The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 33

August 20, 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

World Timelines

This website sponsored by the British Museum asks the following question: "Have you ever looked at an exhibit in a museum and wondered what was happening in other countries at that time?" This approach to viewing museum artifacts, and by extension, learning about history, uses timelines, maps and articles to engage and teach visitors. Since the British Museum is the source of the artifacts for the site, the collections have a larger British Isle focus than any other region, but visitors will find that this does not detract from the educational value or breadth of the site's collections. Visitors interested in seeing how the comparisons of timelines can click on any of the six areas of the world to open the timeline, and then look for a narrow link in the top left of the timeline box that's entitled "Compare Timelines". If there are related artifacts to view for a time period on the timeline, thumbnails will appear next to it. Visitors can view the artifacts in greater detail, as well as get background information in the accompanying article. [KMG]

The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies [pdf]

Based at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies "supports scholarship and publications in the field of Holocaust studies, promotes the growth of Holocaust studies at American universitiesand initiates programs to ensure the ongoing training of future generations of scholars specializing in the Holocaust." Visitors to their site can learn about conducting research at the Center, browse their calendar of events, and also sign up to receive their electronic newsletter. Many casual visitors will appreciate the "Center Scholarship" section of the site. Here they can learn about their recent publications, such as the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos and their archival guides. Moving on, their "Endowed Lectures" area contains audio recordings of many lectures, including a talk by Professor Kenneth Waltzer of Michigan State University titled "The Rescue of Children and Youths at Buchenwald". [KMG]

Language Guide

This website is a collaborative project started by a language enthusiast that not only aims to help language learners, but also to "provide a window into the culture of the people who speak those languages." So how does the site accomplish this feat? It provides interactive language lessons, quizzes, and texts that allow the language learner to hear the word or text pronounced by fluent, often native, speakers. The sound quality is high, and by simply scrolling over any of the pictures in categories as diverse as the alphabet, weather, insects, and money, visitors will hear the word read pronounced. Thirteen languages are offered, including "Vietnamese", "Arabic", "German", "Hindi" and "Hebrew", with the most fully realized lessons for "English", "French" and "Spanish". However, the collaborative nature of the site should soon fill out the lessons of the other languages, because the "Collaborate/Volunteer" section of the site shows the many contributions volunteers can make, such as "Translating", "Suggesting Words/Phrases" or Contribute Your Voice". As the content of the site continues to expand, visitors can sign up for the "Newsletter" to be notified when major new content for a specific language has been added. [KMG]

Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History

Some organizations like to promote the teaching of history through architecture, immigration patterns, or transportation innovations. This project encourages students to learn about history through "the enticement of solving historical cold crimes." It's a compelling and intriguing premise, and the project, initiated in 1997, builds on the ideas of document-centered inquiry and "active learning" pedagogical thinking. First-time visitors should view the video introduction to the project, and then use the "Quick Access" drop-down menu to look at the twelve different mysteries featured. A good one to start with is the "Where is Vinland?" project. Here visitors can learn about this Viking colony, learn about historical artifacts associated with the colony, and then review the contemporary and historical findings on the subject. Moving on, the "Teachers" section includes lesson plans, briefing sheets, and student-oriented briefing sheets for use in the classroom. [KMG]

Ohio History Online Portal (Last featured in the Scout Report on August 10, 1999)

The Ohio History website has grown by leaps and bounds since the Scout Report last reviewed it in 1999. The site is maintained by the Ohio Historical Society, and it serves as "an entry-point for all things related to Ohio history." Here visitors can perform detailed cross-institutional archive searches from over 300 member institutions, look up news items about Ohio history, and peruse their calendar of events. Educators will find that the "Resources" section is a good place to start. This section includes information and lesson plans for Ohio history teachers, information about Ohio history day, and a set of recent keyword searches, such as "Neil Armstrong" and "Appalachia". Further along, the "Research" area is a great way to learn about the tremendous archives held by different institutions in the state, and scholars will like the fine details offered here. Finally, the "Places" section offers a cornucopia of sites in the state dedicated to preserving local history, such as the Youngstown Center for Industry and Labor. [KMG]

Science: Multimedia [iTunes, Flash Player]

With coverage of food science, the Neanderthal genome, and oil extraction via algae, the Science multimedia page has something for just about everyone. At the top of the page, visitors will find the "Science Podcast". Visitors are encouraged to sign up to the podcast's RSS feed, and they can also listen in to previous installments. The "Images and Slide Shows" area is a delight for the senses, as it features photo essays with audio commentary on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and "How Astronomers Have Fun (and Nearly Die Trying)". If that isn't enough, head on over to the "Interactives" area, where one can learn about plant genomes via a series of video clips, illustrations, and scientific drawings. The other interactive features here cover sea urchins and the human gut. Science educators and writers will find the site particularly useful, though everyone with a curious spirit will appreciate it. [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

