The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 24

June 18, 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

Interactive State of Metropolitan America Indicator Map

How quickly have the suburbs in the American southeast grown over the past decade? This question, and many others, are answered in fine visual form on this website, created by staff members at The Brookings Institution. Visitors can use the interactive maps to look over population, ethnicity, age, and educational attainment distributions across the United States. Each map contains a zoom feature, and visitors can use the subject indicators to look at different variables. Also, visitors can toggle through different geographic scales of focus, including metro areas, center cities, suburbs, and states. Finally, visitors can also download and read "The State of Metropolitan America" report which provides additional perspective on some of these recent demographic trends. [KMG]

Structures 2 [pdf, Flash Player]

The Open CourseWare Initiative delivers high-quality educational resources from the world's universities to thousands of people around the world. This fine offering from the University of Michigan looks into the "basic principles of elastic behavior for different materials such as wood, steel, concrete, and composite materials and compares the properties and applications of materials generally." This course was taught by Professor Peter von Buelow, and it contains a syllabus, a course schedule, lectures, and exercises of note. Visitors can click on the different "Course Units" (which include "columns" and "combined materials") After doing so, visitors can view the presentation slides, download the lecture audio file, or take a look at the class exercises. Also, users will want to check out the "Student Projects" area, which contains work completed by students during the winter 2009 semester. The site also has full social media capability, and visitors can pass along information about the course via Facebook, YouTube, and so on. [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

Sense About Science

Sense about Science is an independent charitable trust based in Britain whose work is designed to "respond to the misrepresentation of science and scientific evidence on issues that matter to society, from scares about plastic bottles, fluoride and the MMR vaccine to controversies about genetic modification, stem cell research and radiation." An advisory council and over 2000 scientists, whose members include Nobel Laureates to postdoctoral fellows, support their work. On their homepage, visitors can view information on topics that include food additives, MRI scans, and malaria. After clicking on each topic, visitors can view presentations, read briefing documents, and watch slideshows. In the "Other Sections" area, visitors can browse their complete publications area and learn about their annual lecture series. [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

Georgetown Bioethics Library: Syllabus Exchange Database [pdf]

The study of bioethics at the undergraduate and high school level continues to grow exponentially, and a number of online resources help educators who seek to incorporate this subject into their courses. This collection contains over 100 syllabi that relate broadly to ethics and genetics, and the materials come from seminars and short-term continuing education classes. Visitors to the syllabus database can browse by subject (like eugenics and sociobiology) or educational level. Some of the more notable syllabi here include "Genetics and the Law", "Biomedical Ethics", and "Bioethical Dilemmas". Educators in this field are also encouraged to send along their own syllabi for potential inclusion in the database. Finally, the site also contains links to additional curriculum development resources. [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 Victorian Web

Based at Nagoya University in Japan, The Victorian Web presents a wide range of materials on the times and mores of this historical era. The materials are arranged into over one dozen sections, including "Technology", "Religion", and "Authors". Clicking on each of these areas will reveal a set of additional links that contain thematic essays and visual materials that address each theme. Visitors should also note that there is a "What's New?" area that contains the latest updates to the site. The "Bibliography" area is a good resource for young scholars, and it contains listings on "Readings in Victorian Religion", "Victorian Architecture", and "Science and Society in Victorian Britain". [KMG]

History of York

York has held a special place in English history, and during the medieval period it was actually the capital of the country for a time. This interactive and well-thought out website explores the history of York, and it was created by the York Museums Trust, with support from the City of York Council. Visitors to the site's homepage will note that they can use the "Pick of the Day" to learn about the culture and history of the area, and it includes profiles of everything from the ponderous Skeldergate Bridge to the finely crafted silver strap ends fashioned by Anglo Saxons in the area. The "Timeline" area features an interactive map of York which allows users to move seamlessly between the Viking domination of the area to the current day. Each historical period includes embedded artifacts and a brief narrative history. Persons visiting York will want to take a close look at the "Trails" area as well. Here they can download different trails (such as "Exploring York's Railway Heritage"), and use the guide to take a walk around the area. [KMG]

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre [pdf]

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) was established twelve years ago in the hope that they would "raise awareness of the plight of internally displaced people (IDP), point to gaps in national and international responses and promote solutions reflecting international standards and best practices." The Centre also keeps a database of 50 countries in which people have been displaced within their own country due to conflicts or human rights violations. To get a sense of where displaced persons are and how many countries have IDPs, visitors can click on the small world map on the far right hand side of the homepage. Scrolling over the map will reveal the number of displaced people by continent. Visitors interested in learning about an individual country can click on the continent, then click on one of the countries for an "Internal Displacement Profile", "Country Statistics", and an "Overview". The Resources tab, at the top of any page, includes "IDMC Publications", "Picture Galleries" of internally displaced people in India, Cyprus, and the West Bank, to name a few, and "IDP Maps" which has dozens of maps of from 2001 to 2009. [KMG]

Amazing Cells [pdf]

