The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 29

July 23, 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

The Encyclopedia Arctica

Back in 1947, the Office of Naval Research in the Department of the Navy began an ambitious 20-volume reference work on the northern Arctic and subarctic regions. Four years later, the Navy withdrew its support after 3 or 4 million words had been written. The editor of this tremendous undertaking was the Canadian Arctic explorer and director of Polar Studies at Dartmouth College, Vilhjalmur Stefansson. Recently, the Dartmouth College Library digitized materials from this compendium, and they are now available on this site. Here visitors will find the "Table of Contents", which allows them to delve into subtopics like "Physiography of Alaska", "Physics of Ground Frost", and dozens of other related topics. The documents here are the original typewritten pages, and visitors can browse around at their leisure. [KMG]

Hispanics, High School Dropouts and the GED [pdf]

Published in May 2010, this 24-page paper from the Pew Hispanic Center looks at the pathways to a General Educational Development (GED) credential exam taken by Hispanic high school drop-outs in the United States. Written by Richard Fry, the report notes that just one-in-ten Hispanic high school drop-outs has a GED, as compared to two-in-ten black high school drop-outs and three-in-ten white high school drop-outs. The report is based on educational attainment data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey. Moving on through the report, interested parties can also look at labor market outcomes of Hispanic adults based on whether they dropped out of high school and lack a GED, and other measures. Also, visitors can look at other relevant reports from the National Center for Education Statistics on this site. [KMG]

The Robert Louis Stevenson Website

From his tales of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver to his verses for children, Robert Louis Stevenson remains a tremendous literary force well over a century after his death in 1894. This fascinating site provides resources for academics, young people, and people with a general interest in Stevenson's life and literary musings. Along the top of the homepage, visitors will find ten sections, including "Gallery", "Life", "Works", and "In the Footsteps of RLS". The "In the Footsteps of RLS" brings together Google Maps and information about Stevenson's many travels to give visitors an interactive way to track his journeys through France, Scotland, and the South Seas. Moving on, the "Gallery" area contains photos from every part of Stevenson's life, ranging from a photo of him at age 4 (wearing a cape) to his time as a married man living in the South Sea Islands. As for the "Works" section, visitors would do well to check out his 1878 travelogue, "Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes". [KMG]

University of California Digital Map Collection [Last reviewed in the Scout Report on October 18, 2002]

Since the Scout Report last visited the Digital Map Collection at the University of California, there have been many worthy additions to this cartographic cornucopia. The maps are both historic and contemporary, and they include zoning maps, land use maps, historic maps of the state's coastline, and so on. Visitors can elect to browse all of the California digital maps, or the non-California digital maps here. Currently, there are over 475 California maps, and visitors can browse the offerings by call number title, keyword, title, and more. On the non-California side of things, there are over 10,000 maps, and they deal with just about every topic under the geographical sun. The site is rounded out by a list of digital topographic map sets, and a link to a more specialized search engine for the maps. [KMG]

Ipl2: Literary Criticism [pdf]

Discriminating between the proverbial "wheat" and "chaff" on the Internet presents a number of challenges, and when it comes to discussion about online literary criticism, it's even more difficult. This helpful guide to the best of such resources is made possible via ipl2, which itself is the merger of the Internet Public Library (IPL) and the Librarians' Internet Index (LII). These annotated suggestions are divided into sections that include "Best Starting Places" and "Starting Places for Particular Time Periods". Each resource is profiled in a short paragraph, and the link is also offered for convenience. While some parties might find the suggestions a bit rudimentary, these sites can be quite helpful for persons just coming to this arena. [KMG]

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center: Publications [pdf]

The United States Department of Agriculture's website has a special section devoted to alternative farming systems, which include ecological pest management, value-added enterprises, agritourism, renewable energy on the farm, and aquaculture. Visitors will find the publications section related to alternative farming system to be filled with resources on a multitude of subjects. "Sustainability in Agriculture" is the first topic on the homepage, and includes a publication updated in 2007, called "Sustainable Agriculture: Definitions and Terms", that should be a good start for many visitors. Visitors interested in learning how to engage in sustainable agriculture methods, should take a look at "Sustainable Agriculture: Information Access Tools" published in 2009. The tools include publications on "Automated Database Searches", "Research Funding Resources", and "Top 10 research Journals". An informative piece of writing about the evolution of organic/sustainable agriculture is also available here. [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

Asia Society: Water: Asia's Next Challenge [Flash Player, pdf]

