articles on America's Jewish population from the American Jewish Year Book, dating back to 1949. Also, visitors can look at state information by using the "Community Archive by State" section. Finally, the site contains an FAQ area and contact information for staff members at the NAJDB. [KMG]

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Publications

Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) makes all of their published research reports, case studies, and guidebooks publicly available on this website. The documents are arranged thematically, and they include everything from "Affordable Housing" to "Zoning". Given the recent interest in building "green", many visitors will want to click on over to the "Housing Production and Technology" area. On the right hand side of the page, visitors will find the "Popular Picks" list. Some of the publications are intended for an audience with a more technical background, but many of the works deal quite broadly with urban policy matters. The site is rounded out by a direct link to "New Publications" area near the bottom of the homepage and social media functionality. [KMG]

Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation [pdf] (Last reviewed in the Scout Report on February 24, 1995)

Since 1983, the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) has worked on research which looks "into the causes of international conflict and cooperation." The Institute draws on scholars from around the University of California system, and they also have a number of visiting scholars from different parts of the world. On their homepage, visitors will notice four primary sections, including "Research", "Regions", and "Publications". In the "Research" area, visitors can learn about their three primary thematic projects, and also learn about the researchers working on each area. In the "Publications" area, visitors can peruse a list of recent publications, which include books, reports, and journal articles. The easiest way to access some of these publications is via the subsections within the "Publications" area. Visitors should also look at their calendar and consider signing up for the IGCC e-newsletter via the homepage. A dip into the homepage updates is a good idea as well, and in the past it has contained reviews of books by IGCC scholars and reports like "Political Attitudes Under Repression: Evidence from North Korean Refugees". [KMG]

West Coast Poverty Center

Based at the University of Washington, the West Coast Poverty Center "serves as a hub for research, education, and policy analysis leading to greater understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and effective approaches to reducing it in the west coast states." The Center was created in the fall of 2005, and it represents a collaborative venture between the UW School of Social Work, the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, and the College of Arts and Sciences. Scholars and others will find the site quite useful, and they may wish to start at the "Poverty Basics" section. This area includes helpful overviews like "How Many People Are Poor in the United States?" and interactive maps and charts that document the state of poverty levels on the West Coast. Moving on, the "Research" area contains links to papers, research briefs, and information about upcoming events sponsored by the Center. [KMG]

Toward food sovereignty: Reclaiming autonomous food systems [pdf]

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has gone above and beyond in crafting this multimedia book that brings together full color photo illustrations and linked video and audio files. The work was finished in 2009, and it "describes the ecological basis of food and agriculture, the social and environmental costs of modern food systems, and the policy reversals needed to democratize food systems." Visitors will note that examples are drawn from all over the world, and it's easy to download the various chapters for offline consultation. The chapter sections include "Local adaptive management of food-producing environments" and "Strengthening civil society". Anyone with an interest in public health, community organizing, and civil society will find a great deal to learn from this publication. [KMG]

A Biography of America

A Biography of America is an impressive undertaking by public television station WGBH and it is designed for high school, college, and adult learners. The site presents America's history as a "living narrative" and by utilizing first-person narratives, photos, film footage, documents, debates and lectures, the video series encourages critical thinking and offers American history as something best understood from multiple perspectives. Visitors will find that the website for Biography of America allows for free streaming of the series, and offers transcripts, exercises, and interactive maps for the 26 half hour lessons. Lesson 15, "The New City", compares the traditional messy growth of cities, such as New York City, with that of the planned, orderly growth of the newer city of Chicago in the late 1800s. The question that is asked to foster critical thinking "What vision of the future city did the fair present," refers to the World's Columbian Exposition. Lesson 26, "The Redemptive Imagination", emphasizes the role of storytelling in the formation of history, and features insights by several contemporary novelists. [KMG]

The Future of NSF On Its 60th Anniversary [Flash Player]