The University of Utah's Teach.Genetics website is a companion to their Learn.Genetics website, and both are part of the Genetic Science Learning Center. Visitors will find that Amazing Cells is one of at least a dozen lessons available on genetics for K-12 and higher education teachers, as well as public educators. The Amazing Cells lessons on Teach.Genetics are "print-and-go" lessons that are a supplement to the Amazing Cells online lessons found in Learn.Genetics. There are multiple exercises under the broader topics of "Cells Are Complex & Dynamic" and "Cells Communicate". Some of those activities include "Build-A-Membrane", where students create a 3-D cell membrane embedded with proteins. The "Dealing Signals" activity makes use of a deck of ordinary playing cards to introduce students to cellular interactions. The "Scientist Talk Videos" are talks originally recorded at the Amazing Cells Master Workshop, and cover such topics as "An Introduction to Cell Signaling" and "Cell Signaling: Research and Applications". [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

Glimpse of the Past: A Neighborhood Evolves [Flash Player]

The National Portrait Gallery recently decided to cast their gaze outside their doors to take a look at their immediate surroundings in the Penn Quarter of Washington, D.C. This exhibition tells "the story of the rise, fall, and rebirth of the heart of Penn Quarter." The neighborhood contains the Old Patent Office Building (the home of the National Portrait Gallery) and an eclectic mix of modern buildings and older two and three story brick structures. Through two dozen images, this fascinating exhibit tells a story of historic preservation, racial conflict, genteel 19th century urban living, and the growth of federal government. Each image is accompanied by text that gives visitors a bit of perspective on the area's history. [KMG]

Just Passin' Through: The Lincoln & Victory Highways in Nevada

Back in the fall of 1912, Carl Graham Fisher began promoting the idea of a transcontinental highway which he called the Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway. This germ of an idea became the Lincoln Highway, which was finished in 1928. The Lincoln Highway along with its parallel road, the Victory Highway, cut across the country and a new sense of personal freedom began to emerge as businesspeople and tourists used the road extensively. The folks at the University of Nevada, Reno Libraries have created this collection of images which document the places and activities along the highways in Nevada, eastern California, and western Utah. All told, there are over 170 items here and they include photographs of early hotels along the route, automobile caravans, and pictures of Nevada's Transcontinental Highway Exposition. [KMG]

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library

Located in Simi Valley, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library is dedicated "to the promotion of individual liberty, economic opportunities, global democracy, and national pride." All told, the Foundation and Library hold over 55 million pages of documents related to President Reagan's life, and 40,000 gifts and artifacts that chronicle his life with his wife, Nancy Reagan. First-time visitors will want to start by taking the video tour of the grounds led by noted actor Gary Sinise. After that, visitors can click on the "Library & Museum" area, where they can learn about the permanent and rotating exhibits on the grounds, including the dramatic Air Force One Pavilion. In the "Education" area, visitors can take a look at the lesson plans here and also learn about teacher's workshops and professional development events. The site is rounded out by a collection of live webcasts from the Foundation's Center for Public Affairs. [KMG]

MIT Visualizing Cultures

Started in 2002, the Visualizing Cultures website is produced by MIT, and it was designed "to explore the potential of the Web for developing innovative image-driven scholarship and learning." The site contains topical units of self-discovery which are focused on Japan's role in the modern world and early-modern China. The various units address cultures of modernization, war and peace, and consumerism, among others. Each unit is represented by a different image, and visitors will find a short narrative essay along with plenty of visual images which document teach topic. One unit that should not be missed is "Felice Beato's Japan". Here visitors can learn about the pioneering work of Felice Beato, as he took photos of the "exotic" Japanese people in his Yokohama studio and captured the transitional period between the "feudal governance of the Edo period (1600-1868) and the imperial rule of the Meiji era (1868-1912)." [KMG]

"A Tonic to the Imagination": Costume Designs for Stage and Screen by B.J. Simmons & Co., 1889-1959

The B.J. Simmons & Co. costume shop in London produced costumes for theater and film, along with renting out costumes to such venues for over 100 years. The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has a web exhibition of 228 costume designs from over 60 productions from the span of 1889-1959. Some of the costumes are categorized in the "Costume Designs" link into "Early Opera at the Covent Garden", "Musicals & Revues", "Cinema", and "Pageants & Pantomimes". Visitors will also find a category entitled "Two Complete Portfolios". Since the collection is so big, (34,000 items in the costume design portfolios alone) it is "difficult to get a sense of the size of the archive, to know what is typical, and to see how designers used source material from several portfolios to dress a new production." The "Two Complete Portfolios" allows visitors to make those comparisons at their leisure, and visitors will want to spend some quality time wandering around this excellent collection. [KMG]

Biodiversity Action Reporting System [pdf]