Water is truly the staff of life, and without it human existence would come to a screeching halt quite quickly. The Asia Society has created this fine site to draw attention to the tremendous challenges facing Asia in terms of access to water for a myriad of uses. On the homepage, visitors can watch a short film, and then delve into the main report. Here, visitors will find the executive summary, along with the complete 59-page document. The document includes chapters like "Water Security Challenges in India" and "Climate Change and Water". Visitors can also download and view specific briefings for each country in the region. The site also contains other video clips of various experts and officials discussing water-based challenges, along with links to other online resources. [KMG]

The Bridges Organization

The connection between art and mathematics is well known, and the Bridges Organization has been bringing together these two worlds since 1998. The group started in Kansas, and since then they have traveled to cities in North America and Europe. On this site, visitors can learn about their past conferences, and view some of their galleries of images. The "Virtual Museum" area is a real treat, and visitors can look at spherical paintings, geometric sculptures, and algorithmic visual art. Moving on, the "Educational Resource Center" area features links of interest to educators, including sites dedicated to teaching mathematical thinking through origami and such. The site is rounded out by past conference reports and information about their leadership. [KMG]

General Interest

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Podcast [iTunes]

In January 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) began to reach out to a new audience by offering podcasts. The podcast program is called the "Watchdog Report" and its focus is on "interviews with GAO officials on significant issues and new products." The hosts of the program are GAO staff members, and recent programs have included reports on the disclosure of airline service fees, federal efforts to develop biosurveillance capability, and health care services for women veterans. Every week, a new podcast is posted on the site, and visitors can sign up for their RSS feed or subscribe via iTunes. Anyone with an interest in governmental affairs and related matters will find this podcast quite useful, and it might even be a nice complement for courses dealing with civics. [KMG]

Eastern Washington University Digital Collections

The Eastern Washington University (EWU) Libraries has been working over the past several years to put a number of collections online, and this website includes some of their latest offerings. The materials are all housed at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library on the EWU campus, and they include "Pacific Railroad Survey Prints" and "Historic Images of Cheney, WA". In the "Pacific Railroad Survey Prints" collection, visitors can browse through 69 items from the 1860 War Department Reports of Explorations and Survey. They present some of the earliest published images of the Northwest, and they will be a true delight to historians and artists. Moving on, the "Women of a Small College Town" collection includes 15 transcriptions of oral history interviews conducted with women from Cheney, which is the home of EWU. [KMG]

The Batik Guild

Visitors unfamiliar with batik should check out the "What is batik?" link on the left hand side menu of this site. There they'll find out that Batik is a method of creating an image, traditionally on cloth, by exposing some areas of fabric to dye, while keeping other portions of the fabric covered in wax, so as to remain free of dye. To see how such a process has evolved over time visitors should click on "Gallery" to see pieces made by Batik guild members, which includes professional artists, amateurs and students. Click on artist Heather Gatt's work, which looks almost photographic, especially "Evening Light on Water". Anne Bologna's work features beautiful shorebirds, and in the pieces she has on the Guild's site, she departs from the tradition of using fabric as her canvas, and uses paper instead. The "History of batik" on the left hand side menu gives a brief history of the art, and hypothesizes that it started in Asia. At the end of the paragraphs are links to "Batik in Java", "Batik in China", "Batik in Africa" and "Batik in Ukraine". [KMG]

The Global Art Initiative

The Global Art Initiative is based in Texas, and its goal is to help lift disabled third world artists out of poverty by providing them with art supplies, crutches, wheelchairs, safe spaces to create art, and art lessons. Another goal of the Initiative is to teach empathy towards the disabled, to both children and adults. Visitors can go under the "Artist" tab, on the left hand menu, to see five artists and a brief biography. "Eder Romeus", an artist from Haiti, contracted polio at a young age and was raised by his grandparents. Kennedy N'gan'ga's biographical statement notes that he is from Kenya and became a quadriplegic in a diving accident, yet he still has the potential to become a Paralympic swimmer. Visitors will enjoy the "Art & Exhibits" section, which is also on the left hand side menu, and shows "Past Exhibits", such as the "Mosaic Festival", "Blue Bonnet Festival" and "Jspace Gallery". Click "Enter the Gallery" to see many of the works of these talented disabled artists. [KMG]