Minnesota Discovery Center

The Minnesota Discovery Center has many different programs, and their Iron Range Research Center website is a fine way to learn about this rather unique cultural and geographical region. Located in the far northern reaches of Minnesota, the area was center of a vast natural resource extraction economy for well over a century. On the right-hand side of this page, visitors can look over the "Genealogy", "Archives", and "Events & Programs" area. The "Archives" area contains over 960 items (including photographs, postcards, and maps) that the folks at the Center have digitized thus far. The archive contains images of drilling stations, iron ore production, and conveyor belts. Also, visitors can search their online genealogy database, which contains Census information, passenger arrival records, and mining company newsletters. Finally, visitors can use the "Events & Programs" section to learn about upcoming programs of note. [KMG]

Shaping the Values of Youth: Sunday School Books in 19th Century America

Many things shape values in a society, and it is interesting to look at how different items, such as Sunday school books, help achieve this goal. This digital collection created by Michigan State University and Central Michigan University offers up a selection of the most well known representatives of this genre. First-time visitors should start out by reading the introductory essay by Stephen Rachman of the department of English at Michigan State University. After that, visitors can look over the books by title, author, or category. The categories are quite interesting, and they include "holidays", "immigrants", and "temperance". All told, there are well over 100 titles here, and visitors may wish to start their journey through these tomes by looking over "Are You Going to the Circus?" or "A Dialogue Between A Traveller and Yourself". [KMG]

General Interest

The Economist: Democracy in America

The Economist's "Democracy in America" offers critical commentary on America's "kinetic brand of politics and the policy it produces." The posts on the site are crafted by The Economist's different far-flung correspondents, and the range and breadth of their insights and investigations are quite impressive. Cod fishing in New England? Yes, that's covered here, along with climate change, cyber security, and the "new" political correctness. Visitors can offer their own comments, recommend posts to friends, and take advantage of their RSS feed as well. Each post also contains links to helpful documents, other online resources, and bits of commentary from other media sources. It's a real gem overall, and this site could be used in journalism courses quite effectively. [KMG]

New England Rug Society

Appreciation of antique rugs is widespread throughout the United States, and New England is no exception to this phenomenon. The New England Rug Society was formed in 1985 as the New Boston Rug Society, and now it has over 130 members who "share a common love of the traditional creative textile arts." On their website, visitors will find sections such as "Meetings", "Newsletter", "Gallery", "Literature", and "Blog". The "Gallery" area contains a selection of excellent online exhibits, including "Rare and Unusual Turkmen Pile Weavings" and "Small Weavings of the South Persian Nomads". Next up is the "Literature" section. Here visitors will find links to thoughtful pieces authored by Society members, and the offerings including "How Good is My Rug Collecting?" and "Some Thoughts on Islamic Prayer Rugs and Related Textiles". The site is rounded out by information on joining the Society and a link to their blog. [KMG]

Workplace Fairness

Created in 1994, the Workplace Fairness organization "provides information, education, and assistance to individual workers and their advocates nationwide and promotes public policies that advance employee rights." First-time visitors to the site can get started by clicking on the "Working People" section. Here they will find workplace rights listings for all 50 states, along with resources for those who feel their rights may have been violated. Moving on, their blog ("Today's Workplace") offers some good commentary on issues of the day, including discriminatory workplace attitudes and "green" workplaces. Working journalists will find court and class action updates, a "legislative roundup", and other timely information in the "Journalists" area. Also, visitors can sign up for email updates, and connect with the organization via Twitter and Facebook. [KMG]

FRONTLINE: The Suicide Tourist

When he was diagnosed with ALS, retired computer science professor Craig Ewert decided he wanted to end his life. He decided to travel to Switzerland, which happens to be the one place where it is legal for foreigners to end their lives. Along the way, he was accompanied by Academy Award-winning filmmaker John Zaritsky, who chronicled his journey for the Frontline series. Visitors can watch the entire program, and also read an interview with the founder of the group that helps with these suicides, Ludwig Minelli. Also, the site has an excellent interview with his family members about his life, the decision to be involved with the film, and assisted suicide. Visitors are encouraged to submit their own thoughts on the subject in the "Join the Discussion" section. [KMG]

Live Hope Love: Living & Loving with HIV in Jamaica [Flash Player]

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is the support organization behind this moving website on the HIV crisis in Jamaica. Dedicated to independent international journalism on under-reported topics, the Pulitzer Center also aims to reach a broad and diverse audience, and it does so successfully with this website. Visitors will enjoy the introductory video, as it features an appealing montage that explains the artistic focus of the site. In the "Poem Gallery" and "Featured Poems" there are poems written by those living with HIV, along with photographs inspired by the poems which visitors can find in the "Image Gallery". In the "Vital Voices" link, visitors will hear brief audio clips of people with HIV, caretakers, medical personnel, and other supporters. Visitors shouldn't miss the clip of Carla Legister, who issues a short but strong message to parents, and the clip of Lascelles Graham, who sings a few of his thoughts. [KMG]