The Biodiversity Action Reporting System is "a web-based system that supports the planning, monitoring, and reporting requirements of national and local Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs)". BAPs are used to plan the protection and sustainability of biodiversity in the four countries that make up the United Kingdom. The website has a members-only section, but it also contains a very extensive section open to non-members. The "Status & Trends" tab at the top of the page allows visitors to search the status or trend of "individual species" or "individual habitat". A visitor choosing to search by species will be taken to a page where the name of the plant or animal species can be typed in, or can be chosen from the link "Pick from A-Z list". The list gives the "Scientific Name" and "Common Name" to more easily find the animal or plant. Visitors will find that only the species and habitats that show data in "National Trends" and "National Status" are those that are deemed U.K. Priority Species and Habitats. The "Actions & Impacts" tab at the top of the page allows visitors to search for reports of "Threats to Biodiversity" and "Recorded Losses". [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 Secret Life of Scientists

The website that accompanies PBS's NOVA television series is called NOVA Science Now, and it offers many fun and engaging ways to better understand science and scientists. The Secret Life of Scientists is a web-exclusive series from NOVA which helps the public understand how and why scientists study what they do as well as "what happens when the lab coats come off." Sixteen scientists are currently highlighted on the site, and visitors can visit each scientist's videos and blog posts, as well as ask a question of any of the scientists. Scrolling over the pictures of each of the scientists reveals the scientific area they work in, as well as what they do in their secret life. One of the scientists is Adrienne Block, an African-American geologist who has spent time in the Antarctic and playing the bassoon is "her secret", while Geologist Alexandra Bowman "secret" is performing Native American dance. Overall, the site is an interesting and entertaining look into the lives of scientists. [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

Prmontr Architectural Sites

Available since 2008, but still worth a look, this digital collection from Notre Dame's Hesburgh Library consists of nearly 800 photographs that document architectural sites in western and eastern Europe and the United Kingdom, that are associated with the Order of Prmontr. The Order is a group of Roman Catholic priests, brothers, and sisters, founded by St. Norbert in the early 12th century. The order is also known as the Premonstratensians, Norbertines, or White Canons. The collection is searchable by country, location, dedication, keyword, or the Premonstratensian designation of circary - a geographic area encompassing several monasteries. For those unfamiliar with the Order, drop-down menus provide lists of all the terms under each category. For example, selecting St. John the Baptist from the list of dedications gets a set of 49 images of churches and religious buildings dedicated to this saint. Images in this search span from Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Amiens, France to a former Order house in Krakow, Poland, viewed from across the Vistula River. Many of the sites in the collection were originally constructed in the 12th century. The photographs date from the first half of the 20th century, before World War II, and are in many cases the only records of sites destroyed in the War.

Network Tools

Apple Safari 5

The latest iteration of the Safari browser takes several bold steps by offering a streamlined approach to RSS feeds, along with offering new ways to look at paginated stories and galleries. Also, Safari now comes with local searches enabled from the location bar, so queries will be linked to users' history and bookmarks. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer or Mac OS X 10.5 and newer. [KMG]

Diagram Designer 1.23

Turning out flowcharts and diagrams for presentations can be quite a hassle, so it's nice to lean about the Diagram Designer application. With the program's interface, visitors can take advantage of the customizable object palette, slide show viewer, and the ability to plot mathematical expressions. This version also allows users to import various image file formats, such as jpeg and gif files. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Human Trafficking Report Released to Praise and Criticism This Week

US Report Cites 13 Countries for Human Trafficking

U.S. human trafficking report includes U.S. cases for first time

US: Step Up Pressures on Allies Using Child Soldiers

US human trafficking report dismissed

Trafficking in Persons Report 2010


This Monday, the U.S. State Department released their annual human trafficking report, and for the first time, the United States was included in this massive and quite comprehensive work. The 373-page report notes that 13 countries fail to meet minimum international standards in the fight against human trafficking, including North Korea, Burma, and Cuba. Commenting on the report at a State Department event, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked that the report is designed to encourage countries to act quickly to stem the "scourge of modern slavery." Clinton also commented that the report addresses the fact that despite strong enforcement efforts in the U.S., "foreign workers drawn by the hope of a better life in America, are trapped by abusive employers, and there are Americans, unfortunately, who are held in sexual slaveryhuman trafficking is not someone else's problem." There was a bit of encouraging news in the report, as there were fewer countries grouped together in Tier 3, which is the lowest level of compliance. A number of countries have expressed displeasure with the report, including Guyana. In a statement released on Tuesday, Guyana's Human Services and Social Security Minister Priya Manickchand commented the report "is based on ignorance and this type of reporting is hurting Guyana's friendship with the US." [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a news piece on the report from the Voice of America which appeared on Monday. The second link will whisk users away to a CNN article on the subject, with additional details on the standings of the US in the report. The third link leads to a news release from the Human Rights Watch organization which comments on the use of child soldiers by US allies. Moving on, the fourth link leads to an article from the Jamaica Observer which comments on Guyana's reaction to the report. The fifth link leads to the complete 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report, complete with video clips, charts, interactive maps, and a letter from Secretary Clinton. The last link leads to the homepage of the Human Trafficking organization. Here visitors can learn about efforts to combat human trafficking around the world, along with research publications, capacity building tools, and their newsletter.

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