Gospel Music History Archive: Center for Religion & Civic Culture

With key support from a number of organizations, the Gospel Music History Archive at the University of Southern California (USC) is working "to preserve the legacy of gospel music in a state-of-the-art digital archive." This website is part of their long-term work, and visitors can view videos of gospel performers, look through their photo galleries, and much more. The initiative is part of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) which was created in 1996. The site also includes helpful links to material about the religious makeup of California, a calendar of events, and their own compelling in-house publication, "The Wire". Finally, the site is rounded out by information about their upcoming events, conferences, and meetings. [KMG]

New Rules Project [pdf]

The New Rules Project was started by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in 1998, and their goal is to "bring fresh new policy solutions to communities and states to ensure that they are designing rules as if community matters." The Project places a premium on communities accepting responsibility for the welfare of their members, and on their site visitors can learn about their advocacy work, publications, and areas of policy interest. Some of their more recent reports include "Breaking the Broadband Monopoly" and "Municipal Energy Financing: Lessons Learned". Visitors will also want to look over their "Audio and Video" area, as it includes Project staff members talking about their work and access to their RSS feed. [KMG]

Picasso: Peace and Freedom

John Lennon said he'd prefer to be remembered as a peacenik than a Beatle. If you feel the same way, a visit to this exhibition from the Tate Liverpool, showcasing Picasso's pacifist side, will be inspirational. Picasso's "Dove of Peace" is featured throughout the website, and several versions of the bird are on display in room 3 of the show, including Hands Entwined III; Dove with Olive Branch, 1961; Dove of Peace (Dove of l'Humanite), 1950; and White Dove on Black Background, 1947. There is also a set of downloadable mp3 audio files discussing the works in the room. The audio files "Dove" details how Picasso's dove came to represent the peace movement, there is even a quote from Picasso himself, in which he says that he doesn't understand how the dove became a peace symbol, since it is an exceedingly cruel bird. Picasso created many versions of the dove, beginning in 1945, and up until his death in 1973. 

Network Tools


The school year isn't so far away, and educators may want to take a close look at this most helpful web application. Quizlet allows students and teachers to create flashcard sets with little fuss, and they can also share their flashcards with friends via email, Facebook, or MySpace. The site has a great "How do I?" section that provides many answers to how to best use the program. Quizlet is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Want to make an online notice board? It's never been easier than with Wallwisher, which is a new application that offers a number of excellent features. Visitors can use the application to put up just about any item on their wall, including video clips, audio files, drawings, photographs, and so on. "Walls" can be set so only certain individuals can have access to them, and visitors do not need to sign up an account to get started. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Preserved cadaver exhibits banned in Seattle

Seattle council bans exhibits like 'Bodies'

Exhibition or freak show? 'BodiesThe Exhibition' cashes in our own curiosity

Anatomy of a controversy

Missouri congressman concerned about origin of bodies at exhibit currently in Cleveland

20/20: Inside the Bodies Exhibit

Photographic History of Human Dissection

Not many things get banned in Seattle, so it was a bit unusual this week to learn that the city council in the Emerald City voted to ban commercial cadaver displays. For those who might not be familiar with such matters, preserved cadaver displays have become tremendously popular over the past several years, and they include the exhibits "Bodies" and "Body Worlds". In Seattle, Councilmember Nick Licata expressed concern over the origins of the bodies used in these displays, and other citizens (including anatomy professors and museum directors) thought that the exhibits were disrespectful to the families of the deceased. The popular exhibit "Bodies" had been on display twice in Seattle, and the group responsible for sponsoring the exhibit stated that they received these bodies from a plastination facility in China, which had in turn, received them from Chinese medical universities. Similar laws have been signed into law in Hawaii, New York, and San Francisco. The ban in Seattle does not apply to human remains that are more than 100 years old or consist solely of human teeth or hair. Given the continued popularity of such exhibits, this issue may be revisited in other towns across the United States. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a news article from this Tuesday's Seattle Times which talks about the recent ban passed by the Seattle City Council. The second link leads to a thoughtful retrospective piece from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer which reviews the original exhibit which found its way to Seattle in 2006. Moving on, the third link leads to an excellent piece from the Washington Post that reports on the initial reactions to the "Bodies: The Exhibition" display. The fourth link leads to a recent piece from the Cleveland Plain Dealer which discusses concerns about the "Bodies: The Exhibition" raised by a Missouri congressman which may affect an upcoming exhibit in St. Louis. The fifth link leads to a segment from ABC's "20/20" program about the Bodies exhibit. It should be noted that the segment contains images that some persons may find graphic in their depiction of the human body. The final link leads to a piece from Inside Higher Ed which provides material on a recent book about the photographic history of medical dissection.

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