Museum of Science and Industry: Online Science

The Online Science website created by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is for those visitors who are too far away, too busy, or too wary of Chicago traffic to visit the Museum. There are "Videos", "Activities" and "Podcasts", which cover the cute, the gooey, and the awe-inspiring in science. The video of "Baby Chicks Hatching" is a minute-and-a-half of rooting for life, and it was filmed in the Museum's own baby chick hatchery. The "Activities" area may seem geared towards kids, but the timeless scientific concepts, and some new ones, will refresh and stimulate the memories of any adult. Visitors will love "Simple Machines", the tale of Twitch an adorable, lazy, red blob with legs, who has work to do at the Museum, but wants to use as little force as possible to do it. This game teaches about planes, pulleys and levers, accompanied by a charming soundtrack. The podcasts are lectures by people involved in and behind the exhibits at the Museum, and include topics such as the repairing the Hubble telescope, human longevity, tornado science, and the science workforce. [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

Center for Young Women's Health [pdf]

Children's Hospital Boston has created a health information site for teen girls that teaches them about important topics ranging from "Health & Development" to "Driving Safety" to "Emotional Health". Visitors will find that the "Ask Us!" feature is one that's vitally important for easily embarrassed teens, because it allows them to ask a health question without asking for their name or e-mail. This website also features three teen "Youth Advisors", participants in the Youth Advisory Program at the Children's Hospital Boston, who have been trained to educate their peers on health topics. They write and publish "Teen Talk", a quarterly newsletter with health information, and visit schools to give health presentations. Visitors will find that Children's Hospital Boston hasn't forgotten about teen boys' health, as they have their own site called "Young Men's Health", which can be accessed from this site by clicking on the "Guys' Guides" link on the left hand menu, near the bottom of the page. [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

Network Tools

Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 8.3.1

Many users may be familiar with the Ad-Aware application, and those who are will be glad to learn that this latest version installs a bit faster and that it now has a built-in scheduler for security scans. The application still features high-level anti-virus protection, a "quick-scan" setting, and a number of additional updates. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

JAlbum 8.9.3

As end of the summer festivities start, many people will begin to take photos to document family gatherings, picnics, and other outings. These photos can be organized and modified quite easily with the free JAlbum application. The program allows users to generate photo albums, and they can also use the photo editor to transform individual photos. It's a nice way to share images with friends and others, and this version is compatible with every operating system capable of running Java, including all versions of Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris. [KMG]

In The News

Lighthouse preservation groups search for new uses in a GPS age

With Keepers Obsolete, Lighthouse Duties Fall to New Set of Stewards [Free registration may be required]

NPR: Maine Lighthouse With Fantastic View for Sale [Real Player]

Staten Island lighthouses on the auction block

Preservation group restoring historic 'Bug Light'

Michigan Lighthouses

U.S. Coast Guard Historic Lighthouse Index

Many people have fond attachments to lighthouses, and lighthouses are rightly seen as literal and figurative beacons poised at the edge of unforgiving and treacherous waters. In the past the solitary lighthouse keeper was also seen as an integral part of this landscape. As of late, many lighthouse keepers have been rendered obsolete with the widespread use of GPS units and technologically advanced navigational tools. A number of preservation groups have stepped up to maintain the lighthouses, but the work can be quite difficult, to say the least. Groups working in places like Michigan and California have replaced $2500 doors on the structures only to find them gone after a hard storm, and just the basic maintenance on the structures is time-consuming and expensive. Scott L. Hollman, who won the Granite Island Light Station in Michigan ten years ago at auction, commented, "You cannot restore a lighthouse with bake sales." After the successful restoration of a lighthouse many owners still wonder what they can do with the property. Many owners have gotten creative and started microbreweries within their walls, while others have crafted small B&B's out of these tightly configured spaces. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to an article from this Saturday's New York Times that talks about the challenges faced by those who seek to preserve and restore lighthouses. The second link whisks users away to a report from NPR about a lighthouse for sale in Maine. Potential buyers stand warned that the fog horn at the lighthouse blares every 10 seconds. The third link leads to a piece from the Staten Island Advance about two lighthouses on the island that are now for sale, courtesy of the Federal Government. Moving along, the fourth link leads to a preservation success story from the Wicked Local website about "Bug Light" lighthouse in Plymouth Harbor. The fifth link offers an excellent guide to the 113 lighthouses scattered around the state of Michigan. Each entry offers information about visiting the lighthouses and so on. The final link leads to the U.S. Coast Guard's Lighthouse site, which features a history of the Lighthouse Act of 1789, a West Coast lighthouse gallery of images from the 19th century, and a set of historic lighthouse plans.

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