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) 60th anniversary was marked with a symposium that fortunately was captured on video and put on the NSF website. Past and present NSF Directors "reflected upon 25 years of experience and offered advice about the agency's future." Those videos can be found under "Select a Video: The Future of NSF". The videos of the discussions at the symposium can be found under "Select a Video: Discussions". The discussion videos are not always lengthy, and some are even comments from the audience of science professionals. The video "The Role of Imagination in Science Learning" is one such video where a university science professor talks about the problem of her students' inability to imagine. She goes on to say that her experience with this prompted her to research the issue, which ultimately resulted in her university offering classes and exercises to teach students how to use their imaginations. Overall, it's an engaging website and one that will be of general interest to a number of different groups. [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

What's in the Food You Eat [pdf]

How many calories are in an egg and cheese muffin? A serving of grapefruit? These are pressing questions, whether they are for personal use or for someone who might be in one of the healthcare fields. The "What's in the Food You Eat" database was created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and it contains nutrient profiles for 13,000 foods commonly eaten in the U.S. Visitors can use the online search tool to look for various food products, and they can just type in words like "orange", "yogurt", or "salmon". The engine will return a list of suggested items, and visitors can also focus their search by using food codes from the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS). A guide to the FNDDS codes is also available online here for consultation. [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 Cultural Landscape of the UW-Madison Campus

The University of Wisconsin-Madison campus includes one massive football stadium, several greenhouses, a building that housed John Muir during his student days, and a large statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting atop Bascom Hill. This digital collection from the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections group presents almost 500 images which document the cultural landscape of the campus from the middle of the 19th century to the present day. The items are arranged chronologically into three separate eras, and visitors can also just click on "View all images" to browse around as they see fit. Here visitors will find images of the first agricultural campus, Camp Randall (a Civil War training camp), and the Memorial Union Terrace. Visitors shouldn't miss the aerial shots of campus or the shots of the Armory, also known locally as the Red Gym. [KMG]

Framing Conflict: Iraq and Afghanistan

Two Australian artists recently continued the tradition of official Australian war art that began in World War I by traveling for six weeks throughout the Middle East to record the lives of Australian troops in wartime. The paintings, composed using photographs, create a vivid picture of the experience of war. On the homepage visitors will find a slideshow of 19 of the paintings and photographs by the artists. Additional paintings, photographs, plus some of the equipment used by the artists, can be found by clicking on the appropriate links below the second paragraph on the homepage. Under the "Further Information" heading is a "Video Interview With Lyndell Brown and Charles Green (YouTube)". [KMG]

South Carolina Digital Library

This website is a collaboration created by a diverse group of South Carolina schools, libraries, cultural heritage institutions, museums, and archives, its mission is to encourage collaborators to "create, maintain, and promote digital collections that represent South Carolina's historical and cultural resources." The site can be explored via numerous thematic sections. Visitors can choose such browsing and searching options as "Browse Institution", "Browse Counties", "Browse People", "Browse Timeline" or "Browse Everything". The "Teaching Resources" encourages critical thinking from students while teaching students how to use primary sources, such as film reels. Visitors will also find the "Newest Collections" added to the site located in the upper right hand box on the homepage, and new additions include documents from the South Carolina State Library and pamphlets from the Historic Charleston Foundation. [KMG]

Robie House Interior Restoration Project [Flash Player]

The Robie House, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece in the neighborhood of Hyde Park in the city of Chicago, is slowly being restored to its 1910 splendor. The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust website has an outstanding virtual tour of the house. The first room shown is "Dining Room East", where visitors can see a photo of what it looked liked in "1910", and then by clicking on "Acquisition", visitors can see what it looked like when the Trust acquired it in 1997. Clicking on the "i" (found on the bottom left of each photo) will bring up an informative explanation of the various pieces in the room, such as "Flooring", "Table and Runners", and "Color". Since much of the furniture, fixtures and rugs were long since taken from the house, the Trust will be using the many photographs of the house to recreate the furniture, lighting, fabrics, etc. Visitors should not miss the most stunning picture on the tour, which is "Light Fixtures". Wright's work with George Mann Niedecken on the interior colors of the house, written about in "Articles" on the homepage, combine well with the lighting of the fixtures to produce a beautiful ambience. [KMG]

Manitobia: Life and Times [Flash Player]

The Manitoba Library Consortium and its partners have created a rich website of historically significant documents and publications so that everyone can learn about Manitoba. Even the name of the website, Manitobia, indicates its high aspirations, as the word Manitobia is the combination of the word Manitoba and utopia. Visitors will find the history of Manitoba divided up by significant events or "Historical Themes", instead of just by decades or wars. Some of the themes include "WWI: The War at Home", "Immigration and Settlement", "Manitoba Schools Question", and "Women Win the Vote". The "For Educators" link provides lessons around the six themes, for grades 4, 6 and Senior 3. The "About the Lesson Plans" paragraphs that precede the actual lessons emphasize the importance of the students understanding the "basic sequence and perspective of events", rather than just memorizing a static timeline. [KMG]

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

For baseball lovers, a pilgrimage to Cooperstown, New York is pretty much a requirement in order to complete the entire baseball experience. That humble town is the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and it is where the greats of the game are memorialized. For those who can't make a visit out to New York, the "Museum" area of the site is a good place to start. Here visitors can view all of the plaques that honor those baseball greats from years past. Educators will appreciate the "Enriching Education" area, which gives interested parties access to educational modules and videos which place baseball within the context of an industrializing society. Finally, visitors can also use the "Plan Your Visit" area to learn more about how to make the most of their visit to the facilities. [KMG]

Network Tools


If you have just finished a long paper on Madame Bovary, you may not relish the thought of finishing all the citations necessary to complete a finished work. With EasyBib, such matters become relatively painless. This website helps visitors create bibliographies in a variety of different citation styles, including MLA and APA. Visitors can just type in the item they need to cite, and EasyBib will provide the correct citation for each entry. Some services on the website are always free, but there is also a premium service that visitors can pay for, if they so desire. [KMG]

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

This latest version of ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2 will help keep users' computers free from phishing devices and other such pesky intruders. The application takes about 5 minutes to setup, and it can now also stop program spoofing, which is when a malicious program pretends to be a good one. The program also has an extensive interactive help feature, which can be useful for new users. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP, Vista, and 7. [KMG]

In The News

Pac-Man celebrates his 30th birthday

Pac-Man hits 30 without losing its way

Happy birthday, Pac-Man

Q&A: Pac-Man Creator Reflects on 30 Years of Dot-Eating

Pacman 30th Anniversary [Flash Player]

The Video Game Revolution [Flash Player]

Video Game Music Archive

30 years ago, most video games were basically shoot-em-ups or focused on some type of sports contest. All of that changed dramatically with the introduction of a yellow pie-shaped character that moved around a screen consuming tiny dots. Quite literally, Pac-Man was a game-changer, and this little guy found his way into popular culture quickly. He even climbed up the pop-music charts in the winter of 1982 as the subject of the song "Pac-Man Fever". Since its introduction in 1980, more than 10 billion games of Pac-Man have been played from Tokyo to Tangier. The game remains quite popular, despite the increasingly crowded video-game market, which now includes games designed specifically for mobile phones and other devices. Interestingly, the game was also fashioned to appeal to women, a group that been largely ignored by video game designers up to that point. In a recent interview, Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani, commented on the inspiration for the game, remarking, "Pac-Man is inspired by all the manga and animation that I'd watch as a kid. The ghosts were inspired by Casper, or Obake no Q-Taro. The game idea eating a power cookie and powering up to defeat the ghost was inspired by Popeye eating spinach and defeating Bluto, turning the tables on him." [KMG]

The first link will take users to a Washington Post article from this Sunday which talks about the origins of Pacman and its continued success over the past three decades. The second link leads to an article from the Vancouver Sun that discusses the enduring popularity and marketing of the game. Moving on, the third link leads to an interview with Toru Iwatani, courtesy of Wired. The fourth link leads to the official Pac-Man 30th Anniversary website, which contains Pac-Man art, contests, videos, and some fun downloads. The fifth link leads to the companion website for the Video Game Revolution documentary from PBS. Here visitors can view an interactive timeline and take a look at some classic games from decades past. The last link leads to the Video Game Music Archive, which contains over 30,000 music clips taken from hundreds of video games from systems like the Amiga 500 and the legendary Super Nintendo.

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